Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Alright, the new year is almost here... so now what. If you think about, it there really isn't anything particularly special that happens as we pass from Dec 31st to January 1st. Except that it gives us the opportunity to close out a small chapter of our lives and open a new one. A new beginning creates the opportunity for change. At this unique period of my life and that of my family I look forward with great anticipation for the new skills I will acquire. Now is a time of preparation. We are preparing for the time when our income will rely completely on the skills I am gaining and developing now. This Christmas we went down to my brother's house and spent a week there. They have a beautiful house with a lot of land. We look forward to the day we will hopefully have a little land and a house of our own. A place where our girls can run and play. As we look forward to and plan for the future, I think it is important to recognize what we have accomplished in the past and understand the many blessings God has granted us. The opportunity to attend school in New York I believe is a blessing from God. It has been interesting seeing everything come together in order to allow my family and I to move out here and pursue art. One of the reasons I wanted to pursue art was to find out how far can I take my artistic abilities-how good can I get? Not only do we need to recognize what we have accomplished and how, but we need to set goals or specific opportunities to evaluate our progress and determine how to alter our behavior to accomplish what we want. I plan on spending this new years eve pondering how I can take full advantage of what God has given me to develop my art work this coming year. I also plan on thinking about what are the needs of my family and how I can better meet those needs and assist them as they grow and develop this coming year. How exciting. This year will bring great promise. As long as I can see where I am headed, take time to evaluate and reevaluate, and execute. We are indeed living the dream.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas is Coming

I can't believe Christmas is around the corner. It seems like it was yesterday we made the move out here to start school. As I look back it is amazing to see how much I have developed, not just artistically. The last four months have been an incredible period of growth that has stretched both me and my family. Through those periods of tugs
and pulls we have learned to be
(above: Salt Lake City Temple)
content with less monetary possessions and I believe learn to see the brighter side of human nature. God has certainly blessed us through the tender actions of others. My wife has become a consultant for a home based company and it has been interesting to see her rise to the challenge of selling. Me, I am excited about the progress in art work and as a student. When I say student it is a little different than what comes to mind for most people. I received my undergraduate in Spanish with a minor in pre-dental. I developed the necessary study skills to perform well, but in this classical program it is a lot different. It is more than just simple regurgitation.
An art education won't give you all the answers. It gives you the basic tools, but then you have to use those tools to discover universal truths. For example when you draw a hand there are specific characteristics that make a hand look like a hand. You don't necessarily have to draw every little detail, but those overall universal relationships have to be in place for your drawing to look like a hand. One of those truths is the spacing between the fingers. If you naturally spread your fingers apart you'll notice that the space between your thumb and index finger is the largest. Then jump across to the farthest side, your pinky and ring finger create the second largest space. Again jump back to the other side and between your index and middle finger and finally the narrowest space is between your middle and ring finger. Now there are occasional exceptions, but this holds true for most people and maintaining this relationship helps the hand feel natural. Any way I feel like I have become a true student always looking for these truths in my everyday observations. Seeking a greater understanding of the world around me. As I look back on this first half of the academic year one other lesson that I feel has been necessary for my growth is learning the fine balancing act at comparing myself with my fellow peers. At the beginning of the year I didn't want any one looking at my work. I felt like my work was a reflection of who I am and frankly... it's not. Now there is a benefit to looking at others work and letting them look at yours. If you look closely, you'll notice the most famous artists have always been a part of a community of peers. The friendly competition is fundamental in pushing each other to greater success. I think as I have let go of my fears, including rejection and inadequacies I have allowed myself to grow and develop gaining great insight from my instructors and my peers. We have a great group and I think the next four years will prove to be amazing as we push ourselves to greater heights.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving break is finally here. This has been a crazy week. Sunday, my wife and mother-in-law left across country for a combined Thanksgiving/Family Reunion and my father-in-law and I have become bachelors for the week. He works so much and I'm at school almost always that we haven’t seen each other for the past three days. Since there is no school Thursday we moved the evening sculpture night class to Monday, which meant I didn't get home until after Midnight on Monday and Tuesday. That wouldn't be too bad except that I have to be out the door at 5:30 to catch the train back up to NYC. Needless to say I am going to sleep well tonight. Thanks for letting me vent-without my wife I don't have anyone to tell all my problems.

