Tuesday, April 18, 2017


As artists, we spend a lot of time working on our craft, we draw we paint, we sketch we doodle, we work..........but our passion, our love is our work, and at times the fun goes out of it because it is our job. And as it is our job..........we at times loose site of the fact that it should be fun.

So, every once in a while, I will take a day and just draw or paint and enjoy what I do. No worries, no pressures, just doing it because I can. I will do this when we are on vacation or at times in the evening as we wind down for bed, but my favourite place is on our front porch.

Today was just such a day, and today I went out of my comfort zone and painted much much differently than I normally do............I painted Alla Prima.....all in one. 

Normally I work on a painting over several days, underpainting, working on one area while another dries, glazing in areas, painting over things and such....but today I sat down and did the whole thing in one sitting, painting wet on wet.

Here is my board with the drawing on it, it is a little 8 X 10 piece that I had lying about, I couldn't use it for a commercial piece as it had a weird unknown substance on its surface, and I could not risk using it for a client and having the blob of stuff affect the image.

At this point I have reached the ugly stage of painting.......lots of mud and just not looking good at this point. Basically I have blocked in large areas of colour. Normally I would have stopped at this point and let it dry, but since I was going for the all in one sitting thing I kept on going to remove the uglies.

Here we have pushed thru to get a little more work on the piece. He is starting to take on some semblance of a lion and coming out of the ugly stage. He is still a bit muddy but coming out of it. 

Here he is all done and in a little over 3 and a half hours. He is not perfect, a little out of perspective, still a bit muddy, a little cockeyed, but I like him.

It was a blast, I learned a bit that I can apply to my normal studio work, and I will be doing this again. 

My set up for my palette, which is my con palette that I talked a bit about in the last post. I used very few colours on this, yellow ochre, raw sienna, burnt umber, cad yellow light, titanium white, ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, dioxazine purple and cad red deep. 

And here was my company for the afternoon so I didn't get lonely while I painted.........it was sort of like being in the studio as well since he hangs out with me there too.

Saturday, April 01, 2017


There are multiple options for palettes out there, just google it and you will see, for a while I tried the traditional kidney shaped wooden one, but found it a hassle, and went back to my ol' tried and true glass palette. They are what I honestly learned on and am sticking with it.

Now with that said, I am throwing out a little quick tip that might just come in handy for ya'll at some point. I use more than one palette.........I do have my main palette on my taboret, which is what I will use for 99% of my painting.

I has a large mixing surface that is relatively easy to clean and work on. It is stable and I don't  have to worry about it too much unless I drop a coffee cup on it and crack it and have to get a new one....barring that hazard it is a great surface.

Now along with this one I have a little wooden frame that holds a sheet of glass as well that I use for a palette as well, it is portable and I do take it with me to Cons at times and use it to work while I am there.

I do also use it in the studio as an extra if I have multiple pieces I am working....which I generally do. I also find it extremely useful for mixing up big blobs of colour for like sky areas and such so that I can paint my sky and then move onto the main palette for other areas of the image.

I also have 2 other sheets that will fit into this little frame that I can use as well, so I don't have to scrape off the paint I am using on the one sheet and can continue to work.

I could use a paper palette, but I don't see the need for the waste, and I do have the space at this time to have all my palettes. 

Is it excessive......I don't thinks so, I find it works well for me and might be of advantage to someone else.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Early on in the last week or so, I came to a passage in my rereading of The Hobbit, it is where Bilbo is up on a limb saving the Dwarves from the giant spiders of Mirkwood. As I was reading I was drawing images in my head and composing a piece to be painted. When I got the chance I picked up my doodlebook and drew out this little rough:

 After drawing out the scene, I kept looking at the piece and thinking there was something oddly familiar about it.  I let it sit a while as I had other things going on at the time, but it was still in the back of my mind as I was for lack of a better word, bothered by the image.

Eventually I got back to it, and sat down with a bit of ink and watercolours and completed my little rough so I could move on to the next phase and get it to the board as soon as I could.

With that done, I still kept thinking "what is it about this drawing that is bothering me?" 

Now, skip forwards a few days and it is the weekend, weather is warmer and time to set up the front porch for another season of porchsettin, so we spend the day getting the porch cleaned and the cushions all aired out, the blinds and the curtains up........it is a nice relaxing porch for settin, talkin, socializin, and doodlin.

After all the work is done it is time to set a spell and as soon as I plop down in my chair ........... I look at the oak tree I have looked at for the past 14 years and my light bulb goes off.............THAT IS MY LIMB!!! I just start laughing as I realized why the image was familiar and bothering me. 

I drew the limb from a tree that has been right in front of me the whole time and just didn't realize it until I sat down on the porch. I walk past this limb daily as I go out our front door, but never looked up or at the tree. It wasn't til I sat down and looked out that everything was in the right order, the angle the perspective and the whole 9 yard that it hit me.

Now, granted I did not draw the limb exactly as it looks in real life, but it is there, it is the influence for my rough. It has been filtered and stored in the back of my brain to finally come out here as the shot needed for the drawing. 

So, the point of this whole long story, is basically to be observant, watch and study everything, you will retain the information somewhere and it will pop out when you least expect it. Reference is EVERYWHERE, everyday things can be turned into the images you need for your fantasy works.

We are all influenced by the world around us visually and  we do store all this information in our heads and are influenced by it subconsciously. There are many, many tools available to us as artists and illustrators that we can glom on to for reference, the internet has become a valuable tool, but we cannot forget about the world right in front of us. Observation is an amazing gift if we just look at the things right in front of us. Sometimes we see it and just don't realize it.

Monday, March 06, 2017


Sometimes when you read, there is a passage that sticks with you, just resonates and sort of speak to you......you get it, and in my case I sort of see it, it is there visually for me. 

For me, when I read, I take visual notes of things to possibly draw,  as I a rereading The HOBBIT again, I came to this part of the book:

" he saw all round him a sea of dark green, ruffled here and there by the breeze; and there were everywhere hundreds of butterflies. "

When I read this again, I immediately sketched out this image:

That very brief passage was for me the perfect amount of description to let my mind go to work. It had all the information needed to move from rough sketch to a more detailed image.

So from the initial rough, I went on to a colour image. The following pictures show the progress to the final piece.........

From here, I will in all honesty move on to doing a full on oil of this image.

This piece is done in Gouache on a piece 9 X 12 Strathmore 400 Series toned paper.

Monday, February 27, 2017


Well, it is no secret that my favourite medium to use is the stoic and oft forgotten pencil.......the workhorse of what we do. I almost hardly ever pick one up for anything other than to layout a painting or do a rough much anymore, but the other day decided I want to do a pencil piece, so I scrapped everything I had on the table and went to just draw. Draw for the simple pleasure of it.

I grabbed a sheet of 14 X 17 Strathmore 300 Series Bristol a 2B pencil my little pocket knife, a brass bullet sharpener ( for fine line sharpening ) and a kneaded erasure, and I just sat down, closed my eyes and started to draw, and this is what came out...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Sorry I have been a bit remiss...........actually a lot and absent lately on the blogspot, but that isn't to say I haven't been busy.

Most recently I had entered the Infected By Art annual contest this year and was actually juried  in. So one of my pieces will be included in IBA 5, along with a host of other amazing and talented artists. Thanks to the judges.

I will definitely be back sooner and with a lot more to say, tips and such as well as more images, again I am sorry for the neglect of the blog, but that will not happen again, I intend to update if nothing else weekly with images, how to's and other bits and pieces