Saturday, March 27, 2010

March WetCanvas Portrait Challenge

I have been busy at work in March, so have not had much time to post. I recently completed a 4-evening Color Theory oil painting class and did the March WetCanvas Portrait Challenge. This portrait was painted in oils and is from a photo reference.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

February WetCanvas Portrait Challenge

Vine charcoal, compressed charcoal, and Conte charcoal pencil on Sennelier Pastel Card. I like shadows and enjoyed the challenge of obscuring the left side of the face and only suggesting details. The support is very attractive, but also very delicate. I damaged the paper as I was working and had trouble adding charcoal on the damaged areas. Lesson learned: Do not erase too much on this support. (Does this mean don't make mistakes?)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Yet Another Zombie

Can one ever draw too many zombies? I think not. Micron pen on Bienfang Graphics 360 paper.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dallas gets 12.5 inches of snow

Here is what I saw as I stood on my front steps this morning. A winter wonderland. Except of course for the trees falling down from the weight of the snow and all the power failures. 12.5 inches in 24 hours. A Dallas record.

Another Muddy Zombie

Here is another version of a muddy zombie. Micron pen on Bienfang Graphics 360 paper.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Illustration Friday - Muddy

Getting muddy is an occupational hazard for zombies. You know, crawling out of the grave and all. Micron pen on Bienfang Graphics 360 paper.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Work In Progress: Oil Portrait of Christopher

I am working on an oil painting of Christopher. Here is what I have so far. I am in the modeling stage. The vertical stripes behind his head will be curtains.

By the way, a porn site was leaving comments on my blog, so I switched to moderated comments.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Christopher Sleeps

I drew this while Christopher slept on the couch. I am experimenting with different styles and am thinking about design when I draw. Here I just used hatching and tried to keep everything on a diagonal.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Illustration Friday - Focused

I drew this portrait from life. My son Andrew was sitting at the kitchen table and was very focused on his homework.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Son Andrew

This is my 16 year old son Andrew. I drew him while he watched TV.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Book Review: The Artist's Guide to Sketching

I looked for James Gurney's new book at the Dallas library. I didn't find it, but I did find this book: The Artist's Guide to Sketching by James Gurney and Thomas Kinkade (1988). Yes, the Thomas Kinkade. Turns out Gurney and Kinkade were roommates at Berkley.

This book chronicles a road trip Gurney and Kinkade took one summer. Along the way, they did a bunch of on-the-spot sketching. This book shares their tricks-of-the-trade and drawings. The book covers the following topics:

  • Sketching in public (Logistics, dealing with people, being inconspicuous.)
  • Materials (How to keep it simple. Pencils, pens, markers, and wash are favored.)
  • Achieving accuracy (Start with pencil. Big forms before detail. Tips on perspective. Pen, marker and wash last.)
  • Capturing motion (Best treatment of gesture drawing I have ever seen.)
  • Creating mood.
  • Using imagination (We are not cameras, folks!)
  • Studying nature.
  • Sketching people.
  • Sketching man-made objects and structures, such as buildings.
  • Fitting sketching into your life

This book is inspirational and full of useful advice. I put this book in the same quality category as Bert Dodson's Keys to Drawing and Drawing with Imagination. This book is no longer offered new, but is available used. Used prices range from $45.00 to $315.00. These prices attest to the value of the book.

Here are my initial attempts at doing more comprehensive sketching and at using marker for values. Marker is a whole lot faster than pencil.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Over the Top Award

I have a fun award from Jeanne Grant.

The rules are: I need to answer a list of questions in ONE word, and I need to pass the award along to 5 other bloggers. So here we go:

1. Where is your cell phone?…Purse
2. Your hair?… Blonde
3. Your mother?… Passed
4. Your father?… Active
5. Your favorite food?… Starch
6. Your dream last night?… Didn't
7. Your favorite drink?…Merlot
8. Your dream/goal?… Illustration
9. What room are you in?… Office
10. Your hobby?… Art
11. Your fear?…Failure
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years?… Illustrating
13. Where were you last night?… Home
14. Something that you aren’t?… Sophisticated
15. Muffins?… Homemade
16. Wish list item?… Time
17. Where did you grow up?… Vernon
18. Last thing you did?… Baked
19. What are you wearing?… Sweats
20. Your TV?… Small
21. Your Pets?… Adored
22. Friends?… Work
23. Your life?… Busy
24. Your mood?… Content
25. Missing Someone?… Me
26. Vehicle?… Honda
27. Something you're not wearing?… Shoes
28. Your favorite store?… Target
29. Your favorite colour?… Yellow
30. When was the last time you laughed?… Everyday
31. Last time you cried?… September
32. Your best friend?… Husband
33. One place that I go to over and over?… Library
34. Facebook?… No
35. Favorite place to eat?… Macaroni Grill

I'll pass this award along to the following bloggers, who all post frequently and do great work. Check out their blogs!
  1. Occasional Musings and Scratchings
  2. Andrew Finnie
  3. Rose Welty
  4. Esther Wilson
  5. Studio Lolo

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Illustration Friday - Confined

Hansel prepares to trick the witch.

I chose to illustrate a scene in Hansel and Gretel. The witch has put Hansel in a cage and is fattening him up. Her eyesight is poor, so every day she she feels Hansel's finger to see if he is fat enough to eat. He tricks her by putting out a bone instead of his finger.

I am teaching myself Photoshop and experimenting with color. This is the drawing I colorized:

My son Christopher posed for this drawing. He loves drama and was happy to pretend he was locked in a cage and needed to trick the witch into thinking he was thin. I took a photo of his pose and used it as reference. Here is the photo:

Monday, January 11, 2010

WetCanvas January Portrait Challenge

One of my resolutions is to participate in the WetCanvas Monthly Portrait Challenge. This is a charcoal drawing of one of this month's photo references; you can see the photo here. I used General charcoal pencils and a white Pitt pastel pencil on Strathmore charcoal paper. I am hoping to improve my likenesses and mark making ability.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Illustration Friday - Renewal

I used a yoga pose to illustrate renewal, since I always feel renewed after yoga. Here is the full pose in a circular format:

And here is the full pose in a slightly different color scheme:

I used Crayola Chalk and Micron pen on Strathmore drawing paper, and I used a photo in Yoga Journal as the basis for my figure. The last version is the original version; I altered the color in the first two in Photoshop. The cropped version is my favorite.

After Rembrandt

After Rembrandt. I like the drawing because the woman looks real.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Black and White Portrait

Prismacolor black marker in my sketchbook. This is drawn from a photograph, but I reduced all values to black or white. Any guesses on who this is?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Lost in Space

This piece was inspired by the Illustration Friday prompt Pioneer. I started to think about how the American settlers brought household items from home with them. I then thought about how much stuff I have and what a hassle it is to move. Which led me to think about space pioneers. What will the first settlers to Mars want to bring from home? Will they overpack? Will they bring foolish items? Will they need to discard household items in space?

I made line drawings of household items and scanned them in. I then manipulated and arranged the drawings in Photoshop Elements. I didn't understand layers before this exercise but now I do, so at least I developed a new skill.

Friday, January 1, 2010

My Art Goals for 2010

It is that time of year again. I love reflecting and making goals for the new year. My goals fall into three categories:

  • Production Using my current skills to produce artwork.
  • Learning Developing new skills so my future artwork will be better.
  • Sketching I see this as a combination of production and learning.

By December 31, 2010, I will have a website that show cases my best illustration work, so I can start seeking illustration assignments in 2011.


  • Participate in Illustration Friday every week.
  • Participate in the WetCanvas Monthly Portrait Challenge every month.


I will be taking oil painting with Dave Kramer at the Dallas Creative Arts Center. Dave is the best art teacher I ever had, and I want to take advantage of his instruction.

In addition, I will work through the following self-study books:


Here are my ideas for filling my sketch books:

  • Drawing from life
  • Imaginative drawing
  • Drawing dreams
  • Drawing memories
  • Making up stories
  • Illustrating journal writing done in the style of Writing Down to the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
  • Anatomy studies
  • Portrait practice
  • Color practice

The photo is our front walk on Christmas morning.