This is the current cast drawing I am working on. I really had a hard time slowing down and being patient with the last one I completed (the eye), but this one I find a lot more interesting and easier to push farther. I feel like things are progressing really well, which is funny because in the past I've really struggled with modeling. Lately, my Block-ins, which I have been very proud of in the past, have not been developing like I wish.

Here is the sculpture I completed in the night class this month (November). As you can see we had a female model. Each month we switch back and forth. You can see, I hope, I was able to capture the gesture of the pose a lot better than last month. I was also able to take the sulpture a lot further. Unfortunately, however, there just isn't enough time to completely finish everything. Before starting I thought 24 hours would be plenty of time. Not even close. The school started a day class too-4 hours a day 5 days a week, 4 weeks. 80 hours and most of then didn't finish either. They were really close, but still needed more time. This pose I was able to acquire the dimentions a lot quicker. I am getting better at seeing the figure, but still made some mistakes. Amanda's left shoulder be placed farther forward. Also the top of the leg and the bottom of the leg twist a lit

tle too much and don't align as well as they should. Overall I am very happy with the experience and excited to do another one.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Check out my legs!!

I just finished this and thought I would throw it up on the blog. School is going well. I am still taking the sculpture figure class at night and very happy with the way things are advancing. I am excited to start drawing the figure in December.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bargue Figure Drawings

My evening figure sculpture class is going really well. We finished up our last pose and started with a new model. This time we are working with a female. I am really happy how things are progressing. This time I was able to get the height ratio down a lot faster than with last months pose. The basic gesture is coming along well and I am starting to add some detail. Initially you want to get the basic masses up and the overall gesture without getting your widths 100%. You want to be a little small so you can accurately finish off the width at the end. I am approaching the width in the legs and will be moving up into the torso this week.

I finished my modeling of the eye and have included a picture. I want to talk more about modeling or turning the form, but will wait to touch on that. This week I want to talk about block-in. I spoke briefly about the overall process a few blogs back. Ultimately, you work from the outside in to the center of the drawing. This establishes the dimensions and placement of the drawing. Then you refine it working from the middle to the outside. Ultimately, we are working towards or preparing to work with the live model. Initially, we started blocking-in using the small casts (nose, eye, mouth, etc.), then we moved on to the larger casts (legs, torso), and then the biggest casts we have (full figures). As we approach to work with a live model we focus more on the torso of the body. Some of the challenges of working with a live model is they move, no matter how good a model they are they move and change positions. We work it so the model is up for 20 minutes and then gets a 5 minute break. Initially, the model may get out of the pose, but you'll find they get into a rhythm. They will settle in and you have to know which part of the body to focus on when. Any way we finished working with the larger casts and are now working from Bargue Figure Drawings. Charles Bargue was a famous artists that created a drawing course back in the 1800's. You'll see you did an amazing job simplifying and blocking-in the figure. We'll be copying these drawings the rest of the month and then we'll start working with the live model in December with the start of the new semester.

This was done the first few weeks of school. Jacob wanted us to see the abstract shapes that compose an object instead of the object itself. That is why it is on its side. This was the start of our introduction to blocking-in.

This is a larger cast we did. You can see the basic shapes I used to help me draw the legs. On an object like this it helps to use the shadow line to give you shapes to see.

We sketched this beauty for a solid week. Not this particular drawing, but this cast. Each day we would choose a different angle. This posed a great deal of challenges including the curve in her back as well as her feet. The proportions at first glance were very misleading as well. I found if I spend a greater emphasis and effort on getting the placement and proportions in the beginning things would fall into place a lot smoother.

