Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ghoul Lord

Again, trying to do some more comic sci/fi fantasy pictures.  I recreated a great black & white ink drawing by Luigi Castellani (I think the picture works better with his stark black and white style).  There are things I like and things I do not but all in all, a successful exercise.

                              Watercolor Pen & Ink on 140 lbs block 9x12

Here is the pencil sketch (used a brown watercolor pencil) and the masking process for the sky.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Other Tree

I spend a lot of time giving love to my neighbor's tree, but we have a small, interesting tree of our own.  Here is a very quick sketch of the tree. I liked how the lights from the other neighbor's backyard highlighted the tree.

                                        Watercolor, Pen & Ink on paper

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Barney Gone Bad

Trying to do more original sci-fi/comic style art work.

                                 Watercolor and Pen & Ink on 140 lbs block 9x12

Monday, December 08, 2014

Body Builders -- multi-media

Back in the day when I was (power) lifting, I would read Muscle & Fitness, Flex and other similar magazines to see what crazy new lifts I could try out (because doing stuff called "skull crushers", "hang cleans" and "bam bams" was apparently not enough).  The magazines were also good for figure drawing references. Over the years, I have done many sketches, drawings and doodles based on the pages of these magazines. Recently, I tried doing something in watercolor.  And below that are host of other older drawings in other media.

                                     The other Jay Cutler watercolor


Grey markers

Prismacolor Markers

Monday, December 01, 2014

Neighbor's Tree -- Winter

I have not had the opportunity to get out and sketch, so I have returned to a favorite subject, my neighbor's backyard tree. Even without the lush greenery of Spring/Summer it is still a majestic subject.

I think I might paint a picture of this tree every month as a season study.

                                     Watercolor on 140 lbs paper 7x10

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Screwing around with technique

I have been wanting to try some crazier, looser techniques in watercolor that I have seen others do.  The paper in the notebook I used was too porous to handle all the water that I threw at it (you can see the radiating wrinkles on the right side of the picture).  It was fun anyway.  I really liked using the white gel pen to add highlights.

And this is a partial swipe of the cover for the first issue of The Mercenary Sea (by Mathew Reynolds) in order to try out some brushes for inking.  I made the guy look like a Scooby Doo villian, though.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lake between the Mountains

One more early fall painting before winter truly begins.

                                    Watercolor on 140 lbs block 9x12

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bear Hug

Sometimes, everybody needs a hug.

                                    Watercolor pen & ink on 180 lbs paper

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Barbarian at the Door

Taking a brief departure from landscape painting to do something more comic book like.  There was a time I would have loved to be the penciler or inker for a Conan comic.  Hell, I still would.

                                    Pen & Ink and watercolor on 180lbs paper 9x12

And some older pencil sketches from the late 80's showing I always wanted to be the illustrator of a Conan comic book.

"Conjuring a Demon"

"Barbarian vs Knight"

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Washington Valley Reservoir

One more from Washington Valley Park, but this time from the western half of the park (the park is split by a very busy county road).  This is the Washington Valley Reservoir.  We hiked the western half a few weeks ago and had lunch on the banks of the reservoir. 

                                Watercolor on 180 lbs paper 9x12

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Backyard Tree -- Drawing with a Watercolor Pencil

Several urban sketchers that I like have been using watercolor pencils to do their under drawings and I wanted to try it.  And because I could not think about what to paint, I went back to an old favorite, my neighbor's backyard tree.  I used a sepia colored pencil (of course).  I like the results and may try it again.  The orange leaves were done with a sponge (which is becoming one of my favorite tools).

                                              Watercolor on paper

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Return to Washington Valley Park

The leaves are just beginning to turn color in Washington Valley Park and I decided to return to a spot I have painted before last April.  The colors were not as spectacular as  I hoped, but it was a nice hike and I am happy with the results. 

                                   Watercolor on 140 lbs block 9x12

Below is the view from the spot I painted, along with my portable easel set up.  This beautiful view shows the East Branch Reservoir and the Middle Brook.  It is a simple hike to reach.  Directly behind me is the Buttermilk Falls.

I used this short hike as an opportunity to try out my new updated travel palette with some of the new colors I have been accumulating.  Below is the mix of Daniel Smith and M Graham colors in my new Schmincke watercolor box.  It holds both whole and half pans, so I can have lots of the colors I use most and try out other colors.  I have extra empty pans and will be rotating other colors in and out of this box.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Trees Around the Neighborhood

I did not get to do a sketch crawl like I initially planned but I did take time on Sunday to do some sketches around my neighborhood.  There are several little parks where the Bound Brook meanders and I have been wanting to paint them before the color changes.  This is the first sketch where I used both M Graham and Daniel Smith watercolors.  No reason why I have not done this sooner other than I keep them in two separate kits.

