Friday, January 31, 2014


Long day, Long week.  Back to Project Bird.  This is a Merlin, we say these a couple times in Utah.  This colored pencil drawing is of a rehab Merlin getting well before returning to the wild.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Prairie Twilight - Part 2

SO another night of working the clouds and I darkened the foreground.  You cannot tell from the photo, but I used the opposite non-brush end of the brush to scratch grass in to the thick paint.  I am going to let the painting dry and will work some dry brushing into the clouds and put a thin lighter wash into the grass of the foreground.  When I am happy with both, I am going to add the Pronghorn silhouettes to the skyline.  Sometimes it is better to let a painting rest.  A little time and space helps the artist spot the problems or issues.  Sometimes time results in a restart on a clean canvas to try a different tact.  Occasionally, a painting just comes together without any effort.  Occasionally.   I'll take better photos in daylight and show some of what I have mentioned. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Prairie Twilight

Tonight I worked on getting the clouds depth worked in.  Working the edges in the transitions between the clouds. Tomorrow, I want to re-work the foreground to develop its depth and work the clouds more.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Painting

Something different tonight, I am going to work a painting through and post the results.  This is an oil painting, which will be a twilight sky with Pronghorn Antelope silhouetted on the horizon.  This is the basic thin colors to block in the canvas and remove the white.  More tomorrow.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Zuni Kachina

Today was an interesting day of work, come home early to a frozen water pipe and the need to replace insulation.  I finished up with a headache, so no artwork tonight.  I got the headache to go away eventually with pain killer and meditation techniques.  I feel a little anxiety if I don't do some art everyday.  Above is a colored pencil sketch of a Zuni Shalako Kachina.  The Shalako is a winter solstice ceremony and it makes the harvest too.  Outsiders don't get to attend these ceremonies, probably because people were behaving badly.  Our loss, I like these sketches for their design and simplicity.  I do them because I want to, so enjoy.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dallas the Pit Bull

Meet Dallas, she is my sister-in-law Michelle's rescue Pit Bull.  Since it is Michelle's birthday today, this is her card from Barbara and I.  This is a pencil sketch with an ink box outline and my 'Chop' of my initials.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pied Kingfisher

This is a Pied Kingfisher, she is a native of Africa and the Middle East.  She might be found elsewhere but I have only seen them there.  This is a reference sketch based on observation of one for around fifteen minutes.  I made notes of colors and bands on the feathers.  This is a female and she is a cousin to the Belted Kingfisher which was yesterday's post.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Belted Kingfisher

TGIF, good riddances to that week.  Too tired to give much today.  This is a colored pencil sketch of a Belted Kingfisher.  I see these a lot in the summer on the shores of rivers and lakes here in Maryland and Virginia.  I have seen its cousin in the Middle East and Africa, but that is a post for tomorrow.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Niman Katsina

This is my rendition of a Hopi Niman Katsina, which is a representation of a Hopi deity associated with a Home Dance or Coming Home Ceremony.  Hopefully, I got that right.  I really like the simplicity of the design of these and the color.  I did my best to capture the color but it is never as good in 2D as it would be in 3D.  This I drew with pastel pencils and it gave me a gritty texture which I am undecided about.  This is a drawing purely for fun and for my own sketchbook.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Doodle Revolution

This last Sunday morning, I caught a story on CBS Sunday Morning News show about doodling.  One of the interviewees was Sunni Brown, author of "Doodle Revolution."  I am going to order the book but the gist of her story is doodling is a way to unlock ideas, improve comprehension, and to develop creativity.  Hallelujah, I now have proof I was not goofing doodling in those meetings.  I know my feelings of calm and better retention of the meeting's topics is not my imagination.  Another interviewee was a college professor who draws heads and encourages his students to doodle in his lectures.  It is nice to actually learn something good on the TV for a change.  Above is a doodle of a co-worker in a mass mandatory meeting.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snow Day

So DC has slowed to a crawl, and I am not talking about congress, we have a snow storm and DC drivers are not too good at driving so everything is shutdown.  This is the view from my living room window.  It is a living room "Plein Air" oil painting.  All the fun of painting a scene from life without the hassle of snow, wind and cold.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hopi Woman

So to complete a thread of Hopis, from child, to girl, to woman, this is a pencil and colored pencil sketch of a Hopi woman.  I did this sketch from the Hopi book I had picked up and throughly enjoyed.  The book is an expansion of a National Geographic article from the 1990s.  The Hopis are a very interesting Native American tribe located in the southwest of the US.  They live a life very close to the seasons along with an annual series of rituals and dances.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hopi girl

This is a pencil drawing of a Hopi girl.  The picture was in the Hopi book I have and this is a quick sketch for fun, enjoyment, and skills improvement.  This sketch resides in one of my sketchbooks.   I have about 30 in various stages of completion.  Some are themed and some are just the general everyday sketches (mostly everyday).  She is in my native american sketchbook which is about 1/4 full.  Sketchbooks are a capture tool for ideas, experiments, and general creative fun.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hopi Baby

