Thursday, December 29, 2011

Krokodil Tears

For those of you not up to date with intravenous drug use news, there are reports of a new drug epidemic in Russia. The drug? Krokodil, or "crocodile" in English, so called because one of the rather nasty after effects of continued use is the user's skin turning green and scaly due to the hydrochloric acid present in the drug. The drug literally eats you away from within, leaving severe skin deformities, brain damage, and sometimes amputations.

Seriously, don't do drugs, kids.

What God Wants?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Drawings from Life at the Science Museum (take 2)

Please ignore the fact that it's November and that I haven't made a post since August. There are several reasons for this, one of them being that I've been trying to work on a personal project that I'm not quite ready to discuss openly since it's not a guarantee it will come to fruition. In the meantime I have sketches.

A couple of months ago I have some very good friends in from out of town and we decided to take a trip the the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I had been contemplating purchasing a membership there for a while since it would give me a place to do life drawing, and on this particular excursion I broke down and bought one. And I've loved it...and it's already paid for itself. I've been visiting almost every week since I bought it, and since I can go for free anytime I want it doesn't matter if I go in for just an hour and don't hit every exhibit since I can return whenever I want. This means that I can visit on the slower afternoons when all the school groups have left (when your day job involves working with kids you end up wanting to avoid all contact with children on your days off). I've really enjoyed going back to drawing from life, especially since I'm doing it for me and don't have to worry about art school professors grading what I've done. These are my favorites from the past few weeks.

These have all been drawn from reference in the museum's Wildlife Halls. At some point I'd like to draw some of the fossils in their dinosaur exhibit (as well as their temporary exhibit featuring a model of Sue the T-rex), but during my visits I haven't been able to well up the patience it takes to sit there and draw a full dinosaur skeleton. I have a little less than a year until my membership is up (and a new sketchbook to fill), so I'm sure I'll get to it sometime.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Anarchy in the UK

This was something I meant to post a couple of weeks ago, but I was besieged by a visit from my sister (always welcome), then sickness (never welcome), and a constant feeling of " this piece really finished?" (also not welcome). I decided that, yes, it was, because there are other things needing to be worked on.

Watching the riots that spread throughout England a few weeks ago was a truly heartbreaking experience for me. It hit a bit close to home since I have friends over there, and because it is a place that I have a deep love and connection to. The aftermath was just as difficult, since it meant seeing locals try to piece together what was left of their communities, as well as seeing the obvious disconnect between the British government (primarily from PM David Cameron) and the needs of its citizens. While it's very easy to lay blame on what politicians see as trouble making hoodlums, I think it's just as easy to understand that when you have a large number of young people that feel under served and unrepresented (while dealing with the same unemployment issues that we are here in the US), it only takes a spark to set them off. Is that an excuse for the looting and violence? No, of course it isn't. But I do feel that it is a perspective that should elicit change for the better, rather than a large scale blame game that provides nothing except sweeping the issues under the rug until they violently rear their heads again...and again...and again.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A long, drawn out trip... (pt. 2)

I've been meaning to do this post forever, and other things kept coming up. It's more on the personal side of things since it was a vacation...or, excuse me, holiday, but there was a bit of sketching involved, as well as a visit with an old friend.

Last month I went on a much anticipated trip to England. By "much anticipated" I mean saving/planning/looking forward to it since my last trip to England. It was an amazing experience, especially since it was the first trip I've ever taken completely by myself. I got my fill of great museums (and concerts) in London, and plenty of relaxing nature walks (and pints) in Cambridge. I had originally planned to sketch more, but after the first day I realized I was on vacation, so that went out the window.

Sketches from the Natural History Museum.

 As some followers may recall from my last trip, one of the absolute highlights was getting to visit my favorite illustrator/hero at his home studio. I'm very happy to say that I got to do it again.

Getting to visit Gerald again was absolutely wonderful. He's still the amazingly nice person I met in Savannah three years ago, and still working in the business and loving what he does. An added bonus of the visit was the fact that, while I was in town I attended one of Roger Waters' Wall shows, so we got to have a chat about how far the show has come since it was originally done in the 80's. I also got to show him some of my more current work, as well as talk about what I've been up to since I last saw him, including some of the difficulties of freelancing. His response is something that will stick with me for a long time: "It's very difficult to be an artist...but we're very lucky to be artists." That is one of the things have I have always loved about Gerald; every time I have seen him I have never felt a separation between professional and novice, famous and not. He has always treated me as a fellow artist.

As always, England was wonderful and beautiful, and I'm already saving up for my next trip. Until then I'll be fondly dreaming of her green fields and fish and chips while completing my 2012 Sketchbook Project submission.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Denver Chalk Art Festival

Hello, everyone! I know it's been a while since I've posted any work, due mostly to my day job, as well as my much anticipated holiday to the UK (which I will post on later). I'm hoping to turn that around, and I'll start with my most recent venture, which was strictly for fun.

This weekend I helped participate in the Denver Chalk Art Festival downtown in Larimer Square. I helped lead a team of teens from Gold Crown Enrichment, where I volunteer as an art mentor; after the teachers over there learned I had participated in SCAD's Sidewalk Arts Festival, they figured I would be a good source of information on chalk art. I hadn't done the Denver festival before, and it is set up a bit differently than SCAD's competition, although most of the differences are for the better. The pros are you aren't limited to the chalk they give you; you either purchase extra pastel packs in addition to the one box they provide you with, or bring your own. They also feed you (their sponsors were Snooze, Qdoba, Panera Bread, and Mellow Mushroom), as well as provide free parking for participants. The festival spans two days, so you're also not as strapped for time. We could have easily finished our design on the first day, but instead decided to break it up, so we spent the mornings working on the art, and then left in the afternoon (when it started getting hot). The only real downside to the event is that you are not allowed to cover your artwork, even if it starts raining. Fortunately we had two days of full sun, so this was never an issue.

