Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mule 3__Click to Bid

"Mule 3"___12 x 9 Pencil on archival paper___V....Vaughan, contact
click to bid

Here is the third of about 10 mule drawings created as studies for a large painting I have been commissioned to paint. Click the drawing to see some detail...If you want to see more mules in this series, scroll to earlier posts. You can see the other mule drawings being auctioned this week! To follow the progress of the large painting and see the finished painting in a few weeks, go to
**Sign up for a workshop this year! I give lots of info and handouts on drawing as a foundation for great painting. I can teach you to do this! Click below to see my workshop schedule:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ten Miles From Lampasas___Driving By

"Ten Miles From Lampasas"____6x8 oil on linen panel___$150 includes shipping if you ask first!
We are headed to Southern Colorado for a little bit of skiing and togetherness! Kids, Dogs, and ALL (except Romeo, who is hanging out with Linda, Matt and snarling Xena :)
Lampasas is only about 60 miles from our home, but by then, I was already painting inthe car(I do not sit still well for long, and this little group of lounging cows brought back some farm memories) I got off to a rough start when I opened my palette box and the canvas immediately fell into the new puddles of paint :( Then there was some brush juggling and paint got where it wasn't supposed to (think UPHOLSTERY) and I had to get it off without any one seeing me rubbing the spots (thinkscolding)...all the excitement is recorded in pencil on back of the canvas, so if you want this one, you get some amusing field notes as a bonus!
Happy New Year! More mules tomorrow!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mule 2_Click to Bid

"Mule 2"----9 x 12 Pencil on archival paper __Click to bid
This is 2 of about 10 mule sketches which are my preparation for a large commission I have been working on for nearly a year. I am FINALLY "on the canvas" with it, and will show the progress.
The drawing part of any figurative work is THE most important part. If the drawing is "right" it gives the artist more FREEDOM with the paint! We will be on the road soon...headed west to hit some ski slopes for a few days, but I will have some DRIVE-By paintings to show, soon. I like to paint along the way...FAST paintings, since no one wants to stop, so I do them in the car.
**Sign up for one of my upcoming workshops. Click here to see the dates. I have a LOT of new info and real STUDIES for serious artists, but beginners are welcome and encouraged.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mule 1__Click to Bid

"Mule 1"___12 x 9 pencil on archival paper. CLICK TO BID

Here is the first of about 10 mule drawings created as studies for a large painting I have been commissioned to paint. If you want to see a better image, click the image for details. Stay tuned to follow the progress of the large painting and see the finished painting in a few weeks, I hope you don't get tired of mules :) I will try to break up the mule auctions with a few paintings from our travels to Colorado. I have a trip coming up, and will be doing some "drive-by" painting in West Texas and New Mexico.
**Sign up for one of my upcoming workshops. Click here to see the dates. I have a LOT of new info and real STUDIES for serious artists, but beginners are welcome and encouraged.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Griz Sketch

"Griz - Sketch"__see finished painting posted on Dec.22, 2008
I have a workshop lesson on "DRAWING to Paint" coming up in several locations in 2009. The first will be in Rockport, TX on Jan. 17. Contact me for info. We will cover special shortcuts to "seeing", easy perspective and the following:
Before I take on a bigger painting, I like to have an idea of basic composition. In a sketch, I work out certain problems. In the case of Mr. Griz Bear, I needed to combine several photos I was given. I combined separate photos of: his face, body, background and lighting. PLUS, I used a 5th photo to judge how long his limbs are. Since I did not get to meet Griz "in person" all the different photos helped me to "see" him better. Even with all that effort, Griz's owner, Donna, had to suggest a few changes...things that looked a certain way to me in a photo, need to be adjusted for the folks who know Griz you can see, this is a QUICKIE sketch. I "saw" what I wanted to do, early on, and needed no more than this little prep to get rolling.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Reason

