Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I guess it was pretty obvious what subject would be up next after yesterday's posting. So here we go . . . run zebras, run!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Time once again to wonder through the archives after a weekend of yard work and social engagements. To get back to work today, I've been digging through files of reference and pulled out several stacks of photos this morning. Now, after a late lunch, beginning to see some ideas taking shape on the board and in my head! Bet you can't figure out what subjects might be up next? I love the two-headed zebra or is it a push-me, pull-me?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Three weeks from tomorrow, September 17th, the 23rd Annual Miniatures and More Show and Sale will take place at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming. As noted in an earlier posting here, I am delighted to have a work of mine included in this year's show. This link will take you to the on line catalog page with my work on it as well as the links for registering to bid on line. It's a tremendous show of spectacular works from artists from all across the States and some from foreign shores as well. If you are near Jackson why not check out the event!

Monday, August 23, 2010

'Cat and Mouse'
image size 13 1/4"x5 1/4"

I really enjoyed working this very vertical composition and it has given me some good ideas for future works with a similar feel.

I thought it might be of interest to show the pencils that were used on this just completed work. Though the work itself is rather small and on first glance does not seem to encompass a variety of tonal value changes, there are indeed many. These fifteen pencils, spread out on my drawing board and left just as they sat when I signed my name to the work about twenty minutes ago, are the 'tools' that were used to create this work. From left to right, beginning with the wood encased Faber Castel, we have a 3H, next in the lead holder - HB, then a Turquoise 8H, a 4B, a 6H, a 3H in the next lead holder with the red end followed by the blue lead holder containing an H lead, then the red lead holder with my trusty 2H (Jack of all trades!), then three more lead holders with 5H, F and B respectively, 2B next followed by two more wood encased leads in 9H and HB grades, and sneaking in on the bottom of the shot another Faber Castel B grade pencil. Since most of the darker areas of the piece were worked in my usual manner of building up layer upon layer of graphite to the desired intensity, some of the softer grades were only used at the very end to bring out that intensity and therefore just a stroke or two of that softer lead sufficed. Other grades, such as some of the harder upper number Hs were also used quite sparingly, mostly to indicate the clouds and tone down some of the subtler light tones. You may also notice, on closer inspection of the photo, the variation in the 'business end' of the pencils, some with points and some with blunt ends. As I have talked about many times before, all these variations in point degrees do different things and result in different levels and intensities of grey value.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Considering that, of the last several works completed, a couple were within squares and others were in my usual compositional format of rectangular-ly horizontal, this one should surprise. I know, not much to see so far and not much here to figure it all out, just a little sliver of the current 'puzzle'. But, it does have somewhat of a connection, actually several connections, to some very recently completed works. Come back and check out the next installment!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What fun, one of 'those days' for me today. Won't detail the events but glad I had not planned on studio time today! I shall get back to it tomorrow and last Friday's posting should give a substantial hint as to what might be coming up next.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

This one is going quickly, image size being only 7" square, and I guess another hour/hour and a half to go. I suppose I could try and finish it up today, but then I think a fresh look at what is here so far in the morning will tell me what, if anything, I will have to do to the work already here to tighten, darken, diddle a bit more, before I go for the final strokes. Ah yes, another square composition!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Been puttering around today with something new. Lions again! This one may wring out all the lion inspiration in me for a bit when it's done. But, Africa seems to have taken hold of me of late and I am sure yet another work with an African theme may come after this one.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday the thirteenth! Where is August going? Actually, it's not going fast enough for me and it's welcome to take its humidity and heat and lousy thunder storms and git.

Have spent a delightful afternoon digging through reference material once again. I think I have been sufficiently reacquainted with my African travels with the last two works and think there will be more on that subject to come in the next weeks. It feels good to have a bit of African inspiration once again as it has been quite some time since I have really revisited memories and experiences from that fantastic continent.

So, this is what is currently sitting on my drawing board . . . a guess as to what might be showing up in the near future? I can not imagine what I might have come home with if I had digital technology with me on the last couple of trips. Alas, I don't think digital cameras were even around except for the very last trip almost ten years ago now. Well, I've got plenty of prints and slides to dig through yet, so off for another glass of iced tea and another hour or two of digging around in the files.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Yesterday's work centered on continuing to build up dimension to the rocks, tightening up shadows and a bit of work on the male lion. It's getting there and should be finished tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Before I head out for a morning hike along the creek, here is where things stand this morning. Yesterday was a rather rocky day! It should be pretty obvious that I am enjoying all that noodling. Rocks rock!

Monday, August 09, 2010

As my work day begins in the studio today, here is the way things lay on the drawing board. I've replaced the texture of tree bark with the texture of rock and once again, this work is going to be all about the textures.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

I'm about to settle down to a couple of hours of work now, but here is yesterday's work on this new piece. Yes, lions again, but this time not so square!

