Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Percival the Puny Painting Pachyderm

Anna and Percival are artists, explorers and natural scientists. Above we see Percival painting one of his tiny paintings. Anna, who is also a prolific inventor, ground the pigments for his paints. She also invented brushes, the easel, stretched canvas and the pallet that this hairless dwarf mastodon is using. Percival is known for his fine trunk/eye coordination, which is quite handy (actually, better than a hand) when doing miniature painting.

Below is a roughed out page from the graphic novel when Anna and Percival first meet. You should get a larger, more readable, version if you click on it.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Action Anna

My plan today was to post some dragon art that I contributed to a book with many other artists but I've decided to put up some drawings of my character Anna the Cavegirl instead. She doesn't look much like a cave girl but that's because she's a mutation. As a result her own tribe shuns her. No one in her time quite looks like her and no one listens to her well thought out advice. She creates havoc though when she makes seemingly innocent jokes. The distant past she lives in is populated by a variety of comically stupid hominids -- stoogeo sapiens. Her only friend is a dwarf mastodon called Percival the Puny Pachyderm. These are little action character sketches I did of her while trying to figure out what she's going to do next. I still don't know. There are a few drawing of Anna and Percival in my book Kiddography.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


There’s a tribe in (I think) South America that has a different perspective from the rest of the world. They see the past as in front of them and the future as behind. Their thinking is that they cannot see the future but they can see the past as a memory. At a particular instant people cannot see what’s behind them but they can see what they’re facing. When the people in this tribe talk about the future they point backwards and they point forward when referring to the past. Once you understand their reasoning it makes sense.

If people can be so different, how can there be any universal useful symbolism? It seems to me that symbolism is entirely subjective. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like symbolic paintings. Symbolism just doesn’t add anything to the picture for me.

Emotions, however, are universal among humans. Nearly all of us experience the standard range of feelings and those can be brought forth with a well-done picture. I like art that does that. Emotions can bring forth deeper meanings to an individual when you have context. If you go by symbolism you could easily get things backwards.

In complete opposition to my own premise, I’ve done a symbolic picture. It’s not a well-done one partly because I don’t know what it means. Maybe it’s my statement on symbolism or some other fine art cock-and-bull. I leave this open to your interpretation.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Always Drawing

Even when I'm not posting I'm still drawing. At some point soon I'll put some new drawings up for sale on my website (direct link to the drawing section above). New paintings are are their way to the blog too.

Lately I've found myself in a warming pot headed to a boil. The water was just fine when I got in. With just a tiny bit more work I'll swim my way out of it. I just have to will myself to get it done so I can get on to more pleasant stuff.

I call this goofy picture "Meeting God." We're supposed to be in His image so I made Him look like me. The bowler hat was added to Him so we wouldn't be confused with each other. I could easily be mistaken here with this characterization. If I am I will stand corrected -- on all of my six webbed feet.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Little thought went into this. It’s like riding a bicycle. There was the naked lady and I painted her. Perfunctory, is the word I would use to describe this painting but still it serves a purpose.

Years of training have made me see naked people as objects -- flesh, muscles and bone objects. Nope, not people at all, but something I can study and understand better. Even when they’re clothed, I undress them and then dissect them with my sharpened eyes. It’s a terrible thing to come under my scrutiny.

It’s good to understand these living machines and other machines like them whether they have skeletons, in or out, or not at all. How can you make up your own creatures unless you have a good understanding of the animal kingdom that includes the human beast?

Sometimes knowing too much can get in the way but, for the most part, I’d rather know something even if I decide to ignore it. Actually, the information that goes in my head always gets jumbled some before it comes out so I’m in little danger of knowing too much.

Monday, January 08, 2007


More and more I’m plagued by indecision. What should I put up here? Also, what will I do with the rest of my life? There are just too many options. So, when in doubt, do something. If it weren’t for sheer caprice, I get a lot less done.

For no reason at all, here’s a real plein air painting I did on location in Algonquin Park in Canada. I know that’s redundant but a lot of artists tell me that their ‘plein air’ paintings are done from photographs or are based on sketches done on location and finished in the studio.

All the paintings I do from life are exercises. That means I’m studying what I’m painting more than I’m trying to do a nice painting. I don’t do it on purpose. It’s just the way my mind works.

Every day when I’m not painting I’m studying why things look the way they do. I even have a number of theories on this subject that are different than I was taught and contrary to what I’ve read in books. In my, very arrogant sounding, opinion there’s a lot of bad observation going on and it’s repeated in text books but it’s still wrong. Knowing what I know may not make my paintings any better but I’d rather base my opinions on what I see rather than what’s written. Even if I’m wrong.

PS: I recently noticed that the author of “Petrogypies” (see post of same title) wrote a comment. Pretty funny. I wrote to him at his community blog called “eat our brains” and I’m looking for the sketch he was interested in seeing.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Porpoise-ful Lady

I really don’t think about New Year’s resolutions much because I’m resolving to do stuff all year long that I don’t. My great fear is that I’m actually doing the best I can with my life.

That aside, I thought I’d try harder at something I’ve been working on and that is to look forward to things more. It’s very easy to get into a responsibility rut: the feeling that I’m going from one thing I’m obligated to do to the next. That isn’t really the case especially since it’s mostly things I’ve chosen to do.

Deadlines are part of the illustration business and they have to be met. That’s not a problem for me. My problem is that I give myself so much extra to do that I have anxiety over not doing one thing when I’m devoting time to another. I worry that I’m not being true to myself. That’s just stupid.

Behavior modification is hard. Wish me luck.

Oh, the drawing . . . I started it New Year’s Eve full of champaign and I finished it New Year’s Day full of sobriety and hope.