Illustrations, Pen and Ink Drawing, people, simple photoshop, thoughts behind the work


Once upon a time in a city or state I was living in that I can’t remember, there was an exhibit of many original drawings of Toulouse-Lautrec. I had always admired his work but really never known much about his life. The exhibit was downstairs in a kind of basement setting. I remember it was very dimly lit down there to prevent light damage to the art. All the works were small and intimate. This was fascinating as most of us know he painted very large paintings and posters, depicting Paris life and the can can as we know it. This was because he was not just a painter but an illustrator and just as importantly, a caricaturist. The exhibit feature many caricatures of the everyday people in his life.

The drawings seemed to jump off the paper and hit me hard. They hit me in my head, in my stomach and I immediately loved him. I stayed for a very long time, reveling in the idea that when you die, you will not be dead. I had just met a truly great man. The idea grew in my head that If you were born to connect with the history of the world, you would leave something behind. Here in front of me was a little miracle of sorts. This tiny man with his mangled body and his ill fate somehow managed to make his whole life a statement. Tragic though it was, he somehow turned this disabilities into something wonderful people could use as an inspiration. It left a mark on history. He left a permanent mark on me. I hope he will never be forgotten .

This little drawing was actually two that I put together. I was just learning photoshop and combined the Paris background with the pen and ink. It was a lot of fun to do. I don’t know why but I ran across it in my files and it brought back memories.

It got me to wondering that if you were born with the stack of cards this man was dealt, would you do as well in history or would you be as forgotten as the tiny spec of sand on an ocean shore? Is the world the same now or is it completely different: more cruel, more hostile? Is there more hate and bigotry or is it more exposed? I think it’s the world is the same but the language of survival is different.

thoughts behind the work

Changes in the Marketplace

I’m done with my last ditch effort to draw Christmas. The month is half over and reality is here. I have the selected 2 or 3 simple gifts set aside for the holiday. I have been glued to the computer screen like some kind of crazy magnet in search of educating myself on what is going on with the internet. Have you ever awakened to the thought, Where the hell have I been the last few years? Well this has been my revelation since somewhere around October and I am hit with a major learning curve.

Now that all the very big life changing events have sorted themselves out, like buying and remodeling my house, serious health issues, the pandemic and my mascotas (my 3 cats and 2 shared cats) for a total of 5 fur babies to care for. Lately I have noticed a big drop in online sales lately. What I have learned recently since I’ve taken the time to look, is how much things have changed. The business of being noticed on the web is pretty impossible because the competition is so huge.

I have learned 99% of what you put on the web is discovered by the audiences’ keyword searches or tags. Of course I’ve known this for over 20 years but I’ve been personally lax in paying attention and with recent changes in my life. My compadre groups have been disbanded by the big parent sites who have turned us off and over to be on our own. Many have been forced to go to non professional groups like facebook etc, the standards have been watered down to pee water and the artist is once again pretty much on his own.

I realize my sales have come from friends and personal references and not the outside world of web surfers looking for their specific needs. Naw. It has become a jungle out there and lots of POD sites have instituted trend searches on their sites. Tons of You tubers are posting how to get noticed and giving their how to fixes for beating an impossible system. half a million searches a month? 7 million searches a month? So if you are not on page one or 2, it ain’t gonna happen. How can you get found?

There is a science to this as with anything else. I get it. I understand how the business has changed. But like anything else that has changed so drastically over the past 10 years I’m asking myself, what the??? So we have become flooded with thousands of people doing the same thing over and over, looking to break into the graphic and visual arts with little or no training and no taste. They all want to make a quick buck. They want to design a t shirt with no design skills. There are sites out there that offer them a way to do it. I don’t disparage them. But in reality, they can’t replace those people who actually do design and think and develop their ideas and come up with outstanding stuff.

There has to be more to a great t shirt that a pun, which I recall someone said was the lowest form of humor. I think about old tv shows and how they included the vaudeville clips which I always was embarrassed to watch. I can’t stand corney and it seems the world is full of it. And then….you see a genius work. An inspiration from a really good artist and all is forgiven. So I ask myself why do I bother? What is the point? I think the answer is that the people I meet and work with, my friends in the business inspire me. That includes the friends I made and kept over the years.

