Friday, December 23, 2016

Another Christmas Can

Years ago, I tried a little painting on some tin cans.  It was fun to play on that surface, and so I continued to paint on them.  Almost every year since, I've painted something related to the nativity or Christ during the Christmas holiday.  I wondered if I was going to find the time this year since things have been crazy with work and other demands.  But, thankfully, I was able to finish this up tonight, with one whole day to spare before the holiday. This is the largest can I've painted thus far, I've had it crushed and primed for a few years just sitting in my desk amongst other cans.  Now it's finally used up.  I hope you enjoy, and more importantly, I hope you have a beautiful and introspective Christmas season whereupon you can reflect upon the greatest gifts that life has afforded you.        

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Super Doodle

This week has been crazy busy with work, Christmas prep, concerts for the boys and a host of other things.  Consequently, I've had little time to knock out much in the art department.  I'm hoping to paint another Christmas themed Can before the actual day arrives...we'll see about that.  Nevertheless, I did find time to knock out an envelope to a couple that I have long admired and that I consider heroes in the most important areas of life.  The letter goes in the mail tomorrow...  

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Nuts for Envelopes

Yup, had to come back to the envelope thing...still loving sending out little doodles to unsuspecting people inside of my realm of influence.  This one is for a dear friend who is a little nuts (hence the squirrel) from back in Georgia.  A person who, despite having to face some sincere challenges in her life, has been stalwart and passionate about moving forward and making the best out of circumstances that are put in her way.  I'm so grateful to know her and her great example.....also, I kinda miss all the squirrels that we so often saw while living in Georgia.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Honorable Native American

Alas, with the Thanksgiving holiday upon me, I have found a few extra minutes to keep doodling.  Today I found a rather dignified and intriguing old photograph of a Native American Indian Chief.  This afternoon I sketched him and reflected upon the richness of what his history must have been.  His facial expression drew me in, he's someone I would have liked to know.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Naked Turkey Restored

A few years ago, to have some fun with the kiddos during the Thanksgiving holiday, I drew a naked turkey badly in need of some feather covering.  Then we drew feathers, put them on the empty plates before Thanksgiving dinner, and wrote on each feather what we were grateful for.  We then put the feathers on the turkey, to cover his nakedness, and as a reminder to us of the many things with which we have been blessed.  It was fun to see everyone's feathers, as well as have a little activity to get the family talking and discussing the real "meat" of the Thanksgiving season.  I couldn't find a decent version of the file I created a few years ago, so I redid it, painted it and painted new feathers for people to use for this year's holiday.

 By clicking on the actual picture, it should bring up a fairly good resolution picture you can print, cut out, and put on your wall if you want to have a little activity for your family this year.  Please feel free to use it at home.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

I Think I Can, I Think I Can....

Today I finished another envelope, this time for one that I admire for their courage and resilience in the face of a challenging new chapter in their life.  I thought about the story from my youth of The Little Engine That Could, and naturally thought that a train would be a great symbol of my confidence that this person will overcome, rise up and make it and eventually achieve their desired outcome.  

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Back to the Drawing Board....Literally

This past week I was traveling on business which took me away from all my paints and pens for a little while.  Consequently, I haven't been keeping up with the Inktober sketches....and it's pretty much not going to happen with the few days left in this month, but I did do one tonight, and also put it on another envelope to send out to an unsuspecting recipient.  I love this time of year where the leaves turn and the air gets cool and least in other parts of the country.  Here in Arizona the only leaves changing color is when they are on fire for being so dry.  Actually, it is getting cooler, which makes for lovely evenings and bearable soccer practices with my youngest.  


Saturday, October 08, 2016

Inktober #7

Here's a little sketch, pen and ink, I did of a circus performer...taken from a black and white photo from the 1800's.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Inktober #6

Another quick sketch before bedtime...inspired from an old black and white photo of two young men boxing.  Background of yellow was added with photoshop, the rest was pen and ink. Makes me want to start singing the classic "...I am just a poor boy, though my story's seldom told, I have squandered my resistance for a pocket full of mumbles such are promises...."    

