Sunday, December 12, 2010

Illustrator Work

Moon and Crows, Illustrator EPS, 8" x 10"

I have been working on my skills with Illustrator and Photoshop. Here is a rendition of a composition I produced in oil and charcoal.

Crows, Oil and Charcoal, 8" x 10"

Have an interesting week.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Evening

The National Christmas Tree spent the Thanksgiving Holiday in downtown Dahlonega this Year, on the town square where local residents could go by and sign the banners and see a glimpse of the top of the tree. It was being shipped by a local trucking company was the main reason for this stop-over.

The National Tree on the Square

Signatures on the Banners

The Dahlonega Square, Thanksgiving Evening 2010

The Dahlonega Square, Thanksgiving Evening 2010

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope for a happy Thanksgiving for all, whatever your situation, may you have a day of respite and reflection.

Jess and Mom, Charcoal on Paper, 8" x10"


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Tempera Painting

Here is a recent painting that I completed for an exhibition submission. It is tempera (poster paint) on a paper panel; paper on chipboard mounted on a luan panel. The painting turned out well but it really doesn't do anything for me, I just can't get excited about it. It's part of my attempt at a type of romanticism. This one with a more Southern flavor. The subject is a cotton mill, one of many that dot the South. From a photo, circa 1943, maybe a little earlier, maybe a little later. The one on the right is my mom. Check the purse and shoes.

Black and white photo, c. 1943

Cotton Mill Girls, Tempera on Panel, 18" x 24"

I always like the architecture of the old mills, the rows of windows. There were always plenty of railroad tracks around and I remember when I was a young child, not the old child I am now, the steam locomotives switching cars around the mill.

Thanks for stopping by.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sprayed Work

I have here a small sprayed work that I did last year (I think I posted it) but, I have enhanced it for submission for an exhibition. My thanks to Martha Miller for a link to the work of Tim Clorius, his graffiti work and murals are beautiful.

David Smith with sculpture

Sprayed painting by David Smith.

Copper Hill to Nepal, Spray and brushwork, 11" x 14"

I like graffiti type work but it has gotten a bit long in the tooth to me. I became interested in sprayed work because of the work of sculptor David Smith. I fell in love with the negative spaces of the sprayed stencil work. I also like the airbrush work of Audrey Flack and Chuck Close.

Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Recent Work

This is a recent piece of work that I created for an exhibition opportunity. I haven't posted for a while so I'm not going to write at length but, I will add more later.

Night Game in Waycross, Krylon on mounted paper, 22" x30"


Friday, June 18, 2010

Yank Far East

While cleaning out the basement of my Mother-in-law's house I came across a cache of copies of Yank Far East the news magazine published by the Army for the troops during World War II. From the George Mason University History Dept. web site, "Beginning on June 17, 1942, Yank, the weekly magazine published by the U.S. Army, began its unprecedented worldwide publishing effort. Most of its 127-member staff of editors, reporters, photographers, artists, and cartoonists rotated from desk jobs in Yank's main New York office to cover the war overseas and produce twenty-one separate weekly editions. The New York office published the American edition distributed to army camps in the United States and prepared basic material for Yank's overseas operations in London, Sydney, Honolulu, Rome, Paris, Cairo, Tehran, Calcutta, Puerto Rico, and Panama. Sold for five cents, Yank reached a combined circulation of two million soldiers." "It presented Yank's typical miscellany of news, stories, poetry, cartoons, illustrations, photographs, notices, advice, and gripes about enlisted life in the wartime army."

Cover of the 'GI Global Sketchbook' Issue

Sketch by Cpl. Anne T. Cleveland

Sketch by Sgt. John Scott

Sketches by Sgt. Arthur Weithas

Sketches by Sgt. Ed Vebell

These seem to be rare but, I'm still researching this. Enjoy, please let me know if you like this and I will share much more. I did these quickly.  I can take a little more time and produce better copies. Have an interesting weekend.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Arts Tour Weekend

I apologize for my not posting regularly here lately but, I'm still working on Laura's Mom's house. I have taken off this afternoon to do a demonstration at North Georgia College for the local Arts Tour Weekend. I was one of four local artists that took part today demonstrating their work at the entrance to the Bob Owens Gallery. I was there from one to five and produced the two small paintings below.

Arts Tour Brochure

I demonstrated my quick and dirty methods for production painting. I painted the two compositions using poster tempera on canvas that I mounted on chipboard.

