Monday, June 30, 2014

Thumb Nail sketches

A Thumb Nail sketch is a technique of catching an idea or image or a visual shorthand to work out which composition will work best for a scene.  Above is a Thumb Nail sketch of a simple adobe church in New Mexico.  I liked the simplicity of it and the color notes I took which I did not scan capture the turquoise sky opposite the dry pale yellow of the adobe with white wash wearing off.  The eaves are unpainted but the window and doorway are warm little blue.  It should make a ggod painting when I get a round to it.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Acoma Pottery

This is a sketch of an Acoma Pueblo Indian style pottery jar.  I liked the design and the colors, so I sketched it and used markers to get the colors.  Since the artist used earth tones it was easy to use the markers and get the colors right.  I intend to go back to New Mexico and do paintings of the four seasons in the Land of Enchantment as the state is known by.  If you have never been there I would say drop everything and start planning now.  It is the most unique of the 50 states in the U.S. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Autumn Moon Aspens

This is part of what I worked on today.  This is the first lay-in of color on an oil painting based on a scene I captured back in 2010 in Colorado near South Park.  (Yes, there actually is a South Park in Colorado).  The full moon was rising over the Aspen Grooves near Kenosha Pass on Route 285. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

My cousin, Troy Willis - RIP

One of my earliest memories of my cousin Troy Willis, was of him and me reading Richard Scarry books and Troy rolling out his patented laugh and unabashed giggles at the pantaloons of Hilda Hippo.  We were probably 4 or 5 years old so "pantaloons" were the height of funny.  I will miss that laugh.  He passed away on June 12th.  This memorial service will be tomorrow.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bears - part 2

Earlier, I blogged some Bears I had sketched on colored paper and with colored pencils and white chalk.  So I found these this evening looking around the studio and I figured they would be good for the post.  I could fill a sketchbook with bears and still not be bored with them.  I definitely want to see all of the bear species in the wild.  Right now I have just seen the Black Bear from North America three times and a Grizzly once. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cat sketch

This is a pencil sketch of a our cat.  She is hard to catch still and awake.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Snowy Engine with markers

This is another experiment and learning exercise with markers.  The steam engine is a Hiesler used by logging companies years ago.   The use of markers was an interesting experiment but, I think I would use a different blue for the shadow and the iron frame.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse - Oil Study

 Yesterday and today, I did this oil study of the Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse. I wanted to see if my colors and plans for painting this would work before committing this to the larger oil painting I have in mind.  I partially fixed the persective problems of my drawing.  I will probably re-draw the house in pencil so it is accurate and right for the large work but, this will work as a color study for how i will handle the lighthouse. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse, Maryland

This is a pencil sketch I did today of the Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse near Annapolis Maryland and the Bay Bridge.  I did this as a study for a larger painting I am planing out.  More to come in the days to come.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Trains done with Marker

This is another experiment with Markers.  These are Penn Central Electric engines.  This is not my image but was a demonstration on how to capture engines with the grey markers.  I plan to use this technique with my own designs and images.  Failed experiments you will not see, as they don't survive long or they get redone until I am happy with them.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fishing Boat

This is another experiment with markers.  This is a fishing boat, I don't remember where I found it.  The markers are a great way to quickly get a tonal representation of a scene.  Some artists do this as a preliminary before starting a  painting.  If you can master the tones or the relative lightness and darkness of things you can then master adding color to the scene.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sawyer Glacier Fjord, Alaska Oil Painting

After a Day in the yard cleaning up debris from the storm, I decided to finish up an oil painting I had been working on for a while but I had trouble bring to its conclusion.  I am about 85% happy with it now and will leave it alone for a week or two and see if I then think I need to tweak anything in it.  This is a point with Spruce trees in the Sawyer Glacier Fjord in Alaska.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tugboat, part 4

Back to the Tugboats, this was an experiment with markers of an old style Tug.  It was something I ran across in a demonstration of marker techniques and I did it also as practice.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sloop Sailing ship

More practice pencil drawing, this is a Sloop sailing down wind under full sail.  This has been part of the my practice for the last few nights.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Steam Engine

This is a pencil sketch exercise I have been working on for the last few nights.  So my image is not an original but it is for me to practice and improve my drawing skills.  The benefit is I really do like to draw trains, along with other industrial devices and modes of transportation.  I am only limited by my time and skill.  I am working on increasing both.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

