people

First Snow in Pueblo

pueblo-first-snow

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.

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

Farmers: An American Experience

farmers-pencil-sketchfarmers-full-text-th

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

alphabet, fantasy illustration, fonts, Holidays, Illustrations, kids, Odd Little Stories, scratchboard drawing, simple photoshop, thoughts behind the work

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary with text

mary,mary,garden-th-web

From the nursery rhyme the 1st paragraph of Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary is illustrated here. This painting is a digital drawing and painting of my own idea. I have tried to use colors and text that engage a nostalgic mood. Mary, Mary was quite the contrary miss, I think.

What started out as a cool idea and something nice to do on a quiet Sunday ended up being a 6 hour project….from the idea to the photoshop drawing and painting to the addition of text.  I made 2 versions, one with text and one without.  I ended up only listing the one version with text online.

What can I say except I love drawing like this and playing with text.  When I moved from the U.S. I left all my fabulous books and films behind.  For 40+ years, I had collected “primers” which in my collection, dated back to the 1880’s.

They were old beautiful books that I treasured and cherished. Primers were children’s elementary readers.  Heads up on this one.  The vocabulary, language in general was very sophisticated and advanced.  I had a 5th grade reader which was equivalent to what would now be 1st year high school.  There was no photography and dot printing had not been invented yet.  So all the art was line art only.  That is where I learned the fundamentals of drawing in grey scale by not using grey scale but using line art and the idea that drawing was an optical illusion.  The width of the lines conveyed the tonal values.  That led to my 30 years of drawing in scratchboard. I drew for over 25 years only in black and white and I am not ashamed to say it.  I also learned about scale from primers.  Think about this:  Convey a mountain with a few people on top of it…don’t forget to include the clouds, the weather, the country, etc etc .then ask yourself if it conveys a mood as well as giving all that info?  The  storyboard was alive at the turn of the century for sure.  All the rules and success of animation are in the old primers.

All of these principles have basically never changed.  You become a better artist when you learn digital media because basically art is science.  Photoshop and Illustrator are basically science and math is your friend.  After one month of working hard and trying to remember my old skills, they are coming back.  Now that I have the desire to use typography, this is just another icing on the cake.

Here is a product with this 100% digital art.

 

alphabet, fantasy illustration, fonts, Illustrations, kids, Pen and Ink Drawing

Hammock Lazy Days of Summer

hammock-sketch-full-tulips-th
Hopefully, the last version!

I have revised this sketch so many times and I can’t even stop myself.  chuckle, chuckle.  Sorry folks, I am working hard to get to the next step with my drawings and marketing efforts.  I have thought this over for quite a while and last night I decided this alphabet and text series is not for public taste.  It’s not that people don’t actually like this kind of thing, but I think it’s a non-fit for this on-line store venue.  I can see this idea fitting ….where?  Right now I don’t know but I have all the psd files and I can use them at any time.

Being an artist is hard enough but when you go through a deep learning curve, it is nerve-racking.  I am driven to find a solution to this little dilemma and I am confident an answer will put up its weary head and I will end up smiling.  Every day I am learning and every day new doors open. Moving to Mexico has given me the opportunity to work for as many hours per day as I want to without being distracted by life’s problems.  I love it here and celebrate that I can finally draw, paint and click to the world what is going on in my brain.

I have always walked two paths for as long as I can with my art.  Many have told me I am a traditional painter trying to fit into a commercial world.  YES!  They are correct. I guess I like too many things and want to explore too much.

here’s the link to see the latest version of this drawing.

This is the revision of the first hammock sketch I did using the word “Rest”.  I actually changed a lot of things.  I think it’s much better and it is over-all a lot lighter than the old green version.  So your comments are appreciated and I am listening.  I am trying to be super simple but maintain personality.

Here is the first version using a lot of greens and the text is much heavier in the first version.  I like the new above version much  better.   Comments appreciated.

hammock-web.
the 1st version

 

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

Dear Aunt Lydia

aunt-lydea-th

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

P1080813 copy-web

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.

P1080813 copy-web

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

people

Guitar Player

guitarist-th

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