I sketched this woman on the bus last month. As with all the pen and ink sketches I’ve done while riding to and from my former job, I had about 15 minutes to create the image. See more here.
I wanted to get out today to paint, despite the heat. Got to the park about 4:30. It had become overcast, so didn’t have to worry about sun or shifting shadows. I also made up my mind that I didn’t have to find a perfect subject. I just walked about 100 yards from my car into the outskirts of the woods, reconnoitered a few seconds, and sat down and started painting. I had John Singer Sargent in mind. Many times when working en plein air, he didn’t much care what his subject was, he just painted what was right in front of him.
This is a recently completed logo design commission. The client had just started an oilfield engineering company. He initially wanted a design for just the main company, but decided that he also wanted one for its subsidiary. With that in mind, my goal was to tie the two marks together visually, but make them distinctive from one another. I worked up a lot of detailed sketches and submitted them for feedback. The concept that excited me the most used the initials of both companies as a motif to suggest an oil rig. Many times I struggle to get on paper visually what’s in my head. Sometimes I’m disappointed. After many pencil renderings, I got my idea to work and I liked it, but the most important thing is that the customer did too. You can see some of my other logo designs here.
This is a watercolor illustration that I painted for a promotional series to promote the printing capabilities of the company I was working for. My idea was to create a large-scale calendar and use a staged photo or illustration for each month with the theme as a visual pun on the word “wall”, since this is what the piece would be, a wall calendar.
I wanted this particular month to look like a very old Chinese silk painting. I bought a large sheet of extra-heavy litho paper, took it home and placed it in my bathtub, filled with instant coffee and water. I let it soak for a while, then let it dry. I finished up using watercolor dyes.
A few years back I went on a watercolor “paint out” to a dairy goat farm outside of Houston called Blue Heron Texas. There a young couple make wonderful goat cheese from Nubian goats and sell it regionally at farmers markets. It was a great experience. There were just about every species of barnyard critter you can imagine. Cats, dogs, pigs, chickens, and a giant male turkey by the name of Dory.
As I stood at my field easel, painting away, Dory sauntered up to me and began humping my leg. Not a little. A lot. This was a big turkey, and he just about knocked me off my feet. I was greatly amused, as was the young lady who was hosting us, and besides being somewhat embarrassed, decided to record the event for her blog. Dory followed me around for the rest of the day. I made a few sketches, but didn’t get much painting done. Alas, I found out a few weeks later that he ended up in a frying pot.
I love nature. I went for a walk in Houston’s Memorial Park for the first time since the big drought several years ago. It had been too difficult to see the devastation. But the park’s coming back. I pulled out this watercolor I did there pre-2011. Those pines are all gone. Nature doesn’t experience time or loss. It just relentlessly goes on…and prevails. The thought gives me comfort in these uncertain times.