So I was blessed with two Dads.  One was my biological Dad, Richard Suitts (Passed) and the other my Step Father, Richard Brandt, who raised me like his own since I was about two years old.  So I have been very lucky to have them both and I used their example for my children.  This is a lighthouse in Chicago and it is drawn from a photo, my Dad, Richard Brandt took last summer.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Whaling Ship

The wife and I recently went to Mystic Seaport in Connecticut.  At the museum they have the Whaling ship, Charles Morgan, the oldest whaling ship still in existence from the 1840s.  So while this is not the Morgan, it is a Whaling ship from a book on the industry.  I find the ships and the tales fascinating and repulsive at the same time.  I admire the handwork and courage of the men on these ships, it is just unfortunate they made their living killing whales and cutting them up.  I really liked the artwork from the book and used it was a teaching device with pen and ink.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Yacht with sails

This is a pen and ink drawing of a yacht with its sails fully filled and making way to its journey's end.  I don't remember where I got this picture but it is not one I took but it was a bit of an experiment in using the ink to depict the darks and lights.  The sailing ships always have great bits of details to make sketches more interesting.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Old sailing ship

SO sort of a long hard day at work.  Today's gem is a pencil sketch of an old sailing ship with the sails partial reefed in or being dried I am not sure.  This are part of the sanity sketches, I enjoy them even if they don't really make sense all the time.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Breeches Buoy system

Winslow Homer depicted this life saving system in this famous painting.  I found a picture from WWII, where the US Navy used the system to transfer sailors between ships.  It really makes you appreciate the helicopter today.  Below is Homer's painting from Wikipedia commons.  I would hope to be half the artist Winslow was and I would consider myself a success.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The painting process - The "Yawl" Sloop sailing yacht

Above is the process I used for the oil painting of the sailing boat which is called a Yawl based on the configuration of the sails and masts.  I started with the pencil sketch and I liked the results.  I then did a colored pencil study for figuring out my colors.  I darkened the sea in the foreground and greyed the sky on the horizon since I liked it more than the yellow grey of the sketch.  I don't always follow this process but I find I get better results if I work these things out before commiting to the actual oil painting.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Tug, part 3

Happy Sunday night, this is a simple black and white pen study of a tug with a line back to a tow.  This is an exercise in practicing ship drawing but also a way to look at a picture and plan out the light and dark sections.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Schooner Amistad

I am not who made this ship but it is a re-creation of the Schooner Amistad.  This ship was transporting slaves from Africa and they managed to free themselves and then landed in the U.S.  They were not re-enslaved and it was a historic first in the U.S.  This re-created ship visited D.C. a few years back and this is a pencil sketch of her.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Three Mast Sailing Ship

Part of the fun of living in Maryland is the access to the Chesapeake Bay and the numbers of Tall Ships which are always cruising through the area.   I have a fair amount of reference photos of many of these ships.  This a pencil sketch from an old historic photo.  I can always find books about the sea and ships with black and white photos.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tugboat - Part 2

This is another sketch in my sketchbook of ships, which is about half sailing ships and half Tugboats.  So this Tug is in choppy seas and is off to calmer waters.  These sketches are part of my evening routine of decompression from the day's work.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


I have certain interests on different subjects.  Some I know why I am interested in them because of childhood memories or other experiences.  I don't know where my fascination with Tugboats came from but I have a collection of my photos and others of these workhorse of the waterways of the world.  Some I have drawn pictures of these Tugs.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

White Breasted Nuthatch

Long Day at work, so I will post a yard bird, It is a White Breasted Nuthatch.  These are not too afraid of humans and eat a lot of bugs off our trees in the backyard.  Done with my favorite medium for birds - colored pencils.

Monday, June 2, 2014


Let's go to Greece, Athens, and look from the plaka up to the Parthenon.  This is a quickie watercolor done in Athens way back in 2003.  It is the only watercolor I like from this trip.  The trip was great but the art still needed work and reinforced to me the need to work harder.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Maynard Dixon, Part 2

This is another Maynard Dixon sketch of a Yaqui Woman from Southern California or Southern Arizona.  He would travel through out the West and would paint and sketch people and the landscape.  This is what I aspire to in my retirement or really it will be my second career.