Here’s my latest art – both traditional and digital.

Dory Boat

Dory boats are small, flat bottomed fishing boats designed to launch and land from the beach at Pacific City on the Oregon coast. Haystack Rock is a mile off the beach and is the tallest of several large rock monoliths along the Oregon coast. This is the second small 8×8 … Continue reading

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Minto Island Poppies

Click the picture to see a larger version. The local group of artists that I belong to (Artists in Action) will be holding a sale at the end of June (at the World Beat Festival in Salem) to raise money for the group. This year members are painting 8×8 inch … Continue reading

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Poppies and Lupin

I’m testing Faber-Castell Gel Sticks. These watercolors in gel form are meant for kids. They are like a twistable crayon and come in a set of 12 colors. I thought I would try them out on a flower sketch.

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She Wolf Portrait

The last two days I’ve experimented with new art supplies. I bought a new Kuretake watercolor palette. It took a month to get here from Japan. So, I was anxious to try out the colors. I decided to use a portrait reference from the Julia Kay Portrait Party group on … Continue reading

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Four Flowers

I did these small flower studies all on the same piece of paper. The first thing I did was adhere the paper to a piece of 2mm Sintra PVC panel with some brushed on acrylic soft gel medium. I let that dry for about an hour under some heavy books. … Continue reading

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On the Willamette

I did this small study today to test out how watersoluble markers work on a smooth gessoed panel. It’s like working with a limited selection of watercolors. Also I discovered that ink just sits on top of the gesso. It does not stick or sink into it. So, if you … Continue reading

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Daffodils in the Woods

I’m looking for a way to do plein air paintings without carrying brushes or water or wet media. I did this small study to see how tempera paint sticks and brush markers handle on canvas panel. I laid in the major areas of color with the paint sticks first and … Continue reading

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Camellia Bush

  This bush is in our backyard. It’s in full bloom. I’ve been glancing at it throughout the day thinking about how I’d approach sketching it with paint sticks dabbing on the pure color. Finally, before dinner I found the time to sit down and try out my plan. Fabriano … Continue reading

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Donnottar Castle Scotland

Sketching from Google Street View. Testing tempra paint sticks on smooth paper with water. Strathmore Mixed Media 400 Series 9×12 inch (22.9×30.5 cm) paper, pencil, Mod Tempra Paint sticks, Arteza flat waterbrush, ArtGraf Viarco 6B water-soluble pencil, Kuretake #13 brush fountain pen with Platinum Carbon Black ink, and Molotow 2mm … Continue reading

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Freehand vs Traced Underdrawing

Today I did two small sketches (3.5×6 inches each) of the same photo reference to compare sketching freehand and sketching using a traced underdrawing. I did the freehand sketch first.

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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 … Continue reading

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Willamette River

Winter in the Willamette Valley has its own stark beauty – cold and gray. I thought charcoal would be the best medium to express this scene interpreted from a personal photo.

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Yachats Trees Block 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 … Continue reading

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Sun Over Mountain

This little print (4×6 inches, 10×15 cm) is the culmination of two weeks research and planning and gathering of materials and tools. It is my first attempt at printing in color. It uses six plates to print six colors.

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Nikki – Linocut

When I first moved to Oregon and lived out in the country, I got a puppy to keep me company. I called her Nikki (wild dog of the north). She was a Collie / Husky mix – a very smart, sweet dog. I used this photo of her as a … Continue reading

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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


The Orchard

The Orchard

The Orchard

I’m starting to get the hang of this sketching stuff. My proportions are getting better and I’ve developed a process I like. I start by framing an area in my journal with blue tape, and then I lay out the scene using an orange erasable highlighter.

The Orchard - Layout

The Orchard – Layout

I divided the frame in half both vertically and horizontally and sketched in the major shapes in each quadrant. Then I drew the blackest blacks with a brush pen.

The Orchard - Brush Pen

The Orchard – Brush Pen

Finally I added detail with an extra fine nib pen mainly drawing the darks rather than the contours.

