Archive for the ‘2009’ Category

One of my collectors in Australia wrote telling me he’d love to see a painting of my photograph of Tommy lying face-up in wet sand at sunrise on Diamond Head Beach (it’s in my Diary entry called “First Photo Shoot with Tommy (January 2009).”


Though I always appreciate suggestions from my collectors, as you can imagine, I don’t always follow them—sometimes they’re not in tune with where I’m headed artistically. Other times, I really need a little direction, and sometimes a suggestion from a collector can steer me somewhere I might not have thought of going—and sometimes that makes for amazing art that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.


In this case, I was ready for a little direction, so I thought, okay, I’ll give it a shot. I started doing some sketches looking for a way to make the image into a painting. But as it turned out, after working on ideas for a few hours, I found that although I like the image as a photograph, I just wasn’t seeing it as a painting.


But, I was now in the mood to paint something of Tommy from that session…and I came across this one photograph that I thought was just terrific, with Tommy lying in the shorebreak with the golden light of dawn striking his wet body, and the palm trees, and the clouds, the water…just an amazing image.

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I love this photograph of Tommy at sunrise at Diamond Head Beach.

I would’ve loved to have released this image as a photographic print, but because that photo shoot happened before I was awakened to the wonders of Camera Raw, I wasn’t shooting in that format, and ended up with an image where the colors and textures of the deep shadows just weren’t recoverable enough to turn into a photographic print I could be happy with.


But I knew it would make a great painting! I should say, I knew it could make a great painting. But there was a lot going on in this image and I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. When approaching a project this complex and daunting, I really need to be sure the image has a powerful emotional impact on me. That’s the power that will push/pull me through the inevitable moments of difficulty or disappointment if/when things don’t go well.

One other factor that I had to consider was that I was leaving for Albuquerque to spend Christmas with my family in just 4 days, and to complete a painting this big and detailed in that amount of time was going to be a real challenge.

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After several hours of sketching I started to get the feeling I was going for.

But I felt that excitement and that emotional charge about this image so I plunged in. I spent an entire day just working on rough sketches. I didn’t want to do a literal copy of the image. I wanted to stylize it because I knew that would be more of an adventure, and possibly more powerful in the end. After making a lot of drawings, I began to get the feeling I was going for.


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This is the drawing I cut out and pasted onto another background (Click on image to see this drawing on my website).

So now I had an feeling for the overall painting, but I needed to focus on the figure, since that was, hello, the focal point. So that took another few hours of drawing and re-drawing the figure until I had it more or less right. Once I had a figure I could live with, I actually cut it out and pasted it onto an earlier drawing in which I liked the background. Then I scanned that pasted-together image to get it into the computer, where I could start working with it in Photoshop.

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I drew this in Photoshop using my Wacom digital tablet.

In Photoshop, I first had to do a line drawing, which you can see here, then needed to select all the color areas and fill them in. Sometimes I used Fill, sometimes I just painted the area with a ‘brush’ via my Wacom tablet, and sometimes I used a gradient. All this was to give me as close an idea as I could get digitally to what might happen once I started actually painting on canvas.

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This is the colored version of the file above.

The result was sufficiently encouraging to get me to the next stage—actually drawing the image on canvas.

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Finally, I was ready to start mixing colors. This is one of the most important stages of any painting, and it’s also one of my least favorite. Mixing colors is tedious and exacting (which is one of the reasons I like to do it on the computer first because that’s more fun and flexible!). Fortunately I have been doing this for enough years that I’m pretty good at it. But just because I’m good at mixing the color I have in mind doesn’t mean that that color is the RIGHT color. What looks good on the palette may or may not look good once it’s up there on the canvas in the context of the colors around it. You know you’ve done a good job of preliminary color mixing when you only have to re-mix 3 or 4 colors out of the maybe 15 or 20 you’re using for the painting. At least this is the way it works in my world.

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The first areas of color I laid in were the sky (some blue at the top, some pale yellow nearer the horizon), part of the beach, a bit of the waves, and a bit of the figure. I don’t always do it, but it’s always a good idea to work all over the painting, right from the start. It lessens the likelihood of unpleasant surprises later on, which can happen if you’re taking one part of the painting to a high level of finish, then you start working on another area and find the two areas don’t hang together.

