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Lots of changes on the site, new theme, new mailing list, new art, new new new… Whoo it’s a bit exhausting actually.

But it’s time to clean up things and gear up for what promises to be an amazing and creative and magical new year. And with brush in hand and critical furballs by my side there’s no telling where we’re going to wind up but it’s gonna be an exciting journey!

Continue reading Ch-ch-ch-chaaanges
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23 – Farewell 2022

22 was an incredible year spent in study and exploration and a result of over 1,200 feet of drawings and studies. It was absolutely amazing. I couldn’t have done it without the amazing mentorship of drawsfromlife and Steve Huston’s instruction. The heartsight approach to create was something truly unexpected, but I can’t imagine moving forward without it. I was looking for mechanical instruction on drawing the figure but got a new way of looking at the art I’m creating as something more. To be able to think about the reflection of life in the strokes and flow of energies in a drawing and to create that with intent, that’s a daunting goal. Well both daunting and a bit audacious. But we all gotta learn to walk the walk some time.

Continue reading 23 – Farewell 2022
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A quiet sea of change

It’s been a tumultuous year.. if you’re in the future just google it.

So yeah, lots of change.. especially at the end of summer, but it feels it’s been mostly good recently which is nice. So I’ve had time to do a bit of life reset and am finding having a renewed balance is paying off dividends. Pretty happy with the latest painting ‘Guardian of the forest’ and have recently been re-discovering the joy of playing with various mediums. Lately a bunch of ink and brush has been a fun go-to. The lack of control is a nice reminder to just let go and play sometimes… and unsurprisingly… practice well.. improvement but that’s nice to see too.

Turks Cap – ink and brush on paper

And then the stars aligned and I managed to get a spot in a kind of group mentorship program with one of my art heroes for a 10 month art intensive figure drawing group. Which means probably a bit light on the painting, but I’m already having a great time rediscovering the just joy of drawing and making marks with intent.

More soon.

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The woosh of time

Wow it’s been a while since I’ve had time to write on here. So let’s sum up the first half of 2019…

Work was insane with a couple months of intense crunch that drained a lot of creative energy.. so that wasn’t so good.

I’ve been exploring art supplies and trying new things to help find out what works well for me. There’s been some surprises and some letdowns.

The Letdowns

  • Alcohol ink markers, tried a few brands on different papers and they just don’t click for me. I see people doing amazing things with them, but I’m just not a fan of actually working with them
  • Galkyid Lite, I was hoping to like this drying assistant, but compared to liquin I just found it to be quite frustrating. No matter what I did it turned tacky on the canvas before I was done and it’s started hardening inside the dropper bottle I put it into.

The Surprises

  • Hammermill Laser printer paper, this has completely replaced my paper sketchbooks, I love the weight and smoothness of it, plus it holds inks really well.
  • Colored Pencil leads for mechanical pencils, I’m not sure how I managed before. Being able to do the initial sketch in red and then draw over it with pencil or inks just really lets me be free with the initial sketch. Maybe it’s just a mental hurdle that I had to get over, but whatever it was, they’ve been a lifesaver.
  • Tombow brush pens, I’m not normally an ink fan but these rubber tipped brush pens are amazing and really have replaced most of my Micro and Prismacolor liner pens

Next up for playing with, I’ve got a stack of oil primed Linen boards that I’m excited to try out. I’ve been fighting with the cheap canvas cotton texture and I’m hoping these will give me the combination of texture and control that I’m aiming for. If not then I’ll be priming more MDF boards which has a nice subtle texture to work on.

I also went back to Fantasy Art Workshop’s Illustration Intensive again this year and it was a great and intense week. There was a lot of struggle in getting the painting going this year and while I’m pretty happy with the end result, I feel like I learned more about how to work through setback after setback than I actually did about the process of creating a piece of art. Which in hindsight, was probably what I really needed to learn more and something I couldn’t have learned at home, since I’d just have chucked the piece in the crap pile and moved on.

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Short Book Review: Big Magic

Being an artist is hard.

Hell, sometimes even just calling yourself an artist is damn near impossible without a cacophony of voices in your head proclaiming you’re wrong, unworthy, delusional, too old, too young, too happy and so on and so forth ad-nauseam. All those little fears are all of a sudden more than happy to tell you why you don’t deserve to use that word.

This book is, in part, about those fears and giving them a nice pat on the head and telling them “Thanks for your opinion, you’re wrong, now shut the fuck up and let me get back to work.”