Saturday, August 07, 2010


As is pretty evident from the images of the last two works off the drawing board, I have spent a bit of time recently, composing within the square. I have talked about working within a square field before but thought, since these most recent works are fresh in the wind so to speak, that it might make sense to revisit the idea of working within this interesting geometric shape.

Up till about five years ago, I might have counted on the fingers of one hand, all the works that I had done in the previous twenty years working within a square format. Long time observers of my work will have noted some time ago that my preferred compositional format tends to be in long, horizontal rectangles. I've made mention, often, of the Golden Rectangle and its adjunct ratios and proportions and how it has shown up time and time again in both art and architecture over the centuries. I certainly have availed myself of this sharp compositional structure in many of my works over the years. It is rather fool proof in establishing a very appealing position for main and secondary subjects in a work of art.

But when it comes to working out an interesting composition and assemblage of subjects within the bounds of a square, I have tended to stay away until quite recently, and now have a better feel for ideas that seem to suit a square field.

Just as it often has taken repeated study of and constant reference to certain subjects, which I have not had a long history of working with, before I hit a comfort level of knowledge of that particular animal say, I have needed to challenge myself every once in a while to tackle an idea in a square. As I jokingly say quite often, 'I think I have reached a point where I can draw elephants standing on my head, in my sleep!' This, simply, because I have drawn them so often and spent so much time observing in nature and at zoos, that the subject is now almost second nature to me. On the other hand, since I don't often draw moose and have only a minimum of first hand reference to cull through, I need to spend more time making decisions on how I might incorporate that particular subject in a work as I know it is going to take a bit more thought, sketching and prelim work before I feel comfortable introducing a moose to my drawing board!

In intentionally deciding to have, in inventory at any given moment, a nice range of square frames in different sizes, I've set a goal of not only making use of this expensive inventory but also, as mentioned before, of setting up a challenge to find ways of working within the square.

In these last five or so years, using this challenge to refine ideas and become more comfortable working within a square, I now feel pretty confident that when I go to my stock of frames in the basement to pull out three or four varying shapes and sizes to act as sparks and starting points for thoughts about upcoming works, I will generally add at least one square frame to the lot. As an aside here, when you have as many frames in inventory as I usually do (and all my artist friends know just how many that might be!), digging around and pulling out a random selection of frames to haul up to the studio before doing any initial sketching out of ideas, forces me to make use of that huge inventory and often prods me to rework old ideas that have sat around for ages, refining them, reworking them and refitting them to suit a frame on hand.

So, with all that background, I wanted to post a sampling of works that have come off my drawing board in the last few years, all within the square format. This first group are primarily portrait pieces and small in scale, maybe no larger than five inches square in most instances. Portraits are very easy to work into a square and for me at any rate, often act as finished prelim ideas for larger works. Since all of these were relatively small works, the compositional ideas are quite spare, interest level laying with the expression or the play of light and shadow.

This second group of six works are all larger pieces, ranging up to about ten inches square. Since these are larger pieces and there was more room to work out ideas, they are a bit more involved and not all just portraits. Other than in the top two works, the raven and the tiger cub, the subjects of the other four works are all off center, in most instances positioned by making use of the Rule of Thirds .

In this last group of four works, these are larger squares yet again, allowing for even more development of ideas and interest level. A bit of study will reveal again, a good use of the 'sweet spots' of the 'Rule of Thirds'. You can't go wrong in using any one or more of those four focal points as placement for subject matter.
I have no doubt that there will be many more squares in my future on the drawing board but for now, it is time for me to get back to work on the current piece, which has about four hours of work so far and many more to go!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

A couple of hours of work today and this one is done. Cub Scouts is 9" square. The next one up on the board will be a bit larger and perhaps a bit more 'rocky'!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Short work time today as I have some errands to run this afternoon, so here is the current work to this point. I am within a few hours of completion so it might be finished up tomorrow.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Before work begins today, and that is after I have run out to ship off my work for inclusion in the Society of Animal Artists' 50th Anniversary Show in San Diego next month, I wanted to post this link to my page on the National Museum of Wildlife Art's site. They have just posted all the works, both two and three dimensional as well as lovely pieces of jewelery, that are included in this year's Western Visions Miniatures and More which also occurs later next month. I am thrilled to have a work of mine included in this year's event along with that of many other fantastic internationally respected artists from this country and abroad.


Here is yesterday and today's work on the current piece, being posted at 4:15. I wonder if the connection between this work and the one I completed a couple days ago, can be discerned?

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Here we go, Africa Ho!
Spent an hour last night just getting things going on this one. It is going to be a fun piece as there is going to be a lot of tree texture and soft lion fur to balance it out. Of course texture is the key here, as there is not going to be a lot more going on, so the focus of this work is going to be playing up all that interesting tree bark. I think by the time this one is done, I am going to be smelling acacia wood!