Monday, December 26, 2005

Merry Christmas!

My daughter was very happy Christmas morning for many reasons. But here was one big factor. She received a shirt and a ceramic tile topped box from our fellow sketch blogger Carolyn.

I bought this groovy stuff from her online store. She is a big hit with the early teen crowd. You should check it out.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I'm still swamped, but...

...for your listening pleasure I present my son and his swingin' band that has yet to be named. Here's a song they recoreded yesterday:
12:51 - by The Strokes.

My son also has a thriving solo career on his own. Here's a groovy little number he laid down just the other night: Lounge

What a cool kid.

You can check out his blog and listen to more of his music at GarageTunes.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Rock Out!

Click for a larger image

This weekend my oldest son's rock band made their world debut at a birthday party, in a hall with tons of screaming girls, baloons, food, the works. This is not a sketch of my son, that will come later. This is a sketch of the band's drummer Ricky while he detached himself from his drum set, came forward and sang a Pink Floyd song for all us old farts in the audience. He was great. More sketches to come.

My visually artistic son, C did nail it however. One look and he said, "The chin is too long Dad." He's right it is.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Bad hair day

So I am diggin' this new approach. I thought this image of my youngest son would be interesting rendered in this style. He's been growing his hair out - we all wanted to when we were 13 - and it payed off. He got up one morning and came in to our bedroom with a head of hair that seemed to be exploding from his scalp. It was great. I'm known for my own bedhead, but this was a record breaker.

So here is C in this new style of drawing...painting...sketching

And here's the original pen & ink drawing that started it. Which brings me to another point. My other son asked me why do we say pen and ink when we just use a pen to do the drawing? "Good question", I said, "now go to bed."

Anyway, here's the "pen" drawing I started with for this post.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

And now for something completely different

I got totally juiced after seeing Olivier Kugler's work this morning. Thank you very much Laura! So I decided to try my hand at a similar technique. I loved how deliberate the line work was in Kugler's drawings. So I did this portrait of my nephew Tom. Rather than my usual sketchy pencil, back and forth wavering, I drew with a very deliberate line. Not lifting the pen from paper until each path found it's end.

When the pen and ink drawing was complete I scanned it and completed the coloring in Photoshop with a Wacom tablet.

This was so much fun to do. An experiment for me, which is always good...

Here's the original drawing:

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Trying to catch up on my BCs...


Clove of garlic

My ugly mug
I did three BCs in hopes to catch up to the rest of you guys.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Speaking of books...

Here's my first Blog Art book. I love the dea of doing a joint project with those special bloggers out there, and you know who you are. And if you want to publish one at a time, this is the way to go. :D

These pics don't represent all the pages, but the highlights...

Monday, October 31, 2005

What a great weekend it was in Norfolk

As you can see from the photo, I had a fabulous time hanging out with my art posse. From left to right is Amanda, Walt, Big Harry, Lydia, Laura, Cin, myself, Jenny and Marcus.

Laura, Jenny and I are pointing out the fine craftmanship in Harry's Sketch Blogger slide show. It was grand.

(I really missed you guys)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Blind Contour Fish Story

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

OK, I'm trying this BC thing out in earnest for the first time since art school. I was looking around the studio for something to draw, and staring me right in the face is a 14 foot long blue marlin.

No, I'm not taking drugs.

I actually have a 14 foot long blue marlin hanging on the wall in the basement where I work. I caught it in 1994 and now it stares down at me in disgust. I fought it's 575 pounds for 3 and a half hours, and for what? So it could be stuffed and live on my wall and watch me make bad art? It was much more majestic when I first hooked it. It must have jumped 10 feet out of the ocean and waved it's body at me in defiance. It glistened in the sunlight and then continued to play me until I was spent. But in the end it lost the fight.

Looking back, I wish it had gotten away.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My Handsome Son

My oldest son Bill - Click for larger image

As some of you may know, I spent part of my weekend going through 20 years of work in my old flat files. One interesting item I stumbled upon was a 16" x 20" color photo I took of my oldest son when he was only 5 months old. He was just starting to roll around on his stomach and lifting his head to look around at the world. I just loved the photo and took it to a lab for enlargement. But there it sat, tucked away in my flat files for the last 15 years.

