Thursday, April 23, 2009


I've been thinking more about artistic growth and I've noticed something. Maybe coincidence but I think this blog is related to things that have happened to me recently. I launched this blog to give myself motivation and great things have occurred since it all started.

The knowledge that someone might be reading my journal gave me the extra incentive to do better and improve my artwork. I think that I can get complacent without subjecting my work to a knowledgeable audience. Now granted, I did not suddenly get a big performance boost from blogging because these thoughts have been germinating for a long time. What I'm saying is that this blog has definitely been a catalyst to move ahead with those new ideas.

Many of the people who visit are experienced artists and just knowing that pushes me to post the best I can. I was looking for motivation but never expecting this type of benefit. I've stated that I view jury submissions as a challenge because I usually get rejected and then I vow to do better and "show them" they were wrong about my work. In the case of this venue I feel good about sharing my experience and what I've learned because my new friends are on the same journey. I have come to enjoy the feeling of companionship on the path. I promise to strive for excellence with everything I put down here in the future and never relent in my artistic and personal growth.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Journey of Dreams

A new friend of mine that I've made via this blog is Australian artist Peter Brown. Pete left a comment here recently that has had me thinking about life long dreams and the pursuit of artistic expression.

As a very small boy of 5, during our long cold winters, I remember watching a television program called Wild Kingdom. I had this paper cut-out set of African wildlife that I would stand up as each animal was shown on the programs intro. They had this fantastic native percussion theme music and I would get so excited about my little savanna on the living room carpet. I would watch in awe as the host traveled the world encountering wild creatures and having great adventures on safari.

I've been making drawings ever since. As I became an adult my dreams of becoming a professional artist met face to face with reality and my life's circumstances would not allow this to happen. Even so, I am an artist no matter what day job I may have. I am always thinking as an artist and contemplating my true life's work. Progress has been slow but as I mature I'm more comfortable with the pace. I always strive for improvement and growth.

This year I'll be 40 years from those memories of my paper safari, enjoying the same childlike awe in the natural world and creating images of what moves me. We all travel through life in different ways and I've no regrets that I'm not yet a professional. My studio is named 'WaySeeker' for just this reason.

If I'm correct, my artist friend Terry Miller was in his mid forties when he went pro. Sounds like Pete is on his way as well, creating great work after years of other responsibilities and raising a family. I hope he fully enjoys the walk-about he and his wife have recently begun.

I plan to fully savor the artistic break through I've had recently and who knows... I may yet go far and see my dream come true.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Sovereignty" sketch

This is the small pencil sketch I have worked up for my upcoming charcoal drawing. This is a value study more than anything, I've already worked out the position of the elk prior to starting this preliminary. The finish drawing will be 48"x24" so this helps me be as prepared as possible before I begin. I'm very interested to see how long this one takes since the change I made in my process. I'll be posting as often as possible as it moves along.

Friday, April 10, 2009


I added a new word to my vocabulary today. Epiphenomenon; noun, a mental state regarded as a by-product of brain activity.

I have been filled with many thoughts since I completed "Solstice" (detail above). Whole new worlds of possibility have opened because of what has happened to me during the course of this work. The vision I have of my art has expanded beyond what I might have hoped for, like stepping up to an entirely new level of consciousness.

I expect this sounds quite aburd and esoteric but for me it's life altering. The time I spent on this drawing and the one just prior, marks a profound turning point for me as an artist. I've been chided for being too cerebral about my work but now there is an elevated degree of emotion to it as well. I can hardly wait for what unfolds.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Totally Unexpected

Well... I really do not know what to think. Here, a scant 7 hours from the point it was first posted I'm finished with this 18"x36" Great Horned Owl piece. I had this free day and thought I'd get it started, never did I think I would complete it in one sitting.

Productivity has always been the greatest challenge in my puny, part-time art career. If this new process gives results this quickly I might just have to take a day off more frequently. I was stunned that only a week had elapsed from the beginning to end of that bald eagle I recently completed and now I'm talking hours. I don't even have a title in mind for this owl yet.

There are implications from today that I'll have to think about. If I can create more drawings each year perhaps I can move closer to expanding my part-time status. Also, more works being completed means greater opportunity for artistic growth with each one. Yeah... definitely a paradigm shift, or seismic tremor, or big bang went off in my head today!

Great Horned Owl

Had some unexpected time at the drawing table today so I'm taking advantage by starting this GHO. I want to continue the momentum I gained with the last piece by getting right into another using the lessons I learned in my experiment.

I smudged in a light gray background to get the board dirty. That drops inhibition from the initial drawing marks. This image shows about 60 minutes of work. This would have taken me hours just last month given the way I worked. The board measures 18"x36" for this composition.

I'll detail the eye and beak next then finish the wing. This bird sits in snow among dried grass so there will be some habitat in this work. Not anything detailed or too specific.

I have a very large size commission I'm preparing for which is in the initial stages. Getting this owl fit in before I begin that 24"x48" elk herd behemoth gives me some practice and confidence before applying this technique to that project.