Oils, oils, oils!


Oh how my life has changed this last year, moved to a new city and found a new focus. After running into the same frustrations I have had with acrylics, (ie drying to fast and lack of richness) I decided to take the knowledge I’ve obtained while working at University Art and try the starter set of oils I had couped up in the closet. Simple Winsor &Newton student set, not the best quality but I figured since I am in a new city why not try a new medium. All of a sudden I felt like a duck to water for the first time. Little pieces of tips I learned from my encounters with other oil painters and just being around it everyday came rushing out of the tip of my paintbrush. With my first attempt I figured I would go big or go home, so I half heartedly stretched my own 30×40 and started playing around and came up with this after going through some old references..

I can remember a time when I was first learning how to paint in general and had all types of paint. I dabbled with oils and became so frustrated with the initial encounter and turned away from oils and never looked back, until my move to Pacific NW. I’ve had art encounters where people have told me I should try out oils and I crudly would say ” I cant stand oils!” and would spend the next 20 min breaking down why it sucks. But honestly, what did i know? I had only been painting for a short while before I had my first art critique. Who would have thought ten years later I would dedicate my life to becoming a great oil based artist. Call it evolution, but i see it as a revalation. It feels good having a dedicated focus now. Being a jack of all trades when it comes to art is nice, but mastering a medium is what I’m truly after. Honestly, if someone would have gave me some Gamsol and Liquin with my initial experience, who knows where I would be at today. I do feel learning the principles of water based meduims such as acrylics and watercolor has helped me understand the basic princples of oils on my second experience. I always could explain the difference between oils and acrylics but after experiencing my own success’ I have learned so much more.

The one thing I tell people now, who ask me what is the big diifference between water based paints and oils is, is you build and mold with oils paints. Since your working in reverse principles (dark to light in oils rather light to dark with water based paints) oils lets you build on top of your bottom layer way easier than trying to always glaze in acrylics. For me oils fit my life better as an artist. With so many distractions and adult responsibilities, I like being able to walk away from my palette and painting for a few hrs or even days and be able to come back to a piece i can still manipulate.

I’ve only just begun with oils and have already begun a decent body of work. I look forward to dropping more tid bits with my experiences. Their is so much to learn and can’t wait to share. Stay tuned.
 “Return of the King” 8×10

Posted using Tinydesk blogging app

Leave a Comment for Oils, oils, oils! »

Inspirations part 1 Ernie Barnes

Inspirations part 1 Ernie Barnes


One question I get when my work is being observed is, who inspires you to do what you do artistically? Besides that moment when you finally get to stand back and look at a finished piece and say, “Im done here.” I find myself looking at certain artists for guidance and inspiration. I try to pull out the best aspect I admire from each artist and implement those qualities when working in my artistic groove. It could be the use of a certain color palette, composition, subject matter, to how passionate that artist is/was about there craft.

tumblr_n19lkuTn1h1s5h4bpo2_400               Ernie Barnes    1938-2009

This man has got to be the most influential artist, to me, when it comes to fine art painters. If you have ever seen an episode of “Good Times” then you have seen this man’s work. From the opening theme music, to every painting on the show done by J.J. was actually done by Ernie Barnes. Born in Durham, NC during the Jim Crow days Mr. Barnes had the honor of going to school with my Grandmother back in grade school. She told me, how he used to be more of an athlete than an artist ,however, was no slouch when drawing with pencil and paper. Ernie Barnes was well known for his unique style of elongation and movement. He was also known as a professional football player, hence, a lot of his works were sports related. Sports is a huge part of my life, when I’m not working on art I am probably watching a game. I look forward to incorporating them both in my work like Mr. Barnes did in his works.


Ernie Barnes, is most know for his “Sugar Shack” piece and according to Barnes, he created the original version of Sugar Shack after reflecting upon his childhood, during which he was not “able to go to a dance.” In a 2008 interview, Barnes said, “Sugar Shack is a recall of a childhood experience. It was the first time my innocence met with the sins of dance. The painting transmits rhythm so the experience is re-created in the person viewing it. To show that African-Americans utilize rhythm as a way of resolving physical tension.

This piece alone is what inspired me to become a painter over an illustrator. I believe, the control of color and implementation of light and dark help give the piece movement and depth. As a beginning oil painter I am finding this easier to accomplish in oils over acrylics. Composition is everything and nobody does it better than Ernie Barnes…… my opinion.

Learn more about Ernie Barnes here:



Leave a Comment for Inspirations part 1 Ernie Barnes »

“Along the Way”

"Along the Way"


So I have been living on the eastside of Seattle for about 4 months now and have stumbled across some interesting art. For instance, Fremont Art Walk features some great local talent as well as the Pike Markets art walk. However, over the past weekend I had a chance to attend the “U-District” Art walk and I had a chance to stumble across an art show called “Along the Way”. A collaboration show featuring the works of Carlos Aguilar and Ksera at MOKSHA. I don’t want to short change any artist I have come across since moving here, but this has been the best visual experience from artists on the move that I’ve seen since setting up shop in WA.