Merry CHRISTmas!
Here is this year's design for the Round Rock Christian Academy choir performance. I hope you "get" the symbolism!
Mrs. Brinegar is my good friend and leads the wonderful youth choirs. Each year she lets me design the tee shirts that the kids wear. She has been at the school 20 years, one year longer than I....and I have recently let the school know that I will not be back next semester. I am REALLY sad to leave the best "real job" I ever had. All my best friends are on staff at the school...more than friends, they are sisters and brothers. These are wonderful, supportive people who share the same passion for teaching and developing excellence in educating young people. Most of the staff has worked there for 10 years or's a great children all went there for many years. ...For the past few years, I have had the need to take a week here and a week there to travel to the many art shows, and now workshops. Doors are opening for me to do what I have always dreamed of doing: FULL TIME PAINTER. I have to say that God is opening doors, So starting in I go!...MERRY CHRISTmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Griz Bear_Click pic to enlarge

"Griz Bear"_ 20 x 16 oil on canvas___A commission for Donna Glenn
I had to shoot this picture without sunlight (reluctantly), because I shipped it (wet) to it's new home today. A special Christmas gift commissioned for a collector in Tennessee, who liked the work I did on Jake (see Jake posted back on July 9 ).
Here are a couple of art thoughts about Griz, for you artist friends of mine...FIRST, the photo would be better had I gotten to shoot it in the sun. I ALWAYS shoot in the sun, even though all the photo advice says to shoot on a bright day in the shade, or on a cloudy day. THINK about it!!! The sunshine, alone has the FULL SPECTRUM. The subtle colors will be seen in the sunlight. and contrasts of value, too...
SECOND....shooting a dog from above causes foreshortening. His near parts will be larger than his far parts. This can make him look like he has stubby legs :) I worked from photos on Griz, and so was limited in my knowledge of him, so I made sure to indicate this distance in my painting...."how"?? I created the "distance" on his body, by painting his rear parts slightly lighter (cooler) and softening the edges. of course the photos showed no variation between the black on his rear end and the black on his face, but ask the question "what is important to the viewer?"....hmmmm?....I am sure many of you have learned this concept in a workshop some place....if not, come to one of MINE in 2009!
Next one-day workshop is in Rockport, Texas, January 17 (NEW DATE!). Check my schedule from time to time....I add new dates often (and change a few sometimes!)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kruger Lion__Click picture to enlarge

Lion at Kruger National Park , South Africa___11 x 8 pencil on paper___$85
I have been visiting with Liz Pearson from South Africa. She explained Cricket to me need a great sense of humor to understand those rules! South Africans are getting ready to celebrate Christmas, too, but it's the middle of summer there...I just cannot imagine that! Well, Liz's friend, Lettie is permitting me to use some of her wonderful photos as reference for wildlife paintings, which I am preparing for the upcoming Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. Here is a sketch I did in preparation for a larger painting. This lion was just walking along the road! I think I prefer Texas armadillos sharing my highways! THANK YOU for this reference, Liz! You and Lettie will be the first to see the painting....right now, I have some commissions to comes Griz (tomorrow), 14 Mules, La Posada, Gus, Mars and many more! Merry Christmas, y'all!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lion Glance

"Lion Glance"___9 x 12 pencil on archival paper___$85 includes shipping
I 'll get this to you by Christmas if you will pay with paypal or a credit card. (e-mail me if you want it ...I'll be going to FedEx Monday, anyway, so this one will be at your doorstep on Christmas Eve if you are first to ask! ...It is a lion sketch from life at the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco. This lady lion was pacing very close behind the glass, and I captured her little bit at a time as I caught glances while she paced.
CONGRATULATIONS to my oldest son, Tanner, the Texas Louvre man, who graduated from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor today! I am very proud of you, sweetie! It will be fun to see what the Lord does with all your great gifts and abilities!
After the boy's graduation, my youngest son (the quarterback/pitcher) and I drove a few miles further to watch the State Championship football game: Lake Travis (Austin) vs Longview. "our team" won. It was a whirlwind trip, because the boy needed to get home, and HE WAS DRIVING...There is nothing like the adrenalin rush you get from riding in the passenger seat while your 16 year old drives in holiday traffic on the Interstate. I might be "wired" for a few more hours....I think I will go paint :) Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Meerly Young

