Friday, July 13, 2012


THE NEXUS ORIGIN RE-DO  in watercolor!!
Yes, indeed, sons and daughters of European immigrants...the Main Man himself will now take you on a journey in which the likes of humanity has likely never seen--well, these days you see it all the time.  There probably isn't a web-site on earth that doesn't feature a step by steps of artist's working on their paintings or a thousand books that cover the same subject. 
Yet, even before the Al Gore invention of the internet, before the days when every joe, dik, and harry began publishing their own How-to books, before the advent of the pony express riders to deliver secret paint mixing formulas as they dodged the arrows of hostile natives--yes, friends--even before all of this was actually all-too common, we will now chronicle this process for posterity, and for the immediate good of you now reading this. 
Let us therefore begin this humble presentation of "HOW THE DUDE DOES A PAINTING."
Let's begin with step 1, shall we?

Here we see the Main Man's drawing board set-up, where we may now breathlessly behold:
1.  My sketchbook, where I've already prepared a thumbnail value study.  You can also see the Nexus cover for which I'm now re-doing, the watercolor board itself, for which I've already drawn in the various elements based on the original Nexus Origin issue cover ( first done in 1991 as oil on canvas).
2.  A close-up of the pencil drawing, done from my imagination and memory of 30 years of study.  With enough study it's actually easier to rely on the image in your head first than to start off by running right to a photo.  A accuracy check with a mirror or custom shot photograph is always recommended to aid this practice later on.
3.  Here we are, blocking in the first few elements of the picture in watercolor.
4.  Block-in continued.  I tried using a wax candle for the streaks running through Nexus.  I don't know how well it worked out, but I thought I'd try it here.
5.  I don't know if you can zoom in enough, but I actually washed out the whole head and placed it over to the left a little.  A pain in the buttox, yeah, but it had to be done.  So much for accurate figure placement. At this point I also did a pencil study from the mirror for Nexus'  face and hand.
6.  Several opaque touches with white gouache are added in at this point to make it look right, as we close in on the finish...closer, closer..and finally...
7.  Done!
Anyone exhausted yet? 
For the uninitiated, every work of art is a trial.  As in "trial and error."  Why?  I don't know, but it always is.    And always will be, I guess.
There you have it, friends, and curiosity seekers of artistic enlightenment.
Now, it's onto my next piece, for which I will no doubt repeat the same absurd process.  I wonder what kind of trial I'll be put through this time?
Until next we meet,
I remain, probably for a long time,
The humble Dude
Commissions are ordered through my store site:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Well, my latest trip contained the best and worst of everything.  I speak of course, of my recent excursion to Pasadena where they all came to see the Dude do a live painting demonstration during the opening exhibit at the Linus fine-art gallery. 
With Gino at the steering wheel, we left early on Friday morning as we made the 7 hr. drive from Phoenix to CA to prepare for my demo that night.  We checked in to our hotel, reviewed the sights of some old familiar stomping grounds, said hello to Max the dik, and arrived at the already-hopping gallery by 6:00 p.m.
As the Dude took center stage before the easel, his palette of paints, and before the gorgeous model reclining on a burgundy ahrmwa, I took a few celebritory sips of champagne and shrimp as the crowd breathlessly awaited my next move.  Online announcements had circulated to all the proper venues, as well as to the other exceptional artist's who's work was on display that night, so anticipation was high.  Everyone was curious to see a real artist paint a masterpiece before their very eyes, and I certainly wasn't there to let them down.  Nervous?  Nah.

As I applied the first strokes of paint on canvas, they watched the Main Man, dressed not in his usual attire of artist's smock and paint-stained clothes, but in my finest suit, dress shirt, slacks, and shiny black wing tips, as they all watched me absolute failure.
Yes, friends.  Gone were the trumpets of triumph when I completed the final strokes that would've netted me the glowing reviews and cover of American Artist, while driving home with buckets of cash hanging from every oversized pocket.  No. 
Not only did the painting stink, but it gathered not a single bid from the Gucci-attired high-society masses who are there to purchase such things.  Yes, friends, despite the accolades from other friends, and attending artists on my "success"--for at least having been brave enough to attempt such thing--the Dude himself, went home in shame, never to carve the roast beast.
Thankfully, tomorrow was another day.
Upon arriving home, I took a wealth of notes on my abysmal failure and how to improve upon it for next time.  With a couple sweeps of my turpentine stained cloth, I swiftly obliterated the entire offending image from the previous night, and set about to make a new attempt of preserving what might still be left of my former reputation. 
Armed with the experience of just having painted directly from the model, and standing by with the several handy reference photo' having been taken earlier for just such a contingency, I will once again, try again.
As always, stay tuned.
Still stinging from the agony of defeat,
The humble Dude

Monday, June 11, 2012



Hi everyone,
First, I want to express my appreciation to the folks I met at the Phoenix Comic Con in May.  The diversity of people who came up to my booth was astonishing..and unusual.   Aside from a few patrons who wanted to know if I taught private lessons (check the website for my upcoming painting workshops), I was particularly enthralled by the two professional athletes from the Phoenix Suns basketball team, who happened to spy my Space Ghost cover for Back Issue magazine on display.  Highly intelligent and just plain high up, we talked art, philosophy, and discussed the old-fashioned virtues of Jonny Quest cartoons for a good hour. It would seem that everyone who is a fan of the Dude's has the strength and intelligence of ten Grinches. 
Yesterday was spent painting at the art school's Open Studio class with the live model. For this painting, I thought I'd try using--watercolor.  Yes, watercolor.   As everyone knows, watercolor has two particular qualities that we should all know about: 
1.  It's one of the hardest mediums to master.
2.  Every kid in grade school has painted with it.
Anyway, the painting turned out well that day, but with me and my math-impaired brain behind the brush, pulling off the entire thing in transparent watercolor seems all but impossible.  So out comes the white gouache and when I mix it with the watercolor, I can use it to then go over my screw-ups and correct my mistakes.  Ten points to the eagle-eye out there who can spot the areas where I've applied the gouache. 
Gouache is an interesting medium, and an even more interesting word.  When pronounced, it resembles the sound of a nation of conveslesants standing over the toilet during flu season.  Most people can't even spell it, let alone paint with it.  I somehow managed to memorize this word back in art school by realizing it contains the word "ache".  I'm sure there's a correlation.
And don't forget to sign up for the Dude's very first instructional masterclass: "30 years in 4 days" The Steve Rude Painting Workshop in September.  The cry of the loons at night are worth the price alone!
Talking in high volume,
Steve Rude the Dude