Category Archives: life

Centered

Sorry I haven’t been around. I have drawn some art, but I had a reason to be away.

My mom contracted Covid-19.

So I have been doing my best to make decisions and help with her care, to make sure she RECEIVED care and to find a way for her to know that she was loved, even though we couldn’t be there physically.

She’s in her 70’s, but she is recovering. Also, small town America has no idea what’s about to happen to it. Her entire church (Yes, they STILL went to church) has been infected. Several have died.

So I continue to draw and edit videos. I have a time lapse video of this week’s drawing, but it’ll take awhile to compress it and speed it up.

Plus I’m told that I’m going between genres too often. Well, I try to be consistent, but I’ve been occupied. Hopefully things will get better.

Put It on the Fridge

Happy Mother’s Day! I got to talk with my mom bright and early yesterday. She’s in her 70’s but still has all of her brothers and sister and her mom. Clearly longevity is a family trait.

We were talking and she revealed that she keeps up with my art and loves seeing the stuff that I create. I was surprised by this, but in hindsight I should not have been.

She was my first fan.

When I was a toddler, she gave me my first paints. When I was in kindergarten, she used to put my pictures on the fridge. And when my teachers would complain about me drawing on homework, she bought me typing paper, which was a big deal for me. I had paper just to draw!

So yeah…my mom was always encouraging me. She was stern sometimes, keeping me on the right path, lol. But I never felt that my mom didn’t love me. And I had no idea that she follows ANY of this.

So thank you for allowing me to be me and teaching me the value in believing in yourself. I’ll never forget and always love you ❤️.

Woof

I had a dream about my Siberian Husky, Blizzard. We were going for a walk, except it started with driving with him in the passenger seat of my Amigo, top down as a puppy.

We ended up walking around my hometown. He was a full grown dog at that point in my dream. We were looking for my son. I woke up before we made it to my moms house.

When you have dreams like that, they carry a sense of dread. My Blizzard is gone; but I still feel him and that memory always comes with a slight sliver of pain and sadness. I miss him a lot.

So I decided to draw to help me grieve a little. It’s weird to me because I’ve seen the equivalent of a small village dead at once. I’ve seen severe human suffering.

But it’s always the small, personal wounds to my payche that stay. I feel like I should forget at some point.

But I probably won’t.

I hope I don’t.

Everyone Needs

Sorry about the background. I’d left the transparency, instead of adding a layer of white. For some reason, it’s expressing as black.

Weird.

Anyway, here’s my first digital picture in awhile. My process is pretty simple, all things considered.

A line drawing by pencil, transferred to Photoshop as a layer, copied over as line work then filled with an establishing color.

It was a bit easier; I guess my skills have improved quite a bit, which makes me happy.

The work on this was relaxing for me. It was a nice return to why I loved drawing in the first place.

I wasn’t trying to please anyone. I just put myself in the moment and did my best. Seems like great advice and definitely the kind I should take.

The final result actually garnered me some interest with a gym interested in making shirts and stuff. The owner is a professional bodybuilder who likes my style.

So being myself paid off.

Consume

Okay, I’m writing this after not sleeping since 0200 Sunday. It’s Monday. So if I seem a little loopy, I’m kinda always that way.

This is my #earthburger. It’s an idea I came up with as a teenager in the 80’s and my original garnered me a few blue ribbons as a teen.

Wondering why I didn’t post it?

It was stolen. And as it turns out, my art teacher was the thief.

It’s a little complicated… first thing you need to know is that before I ever took a class, I could make my own art. The REAL reason I took her class was because my future ex-wife took the course.

I was a jock. And a metalhead. And black in a small Alabama town. So my interest were all over the place! But art was my first and best love.

My “teacher” saw my potential. After realizing that she’d never get the best out of me drawing bison skulls and old boots, I finally got to do what I wanted. And sit next to my girl.

My life was perfect.

I made the town paper for winning state awards. I got to travel. Had you asked me, I would have told you that I was going to the Art Institute of Atlanta after high school. Or the army, which was the family business.

So when I started asking about possible scholarships and letters of recommendation, she surprised me. She told me no. She said that she didn’t feel that I was right for art school. That it was a waste of time.

And that she wouldn’t recommend me.

I have/had a great poker face. But that hurt went through me. Seriously, it went through my feet. I felt like I was sinking, even though I wasn’t moving.

I stopped drawing. Completely. So she flunked me.

