from a dad's view


Rust Series-Acrylics? used like watercolor


Acrylics on 140lb cold press paper

Click on image to zoom

Lived my entire life in southern Indiana, but have always had a love for the beach and ocean. There are two places in this world that brings calm and relaxation to me, that’s walking in the woods, or strolling down an ocean beach. Even as a kid the adventure of what you might see, or what you might find while walking at both places has always been a fun time. The woods offer beautifully shaped trees, little streams rolling down the hillside, a box turtle slowly making its way through the woods or a shed whitetail antler, you just never know. The ocean, along with its rhythmic sound of waves, also offers an abundant natural and manmade wonders, from a beautifully shaped and aged piece of driftwood, seashells of all kinds, and sea life that will absolutely amaze the eye. Some just simply walk past, or walk through without actually opening their eyes, ears, and minds to actually inhale all of its wonders. This is also a symbol of the way our lives are journeyed these days, without appreciation, respect, and missing out on the true wonders of whats been given.

Sunflower – watercolor

Click on image to zoom
Have you ever had one of those days, weeks, months, to which you feel like this sunflower looks? Since I’ve hit the 50 mark… a few years ago, this represents me big time. I don’t mind the wrinkles, the wilting of the hair, or the drooping of muscles… what little I had, but no energy! That sucks! I try to stay busy when I get home from work and that helps, but it takes a lot more effort to maintain verticality. Forget the six pack abs, guns for arms, and the ability to run with-out passing out, just give me a BIG-O-BUCKET of energy, and I would be loving it!

Here are a 10 signs that your flower is wilting!
1. When you go out to get the Sunday paper… and realize it’s Monday!
2. When you use the excuse that the recliner is more comfortable than your bed… but it’s really because you don’t have the energy to get up and go to bed.
3. (Mostly old men) when you notice that your pant zipper is very seldom zipped up now days… to much energy wasted zipping them, and faster access when you’ve layed in the recliner so long that you almost pee yourself!
4. When you fall asleep… before your wife!
5. When your triceps wave more than your hand… when waving!
6. When you try to z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z, oops! Fall asleep while blogging!
7. When your wife is frisky… and you claim to have a headache!
8. When you stop at 8 in a top ten reason list… because you just don’t have the energy to make 10!

You all can fill in the rest… I’m going to take a nap!

16″ x 20″ watercolor on 140lb coldpress paper

Life ROCKS! watercolor and Pen and Ink

Click on image to zoom
Now I’m not one to stop very often, always moving, working, playing, and as a famous wise man once said “Git-R-Done” kind of guy, but when I stop there’s nothing better than a porch swing or a rocking chair. As I was painting this, although lonely in feeling, you have to wonder how many thoughts are, and were going through his mind while rocking in this chair for years. Front porches are a lost communication tool that needs to be brought back. Kids are missing out on the benefit of getting chewed out for swinging to high on the front porch swing that was meant for a gentle swing (been there done that). To many teenagers have missed out on the gentle swing or glide, outside, while parents are inside (probably peeking out the window) holding hands for the first time, first time kiss, all while swaying in a gentle way, almost seemingly to comfort both young nerves (been there done that). And then there is the wonderful time of holding your baby in your arms while swinging, or the proudest grandparent holding their grand baby remembering back when they held their own on the same swing or rocker (been there done that). Couples finally calling it a day and swinging together as they did when teenagers and discussing future plans, and just relaxing (been there done that). And then as the later years of life set in, to be able to sit in that same swing or rocker that holds so many memories of family, love, and yes even some pain, still brings back a little comfort to life and usually a smile. My Mother-In-Law passed about a year ago and one of the last pictures taken was all the family sitting on the porch swing remembering the wonderful times that we had with both parents, it once again brought the family love and thoughts together in a way that they would love to see. I’m sure there is a mental reason why people and babies have always enjoyed the rocking motion, but I do know that I plan to ROCK my life away and I hope you ROCK ON with me!

6″ x 6″ watercolor with pen and ink sketching

Sea Turtle – Watercolor

Destinlittlegirl DestinTurtleClick on Image to zoom in (Both Available to purchase at

These are two of five painting that I did while on vacation in Destin, Florida. The little girl was adorable in a pink tutu and unfortunately I didn’t see the parents again after I had painted her. So if the parents see this post please contact me.