There is some wonderful energy out there but you have to look for it. Once you find it though in something that is beautifully drawn or executed with masterful skills, you have to stand back and be inspired. I find those darned sites every day. Too bad you have to go rummaging through a hoarders’ junk pile. Well, it’s the art that has always inspired me so I will keep enjoying the good stuff that is out there.

There is some wonderful energy out there but you have to look for it. Once you find it though in something that is beautifully drawn or executed with masterful skills, you have to stand back and be inspired. I find those darned sites every day. Too bad I have to go rummaging through a hoarders’ junk pile. Well, it’s the art that has always inspired me so I will keep enjoying the good stuff that is out there.

Holidays, humor, Illustrations, Revising Old Work, thoughts behind the work, whimsy

The Giving Christmas Tree

reworking of an analog drawing, now digital

I have always liked the saying “To give is to receive”. I think it’s because this has come true in my life so many times. I gave it a light and whimsical font to keep in the mood with the subject matter. The sketches were done very quickly with pen and ink on a sketch pad. They are in no order of importance on the tree. I think I laid them out digitally according to size. They represent things I have always held dear to my daily life, wherever I lived, worked or played.
There are plants, herbs, animals, dishes, quilts, furniture, an old fashioned windowsill, balloons, flowers in vases, a bumblebee, a big bow, a little cow, afternoon tea and of course a can of soup.
Here is the link to purchase this art on a ton of products. thanks for looking.

flora and fauna, Nature, thoughts behind the work

Watercolor abstract leaves painting and holiday cards

Abstract Leaves Watercolor, 2020, full sheet painting

This is a large watercolor and right now it’s in the gallery waiting for a home. I’ve been painting big lately and it feels really good. There’s lots of underpainting and patience in preserving the white areas in this work. That’s really necessary to keep the colors clean and the feeling fresh. The basic idea to start with was to take leaves and branches from my little
garden and draw and paint from life as the composition.
Painting from life has always been my favorite way to go. The colors and shapes point me in the right direction. I did some underpainting with inks on completely saturated full sheets. I used my fingers and didn’t use a brush for the underpainting.
I stuck the very wet paper to a big sheet of plexiglass and it sticks very well and stays wet a long time. I can dry it between takes in the sun. This is my favorite style of painting. It reminds me so much of how I used to paint in California years ago. It’s liberating. Someday when I grow up, I’ll make a video of the technique.
I’ve been remiss in posting for many reasons I think we are all feeling. Lockdowns, covid fears, busy with life chores, some health issues and the list goes on. Anywho, I’ve had a bit of a difficult mountain to climb but I’m happy to say it’s hopefully over. I have lots of new art challenges and I’m facing them head on.
With the work at home as normal now and the new lifestyle settling in, painting has taken on a new pleasant dimension. I surround myself with studying intently trying to catch up on my digital drawing that I haven’t done in a long time. I even bought Affinity Designer software which is completely wonderful. Photoshop is still my go to but I love what this program does afford. I’m beginning to have some time with it.
Since we got through Thanksgiving and have a little less than a month before Christmas, I’ve been busy designing and redesigning my holiday greeting cards. It’s kind of amazing to realize how many I have drawn and painted over the years. This is kind of goofy fun because it’s so flippant. I still try to put some thought into each one and people love them and yes, they get it. The season is very short when you are trying to play catch up on time. Everybody knows you should start December in June but hey, stuff happens. It’s been fun playing catch up and I’m posting one card a day on my Facebook page.
I have done two more large paintings and I will post them to catch up.

this is an old, old one I’m reworking
this is a new digital one
step by step, how to, thoughts behind the work

Old watercolor palettes


Cleaning up one of my old, old Quiller watercolor palettes. After all these years I decide how much I still love colors by Blockx and Marimeri Blu. Soon it will be time to shop for new paints. Tomorrow I will photograph the 2 new palettes I bought. ONe is rugged and small for plein air.