Fast forward a year and a half. I’m walking down the hallway of my Alma Mater, after coming home after Desert Storm. I’m a paratrooper, so I get lots of accolades from teachers and friends. And then I see it.

A Ferrari F40 that I drew. It was one of my first experience with Prismacolor pencils and I used ALL the red, lol. I had been told that my art was stolen. And yet there it was, with a ribbon on it from a couple of months prior.

I learned later that she never sent any of the African American artist in her program to college. Had a few tell me that she said that they weren’t “good enough”. A few are professional artist.

I learned from that. I’m sure that current me could definitely get over self doubt; there’s a lifetime of experience. But I always remember that part of my life and I try to encourage those with gifts to believe in them.

No matter what.

Vistas

I suppose I could just occupy myself with work and get through this the old way. Honestly I don’t feel like drawing right now, but I also can’t stop, lol.

Figured a landscape would make me feel less cooped up, but the only thing I could think of was the ride to work. Scenic train ride is definitely missed.

I have a few parts of my day that are fun though. So this particular view is one that I have every morning; the station at New Carrollton,MD. I’m pretty good at this one because I’m always staring at the side facing the morning sun.

Now this parking garage I almost left as a silhouette. But I knew that wouldn’t work…

Although once I finished it I regretted it. It’s so hard for me to stay interested, but I need to get better at it!

So I cleaned up the image and darkened the building so that it wouldn’t stand out so much.

Now I feel better about being stuck at home.

You can’t isolate a hermit

Meet #maudecharron. She’s a pretty cool powerlifter. After watching her at an international meet, I felt the urge to draw her. Her expression tells a story. She was about to go for her second clean and jerk and while chalking up she shot the weights a defiant look. Now you have to understand; up until this point she had been a ray of sunshine. She almost danced with glee on the platform for her first lift. She was so energetic and upbeat that I was happy for her. But her demeanor changed here. You could tell that she felt that this would be a challenge, but her confidence in herself was unwavering. I love that about athletes. It’s a confidence borne of achievement. “I can because I have”. Of course she made the lift. And her playful excitement returned, but I CV had seen the steel and conviction behind her grace. So I drew her. Right at that moment when she decided that she would succeed, no matter what. Look at that expression. You almost feel sorry for those weights.

Safety over Freedom

It reads like a rant, right? It’s not. I’ll always pick freedom. But I also know better than to think things go away because I wish it.

Anyway…

I rarely draw kids. It’s not that I don’t like them; it’s that I don’t want to be trapped in the business of kids and pets. I have no interest in them.

But I do get it. My son was a little cutie, like this one. Curly hair and all. It took a long time to perfect those ringlets.

Drawing loved ones isn’t the same. It’s an interesting challenge, because you don’t really see the person only. You see them through the lens of your affection for them.

That makes it difficult to accurately judge what you are seeing. Even the most ordinary act can seem to be wonderful in such light, to say nothing of the person. To me my mom looks young and has a special glow.

You aren’t able to see that for the loved ones of others. Sometimes your interpretation of a person or pet can actually upset a customer.

People often don’t understand that an artist has developed a style that they may not appreciate. We’re not Xerox copiers and I’ve had a few experiences where expectations didn’t sync up with the reality.

That’s why it’s important to communicate with your client; if they are interested in a commission of any type, find out WHY they think that you’d make a great choice. Are they fans of your work? Did they pick you out of a hat? What are the expectations of the final work? How do they feel about the subject? Can they tell you a story about them?

Emotional stuff is NEVER irrelevant.

Fudge It

My son is back in Afghanistan. He took leave and we took a pretty fun roadtrip. I miss him already.

Anyway…

Things have been… interesting. My art life has been somewhat quiet. I have a few projects lined up, but without a deposit, I don’t start, so that’s a non issue.

Plus I found out that Staedtler discontinued the pencil I use to sketch out my art! I suppose I could just buy an 8H pencil, but I tend to lose the color with my vision issues. Oh well, something will come up.

In the meantime, I’ve resorted to colored pencils. They tend to shade really heavy and it requires me to use a more delicate touch. NOT my forte, lol.

Also… I’ve had a few people complain that I don’t draw many PoC (People of colour). The reason is…

…they don’t ask. Or I don’t post.

My paying customers often ask for a still life from a photo and the biggest hesitation comes from the concern that I’ll post the image. Of course I don’t. I have more than enough who don’t care, lol. And some are made up.

For some reason, most of the ones who say hell no are black.

Now one lady gave me an ENTIRE FOLDER of nudes to use! She only asked that I make a poster for her. Deal.