The Sea Turtle is actually painted with Destin Florida Ocean Water and was inspired by a sea turtle seen while deep sea fishing with my daughters.

What’s more important than these paintings, are the wonderful people and friends that we met while on vacation. You hear of the bad in people now days, but what we forget is how much good is still out there. People from all over the world and the U.S., came up to me and by weeks end, were what I would consider a friend, even if we never see them again. A man and his family from St. louis even invited me out to camp and do some fishing some day. Now considering that he wasn’t happy to be there because he had hopes of visiting Canada instead of the beach, I think by the weeks end (we won’t tell his wife) but he had a good time!

Another, was a young man, I’m guessing around 9 or 10, was watching me from behind while I painted, and being very stealthy and polite about it. I started to talk to him and found out that he loves art, and his mother from Italy confirmed it. His parents were from Italy and War zone Bosnia, which was fascinating, but we talked about his art and how he had been watching me paint. before they left I presented them with an original watercolor that I had painted earlier that day and you would have thought that I just gave him gold. This means so much more than money to me, to see this young man being so kind, polite, and appreciative, it was an easy choice. i hope someday he will become a famous artist, look back and remember that day, and maybe make another young person excited by giving one of his pieces away. he finished off by telling his mother that this was very special and had to be hang in a special spot… better than money any day!

Thank you all that we met on the beach of Destin, Florida, I hope you had as much fun as my family and who knows maybe we will see you again at the beach real soon!

I hope to soon semi-retire to a coastal area, and I hope that I can continue to do what I do as far as painting and the arts, but more than anything, I hope I can inspire young and old to pick up a pencil, brush or clay and become creative.

Going Old School – Watercolor

GoinOldSchoolClick on image to zoom in

I’m not sure which is older and in worse shape, this old school building or myself! This is a one room school building here in southern Indiana that a friend has located in her backyard. This 5″ x 7″ pen and ink, watercolor painting that I did was painted from a photo that she had taken earlier.

It’s funny to me, when I think of all the brilliant people who was taught in schools similar to this. Abraham Lincoln for one, actually grew up just miles from this school, and that’s not counting the great Philosophers, Engineers, Inventors, Astronomers, Physicist, etc. that we’re taught and excelled in classrooms similar to this. I hold education so important seeing that I wasted mine earlier in my life, but my question to you is why is it that we keep spending more and more money, millions upon billions on improving our schools and yet getting horrible results. A local high school has received millions and looks like the best of any small college in technology, and yet the graduation rate is less than 75% and minority rate is even much lower.  Maybe it isn’t the money spent, but what has changed in the areas of discipline (in schools, but more importantly at home), pride of both the child and parents, the respect for elders, parents and teachers from a child, and hard work, and that flat-out means stop being lazy America, whether your a child or an adult. I think it’s time we stop using money as an excuse for our problems and start looking at ourselves for the answers. A new computer can’t teach life lessons to a child, like that of a person who loves them.  Time to step-up, be the person that you were meant to be. Yes it’s hard work, time-consuming, and sometimes heart breaking, but like I have always told my daughters, most things that come easy aren’t worth having, and the rewards that are received after so much effort… is worth millions (or something like that).

Everyone have a great weekend, and let’s make a change for ourself and others that we touch this weekend!

Night-time winter barn – watercolor

I’m not sure that there is a more peaceful moment than taking a night-time stroll, while the ground is covered with brilliantly white snow. The really cool thing is, that a flashlight or any other form of light isn’t needed, because the snow and moon creates its own illumination.  The only few sounds that are heard, is the crunching of the packing snow under your feet, and the whispers of the wind blowing through the trees.  I also think that you feel a little more alive, when you can feel the freshness and the crisp air entering your lung, and the visual of  life, when you exhale. I think this is important now days because we seem to be just living life, not appreciating being alive! I have a wonderful friend, with a wonderful family, that just lost a wonderful brother. He was young, but cancer didn’t care, and took his life just this weekend. He found out about his cancer less than a year ago, has battled strongly, but lost that battle Sunday. So the next time that you see your kids, parents, siblings and friends, squeeze a little harder on the hugs, grab their necks and wrap your arm around them a little more, and feel the love between your touch and their heart. And this winter if you are in an area that receives a white winters blanket, breath in and feel life entering your lungs, and breath out and see the air that God has given us, to enjoy the time that we have on the Earth.

