Friday, May 30, 2014

Maynard Dixon Sketch

Another artist who motivates me in so many ways is Maynard Dixon.  He is a well known artist and illustrator from approximately 100+ years ago.  He did lots of illustration and then finished up with great plain air paintings all around the Western United States.  He is probably best known for his Desert paintings.  I like some of his pencil sketches of the desert Natives Americans from the 1910-ish era.  Above is my rendition of one of these sketches of a Native American girl.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Common Loon

This is a colored pencil Sketch of a Common Loon.  We saw this bird up in Maine on Casco Bay, near Portland.  The wife and I went up to Maine for our wedding anniversary and this bird is part of what we saw.  I sketched this in my second bird sketch book and experimented with sketching across the book's fold.  I will work on the reflection tomorrow night.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bighorn Sheep painting

This is an old painting from High School, it is an acrylic on canvas.  Not bad for age 16 years old.  I still like to paint the mountains and I will definitely have to do more paintings of the Bighorn Sheep.  I have a small set of reference photos from the sheep I have seen in Colorado, Utah and Colorado.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

American Tree Sparrow

It's always a long day back at work after the long weekend so tonight is a colored pencil sketch of an American Tree Sparrow.  They are part of the common and hard to tell apart backyard birds of America.

Monday, May 26, 2014


Happy Memorial Day! I stayed close to home and did not do much.  I did complete this pencil sketch of a railroad lantern.  This is part of the meditation and working to get better skills.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Trout, part 3

So I have many happy memories of fishing with my Dad in the Mountains of Colorado.  I always wondered about what the trout were doing under the water.  So I always enjoy the different photos of fish under water and collect them and other artists renditions.  This is an ink sketch of a trout turning to trail a fly.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Trout, part 2

This is another pen sketch for practice and reference.  It is not an original idea but is part of the 10,000 hours of practice anyone must commit to to master any skill.  I do these sketches also as a mental break and meditation.  It is especially good to decompress from the normal work day stress and the commute.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Merlin the Wizard - tribute to Alan Lee

Another artist I really like is the fantasy artist, Alan Lee.  Above is my rendition of his pencil drawing of Merlin enchanted in the woods.  Alan's edition is much better but I challenged myself to replicate his techniques.  He is one of the artist I aspire to be as good as in my own art.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Trout Sketch

This is an ink sketch of a trout rising to a fly.  I did this a few years back and did it from a magazine picture.  This is something I wanted to capture for later use in a painting, so I added it to the sketchbook for safe keeping.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Portland Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse

The wife and I went up to New England for the wedding anniversary.  In Portland Maine, we ate seafood and went out on Casco Bay to see the islands and the Lighthouses.  The Spring Post Ledge Lighthouse is one of the lights you can see out on the bay, which is depicted above.  This is a watercolor pencil sketch with ink outline.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


This is a Merlin, a small bird of prey.  This particular one was a rehab patient with the Utah Dept. of Natural Resources.  It had been injured and was being nursed back to health for release back into the wilds of Utah.  I did this sketch in colored pencils.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Quick Sketch - My niece Julia

This is a quick sketch of my niece Julia.  I did this two years ago, she is a pre-teen so I did not get a lot of time with her sitting still.  So you take what you can get.  Tomorrow, I will post some stuff from our trip to New England.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Gerald Cassidy - Motivating me to improve

This is my rendition of a charcoal sketch by southwestern artist, Gerald Cassidy.  I was blown away by his handling of the darks and lights and copied his work as a way to improve my own and to get me to think more in shades as opposed to just lines.  I don't know much about Gerald but, I plan to do more research on him.  I will see if I can find any on-line links for his work or his biography and will post it on a future blog post.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Native American woman - pencil sketch.

