All art copyright (c) Mike Kloepfer
"The level of achievement that we have at anything is a reflection of how well we were able to focus on it."
-Steve Vai

Friday, March 28, 2008


The pirate self-portrait:

Further development and moving into the foreground.



Started over; a whole new drawing.


and The Staircase:

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pirate Self-Portrait

American Artist Magazine is having a self-portrait competition.
I could not resist the opportunity to do a self-portrait in my pirate costume.
I liked the idea of dramatic, chiaroscuro lighting. I tried several different angles, from a complete side view to dead-on front view. Once I began the initial sketch, the ideas just started to flow. This is going to be fun!

Rather than posting twice, here is a link:

...and a couple quick samples:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Commissioned Pieces: The Bowman Dogs

Mr. and Mrs. Bowman, a delightful couple from Mobile, Alabama, brought me photos of their three black labs to do pastel portraits. What made this particularly fascinating were the stories they told about the individual dogs, and the descriptions of their unique personalities, all of which really helped me to ‘tune in’ on each one’s distinctive personality. I felt like I got to know each of them personally.
The Bowmans are a charming couple, and a pleasure to talk with. They were kind enough to send some good photographs of the pieces.
Here are the three portraits in pastel, approx 12” x 16”


and Duncan.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

In memory of Sunshine

Sad news.
I was told earlier this week that Sunshine, the scarlet macaw, had passed away.
She was my favorite bird, and the first one I did a painting of.
She was such a sweet bird, and a real joy to draw. She would find a nice spot in the sun, get comfortable and pose for me. The sunlight on her feathers would create the most blazing reds and oranges, colors that I could only vaguely attempt to capture.
The members of the crew at the aviary were pretty sad.
I will sure miss her. She had a warmth about her that was very peaceful.

Two new Figures

I am back from my hiatus, and in the groove again.
Here are two new figure pieces in charcoal:
“The Staircase”
“Ready for The Dance”

Figure: Ready for The Dance

Figure: "Ready for The Dance"
The figure is almost caricature, but it was these exaggerated curves that first caught my attention, along with her intense gaze. It is all curves and ovals, hence the background treatment.
A big thanks to JoSchwab on DeviantART for the photo.

First photo 02/03/08:

Figure: The Staircase

Background blocked in.
Fixed some problems in the structure of the face and developed the shadows.
Continued developing values on the torso, beginning with the left side.
Making sure that the intensity of the light 'falls off' as it progresses down the figure.

Update: New title for figure piece. “The Staircase”
In a flash of inspiration I have come up with a new name for this piece: “The Staircase.”
The thing that first caught me about this was the alternating light-dark-light-dark as the light flows across the planes of the model’s body. So I plan to carry the ‘staircase’ metaphor into the background and creating an implied stairway in the door behind the model.

More development of shadow values.

Here is the first photo 02/02/08:

I love the play of light as it flows down the planes of the model’s body and gets progressively softer and deeper toward the bottom.
A big thanks to JoSchwab on DeviantART for the photo.