This was an awesome cast. Full figure, it is a discus thrower. I didn't get to finish his right arm, but he has a discus. This really posed a great deal of challenges. The gesture is incredible and difficult to capture. It really helped me discover the importance of using plumb lines to make sure things at the top of the drawing were lining up with the bottom.
This is one of my first Bargue drawings. You can see another one at the start of the post. All of the students seem to be enjoying copying these drawings.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Last Thursday night I finished my night class. The Grand Central Academy of Art (GCA) offers night classes for anyone interested. Thankfully core students have priority and a discount on tuition. The first month I took portrait sculpture and last month figurative sculpture. The professor for the portrait is Jiwong Che, from South Korea. He gained classical training in Korea. Mason Sullivan teaches the figurative class. He recently graduated from the Florence Academy of Art in Florence Italy. I really struggled with the figurative sculpture at first. The instructor explained how we should go about it, but I wasn't getting it. However, once he started sculpting with us on the second week it really helped me see what he meant. You place small pieces of clay on top of each other from close observation of the model until you have a replica of what your looking at. I think I'm going to take figurative sculpture again this month. I want to see what I can do using this process from the beginning.

Currently, the GCA does not have a specific sculpture program, only painting. Mason, however, is suppose to be developing that program and building it up. I'm not sure if I would prefer to pursue sculpture or painting. That's a tough choice.

Here is the sculpture from the front. You'll notice I didn't have enough time to finish his face, arms or pertinent male anatomy. The pose is very popular in academic studies. One hip is thrown out to one side, with all the weight placed on one leg while the other leg comes forward. The model was also holding a staff in his left hand for support. Had I finished the arms I would have included it.

You can see the gesture really well from his left side where his hip is pushed out in order to place all his weight on the leg on that same side. I should also mention the sculpture is built on an armature. An armature is a wire frame that supports the weight of the structure and attaches to that metal elbow for support.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cast Drawings

I wanted to give you an idea what I mean by cast drawing. I took some pictures at school yesterday to give you a better idea what it is I'm doing. A couple of days ago I really felt like I was starting to get the feel of "modeling the form" or "turning the form". If you get it right the form of the object should really pop out out you and read correctly. Part of the problem is the world has taught us to copy value or the values of light and dark. Interesting as it is copying value doesn't develop the object three dimensionally. Initially, it is important to ignore the three dimensional properties of the object until you have the basic spatial properties. However, as soon as you get those spatial relationships correct you switch your mind to model the form. At this point you have to be intensely aware of the form of the object. At times I have to stop, put my pencil down and walk up to the cast and touch it to understand how a specific part juts out or dips in. Light can sometimes play tricks and that piece that juts out is actually dipping in. You have to understand what is happening on the cast before you can draw it on the paper. You would be amazed how much you have to slow down to ensure you are being faithful to the form.

This is what I am currently working on.

You can see the setup of cast drawing here. The cast is hanging from the wall on the left. My pad of paper is on the easel on the right. There will be a triangle from my eye to the cast and to the drawing. To simplify things you want a setup that reduces the triangle as much as possible. You want to be able to move your head from the cast to your drawing with just a small turn.

You can see one of my fellow students and friend working on a cast drawing. Unfortunately, you can't see the cast he is drawing. You can see all the pencils on the stand at his right. He has probably close to 15 pencils that he sharpens in the morning and lasts him all morning. You have to have a sharp tip to get a really smooth transition on your drawing.

As an update, I got an email from the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. They are putting together their winter class and unfortunately, don't have a position in their drawing and painting program, but do have a spot in their sculpture program. My wife and I talked about it and we will be staying here attending the GCA. I have thought about pursuing sculpture, but I don't believe we could financially make it in Italy right now. The GCA currently does not have a full time sculpture program, but are in the process of developing one. They actually just added a new teacher who came from the Florence Academy, Mason Sullivan. I am taking a figure sculpture class from him on tuesday and thursday nights. I'll take photos of my work and include them soon. As the sculpture program develops Mason will be the one heading up the program.