This painting is dedicated to the memory of Larry, a brother of a friend, a son, father, husband, outdoorsman and a friend. Prayers for Larry’s family, and prayers for those who are still battling this awful disease.

I could have DIED! funny friday

Click on image to zoom in, and don’t forget to visit other paintings in my gallery in listings above.

So many near death events in my life… you laugh, but it’s true! How does a kid make it through so many years of stupidity and bad judgement. The unfinished stream above looks fun, cool and wet, but one similar to this one almost killed me, and my grandfather. Well, I decided to list a few, and feel free to list some of yours in a comment.

Here we go!

1. It brings fear back into my mind just to relive this in words. It was a beautiful summer day at Spring Mill Park in Indiana. The heat was beaming down, the humidity was so bad, fish could live out of water, and of course I was barefoot and shirtless. My family was gathered around the stream picnicking, the streams temperature was so cold it would make your feet numb if you stayed in it to long. That’s when this shirtless, shoeless kid decides that the moss, slime covered rocks would be a blast to play on in the stream… Bad Idea! Being about 6 or 7 years old (I think) I started across this death stream with balance and agility, so I thought, with in seconds my feet were in the air above my shoulders, my butt following my feet, and my head and shoulders were where my feet had begun the journey. Bam! Whack! (a little batman lingo) I hit the rocks right between my shoulder blades! Air shot out of my body like a gun, both lungs collapsed, ribs cracking, and death was near! Actually the wind just got knocked out of me, and the embarrassment did more damage than the fall. BUT I COULD HAVE DIED!  You ask how this nearly killed my granddad? His air left his body as fast as mine, although he wasn’t in the stream or hit any rocks… it was from laughing so hard! That’s right, my granddad nearly laughed himself to death that day and everyday after that when he often reminded me of that day.

2.  Another time, was when I thought that I was Evil Kenevil and decided that it would be a good idea to make a home-made bike ramp… wrong!  Back in my days (sounds like my dad) we didn’t have these fancy BMX bikes, we had sting rays, with crouch killing banana seats! And whose idea was it to make the boys bikes with the cross-bar… a woman! I think it was women that decided to pay back men by designing a bike with the man killing bar across the middle.  But it wasn’t the bar that got me… at least not this time, it was the amazing, blistering speed that I reached while flying down what seem like a mountain, hit the ramp, and of course just when leaving the ramp, you pull up hard and spring your legs  to get more altitude. Sounds cool! But if done just right, your bike leaves the ramp and continues on a circular motion. Now days the pros do this on purpose and continues into a flip… I WASN’T a pro and continue into a flip anyway, and proceeded to once again land on the back of my neck and head… I COULD HAVE DIED!  But I didn’t, after my lungs decided to work again, and oxygen was once again reaching vital organs, I sprung up and looked around in fear of someone seeing just how stupid I was.

3. The mini bike, that’s right, a mini bike. These were small motorcycles with a pull string starter and a frame made for war. They weren’t like the pansy scooters now days, these were death traps waiting to happen… and I had one.  The seat was a crappy piece of foam with about eight layers of tape wrapped around it for a custom upholstery look.  Foolishly we decided to load this mean machine up and take it to my Uncles… bad decision once again. My uncle standing in his front yard, cranked the string and roared the engine and said Ryan jump on and take it for a ride. Now remember as I’m telling the story, that I had already rode it a few times before.  I jumped on like the manly, 60 pound, Harley Dude that I was, cranked the accelerator and off I went. Oooooh @#$%! my mind panicked, my brain shut down, and everything that I knew to stop, went blank. Zoom around the house I went… to the side… to the back… to the side… and back to the front yard! My uncle laughing and standing in a defensive basketball stance, ready to grab me as I slowed down. The problem is… I didn’t slow down, I sped up! My eyes were as big as baseballs and my uncle’s got just as big once he realized that there was no stopping me.  I flew towards him, he dives out-of-the-way like a stuntman in an action movie, and past him I zoomed. About half way through his corn field, my brain clicked in, and I released the throttle and pulled the brake… that’s all it took! BUT I COULD HAVE DIED! And then there was the Spark Plug from this machine of death zipping past my and my brothers forehead at terminal velocity… Nearly killing us… but that’s another story!