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I continued working all over the painting, bringing the beach and trees area, the clouds and sky area, and the breaking waves and shorebreak area, to a fairly finished state. I kind of broke the rule I just stated above by avoiding the figure and foreground. I had a couple of diametrically opposed reasons for doing that. One, I was nervous about the figure—if it doesn’t work, the painting doesn’t work! Two, I was excited about the figure and wanted to save the best part for last. Neither of these reasons was really good enough to justify this behavior, but hey, I’m a crazy emotional artist, I’m not supposed to always do the sensible thing.


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The finished painting, which I've entitled Shorebreak (Click on image to see this painting on my website).

Kind of a big jump from the previous in-progress photo to this finished work, but that’s because I got so into the painting I forgot to take pictures. Remember, I was working under a deadline, too, so I was kind of feverish. But I was also really happy and excited because everything was coming together! I took a chance with this one—lots of chances, actually, one of the biggest being that I could do it in 4 days. If I hadn’t been able to pull it off I would have had a hard time shaking off that feeling of failure through the Christmas holidays. I was very grateful and happy that it worked out so well, and I went off to Albuquerque with a light step and a happy heart!


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Kurt and Chadwick on our arrival in Simi Valley.

The third and final day of our LA photo shoots dawned bright and clear, thank goodness. Another beautiful clear day! Kurt showed up at 8 to pick me up and I met Chadwick, who was sitting in the back seat. We drove north to Simi Valley where Kurt had a spot in mind that he thought would work well with Chadwick’s look. On the way we all talked and Chadwick seemed very pleasant. But I was looking forward to getting a better look at him.

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Chadwick getting oiled up by Kurt.

On our way to the location we stopped at a shopping center to pick up some supplies and when we got out of the car I saw just how big, beautiful and perfectly proportioned Chadwick was. He was wearing jeans and a tank top and as we walked through the store, he was literally stopping traffic. Heads were turning and people were actually saying “wow” as he walked by. Chadwick seemed to take it in stride. He seems to know how gorgeous he is, yet apparently has no attitude about it. Needless to say, I found this a very attractive quality and promising in terms of our working together.

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One of the first of many incredible photographs.

We hiked into a beautiful area, full of huge rocks and dramatic settings. I could see why Kurt thought it would be a great setting for shooting Chadwick. We hiked for about 15 minutes and it was as if we were in the middle of the wilds, with no signs of civilization anywhere around. We stopped in the middle of an immense slab of rock next to a huge date palm, and while I got my photo equipment ready, Kurt applied oil to Chadwick. I’m glad Kurt was there to do that part. I think that might’ve been a little too intense for me. I was still a little stunned by Chadwick’s gorgeousness.

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I haven't had a setting and model fit together this beautifully since my last time in Brazil...

Thus we began the actual photo shoot. I’m glad this was the third and final shoot because as much as I liked Marcelino and Anthony, Chadwick is pretty close to my personal dream of perfect male beauty. His amazing body gleaming in the hot California sun against those beautiful rocks was definitely a highlight of my career so far. The more I shot, the more I realized that Chadwick didn’t have a bad angle. It was almost too much beauty to be crammed into one human being.

My initial impression of Chadwick from watching him in the shopping center seemed to be accurate. Here was an amazingly gorgeous guy without a lot of attitude. Working with him was a total pleasure because he was a regular, down-to-earth guy, originally from a small town in Georgia, who was totally willing to do what it took to make sure both Kurt and I got the shots we wanted.

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The three of us traipsed up and down huge hills, through cactus and scrub brush, climbed up and over huge rocks, and sweated in the hot desert sun, and it was all worth it. Every time I changed angle or we put Chadwick in another setting, it was another great shot. Both Kurt and I were getting some amazing shots.

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We made Chadwick work hard but he seemed to love it! Look closely and you can see Kurt on the right here, getting the shot.