This is something I've been working on at home. It is taken out of Charles Bargue's drawing Course. You can see the Bargue drawing on the left and mine on the right. I tried to apply what I've learned about modeling the form. Obviously, it is a lot more difficult since I don't have an actual object to look at and touch. I still have to finish the thigh and the toes.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Surviving in The Big Apple

I've been in school now for just about a month and things are busy. I am enjoying myself and taking full advantage of this great opportunity. We are living in New Jersey with my wife's parents. The commute everyday to New York City is 2 1/2 hrs. one way but very much worth it. I wanted to post a few pictures highlighting what I've been doing.

This is my first cast drawing. The cast I believe is taken from Michaelangelo's "David". The exercise is to teach us how to model the form or make it look three dimentional.

This is one of my block-ins ( I belive it is a bust of Cesar). The block-in is a way of quickly getting down on paper the spatial relationships of an object. Essentially, you create a quick "envelope" of the object and using reference lines build into the center of the object. At that point you focus on the shapes that make up the drawing, refining the drawing from the middle to the outside.

This is another block-in. The exercise is designed to get you to focus on the shapes that make up the piece and forget about the overall object. For that reason this cast was placed on its side to help forget that it is actually a human head (it makes me think of Zues). It is interesting, if you can focus on the shapes, the head, or what ever it is your drawing will develop miraculously.

This is the start of my second cast drawing (an eye-not sure if it is from "The David". You can see I've finished the block in and have just started modeling or turning the form (making it look 3-D).

Monday, July 28, 2008

A few tidbits

Here are a few sketches I've done recently....

Does this foot look familiar? It really shouldn't-it's one I drew from Charles Bargues drawing course. I've been trying to draw my wife's foot, but life if too hectic right now for her to stay still long enough to get a good sketch.

This is one of the animals in BYU's Bean Museum.
It's easy to draw animals when they are killed
stuffed and thrown on the wall.

Friday, July 18, 2008

New York, Here we come!

I decided to open up a little this post. In a lot of ways I feel guided and nudged toward developing as an artist and pursuing a career as an artist, and yet I feel almost terrified of what I am about to do and what I have asked my family to do. We are selling almost everything we have, moving 2,200 miles across the country and going to school to learn how to draw, paint and sculpt-believing we can come out in the end with the skills and connections to make a living as an artist. Crazy... No, not me, well not entirely. I don't think so, at least.
Ok, I'll admit it-I am nervous about this transition. It's not my ability to develop as an artist that makes me nervous. I have a great work ethic and some artistic talent. I guess my nerves stem from the fact that there are a lot of unanswered questions. What am I going to do when we graduate? How are we going to pay for everything? What is it going to be like commuting everyday to New York? Does that make sense?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Crazy Summer!!

This has been a hectic and busy summer. I was in Morocco for the National Guard in June-we provided humanitarian assistance for several small villages. It was a great experience. Just after getting back our second daughter was born. Life doesn't stand still that's for sure.
Both mom and baby are doing great... and now we are gearing up to move to New Jersey in August. I am extremely excited to go to school in New York and for the chance to study art. My undergraduate studies were less than fulfilling and I tried hard to be successful at something that was not my passion. I never would have entertained the idea that I could pursue art as a career and yet here I am. I find it amazing the small events and circumstances that have lead me to realize I can be successful as an artist.
In the first picture you can see me assisting the dentist. In the second I am riding a camel...they smell awful and are very uncomfortable. In the third picture I am standing in front of the Atlantic Ocean.

Friday, May 9, 2008

It's Official!

I heard back from Italy last night and found out I got put on the waiting list. We have been praying and thinking a lot about school options and have decided to go to New York. I am going to call the Grand Central Academy today and officially accept the invitation to attend. We are both excited and nervous to start this next chapter of our lives. Eventually I hope to go to Italy to study, but we feel that for right now we are being lead to the east coast...a place I was sure I would never live. Just goes to show you, never say never.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Some of you have expressed interest in purchasing prints, and just so you know I haven't forgotten you. Things have been very busy lately, as I have been working very hard on getting the Salt Lake Temple done and making an inventory of what temples I have available. On a bright note, Salt Lake is almost done. It is an extremely detailed temple!

