French Toast

French Toast December 2, 2022 – 24ʺ ✕ 36ʺ – Acrylic, inkjet, and mixed media on canvas

This painting began as a digital portrait study based upon a Uniqlo advertisement

I liked his serene expression and the direct, angled sunlight highlighting his jawline. I simplified his shirt - my cropping of the image makes the big aloha style shirt look more like an army surplus jacket. I simplified the t-shirt to flat yellow.

Back in April I snapped a photo of the sidewalk near Cathedral Park. Rain and knocked loose all the flowers from the trees, creating a pink carpet. The late, low afternoon sun was streaming in between two cars giving me these nice Rothko-esque color bars.

I layered my portrait study on top of the flowers to create this image. Using a simple blend mode (darken) the portrait merges with the flowers, but ignores the concrete, giving me this interesting broken image that looks a little like an old painted billboard fading away.

I printed this image at 24ʺ ✕ 36ʺ onto canvas and I was immediately intimidated. I was very tempted not to paint on it; I liked having this monumental noggin on an easel in my workspace. I wasn’t able to piece together much working time for a while so the big print sat there, looking over my shoulder in video calls.

I got a little inspiration from the abstract painting of Yvonne Robert - the salmony pinks and oranges in her work made me think of spring, which is nice because Portland is so very dark right now.

Even though my flowers-on-the-sidewalk image was taken in the late afternoon, I was thinking of sunrise. Sunset is the same thing as sunrise, just from the other direction, so it fits.

I taped off a big 21 inch radius quarter circle and curled that around with a 3 inch radius quarter circle creating a big shape. I joined the big quarter circle with a 6 inch banner across the top which became a sort of shelf for fluffy cloud shapes and easter-bunny colors.

I filled in the taped off areas with…an abstract painting, really. I find that I’m trying to reconcile my love of pure visual design and my brain’s compulsion to try to draw a thing in front of my face. So my paintings are a kind of collage of things I see, draw, and design.




As the geometry took shape, I really liked how the sunrise banner above the figure’s forehead created a sort of visual shelf with the dark shadow in the photograph beneath it. I wanted to stack more on top to emphasize that virtual depth. I decided on an egg. The yellow orange of the yolk would correlate well with the other pastels I was using. I tried to do a bit of trompe-l’oeil with my egg - I particularly like the brown, crispy bits. I found a reference photo of a fried egg on the internet and printed it out and taped it to the canvas…but I forgot to switch my printer back to paper. I now have a tiny egg on canvas to keep or to share.

For my next painting, I think I’ll head to the coast.

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