Art is a compilation of practice, practice, and practice.  This is a pencil sketch from a photo I picked up as an exercise in training my eye and skills on faces.  This old Native American woman has a lot of character and interest in the structure and lines of her face.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Clown Figure from Cochiti Pueblo

This another lunch hour quick sketch from the Native American Smithsonian Museum in DC.  This clay figurine is about 12 inches tall approximately.  I had to switch pens as one died and I finished the head with a ballpoint, hence the shine as compared to the matte of the other pen.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Apache Mountain God Dancer

I occasionally get to go to the Smithsonian museums on the Mall in DC.  The Native American Museum is great and I could spend a month just doing sketches of the things they have on display.  This is on permanent display and is An Apache Mountain God Dancer.  I did a quick sketch as I was doing at art lunch hour and had to run back to the office.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fort Storey Lighthouse Virginia

This is a quick sketch of one of the lighthouses at Fort Storey, Virginia.  There are two there, one in from the days of George Washington and is one of America's first public works projects.  This is the new modern one.  We had to rush as a storm was starting to come in.  This is more of a reference sketch for a painting I plan to do in the future.  Eventually I would like to go back and do a plain air painting on site with both lighthouses.

Monday, May 12, 2014


Sparrows are some of the most common birds in the United States.  The top one is a male House Sparrow in breeding plumage.  The bottom one is a juvenile House Sparrow taking a dust bath.  I did both of these in colored pencils.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day - Alaska

Happy Mother's Day!  This is a sketch dedicated to my Mother.  My wife and I went on a cruise to Alaska last September with my parents.  It was a great trip and I started out doing some sketches while the ship passed by the scenery.  Unfortunately or fortunately the scenery was too spectacular to keep up so I reverted to just taking photos and really quick notes on colors and ideas for later paintings.   It felt like I was drinking from the visual fire hose.  I definitely want to return to Alaska but at a slower pace so it can be enjoyed and savored.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tufted Titmouse

SO I don't know who names these birds or why but, the Tufted Titmouse has one of the oddest names.  They look like a cross between a cardinal and a Blue Jay but they are smaller.  They are a favorite here in Maryland at the feeders. I used colored pencils on this sketch.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Purple Martin

The Purple Martin is nature's mosquito control bird.  They are cousins to the swallows, another bug eater.  Keep your eyes out for the people who build the large white bird houses on poles, or they make the gourd birdhouses and place them in their yards as nature's bug controllers.   It is hard to capture the purple sheen of their feathers, but that is what I have tried to depict with colored pencils.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

This is an Alaskan Sled Dog waiting his turn at the practice sled.  The dogs were excited beyond belief and unhappy when they did not get a turn as fast as they wanted.  I have an Yupik Indian friend who keeps this dog team ready and trained for his winter travel because he got sick of his "Snow Machine" breaking in a blizzard.  The drawing is done in colored pencil.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Point Retreat Lighthouse, Auke Bay, Alaska

This is another view of the Point Retreat Lighthouse at Auke Bay, Alaska near Juneau.  Last September, I traveled with the family up to Alaska.  We traveled along the Inner Passage and checked out Glaciers, Bears, whales, Seals, and lighthouses.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Point Retreat Lighthouse, Alaska

This is a pencil sketch of the Point Retreat Lighthouse in Alaska.  We saw this last September while on a Whale Watching tour out of Auke Bay.  During the tour, we saw this lighthouse and other one in addition to Bald Eagles, Sea Lions, Seals and Humpback Whales so it was an excellent wildlife and site seeing trip.  Get there if you can.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sparrow and Cheery Blossoms

This is another Sumie style watercolor of a Sparrow and Cherry Blossoms. This is a classic style, I copied to learn the basic brush strokes and to think about the composition.  Plus I really liked this one.

Friday, May 2, 2014


This is a Sumie exercise.  It's a watercolor japanese style.  This is not one if my designs, but is a practice piece which I did ten or twelve times for practice.  Each time I varied this was the best one.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Memory Sketch - the Wife

So if you want a challenge try memory sketching.  This is probably the best of the dozen or so I have tried.  I did this sketch without the wife being present and from memory.  Its not a bad likeness, but it needs work.  The other memory sketches will not see the light of day.  More practice needed.