I am also preparing to get started on the Las Vegas Temple. Stefanie is very excited about that because Las Vegas is the temple where we were married.

The prints I have are giclees. Basically that means they are the best quality print available. Exact replicas. Oddly enough, graphite, the median I draw in, is the hardest to replicate. The prints are available to friends and family for $45. I have some prints that are professionally framed that I will sell for $70. Considering the cost of professional framing, that's a great deal!

Sorry its taken me a bit to get on this! You can always email me at:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thanks for Your Votes

I wanted to thank everyone for your votes and input. It was very insightful to see everyone's opionions. The application to Italy was a little more involved since they required actual slides or photographs of my drawings. As it turns out, some of the photographs printed funny. They were fine when I submitted them to the photo place, but somehow a few of them ended up being cropped funny when I got back the final product. Because of that there were a couple pictures I wanted to include that I couldn't. I ended up sending in Drawings 1, 2, 3, 5, and a different arm print which I did't put up on the blog. I wanted to submit drawing 4, but the bottom of the hand was cut off.

The application deadline for Italy is May 1st, and I should know within 2 weeks of that date if I get in. We are so excited about my acceptance to New York, but still want to see if I get into Italy. We are currently looking at how to finance our studies, either in Italy or New York and with just that in mind New York looks a lot more practical.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I got in!!!

I was accepted into the core program in New York.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Still don't know

I received an email from the GCA in New York. The evaluation process is taking a little longer than they expected. I guess that is good and bad. I still don't know if I got in, but at least it wasn't a rejection letter. They say I should hear back from them before next Friday. Keep your fingers crossed. I will be sending out my portfolio for Italy tomorrow.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Portfolio for Italy

The following is what I submitted in my application to New York. I can only include 5 drawings to Italy so I would appreciate any input. I will be including a poll which will allow you to choose your favorite five.



Drawing 1. comes from a Barge Drawing; Baby Head graphite.
Drawing 2. is one of the few drawings from life. This was my final project for the Figure Drawing Class I took at BYU; Final, graphite.

Drawing 3. is another Bargue Drawing; Young Man's Head, graphite.

Drawing 4. is the only drawing in charcoal I have. It is also another Bargue drawing; Arm, charcoal.

Drawing 5. is another Bargue Drawing; Homer's Head, graphite.

Drawing 6. is one of the sketches out of my sketch book that captures the human emotion and one of my favorites; Precious Joy, graphite.

Drawing 7. is one of my LDS Temple drawings; Timpanogas, graphite.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Update on New York

I got an update on New York this week. They tell me I should know the status of my application the end of the first week in April. Although I would prefer to attend the Florence Academy of Art (FAA) in Italy I still hope to get into the Grand Central Academy of Art (GCA) in New York as well. The application deadline for Italy is the 1st of May. It has to be sent snail mail so I probably need to get it out the door soon. Right now I am narrowing down which drawings to include. Since I had a hard time narrowing down which drawings to use in the application to New York, which required 7 drawings and Italy only requires 5, I would love input on which drawings work best. I should have those drawings uploaded in the next couple of days. I have included in this post a couple of quick sketches out of my sketch book.

This sketch was taken from a picture of my niece who jumped on my back while we where rough-housing. She has a very unique and beautiful smile. I was very excited to capture it on paper.

I drew this from a plate taken from a famous drawing course by Charles Bargue in the 1840's. I drew this while attending dental assisting school for the Air National Guard at Shepphard Air Force Base TX.

This was a sketch from a photo taken of me riding a friend's horse. I am really happy with the proportions but need help with adding more value.

This is another drawing I copied from the Bargue Plates. It helped me further develop the ability to capture proportions and was one of the first drawings I added value to.
Value; n. what most people call shading

Thanks for Looking!