San Francisco Streets

I’ve been spending some time painting outside with watercolor and my Sakura Microperm pen.  I definitely get into moods where ink + watercolor is the only way to capture the feeling of what’s in front of me.  I’ve always liked the ephemeral quality of watercolor mixed with the hard contrast of black ink . I feel like the pen captures the way my brain is communicating with my hand very directly. My watercolor is usually less controlled and finds it’s own way of landing and that is a big part of what I love about it.  It’s always a balancing act between control and letting go with confidence.  I hope you enjoy these and I’m sure there will be more.



Spontaneous Ink

Watercolor Painting by Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey, Fulton Street Blues and Reds, Watercolor, 5″ x 5″, © 2015

I’m still finding a great deal of enjoyment from working with ink and watercolor.  The combination of the two just feels like it can capture a spontaneous moment. The faster the work develops and the more bold the lines, the better the work feels.  I’m still building on the idea of my last blog that each painting can be an experiment and the more freely the medium is handled the more it feels like tapping directly into someones vision.

As always, thank you for reading and I always appreciate your likes and comments.

On Etsy: Fulton Street Blues and Reds

Inspiration and Experimentation

Oil painting by Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey, Crossing, Oil on Paper, 12″ x 16″, © 2015

My daily art production is often clearly directed to a particular subject, medium, and method but I feel that, often, it’s a good idea to take a diversion.  Sometimes changing my focus by just a few degrees can make a huge difference in how I feel about my work.  Experimenting with a new medium or method can be inspiring and lead to the development of new ideas.

My painting from today is was done in oil on paper and is of a street in downtown San Francisco.  I’ve been working with the idea of capturing how it feels to be in the city but I haven’t worked with oil on paper in a long time.  My first attempts were in a color and design class in college.  I remember enjoying how the oil could be added in thin layers of glaze to create subtle value and color shifts.  My approach today was similar.  I started with a drawing then moved to adding thin passages of color and then back to drawing.

What I like most about this painting was that it was an experiment.  I didn’t have any expectations of mastering a technique or making a grand statement.  The work is playful and that is the main thing that I’m taking away from today.  Keeping my process playful and experimental yields much better work than forcing an action.

Holiday show in Richmond, CA

Watercolor Painting by Brian Bailey
Brian Bailey, Lines on Frederick St., Watercolor, 4″ x 4″, © 2015

I just dropped off this watercolor painting and a couple of others at BridgeMakerARTS in Richmond, CA for their holiday exhibition that will be up from December 5 through January 3. They have a great creative space and a community of artists on-site. If you are located in the Bay Area and would like to attend an artist reception, it will be on December 5 from 6-9 pm and they are located at:

23 Maine
Richmond, CA. 94804

Market Street, San Francisco

Watercolor Painting, Crossing Market

Brian Bailey, Crossing Market, Watercolor, 10″ x 8″, © 2015

Throughout this week and the last, I’ve been trying to put some new variations into my work.  I’ve been drawing and painting more people.  Some are gesture drawings or portraits focused on the human form and some are extensions of my paintings of San Francisco.  Some streets are teeming with people and it’s interesting to see how they change the feel and meaning of a painting. This painting is about 10 inches by 8 inches but I’ve also been working on some larger paintings and should have one to post next week.

The Search For More To Draw

Creativity is a challenge. An idea, even a tiny piece of a idea, can be very elusive. Sometimes sketches feel like having the right words on the tip of your tongue and being unable to grasp them.  So far, I’d say it’s best to keep moving forward, doing what I can to right the ship. It’s important to seek new information and be aware that at any moment, a piece can fall into place and your vision is back to making sense and feeling whole.  This morning I spent time looking through other artist’s websites and feel more focused. If anyone has ideas for creative or art based websites to check out, please share in the comments.

I spent quite a bit of time in my sketchbook this week with drawings of buildings in San Francisco’s Mission District, Cole Valley, and from around the house. Here are some of the results. I hope you enjoy them.


Weekly Sketchbook

I’ve decided that I am going to continue posting the drawings from my sketchbook..  I’m planning to make a new post at least once a week and include any new sketches.  I will also be putting up new paintings from time to time, so check back each week and feel free to leave comments.

Here is my sketchbook from last week.

Weekly Sketchbook3-24-15 3-25-15 3-28-15

Day 6: Around the Corner

Today I spent most of the day painting indoors but managed to do a quick sketch of a house just around the corner from where we live.  I really enjoy posting these drawings every day and I think it may extend beyond just this week.  Even if each one is done quickly, it’s satisfying to put it out there and I really appreciate the views, likes, and comments people have sent. Again, thank you to everyone for checking out my drawings.