people

First Snow in Pueblo

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This watercolor is of a Navajo girl wrapped in a colorful blanket.  I am including it here so it does not get lost and I can keep some record of it.  It is in a private collection in Long beach, Washington.

I am including a link to my online store where I have put her on a few products.

animals, dogs, horses, cats, people

Horseshoeing Day

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When the farrier comes to the ranch, it’s a happy day.  This watercolor tells the story of one such hard working shoer who tends to his horses and does the job well.  The horses like the attention and very often, they seem to feel better with a nice trim.  The owners are happy because it’s the healthy thing to do and they know they are fending off problems with their animals and keeping them healthy and happy.
Drawing and painting horses and complete story-telling scenes is a lifelong challenge.  Whenever I do one, it feels good but at the same time it makes me a little tired.  Painting single images, like an apple or a tree is an exercise I view as a quick challenge to get the information down with feeling and as quickly as possible.  After it is done, I always ask myself, “was this a clear image?”  “could I have done this better,  and was it worth the effort, etc. etc.  Well, I think there is a little conclusion to this that makes sense to me and it’s this:   I think storytelling images need to be big.  I don’t think they read well when they are small and intimate.  Well, onward and I won’t belabor it.

 

 

 

fantasy illustration, fonts, people, simple photoshop, step by step, how to, thoughts behind the work

Farmers: An American Experience

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This started out as a pencil doodle.  When I brought it into photoshop, I adjusted the levels to make the greys of the pencil as dark as I could, and the lights as white as I could. This gave me a little template to build the digital painting on.

There is a lot of painting involved here and a lot of colors and brushwork too.  It took a long time.  I am learning to navigate through my Wacom tablet which saves a lot of time. Learning shortcuts is amazing. I wanted the wife to have pears on her dress but they are not joyous colors.  Because of the situation farmers find themselves in, nothing here is joyous.  I hope their expressions reveal what is going on in their lives.

I usually don’t do political drawings but I thought I would have a little fun with this.  It was pretty easy choosing an appropriate font for a title.  I called it An American Experience because there was a PBS series with this name for a long time.  It was a documentary series about cultural phenomena. This font is Goudy Stout.  I love the name and think it’s sounds exactly what it looks like.

My favorite part of this piece are the two types of bodies.  She is a plump pear and he is a skinny dude.  They make a perfect couple that we see in real life just about every day.  Regarding the coloring; my favorite part is his blue jeans.  When jeans get old and worn, they look kind of yellowish/grey sometimes.  There are many layers and tones of the colors on everything here, and I sing the praise of “multiply” brush effects.  It adds so much depth and dimension, as it picks up the colors underneath with every stroke.

An additional treat is that it was saved for web as a png file and therefore it can be printed transparently on to different fabrics.  This piece ended up looking great on lots of textile products and it really surprised me.

Here is what it looks like on a grey sweatshirt product

fantasy illustration, Pen and Ink Drawing, people, thoughts behind the work

Dear Aunt Lydia

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If you have ever had an aunt Lydia, you might enjoy this post.  She is a caricature  from my imagination.  I think she could be in anybody’s life at any time if they were lucky.  I never had one of these, but I actually have been her to some people.  I hope you enjoy this character as much as I enjoyed creating her.

This was all drawn with a speedball nib in an old fashioned pen holder.   I use red ink very often and like the kind they still sell in a bottle.  If you are lucky enough to find some, try it. I have three shades of red ink. Art supplies and yarn have always been my go-to collections. I’m done with books after changing countries, but inks and pens are still small enough to fit in a suitcase.

The original work was the separate oval pen and ink –a highly detailed drawing with a crow quill nib.  The center was another oval I left blank.  I scanned the drawing into photoshop and then layered another red ink drawing of the lady that was done with a heavy speedball nib of Miss Lydia.  I put her into the center and then I just played around in photoshop– tweeking the images to present something unique. She makes me laugh.

After being without Adobe for a few years because my life was so insane, I am back on my computer and can’t wait to do more.  It is so much fun.

If you want to see this in print check out my online store.

ice cream, people, Places

Selling ice cream (helado) by the Lake

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This wonderful happy man can be seen in the villlage of Chapala Mexico in the state of Jalisco.  On weekends you can pretty much always find him pushing his tomato red cart.  He sells ice cream, called helado in Spanish.   He has lots of flavors to make you happy.  The atmosphere is pleasant and the malecon (tiled walkway along the water’s edge) and the plaza are just lovely.  The lake is beautiful and cools the air. Right now there has been so much rain that the lake is the highest its been in 50 years.

You can stroll and eat and take in all the sights and sounds.  Very often you can find people dancing in the plaza to the music of local musicians.  Some of the bands will be a collection of guitars, drums, and various brasses including tubas.  Chapala is a great town.  Some may call it a city.  If it sounds like I am selling the place, I’m not really.  I just enjoy it.

In Mexico they churn the ice cream by hand, in huge metal canisters called garrafas. The canisters are filled with the ice cream base and placed inside of wooden barrels full of ice and salt, and then it’s someone’s job to stir the ice cream with a large wooden paddle as it slowly freezes.

This technique gives the ice cream a unique texture. “Mexican ice cream is closer to gelato, as it has less fat and air than American style,”

When I saw this guy, I was immediately attracted to the cart and his infectious smile.  I just had to paint him.  happy   happy   happy.

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If you are interested, click the picture to purchase a print or a textile of this watercolor.

Read more about making Ice Cream in Mexico here:
http://www.tastecooking.com/mexicanicecream

Holidays, people

Day of the Dead watercolor

This is my newest watercolor of the most exciting days to come here in Mexico. It will be happening soon and I can’t wait.
click the picture to purchase prints on paper and textilesDay-of-Dead-family-th

For a painter, I can’t think of a more colorful subject matter than dia de los muertos. Creativity abounds when everyday people take pleasure in the celebration of this most wonderful holiday.  I think their body language shows the love and care they have for each other and the joy of these special days.

Day of the Dead (known as Día de Muertos in Spanish) is celebrated in Mexico between October 31st and November 2nd. On this holiday, Mexicans remember and honor their deceased loved ones. It’s not a gloomy or morbid occasion, rather it is a festive and colorful holiday celebrating the lives of those who have passed on. Mexicans visit cemeteries, decorate the graves and spend time there, in the presence of their deceased friends and family members. They also make elaborately decorated altars  (called ofrendas) in their homes to welcome the spirits.
The belief behind Day of the Dead practices is that spirits return to the world of the living for one day of the year to be with their families. It is said that the spirits of babies and children who have died (called angelitos, “little angels”) arrive on October 31st at midnight, spend an entire day with their families and then leave. Adults come the following day.

Thanks Vikki Rennick for your photo that was the inspiration for this artwork.

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people

Guitar Player

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I painted this in July and forgot to include it in the blog  Better late than never.

Meeting friends in downtown Chapala and  walking the malacon after dinner, I spotted this young man in a crowd, meandering his way through the restaurant umbrellas.  I did not see his face but he had a quick step of happiness in his stride.

Of course, I had to paint him. I loved the way he casually slung the guitar over his back and he was definitely walking with a purpose.  I wondered, “was this before or after a gig?”

It’s a treat to see he wore a pink shirt and straw hat.  Of course!  Thank you kind sir for your happy stride.

prints available here