As a joke I taped it to the door of his bedroom and waited for his reaction when he went to bed that night. He was startled to say the least . He had no memory of the photo. He, his sister and I looked at it for a bit and we all had a good laugh. I said,"What a beautiful baby you were!". His sister, in an attempt to be funny said, "What happened?".

My son, in all seriousness and almost to himself, said, "I was beaten with an ugly stick." This just crushed me. He is such a confident and positive young man that I hadn't seen this crack in his self esteem. And in the few days that followed I began to think how few drawings, and no paintings, I have done of him. And I recall him commenting on that fact in the recent past as well.

So this morning I did this sketch of him. Hopefully it will be the start of other portraits of my oldest. I want him to know I think he's beautiful (OK, handsome is a more manly word I suppose) and what a fine young man he is, and what a fine adult I know he will become.

Monday, October 24, 2005

More from the flat files

It's amazing what you can find when you clean. For a while there I was captivated by a series from Sci Fi writer Anne McCaffrey about The Dragon Riders of Pern. Yes, my geek side is showing now. This is a sketch of Ruth the White Dragon, the only white dragon on the planet. He could travel trough time too. That's a bonus!

Now, please excuse me while I go back to the basement of the Science building. I think I'm missing a hot game of Dungeons & Dragons.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Look what I found...

Click for larger image

It is time to purge my work space. I was cleaning out my flat files today. I have an ancient set they let me have when I worked at The Post. I got them in 1987 and I'm sure they were twenty years old at that time. I threw away a bunch of old stuff. But then I came across stuff I've not thought of for so long I've forgotten I have it.

This is one of those. It is a colored pencil piece I did for my sister-in-law when she was married for the first time. They seemed really in love, but he turned out to be a jerk and the marriage didn't last. I found a 4' x 5' slide of it in the flat files. I have often wondered what happened to the original. It was, I think, 24 x 20 and framed nicely. It was probably burned in a ceremonial pyre with a bunch of his stuff. :-D

It's obvious I was totally enamored with Bill Nelson's work at the time. I hadn't figured out yet that you have to find your own thing. You can do someone else's. And check out his pinky on his left hand. That's just bad. What, is it broken?

The good thing is looking at this tells me I have gotten better. It has taken 17 years, but I think I've gotten better.

Friday, October 21, 2005

My first BCF. Be gentle

Click for larger image

You can tell I was REALLY engaged at this meeting today. But I jumped at the chance to try a blind contour to post tonight. My apologies to Mike, my subject, I'm sure he has no idea what's happening to him. And my apologies to Dave, I didn't mean to make him look like a Klingon. He was just upset about what we were discussing. I didn't blame him, I just drew him.

The Mystery is solved!

The Prize

I know you all have been loosing sleep over this, and now it's time to find out who is behind the mystery painting. And the artist is...... (drum roll please) Frantisek Kupka.! The title of the painting is "La Gamme jaune (The Yellow Scale)"
painted in 1907.

I promised a prize to whom ever came up with the answer. It's one of the sketch books off my Cafepress site. Unfortunately none of us bloggers came up with the answer so the prize goes to Kerri Manchaca of the Museum of Fine arts, Houston. After hounding her with emails she was kind enough to hunt this information down for me. I'm sure she'll be honored and somewhat puzzled when she receives it in the mail.

I'm starting to set up my store, but if you'd like to visit come on by at

Yes, this is an attempt at shameless self promotion.

Thanks for all the good guesses everybody!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Here's a clue...

We still don't have a winner. So I thought I would throw out this clue. This is the painting that I sketched. Amanda and I had the same idea and searched the museums website for this painting, but to no avail. I have email them about it. Let's hope they respond soon. There are a lot of tense people out there with a deeep desire to know who this artist is. :D

However,if you know the artist from by looking at the painting, please chime. There will be a prize. I was going to give away a new Mercedes to the person that could guess it from the sketch. But I will be giving away a prize of "lesser" value to the first person to guess from the painting. Time will be up when the museum writes me with the answer.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Who is this artist?

