Thursday, July 6, 2017

SKETCHBOOK: "Sides of Buildings"

Had to get some work done on my car that took a couple of hours. So I wandered around and did these two sketches this morning. The salmon colored building baffled me...why put that weird little balcony up there with no way to get down?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

SKETCHBOOK: "Earth Movers"


I decided to return to where I was sketching last week, on this gorgeous Sunday morning...my church's Youth House lot, which will be torn down in the near future. The church sold the land, so I've enjoyed drawing the earth movers while they've been working. Below is the sketch I did last Sunday, while sitting under the shade of a mimosa tree.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

NEW PAINTINGS: I won some ribbons!


I am happy to report that I won a second place and third place ribbon for two of my three paintings for the STEMS Plein Air painting event. I was not aware that there was a cash prize for each, so I was delighted when I attended the opening of the gallery last night! I also sold one ("Tomahawk Creek"), with hopes of selling more while the show is up for a month. My daughter, Courtney, came by with my grandson, Jackson. He was more excited about the refreshment table than the paintings.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

NEW PAINTINGS: "STEMS Plein Air 2017"

This last week I participated in the yearly STEMS PLEIN AIR painting event. The sale of the paintings helps raise money for the Art and Recreation department of the city of Overland Park, KS. The three paintings above are my framed submissions. I'll find out in a few days how the judging goes. 

The one on the top left is on one of the walking trails of Tomahawk Creek. The center is a giant sycamore tree in Quivera Park. The one on the right is a steam tractor at Deanna Rose Farmstead.

Below is a painting I did of Craig Sole's Design little shop...a floral artist who has been a big supporter of the event, and sponsors a "for purchase" prize each year.
These are other paintings I did during the week, but didn't feel they were as strong as the ones I submitted. I hadn't painted in a while, so these were almost more like warm-ups. The one below is a little water tower at Deanna Rose Farmstead.
Next is the historic RIO Theater in Old Overland Park.
Below is my failed attempt to paint a heritage rose at the Arboretum, as raindrops drip off the trees. I am terrible at florals...scraped off the rose three times. Finally I just grabbed a palette knife and made some quick petal shapes. Maybe I should paint more flowers...nah...more tractors for me!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

SKETCHBOOK: "Gnarly Tree"

This gnarly tree is across the street from the nearby post office. When I mail letters, I look at it often and think, "I need to sketch that tree." Today was the day.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

My New Book

Yesterday was a very exciting day for me! I just got my first printed proof copy of my new book, "Jewels In The Junkyard". I have spent the last year and a half working on it, and it is now available to order through Amazon.com!!! It is also available as an eBook in the Kindle format.

It's been a tough assignment, and I felt like quitting several times along the way. But I know that sharing my story of the last seven years since losing my wife, Cathy, will resonate with others who may be struggling with grief. Thanks to all those who have been so encouraging to me while on this project!! 

Click here for the link to Amazon.com!

Below is a postcard that you can digitally share with those who may find my story helpful.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

SKETCHBOOK: "Headdresses and a Gentleman"

Went sketching today with a couple of groups that met together to draw at the Nelson-Atkins museum in Kansas City. These were my efforts: African headdresses and a marble portrait of a "Roman Gentleman". Thanks for letting me join in "Urban Sketchers - Kansas City" and the "Art Mob"!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

SKETCHBOOK: "More Bones"

Yesterday was a nice sunny day, but a little on the chilly side for sketching outside in the morning. So I decided to drive to Lawrence, Kansas and visit one of my favorite places. Here are some more bones from the KU Natural History Museum. The sketch above is a musk ox skeleton. The skulls below (clockwise from the top) are from an African buffalo, a musk ox, a big horn sheep, and an elk. So much cool stuff to draw in there!!!

Monday, January 23, 2017

SCULPTURE: "Lion Man of Mongo"

It's been a long while since my last sculpture demo. Today's feature: "Flash Gordon and the Lion Men of Mongo"! Well...minus Flash...and all the other lion men.

As with most of my sculpture projects, I start with inspirational research. As a kid, I loved watching the science fiction serials of FLASH GORDON, featuring Buster Crabbe. I have all of the series on DVD now. And I have several books that are collections of the old Sunday comics of Flash Gordon (and Buck Rogers, too). Below are some images that I gathered online, and the sketches I did of a Lion Man.
Probably the most fun part of this project was making the little ray gun out of bits of junk. I think I'll try doing a little series of ray guns in the future, all made from stuff I find and glue together.
Once I have the gun all assembled, it's time to paint it.
Based on the scale of the ray gun I made, I drew a sketch that would be the correct proportions. I then used wire and aluminum foil to create an armature of my Lion Man. I made the base out of scrap wood I had on hand, and cut it out in my woodshop in the basement.
I covered the wooden base with epoxy putty that I had leftover from another project. This material is called "Smooth On Habitat Black Epoxy Putty". It is quite messy, but is water based and dries super hard. It was created for people to make fake coral in aquariums. After it was hardened (about 16 hours), I drilled holes in the base and added thick wire to secure my armature to. Then I started to sculpt the hand holding the ray gun.
Next comes the process of building up the forms with Sculpy clay. I use a heat gun to "cook" the clay and let it make a hard shell to build on. Just for the heck of it, I painted the rock base brown. Don't really know why I did that...the dark gray epoxy would have been just fine as is.
Below, you can see the details that I started adding to the Lion Man...feet first, then leggings, then pants, and finally the tail. I used plumbers epoxy on the wire that was for the tail. It needed the extra support, so the sculpy clay would not crack if bumped.
I had decided to keep the head separate from the body, to make it easier to sculpt. I used steel ball bearings for the eyes. I would bake sections that I felt were done, so that I wouldn't accidentally mess them up as I worked on nearby areas. You can see the transition that happened to one of the Lion Man's hands. I had been watching a kids tv show (Voltron) and one of the bad guys had a cool looking cyber-arm. I decided that my Lion guy would benefit from a mechanical hand!
After getting the appendages all sculpted, it was time to add muscle and bulk to this dude. In order to keep from having areas of clay that would be too thick, I used aluminum foil to build up the mane around the head and shoulders. Then I started to add fur details.
I had made a little "rake" out of sewing needles, to add some texture to the main body. After I had sculpted the rest of the fur, I used odorless paint thinner over all the surfaces. This will melt the clay a bit, and blend the rough edges and soften the shapes. After that had dried, I decided that the scratch marks from the rake were getting lost. So I made another tool with tiny nails that were larger than the needles.
After going over the torso and arms with the new rake tool, I then re-sculpted all of the mane, to clarify and refine the shapes of the fur layers. After the whole thing was baked with the heat gun, I painted the sculpture with a base coat of gray latex paint. It wasn't until I painted everything that I saw some areas of the fur that had been melted too much by the paint thinner. They lost some of the finer detail...but I was too lazy to try to repair it.
I rarely take photos of the painting process, as it tends to disrupt the flow of blending the colors. I like to paint all the basic shapes, then I glaze with a thinned down wash of dark brown, to accentuate the peaks and valleys in the shapes. I dry-brush on top over and over, then add more washes...this process can take a long time. Below is the finished piece!
And here is my Lion Man sitting up on the shelf in my studio.
Well...that's it for this little tutorial. Hope you learned something useful for your own projects!