Now before I go on, I want to say. This book was written by someone who had another book that was ridiculously successful. So much so that I almost decided to not read this book. Which, when you think about it, is an absolutely terrible way to look at things, but the gut reaction of, “oh shit that’s popular, it must be terrible.” seems to be SO ingrained in our collective psyche. (Do you know who put that thought in there? Marketing departments for other things who want that same success. Think about that for a second.)

That got me thinking, can you imagine doing something so incredible that one of your works becomes practically a household name? How do you do ANYTHING after that, let alone take a risk and write a book about fear? I’ve got fears and doubts piled high around me, but Elizabeth Gilbert’s fear and uncertainty must be the size of a mountain. So she wrote a book where she skis on that mountain and talks about falling/failing/fearing and dealing with it.

OK, on to the book itself.

Big Magic

It’s well researched, written like a nice friendly chat with an old friend who just popped around for a cup of coffee and a piece of cake and decided to have a chat about fear,creativity and the secret lives of ideas. Is it ‘Great Literature’? Will it shake the foundations of society? Will it help you make art? The answers are, I don’t know; doubtfully, but it might help you change the world; and no it won’t help you make art.

It will, however, help you to get the hell out of your own way so you can make art. That’s Big Magic in my book.

And in my opinion, that’s something we don’t talk about enough.

The book is broken down into several different sections each dealing with a step or hurdle in the creative process. Some sections I agree with more than others, and a couple times I simply had to put the book down and have an argument with myself about who was right. Even if I don’t embrace all the ideas, they have all have proven worthwhile to just stop and think about for a while. If nothing else, after reading this and arguing with my own notions, I have a much better realized version of what MY creative process means to me and how it fits into my life.

Here’s some of the little nuggets of wisdom that really resonated with me. There were plenty more in there, but these are some of the ones I can’t stop thinking about.

The only thing you have absolutely no control over is how people react to your work.

We’re so preoccupied with trying to make things that will get us ‘likes’ or some sort of external validation that we let it impact our creative choices. If you were to paint the Sistine chapel today, you’d still get people who hate it for being garish, too much nudity, and so on and so forth. Doing something that you want and being ok with people not liking it is hard on the ego, pride and spirit. I’m finding that it’s been very helpful just to simply just stare at those words and remind myself that it’s the same for all artists.

You don’t need to do autopsies of your disasters.

Tying into the previous idea of not being able to control how people react to my work is the incessant need for me to deconstruct my work once it’s complete to try and find out why people didn’t react the way I want them to. Because the endorphin rush of the phone going ‘ding’ when you get a like really is training us to have a Pavlovian response. And there’s no way that can be healthy for creativity. So how do we recognizing that, and yet still balancing it with the actual need to work on a social media presence … well if you find out the magical balance there please let me know.

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IMPOSTOR! getting over it

The most surprising thing from attending the Fantasy Art Workshop Illustration Intensive was how much it helped with overcoming the nagging self doubt of ‘impostor syndrome’. you know.. that feeling of “I guess I’m just a hobbyist, I don’t get to call myself a fantasy artist” etc etc.

You know.. all those voices in your head that chime up whenever you look at some professional’s work and realize how much better it is.

Turns out though… it’s pretty much all bullshit.  But I also know that reading it on the internet is essentially worthless in terms of actually getting you to accept it.

So you have to do something that’s probably terrifying to some degree.. go find a community art group, attend an event or workshop, go to a convention and hang out with the artists.

You’ll be amazed,  turns out they’re people too… with idols & doubts of their own.  It turns out that there isn’t a switch that gets flicked and you’re an artist.  Everyone just keeps making the best art they can and they Work at it.   But EVERYONE was terrible at some point, remembers it, and for the most part are very supportive of those of us who are still getting there. Which is funny because there is no ‘there’ go get to, we’re all on the same path, the scenery is just different further down the road, but they’re still on the road with miles to go as well.

Which is incredibly awesome.


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Pushing into the further reaches

I’m still chugging away turning out small practice paintings, getting a feel for the oils, medium and just the general nuts and bolts, I’m 5 away from the midpopint so I’m  a little behind my planned schedule, but I’m about to be a bit futher behind, because I’m going to Fantasy Art Workshops 2018 Illustration Intensive!!!!!

