Friday, February 26, 2016

Another 4x6 Work

Working on small pieces is a great way to stay engaged in the making process and explore a variety of ideas and compositions.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

More Small Work

I've been working on some smaller pieces over the last few days as well as larger pieces in the studio. I can easily sit in front of the tv and work on these 4x6 inch pieces on paper. With the face above, I began by creating a watercolor texture background, and I drew the face with black and white acrylic paint markers.

It was a similar process for the radiating designs, but I began with backgrounds that were started with watercolor and watercolor pencil. I really like how these small works turned out, and I am looking forward to trying them larger.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Showing Up

"Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work." - Chuck Close

I have been making a concerted effort to show up more lately. Since January, I have been finding the time and the motivation to create more work and to share it more often here on the blog and through various social media outlets. I have made the decision that I am not going to hold back any longer. If I want to be a thriving artist, I need to make art - period. I need to live the life now, and not allow so many things to get in the way pulling me from my art.

To that end, I have been making it into the studio more often, and I have been working on small pieces quite a but in the evening as I watch tv. I have been finding little ways to stay engaged in my art, and not allow too many things to interfere. It does mean that I've occasionally let the vacuuming go, and I have sacrificed a little but time with my wife and my animals. But it is important to me to continue to build the momentum and to allow the making and the creating to flow. It is important to me to consistently show up!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Making Progress

I spent a couple of hours in the studio on this warm February day working more on pieces. I started earlier in the week. I added a layer or two to several of them, and my favorite so far is the small painting pictured above. This 4x6 inch piece has a certain glow - a certain richness about it, and I am really loving the deep ruby color. I'm not certain what I'll do with these paintings or how far I'll go with them. I may leave them fairly simple and more abstract. But then again I may paint something on top. I just don't know.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Work in Progress

I spent a couple of hours last night beginning some new pieces in the studio using Golden High Flow acrylic to build up layers of color and textures. I built most of the cradles a couple of weeks ago, which I shared in this post. Then I spent a couple of days applying gesso to the cradles (see below), and finally began painting yesterday.

I've been exploring a lot with experimental watercolor techniques lately on small papers, and I wanted to achieve similar effects and textures with acrylic. The thin High Flow acrylic is a perfect for creating layers in a similar fashion as the watercolor.

I plan on building up more layers of paint to create more intense color and richer texture, and once the color is down, I may paint some of my radiating designs or faces. After I finish these, I'll have to kick it into gear to make more for the studio tour.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Art and Soul in Two Weeks

Have you signed up for Art and Soul yet? In two weeks, Dave and I travel to Portland, OR to teach three workshops, and we hope that you can join us. Check out our Events page for a list of our Art and Soul workshops as well as all upcoming workshops!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour

Today was another cold and icy day in Northern Virginia, but my thoughts have turned toward spring since I found out that I will once again be part of the Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour the weekend of June 18 & 19. So mark your calendars, and come visit me in my garage studio in Purcellville, VA. Here are a couple of photos from last year's tour. I better start making some new work!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Small Journals

I took advantage of the President's Day holiday, to work in a couple of little journals. They're both 4"x6", and one is a journal that I am sharing with David as part of his tet[R]ad project that he is doing with our good friend Sam Peck. This project is all about one-on-one collaborations and journal exchanges with a number of people. Both Sam and Dave are exchanging journals with over 60 or 70 people. For more info on the project, check out their tumblr site or their Facebook page.

The other journal is a small book that I am keeping just for myself. I just started it this weekend, and I have only drawn and painted in it a little bit. I'm looking at it as place to play and experiment.

I always like working in my regular, 11"x14" journal, but it's nice to work on a different scale. That change can spark new ideas, new themes, and new imagery. The smaller, more intimate space simply feels different, and so the art making that happens in that space is different.

I'll share more from both of these journals as the work progresses.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Working on the Weekend

Part of this three-day weekend has been spent working on a few things. Dave and I spent some time working in journals Friday night, and we were able to fit in a few hands of cribbage. Saturday we spent time working on our presentation for the National Art Education Association Convention in Chicago in March.

March is going to be extremely busy. First we have Art and Soul in Portland. Then I have the workshop in Galax, VA, and finally we have the NAEA Convention in Chicago - lots of travel and lots of work. I'm looking forward to it, though.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Workshops in Galax, VA

I am pleased to announce that I'll be teaching workshops at the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts in Galax, VA on March 12 and 13. Each day is a separate workshop, so people can sign up for one or two days.

