Category Archives: IDEAS

Subjects, concepts, experiments in composition that I have either tried, or read about and thought interesting



Finished! I changed the color of the seats on the foremost boat to reflect the blueish lavender in the sea and added some red inside the small boat to repeat the color of the background boat.  This was a lot of fun!


Colored Pencil Demo


So far, so good! The beach area is finished, I hope.  I tried to soften the edges between the beach front and the sea.  All that’s left are the two other boats.  I’m trying to decide if the image is predominately warm or cool — seems to me it’s warmer.  I will need to make some adjustments on the temperature, then.  Hopefully, my next blog will show the completed drawing.  Thanks for viewing and commenting.




Some more work on the boats on the coast of Spain:  I finished the lower boat on the left and started to work on the right foreground boat.  I have started to work on the beach where the boats are moored.  There’s several more hours of work to do before I finish, and I look forward to working on it.  I have used blending, burnishing, and dissolving with turpenoid on the left side of the beach as well as on the overturned boat.

I will be teaching a colored pencil class January and February 2018 at the Maumelle Center on the Lake in Maumelle.  Hope you can join us.




Colored Pencil Demo


As you can see in this photo, I used solvent (mineral spirits) to dissolve the colored pencil on the water and the red boat.  Doing this always makes a colored pencil drawing more painterly.  Then I started to work on the 3 boats leaving the foremost boat to be worked last.  I usually recommend that the artist works from top down, and finishes one section at a time in order to eliminate the problems caused by pencil debris.  (Prismacolor pencils are bad about this because of their softness.)  I use a brush to brush away the residue often.

I don’t like the boat on the upper left, so I’ll probably work some on this later.  I started on the lower left boat to suggest the dirt and rust on the hull, and did a little on the green boat.  This stage took me about 2 1/2 hours.  Next time you see a post, I will have completed the three boats, leaving the foreground and beach area for later.



                                                     COSTA DEL SOL SCENE


I taught a short workshop at Art on the Green in Conway last week to two very good artists on drawing with colored pencil.  They didn’t finish their first drawing, since it takes lots of time to do colored pencil work.  Above is the 9 x 12″ drawing I started as a demo (I didn’t get very far either).  So I thought I would work on this as home and blog the progression.

This is an image of beached boats that I took in Spain several years ago.  I left out one of the boats and corrected the left side of the photo to show the entire boat on the left.  As you can tell, the beach area has only one layer of colored pencil at the moment.  There was a lot of straw or thin strips of wood in the sand, so I used a sharp instrument to scratch in that suggestion before I started. I also scratched in my signature so that it would show up when completed.

The top part of the drawing is the sea with the red boat moored in it.  There are probably four layers of colored pencil in this section already, but it is not complete as yet.  I haven’t figured out as yet how to show the bits of surf.  I will work on this, and write another blog sometime soon.  Keep drawing!






farmlandWell, I’m going to teach an art class again — thought I was finished with that, but guess it’s in my “blood.”  Beginning September 15 (Thursday) from 1:30 – 3:30, I will be teaching a class on how to compose a work of art at the Maumelle Senior Wellness Center in Maumelle.  This is a seven week class, and will include examples, critiques, information, exercises, and perhaps occasional homework.  Students will use their own materials, as well as materials provided by the instructor.  I’ve had many years of experience teaching this subject, both in high school art classes, children’s classes, and adult classes.  A lot of the lessons will be based on the blogs I’ve shared on this site.  Cost is $45, and there is a maximum of eight students so call MSWC as soon as possible, if you want to register  (501- 851-4344).   I’m looking forward to seeing you and sharing my understanding of composition and design principles.

My Love Affair with Landscapes

I Always Come Back to Landscapes in Pastel

I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to do non-objective paintings, and they always turn out to be landscapes!  I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to paint with acrylic or watercolor, and I always go back to using soft pastels!  I guess I should just be myself, and stop trying to do what everyone else is doing.

My favorite subject is the landscape — could be Arkansas’s rivers, mountains, lakes, farm lands and fields, houses, bridges, roads, rocks, forests, majestic trees or their roots;  it makes no difference.  It’s what  I love.  At one time, I did a lot of plein air painting, but I haven’t done that in a while. Instead, I take my camera with me as I walk the paths of my home town or travel from town to town; take vacation trips to places like Charleston, Martha’s Vinyard, or Portland, Maine.  I must have  a zillion photos of landscapes that I want to experience in pastel.