Figs and Lemons, Poster tempera on canvas, 5" x7"

Figs and Lemons, Poster tempera on canvas, 5" x7"

Thanks for stopping by and have an interesting weekend.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stage III

An update on my tempera portrait. This is the result after the first glazing. I will add more glaze, thickening the sweater and adding a very light bit of color. Also the hair will receive the same treatment. I will also adjust any areas that need shapes modified, highlights, and odd bits of color for interest.

Laura, Egg tempera with oil glazing, 8"x10"

I went to the reception for the Faculty Art Show at North Georgia College this evening. It was good to see all my friends. The show was very good and photographs, raku pottery, fiber-art, sculpture, drawings, paintings, prints and sculpture were included. I'll try to get over and take some photographs for my blog. Have a lovely evening.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Painting Update

Hey kids! Sorry about the short hiatus. I have been helping my wife and her brother do some long needed repairs to their Mom's home. Two weeks of exhausting work and the requisite recovery from a strained back. But, thanks for stopping back by. I have posted updates to two pieces I've been working on.

Crows, Charcoal on Paper, 8"x10"

The charcoal painting is coming along nicely. The charcoal makes wonderful blacks. The edges can bleed into nice blurs of transition. The paint, at this point, is being applied with a healthy dose of solvent making it quite translucent. I am going to have to add some alkyd medium for the drying time is way too long.

Laura, Egg tempera on canvas, 8"x10"

The tempera is going on layer over layer. I wish I were a watercolorist, I can see the potential for having facility with applying the paint in competent washes rather than fidgeting the paint as I do. Anyway, have an interesting weekend and all you Moms have a happy Mother's day.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Oughts

As I said in a previous post, I will turn sixty this month and it is with mixed feelings on my part. I'm not sure what the cause of this is but, the decade of the oughts was  somewhat turbulent for me. The decade started with my Pop having health problems which started a general decline for he and my Mom and both of them passing just after mid decade. I have no siblings so looking out for them fell to me in its entirety. I would have liked to have eased into it but that was not the case and I always felt I was two steps behind.

Laura, Charcoal on paper, 8"x10"

During this time I had decided to finish my undergraduate degree also, my work was always in flux, feast or famine, getting paid or not. Work is work, enough said. School was a strange mix of love and loathing, of feeling out of place. Being around twenty somethings really made me feel my age.

So, here I am, through with the oughts. Throughout my life every ten years or so I have reinvented myself and that time has come around again. Its more of an evolution than a metamorphosis and I have no idea how it is going to go but I am getting a little excited. It's always interesting.

So. here to the teens. I hope you are looking forward to them as I am. Have an interesting weekend.


Monday, April 12, 2010

In the Queue

Here are two projects that are in the queue for me. The first is a composition that I am doing in tempera with oil glazing. This is the first of many layers of tempera and the color will build up slowly. I go a bit against tradition so, hang on and see how it goes. It is the same composition as the charcoal drawing in my post 'Back in Black.'

Laura, Egg tempera on canvas, 8"x10"

I have posted this charcoal drawing that will become a painting I intend to do using charcoal and oil medium. I would like to take advantage of the beauty and visual vitality of the charcoal and the translucence of the medium as a glazing over the charcoal. I thought I would use white chalk with the charcoal but, in the end I will probably end up using titanium white oil for the highlights. I will start the project by laying out the drawing on a canvas on chipboard panel. The panel will be fabricated by mounting a primed canvas on chipboard with acrylic medium. I will then execute the first stage of the drawing in charcoal and as with the tempera, fix it with a coat of shellac. From that point I will add depth to the drawing with glaze and more drawing. I'm doing my favorite thing here, groping blindly. If you have done something like this, please chime in with a comment or leave me and my readers a link. I will post progress photos along the way for both pieces as well as more charcoal drawings. I'm still learning from them.

Crows, Charcoal on Paper, 8"x10"

I will leave you with a little appropriate music for a composition with crows.

Have a good evening and a lovely spring week ahead of you.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Interior Scene

I do admire the figurative work of Richard Diebenkorn, He produced figurative work for but a few years after doing dedicated abstract paintings. Then, he returned to abstract work and did no more figurative work. Oh, the delightful figures he produced, beautiful blends of abstract and representational themes. 

