Archive for acrylic

Solo Art Show at the Aar Gallery!

For the entire month of October, I will be having a solo show at the Aar River Gallery in Westminster. Primarily I will be showcasing the art from the upcoming children’s book “Lights On!” to be official published October 1. Come, stop by, and see the originals.

  • There will be a First Friday Reception
    on Oct. 6, from 6 to 9.
  • Hear me talk about the process of creating the illustrations for the book during the Second Saturday Art Walk on Oct. 14 from 1 to 5:00.
  • Also showing will be moderately priced originals, books, and prints. Please stop by and support this wonderful gallery and this great event.

Green Ribbon of Hope


Once again, I was privileged this year to create the art for the University of Colorado Transplant unit’s Christmas card. The image that we decided to go with was a more pastoral winter scene, something that invoked Colorado. Since the green ribbon has such strong symbolism with organ donation, we always try to tie it in (no pun intended) the design somehow. Some years, it remained hidden, other years it’s a part of the main attraction.

This year, we decided to weave it throughout the aspen, which then serves both as a compositional element, as well as convey the idea that the continuation of life is felt throughout. I know this first hand, as many of you are aware of my story, I’m a two time liver-transplant survivor, made necessary from the debilitating auto-immune disorder from which I suffer. These cards are very personal to me, and I’m very honored to be a part of this ongoing holiday tradition.

Once the initial concept was complete, I rendered several sketches, playing around with different value studies and color schemes. I decided to make it appear as if it is a new morning. Fewer things are more beautiful than a cold winter morning as the sun rises on freshly fallen snow, and I wanted to convey the sense of new beginnings through this idea.

All of it was done in acrylic on board (with really tiny brushes… which reminds me, I need to go buy more brushes…)

color studies

I did multiple color studies in Photoshop before moving to the final.

A Girl, A Horse, and Her Dog


For the past three months, I have been secretly working on illustrations for a children’s chapter book with the tentative title as seen above. Yesterday, I put the final touch of pencil down on the last illustration, finally concluding the project. One color cover and twelve grayscale interior illustrations are now finished and ready for publication.

This project was a challenge for me. It involved drawing children with horses and a border collie, nothing I am familiar with or comfortable drawing. Some of the pieces required intense perspective grids (which I am familiar with, but it does take time). In order to get myself into illustration shape, I did what any illustrator would do, I filled sketchbooks full of studies of horses, border collies and children, until I had figured out a look and feel in which to work.

I also procured my own photo reference, setting up photoshoots with a friend who had a border collie and another friend who had a daughter who just happened to be the right age, plus several other children who helped out for some of the crowd scenes.

christmas pageant-web pageant perspective

I’m still not ready to show all of the illustrations yet, not until the book is published, but I wanted to show off the cover and the last interior illustration I worked on: Christmas Pageant. In order to create visual interest with this piece and the rest of the book, I decided that this would be a great place to set up a bird’s view perspective. Doing so properly would require perspective.

The different squared shapes (the stable and the inn flat) are not parallel to each other, thereby requiring their own set of vanishing points. Add to that, I decided to make this a three point perspective grid, so the vertical lines drop to a point beneath the action. Because of this, the characters also had to be subjected to three point perspective, and I tried to emphasize this as I could when rendering them. You can see a copy of the perspective grid I created. I usually create my perspective grids in Adobe Illustrator, that way I can set my vanishing points as far off the paper as I need to and be able to access them quickly and conveniently. Illustrator also allows me to draw vanishing lines rapidly. Since Illustrator is very technical, I’ll print out the grid, place it under my sheet of Bristol, and then render the scene with its nuances using a light table.

So, the next time you see an illustration of mine that has a lot of perspective, that’s how I do it. As soon as the book is published, I’ll update this blog and provide links for you to acquire a signed copy.

13 Caricature Illustrations in Four Days

Once again, my services were called upon to create painted caricature gifts for the speakers of Western Conservative Summit. Thinking I had two weeks to knock these out, I focused my time on teaching and other projects. Then, right before starting, I get an out of town chalk art gig in St. Paul, Minnesota for the last week, shortening my time by one week. Add to this the fact that I need to create the art and schematic for the chalk art event, and suddenly my time to pull this off becomes four days.

But things are different this year from last. Since starting last year, I have worked tirelessly studying the art of caricature and practicing pushing the boundaries of expression. Last year’s portraits were fairly timid. This year, I tried to push outside of that (and still I realize I have much further to go). Also last year, I was just getting used to that new technique. I had never really worked that way in the past and so last year’s process was fairly experimental. Now I’ve had a whole year of practice on this technique, including a number of landscape paintings. In reality, if I would have had more time, I probably would have butchered the job. I forced myself to try and get each piece completed in three hours, which means having to make some serious design decisions on the fly.

I am very pleased at the final result. As I put the finishing touches to Linda Chavez’s jacket, I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, the project is complete.

13 caricatures in 4 days


From top, l-r: Former Senator Jim DeMint, Dennis Prager, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Mike Lee, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, Katie Pavlich, Linda Chavez, Sen. Tim Scott, Betsy Mccaughey, Daniel Hannan, Hugh Hewitt