Saturday, August 26, 2017


Continuing with my desire to send out an envelope to the folks that I mentioned in a previous post, this week I decided to play around with a highly "Seuss-esque" background and a big dog for my friends Boyd and Michelle.  They are, very much, animal people, and I figured they would enjoy a little fun spin on a greyhound.  While I haven't known them for as long as the other's that I have mentioned, they have certainly become part of our family and have been kind, inviting and considerate of my family over the years.  This one went out to them.

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

The entire time I painted the background, I couldn't stop thinking of Seuss....

"You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest."
--Dr. Seuss, "Oh, the Places You'll go"

Saturday, August 19, 2017

L Train

Recently, a gentleman I know from work, was browsing through some of my doodles and asked if I would do something for him.  Apparently, his brother is getting married this week, and has an infatuation with the mass transit system in Chicago, particularly, the L Train.  He asked if I would do something on an envelope so that he can put his gift inside of it for his brother.  I don't normally get many requests, and frankly, shy away from them somewhat.  However, I was intrigued with the chance to do something a little more industrial, a little more linear, than what I normally play with.  Here is how it came out.  I put in some foliage to try to balance the mechanized with nature.  This is done in pen and ink, watercolor and some prismacolor to accentuate some of the colors.

I hope he likes it....

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Something Peaceful

Normally, I shy away from landscapes, especially when painting.  I seem to struggle with the temptation to hit every detail, capture every bit of information, which tends to make the painting labored and cumbersome.  On this week's envelope, I decided to just play with color and contrast while painting a countryside.  Instead of the normal gouache, I used acrylic because I wanted something a little more opaque and full, but the scan captures the shininess of the acrylic and left little white dots on the darker colors that really aren't there...but nonetheless, I was happy with the way it came out.
There is a fellow in my neighborhood that I sit next to, at times, in church.  He is older, and uses hearing aids to better hear what is being taught.
I notice during Sunday school, when he has his hearing aids dialed in just right to capture the volume of the instructor, he jumps and is in a startling pain whenever a baby cries or shrieks inside of the room.  This is likely due to the noise being amplified greater, giving this man a shock to the eardrum.
It happens every week, without fail, and yet, despite being frustrated, he is still kind and continues to come each week to hear what is being taught. It clearly would be easier to sit at home, be angry with his circumstances and curse the little one's that unknowingly cause him the startle. Yet, he's there every week.
It may seem like a small thing, but I'm grateful for his example of steadfastness.  When I am his age, and struggling with similar circumstances, I hope that I am as kind, as persistent, and able to "endure to the end" as gracefully.
This envelope, with a letter of thanks for his example will go out to him tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Old Black Tree

Recently, I was up at my father-in-law's house.  His backyard is full of of trees and bushes that surround his pool, but there is a wonderfully twisted, old, black-barked, tree that rises behind the pool and captures my attention every time I am there.  I drew it a couple of years ago during a previous visit, as can be seen here.
While relaxing in the backyard during this trip, I had to pull out the sketchbook, once again, and scratch out what I could.  It started to get dark, so I wasn't able to capture much, just the bark on the tree and a few limbs.

Once I got home, I wanted to continue to play with it, and embellish it a bit I continued to add the fence, a neighboring pine and a couple other embellishments...

All in pen and ink.

Saturday, August 05, 2017


Today I played around with capturing the majesty of the cardinal.  The scarlet of this bird, which doesn't dull in the winter, always captured my attention when I lived in Georgia.  The black on the face, giving it just enough contrast from the blast of crimson makes for a stunning specimen.  I could watch them jump through the brush from limb to limb all day.

This envelope goes out the the third fellow on the list of friends, as explained in my previous posts.  There are few people that I know that are as gentle and warm and inviting as Mike H.  I don't think I remember ever hearing him be judgmental of others, yet he is very liberal with his praise of those with which he encounters.  Despite reaching various areas of success in his life, he seems ever to be self-abasing and humble, and has served as another great example of what it means to "walk peaceably" with others.  At a time in my life when I was rather self-critical and didn't have much faith in my own ability, or in the brightness of my future path, his kindness contributed to my ability to see things in a different light, and to begin to trust in ones' ability to change and to grow into something different.

I chose a cardinal for him because of the color red and the deeper meanings behind that color for me. This spectacular bird is a silent witness of the reality of the gift that the color red reminds me of.

This was done entirely with gouache and an acrylic background.