Sunroom, Charcoal and conte on paper, 8"x10"

Have a happy holiday.


Sunday, March 28, 2010


I was born in April 1950, on the crest of the Baby Boom. Now, I am facing one of those milestones that gives one pause. We Boomers have a significant history in that we are the bridge generation for the age of Rock and Roll, the Space Race, and the Era of Environmental Awareness among other significant historical and cultural events. This is all pretty well documented, Vietnam, Woodstock, Apollo 11, et. al., each time a journalist has a touch of nostalgia. Beyond that though lies a significance in that our parents were the World War II generation, a generation that grew up in the Great Depression and then fought a great conflict of moral imperative. The downside was that they thought they were right about everything, little wonder we were rebellious. On the upside, most of what we are is a product of them beyond the misery they gave us by being our parents. 

My dad was born in 1921 and was drafted into the army in 1942. Bill Haley as in Rock Around the Clock was born in 1925. Jack Kerouac was born in 1922 and Alan Ginsberg was born in 1926, the writers credited as the nucleus of the Beats. Timothy Leary, the psychedelic guru of the sixties was born in 1920. Malcolm X was born in 1925. More of what we are is a product of our parents generation than just our physical selves. It's a pointer to the fact that our story flows more like a river than like the cars of a train.

Masquerade, Charcoal on paper, 8"x10"

Today's drawing has nothing to do with all of this but, turning sixty is a bit unsettling which in itself is a bit unsettling and touch of youth seems appropriate.

Have a lovely remainder of the weekend.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Drive Time

On the Road, an American Romantic notion. Since Jack Kerouac wrote his novel in the early fifties, driving, being out on the road, is an ingrained part of the American psyche. It's reflected in our culture. Television in the nineteen-fifties brought us Route 66, about two friends roaming up and down the iconic highway that runs from Chicago to Los Angeles. Also, the song by Bobby Troup, Get Your Kicks on Route 66, celebrated this same bit of Americana. In the nineteen-sixties, television brought us Then Came Bronson with Michael Parks as a disillusioned journalist (who wasn't disillusioned?) who buys himself a bike and takes to the road. Of course the sixties were the heyday of being on the road as The Easy Rider rode off to 'look for America,' Humbert and Lolita rolled across the country staying in seedy motels, and the rest of us were Hitching a Ride. The nineteen-seventies expanded the scene in novels such as Michener's Caravans, which took on the road global. The list can go on through the eighties, nineties and the oughts.

Maybe it goes back to the frontier west, the wagon trains and the wandering cowboys. Or, maybe its the independence, the anonymity, that is the allure. An article in the New Yorker commented on On the Road and Lolita and how there was a normalness to travelers that would look odd in a normal settings such as a middle-aged Humbert could travel with an adolescent girl and not raise a question that, in any other setting, might.

Rachel, charcoal on paper, 8"x10"

So. let's celebrate the highway and revel in the romanticism of the idea. I'm working on pieces that draw on these ideas for their inspiration and want to hear your ideas of these native romanticisms. Have a good evening.


Monday, March 22, 2010

At a Girl!

For Martha Miller, whose blog post today is about her forging ahead to do commissioned portraits. Rather than leave a comment, I decided to post a note of support for her. I feel the conflict, anticipation, and all the other thoughts and emotions that accompany an endeavor like this. For an artist it is even more intense because the work is so much a part of themselves, so personal. But, Martha is so talented and her work is work that I do admire, that I am sure she will do well with this endeavor.

Therefore Martha, since you are diving in say 'Geronimo' and have at it.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Quick Sunday Post

I have been producing these drawings from photographs and have learned a great deal in the process. Using photographs has the benefit of letting me work quickly because I can short cut the layout procedure by using devices such as printing inkjet images and coating the back with charcoal to make a carbon paper like transfer. Also, I cut the inkjet prints to make masks that I can use a bit of powdered charcoal in a piece of cloth to dab around the edges to give rounded forms to work from. I sometimes prepare what I call an armature in Photoshop and print it. I vary these techniques or combine them to whatever effect on which I want to work. The more of these techniques I use in tandem the more concise the layout and the quicker the rendering can proceed.

Working from a model or a photograph and laying out the landmarks and forms by surveying the model and transferring them one at a time by measurements is a laborious task and can interfere with the learning process. That makes it more desirable to shortcut these and get on to the things I am more interested in.