As we continued to work together smoothly, I realized something about Kurt’s and my chemistry: we were actually getting more and better shots working together than we usually get working alone. There was a nice dynamic happening. Usually a photo shoot wears me out because I’m carrying all the weight myself. It’s my job to manage everything, including thinking of what I want the model to do next while I’m also caught up in the intensity of trying to get the best shot possible in the moment. There’s just too much to think about, and it can be exhausting. I found when working with Kurt that when I ran out of ideas for the model, or just needed to rest for a moment, I could turn things over to him. He was able to do the same, which meant that we were using the model much more efficiently. And the fact that neither of us had to carry the whole load of responsibility made it that much easier to focus on getting the shot. By this third photo shoot it was becoming clear that we actually were more effective as a team than we were working alone! That doesn’t mean either of us really wants to stop working as a free agent—but it was a great thing to discover and something we may do again in the future.

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A great model and a total sweetheart!

This was a great way to finish up the LA photo shoots, with one of the best models I’ve worked with in my career so far. And the other two photo shoots gave me a huge amount of wonderful new material as well. Working with Kurt was a pleasure and we both derived unexpected benefits from working together. (Thanks, Kurt, for waking me up to the advantages of Camera Raw!) Overall, a wonderful and profitable experience, and I’m very excited about beginning to produce art from all these beautiful new images!


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Kurt and Anthony getting ready to hike into the woods.

The next morning was our second photo shoot. This was with a guy named Anthony P. which Kurt located through a site called Model Mayhem (that’s not his name on the site). Kurt picked me up at the San Vicente at 8am and I met Anthony, whom I had seen pictures of, but hadn’t met in person before. He was very handsome, very pleasant, and I was looking forward to shooting photos of him. We drove north to the same general area as the previous day, and again, hiked a while to find a photogenic area.

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We did find some fairly nice locations.

The area we were in was not as attractive as the one the previous day. Kurt told me that every time he visits one of these locations in and around the LA area, he never knows what to expect, because there’s so much change with the time of year, and sometimes wildfires will burn off all the vegetation in an area that was previously a great location. So the settings were not ideal, but we had driven all that way, so we decided to make the best of it. And we did get some nice shots.

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At two with nature...

Unfortunately our model was not a nature boy. I was reminded, over and over again, of Woody Allen’s comment, “I am at two with nature.” That was Anthony. He was a trooper, though. He got himself wet in cold, not-very-clean water for us. He let himself be eaten up by ants (well, for a minute anyway). He got muddy. But it was clear he was not happy in the environment. Of course, Kurt and I weren’t that happy with the environment, either. I had an idea. I called my hotel and talked to the day manager and asked him if we could use the area around the pool to shoot some nudes. Since that part of the hotel is clothing-optional anyway, he was pretty agreeable as long as our shoot wasn’t too lengthy. So we hiked back to the car and got on the freeway and headed back down to West Hollywood.

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Anthony was much happier in a hotel pool than in a creek in the woods.

This turned out to be a wonderful idea. When we walked in to the pool area of the San Vicente, I could tell Anthony was much happier. This was an environment he could enjoy working in. Both Kurt and I were much happier with it, too. The San Vicente has been used for a lot of photo and video shoots and it’s actually a great backdrop for this kind of thing. And it was very convenient for me, of course.

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This is me and Anthony by the San Vicente pool.

The weather was perfect and the setting was perfect. And it was late morning so there was hardly anyone around, so we were able to shoot undisturbed. This was one of those things that so often happens with photo shoots. You plan for one situation and it doesn’t work out and you play it by ear, and you end up in a completely different setting than you planned, but somehow it all works out.

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Again, Kurt and I worked really smoothly together, and it was a nice change from a “wilderness” setting where everything is improvised. Nice to have a bathroom handy, access to food and water, etc. Plus the comfort of being able to jump in the pool whenever you get hot—and it was turning into a hot day. Again, we shot for about two hours total and got a lot of great stuff. Another successful photo shoot, and I felt a sense of accomplishment. And I found I was really looking forward to the next morning and our third and final photo shoot with Chadwick. If Chadwick was anything like the photos I’d seen of him, this was going to be exciting!