Yes, I’m excited (and a teensy bit terrified) 

But with it comes pre-class homework, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

The goal of the workshop is to help you make the best portfolio piece you can and provide assistance along the way, which is super cool.  But before you even come, you need to have your basic idea down and to that end we were given a choice from 12 assignments (all pretty vague but just some basic guidelines)

All Right! I immediately set down and started on the idea that popped in my head knocked out a thumbnail and started getting things ready for a more complete ‘rough sketch’ (that’s the actual assignment, bring a good rough sketch for feedback and alterations).

But…. a little voice in my head started yelling… “I don’t Love Love Love this anymore, is this really the best idea?’

Continue reading Pushing into the further reaches

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March-April Review

Olk so it’s now been just about a month since I put brush to small canvas,  I think the first one was actually started on the 13th but 10.. 10 is a nice round number so that’s how i’ll track it.

Short version, 7 paintings ‘done’, tons of fun, learned a lot, only abandoned one without any hope of redemption (#3).

Big Takeaways:

  • I have GOT to find a better way to take photos of paintings, these colors are all sorts of messed up.
  • I’m working with a very limited palette and I’m STILL overwhelmed by color choices, I attempted to mitigate that bit with #7 with mixed results.
  • Making my own greens (I’m not using any tube greens at all, everything is mixed) is so much fun!
  • I’m skipping too many steps to get to the rendering,  I need better defined blocking and resist the details until its set.
  • Finding the shadow shapes looks easy until you’re staring at a nose trying to make up your mind where it begins.


The colors on this REALLY aren’t right

This started off as a value study and it went all sorts of wrong, and then everything made it worse.. But I must admit I’m pretty happy with how a lot of the little primrose buds came out.

Limiting my Palette even more (black, white, alyzerin crimson, prussian blue and burnt umber), to try and just be able to focus on getting the proper soft/hard edges in the shoulder and neck,  which I must admit I’m quite happy with.   The wet clothes had a really neat transition from where they stick to the body and crinkle up, and I’ll be the first to admit that it was less than successful in that regard.

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Never a dull moment in cyberspace….

F$$@^&*^@ING hacker.

Well.. nothing that a clean wipe / re-install can’t fix.   

On the upside.. got a bunch of trash cleaned out and old plugins removed and the site itself loads a good bit faster.

Still painting.  Feeling more comfortable with the oils ever time…and I must admit I’m beginning to really like the smell of linseed oil.

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It’s time to go homeschool myself

There was a great thread in the Fantasy Art Workshop facebook group about sketchbooks that really got me thinking.  I love my sketchbooks, and I burn through them at a fairly terrifying rate.  And that’s ok, because in my mind they’re totally disposable, they’re just for practice.   But paintings,  those are for some reason trapped in this ‘precious item’ category where there is no room for experimentation, trial and error or anything other than execution of an already realized image.

And as a result of that mentality, I’m not painting enough.  

I need a painting equivalent of a sketchbook, permission to myself to totally f up the canvas and then just toss it.

And then Michaels sends an email that they’re now offering Bulk items. 

Like canvases.  Cheap.  And lots of them.

So I stocked up. 

 I now have a pile of  40 8 x 10 canvases are now sitting next to me ready to be played with. I’ve made a checklist of exercises that I want to do, and setting myself some basic ground rules.

  • 3 days per painting MAX before it moves to the side
  • when it is put to the side only minor tweaks, retouches allowed
  • only one painting on the side at a time.
  • Run out of canvases before August 1.

I’m so excited! Here we go…

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2017 – recap

2017 was a year of study, practice and experimenting with oils.  As such it really wasn’t a year where I had a whole lot to show for it with a couple of exceptions.

The first oil practice piece that I think wasn’t a total disaster. Was just a tiny little 3×5 scrap board

This  was what I’d call the first ‘successful’ Oil painting, ‘Gnome Home’. (18″x24″ Oil on canvas)


And a last minute Christmas present to a co-worker of their doggie.  (12″x12″ canvas acrylics)

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Working on many things

Boy did this year go whizzing by.  I’m hoping to finish up the year with one last acrylic painting. It isn’t looking like I’ll hit the 12 Paintings in a year that I hoped for.  On the other hand I did blow that goal out of the water if you measure it by surface area.  I was originally planning on 18×24 being the default size until I fell for the box 30x40s.

I’m still hoping to do all of next year in oils, but I may delay the start of that until the Jeff Miracola oil videos are launched, that would let me experiment a bit with acrylics before then.

Still having a hard time letting go of the feeling that everything has to be the most complete piece that pushes skills to the limit.  I may do a bit of a mini quickndirty Painting challenge.

But for now the end of the year looks to be coming fast and that has all sorts of repercussions to ‘free’ time.