Saturday, November 11, 2017

Digital Doodle

Today, I had the chance to take my son to one of his multiple and varied soccer games and sit with the other parents watching their children play.  I will confess, however, that there was this beautiful little tree, in front of my car that seemed to be begging me for a sketch.  So, I decided to try my first digital drawing, using my iPad Pro and the Procreate app.  I kept one eye on the game, and the other on the treee.  I’m not convinced that I’ve got what it takes to do things digitally, but it was fun playing aound with the strokes.  What was equally interesting is being able to watch the videos that the application automatically makes as you create your little doodle.  I’ve included it here as well.

The end of the game came so fast that I was unable to add much foliage, but I enjoyed playing around with the texture of the bark and the undulating branches.  While I am not yet the master cross-hatcher, like my friend France Van Stone, I love a good doodle with layering lines.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Smitty's Golden Fish

Back in March, I had the chance to visit some people that I have grown to love, in a city that I miss...Rome, Georgia.  There is an older gentleman that lives there who is "one in a million."  I'm not sure I've met anyone as humble, as positive, and as optimistic as he is.  He never speaks ill others, and is the quiet champion of those who need a helpful hand, a friend, or a warm embrace.  His name is James, but everyone knows him as SMITTY.  Sadly, I heard recently that his son, who was instrumental in watching over Smitty, passed away.
There are a lot of great people in the world, and then there are the gems, the people that are just golden, through and through.  I've found that there is a pattern with these amazing people...they become who they are because of the way that they choose to handle very difficult circumstances.  They let the hard times spur them to eagerly seek out those who are downtrodden and they quietly, yet sensitively tend to their needs.

I consider Smitty to be one of the GOLDEN ones. This week's letter and envelope go out to him. I painted a "Golden" fish on his envelope, to let him know that I see him as brilliant and amazing.
Here's how it came out.

Here's a picture of Smitty and I during our last visit.  This is what it feels like to be in the presence of true goodness.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

New Week, New Envelopes

I skipped a week in doing any type of artwork, and I have missed posting.  This weekend, however, I "caught up" on my goal of doing an envelope and a friendly letter to somebody weekly.  Both of the doodles this week go to people at work.

A couple of days ago, I witnessed the very sad occasion of a co-worker being informed that her father had just passed away, and that he was in a different country.  She is relatively young still, and I was heart broken to see her sadness.  I chose to include in her condolence letter the same poem that I sent to a previous recipient, about the ship and how it relates to dying.  Consequently, I felt it was appropriate to do a little painting of an old fashioned clipper, a sea ship.  This was done in gouache and I enjoyed playing with the blues and yellows.  Here is how it came out:

The second envelope that I completed this week was also for a co-worker.  This gentleman has been working at the location that I manager for over 40 years.  I think it was difficult for him to make the decision to move to the next chapter of his life, as I'm sure it is with anyone who has really dedicated him or herself to an industry for such a long time.  I chose to sketch a picture of a bird, ready to fly off to a higher perch, since I'm secretly a little jealous that he is at a point that he can step away from it, to find freedom with his family in this new part of his life.  I've still got a number of years before being able to reach such a stage, but I'm hoping to keep my wings ready for flight, for when the opportunity presents itself...
This also was done in gouache:

Saturday, September 30, 2017


Very recently, I had a friend reach out to me requesting that I paint an orchid for her, in the same format of my envelopes, (with a blank place or placard for a name) so that she could have the image somehow put onto the urn that will be used for her mother's ashes.  I was sorry to hear about her mother's passing, but intrigued with the request to 1)- do something for an urn, and 2)- paint an orchid of some kind.
Ashamedly, I'll admit, that I have never given much attention to orchids, having never really been around them much.  Yet, as I reviewed the multiplicity of types of orchids, it was impressive to see just how delicate, yet how beautiful of a flower an orchid can be.  This is the first time trying to paint such a thing...normally I stick with the critters or animals that are either climbing upon a flower, or that will eat one as lunch.  Hopefully, it does justice for the intent of the final image.

This was done in gouache and pen and ink, with a background of acrylic.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Snails and Mountains

This weekend I was able to knock out a couple more envelopes for people.  The first one is going out "SNAIL MAIL" to an unsuspecting recipient.  I spend so much time at work digitally communicating with others that it is really a joy to create something, some meaningful communication, via regular email.  I'm sure that as technology advances ever onward, the good ol' US Post office will continue to slide into irrelevance.  But, I'm happy that I'm doing my part each week to make a stamped letter retain its wonder.

The second letter is headed out to the last of the crew that I spoke of in a previous post.  It's taken me a bit, but finally have finished a letter to each of the group of friends from yester-year. I was driving the other day towards the Superstition Mountains before the sun came up and I was in awe of the multiple shades of blue and purple of the layered bluffs in contrast to the pink and every brightening sky.  I decided to try my hand at another landscape to catch those colors. Now that it's done, I'm on the hunt for new recipients.

The first was done mainly in gouache with a hint of pen and ink to outline.  The second almost entirely with acrylic, but with a slight amount of prismacolor.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Wings for a Grandmother

The paternal grandmother of my wife is a sweet, gentle and caring individual.  Over the past few years her health has declined, and a mind that was once sharp and buoyant has grown dimmer as she has ailed.  At this point someone always has to be with her to keep her safe from the affects of dementia and a weakening body.  However, she still loves to sit down and look at pictures and to sing whatever words are in front of her.
After her first husband passed away, whenever she saw a butterfly, she felt it was a sign that he was near and watching over her.  
Today's envelope and letter (to words I hope she will sing) is going out to her.

This one was done with gouache, with an acrylic background.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Complimentary Colors

My son just recently began to find a deeper interest in color, the color wheel, color theory, etc. due to an art class that he is taking in junior high.  This week we spoke about complimentary colors, how they look when they are put together in a composition, how to correctly shade by mixing the complimentary color, etc..  Because of the lesson, I chose this week to play around with blues and oranges.  Thankfully, with a little more weekend time than normal, due to the Labor Day holiday, I was able to spend a little more focus on detail.  This is the result....another envelope to be sent to an unsuspecting recipient.

I've mentioned before that I love fish.  We have a tank in the house and I find that when things are crazy, it is very therapeutic for me to just sit in front of the tank and watch the little guys float here and there.  There is so much in nature that could be enjoyed, so many indications that there is a benevolent creator who has specifically made beautiful things for us to see, touch, and be intrigued with.

This was done almost entirely in gouache, and the background is done in acrylic.