Jennifer, Charcoal on paper, 8"x10"

Thanks for stopping by on this rainy Sunday. Have a nice finish to the weekend.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Who me?

In my life, I've noticed that I am a different person at different times. Not in a Sybil way and not in a different mask kind of way but, in that my actions and considerations in situations differ. I have a persona for any situation and not all of them are the person that I really want to be. The hero, the villain, the stalwart and the craven are all part of me. Now that I am getting older, I am a different set of personas from the personas I used to be, if that's not too confusing.

So, in consideration of this, I like to do self-portraits. Also, it's easy to find a model. It's a chance to consider all of my different selves. 

Shaving, Charcoal on paper, 8"x10"

Self-portrait, Conte on paper, 8"x10"

I'd like to hear about your other selves. And if you do self portraits, I'd like to hear what you have to say about that.

Have a nice evening.


Saturday, March 13, 2010


In case there might be an uproar for being over the top, let me state that this piece is about conflict. Not conflict in the theatre of humanity but, the quieter conflict that that we all face each day in our hearts, in our heads and in our souls. This is a piece I did, not as a finished work, but as a musing about my own state of being and a way of expressing to myself how I am feeling. Kind of taking my own temperature. The title is of course from the Odyssey, but I decided to give it a twist as the Siren song is usually more personal to us. We all face these conflicts, and as I grow older they seem to be more numerous. I think as artists we experience these conflicts more because our works are so personal to us and it is a huge burden to give up some of this personal connection for commercial concerns. 

Tied to the Mast, Charcoal on paper, 8"x10"

On a recent post by Martha Miller, I commented about how we are affected by our works. Her post was about a portrait she was executing of a family member and she was telling about the emotional investment she had in the piece and I gathered from her words that working on the portrait was a give and take between she and the piece itself. I really feel that each piece we make changes us in either a small or a large way. If for no other reason each piece we make teaches us something about our craft. I was thinking more though that through the intellectual investment in thinking through the composition, the learning about the subject, and the interest in the subject leading to the desire to make the work that it insists it way into our psyche and become an integral part of us changing our world view and the way we interact with the world. As with any exploration, you're a different person at the end of a trek than when you begin. As I stated earlier, this work was intended to affect changes, to think through the internal conflicts between what I have and what I desire, between what I want to accomplish and to what I am limited.

I have a friend whose work is in psychology and social work. She is a proponent of art therapy, mainly journaling for which she leads workshops. She looks at it more as being like a therapy where exploring the issues leads to insights into the journalist's motivations and issues. As we were talking one day she asked my take on it. I told her that it was my experience that when I was stressed or at odds with myself that I became hyper-creative. I attributed this to the self-defense mechanisms we all have ramping up their efforts to fend off the stresses by finding creative ways to combat them. Further, you should be able to tap into this heightened self-defense creativity much as a physician would inoculate a patient to bring to bear his patient's immune system, not only to affect change that would benefit the individual but, to glean valuable creative resources due to the condition.

Some of the conflict for myself is that I decided to put my effort into art at a late date in my life so that I feel that I don't have a great deal of time to let it take me where it will. That, and as with all artist there is the conflict between the work and the rest of life, the need to spend time working on art and the demands of the day to day function of survival. Thus, I take the theory I have about the changes that a piece of work can have and use it to set my self up to go on. 

I've include this piece of music by Will Hoge for its philosophical value. Have a lovely, lovely weekend.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

American Romanticism

American Romanticism, that's what I'm thinking of these days. Trouble is, I'm not sure what constitutes American Romanticism. What are the romantic notions that we Americans have. Initially I think of things like cowboys and the West. Also, being on the road, Route 66 and what have you. These are general romantic ideas. Personally, I have some notions of romanticism, drifting and rootless and Southern romanticism. I'm not sure I have a crystalized idea of the concept though.

Heather2, Charcoal on paper, 8"x10"

I'd really like to hear your thoughts on the subject dear friends. Can you broaden the list for me? Do you have notions that seem to fit the concept (think Turner and Delacroix) that might not occur to me? I'm going to make this an ongoing dialog for future posts so, please join in with your opinion.

Have a lovely evening.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Sometimes a portrait is just a side item. Here is Scooter with Laura and a quick sketch I did for use on a card and for a start-up screen for Laura's computer. Scooter is in the center, Co is on the left and Obie on the right.