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Along about August or September of this year, I started to feel a real need for some new models. The situation was that I had not had a new model in several months. There’d been lots of possibilities, but for one reason or another things kept falling through. So I had an idea. My friend Kurt Brown, who’s a well-known photographer of the male nude in Southern California, seemed to always have really hot models. (In fact, he’s the one who hooked me up with Jorge, who modeled for me while visiting Hawaii with Kurt in January 2009.) I thought, maybe he can help me out. So I called him up, and made a proposal: Would he be interested in working with me if I came up to LA to do some photo shoots? I would pay the models, and Kurt would coordinate everything from his end—the models, the locations, the transportation. Then we would both photograph the model during the photo shoot. He thought it sounded like a great idea, so we started planning and working out the details.

As it happened, my model drought ended just a few days after my first conversations with Kurt, when I met and photographed Jeff. This was a great development—a hot new model!—and I was very excited to have some new images to work with. But the LA project was still looking like it was going to be an exciting adventure, and I decided to proceed with it. There’s no such thing as too many hot new models, right?

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So I flew up to LA in mid-October. Kurt was a sweetheart and picked me up at the airport and drove me to my hotel, the San Vicente Inn. This is an unusual little hotel in WeHo which is gay and clothing-optional and used to be a lot of fun and really wonderful, but which has gone downhill over the past few years. I chose to stay there anyway because the location and the price were right. (I was happy to discover, during my stay this time, that a new owner is working hard to bring back the glory of the San Vicente’s former days. I wish him luck and hope he is successful with that!) Anyway, I arrived late at night and Kurt had scheduled our first photo shoot (with a model named Marcelino) for 7am the next morning.

A few hours later, I woke to the sound of rain on the roof. I looked out the window and saw nothing but dark grey skies and lots of precipitation. Evidently a weather system was dumping rain on all of Southern California. We had to cancel the shoot but fortunately Marcelino was free the following morning and we were hopeful we’d have better weather. Frankly, I was pretty happy not to have to roll out of bed at sunup on the first morning…

I suggested we meet at 8 the next morning instead of 7 and that’s what we did. It was a bit hazy and cloudy but looked promising. I met Marcelino for the first time when I got into Kurt’s car. He’s of Mexican descent, born and raised in LA, 20 years old, and seemed sweet and kind of reserved. And very cute, of course.
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We drove for about a half-hour north and ended up in the San Fernando Valley, where Kurt knows a recreation area where he’s shot before. We pulled off the freeway and parked, then the three of us started hiking.

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We hiked around for awhile before finally finding a spot near a lake that looked promising. After Marcelino got naked, Kurt oiled him up with suntan oil. This is something I never do, but I learned from Kurt. It does make the model look better and tends to add to the drama of whatever the lighting situation may be. While they were doing that, I started looking around for ideas on exactly where I wanted the model to stand, and what angles I’d be shooting him from.

The natural place to begin was with the lake as a background, so that’s what we did. The light was still a bit grey but the sun was starting to emerge, and it looked like we were going to have at least a fairly decent day. I’m so used to shooting on beaches that putting the model against a lake as a backdrop was a novel experience. I love the stillness of it, and the reflections. There’s a calmness about Marcelino that goes well with the setting, too.

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We shot for a couple of hours, hiking from area to area in what turned out to be a fairly large wilderness area. The day had turned into a bright, sunny, hot one, and the light was great. Neither Kurt nor I had known what it would be like to be working together, both shooting and sharing a single model. Would we get in each other’s way, step on each other’s toes? As it turned out, we worked together seamlessly. And Marcelino was a wonderful model, easy-going, natural, handsome—a total delight. Both Kurt and I were very pleased with all the great shots we got. I couldn’t have asked for a better first photo shoot on this LA trip.

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Update to this Entry:

In January 2012 I published an e-book containing 60 uncensored photographs of Marcelino from the above photo shoot. You can purchase the book for instant download here.

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Here's the source image for the painting, before and after tweaking in Photoshop.