The watercolor and ink above isn’t finished yet but I wanted to post something today. I hope to finish it next monday. Have a great weekend!

Sweet Jane – Watercolor

Set a float, with very little worries. Sun warming your skin, and a cooling mist of salty spray reaching over the bow.

The flash of emerald-green and blues from the heaven above mirroring off each ripple and wave.

Gentle motion of the rocking sea, holds and cradles you like a mother’s arms while putting a baby asleep.

The hypnotic rhythm of the sea crashing into the side of the boat and along the shore, as though an orchestra of wind and water plays as one instrument.

My heart slows, my mind calms, my body becomes one with the ocean, and all rhythms and sounds becomes my soul as my soul becomes one with the ocean.

I had mentioned my favorite artist in past post that I have always admired, but as I travel, I admire only one as the greatest artist of all… that would be God.  Whether you believe in God or not, the Earth has such wonders, as small as the road map of life on an autumn leaf, or as large as the sculpted stone mountains and the deepest blue of oceans.  I just find it hard to believe that just evolution would have had such an artistic touch in producing such life.  To me, evolution would have produced a more duplicating canvas. At one point supposedly all creatures were the same, from the same region, if this is so, why would some grow limbs to leave the oceans to survive, wouldn’t they all?  And those who merged from the oceans, why would some grow teeth, wings, claws, larger brains, some with hair, some without? IF they are still in the same region and climates, would they have all not gained the same evolutionary benefits? I may be a fool for believing in a higher creator of life, but my soul as a Christian and as an artist, tells me otherwise. Even if your beliefs aren’t with God, take time to stop and appreciate each of what has been given.

I painted the watercolor above last night while watching t.v. and thinking of Spring Break just around the corner. It is a 12″ x 16″ watercolor on 140lb coldpress paper. I hope you enjoy the painting and thanks for putting up with my thoughts!

Why? God – watercolor

Questions, life is full of questions. I’m not talking about those questions that have definite answers, you know, the ones asked in school, although I didn’t have answers for very many for those either, But they did have answers.  The questions that I’m talking about are those in our past that made us stop and either wonder why, or possibly cry, because we questioned.  One of my most tearful questions for years, was my mom divorcing my dad. I was nine, and I can tell you that this tore major holes in my heart, so I questioned why.  The loss of my grandparents that were the most religious and God-loving people, and yet taken by cancer, I questioned why.  The meeting of my wife in high school, her being so good, and I was a waste, but she still found love with me, I questioned how I deserve this.  The birth of my two brilliantly smart and absolutely beautiful both physically and within their hearts, I questioned how did I deserve them.  There were times that I questioned my faith, and just wanted to scream to the Lord above, WHY!  Why would you take such wonderful, God-loving people, that were some of the purist of Christian love so early in life. I didn’t just question, but I was angry.  How could the Lord take a young child and allow cancer to eat their bodies away until death, and yet allow, what could be a healthy person, kill their bodies with drugs and alcohol.  But I do know, after months, or years  after I questioned why on these occasions, there always seemed to be an answer given.  Unfortunately, so many people and especially young kids, question, but don’t allow enough time to go by to see the answer.  My wife’s cousin, and a good high school friend of mine both questioned, but took their lives before they could receive and answer. The sad thing is, if they would have given it a day, or weeks, I’m sure that both would have been living a good life today with children and a wife, but sadly they’re gone.

What I wanted to show in this painting was pain being felt, but a prayer bringing a glimpse of hope into this young girls heart and eyes.  Watching my girls grow, and go through high school, I have seen a lot of pain in their hearts, and I remember having that pain myself as a child and young adult, where you weren’t sure if your heart can take anymore pain, and whether it was all worth it.  I can tell you, it is worth it, be strong, work hard at everything you do, and most importantly, have Faith, have Faith in yourself, friends, family and most importantly in God.  Don’t hold things in, it’s not worth it, talk to your friends and family about things that bother you, but most importantly, close your eyes, open your heart, and pray.  As you grow in faith, you will grow in confidence, friendships, and the love of life.

