Sunday, October 08, 2017

Barcelona W

The view from my hotel room at the Barcelona W was not of the Mediterranean but of the bay (I know, poor me).  It was interesting nonetheless, especially at sunset.

                   Watercolor 11 x 8.5 on heavy weight paper 270 gsm

This is bit more abstract than I initially intended and yet it still conveys to me the feeling of sunset. 

I wish I had more time to sketch while there, but between work and the jet lag (and the protest marches), I did not have the time or energy.  As I said before, Barcelona is a great city to sketch.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

When in doubt. . .

paint your favorite tree.  Using Robert Oster Melon Tea and a couple of Daniel Smith watercolor sticks. . .

Friday, September 01, 2017

Denver Botanical Gardens

Perspective is yours alone, use it or lose it. . .or so the the saying goes.  My perspective, from a vanishing point of view, is a bit skewed.  But I think this one works.

                                 Watercolor 11 x 8.5 on heavy weight paper 270 gsm

It was a hot day in Denver and I found a shady little spot with a neat little water feature.  The bubbling vase was quite serene and relaxing.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Pike's Peak

The epic vistas of Colorado were certainly inspiring.  Pike's Peak was as impressive as advertised.  However, it was far too cold (27 degrees F) and the stay far to short to paint while up there, so this is from a photo reference as we took the Cog Railway back down the mountain. This may be one of my most favorite paintings that I have done in a long time.

                       Watercolor 11 x 8.5 on heavy weight paper 270 gsm

Below is the view from the scenic turnoff on I-25 (right by the AF Academy).  It was hot and dry (typical alpine desert weather).  And much like Lugano, the water evaporated as fast as I put it down.  I think I over-worked this one a smidge or two.  This one is not one of my favorites. . .

                      Watercolor 11 x 8.5 on heavy weight paper 270 gsm

Tuesday, August 01, 2017


He is cute but chill. . .

                            Watercolor and Robert Oster Melon Tea Ink

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Wagner Farm Arboretum

My father once told me, "you cannot show an Irishman a hill without him wanting to see the other side."  I have come to understand the truth of this saying.  Driving home from work I would often glimpse these grain silos, literally across the highway and through the woods.  Finding them (and then painting them) became a goal.  This is one of those spots that I might have to come back to in different seasons,especially in winter.

                         Watercolor 11 x 8.5 on heavy weight paper 270 gsm

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Washington Valley Reservoir

I have no idea what this building is or what its purpose is, but I wonder about it every time I go hiking around the Washington Valley Reservoir.  It probably had something to do with controlling the dam of the west branch of the Middle Brook (the brown berm in the mid-ground) that created the reservoir. 

What ever its function was, I think it is pretty cool.  And having just finished  Mark Lawrence's second trilogy set in the Broken Empire (think violent post-apocalyptic Game of Thrones), I imagine the building holds a long metal rung ladder that goes deep below the reservoir leading to a bunker where Builder-ghosts seek to influence the events of the Red Queen's War.

                            Watercolor 11 x 8.5 on heavy weight paper 270 gsm

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Playing at Comics -- Page Deux

Like the amplifier for a Spinal Tap guitar, I have cranked (the cheese on) this one to 11.  Truly, I blame Cone for the increased Cheese Factor, when he threw the gauntlet down with his "head 'sploding' review of page 1.  It was inevitable really.

Continuing the story of our unnamed heroine from Page 1, we learn a bit more about her past, but not much more about her (intrigued?  how could you not be with all that cheesy goodnes?).  Alas I think, this will be it for now

                                            Page 2 (click to embiggin')

                                 Unlettered art Page 2 (watercolor, pen and ink)

                                                   Pen and Ink

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Madrid -- Palacio Di Cristal

Sketching buildings ain't my thing, but sometimes you gotta try and stretch, and do things that are not easy.  And sometimes buildings just catch your imagination.  The Palacio Di Cristal in Buen Retiro Park (literally, according to the wikipedia, "park of the pleasant retreat") in Madrid was one such building.  I did not have much time for sight seeing whilst in Spain, but I had to see this building.  There are many other interesting buildings and places within the park, but I thought this was the coolest.  

So under the barest of shade (it was another scorcher, around 100 degrees out), I sat and drew and painted for close to an hour.  Sometimes when I paint, people ask to take a picture, in Retiro park lots of people asked.  Despite the heat, it was a very lovely day.

                        Watercolor 11 x 8.5 on heavyweight paper 270 gsm

Below is an actual picture of the palace, and the pen & ink before the watercolors were applied.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Lugano, Switzerland

I just got back from a two week business trip in Europe and was able to do a few paintings in my new Stillman & Birn softcover (Beta Series).  I have been wanting to try it out for awhile and I must say it is pretty great.  It lies flat and handles watercolor washes amazingly as advertized.

Both of these paintings were done in Lugano, Switzerland (although the first one is technically Cademario).  The first is the view from the Kurhaus hotel, high up in the mountains. The second is down by Lake Lugano (sitting on a bench on Riva Vincenzo Vela).  It was so hot that the water was evaporating in the watercolor pans!

