New Work on Etsy

I have some new work for sale in my etsy shop.  The series is a set of framed charcoal on vellum on graphite on paper drawings.  Basically, I did a tight graphite drawing on paper, then I sprayed it with fixative, let it dry, and did another drawing in charcoal on vellum on top of that.  It makes the darks deep and the transitions a little more ghostly, which I like.  A lot of the stuff on etsy is … how do I say this … feminine?  Is that fair?  So I decided to do a series that might feel at home in a man’s office (preferably one with the works of Teddy Roosevelt on the bookshelves).  I may add to it over time, but my next task is to begin a series of pieces that might be fitting on a shelf near the works of Charles Dickens.  I’ll keep you posted.


Tea Paintings

There is a thought I hear quite often.  It’s presented with such confidence that those who say it seem to think the matter settled.  This is how it goes: humans are most human when they surrender to their appetites and abandon all to instinct.  To resist one’s impulse is to deny one’s self.  Remarkably, this sounds similar to the way we understand animals to be.

Rather than further this notion–that to be human we must be animals, I would like to present its opposite.  Humans do not need to aspire to be animals, rather, animals should aspire to be more like humans, and what better way than to drink tea with clothes on?

I have created a series of paintings of animals drinking tea.  The paintings themselves are done in tea and can be purchased from my etsy shop.  Because the acids in tea tend to prematurely age paper, I sealed the drawing with a couple coats of varnish and painted on top of it in order to increase the painting’s archival qualities.

I would say that the color of tea is quite delicate and very pretty.  However, it’s unruly.  The tea doesn’t layer easily and doesn’t like to dry in the middle places.  It tends to build up on the edges, which can be frustrating.  Still, I enjoyed this experiment and the paintings are nice conversation pieces.  If you should have one of those conversations, I would recommend that you have it over a nice cup of tea like a civilized human (and not over coffee like a savage).

“If you are cold, tea will warm you.  If you are too heated, it will cool you.  If you are depressed, it will cheer you.  If you are excited, it will calm you.”  ~Gladstone, 1865

“I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life. I can’t even remain in the same room with coffee.” –Mark Helprin


Story Warren Event

This past weekend I had the privilege to meet a lot of young artists in West Virginia at an illustration event hosted by Story Warren.  I took the opportunity to speak about the unity of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty and walked participants through an illustration for a forthcoming novel by Sam Smith (not to be confused with Sam Sith, a Star Wars villain).

Alissa and I also enjoyed hanging out with Sam and his wonderful family.  They were kind to snap this photo of me and my pregnant wife (six-months!) against the backdrop of the West Virginia mountains.  I, however, was not kind enough to stop talking while they took the photograph.


Mira Harp Duet Album Cover

I received the nicest email from a girl in a harp duo.  She and her friend perform in the UK with their harps.  That’s a thing — Harp Duos.  Two harps.  Playing at the same time.  The name of their Duo is Mira, and if you’re in Scotland you should definitely hear them play.  At any rate they hired me to do their EP cover, and it was an amazingly fun job.  They were a joy to work with, and I hope they sell a million copies so that I can do their next cover.

The Album was done completely with smudgy drawings and photoshop.

 Smudgy drawing of the girls.

 Smudgy drawing of the background and leaves.

This is the actual final cover with stars and a suggestion of strings.  In all candor I like the simplicity of the top-most image, but I do understand the need for the stars and strings (stars because Mira is the name of a star, and strings for obvious reasons).