Click for larger image

This is a sketch from my trip to the Houston Museum of Fine Art. I made a list of all the artist's I really liked so I could google them to do research later. But I must have forgotten to write this one down. Without posting the original painting, I was wondering if anyone out there could name the artist from my sketch? I'd really like to know.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Day to Remember

As my brother has reminded me, today my family should remember my mother passing. Some of you may have seen this before. But I post it again in her memory. The weird thing is, my wife just washed and repaired a teddy bear my mother made, not realizing the date. The bear's up on our bed in a place of honor.

Thanks Rick.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Break time at the museum...

Ok, I'm coming clean. I was sitting in the second morning session at the conference in Houston today AND IT WAS SOOOOOOO LAME! I am not going to tell you who's session it was to protect the guilty.

We were on our own for lunch today, so I snuck out a "tad" early. I walked a few blocks, grabbed the really cool Houston metro, and in about 5 minutes I was at the Houston Museum of Fine Art.

It was a wonderful break, and I was surprised by the quality of the museum's exhibits. (No offense Houston) I got in just a couple of sketches before I had to head back for the afternoon sessions.

Here's my only complaint - there was no place to sit down to draw. I did these standing up and trying to draw in my moleskine. Sorry.

This is a Sketch of Vouet's "St. Sebastian". He came out a little girly, but I'll attribute that to the fact that I was standing up and cradling my sketch book between my arm and chest.

This is a sketch after Rembrandt's "Portrait of a Young Woman". She reminds me of a character from a Wallace and Grommet animation. Must be the hair.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Houston in the evening

Walking back from the conference to my hotel this evening, I came across this interesting set of buildings. It made me wish I had a wide angle lens.

I'm in Houston!

I'm at the Society of News Design Annual conference in Houston, Texas.

This is the hallway at the Hilton where the conference is.

The Houston Convention Center

Houston has a lot of big shiny buildings!

I went to a really great session this morning on how The Cleveland Plain Dealer redesigned itself. Learned a lot.

I'm in a session right now on Katrina coverage. (They have a wireless connection at the conference, ain't technology grand!)

More to come....

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I've Been Framed!

Edisto Clouds Oil on board 30" x 10" Click for larger image

Yesterday was like Christmas and my wife was like Santa. When I got home from work I found that she had gone by the framer's shop and picked up a landscape painting that I had sent in. I haven't framed anything of my own in quite some time, so it was really nice to see a piece of mine all dressed up in linen and mahogany.

I apologize for the distortion, but I couldn't get a decent angle without major glare. Many of you may have seen this piece before, but if you haven't, you can see a less distorted view by clicking here.

I'd also like to take a moment to say I know I'm falling way behind on my blog updates. Large projects at work and at home have kept me from my easel and sketch book lately. So please keep in mind the name of the blog you're looking at.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Coleus - Step Three

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I apologize for the lighting of this photo, but when the paint is wet it's hard to get a shot without glare.

I added some more darks in the background and started blocking in the shodows on the plant. Still trying to capture the value scale before I put the paint on in earnest.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Coleus - Step Two

Click for a larger image

Well, I got a quick session in tonight after some freelance work and before bed. My poor wife has been balancing the checkbook and paying bills. She has been taking that off my hands lately and is giving me the time to do this kind of stuff. I really love her for it.

Anywho... I'm still dealing mainly in defining the value scale of the painting and adding a few more details. I mixed some Viridian into the Transparent Oxide Red to start working some local color into it.

I'm trying to walk the tight rope of looseness and accuracy. So far I'm holding on, but I may have fallen into the too loose side of things when I was working on the big stem thing that comes out of the middle of the plant. (Does anyone know what that's called? My brother Rick may know, he knows everything about gardening.)I realized I was avoiding it and saved it for last tonight. I should have begun with it.