                             Watercolor on paper 11.0x5.5

This started as me testing hematite genuine in the upper left hand corner of the paper and finished as a loose, warm up sketch.  I have been wanting a darker brown and was not sure how much I would like its granulating properties.  Turns out, it is quite wonderful.  This is also the first watercolor I have done without any kind of under drawing of any kind.
                              Watercolor on 140 lbs paper 9x12

This is the second time I have painted this tree and enjoyed working on this abstract, loose rendition of it. The tree is the favorite haunt of some beautiful Red-bellied Woodpeckers who have thus far eluded my attempts to photograph them.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Abstracting in Hacklebarney

I am not flexible; it is known.  So trying to sit and balance on river rocks in order to paint the Black River in Hacklebarney State Park and not fall in was quite the challenge (my foot did fall asleep though).  This picture is a bit more abstract than my last few pieces (no pen and ink).  Sometimes being more loose and trying to capture the energy of the moment is fun in and of itself.  

                                    Watercolor on paper 5.5x8.25

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sint Maarten -- Part II Sailing to Anguilla

Sailing to Anguilla was a great day.  When we signed up for the trip, we did not realize it was such a booze crews (but apparently they all are).  The rum started early (learned about a variant of a Dirty Shirley made with rum) and kept flowing all day.  But that was not the highlight of the day.  For me, painting while sailing (see below) was the true highlight (that and the after party).

Below is the picture of the catamaran I did after a lovely lunch of mahi mahi, jerk ribs, curried coleslaw and rice.  It is my favorite piece of the whole trip.  In fact, it might be my favorite piece I have done in the past year (this or the old stone bridge).

                  Watercolor and pen & ink on paper 5.5x8.25

Below is a series of three small (postcard size) pictures I did while sailing to Prickly Pear and Anguilla.  Despite all the rum, not many people were talkative.  However, after I pulled out my watercolors and began sketching that all changed.  It was a fun conversation starters.

These three sketches are rough and loose and just plain fun.

                      Watercolor and pen & ink on paper 3.5x5.5 

                      Watercolor and pen & ink on paper 3.5x5.5 

                      Watercolor and pen & ink on paper 3.5x5.5

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sint Maarten -- Part I

Vacation was relaxing and awesome.  And incredibly productive.  I did 9 painting/sketches of various sizes, including 3 while sitting on a catamaran (coming soon). 

Instead of my normal Daniel Smith watercolors, I brought a new palette of colors by M Graham watercolors (Highland Green, Bismuth Yellow, Cobalt Teal, Permanent Green Pale, Scarlet Pyrrol, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Violet, Cobalt Blue, Cobalt Green, Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Gold and Burnt Sienna)  specifically because of the gorgeous cobalt teal, which was perfect for the clear Caribbean water. M Graham watercolors are made with natural blackberry honey to prevent them from drying out.  It was my first time really using these watercolors and they did really well, except for the Cobalt Green which never, ever dried in my palette and therefore leaked all over the place.  Good thing I kept them in a zip-loc baggie.

This was the view from my room, looking out to the far right.  I did have a view of Simpson Bay but could not see it sitting down.

                           Watercolor and pen & ink on paper 5.5x8.25

View of the Caribbean Sea

We spent most of the time hanging on the beach or floating in the Caribbean Sea.  I did a sketch of the view, sitting on a beach chair, looking to the right on the first day and the view to the left on the last day.  Connecting them would give a full view of the little horseshoe bay where we sat most days.

                       Watercolor and pen & ink on paper 5.5x8.25

                       Watercolor and pen & ink on paper 5.5x8.25

View of Simpson Bay and the "Hills"

The view of the "mountains" were a close second to the sea itself.  Not sure if these are Sint Peter Hill or Sentry Hill, but I enjoyed watching the clouds drift in the sky to make the shadows flows across these "hills".  

                       Watercolor and pen & ink on 180 lbs paper 9x12

                        Watercolor and pen & ink on paper 3.5x5.5

Friday, September 05, 2014


I finally feel like an urban sketcher.  To my mind, rightly or wrongly, I feel that Barcelona is birth place of this little global movement (or at least one of them).  If it is not, then it is certainly one of its centers.  So to finally sit at a restaurant on top of Arenas de Barcelona and sketch the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya was a pretty cool experience.

                              Watercolor and pen & ink on paper 5.5x8.25

I had this ambitious idea of doing one small picture a day (3.5x5.5) but alas, I only had the time and energy to do two.  Below is the view from my hotel room.  On the left, barely visible, is Sagrada Familia.

