Urban Nocturnes Feb. 7, 2010

In 2004 I won the Director's Choice Award for the Carnegie Art Museum's Open Invitational Art Exhibition (Oxnard, California). I'd won it with an image which I'd painted toward my master's thesis which was of Four Oil Tanks at night. Because I won the award, it allowed me to paint paintings, all of that genre, for my first solo museum exhibition in 2005.

One of the locations I explored was Vernon, Ca.. I traveled there to visit my friend and artist Ray Sutton who lived in his art studio, in a bohemian art colony. I would drive down to his place, then we'd venture outside the safe gated compound to seek my motif... I'd paint, then drive back up to Santa Barbara. Not much sleep going on.

This photo gives an example of the locations I would be willing to go to in order to create my plein-air nocturnes. Fortunately for me when the trains would pass by I wasn't too close; but just close enough.

In this photo one can see Ray, and myself with my headlamp shining. The painting is titled, "Over Under and Through"; and was 30x30 in size, painted in oils. I spent a total of about six hours painting on location, on two different occasions, then another 15 hours or so finishing it in my studio.

It's a lot of work hustling all the gear about; just to capture the light; but there's nothing better than realizing the truth of what one sees with his own eyes, rather than take photos and let Kodak be an integral part of my painting process.

When the Police Helicopters are flying overhead, circling around and looking for crimes in progress, one knows he's in a dark neighborhood, and it's best not to paint solo.