The Orchard - Extra Fine Nib Pen

The Orchard – Extra Fine Nib Pen

This is a small sketch – 5.5 x 3.5 inches. Here is what it looks like on the journal page.

The Orchard - Journal Page

The Orchard – Journal Page

I then used a hairdryer to heat up the drawing which erases the orange highlighter.


The Flowers That Bloom in May

The Flowers That Bloom in May Cover

The Flowers That Bloom in May PDF (10.5 MB)

During the month of May I challenged myself to draw every day. I chose as my theme the flowers in our backyard. I’ve been spending the last month and a half writing a journal about the project, which contains a gallery of all my sketches and field notes about my methods, materials, thoughts, and discoveries.

The Flowers That Bloom in May” – PDF (68 pages, 10.5 MB)

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Sebright Gardens Sketch

Sebright Gardens Sketch

Sebright Gardens Sketch

This morning I drove north to the Sebright Gardens for my first visit. Salem’s Artists in Action group was meeting there for one of their Paint the Town outings. So, in addition to checking out the garden I also wanted to meet the group. I talked with Melody and Merren and learned about the group and their activities and meetings. Both were very gracious and welcoming.

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There’s No Place Like Home

Backyard Acrylic Sketch

Backyard Acrylic Sketch

If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with“.

I’m continuing my quest to find the perfect materials for painting on location. This isn’t it, but I’m getting closer.

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Founder’s Square

Founder's Square

Founder’s Square

Saturday I drove to the Oregon Garden. Cold and clear. A perfect day to get out for a walk in the garden and catch up on my homework for Liz Steel’s Sketching Now Foundations course. Founder’s Square is a large open structure that’s used sometimes for outdoor weddings. In the summer it’s surrounded by vegetable gardens. Up the hill is the garden resort. I knew ahead of time that I wanted to sketch either the resort or the large structure which is Founder’s Square. I have walked here many times and photographed the location from various vantage points. The view of the resort did not appeal to me. So, I walked around the square to pick the best angle for context. I wanted to show the structure’s placement in relation to the gardens and resort. I was also looking for depth and composition with a photographer’s eye. I picked a spot that had a foreground, middle ground, and background (for depth) and that was out of the way of foot traffic (although there was hardly anyone else around).

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New Paints

Toy Palette

Toy Palette

I got some new watercolor paints for Christmas. Above are the original colors that came in a small toy palette I got as a stocking stuffer. The colors were really weak. So, I replaced them with my other major present which was a set of Daniel Smith watercolors.

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Constructing Volumes

Art Books

Art Books

Week 4 assignment for Liz Steel’s Sketching Now Foundations course. We are learning to construct volumes. In this exercise we first draw a wireframe outline as if we can see through the objects. I used a red Pilot FriXion erasable pen. Then we add black ink, and then watercolor. I erased the red lines with a hairdryer (heat erases the FriXion ink, cold brings them back). These are three of my favorite art books – “Art and Visual Perception” by Rudolf Arnheim, “Van Gogh’s Flowers and Landscapes” by Janice Anderson, and “Varieties of Visual Experience” by Edmund Burke Feldman. I’ve been practicing drawing straight lines. I think it is starting to pay off. My lines are looking less wobbly. It’s hard to get the angles and sizes right. I didn’t get the top book right to start with and that effected everything else. Also, lettering is hard when it’s on a slanting surface. I didn’t know how to do white lettering. I used a white charcoal pencil, but it didn’t show up very well on the light blue book. Also, I need to practice doing background washes. I should start with a juicier mix and work faster.


People Practice

Eye Doctor Waiting Room

Eye Doctor Waiting Room

Drawing in the eye doctor’s waiting room. The place is crowded today. Lots of interesting faces. Some closer, some further away. Getting better with practice at capturing likeness and pose.

Stillman & Birn Zeta series spiral bound 5.5 x 8 notebook, Kaweco Sport fountain pen with extra fine nib, Noodler’s Bulletproof Black ink.

I also did one sketch on my iPod Touch just to compare.

iPod Touch People Practice

iPod Touch People Practice

This was done using the ArtRage app. I was fighting the user interface. It’s hard to select colors and change brushes.