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Inktober #5

This one is a quickie before heading to bed.  Trying to catch up on a sketch a day with ink in the month of October.  This one modeled after a photo of a mug shot of an old woman from the early 1900's in Australia.

Inktober #4

Yes, I am behind again, but I'm trying to keep up.  I did this while waiting in the car for my son to finish his soccer practice this afternoon.  To be completely forthright, its ink plus I would have to call it an inkleadtober contribution...regardless, here's a sketch of a photo of an old Italian farmer from the 1800s I found online.  

Monday, October 03, 2016

Inktober #3

Alas, I am caught up.  Here is drawing #3 for the 3rd of October.  You can't go wrong with drawing insects.  This is one of my favorite specimens, the stag beetle.

inktober #2

Here's the 2nd post for Inktober...yes, yes, I'm still a day behind......  

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Inktober #1

I've decided this month to participate in the famous "Inktober" wherein one strives on every day in October to post something drawn only with ink.  I'm a day behind, since today is the I've got to knock something else out too.  But here's a little sketch of Thomas S. Monson, current Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  

Saturday, October 01, 2016

My Fair Lady....bug.

These weekend has given me a lot of time to sit and listen to people far wiser than me via General Conference while working on a few more envelopes for various people, friends.  I'm so grateful that there are kind, sincere and trustworthy voices in a world that is belching with discord and anger and I find some solace in knowing that leadership still can be found despite the apparent drought of integrity that we see so much of.  
Nonetheless, I went back to my doodling of insects, something I love, for one envelope.  There is something magical about the contrast of black and red on the backs of ladybugs!  I also did an envelope for some young, yet insightful new parents that just lost their firstborn during childbirth.  Finally, I returned to the sea for a quick doodle of an octopus for yet another envelope to send out this week.  There is so much color in the ocean, and I find myself going back to fish and other things therein to explore with the pen.  
A special thanks to all who reached out through comments and other means to share your thoughts about posting.  They were appreciated!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pondering the Motive

As can be seen from the most recent entries, I have really enjoyed decorating envelopes and sending them off to various people with letters to them contained therein.  Using one's talent to brighten the day of someone else is something that satisfies a deep need to be helpful and to be cogniscent of those around you....yet, over the past few weeks, I've had to ask myself whether or not the sending of the letters is for others, or simply for me.  It certainly gives me something new to post each week.  But am I missing out on the satisfaction that comes from doing good in stealth, without fanfare? And so, I've had to examine the motives, and be sure that it's about the receiver, not the giver.   Yet, I also enjoy posting art because I have gained so much from viewing the art of others, looking at their techniques and being inspired by their creativity.  The creation of art is really quite incomplete without the viewer, sharing it with others, because it requires, by its very nature, an audience greater than the creator.  This dilemma has been weighing on me, and I haven't posted what I've sent out for a couple of weeks.  I'm interested in your thoughts on the matter.     In the mean time, here's a couple more envelopes.  One that I gave with a gift to a true bibliophile in the family and another that I gave with a sympathy letter to friends that recently suffered a tragic loss.  

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Envelope Zen

This past week my brother requested an envelope with a Buddhist vibe, Tibetan Buddhism no less, so I had to get access my chi and really pull something out of my hat.  I did this Tibetan mask on the front, and a Buddha image he liked on the back.  I've always liked the imagery that comes from the orient, especially the way they use their reds and blacks.  Here's how his envelope came out:
I had another buddy contact me from Iraq where he is currently stationed and wanted to get into the whole envelope illustrating gig for the letters he'll be sending to his family.  We spoke about a few ideas, and I promised him an envelope too.  Here it is...I know, Iraq, camels...pretty cliche, but I had fun knocking out this one, especially the bedouin on the back of the envelope.  Here's how they came out:
Both were done with pen and ink and gouache.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Working Through the Addiction

