Monday, December 6, 2010


It's a bad sign that I have more WIP posts here than finished pieces. I'm in a time of transition, I think, and struggling a little. That's where the lack of focus is coming from, something I should try and remedy, but the struggle and transition aren't bad things. Often, I've found that looking back these are very productive, interesting times for me work and growth.

It also might be that with work going as it is I only start painting at 11:00 pm or later.

Regardless, an idea for a series I've been tossing around in documents and my head for awhile is getting to come out and and play with mixed results. See what you think. Still some drawing problems to resolve I get too impatient with early on. They won't all be girls.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sketchbook pages

Work has been so hectic lately that I've not really had any time to paint. If I'm at my computer, I'm working on the company project. That's not a bad lot in life, but it does mean I need to find other ways to keep practicing my 2d skills.
Thus, I picked up my first moleskin sketchbook a few months ago and finally broke it out a couple of weeks ago. It's great, and not because it was used by Rodin or Hemingway or it's hip, though all three of those things are probably true, I guess.
It's practical, it fits in my back pocket, and the paper is actually a great surface for drawing.
I've taken to pulling it out in meetings, at coffeeshops, and even at church this morning. Basically, all the places that I never have a full sized sketchbook with me because my 40+ work life isn't always about sketching.
I used to make sure I had three things when I was standing up to leave a place - keys, wallet, and phone. Now I have a fourth. I recommend it.

These are backlogged, and I'm about halfway done with the book. These are only the most recent four spreads. I'll try and post more just to keep myself doing this.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I like trees lately

My sister had her first child last year around this time, and I was supposed to make a tree painting for my nephew. I have it now, for his first birthday, and it's going home for Thanksgiving for him. So this is for Elliot.

I like painting trees. They're not exactly easy, which is surprising considering how often we see them. People can imagine trees very easily, but actually looking at one and drawing it makes you realize how very weird they can be. This a bit of a fantasy tree, so I can make up a lot, however.

Jess told me making the little boy float is weird. I like it, but I'm going to think on it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Three works in progress

Nothing finished. I've hardly made it to my studio at all in the last month. Work at Big Huge has been great, but incredibly busy.
Still, a small number of things I played with. The more sustained projects will be updated soon.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Opening this Saturday

I've got a small show opening at Ancient Arts Wellness in Mount Vernon, Baltimore, following the Baltimore Book Festival.

Here's the flier.

The work is mostly medium to small sized oil paintings of landscapes and cityscapes.

The reception is from 7-9 and should be fun. The space is cool, the folks that work there are cool, and the Baltimore Book Festival is cool. Swing by if you get a chance and have some tea.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pancake Breakfast Album Art

A couple of months back I did some album art for my friend Mike Midlo. We worked together on Time Team, but he also runs this awesome, rocking band called "Pancake Breakfast" out of Oregon. The album is called "Fire in the Barn," and Mike asked me to make a painting to go inside the LP and CD of a barn on a hill that had something unearthly going on with it. For inspiration, he sent me the 1937 Disney cartoon, "The Old Mill," which you should look up on youtube if you haven't seen it.
I love working with musicians. They almost always have such different ideas than visual artists, and such good feedback. I had tons of fun working on this piece, too, and I dig the music, so I hope I get to do more projects like.

Here's Pancake Breakfast's website. Check them out.

I thought I would show some process work on this one, since it was such a good back and forth.

First, I sent Mike and another band member (and the web/album designer), Christa, the following thumbnails. These were all fast, simple color and composition studies to get some broad stroke feedback from them and get a sense of where their minds were going. It also helped me figure out what I wanted to do with the piece.

We took the ones liked best from the thumbnails and I developed them further, testing the waters for what we'd want to push further into the final piece.

From there, we combined elements that we liked as inspiration for the direction of the final, big one (and I do mean big. This went into an LP, so it was a large file).

After looking at it, though, we didn't feel like it was otherwordly enough, so we tilted everything and added a lot more value and strange light. The idea was to make it feel like something ominous and fantastic was on the very verge of breaking loose.

Then, with that settled, it was time to polish it for the final piece. Mike had one last bit of feedback, which was to add the feeling of wind. That's actually very difficult in a still image, but I'm glad he pushed for it. It made the final painting a whole lot better.

And that was how it went.