                         Watercolor and pen & ink on paper 3.5x5.5

And here is where the magic happens.  The mobile recording studio set up in our hotel. 

                                Watercolor and pen & ink on paper 3.5x11.0

Monday, August 25, 2014

Highland Lakes (Beach Seven)

It is a small world.  While getting ready to paint in Highland Lakes, Tina's uncle told me I needed to visit the Expeditionary Art website because the artist, Maria Coryell-Martin, does some cool nature watercolors.   I already knew about the site because T had bought me my first (and second) Pocket Palette from Maria.  In addition, Maria was very generous with her time and expertise.  She provided her insights and advice to me while I was preparing to buy artist grade watercolors (Daniel Smith).  Here is my first painting using the Pocket Palette and new paints on site.

Why is it a small world?  Well, it turns out T's cousin went on the same expedition as Maria.  In fact, Maria even did a watercolor portrait of her cousin in watercolors (it is a really cool and unique piece).

Here is my sketch of small lake where T's aunt and uncle live using, of course, my Pocket Palette and Daniel Smith watercolors! 

                         Watercolor and pen & ink on paper 5.5x8.25

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Snuggle Bear Sits for His Portrait

No TBT this week, just quick sketch.  Snuggle Bear wanted a portrait done, so, of course, I obliged.  He was a very patient subject.

                            Watercolor, pen and ink on paper 5.5x8.25

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Throw Back Thursday -- Famous People

Here are some old sketches in pencil from 1987. I cannot remember who the girl in the middle was but major points to anyone who can name the political figure at the bottom.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Old Stone Bridge -- Duke Farms

Typically, there is a rush and feeling of contentment when I finish a painting or drawing.  This feeling quickly diminishes and is replaced by the thoughts of my Inner Critic, whom always finds some fault or error to plague my peace of mind.  However, a full 24 hours later and I still really like this painting of the old stone bridge that leads into the Duke Farms.  This is my best effort at a robust use of light/dark contrast .

One of the nice things about painting on location is that you get to meet all kinds of interesting people who ask if they can watch you paint.  On Saturday, I felt like an exhibit at the zoo, with a parade of people coming by, to what I thought was a remote spot (the bridge may be the main entrance, but I had never saw anyone walk down its slopes before to sit where I did for the painting).  All in all, it was a fun day to paint.

                         Watercolor and pen & ink on paper 5.5x8.25

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Throw Back Thursday - Great Cats in Pencil

I found some old sketch books going through some boxes.  And since I am not on Facebook, I do not get the opportunity to participate in Throw Back Thursdays.  So,  for the month of August, I will be posting my version of TBT.  Some of these might have been posting years ago while others will be posted for the first time.

Both of these pencils sketches are from the late 80's and early 90's, a time where my predominant medium, almost exclusively, was simple pencil.  At this time I was highly influenced by Frank Miller's Ronin, and the highly stylized cross-hatching technique he employed.  While the cross hatching in these are more mundane, they were a departure from what I had been doing: using the sides of a No. 2 pencil to shade and shadow.  Later, in college when I began to experiment in color pencils and mix media, I would use a more minimalist and economical line work.


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Drift Wood

The goal of this painting was to utilize the transparent nature of watercolors to do layers of color, one on top of the other.  For the most part, the goal was achieved. The yellows, raw sienna, quin orange and new gamboge all play nicely together, making the scene rather tranquil, despite the dark, stormy blue sky (in blue apatite genuine).  

But it is the foreground, with its wild grass and namesake drift wood, that gives this painting a greater degree of depth than I normally achieve.  It was also one of the most fun area to paint.

                                     Watercolor on 140 lbs paper 9x12

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Neighbor's Backyard Tree

I love this tree.

I see it everyday outside my window.  It is so stately.  And since it just about due north of me, I love how the sun and light and shade play across it during the day, especially its signature right angle branch that throws interesting shadows.  I had been wanting to paint it for a while.  I do not think this will be the only time I paint this cool tree.

                                               Watercolor on 120 lbs paper

Sunday, July 20, 2014

From the Gecko

Because we all knew that eventually. . .I had to. . .

"From the Gecko" is another colorful bastardization of the English language.  Roughly translated, it means "from the get go" or to do something at the start or beginning of a project.  Yet somehow, it never sounds that way.

                                           Watercolor, pen and ink

And here is the little doodle, starting out as a mess of squiggly lines to test a new pen out that eventually became a lil gecko.  You can see the squiggles at the top.  When I did an oval, it made me think of a gecko's head.  From there is became a more focused doodle.

                                         Watercolor, pen and ink