The past few weeks I started doodling over envelopes and sending them out to people for various reasons...when I started, I thought it would be a one time deal, but since then, not only have I had continued requests for envelopes, but I just really enjoy knocking them out.  I'm addicted.  There is something about doodling on an envelope that takes away any inhibitions that a canvas, rag paper or new sketchbook might's just a stinkin' envelope anyway, right?  But the fact that it's just an envelope lends to the lack of constraint.  Also, it's fun to send a letter to someone that shows you actually spent some time and thought into what is being sent...something lost in our incessant electronic communication...something that has become so impersonal and immediate.  Anyway, here are a few more envelopes done the past couple of days.  I'm sure there will be more....  
I did this one for the son of one of my cousins who likes Dinosaurs.

And here's the development of an envelope, front and back, for another loved one.

Friday, August 26, 2016

...and More Envelopes

Continuing on this envelope trend, yet another two people became recipients of my aimless doodling this week.  Here's front and back of a frog themed envelope:
And here's one to my uncle that is sporting a butterfly theme:

Saturday, August 20, 2016


A few weeks ago I sent a letter to a fellow in New Zealand who was kindly sending illustrated envelopes to others.  I thought it would be fun to send him one so he could be a receiver, as well as a giver.  He was kind to thank me.  I posted a picture of it, and then had a few more requests for "designer envelopes" for other friends and family. So, with a desire to brighten one's day, and armed with an excuse to doodle, I knocked out a few more envelope doodles. Here's a few of the fronts and backs of the envelopes.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Insect Garden

Another lazy Saturday has found me with the options of either listening to all the innumerable talking heads spewing their rhetoric about how diabolical any political candidate currently is, or, enjoying a few hours of peace sketching and painting something that has nothing to do with any of that....consequently, I chose the later.
Inspired by the amazing work of Felicita Sala, I decided to do something a little simpler, and painting a bunch of different things and then cutting them out to add them to one composition.

Enjoy this little insect garden....done with gouache and a hint of prismacolor here and there.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Deep Sea Diver

Lately I have been pondering the word DEEPEN...and the phrase "deepen your discipleship."  This phrase is useful in various aspects of ones life, I suppose.  Nonetheless, I came across an old photo of a deep sea diver that I really liked, and decided to play around with it.
I started with a quick sketch:

Then finished up the pen and ink work:

I then antiqued it with my favorite mix of chicory brew in cooked it in the oven a bit:

Then I did a few highlights with gouache and some prismacolor, and created a little more subtle background for the finish:

The scan came out a little blurry in some spots, but I'm happy with the way the final piece turned out. It will go nicely by my aquarium.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


My daughter is currently serving a mission for our church in Nashville, TN.  In her multiple interactions with many people, she came across a fellow that lives up in Clarksville that likes to get artsy, and so she volunteered me to do a collaborative sketchbook swap with the gentleman. Here's a pic of this fellow with my daughter and her missionary companion.
I don't know much about this gentleman, actually, nothing at all...yet, he's wearing a Star Wars t-shirt so it goes without saying that he has a finely tuned sense of judgement and integrity.  So, this weekend I bought the book that we'll be shipping back and forth and made my first entry.  Here's how it came out.  I'm interested to see just what he puts in it next....good times.  

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Stony Heart Transformation

This weekend I have been pondering over my own need to soften my heart, to seek after continued change and growth, and how easy it is, if not watchful, to become calloused and crass, even under the pretense that such a departure from vulnerability and feeling is justified.  So, I got another can, and decided to play around with the whole "stony heart" vs. " heart of flesh" idea.  I started with an old sardine can because I liked the shape.  
Then, I started the heart on the inside of the can.  
Then, for a gentle background, I inserted some text which has become deeply meaningful to me which reminds me of the characteristics indicative of one with a soft heart.
Then, to finish, I added the painting of the stone, to suggest a peeling away or a departure from it, and framed it with a little color, and a scriptural reference to that hopeful promise in Ezekiel.  Not sure if I'm done with this one yet, but I enjoyed the start.