This is a pencil drawing of a Hopi Baby strapped down in a cradle from a Hopi book I have picked up. I loved the juxtapose of the baby with the red accents in the cradle hood and the blanket.  It was a fun little challendge and I enjoyed the results.  So now you can enjoy the results.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Julia's Smirk

This is a white charcoal, charcoal, and pencil of my niece Julia.  She kept smirking so I decided to capture it.  She is a pretty lively personality so a smirk fits.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


This is another version of Sophia, my niece, but done in pencil.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


So this is is a black charcoal, white chalk, and pencil.  I have been working on these type of portraits for awhile and this is part of the ones which are starting to be good enough to make the cut to be in the blog. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Practice eyes, lips, mouth and chins.  Sort of a strange mix of quick sketches, this all leads to actual faces or portraits.  I will post some full faces tomorrow.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Practice, Practice, Practice

More heads from Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing.  These sketches relax me and get me in a better mood.  I think the process is to observe and capture the planes of the face.  The upper right nose and eye sketch is a face with the planes developed more realistically.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Day after Day

"Day after Day, Never fail to draw something which, however little it may be, will yet in the end be much, and do thy Best."

Cennino Cennini c. 1390

Above is a threesome from skulls from Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life.  After the day job I do not always have the mental ability to draw or paint something original so I practice from a couple of classical drawing and Art guides.  I think of it as similar to practicing cords in music, after I am done I fell calmer and some what refreshed, i.e. Creativity for Sanity.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

American Goldfinch

The American Goldfinch is always a spring time marker.  The males have the bright plumage.  They are around all year round but they are really noticeable in spring.  Put out thistle seeds and you will see them too.  We have seen them in Colorado, Utah, and Maryland.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Western Tanager

So continuing on the Bird topic, the Western Tanager is as bright as the American Goldfinches and as brilliant as the Cardinal.  I have only seen them in the canyons above Salt Lake City, Utah.  They are in other places and I always look when I am out west, but for some reason only in the canyons have they come out to serenade me.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Yellow Warbler

This little cutie was spotted on the banks of the Provo river in Utah.  It was flitting around eating bugs above the water surface.  Stealing them from the Cutthroat Trout in the river.  This is the one and only time I have ever seen this bird.  He was a spring time guest.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


These are colored pencil sketches of a male and female Cardinal.  They are the state bird of six states - Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, and North Carolina.  These are the favorite birds of my wife and my grandmother.  We never saw them until we moved to North Carolina.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Turkey - Georgia Turkey

I never saw Turkeys until I went to Georgia in 1988 to Fort Benning, Georgia.  I came a round a corner of some bushes and a large pine tree, and there was 15 Turkeys.  I was calm and walked slowly about ten feet behind them.  We walked together.  They were aware of me but not too concerned since I was moving slowly.   We walked together for about 20 yards and then they veered right and I continued straight on.  It was the closest I had ever been before or since.  It surprised me then and now, since Turkeys are smart and skittish.  So I will always cherish my walk with Turkeys.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Brown Thrasher

The state bird of Georgia, plus Yesterday's bird the Northern Bobwhite is the other.  I guess their state legislature wanted to share the wealth on state birds.    It is the only state I know of with two birds.   I actually saw this bird in Virginia.  I saw more Turkeys in Georgia than any where else.  So the Turkey will be tomorrow's bird.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Northern Bobwhite

This is a colored pencil sketch of the Northern Bobwhite.  They are little ground dwelling birds.  They are mostly known as a game bird of the south.  Though all the time I lived in North Carolina and Georgia, I never saw one.  It was not until I moved to Maryland did I see one.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Brown Pelican

This is a Brown Pelican colored pencil sketch.  I saw these in New Orleans and out in California.  In this instance, the body looked more black to me than the brown so that is how I captured it.  Part of being an artist is to set aside your preconceptions and actually see colors and shapes instead of assuming the brown bird would show up as brown.  You have to train yourself to see the shapes between the wings and legs i.e the negative spaces.  I use these sketches to practice and to work out these relationships.  Plus it works as a meditation for me.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Downy Woodpecker

This is another woodpecker,  This is the Downy Woodpecker.  We saw these in Utah and in Maryland.  They are a nice spring/summer visitor, except when they knock on the house.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Northern Flicker

I am continuing with the bird theme.  This is a colored pencil drawing of a Northern Flicker feeding its young.  I have seen these in Maryland, Colorado, and Utah.  It is a common and interesting bird.  Birds are the easiest wildlife to observe and I like these little dinosaurs.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Mourning Dove

I love the quiet coo of the Mourning Dove in the morning,especially the summer mornings before the heat builds on a clear day.  The dove can be found around the world, in different species but all related.