Saturday, July 29, 2017


Yep, another hen.....  There's something really great about the steely eyes of a rooster or hen, surrounded by the blazing comb and wattle, and the pop of the colorful and feathers.  I've done a couple other sketches of hens or roosters, and enjoy exploring their beauty.

In my last post, I spoke of my goal to send out a doodled envelope to a group of friends from my youth that had significant impact on my life. This week's post goes out to a second fellow (pictured below).  Matt and his good wife have created a friendship with us that surpasses mere friendship.  Do you have anyone in your life that are friends, but must have somehow really been family in the grand scheme of things, despite no blood relations?  These two have consistently been people with whom we feel we can be at ease, at home, loved, without pretense, and just enjoy one another.
I did a hen for them because of the hen's ability to gather in their loved ones and provide safety for the little ones.  Matt and Marlene have ever been the "gatherer's" for our little group of friends, and I'm grateful for the glue that they have been for us and that they continue to welcome us in.

This envelope was done with gouache, pen and ink, acrylic and a spot of prismacolor.

Friday, July 21, 2017


In my last post, I mentioned that my family recently had the chance to head back to my home town and spend time with a handful of different friends.  It was great to see everyone.  On one occasion, we sat down with a group of great people at The Pie Pizzaria (one of Salt Lake's best pizza joints), and my friend Terri looked at me in a dead-pan manner, and refreshingly, yet candidly said, "So, what does someone have to do to get an envelope from you?"  I had to laugh, but was grateful for the inquiry.

Little did Terri know that I had already begun thinking about series of envelopes for this very group of friends to thank them for how richly my young life was enriched to have been permitted to be absorbed into such a fine group of people.  Recognizing that I hadn't been vocal enough about my gratitude to each of them, it seemed appropriate to send out thanks via envelopes.

I took a picture of a handful of these good gentlemen (see below.).  They made a profound difference when I was teetering on some rather foolish decisions, and trying to find myself.

This first envelope for that group goes out to Mike P, and his wife Terri.  Great people!  Great examples of approachable, down to earth, honest and deeply interesting people.

Here's the envelope I did for them shortly after we returned from the trip.  This is done in gouache, with a small hint of pen and ink, with an acrylic background.

Here's a shot of the gents that have surrounded me for a long while, and that I am deeply grateful to call friends.

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Today my family and I returned home from a trip to Utah to drop off our son at the Missionary Training Center for our church, in his continued preparation to serve a two year, full-time mission in Colorado Springs.  We are very proud of him for his decision to dedicate two years of his life volunteering to help others, something that seems less and less common in this world of selfies, immediate gratification and "what's in it for me?"  Aside from the neat experience going to the M.T.C., we also had a bunch of time to spend with great friends and catching up after some extended time apart.
Recognizing the importance of friends in the life of my son, and the influence they've had on him, I reflected on the power of friendship and how relationships from my youth played and continue to play such a profound role in my life.  Among many friends that we visited, were Brian and Elaine, who invited us to come and visit and spend time with their amazing family.  I doodled this envelope to them for their kindness and goodness, and for the impact that they have played in my life.

And here's a quick selfie we did on their porch just as we were leaving.  What beautiful people!

Since I am on the friendship theme now...there are a few more envelopes in the works to thank others for the influence they have had on my life.  Stay tuned for those....

This is done in gouache with a hint of pen and ink .

Tuesday, July 04, 2017


Over the past few months, I've done some sketches of various fruits and veggies...In an attempt to make myself feel better about the ice cream that I've indulged in today, I spent a few minutes knocking out this cucumber.  Anyone ever hear of nutrition through illustration?  Hope it works.


A few months ago, while working in the yard, I happened across a bird that had recently died and was being consumed by all the little critters in the dirt that opportunistically seize such meals.  The image of the bird, once able to soar and fly, once so fleeting and difficult to catch, just laying there accessible to everything on the land, left an impression.  This morning, I decided to do a little sketch of the image (since it is too hot to go out and work in the yard today.)
There is just something unsettling about seeing a fallen bird.  It happens daily, yes, but it is sobering to see. Yet, it is also beautiful to see up close! The magnificence of the wings, the little talons and the precision of the is fascinating.
While sketching this, I was reminded of some personal writing that my father penned before he passed away.  I thought it was profound, and I'll share it below.

                                                               Mark J. Monson

Melvin stalks the sparrows with his Winchester-cock-style bee-bee gun.  I follow right behind him watching his prey hit the ground.  Now it’s your turn he encourages me handing me the gun.

Another flock circles and lands unaware of Melvin and me and the bee-bee gun.  I aim, my heart pounds...the gun discharges.  The leaves flutter and all the birds fly.  I’ve missed.

Melvin is much better at this than I am.  I think it’s because  he’s practiced with his dad.  My father died before he taught me to kill birds.  I wonder if he would have taught me had he lived...    probably  not.  Melvin is lucky I think.

Don’t worry, you’ll hit one next time Melvin assures me.

We continue our hunt.   I carry the gun.  Then I see it...a yellow canary perched on a sun flower.  The yellow image, posed against the blue sky, blazes in my eyes.

Melvin sees it also and whispers Quick or it’ll fly.

 I look at it through the “V” sight of the gun.  It’s beautiful...

Shoot! Melvin insists.  I do.

My ears hear a dull thud and the canary falls back and down.

Melvin is elated and runs toward the sun flowers.  I stand dazed, not moving.  Holding the gun.

My trance is broken as Melvin shouts I can’t find it in this darn grass.

I move toward the sun flowers looking down at the red-splattered, flaxen-colored grass.  Following the trail of blood, I see the canary looking up at me.  It appears confused and frightened.  I wonder what I’ve done.

The bee-bee has punctured the canary’s throat.  Blood and air bubbles ooze from the opening.  The bird labors to breath.  Within moments there is no movement.  The yellow is matted with red and is lifeless

Melvin is patting me on the back, for how long, I don’t know.  When I turn to face him, he’s smiling.  I hand him his gun and walk away.  He calls to me What’s wrong?

I stop and turn to face him.  The experience replays in my mind.  I walk away and he questions Don’t you want the bird?

No,  I hear myself say, still seeing the red splattered yellow, I’ve got to go home now.