For my second painting of Jeff, I got a bit more ambitious. I chose a shot of him sitting on the floor in my living room in the late-afternoon light. By ambitious, I mean that instead of just focusing on the figure as I often do, here my intention was to create a fully realized environment, with light, shadow and space, so that the viewer has a sense of place and time, and all the emotional components that come with that.I wanted to do a more stylized approach on this one. The first thing I did was start playing with the image in Photoshop. As usual, I applied the Posterize filter to get a more stylized, colorful look. This is usually gives me ideas about ways to transform the photographic image into a painting. As you can see, I also moved one of the plants, and changed the exterior view through the windows to something more colorful and tropical. Being able to re-create the source image digitally like this is a great tool in planning the painting before even beginning to do rough sketches.
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Some of the first sketches.


Next I started doing actual real-world sketches on paper. In fact, I did a LOT of rough sketches trying to get the figure the way I wanted it. The ones you see here are just a few of them. When my intention is to give the figure a more stylized look, that means I have to draw it over and over again until I have a really good grasp of all the dynamics of the pose and the way the parts of the body fit together within that. Sometimes I’ll draw the pose 20 times or more before I finally hit on a way to bring it to life in a simplified, stylized manner.

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More of the preparatory sketches where I'm working out visual ideas.

Once I got the figure more or less right, I worked on integrating it into the background. This involved more rough sketches while I worked out the relationships between the figure, the sofa, the plants, etc. It always changes things when you take the photographic image and start transforming into lines on a piece of paper. My final goal was to have a painting that consisted of a line drawing AND a somewhat realistic light-and-shadow environment, and have them work well together. And the first step toward that was to get a line drawing that worked.

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Sometimes I use old-fashioned cut-and-paste to try out different combinations of model and background.


The top image you see here is a more finalized sketch where I began adding light and shadow to get a better idea of how things were working, or not. This felt pretty good to me, but I wasn’t happy with the model’s hand. It looked awkward to me. So I went looking for a similar pose in the same series of photos, and found another one where I liked the hand better. I also noticed that in that pose, I liked the position of the legs better, too. So I did another drawing of the figure with those changes, and liked it. To see how that would work, rather than re-drawing the entire background, I just cut out the figure and laid it on top of the light-and-shadow drawing I’d just done, and it worked pretty well. So now I was ready for the next stage of the process.
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After scanning the final prep sketch, I had to 'clean it up' in Photoshop before adding color.


Next I scanned the pasted-together drawings so I could work with them in the computer. Once I had the scan, I worked on it in Photoshop to clean it up. That meant getting rid of as many greys as possible so I could have a mostly purely black-and-white image to work with. By putting that on its own Photoshop layer, I can create another layer “behind” it where I can apply color, so that I can do a digital test painting before doing the real thing in acrylic on canvas.
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Test painting I did in Photoshop using my Wacom digital tablet.


This is the test painting I did in Photoshop. I sampled colors directly from the digital source photos, and kept some of the colors as is, while tweaking others. The result was an image I thought looked pretty workable. Doing this (which took about an hour and a half) also gave me some insight into some of the challenges that would present themselves when I began actually creating the painting in the real world. Not all of them, of course, but the more I know ahead of time, the better.
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Beginning the actual painting on canvas.


Now, after 4 days of sketching and preparing both digitally and on paper, I was ready to start the actual painting. I used a digital projector to project my digital drawing onto the canvas, traced it with pencil, then painted that line drawing in black. Once that was dry, I began painting a reddish-brown wash over the line drawing. Next step was to mix the colors.
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This is where having done the digital test painting really pays off. Even though there’s never an exact translation of color between the computer screen and the real world, I have a very good printer, and by printing out the source photos and the digital test painting, I have something I can put in front of me while I’m mixing the acrylic paint on my palette. This helps a lot!
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Almost done...