"Meerly Young"__another Meerkat sketch from the zoo__Merry Christmas!!
After I posted "Meerly Slouching" I heard from a new artist friend in South Africa. Liz told me that meerkats are native to where she lives, near Cape Town. So I told her I had sketched another one and didn't like it, after I got it home. I wasn't going to post it, because the proportions looked funny, to me, and since I am not familiar with meerkats, I couldn't do anything about it. This really annoyed me, because DRAWING is my real strength in art. Perspective, proportion, etc, is what I do best, so having this one look funny to me was annoying. Liz told me that this one is a YOUNG meerkat, and that's how the young ones look! ... and I ought to post it. So here ya go! THANKS LIZ!!! Enjoy a summer Christmas at the beach in that other hemisphere!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Artist Shapes

"Artist Shapes"___A TEE Shirt for every artist __click link to order from RockSports
Yesterday I posted "Tiger Letters", and had some interesting comments! Barb wondered if the "Letters" were individual things to iron on...GOOD QUESTION! NO, all my tee shirts are pre-printed. This illustrates how important a "title" is, because it needs to explain a concept!...In my long, illustration carreer, I created many tee shirt lines for RockSports Inc.. Two of the most successful ones were the "Letters" line and the "Shapes" line. Letters is a word spelled out with letters that look like what the word is (like yesterday's "Lions") "Shapes" is shown above...the shape of the word is described by the negative space made from things that describe the word! Up close, you only see the "icons"....far away you onkly see the word. "Shapes" is my invention. Click on "ARTIST" Shapes above to see more detail...This is one of my favorite tee shirt designs, and I bring this tee shirt to my workshops. Click the links to order!
*WORKSHOP CHANGE!!! Jan. 10 workshop in Rockport, TX has been changed to JAN. 17.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tiger Letters

"Tiger Letters"_____tee shirt available from

Since I posted a quick tiger sketch from the zoo a few days ago, and I explained that I didn't get to complete the stripes on him, I thought I'd post this one, just to PROVE to y'all that I CAN DRAW tiger stripes! OK, OK, it's a cartoon version, but the stripes are there in all the right places! ...for many years I have been a key designer for RockSports Inc., a company that specializes in tee shirts and LOTS of other things. My lines have mostly been light-hearted, creative "word pictures"...this TIGERS design is part of the MASCOT line I to see over 70 mascots I have designed. You will be amazed at how many strange mascots actually "out there"! CLICK HERE if you want to order one of these from RockSports....

Monday, December 15, 2008

One from thd Winter Day Last Year

"Winter Day Last Year on the Farm"_____#3 of 24 ____available
Now about that book I mentioned, yesterday:
The Book comes in soft cover and hard cover. All the content in the book is the same, but the hard cover is really nice and the dust jacket includes two extra images. If you order from the book company, you get a third choice with a wrap around cover. Here is their link.
The wrap around is hard bound and the image is printed on the cover (no dust jacket….it costs about $41 from Blurb. My recommendation is the hard bound book, though J
If you get it from Blurb, you can pay with a credit card and a secure order page, and several shipping options.
Or you can order from me. (same price, but fewer options to pay. If you click the link below, it goes to my blog. If you scroll down to the January 9 post, there is a picture of the book and a paypal link to pay and order the book. Let me know if you’d like me to sign it.
Please go look at all the 365 Farm paintings on my web site
And please have a Merry CHRISTmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Meerly Slouching

"Meerly Slouching" a meerkat from above____from my sketchbook__$50 includes shipping
A foreshortened meerkat looks a little bit chubby...especially when they are slouching like this one was. In his defense, I must say that he positioned himself in the only sunny spot of his place at the zoo, and it was a VERY brisk morning there last week.
**With 10 days till Christmas, here are a few gift ideas. If you order by Dec. 22 (that's over a WEEK from now!) I can get it to you before Christmas!
-How about an art WORKSHOP! 1 day, 3 day or 4 day workshops in 2009 range from $70 - $500. I have been teaching for over 19 years, and give a LOT of instruction and direction.
-"Last Year on the Farm"...the BOOKS are $29 or $39, and are signed by the artist!
-An fine, framed original oil painting from "Last Year on the Farm". These paintings have a built-in reputation, having been sen already by many THOUSANDS of people in 2008. ...see the website for available works
-BIG classic MAP OF TEXAS in it's 4th printing is on sale for $20 which includes shipping to ANYWHERE in the USA....if any of this interests you, please EMAIL me;

