Sunday, August 31, 2014

Rocky Mountains

This is another example of a sketch with pen and ink of mountains.  It is always useful to be able to analyse a scene into lights and darks.  This is not my original but is a style I liked and it is similar to what the well known artist and teacher Kevin MacPherson recommends as a pre-painting sketch to plan out your painting prior to starting out.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sunset and backlit Oak

I started this oil painting today and blocked in the basic tree shape over a subtle sunset sky.  I will further refine the "sky holes" where the sky and the light peek through the foliage.  I plan to also add some subtle toned blue, green, and darks as a way to add depth to the foliage of the tree and to its trunk.    This is a good start after about an hours work.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Nandi Warrior, part 2 - Ray Nestor style

This is another Kenyan Nandi Warrior done in the style of the artist - Ray Nestor.  I was very intrigued with his line work on the face.  He used the width, curves and angles to give the face structure while still representing the dark pigmentation.  I have never seen any one else do this and have done this version of it to help me remember it.  I have my own pictures of Maasai tribesmen and will use this technique to draw them.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Nandi Warrior - Ray Nestor Style

This is an ink drawing of a Nandi warrior.  Ray Nestor did this style of art of the Nandi people of Kenya about 100 years ago in Kenya.  Ray was a soldier in the First World War and then he went back to farming in Kenya.  He did a fair amount of art while in Kenya.  I think his handling of his ink drawings of the Nadi are among his best and I have tried to emulate it here.  Some Kenyans still will dress this way on the special occasions in life.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Caribbean Cove

Twenty-two years ago, I supported Haitian Refugee operations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  Near our camp we had a small beach and cove.  I did not have a lot of time off but, I did this sketch with colored pencils on a Sunday afternoon.  There was a lost anchor sticking out of the surf.  The fluke is sticking out of the water on the left middle of the sketch.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Black Tailed Praire Dog

Another long day at work , so I will post a sketch from another day.  This is the Black Tailed Prairie Dog, resident of the prairies of the United States and interesting cute little beast.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sinai Peninsula

Work ran late so I did not work on the Marabou Stork but, I will try to get to that later in the week.  Tonight, I pulled out an old water color pencil sketch from 1991 on the Sinai Peninsula.  This is from a mountain top in Egypt looking across the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia.  It was morning and I took about 20   notes to try and capture the beauty of the view.  Hopefully I can go back someday and paint this in oils.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Red-Checked Cordon Bleu - Kenya Bird

This strangely named little sparrow sized bird was my first day light bird in Kenya.  It was on a small trail near my hotel with monkeys.  It was very bright interesting looking bird which definitely caught my eye.  I looked through the bird guide book and easily IDed it since it was so unique looking.  It is the first daylight bird because the night birds were these huge ugly Marabou Storks in these trees in downtown Nairobi on the way from the airport.  It was a little scary and very Hitchcock "Birds: movie looking.  I will post the Marabou Stork later and you will understand.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Astilbe flower

I jump between oil painting and drawing.  Usually I return to drawing as frustration hits in the painting.  It seems to sharpen the painting and always is a good thing to work on as your drawing skills can never be too good.  This is an Oil Painting exercise done in about 1 hour to get me back into the painting mode.  I have roughed in the basic colors, the flowers are ok, but I think I will let this sit and I will lighten and better structure the leaves.  The background will get a more varied treatment to add depth to it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Guinea Hen

I saw Guinea Hens in Mombasa, Kenya.  They are squat strange dinosaur looking things, especially with the horn on there heads.  They are very efficient at cleaning your grass of insects.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Grey-Crowned Crane

This is a quick sketch of Grey-Crowned Cranes.  I used colored pencils and quickly captured the likenesses and I tried to get the movements.

Monday, August 18, 2014


One of my favorite animals is the Lioness.  We saw these in Kenya and they definitely are the royalty of the Maasai Mara.  We saw about twelve of them to include two who had killed a gazelle.  They had blood on their mouths as they cooled down from the heat of the chase.  Below is a picture of some of the Lionesses and some young males.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

California Gull

Tonight's sketch is the California Gull.  It is the state bird of Utah since they nest out on the Salt Lake and they ate the crickets which threatened the first crops the Mormons planted back in 1847-48 time frame.  The Gulls always hang out near the beaches and I remember them hanging out in Denver on occasion especially during bad summer weather.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Wolves - S Design by Ernest Thompson Seton