Laura and Scooter, Charcoal on paper, 8"x10"
Puppies, SmartSketch file

Also, the first crocus, err crocuses, errr croci, whatever, of the spring.

Have an interesting evening.


Saturday, March 6, 2010


One thing I am learning from the charcoal sketches that I am doing is that less is more. That seems to fly in the face of something that I learned from a book about drawing and that I truly believe which is, 'it's good to exaggerate, and it's better to exaggerate too much than not enough.' It's a paradox I haven't resolved yet. I realized this truth from doing perspective drawings and the way they naturally exaggerate the angles of the lines.

Heather, Charcoal on paper, 8"x10"

1670 (detail)Acrylic on paper with collage, 18"x24"

This lovely young lady posed for photos as a model for this painting and the charcoal is from one of the photos. I have several of the photos and will be doing some more charcoals from them. One of the purposes of these exercises is that I am about to start work on some engraving prints and want to get the hatch correct.

Have a lovely weekend.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Martha Miller has been writing lately about her angst about doing a portrait for commission. I myself have thought over all of the pros and cons of doing portraits and whether the sitter will like the work. So far, so good, all my subjects have been to kind to tell me if they loathed my work.

Part of the problem is that where do you target your attempt at a true likeness of the subject. I have been doing some practice drawing for my blog from photos using charcoal and working from photos. I find that working for a more true likeness kind of like shooting fish in a barrel. You take time doing a really good layout using a transfer methods such as a grid, projection, camera obscura, or tracing and then it is a matter of paint by numbers. The hard part is putting more of yourself into the work.

June, Charcoal on paper, 8"x10"

Little Yellow Idol, Oil on canvas, 18"x 24"(Gallery View)

I like charcoal because it does so much of the work of for me. I like the way you get areas where the mark making is so lovely. Take for instance the portrait of Laura from my post of February 12, the hands turned out very nice. My take is that for a good portrait from a photo, the photo has to be good, well composed with good lighting. I'm not a good photographer so I take many photos and hope after the model quits posing I get photos that reflect the person I want to portray.

This goes to the heart of the matter. The portrait is a collaboration between the model and the artist. Both must relax and show themselves and they both have to bring part of themselves and invest it in the work.
But, then, I'm just kind of going on without knowing what I'm talking about.

Have an exciting evening.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Snowy Tuesday

It's a snowy Tuesday morning here in North Georgia, Looking toward the top of the mountain, I can't see it for the falling snow. The schools are closed today so, Laura is here and that makes Scooter, our silky terrier, very happy.

I've posted another charcoal drawing rendered from a studio study. I've included the study, which I have posted previously, also. 

Seated Nude, charcoal on paper, 8"x10"

Seated Nude, charcoal and pastel on kraft paper, 18"x24"

I think I will have some breakfast and watch the snow. It started about 5:30 AM and is now beginning to accumulate. Have a most exciting Tuesday.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Are We There Yet?

Spring that is. Today was sunny but cold and windy here in the North Georgia mountains. This after a Saturday and Sunday that was warm and quite spring-like with spring fever running rampant. I mean the daffodils  and crocus are about a week away from blooming; our neighbor has a tree in their yard that is full of pink blooms. I'm longing for warm and it seems so far off, like looking down a long corridor.

Hallway, ink on paper, 18" x22"

Hold out for Spring dear friend and have an exciting weekend.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Revisiting an Old Drawing

Dear Friend,

As I said in my previous post, I am revisiting old studio drawings, working on my use of hatching and value. I am trying to achieve depth and a greater feel of volume. Don't get me wrong, I am deeply enamored of the simple line drawings of Matisse but, I am a bit of a fussy worker liking to push and pull at the media working and working it. It gives me great pleasure to manipulate it.

Nude, Charcoal, 8x10

This is my original drawing, a fifteen minute studio drawing from life.

Nude, Conte on Newsprint, 24x36

Any comments or suggestions, either techniques or practices, would be appreciated. So, have a lovely afternoon.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Back in Black...

and white. I apologize for my lack of postings for the last while but, life gets in the way, sometimes. I'm working on drawings again trying to get my sea-legs back. I am working on my hatching and changes in value leading up to doing some painting. This is a charcoal drawing of sweet wife and I am revisiting old studio drawings, redrawing them again with hatching and more value.

Laura, Charcoal, 8x10

Thanks for stopping by. Have an exciting weekend.