The painting is a 9″ x 9″ watercolor on 140lb cold press paper.  I did this one, and another ATC last night while watching football.  This is a first of this style for me as a portrait, and it’s a must for you to try.

a RAY of SOUL – watercolor

This songs for you… well I can’t sing-a-lick, so instead I painted this version of one of my favorite voices, Ray Charles.  I was listening to his song “This song’s for you”, talking about kicking butt, this man could do it.  The soul that some musicians have, absolutely comes through every word they sing.  They might not have the greatest of voices (he did), but the energy, the passion, and the soul that they release, makes the song.  I love music of all kinds, as long as they put some type of soul into the song.  We have lost that in the last 20 years, because of lip syncing and the pop music marketing.  If you noticed most of the huge stars in the past 20 years have disappeared, and that’s because they didn’t have, or lost the passion and soul of their music.  Don’t get me wrong, I have listened to Pop music all my life, and some was absolutely horrible… but fun, but fun usually will get a singer a one hit wonder, or if your lucky two.  Look at the music industry and see who is still surviving and releasing music even after the age of 50, 60’s, it’s because they have the soul.  The one thing that I have noticed on this years American Idol, is that more of the singers have that soul to their voices, and passion for what they are singing. Let’s just hope that the music industry don’t get a hold of them and rob them of their souls.  Because a person with out soul, is a person without heart.  So throw away those damn head mics, throw away those recordings playing in the background, grab a guitar, piano, or hand-held mic and bring back the soul in music.

This watercolor is a 3.5″ x 3.5″ on hot pressed board, and I rocked to Ray while painting it!

Who took my home – Homeless

As I lay on this cold wooden park bench, with very little to my name, and everything that I do own is in this single tattered plastic trash bag to keep it dry from the weather.  People passing by in their cars, staring, talking, and wondering how someone could get to this place in life.  I move from shelter to shelter during these cold winter nights, just hoping to find warmth for just a few hours or possibly all night, but that warmth doesn’t always come, and some nights are spent cuddled as close as possible to anything that will keep the winter winds off my broken and unhealthy body.  Did I get here because of a war that I so bravely fought in, only to come home to no job, no family and what seems to be no way out. Maybe it was in high school when I was making good grades, athletic, but because it was popular, at a party decided to try weed for the first time, and that was the beginning of tearing down my pride and I moved to other drugs to make me forget what I had.  Did I begin this journey at birth, with a mental disability, with nowhere to go after my parents passed away, and no one else wanting the responsibility.  Or is it that I never took responsibility for myself from the very beginning, never wanting to work, and just wanting to get drunk or high every minute of the day. And is that because I had no confidence, or that I just never found something that I loved more than getting high.  Maybe it was simply that everything fell apart at one time, lost my job, my family left me because I couldn’t give them what they wanted, and all the loans and credit cards, completely drained me of every dime I had.  I’m not sure anymore how I got to be on this park bench, it’s all a blur and becoming even more of a blur as my life candle begins to burns near bottom.  Do I wish things would have been different, could I have accomplished more in my life, if I had found something that I love more than getting drunk or high, could I put the drugs down and live for those I love.  All I know is that this wooden park bench is cold, and the cold creeps to my bones, and the only warmth I get is found in this bottle that is my life.

I always wonder about things. When metal detecting and I unearth an old toy, or coins placed in a rotted bag, or a piece of civil war relic, I always wonder of its history, who and how it got there.  And like this weekend with my daughter going through old abandoned homes out in the middle of the woods or fields, I wonder, who lived there, what kind of family were they, and the history of the happenings there in the last 120 years.  This is the way my brain thinks, I don’t know why, but everything has a history and I love to explore those histories.  I do the same with homeless people that I pass, I feel sorrow, aggravation, and wonder of what they have gone through to get to the place that they are.  Like I said, everything has a history, but at one point, everything has no future on this earth. That’s why I hope that everyone will do what they can to make each today, tomorrows best history.

