Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Batter up...

 Mixing (12x12)

I've been doing some small baker/chef paintings lately...haven't settled on titles for them yet, but they are heading to the Howard/Mandville Anniversary Show opening May 16th in Kirkland, WA.

 Chopping (12x12)

The gentleman above is a student at the Oregon Culinary Institute, and the girl is from the Gluten-Free Gem Bakery, both located in Portland, Oregon.
Many thanks to these folk for allowing me the privilege of photographing them as they worked. I hope to do more of these culinary pieces -- lots of fun and of course something everyone can relate to!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Palm Springs show!

Ancient River Light (8x10)

Excited to be a part of "Portland Paints the Desert: A Plein Air Exhibition" opening at Brian Marki Fine Art in Palm Springs, March 13 thru April 8, 2015. I will have 4 pieces in the show that were painted on a recent trip to the California desert...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

 Hot Potato Rock (10x12) o/l

 This January I had the opportunity to go painting with my friend, Saim Caglayan (pronounced, "Shallion") in the Anza Borrego desert. This desert in Southern California is the largest national park in the United States full of colourful mountain vistas, winding slot canyons and sun-bleached dunes. While I was fortunate to stay at a friends vacation home in Borrego Springs, the small local town there, Saim and another artist from Laguna, Terry Thornsly camped in Glorietta Canyon (the area pictured in the painting above). 

 Indian Head Sunrise (10x12) o/c

Although a little chilly at night, the weather was consistent in the low-to-mid 70's with clear sunshine every day -- a welcomed retreat from the cold grey northwest winter!

 Smoke Tree in Ella Wash (10x12) o/l

 I have always had an affinity for the desert ever since I was very young when my grand parents kept a trailer in Palm Springs where we used to go in the 1960's and early 70's. There's a mystery about Borrego, especially when the population is scarce (unlike Palm Springs) and if you love the sunshine and open spaces, it's the perfect place to escape during winter months. Hiking, exploring and just enjoying the sun on my face was a treat in between paintings...

 Above Rose Canyon (10x12) o/l

 Back in Orange County (near Laguna Beach) where I stayed with my brother and his family, I was blessed with good weather after rains just the week before; I painted in and around O'Neil Park in the foothills of Saddleback Mountain and on the cliffs in Laguna Beach where I met with local 418 Gallery owner, Vaness Rothe. She invited me to show there with her small group of west coast artists and Russian painters, and I left behind several unframed studies for sale as well as a framed piece for the current "Winter Collection" show she is curating...

 Split Rock, Laguna (8x10) o/c

 Laguna Beach is also a special place I have an affinity for -- our family visited there often thru the years, starting in the early 1960's where my mother's best friend who passed recently had settled to raise her family. For several years I lived right next door in Dana Point, renting studio space in North Laguna when I was a graphic artist in the 1980's. Although it has changed and grown over the years, Laguna Beach still has the beautiful charm and atmosphere that hosted artists such as Edgar Payne and William Wendt a hundred years ago...

  Shady Mountain Trail (8x10) o/c

 At the end of my stay, I was able to spend time with my artist friend, Tim Solliday and see his new studio in the tower of an historic church in downtown Pasadena where we also caught the LA Art Show...Tim is big in the western art scene and was instrumental in opening my eyes to outdoor painting in the late 1990's.  

All in all it was a very productive and encouraging trip,  and now I am back in my northwest studio, energized and happy to be with my loving family and back at the easel!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Drawing, the not-so-secret ingredient....

 Soup Kitchen (12x12) oil on linen

Last summer when I was shopping for a gluten-free cake for my wife's birthday, I came across this great little bakery in NW Portland -- it was kinda hidden away in an industrial area with no signage outside, just a little sandwich board on the corner sidewalk that read, Gem Bakery...

 Bakery Girls (20x24) oil on panel

While inside ordering a delicious custom cake, I was taken with the look that all of the girls working there had; the scarves in particular.  I explained I was a painter and asked if I could come back with my camera to shoot some reference shots while they worked and they graciously consented...
 (detail) Bakery Girls

To transfer my photo reference into paintings, I first needed to go thru a "sketch phase" to interpret what I had shot rather than going straight to canvas. Painting requires drawing, and drawing requires exercising the thought process that a camera is incapable of... I had ideas of what I was looking for when shooting the photos, but I then needed to remove my ideas from the photos in order to recover the original intent...sketching out various poses was the best vehicle for this.

 Gesture sketch

I could then use this third generation information to influence my painting (along with) the photographic reference.  Every artist has a particular drawing style that influences their painting's look (if they let it)... I prefer to work from life whenever possible, but if I can't,  I never want to refer solely to the photograph -- I need the separation and go-between of my drawings as a jumping off point. The photo can keep me on track, but the drawings will always retain the edited (and thus more original) concept and look...

Gesture sketch

I hope to return soon to Gem Bakery to gather more information for future paintings...and maybe a gluten-free goody or two as well!

Friday, January 2, 2015

HAPPY 2015!

 Goodbye Summer (48x60) o/c

Late in the year I painted "Goodbye Summer" -- it was a large canvas (for me) and actually the first painting that our daughter, Lily posed for.

Evening Garden (8x10) o/c

I had been visiting this large community garden near our home over the summer, doing several sketches (like the one above) to get the colour I wanted. Although it's not easy transferring information from an 8x10 inch sketch to a 4x5 foot format, I think I captured most of it... The biggest challenge is transferring the loose and spontaneous brush strokes; it's not just a matter of using bigger brushes and more paint...

Study for "Goodbye Summer" (8x10) o/c

There is a comfort zone that is in direct ratio to the size of your arm that dictates the application and execution of paint. Brushes can only hold so much pigment and pull only so long of a stroke; once you go beyond those limits, you have to then "patch and section'" larger areas to develop that scale in a style that reflects your smaller, looser plein air sketch... Pretty hard to do unless you go thinner with the pigment and/or break up the information into comfortable portions, using broken colour to convey the looseness on a large scale. 

I also came back over areas of the painting with a 'dry-brush' (thin pigment with no medium or solvent) to drag on a rougher effect -- this too helps convey looseness...

At any rate, it was good practice and reason to pursue more large canvases in 2015...thanks again to Lil for being such a trooper for daddy!

Happy 2015 everybody!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Figure No. 27 (18x14) oil on vellum

Yesterday I was invited to do a demonstration painting for the Society of Washington Artists in Vancouver, WA. About 35 people showed up and I had a nice time chatting with them and answering questions about my approach. The demo painting (above) turned out quite well for an hour's effort and then sold the next day to another artist back east when I posted it on Facebook. All in all, a profitable experience and a good exercise...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I have new figure sketches for sale in time for the holidays! Each Sketch is unframed,  oil on vellum paper, 14x11 inches... Perfect for the art student or art appreciator in your life....or a gift to yourself! (add $10 for S&H)

Interested parties, please email me at eric@ericbowman.com

 Figure No. 24  (14x11) oil on vellum

 Figure No. 24  (detail)

 Figure No. 25  (14x11) oil on vellum

 Figure No. 26  (14x11) oil on vellum

Figure No. 26  (detail)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Show!

A new show at Brian Marki Fine Art in Portland, OR opens November 6th and runs thru December 31st with reception on Friday, Nov 7th from 5 to 8pm.  

I will have approximately 15 new pieces in this show ranging in size from 6x8" to 48x60"

This is a 3-person show along with fellow Northwest painters, 
Aimee Erickson and Scott Gellatly.

If you're in the area anytime between November 6th and the end of the year, come by and see the show!