MOKSHA did a wonderful job setting up a great visual experience that did a great job capturing the unification of the series being displayed. For a clothing store, the curator did a great job providing a great art energy in the room that not only attract viewers but could hold them in the gallery space for longer than intended. Even though it was a bit hot in the space, I’m pretty sure they weren’t expecting higher than average temps for the Pacific Northwest. To view more information about this fashion forward place, check out there yelp reviews here:
10389997_10152064791046879_4369239789160099415_n 10366231_10152064784926879_780938097185181872_n

The show focused on the acrylic paintings done by Carlos Aguilar while Ksera was the focus on the sculptural side of the collaboration. The walls were lined with colorful paintings and were accented by little terrariums done by Ksera. I felt the featured piece was the mass sculpture that was in the center of the showcase. You can’t but smile when looking at this piece and after meeting the artists, it’s very easy to see where the joyful energy of there artwork comes from. Carlos was a very approachable guy, who had a very positive vibe to him. Seemed like a guy you would want to get together and have a beer with while talking about art culture. Ksera was a very nice young lady who I briefly had a chance to meet, but was very welcoming herself. They both described there collaboration with a lot of passion and have made a follower out of me.  Two thumbs up on execution all the way around for this show.  To see the work of the showcase follow  this link:


Leave a Comment for “Along the Way” »



We finally made it!  Years of planning and sacrifices, the Mrs. and I finally packed up the wagon and   headed to the Pacific Northwest. We took our honeymoon to Seattle in 2012 and absolutely fell in love with  the place. We knew this was where we wanted to start our next phase of life.  It took a couple more visit’s and me learning a new trade, but finally the right opportunity presented itself and the powers that be led us to our new destination of Seattle. Yeah, yeah we know it rains a lot here, however, thats helps me and my wife focus, creatively. We landed here March 1st and been here a month and it hasn’t rained as much as people scarred us into believing. Consequently, I have done more paintings this month than I did the second half of all last year.


The drive up had it’s quirks, which I expected, like the 16hr road trip driving a U-Haul and dragging our car. The two day trip we had planned to get to Seattle and knowing we were going to be munching on fast food and snacks. Lastly, having to unpack everything we just packed up when we got there. What I didn’t plan on was: Driving through the storm that threw Dorothy and Toto to Oz while dragging a car, the bank putting a hold on all our funds thinking they were saving us from fraud, soooo that made us eat Frito’s and fries the whole way and finally, not being able to unpack once we got there.


Why can’t we unpack? Let’s just say the apartment we reserved was not the apartment we reserved and living under a family full of small boys is the last place you want to go to relax. The setbacks however, were a blessing in disguise, I landed a better paying job within the first month of being here, got a more reliable vehicle for getting around and finally found a place we can call home right by the new job and by Lake Washington.

Seattle has a wonderful art scene out here and has been extremely helpful for learning the local art scene here in Seattle. There isn’t a weekend that goes by were there is not an opportunity to be involved in the art vibe. For instance, Pike Place has a great little art walk everyday except Sunday. Ballard’s art scene is the “it” place to be for new up and coming artists. I even just recently stopped into Dick Blick’s art store, it felt like a mom and pop art store threw up there back-stock all over a warehouse full of artists screaming for supplies, like a group of women reaching for a bouquet. Also the traffic out here is amazingly awful! Got to be at work at 8am better leave at 6:20. It is legendary.


It’s taking a little longer to get settled, but it’s nice knowing we are finally starting to settle down were we want to be and I look forward to making my mark in such a colorful city. I am very excited about making the most out of this move and taking advantage of all opportunities that come my way.

I recently switched my main medium from acrylic to oils and am even more excited about future work. So stay close to the blog, where this year I will be sharing my new work in oils, my art outings in a great art city and sharing more information.

Leave a Comment for WE MADE IT! »

Making Frame Ready Art


During my tenure as a custom framer for 3 years, I used to see all types of art work in various sizes. I’ve seen frames as big as 60×72 to your standard 5×7. One thing I never got tired of was seeing the absolute sticker shock on peoples faces when they realized how much it would cost to frame dear old Grandpa’s watercolor painting. Realizing it’s pretty hard to get a cutom frame done for under $100.Which might be outrageous  to someone trying to frame a picture that’s 10×10.


The next question people would ask would be how do I get this done cheaper? One solution is to get the art matted to fit a ready made frame, which, will run you anywhere from $25-$50. “What makes it so damn expensive?” Would be the next fruatrated question, which I would reply, ” doing a custom frame job is like making a lasagna from scratch. Sure you can buy the cheap ready made Stouffer’s , but there is nothing like a good homemade lasagna. Consequently, it’s going to cost more for that delicious taste, but it’s well worth it in the end.



The ingredients for a frame order goes as follows: Frame, Mat, Glass, fitting it together, any speciality parts (spacers), and of course the finished backing with hanging supplies. All of which will give you a delicious piece of artwork hanging on your walls and will be a constant feature piece in your home for years.



Well what if you don’t want to do that and just     wanted to buy a damn frame already. Then hopefully your piece is one of the standard sizes for a frame which are:

4×6                     14×18            24×36

5×7                     16×20            10×20

8×10                  18×24

11×14                 22×36

Note to all other artists, please make art at one of these sizes if you want to sell your piece so it is frameable at a reasonable cost. Selling work at this size will make it easier to sale due to its ready to be put into a frame without having to get a custom job done.

So what if you have a piece that is 13×19 and you don’t want to pay for a custom frame or a mat job? Then you are the one who would benefit from a Frame Kit. These metal or wood frames are sized at rounded inches and you will likely find the two sides needed to fit your piece. However, it is a standard metal/ wood brand coming in various colors. You will need backing, glass and strap hangers. Usually you can get all that for around $50.00.










Here are a few more tips for anyone wanting to get something framed.

* If its and oil painting DUE NOT KEEP GLASS IN FRAME! If left in colors will lift eventually and get stuck to glass

* If you have a photograph NEVER HAVE IT RIGHT UP AGAINST GLASS. Over time picture image will get stuck to glass, please invest in matting.

* When putting hanging wire on the back of frame, come down 3/4 from top and input hooks.

*All frame jobs will take 1/4 inch off all the way around image.

* If you have a pastel or charcoal drawing USE FIXATIVE FIRST & LET DRY BEFORE PUTTING IN FRAME

*Lastly stay away from GOLD FRAMES………EW.

Leave a Comment for Making Frame Ready Art »