The first workshop on Saturday, March 12, 2016 is Cultivating Creativity from 9AM-4PM. Based on the online workshop I launched in January, this mixed-media workshop is about letting go and opening up to the unpredictable and the accidental as a way to much our creativity.

The second workshop on Sunday, March 13, 2016 is Building Layers from 9AM-4PM. This mixed media workshop is all about creating rich layers with simple materials. So, if you've ever wondered how artists get those rich layered works, don't miss this workshop.

David and I had so much fun last year teaching in Galax. Unfortunately, David can't make it this year, so I'll be going solo. For more information or to register click the links above, or go to the Chestnut Creek website.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Penny Hauffe at Purcellville Town Hall

I was able to spend part of this evening at an art reception for local Northern Virginia artist, Penny Hauffe at the Purcellville Town Hall. Penny is a versatile artist painting pretty much everything, and her exhibit of forty-two works contains everything from abstracts to highly rendered portraits, from whimsical animal paintings to landscapes. One of my favorites was a large painting of colored pencil shavings.

One of my wife's favorites was the Blueberry Snail. If you're in the Leesburg/Purcellville area, make certain to stop by the Purcellville Town Hall to check out Penny's work.

Monday, February 8, 2016

More Watercolor Experiments

Here are a few more scans of the watercolor experiments that I did last week using liquid watercolor paints.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Rocking the Cradles

I've been experimenting with a lot of ideas in my journal and with small artworks on paper, but I haven't made any larger work in a while. So, today I spent time in the studio building cradles from masonite and pine boards for future larger work. I built three cradles and had a fourth lying around the studio, so now I have a 24"x24", an 18"x24", a 10"x10", and a 6"x9" cradle ready to go.

I used to work primarily on canvas and most often would stretch my own, but when I got into mixed media, I began working primarily on paper. Needing a way to display the work, I would mount the artwork onto the cradles. Recently, I began simply priming the cradles and creating directly on top. I'm looking forward to getting some new pieces going.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Watercolor Experiments

Earlier in the week, I began some pieces using some of the techniques from the Cultivating Creativity Online Workshop with liquid watercolor paint. The liquid watercolor is a concentrated dye-based paint that reacts a little differently than the semi-moist pans that I normally use. The liquid watercolor have an intensity that I like.

I'm not sure where these pieces are going, but it was fun layering and experimenting with the paint.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


I work very spontaneously most of the time, and I don't plan many things out or make sketches. I do explore ideas quite a bit in my journal and in smaller works giving me a lot of practice with images and technique. But I always want my work to be about discovering something.

Lately, I have been drawn to imagery that I first explored more than six years ago in my Excavation series. I have been fascinated with the geometric shapes radiating from a central point, and this concept is perfect for exploring as line work using black ink. I might even explore this idea as larger works and paintings.

Over the last two days I have been working on a new radiating piece similar to one that I shared a few days ago in this post. With that first drawing, I draw the entire thing with the pens, and though I like how it turned out overall, there are a few things that feel "off" about it. I wanted to minimize these "off" feeling parts, so for this new piece, I sketched a design in pencil first. I drew it completely freehand, no rulers and no compasses, and I purposefully made some parts a little "off". I've been slowly developing the line quality and the texture, and I'll share more when finished.

Interestingly, several people have mentioned Star Wars in connection to the first line drawing I did a few days ago. My wife and I did recently see The Force Awakens, and I have been a big fan since the original was released when I was a kid. So, maybe there's an unconscious nod to the films.

But beginning a new piece is always filled with such excitement and promise. I can't wait to see where this one goes.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Art and Soul - Portland

Dave and I are gearing up for Art and Soul - Portland, which is just one month away. It will be my first trip to Portland, and I'm looking forward to it. We will be presenting three workshops - one evening and two full-day workshops, and we still have spots available.

So, if you've been looking to come create with us, we would love to have you join us at Art and Soul. Click the links below for information and to register.

Art and Soul, Portland, OR, February 29 - March 6, 2016

We will also be at Art and Soul's other retreats in Minneapolis and Virginia Beach. Registration for those are open now as well.

Monday, February 1, 2016


I've been experimenting a lot lately, jumping from one idea to another. I am very much in the midst of an exploration phase. I haven't settled on one idea or one line of inquiry, so I've been playing and experimenting, trying out different images, different techniques, and different media. It's always good to try on different things, to mix things up, to push outside of my comfort zone.