Monday, January 30, 2017


For awhile, I've been using my Patreon page as a blogging platform and it seems silly to post both here and there. So this blog is on hiatus while I do that for long enough to decide if it makes sense. I hope you will visit me there! Recently, I decided to make all of my Patreon posts public...anyone can see anything I post there as well as any videos I post on YouTube. We'll see how it goes!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

New Patreon Post: Watercolor Reference Binder

I've shared a new post accessible to everyone on my Patreon page. This one talks about how I set up and use my watercolor reference binder, an indispensable studio tool for referencing information about the watercolor pigments I own. Check it out!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Announcing my Patreon Page

Patreon is a platform where creatives and those who want to support them in their work come together. Creatives create and and their creations are shared (often exclusively) with supporters who pledge financial support on a monthly or "per thing" basis. It's a pretty neat system for both creators and supporters (or more properly, patrons). After watching other artists on Patreon for some time, I decided to launch my own Patreon page with a monthly subscription model. You can visit it here, and can also find it linked in the sidebar.

My profile page discusses why I chose to be on Patreon and what I plan to offer. The "official" launch date is October 1, 2016 but I am working on content now. In fact I will publish a new patrons-only post today about my Watercolor Studio Reference binder. This useful binder catalogs all the watercolor pigments I own as well as the color wheels, color transition charts, value charts and other reference materials I have created with them. It is an extremely valuable tool for understanding my pigments' properties, identifying gaps in my palette, remembering which manufacturers' version of particular colors I prefer, and avoiding buying multiples of the same pigment which might be marketed under different color names.

I invite you to take a look at my Patreon page and hope you will considering supporting me for as little as $1 per month if you feel the content there will help you in your watercolor journey.

Friday, July 1, 2016

World Watercolor Month 2016

 July is officially World Watercolor Month. It's official and everything! Watercolor enthusiasts from around the world are celebrating by taking on the challenge of completing 31 sketches or paintings that involve watercolor in 31 days.

I decided this would be a good kick in the butt to start a themed sketchbook that I've been thinking about doing for awhile: one containing sketches of things I observe from walking around on our property. Interesting things to paint abound here, from our own animals to wildlife to meadows to forests to outbuildings to farm equipment to rock walls to gardens...well, I reckon I could spend a lifetime filling sketchbooks with all of it!

But my goal is not just to paint pretty pictures. I also have the goal of using this sketchbook series as scientific field journals in which I record my observations, questions, and findings about how our presence and use of this 23 acres has impacted and continues to impact the wild flora and fauna here.

So here we go: the first entry from today, which is the "title" page in the Volume 1 of my 23 Acres sketchbook series.

 If you'd like to join in the fun, click the logo at the top of this post and dive right in! You can see all of my work for this challenge on Flickr.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

One Thing Leads to Another

Concept Sketch for Current Book Illustration Project

I'm still buried in a book illustration project (in collaboration with author and friend Susan Rogers) but it should wrap up by end of July. I won't lie, projects of long duration like this one drive me a little takes a lot of effort to sustain interest over months, at least for me. But every time I do a fun concept or sketch like the one above, it makes me smile and fuels my enthusiasm.  Once the book is done and headed for publication, I'll be able to share more of my work from it.

Illustration is not something I had any experience with this prior to this project but fortunately the author was keen to go with a "sketchbook" style, and that I certainly have plenty of experience doing! And as a result of this project, I've become a lot more interested in the illustration for childrens' picture books and graphic novels and in visual storytelling as a whole. So I've been spending my daily "professional development hour" (time I devote to myself and my own development as an artist) in learning about the art, process, and storytelling aspects of those kinds of projects.

These topics are definitely a jaunt off the beaten path from what I have been doing, but they are compelling and I'm fortunate to be in a position where I can explore them to the extent that I wish. Plus, I prefer to be open to direction signs that the universe plants in my just never know what fun places they might take you! I mean, who knew a silly sketchbook would turn into a self-published book (Doggitude) that then inspired a modest but successful Kickstarter which then led to a big pile of commissions for dog and cat portraits and ultimately to this illustration project I'm working on right now?!

Illustration from Current Book Illustration Project

Most artists tend to focus on a specific discipline or medium. Me, not so much. As long as I'm enjoying the creative process and feeling like I am progressing, I don't worry about being easily categorized in terms of my work. If I was 25 or 30 and aiming to building a lifelong career as an artist, I might be more concerned with this matter. Staring 60 in the eye, not so much. At this point, I just want to keep learning, keep growing, and keep doing interesting things. Hopefully I can continue making money along the way (who doesn't like money, right?) but again, I'm fortunate to enjoy a certain amount of freedom from having financial pressures drive my creative choices.

One thing this foray into illustration has inspired that will benefit all my work is putting more effort in developing my drawing skills, including doing a lot of basic draftsmanship exercises in my sketchbooks. Where it's all going to lead to, who knows. But the journey is fun and it all feels like solid creative progress...that's good enough for me in the moment!

And as an aside, I am making progress on one personal DVD project. I've got the content outline completed. I've also done a couple of test recordings which I wasn't really happy with because of the quality of lighting. So, I've ordered supplemental lighting and once that arrives, will do another teset recording. Once the lighting is good, I will be able to record the full DVD project as well as a few shorter how-to clips which I plan to put on YouTube.