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Black Bear for a Moment

"Black Bear for a Moment"______from my zoo sketchbook
I am having MOUSE issues, and it's been VERY hard to work my photos, so I have not posted art much this week. I hope you have enjoyed the break!!!
This bear was sound asleep in the shade, but looked up briefly when I made "kissy" sounds at him. Obviously, I did not gather enough info in the brief moment of eye contact, but I thought some of you "artist types" would like more "permission" to leave unfinished sketches UNFINISHED!!! This is a reminder to look over my workshop schedule for 2009. There are MANY OPTIONS to shoose from: 1 or 3 or 4-Day Workshops all over Texas, and MAYBE one in New Orleans. My prices are CHEAP, and I give ALL I got, to help artists of all levels. COME WITH A FRIEND who can keep you going after the workshop! e-mail me for more info at

Thursday, December 11, 2008


"Tanner's Pies"_____spoken for_____Free recipie below! Merry Christmas!
OK, I PROMISE this will be the last pie picture. This one is for all of you who asked for a "recipie"...I did my best to describe it below...good luck! Yesterday was my oldest son's birthday and we had a fancy dinner for him. It's been a crazy week and this is all the art I have managed, besides a few sketches. A Sketching workshop is coming up on Jan 10 in Rockport. Please join us!

I REALLY do not have a recipe. I have sort of made adjustments to the classic recipe in the Betty Crocker cookbook I grew up with!
Here is the best I can do to describe my adjustments. If you look at the BC recipe, it might make better sense. J

I do it by SIGHT and FEEL and taste, rather than measuring… here goes…
For two crusts (top/bottom)
About 1.5 – 2 cups flour.
Sprinkle on that about 1-1 ½ teaspoons of salt
With a fork, divide up about a little less than ½ that amount of shortening (Crisco)… divide it well with that fork (it’s a good arm workout J) and there should be no big chunks…if you cannot divide it up without big chunks, then you need to add flour…the final mixture ought to be like really coarse corn meal…really crumbly and dry but not TOO dry…
Add small amounts of water till it sticks together, but does not stick to the bowl (keep working that arm!)
Roll it out on a floured smooth surface to about 1/16 “ or less….
Too much crisco makes it too flaky. Too much flour makes it too hard and dry. Too much water makes a sticky mess…I perfected it by doing it over and over again….it cost me about 20 lbs. right after we got married


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bald Eagle

"Bald Eagle"____from my zoo sketchbook
This guy sat still while I sketched him at the Cameron Park Zoo a couple of days was a cold but sunny day on Friday at the zoo. I wonder if that's why three students were not in art class yesterday! One of my students forgot his jacket, so I made him wear mine. I had a warm shirt, but still came down with a little cold on Monday. I stayed in bed most of the day taking Zicam and drinking a lot of water....but was well enough to go teach at the end of the day...sorry I missed my daily post :)

Sunday, December 07, 2008


"Jerrod"____from my sketchbook
At the zoo the kids took a few minutes to eat some lunch and warm up...Here is one now!
While I am thinking about it, I want to tell you about my DRAWING WORKSHOP in Rockport, TX.
January 10 will kick off my monthly workshops in Rockport. We will do a little bit of painting, but mainly we will work on DRAWING. So, bring a sketch book and an ebony pencil. We will cover basic perspective and I will give a lot of tips on sketching fast and is the FOUNDATION for every artist....Let me know if you want to come to this one!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Tiger Sketch

