Traditional Art

Painting, drawings, and sketches done with traditional media such as pen and ink, pencil, watercolor, and oil paint.



Slide Miniatures

Slide Miniatures

Slide Miniatures

The other day I found a box of cardboard heat-seal 35mm slide mounts and an old custom built slide mounting press. I wondered if it still worked and if so, how I might put it to good use. It occurred to me that I could do miniature paintings and frame them in slide mounts as a novelty. They might make interesting business cards.

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Yachats Trees Block Print

Color #7 - Black

Yachts Trees Final Print

This is a seven color hand-pulled print 6×6 inches (15.2×15.2 cm). There are 10 prints in this edition.

Some projects take a long time to complete. I worked on the first six colors over the course of several weeks last Spring. Then the project sat on the shelf for six months until I figured out how I was going to print the final black layer.

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Birches Block Print

Birches Block Print

Birches Block Print

I made this print from a printing plate made out of card stock. I used scissors and an Xacto knife to cut up card stock and I then glued the pieces to another piece of card stock using Elmer’s white glue and then glued the whole thing to a thin sheet of wood. I sealed the plate by painting it with a thin coat of acrylic gloss medium. Here’s what the plate looked like before I inked it up for printing.

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Almond Orchard – Block Print

Almond Orchard - Print 1

Almond Orchard – Print 1

I got some Speedball linocut carving tools and a couple of rubber printing plates for Christmas. I’ve never tried relief printing before. I spent about a week researching relief printing techniques and subjects. The toughest part for me was choosing a subject. I’ve been working with a full range of values and colors in watercolor and acrylics. It was hard to switch my thinking to just black and white. I looked through my collection of sketches and photographs, and picked out a few that were high contrast.  One was a picture of my father’s almond orchard.

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Canadian Aspens

Canadian Aspens

Canadian Aspens

These aspen trees are on the road between Lake Louise and Jasper, Alberta, Canada. I took the reference photo on our honeymoon trip in 1975. I painted two of these for Christmas gifts – one for my wife and one for our daughter.

Acrylic on Gessobord. 6×6 inches (15.2×15.2 cm).

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A Blue Day in the City

A Blue Day in the City

A Blue Day in the City

I’ve been meaning to try this for quite a while. I bought a cheap plastic one inch putty knife with the idea of using it to spread some paint around just to see what kinds of marks it can make. I then used a dip pen to add some detail with acrylic ink.

Acrylic on paper, palette knife and dip pen. 5.5 x 7.5 inches (13.5 x 18.5 cm).

Jim

Paint the Town Exhibit

Paint the Town Exhibit

My three paintings in the Paint the Town Exhibit

I finally got to the Elsinore Gallery on the last day of the exhibit and took this photo with my iPod Touch. One of my three paintings was awarded an Honorable Mention. I thought that was pretty cool for my first time out.

Jim

Broken Ankle Sketch

Broken Ankle Sketch

Broken Ankle Sketch

This morning I was looking at the sketch I did in the ambulance and began wondering how realistic or accurate a sketch has to be to capture a moment or describe an event.

Ambulance Sketch

Ambulance Sketch

The lines are shakey. My foot is barely recognizable. Most people would judge it a “bad” sketch. Yet, for me, it takes me there and I remember everything. The EMT who was riding with me was named Patrick. I remember what we talked about during the ride, how long it took, what the route was, that the siren was not on…everything, and I realized that the amount of realism in the sketch was irrelevant. A sketch is a diagram of an experience. There is a crossover to other senses and memory neurons when you draw and it works much like a certain smell or melody does to trigger feelings or memories.

So, today, instead of doing a carefully layed out drawing of my surroundings, I’m doing a quick pen sketch. The proportions are all wrong, the objects look wonky, and the lines look scratchy, but that’s the place and situation all right. There is my bag of pens and pencils, my medications, my sketchbook, my foot in a cast, my crutches, and all the surrounding mess that is our family room and a bit of the kitchen. When I look at it, I know that the lines look that way partially because my wrist and arms hurt so much from using those crutches and I know that the pain in that foot has kept me awake for two nights. That is the magic of sketching. It’s a process of observing through movement of the hand and arm. The extra time and effort it takes makes it much more potent than a photograph. At least for the artist.

Broken Ankle Photo

Broken Ankle Photo

Jim