Several hours of painting got me quite a ways along. By this point I was feeling pretty good about how it was going, except I wasn’t at all happy with the head or face. So I painted over the face and continued with the rest of the painting, with the intention of going back and working on the head/face as part of the last phase of the painting. By now I’d been working on the painting for nearly a week and was hoping one more day would do it.
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Finished! Title: Ohua Afternoon (click on image to see this item on my website)


The next day I started work on repainting the head. After many false starts, I finally got a face and an expression that felt alive, and whose looks I liked. Then, a few more finishing touches, and I was done! This was one of the most ambitious projects I’d undertaken in quite a long time, and on completion, I felt pretty triumphant! Since my apartment is on Ohua Avenue, I’m calling it “Ohua Afternoon.”

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Here's the photograph I began with.

I got the idea for my first painting of Jeff as I sometimes do, by accident, while playing around with Photoshop. There were several photos of Jeff sitting crosslegged on my bed that I liked, and I liked the plants behind him, but for some reason I thought, why not see what it would look like without the plants, and in fact without any definite background at all? So using Photoshop’s selection tools, I selected everything but the figure and the bed and the pillows, and then inverted the selection and hit the delete button. This effectively erased the background.


When you “erase” something in Photoshop, that area changes to whatever the Background color is at the time. Default for the Background color is white, so usually that’s what you “erase” to. However, this time the background went to an interesting red tone. This is probably because I was using that color the last time I was working in Photoshop.

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Some interesting accidents happened on the computer...(image on right tilted and Posterized)

When this happened I could easily have hit “Undo” and changed the Background color to white, or anything, and repeated the action—but instead, I looked at what had happened and said, “Whoa. Cool!” Because the color really worked. Not a color I would have consciously chosen…but there are no accidents, right? On top of that, because of the way I had made the selections in the first step of tweaking the photo, there was a nice little halo effect around Jeff’s head and shoulders. The overall result was so striking I thought, hey, this would really work as a painting. So I tilted the whole thing a bit clockwise (so that the edge of the bed was more level) and applied a Posterize filter, and thought, hey, I’m ready to go on this.

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Beginning the painting on canvas.

Next step was to transfer the image to canvas, via a pencil line drawing, then lay down a reddish-brown wash over the drawing. While that was drying I mixed colors. I began with the red background and the blue pillows. You should keep in mind that at this stage I have no idea if the painting will work. But as I continued with this one, I started to get a good feeling: a feeling of hesitant exultation, a feeling that says, “Hey…this might just work out!”


(I am telling you guys all this because I think there is a misapprehension among non-artists that we so-called “successful artists” just go into the studio and start painting and magic happens. I’m here to tell you, NO, that’s not how it works. Maybe 1 in 20 times it works that way. But 95% of the time it’s like the process I’m describing now. You have an idea, you think it might work, but you’re afraid to start. No matter how many successful paintings you’ve done, there is still that leap of faith you hae to take to get going. Then once you start, most of the time you are still deep in doubt. You wouldn’t believe how often I start working on something and it just looks like shit—and I’m thinking, oh god, give me faith in myself. Because this does NOT look good…probably the hardest part of being an artist is having that faith in yourself that you will produce something decent, despite all the indications at the moment. So please don’t think that every time I start painting it’s this effortless magical thing–or that everything I attempt actually works out.)

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Things are looking like they might work out.


Anyway, things are going well. The red and the fleshtones are working well together—which is a huge relief, because there are about 43 million ways to mix fleshtones and I never do them exactly the same way twice. So the fleshtones were working with the red, and the blues I chose for the sheets and pillows were working too! This is great. At this stage all I have to do is stay out of my own way and not f**k it up!

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The final painting: Scorpio Rising (click on image to see it on my website)

After about a day and a half of further work, I’ve finished. And it turned out well! This painting was one happy accident after another. Though I don’t mean to be falsely modest and imply that I didn’t have something to do with its turning out okay. I see my task as an artist to get as technically proficient as I can so that when those happy accidents strike, I’m alert enough and technically skilled enough to take advantage of them.

(About the title: Jeff is a Scorpio and there’s that Scorpio tattoo on his chest, so even though Scorpio is his sun sign and not his rising sign, I decided to call the painting “Scorpio Rising” just because it’s such a great title.)