The 8″x 8″ watercolor was finished this weekend from a photo found on the net, because of a homeless man that I passed by, and made me wonder what his story was.

Go over or under… that is the question

A quick watercolor that I worked on during the worst pro football game ever, and unfortunately it involved my team, the Redskins.  They won, but I’m not sure either team deserved to win, it was that ugly.

As I was painting this, I thought to myself how many fences I have crossed in my life.  And no matter how many a person has crossed, the question is always in the back of your head… over or under?  Do you go over and risk the wire busting from the post, sending your, you know what’s directly down to the barbwire, or do you cross under protecting your, you know what’s, but risking catching and tearing your hunting jacket or scalp. And my big question is, where are the darn gates? I’m thinking that there are hidden cameras set up along the fence lines, just for the comic relief of hunters injuring themselves crossing, and I’m sure that I’m in a few.

Rules of engagement:

1.  Check fence strength of before crossing over… by letting someone else go first!

2. Strip naked before crossing under, assuring safety to your clothes and then get dressed on other side, after removing briars, stickers, and ticks… or let someone else go first!

3. Cross through the middle… and what tear things from both ends! Just stick to number 1 or 2.

4. Stay home all together and watch the Damn Redskins get beat, or play like crap!

I hope these help, and remember “Tuck high or Tuck‘m low, just make sure you Tuck‘m”!

Let the Pickets begin!

That’s right, it time to fight, fight for those who have fallen to the pressure of others. No, I’m not talking about anything political or religious, I’m talking about privacy fences.  Almost everyone has one, and if you live in a subdivision, you are sometimes required to have one… and it must be to the Associations requirements.  You know, 6′ high, exact style as others, regulation gates and stained to perfection to match your neighbors.  Neighbors, what is this word neighbors, most of us couldn’t even tell you the neighbors names.  Well when we built our home a few years ago, my first thought was we had to build a privacy fence, I mean it’s law right, you go to prison if you don’t have one… I think. But as we were in the process of building, I noticed our neighbors (yes, I could see them) didn’t have fences up.  Which worked out perfectly because they were wonderful retired couples.

For 12 years at our previous home, we had a privacy fence and to be honest with you, I really never got to know my neighbors.  A beautiful neighborhood with wonderful neighbors, I think, but don’t really know for sure.  What ever happened to the front porch, do you want some cold sweet tea, come sit awhile, neighborly get together.  What ever happened walking into the backyard or garden and seeing your neighbor and saying good morning Mrs. Jones or hello Tom.  What ever happened to the walking over sitting with them and discussing the garden, politics, family and health.  I think it’s time to bring back the short keep your dog and kids in the yard pickets fences or no fences at all.  We have no fencing and our background looks so open and free and luckily our deck and gazebos looks over about a 15 acre field and tree line, but more importantly I can tell you every neighbors first name, where they work, if they work and we share good times together and conversation.

So Picket those privacy fences, and get to know your neighbors, you might find that you like them and wouldn’t mind sharing some sweet tea or coffee with them every once in a while!

This watercolor is a 7″ x 10″ on cold press 140lb paper. I hope it brings back memories of your grandparents or someplace in your past.

From Fools and from Sages – watercolor owl

There are some great lyrics, and one of my favorite, is from the song Dream on from Aerosmith.  The line states that you “Lived and Learned from Fools and from Sages” .  I know that I have the fool part covered, and hopefully I have been a sage to someone somewhere in my life.  The one thing that I have learned, that you can learn as much, if not more, by observing the fools in your life, and learn not to make the same mistakes that they have.  Most, are foolish at a young age because of ignorance, not necessary stupidity, but some actions and thoughts are just flat-out stupidity and foolish.  I guess my definition of a fool is one who makes a mistake, and then continues to make that same mistake over and over again, that’s when they become a fool.  To drop coins in a pocket with an unknown hole in it and losing those coins to the ground , is a mistake, to continue to drop coins in that same pocket, knowing there’s a hole in it… you’re a fool.  One experience of my own, was while deer hunting, about twenty-five feet high in a tree, in a small, two foot square tree stand (platform), with no safety harness (stupid), I almost fell.  Most of the time while in the tree stand, I’m sitting motionless, until a deer is within rage, and that’s when I stand to draw back my arrow, and had done this for years.  But there was this one day that ended my stupidity, I was standing to draw back on a buck that was approaching from behind my stand, that’s when I stood and turned to get the shot, but the shot never happened, instead, the heel of my hunting boots kicked off the edge of the platform.  Flopping my arms like a bird trying to take flight, wobbling back and forth like a wet noodle in the wind, and then finally regaining my balance and sitting down.  Now, my heart was beating 200 beats a minute, my arms out of socket from all the flapping, the buck running off (laughing I’m sure), and I’m sure that I have just was saved from severe injury or death.  O.K. that was a huge mistake along with some stupidity, but a fool I’m not, I now take all safety precautions before hunting and while in the stand.  I use a safety harness while climbing and while in the stand, so heaven forbid if I would fall, it will be a short 4 foot controlled drop, instead of 25 foot drop on the head.  There is always an opportunity to learn from everyone and everything, it just depends on what we do with that knowledge once observed.  We become either the fool or a sage in life.