I worked with the kids for a couple of weeks on brainstorming and sketching out a design, which you had to submit with the submission form. The kids quickly came up with the idea of doing a piece on Conservation vs. Consumption.

Sketching the first morning. Unlike the "professional artists" that were situated directly on Larimer Square, we were on 14th street, so we were drawing directly on asphalt. I was worried we wouldn't be able to paint over the spray paint on the street, but after many a layer of chalk we succeeded. Our location also worked out for the better as the day went on as we were next to a sidewalk with a tree for shade.

"Painting" with chalk to lay down color, much like underpainting with oils.

The was about where we stopped on Day 1.

Start of Day 2. The guys in the front put in a fantastic city skyline.

Val (in the back with the red shirt) put in the amazing swirl detail in both the trees and in the smoke around the nuclear power plant.

All done!

Happy, accomplished artists.

I was very happy to be a part of the festival this year, especially since I got to help out a great, talented group of kids. They are already talking about trying to get two teams together for next year.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gold Crown Portfolio Night

Back in February I volunteered to be part of a panel of professional, Denver-based artists to present portfolios and give critique to young artists at the Gold Crown Enrichment organization in Lakewood. I was very happy to be a part of the panel, especially since I not only got to offer advice to the students, but also meet some very talented artists in different fields. Gold Crown put together a little video of highlights from the night. You can see a couple of shots of me in the stills.

In addition to the portfolio night, I have also been volunteering at Gold Crown as an art mentor. I've mainly been working with middle-school aged girls during Gold Crown's "Girl's Night". When I first started the girls were putting together anti-bullying videos using scripts that they had written. They also edited the video on their own. I wanted to share the fruits of their efforts, as I'm really impressed with not only the amount of work the girls put in, but also the messages and insight that they share on bullying in schools.

I actually got to help film the first part of the "Fake Crush" skit that the girls wrote. It's kind of funny to watch since Grace and Maria, who play the bullies in the film, are actually the polar opposite of the characters; they are always willing to help and listen to the younger members at Gold Crown.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


So, I have a bit of a fascination with sharks. I think it all started when I was about 8 or 9 and saw Jaws for the first time. Ever since I've loved them, in all of their various shapes and sizes (in fact, it was a tiger shark tooth that sealed my decision to attend SCAD, but that's another story for another day).

Unfortunately the world shark population has been on the decline, much like many species of large fish, due to overfishing...specifically the shark finning trade. While limitations have been instigated by many countries, they are nearly impossible to regulate, leaving many sharks to be caught, finned, and then thrown back into the water only to sink to the bottom and die. The demand for fins comes mainly from China, where shark fin soup is considered a delicacy.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Just as an FYI, I've redone the tags for the blog. Now instead of monotonous tags like "acrylics" (since pretty much everything on this blog, unless otherwise stated, is done in acrylics) I've opted to tag works by the subject matter (politics, social commentary, etc.). Hopefully this will make things easier to find!

Drawings from Life at the Science Museum

Today I decided to take a page from the great Paul Hostetler's book and venture out into the world for a bit of life drawing. Unlike Paul, however, I opted for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science rather than a coffee shop...and a pencil instead of a brush pen, meaning the work is far less spectacular. My excuse was to try out a new travel sketchbook: a Hand Book artist journal (I have the square one). They may be a bit small for some people, but I quite liked it. The paper has a good tooth, it's small enough to fit in my purse, and supposedly it takes light watercolor washes (though I have yet to try that out).


A perturbed guanaco!

Lolruses (lolri?) in search of their long lost bukkit!

And my personal favorite, an entelodont: a prehistoric pig-like creature about the size of a rhino.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Alright, first piece of the new year...

This piece was directly inspired by VBS TV's "Garbage Island" documentary from their TOXIC series on environmental issues. It definitely deserves a watch, though be warned that by the end of it you will feel guilty and disgusting for ever having used anything made out of plastic. For those of you that don't have an hour to kill, imagine tons of bits of unbiodegradable plastic culminating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean as a result of our over reliance on plastic.

P.S. Should you watch "Garbage Island" (and you should), I also highly recommend the "Vice Guide to North Korea" and "Swansea Love Story" (heads up: graphic content).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I can't believe I never posted these...

So there has been decidedly not enough art being posted here lately, and for that I apologize. The main culprit has been my day job which, while giving me 3 days off per week, also leaves me absolutely exhausted the majority of the time, and that ends up having a negative effect on my art making (enough that I sadly did not work on my Sketchbook Project, and as such will not be participating in the exhibition). I am attempting to rectify the problem, but in the mean time I'm posting a couple of pieces I completed for Escape Artists some time ago, but completely forgot to post.

The piece was meant for their Interstellar site, specifically the site banner and newsletter. The general concept was Syd Barrett and mental health, which you think would be an absolute breeze for me to illustrate, but I got off to a rough start (I supposed I just wanted it too bad). However, after watching many an MST3K and flipping through several Storm Thorgerson books, I managed to get it together and paint this... well as crop it for the newsletter format.

In the end it happened that some of the administration at EA found it "too dark" to use on the site (though it has been used for the newsletter). While I think most people would be upset that their work wasn't going to be used, I was so happy that my work was seen as "too dark" that I didn't mind it not being used on the site. I did end up doing one final image with a bit of a happier edge to it a bit along the lines of the illustrations I did for The Day Goes By.

That's it for now, but I am hoping to get new pieces completed soon.