When he mailed me the finished LP, Mike wrote me a poem about the piece, posted below:

A storm mounts. Bones ache ... Howling souls. The wind heaves a heavy sigh.

¡There's a Fire in the Barn!

And a murder of crows scatter into the watercolor sky.

Thanks for the chance to do this, Mike, and good luck with the album release!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

WIP for a friend

For fun, for a friend.

New landscapes and getting back into things

I'm going to be doing a show at a very cool wellness and acupuncture studio in Baltimore during the Baltimore book festival, so I'm working on some new pieces for it. It's a small space, so I'm making digital prints instead of oil paintings, and I'm teaching digital illustration at MICA this semester so it's a decent excuse to get some more time in with Photoshop. CS5 is a crazy, new beast, anyway, that's worth getting used to. I'm not certain I agree with some of their changes, but it looks like all the core stuff is intact, if a little hidden.
I've been terribly busy in the last few weeks, and I got engaged, but I'm working on a number of things again and should be posting more. As always, thanks for any feedback.
These are seasonal. I'm nearly done with Summer and Winter here, but Autumn is only half way there. Spring is next, obviously.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Two new oils

It's been awhile since I've posted. A lot of the work I've been doing is game work, so I can't show it for awhile, and it's absorbed a lot of my free time. I've been learning a great deal, though.
I have, however, managed to make it to my studio to work a couple of new oil paintings.
These are both very much works in progress.
This one, from this digital sketch:

And this one, from this digital sketch for the "What's Your War" show at the Load of Fun Gallery.

Too much going on in the first one right now, I think.
More to follow, I promise (myself).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

That's a guy in a suit, falling underwater.

This is a piece for a show I might be jumping in on.
Or it's a piece for a show I missed the deadline on.
Either way, it's a piece.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lunch painting

Quick study done over lunch.
I've been thinking about fish a lot lately.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Some recent sketchbook grabs

Eve finished up.

This is an oil I just finished up. Now I need to make Adam.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

New painting study

I know, I've still got all of those other pieces to finish!
The last few weeks have just been insane so I've not had many chances to get down to the studio. I'm playing with ideas, instead, like this one.

Here's something I've begun to notice: In my traditional work before now I always painted landscapes or figures. Now, in this new more illustrative work, I paint surreal landscapes or figures. I'm not sure why I didn't catch that before.

Lots to do with this. It has to do with letting go of wonderful things in our past and continuing on.
Or, it's how our dogs are wiser than we are.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oils WIP

This is an oil I started this weekend for a group show this summer.

And a better picture of "Elopement" WIP.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

WIP for Jess

I'm having fun with this. It's for my girlfriend, Jess.

Elopement Oil Painting WIP

Getting some good headway into an oil painting of the Elopement.
This is being painted in my studio at School 33, which I love. I've been too busy to spend all the time there I want, but it's been great. I'll post some more photos of the space soon.
I'm enjoying doing digital sketches that I then take into traditional medium. It allows me the ability to test things out quickly and make drastic changes.
Ultimately, though, I still love oil and watercolor. They have a quality digital can't reach, though it has its own unique characteristics. It's not just the texture quality or anything like that - those things can be simulated, digitally. It's the reality of it, the weight of a canvas, the object made by human hands that you can live with. Traditional media breathes.
I'll post more as it nears the finish.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Some more portrait studies

Some portrait studies

I've been doing these about once every couple of days to keep myself busy when I don't have time to plunge myself into one of my larger projects going on right now. Some are of friends, some are just from photos I found and were drawn to. Not all end up great, either, but that's not their point.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tree WIP

Not pleased with this one completely. It's an idea for a wedding present for an old friend. It kinda became a mess. I'm moving on, though.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sketchbook pages

Haven't had much time for personal work lately, so I've been sketching a lot inbetween work for Big Huge.
Here are some of the better pages.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Time Team Illustrations

These are getting older but I've never posted them and it's high time.
Time Team America is the PBS show I was the host/narrator for and did illustrations for.
Basically, the show follows around a team of archaeologists and my job was to ask them questions and draw what life might have been like.
These are a few of the better drawings from that group. Looking now, there's so much I would do to try and improve on, but it was an incredible time of learning. The time working on the first season of Time Team really pushed me to make myself a better artist, so these are important to me. They also remind me of a really amazing experience and some truly wonderful people and places.