I worked on this watercolor of a horned owl last night, not sure why an owl but they intrigue me, and will finish sometime today.

Native American Hunter-Pen & Ink

This is not from my friends book, but from the inspiration I had while doing the artwork.  I hope that no one is offended by what I have written, it is written with respect and honor of both life and death.

The Drawing is copy righted, please do not rip my friend off!

Going Old School

Back to the basics, and back to one of the first things my high school art teacher would teach us… sketch and sketch quickly.  Well, after thirty years or so, and very little contact, my once art teacher and now friend visited me to get help on printing a book that he had written, following the trails and history of a tomahawk, now owned by a museum, but once owned by his Native American family.  Hopefully soon, this story of his families tomahawk will soon be printed in a wonderful embossed and foiled hardback book, with his own written words, with sketches and drawing from himself, family and possibly by me.  As soon as the book is in production, it is my hope that I can offer a few to the readers, that visit my blog.

Actually, this post is to tell you a little about Mr. Morrison, that I now call by his first name and friend.  Even though I have seen him just a few times in the last 30 years, his teachings and guidance has given me the wonderful career that have today.  Mr. Morrison has told me several times that he isn’t a very good artist, and I would beg to differ, but I think we would both agree that he was an excellent teacher.  A matter of fact, after 30 years of being in the graphics field, an art director and one that have seen other teachings, I would say that he was the best art teacher that I’ve known.  I have seen so many college students come from Purdue, I.U., and so many other large universities with bachelors degrees in art or design, come out with less knowledge and how to use their creativity, than I did in his high school grads.  With very little funding from the school, with very little respect from administrators and teachers (because he was an art teacher), he seemed to get the most out of some of us, that other teachers couldn’t.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this until after I had graduated, but soon into the first and only semester of college that I had attended, I was soon to understand how lucky I was to have him as my teacher.  Some will be giving  me a hard time for writing this, saying even after 30 years, that I’m still brown nosing, but I didn’t give him the respect then, and so I have no problem giving him and others the respect they deserve, now.  The only thing that I feel cheated on, is that his last few graduating classes before retiring , had received 30 more years of his experience as not just a teacher, but a student himself.  Mr. Morrison was always learning and growing from his students, and using that tool to teach others in his future classes.  He taught me to paint, air brush, watercolor, pen and ink, the wonders of Frank Frazetta and other artist, pottery, three-dimensional and of course, to sketch and sketch quickly.

If you have or had a teacher or mentor that has guided you, take this post as an opportunity to honor them or show respect to their teachings, by listing how they effected your life or just mentioning their names in your comment. They may not know that you did so, but it will give you a good feeling knowing that you did.

Man up and Fix IT! Oil Spill

This is a quick marker and watercolor sketch for a painting, depicting the disgust I have for all the destruction of the gulf.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for drilling, both coastal and inland, this is a source we need and have plenty of if done right.  First of all, if it was closer to the shoreline it would have been cap within days, but because of the depth, it makes the procedures near impossible to do quickly.  Secondly, what the heck is up with the government  and its red tape and stupidity.  From what I understand there were clean up ships offered by other countries within days of the spill to help in the clean up, but was refused by a crazy law, not allowing foreign-made ships to be used for such matters… what, huh, what!  From what I understand both President Bush and President Clinton allowed this law to be lapse in order to receive help for exxon and other matters. I’m sure you all have seen the same videos that I have on different products and ideas for soaking up and cleaning up this disaster, but yet they do very little to clean up that which has already been spilled.