I chose this simple sketch based off a Turn of the Century (1900s) artist Ernest Thompson Seton design.  This is an example of an S shaped design.  The S starts with the Buffalo across the horizon.  The farthest wolf and the nearer wolf turned 3/4 away from the viewer completes the downward movement and begins the middle cross of the S.  The wolf tracks and the two buffalo skulls finish the S design's bottom.  This type of design leads the viewer's eyes through the scene and creates interest.  I will use some of these simple but effect sketches to show you, the reader some of the great things going on in some of these pieces of art.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Crow Woman

This is a sketch of a Crow Woman statue.   I found this picture in an art magazine and liked the design.  I sketched it.  Sketching from statues is a classic art training technique though usually it is not done from non-classic Greek or Roman statues.  I liked this variant and catered it.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Skeletal studies

I have a half-filled sketchbook of skeletal sketches.  They are part of the skills to improve drawing skills.  I have a few sketches done from skulls.  I would like to do some full skeletal sketches from life but that will have to wait till retirement from the regular job and then I can spend sometime at the Natural History Museums.  These are helpful in understanding the anatomy of the animals and people, plus they make for an interesting change and some variety in the sketches.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

White Tailed Deer

This is not my original design but it came from a Classic Disney animator.  Walt Disney once said a great animator would know how to draw a subject and then would know how to draw the essences of the subject through caricature.  This is an excellent idea and part of what ever artist should strive for in their work, to capture the essences of the subject.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I changed things up and I had tired of monotone pencil drawings so I drew this sketch of a Moose in fall foliage with colored pencils.  The Moose is one of those odd creatures, noble and swift but with the odd long nose.  I do like those large wide spade like horns.  Stay clear of the males in mating season they will chase you and run you up a tree or stomp you.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Giraffe sketch

Tonight's sketch is a Giraffe.  We saw these beautiful animals in the Maasai Mara in Kenya.  They were one of the many animals we saw but these are some of the most graceful and serene of the Earth's creatures.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Wagon Wheel repair

More drawing today, the challenge of art is your desire to produce a piece usually is restricted by your ability.  Sometimes the piece comes together effortlessly, other times it is a struggle.  The answer for the struggle is to loop back to your basic skills and work on them.  So I am practicing my drawing skills and this drawing of a wagon wheel repair stand is a practice piece to work on the drawing.  Painting is drawing with a brush so they dovetail together well.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Water Gourd

Happy Saturday, I worked on this after running errands today.  The Native Americans used gourds for Water and seed storage containers.  This makes for a good drawing practice and good shadow studies.  This one was made by the Cahuilla Indians of California.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Thunderbirds - Design

Design is an important consideration which in the visual arts sometimes takes a back seat to the discussion of composition.  Design gets talked about for furniture, architecture, and models of cities, but not everyone thinks about it in art.  Too often the starting artist tries to copy things exactly as nature presents it, but the secret in drawings and paintings is they need to be designed and simplified.  The Native Americans intuitively knew this and I am always amazed and awed by the great design and simplified representations used to convey ideas.  I have copies some of these designs as in the Thunderbirds above because these simple sketches easily and superbly represent their ideas about the mythical birds which carried the Thunder through the heavens.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Another quick sketch from tonight.  This is a practice work and how I relax and de-stress from the day's work.  So enjoy and I will continue to post these for you.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Water Pump

A pencil sketch of a water pump is today's posting.  I have done this over the past two nights as part of the nightly recovery from the work day.  This is part of the 10,00 hours of practice necessary to reach mastery of a skill.  Much work is still needed but it is definitely on the way.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

American Dipper

This is a colored pencil sketch of an American Dipper.  They are probably one of the weirdest birds in the United States.  They dive into streams and walk on the bottom of the stream and eat insects off the rocks.  I had heard of them long ago, I finally saw them on the Arkansas River in the Royal Gorge area of Colorado.  We probably saw ten or twelve of them resting on the shoreline and the ice.  They are little and immune to the water and the cold.  They have strong claws to grasp the rocks under the water as it rushes by.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fishing boat sketch

I painted some today with oil and I finished up the evening relaxing with this practice sketch with pencil of a fishing boat.  I added the name of my daughter Tiffany D. to the boat for fun.  I am not sure what she would think of that, but I am sure I will know soon enough.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sketching during the short waits

I greatly admire the artist James Gurney, his blog site is Gurney's Journey which has been going since 2007.  One of the things he does is carry a sketchbook with him and he is constantly sketching.  I try to do something similar.  Above are two examples, one is the condiments from Famous Dave's restaurant and the bottom is a water cooler in a Doctor's office.  Both are pretty small but were enjoyable and a good way to spend the waiting time for food and the Doc.