Next I'll be blocking in some basic colors so ya'll come back now, ya hear?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The rest of the sketch...

OK, here's the whole sketch. I didn't think the composition was very good, but after reading the comments so far, I felt like I was holding back the truth by not letting you see my whole sketch book. so, here it is...


Spider on the deck

I was grilling some chicken on the deck last night and found that I had some company. I turned and saw that our friend here had spun an enormous web between the deck and the house. It was worth his time and trouble. Many a poor moth had fumbled into. He had spun little sacks of silk around his prisoners, saving them for feasting at a later time.

But as I watched, he crawled across the web and began to suck one of the little sacks dry. It was disgusting and fascinating at the same time.

Clearly, it had to be sketched.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Coleus - Oil underpainting

Oil on masonite 18" x 10"

Click here for a larger image

You may remember the sketch for this from a previous post in July. My original intent was to do this in oil. So intead of watching Law & Order tonight I got the underpainting going on this piece. I first rubbed Viridian green into the board with a rag to season it, and then painted the sketch with Transparent Oxide Red.

But I do have to go to work tomorrow, so I'm going to call it a night. I'll get back to this shortly.

Later all.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Guess again, I wasn't REALLY done...

Click here for larger image
I thought I had finished this painting last night. But, alas, I was so wrong. In fact, I think I have one more session to go on this.

I looked at it this morning and realized it just was not complete. I needed more modeling in the face. I'm trying to maintain the freshness of the underpainting, but it deserves a more complete finish. So I started dabbing at different areas of the face with some color mixtures, and before long I was committed.

I thought this was looking pretty good, but my son saw it and said, "Looks great Dad, but he looks really cold (dead)".

Fair enough. The light where I work and the light I showed it to the family in are so different, I couldn't see it, but he was right.

So a few more warm tones in the face and I think I am good to go. Chris leaves for college on Thursday, so I hope I can have it ready to go before then.

Expect one more post of this painting.

Techincal Note: I work on a laptop with a 21" monitor connected to it. On the Laptop the image looks pretty close to what I have painted. On the large monitor, it is much darker and a lot of the details are darkened. I would love to know what you guys are seeing.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Captain Chris Sets Sail

Captain Chris Oil on Canvas 16" x 12"

You may have seen earlier versions of this painting from previous posts. It is a portrait I have been working on of a very creative young man that lives down the street from me. He adapted a video game called "Escape from Monkey Island" into a play. He wrote the script, directed and starred in a performace put on at the high school up the street. It was quite wonderful.

His name is Chris Heady and he keeps a blog as well. You can find him here:
Chris Heady

He's departing for college next week. This painting is his graduation gift, so I thought I better finish it so it has time to dry before he leaves. You have to have something to hang on your dorm room wall, right?

I know he will do well.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Ah Ha! I am done!

I don't care if this is any good or not. I AM DONE!

After all, how long can one man spend on a little 4 x 6 sketch?

According to my calculations... Exactly 5 days!

For what it's worth folks, here you go. I have to move on. Wally, I only hope to twist your mind for a week the way you have twisted mine. :-)

Bless all of you for your "encouragement" throughout the week.

Seriously, it has been a lot of fun. :-)

You guys are the best.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A bit more color....

A few more washes. But I fear this may be going the way of Wally's fortune. (see comments below) It is so easy to over paint a water color. It is only 4" x 6" and I think I am trying to cram 9" x 12" detail into it.

Still haven't toched the water. :-)

A little cool color...

I had time for one quick wash before I left for work this morning. Time to start adding cool colors to round out the color temps.

I hope to have another post tomight with more progress.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Linville Falls, Step Three

OK,one more wash before I hit the hey. But I really do have to go to bed now. Children start waking up at 6:00 am around here now that school has started. More tomorrow...

Linville Falls, Step Two

Just adding a wash before I go to bed. I couldn't sleep until I had distinguished the water from the stone in some small way.

More tomorrow I hope.