Jeff arriving at my apartment for the photo shoot

Jeff arriving at my apartment for the photo shoot

Through some online connections, I saw a picture of a very attractive guy named Jeff, who is originally from Hawaii but now lives in the Pacific Northwest. He was planning to be in Hawaii for a few days and I was able to contact him and asked him if he were interested in talking to me about modeling for me while he was here. A couple of weeks later, he showed up at my place and we had a nice talk and decided yeah, we could work together.

I’ve lived in my Waikiki apartment for only a little over a year, and haven’t really thought of it as a good location for a photo session. I usually prefer to do outdoors photo shoots but Jeff was only available on the weekend, which is not a good time to try to shoot nudes at any of the Oahu beaches I know. So I decided to try doing a photo shoot in my apartment. I’ve done one other photo shoot in the apartment, with Sam, and it worked out pretty well, so I thought it might be okay. Especially since I’ve gone plant-crazy in the last few months and I have lots more greenery to add to the visual interest and appeal of the place. So I had Jeff come over to my apartment the next afternoon.

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Jeff looks good in bed

First thing I did was get him into my bed! Not like that—you know what I mean. But it’s a great setting and actually the light in my bedroom at that time of day turned out to be terrific for this purpose. And Jeff DID look awesome in my bed, as you can see.

We moved some plants into my bedroom to add to visual interest...

We moved some plants into my bedroom to add to visual interest…

Next thing I did was move some of my bigger plants into the bedroom to add to the backdrop. This was the beginning of a LOT of plant-moving that went on during the photo shoot. I need to get planters with wheels in the future. Anyway, I think it added a lot to the backdrop—and it’ll be interesting to see how this works out when I start painting some of these images. (I always wanted to have plants to use in this way, but I used to have a black thumb—plants always died on me sooner or later. For some reason, as I’ve gotten older and more at peace with myself, plants like me more. They now grow in my environment. In fact, it turns out I have somewhat of a green thumb now! I love having that I now have LOTS of plants in my home, and they seem to be thriving! The fact that they work so well to add visual interest when I’m doing a photo shoot is an unexpected fringe benefit.)

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Jeff on my fire escape… On the sofa in my living room

My apartment has a back door that leads onto a fire escape which is actually kind of cool, with black-painted walls. So we moved one of the plants out there and I did some shots of Jeff with the plant in the background. This KIND of worked. The jury is still out, but I suspect some unexpected kind of painting will come out of these shots…we’ll see.

Next we went to my living room and I did a bunch of shots of Jeff there and that worked really well. I already knew Jeff was attractive but as I photographed him I liked him more and more. He looks good from just about every angle. His ethnic background is Caucasian-Mexican-Chamorro. Chamorro is the ethnicity native to Guam, and the look is similar to Filipino, and in my book, men of Filipino or part-Filipino ancestry are among the most attractive men on the planet. So I love Jeff’s look.

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Late afternoon in my living room

Several shots of Jeff in the late-afternoon light in the living room were really striking. I think there are many of these that could turn into paintings. Jeff’s brown body against the white of the carpet and the sofa, plus the green of the plants, and the drama of the late-afternoon sunlight—I think there are lots of possibilities here.

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On the lanai with plants… One of my favorite shots, near the end of the photo session

I also took advantage of my lanai and all the plants out there. Again, we were moving plants like crazy, trying to find the right arrangement to give a nice backdrop and work with the light. Jeff was super-helpful and cooperative and easy to work with. I am so grateful that I seem to attract great models to work with—not only beautiful to look at but easy-going, pleasant guys as well. Jeff definitely falls into this category.

All in all it was a great shoot. I had some trepidation about how well it would work to do the entire shoot in my apartment, but I was very pleased overall with the reesults. Best of all, Jeff and I had fun. My experience is that that’s almost a guarantee that the images that come out of the photo session will produce good art. When I find the model attractive AND enjoy working with him, then I’m a lot more inspired once I begin the actual drawing and painting. I’m looking forward to the art that comes out of this photo shoot.

Update to this Entry:

In April 2013 I published an e-book called “Jeff” which contains almost 100 uncensored photographs from both of my photo shoots with Jeff. You can purchase it for instant download here.