                                Watercolor 11 x 8.5 on heavyweight paper 270 gsm

                          Watercolor 11 x 8.5 on heavyweight paper 270 gsm

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Playing at comics

Been inspired by Tyler Jenkins watercolor-based art in Grass Kings (and before that Snow Blind) and wanted to try something similar.  But do not have a story right now so I took two random images from Country Magazine and combined them into paneled art.  Then added some words to make a "story" via Microsoft Publications.  Let's see where this all goes. . .

                                            Page 1? (Will there be a Page 2?)

                 Unlettered art -- watercolor, pen and ink on paper (the paper was not made for watercolor, so it has buckled due to the water washes)

                                                      Pen and ink

Monday, May 08, 2017

Doodling with watercolor sticks

Doodling and playing around with some water soluble inks (Diamine Damson, J Herbin Vert Empire) and Daniel Smith watercolor sticks (Moonglow, Quin Gold, Quin Red, Undersea Green, Hansa Yellow Medium) to see which colors/inks work together.  Not sure if I found that match, but some of these ink/color combos work really well together.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Lion around

I'd be lying if I said it was not hazy, hot, and humid at the National Zoo this past weekend.  But, still it was a a lovely day.    

A quick, almost gestural painting of the lion, just lying around.

                                 Watercolor 6.9 X 9.8  on 110 lbs paper (PS)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Throw Back Thursday -- Herk the Barbarian

Back in the '90's, my medium of choice was color pencil over pen & ink (sometimes using pastels for the background).  Line work was minimal, layered color pencils gave the drawings depth.  This was a departure from what I was doing previously, lots and lots of line work and cross-hatching (I am looking at you Frank Miller's Ronin), regardless of whether it was pencil or ink. 

Back in that day, the drawings were small, less than 8.5 x 11.  The two below were 11x17, a real stretch for me.  Covering that much paper with color pencil took time.  That is when I started experimenting with adding pastel (see the blue mountains).  Now I am mostly playing around with water color, pushing color around.  Very little in the way of drawing.  Sometimes it is fun to look back and see how my "style" has evolved. 

Unfortunately, this was long and before there were inexpensive scanners or digital cameras so I have few digital records of these drawings.  Most of those pictures are long gone, given away to anyone who asked.  But a few remain.  

I give you Herk the Barbarian and Silv. . .  


              Color pencil, pen & ink, and pastel on bristol 11 x 17 (board circa 1994)

                      Color pencil, pen & ink on bristol board 11x17 (circa 1993)

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Kearny Kardinal

In Kearny, we spell it with a "K" because alliteration is cool.  

Initially I had wanted to add a more elaborate background, but I liked how the bird looked against the white paper.

                                     Watercolor on 6.9 x 9.8 on 110 lbs (PS)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A feast for woodpeckers

Woodpeckers are starting to take a toll on my old friend.  Mostly we get Red-bellied and the occasional downy wood peckers feasting in the old growth woods.  Last week a rarely seen Pileated woodpecker went to town on my favorite tree.  It acted more like an axe beak, hacking wood chips on an upper branch.  Giant, gaping holes are testament to the damage.  

                           Watercolor, Pen & ink on paper

Done using Diamine Damson ink (a grayish purple ink) and a touch of watercolor for emphasis.

Monday, April 03, 2017

. . .something blue

Trying something different.  After some light and sunny Spring trees, here are some dark and brooding trees.  Why?  No reason.  Just wanted to change it up a bit and use a different color palette. That, and try out one of the lessons in a  Stephanie Pui-Mun Law art book I received as a gift.  I am a big fan of her work, her work is amazingWhere her landscapes look ethereal and Fae, this is bit more harsh and dystopian (if dystopian futures had trees).  Not a bad result but. . .watercolor continues to be a process for me.

                                    Watercolor on 140 lbs paper 9x12

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring -- Let's Try This Again

So, let's try saying hello to Spring once again.* Here are some more Cherry Trees in full blossom. . .and a short ode to the season in case it keeps making us wait. 

                                       Watercolor 6x8 on 90 lbs paper

*If it snows again, it is not my fault. . .

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Still Life Before Salsa

Painted this one a while ago but never got around to posting it, mostly because I had wanted to add the salsa recipe in calligraphy (but that urge has come and gone).  

                                              Watercolor on paper

T and I were going to make salsa to take to a party.  As I began to assemble the ingredients on the plate, I thought it would make a great still life.  So, before I started chopping the veggies, I took 15 minutes to do capture them in watercolor.  I think it came out rather well.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Brun Ours

A cute little brown bear in Brun Ours (brown bear) ink on a cold snowy day. Brun Ours is a moderately shading ink and it has become my favorite ink for flex pen writing (it looks so old school).  Both the bear and the lettering done using a folded nib pen.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Spring blooms, Cherry Blossoms Soon

I have long wanted to visit DC when the Cherry Blossoms are blooming.  It appears like this year will not be the year (predicted peak bloom will be next week).  But in honor of the upcoming National Cherry Blossom Festival, and a longing for Spring, here is a simple watercolor of those wonderful, beautiful trees.

                                             Watercolor 6X8 of 90 lbs paper

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Its been a while. . .

. . .since I did any watercolor or posted anything.  Did this for a colleague who just came back and is recovering from neck surgery.  And it is the perfect way to start after an extended abscence.

                                  Watercolor, pen & ink on 90 lbs watercolor paper