Yes, soft pastel!  It’s always been the easiest medium for me.  I like to hold the stick broadside in my hands and be able to swipe across the sanded paper, or use the point of the stick to make drawing lines on top.  The colors are there for me to use – I don’t have to mix them to get the right color.  They are intense, dull, gray, brilliant, sizzling, and/or calming.  I can layer on top of a watercolor or ink underpainting, or I can start with a hard pastel underpainting and dissolve it with water or turpenoid.  I can use local color, complementary colors, or really intense colors for the underpainting and then layer other pastels on top.  Sometimes, the painting just paints itself!  What fun!

Here are a few photos of my latest pastel landscapes.  I tried to show the mood of late afternoon/twilight landscapes — the time of day when everything is shutting down and the hectic, busy times are over.  Time to go home and rest.  I call this style “Romantic Realism” because of the emotional content.  These paintings are part of an exhibit named “Where the Sky Kisses the Earth” that will be at the Searcy Art Gallery August 5-September 21.  The opening reception is August 6, Saturday from 1-3 pm.  I will be there; I hope to see you there as well!

Sky at Evening

RED SKYDusk Settles In


I spent two weeks painting these six “word portraits” to take with me to the Delta Arts Festival in Newport last week, and not a one sold!  Guess I thought others would like the words of scripture displayed in their house.  I was inspired by my priest’s chasuble he wears Sundays in ordinary time.  It says “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY” across the front.  At any rate, here are the images — the acrylic paintings are 11 x 14″ and I’ll sell any of them for $25.  The embellishments are symbolic – at least to me!  Might make nice gifts — who knows!  Comment if you like them, please

peace believe hope joy love trust


Knowing about how to use linear perspective doesn’t mean that you have to be a slave to it.  Using the principles of perspective in drawings and paintings that include buildings, posts, roads, etc. can become an internal knowledge that makes your artwork more realistic.  However, some artists like to distort reality and in doing so, distort perspective as well.  De Chirico is a prime example of this.  Some contemporary artists do this as well:  (from Artist Magazine, June 2010).

img017But here’s another way to use perspective creatively —  an imaginary residence high up in the sky!  This drawing uses 4 vanishing points — all related.  The vanishing points are on vertical and horizontal lines.  Try this in your sketchbook to work out your “dream house”!


4 point


Country home


Let’s try to draw an imaginary country home using the concepts of two-point perspective.  Here are the steps I used:

  1.  On a large *18 x 24″) sheet of drawing paper, draw a horizon line and select two vanishing points as far away on the page as you can.  Then draw the front corner of the house approximately 2″ tall.   Draw vanishing lines from the top and bottom of this line to the vanishing points on the left and the right.
  2. Your imaginary house in this case will face to the right.  Draw vertical lines to establish the length and width of the building.  You have made a box similar to what we did before.
  3. On the wide part of the box, draw diagonal lines from corner to corner to find its center.  Extend a vertical line through this center point and extend it about 1 1/2″ above the top of your box.  This will define the height of the gable end of the roof.
  4. Connect the top of the gable with the vertical sides of the box at both ends, extending just a little beyond the side to make your eaves.
  5. Now draw a converging line from the gable peak to the left vanishing point.  This is the top of the roof.
  6. What about the back side of the roof?  To get this point, extend a vertical line from the right vanishing point all the way up as far as you can on your paper.
  7. From the left corner of the facing side, extend a converging line all the way up the left side of the gable until it meets extended line you drew from the right vanishing point.  Make a dot where these lines meet — this is called a vanishing trace. Where it intersects the top of the roof is where your roof ends.
  8. Extend a roof line a little beyond your left house end to make the roof.  From this point, draw a converging line to the vanishing trace.   Where it intersects the roof line is the end of your roof.
  9. So far, you have made a box-type house with a gabled roof.  You can make some windows on one side if you wish like you made windows in the indoor examples.  Next post, I’ll discuss how to make a front porch, a walkway, and a fence enclosing the property!