The Perfect Sketchbook Debuts! AGAIN!

The newest iteration of THE PERFECT SKETCHBOOK will be debuting soon. Go check out Etchr Lab’s post and the interview in which yours truly took part. I’ve been privileged to have experienced Erwin Lian’s original Sketchbooks, and I’m thrilled that Etchr has picked up the brand and design with Erwin’s oversight and blessing of course.  […]

Digital Detour. Sort Of…

… Its really more of a frequently enjoyed side trip as I travel along the path that defines my art journey. Digital illustration was such a huge part of my professional life for years. I spent hundreds of hours in front of a computer monitor working in Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator primarily on client art, so its still in my blood. A drawing tablet was essential to that work. The need for digital art is not as essential these days and I’m totally loving a re-focus on natural media, especially watercolor but I still love digital and all the tech associated with it. It’s a useful and versatile tool for visualization and study when applied to natural media like drawing or painting.

If you’re a digital artist too or have been one in the past, I would love to hear your war stories. And how do you mix or use digital in concert with natural media?

I’ve pulled all nighters doing client work on a Wacom tablet. I would have loved to have been able to work on a pen display like this back then.

The Huion Kamvas Pro 22 (2019)

Loose vs. Tight, Aren’t We Missing the Point?

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The Devil is in the Intangibles

There is a larger issue artists of all stripes should spend more time contemplating. Loose and impressionistic, like tight and controlled handling of any art subject, involves numerous choices in the process, at the beginning and all along the way. In and of themselves, loose painting or tightly rendered detail are not artistic, regardless of what art snobs might say. Its how deftly you wield those styles that matter, right? Right! Sound a little obvious to you? Well it should, but its odd how little I see that aspect discussed. Loose painting is not more artistic simply because its loose. Its artistic because the loose passages were employed skillfully, maximizing the medium’s strengths and showcasing the beauty of color combinations, flow, center of interest, composition and a host of other elements that came together in a dynamic and pleasing way, albeit loose way. The same goes for tightly controlled, realistic rendering and detail. A piece is not strong because it is accurately rendered to the minutest detail. All the detail in the world, all the realism in the world can’t make a piece of art more artistic. Its the intangibles that matter: design, composition, light, value, leading eye elements or any of the other elements that also make a loose painting great.

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Strathmore Artist Workshops

If you follow my YouTube channel, you may have noticed that I’ve been uploading Strathmore Workshop videos over the last couple weeks. These were 4 videos done for their web site last spring (2016) and aired during each week of May. This year, as per agreement with Strathmore, the video rights revert back to me. So I thought I would also post all 4 workshop videos right here (as soon as each is uploaded) along with the downloadable photo reference I mentioned in the videos. Thanks for looking and post any questions you might have here or on in the YouTube comments section of each video.

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Art Critiques and Getting the Most from Input.

We all want to improve as artists don’t we? Growing as an artist is the key to more enjoyment and satisfaction as we tread this adventurous but sometimes frustrating path. Practice is a given, but what happens when we get stuck and don’t know how to improve. The brave artist seeks appropriate, constructive input and critique. Its a tougher challenge, though, than we sometimes realize. Asking someone to tell us what is wrong with our art, which is so often a personal expression of ourselves, is also risky, baring our soul to the cold frigid winds of potential rejection. So if its done, it ought to be done right. There is good input and bad input. How do you tell the difference? Here are some pointers from my experience.

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Veteran’s Day – Honoring the Decision

Veterans have served for a variety of reasons. For Americans, the reasons usually include the protection or our great nation, propagation of freedom and the dismantling of tyranny. While not all wars have been popular, the men and women who have served should all be revered for one simple reason – the decision to lay down their life, should they be called upon, for something greater than themselves. They did not serve a politician or a government but We the People, and an idea that this great Republic and what it stands for should continue for the good of all peoples.

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Seeing Beyond Bob Ross

Let me start by fully acknowledging the debt of gratitude the recreational art world owes Mr. “Happy Trees” Bob Ross. He got people painting who never would have dared pick up a brush on the best of days. Why? Because he made art technique accessible. He deciphered the complex with “light-bulb” art moments and gave aspiring painters…wait for it…a formula. Aah yes! The notorious painting “formula”, heralded by hobby “fun” artists as genius and scorned by the high brow “fine art” snobs as cliché and misleading.Read More »