"Tiger"____5 x 8 pencil on drawing paper
This was o ne of my first sketches at the Cameron Park Zoo, yesterday...a tiger just waking up from a nap. He (she?) was moving a lot, but this gesture was a quick one to capture....except the stripes. I almost didn't post it because I didn't put stripes on its back....I figured I would do it "later" but forget how they looked. SO! I have decided to post this "incomplete" sketch, knowing that other artists looking in might "need permission" to leave things's FAR BETTER than finishing from memory when you do not have a good handle on the subject. For me to try to put stripes on this means I'd have to rely on memory, and my memory is full of CARTOON tigers (Tony, etc.) I'd better not.
I am posting earlier than usual today. I need to leave for Fredericksburg, TX. Come join me at the Whistle Pik Christmas Miniatures Show reception! 6 - 8 pm tonight.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Jia with Soup

" Jia with Soup"___8x5 pencil on drawing paper____$75 includes shipping
It was a cold day at the zoo for my high school students. We went to sketch. There were 16 people at the zoo - 13 of them were US! The Cameron Park Zoo in Waco is a little gem, and I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy JUST ANIMALS and not hoards of people. It is small, easy to get around in and the exhibits are nicely done...not fancy...simple. I especially liked the Brazos River Country trail. It's brand new and full of Texas animals like coyotes and Buffalo. I will post the animal drawings next week. I had not expected to draw the kids, but ended up with a couple sketches of them. Jia is one of our international students. This doesn't look much like her, but the gesture was nice.
I will be going back to the zoo in a few days with the middle school students. So give me some suggestions about what to sketch at the zoo!!!...tomorrow night (Saturday, Dec. 6) is the reception for the Whistle Pik Miniatures Show. Please join me there, 6 - 8 in Fredericksburg, TX.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bill's Pie

"Bill's Pie"___9" cherry with homemade crust!____eaten by now
So, I did not get to paint today! Though I did a lot of sketching with my Middle School Class at Round Rock Christian Academy....and I got to go see my mom at the nursing home (TWICE, today!...they had their big Christmas party and open house, so I got to go with my sister and brother-in-law, and my diabetic mom got to indulge in too many cookies!hahaha!)
But my morning started with a nice visit with a GOOD FRIEND (and former boss!). I found out it was his birthday, and that he liked pie...thanks to his hints! This one at least LOOKED really nice...let me know how it tasted, Bill!!!
I will be taking the art class to sketch at the zoo. If you want to see a sketch of certain animals, send me suggestions! I will need to sketch demos for the group. WHat is your favorite zoo animal?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Bring on the Retreivers!

"Bring on the Retreivers!"____9 x 12 pencil on archival paper____$95 includes shipping
Our "good dane", Romeo, takes his cues from the other dogs in his life: When he is with my daughter's Chihuahua, Chulo, he acts little...when he is with the Lab, Maria, he becomes a retreiver. He's good for about 3 fetches, then he does this ...
Please see my schedule for up[coming workshops and exhibits! I will be at the Whistle Pik Gallery Saturday from 6 - 8 for a reception. Come to Fredericksburg if you can!
Also, I have been refining my workshops lately, and will introduce some new things this next year, including a chunk of info I haven't articulated before about drawing, marketing and deadlines :)
Please contact me if you want more info.
Merry CHRISTmas!!

Monday, December 01, 2008


"Gus"____10 x 8 oil on linen___A commission for E.W.
I missed the sunlight again, today and had to scan this instead of photograph it, so the color and values are a little off....I find that really dark paintings are hard to reproduce. Keep that in mind when you look at art that is printed. Originals are SO MUCH better, and worth the added expense. My rules for buying art are this: Buy ORIGINALS...they KEEP their value. And buy what you like....or even COMMISSION an artist you like to paint your favorite thing, like Mr. Gus above!..even if it's not a big name artist you have heard of! EVERY big name artist sold their first painting once! (except Van Gogh..)...A GREAT way to build your art collection is to buy SMALL paintings! They do not take up much room, you can buy MORE good art, and the price is smaller, too. A great start is to come to the Whistle Pik Miniatures Show this month in Fredericksburg, TX. See all the wonddrful paintings online If you come Saturday night you can meet many of the artists. I will be there!!!