So, this sketch is my version of the greed and politics at its worst, allowing something so wonderful and needed to slip through the hands of those responsible and becoming something horrible and deadly.

What I would love to see is someone taking this sketch or your own version and paint it.  I give complete permission to use my art on this one sketch to do so.  All I ask is that you contact me once finished so that I can see your work.

O.K. BP, Federal Government and President Obama, get off your ass, get off the political maneuvering, and get this thing fixed.

GoldFinch Watercolor

There must be a God,

a creator of such creatures,

a splash of golden yellow,

upon their feathers and their features.

Dancing among the thistles,

as though kids in play,

as others flying in,

while the others dance away.

The males wear a toupee of black,

with golden yellows shining bright,

while the females beauty is faded,

their colors a little slight.

More beauty attires the males,

as they strut and do their dance,

trying to impress the females,

as they hope and to have a chance.

A touch of golden yellow,

on God’s Earthly painting of wonder,

full of amazing colors and life,

so stop, look and ponder.

When they were little

My, my, my how time flies, these two little girls of mine are now 16 and twenty years old. Although I’m very proud how both turned out with an amazing intelligence and beauty.  They have both given me a lifetime worth of love and memories.  memories of walking hand in hand with my oldest to the local store to get an ice cream, while waiting for her mom to get off work down the street.  I know this doesn’t sound like much, but the true heartfelt love that we shared in daily stories and learning on that walk, makes for a wonderful memories.  The memory of building their play house and swing by hand just to watch my youngest swing all day, right side up, upside down, twirling in circles, up to the age that most would have stopped.  Sure there are memories of birthday parties, vacations and all the bigger moments of memories, but it was some of the small things that meant so much to me.  It did help that our girls were disciplined early, so by time they were 2 or 3 we could take them anywhere and never had to worry about fits or misbehavior. They learned early that dad would not put up with that.  For you younger couple or those about to have children, may I give you some advice that you might have had or heard before.  Spend as much time with your kids as possible, they do grow up so fast that moments missed are never going to come back.  Walk with your kids and truly listen to them and what they are saying.  Play with them as though you were a child once again.  But most importantly, remember you are their IDOL, that doesn’t last forever, so make sure you enjoy every moment of it.  Also from the very beginning of their lives, you are the main teacher of life and habits for your child.  If you show love easily, they will show love, if you show anger constantly, they will show anger, if your habits are bad (smoking, drinking, abuse of any kind), odds are they will follow in those same foot steps.  Now does this mean your children will be perfect, heck no.  They’re kids, and I have a receding hairline and high blood pressure to prove it.  But by working hard and putting so much love into your children, you have given them the best teaching and opportunity that you could give.  Make sure you give your children just as much time alone with you as you would golf, hunting, t.v. or other past times.  Don’t give your children new games or toys just so they will go away and play, all they will do is pile up in the corner along with the memories that you could have been making with your children.  Well enough preaching and now for some of my memories.

1.  Taking my girls fishing… learning to leave my gear at home because I was to busy getting their hooks out of the trees.  Wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

2.  The look in their eyes when first seeing the ocean… both always seeming to have one butt cheek that wouldn’t stay in their swim suites bottoms.  Wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

3.  Staying in a cabin with all their cousins and pulling and swinging them around on a quilt and a wood floor trying to force them off… learning how out of shape I was pulling them. Wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

4.  The wonder and awe they had for everything Disney World could offer… Aerosmith’s rock-n-roll roller coaster ROCKS. Wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

5.  Watching them come down the steps at Christmas time half a sleep, hair sticking out and their little long gowns on… tearing up now, sniffle sniffle.  Wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

Don’t miss the chance of memories!

Willie Nelson – Watercolor

My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are it seems.  These are lyrics from a Willie Nelson song, just one of so many great songs by Willie. This is a watercolor/ink drawing I did over the weekend. I have always had people that I had considered heroes and people that I admire.

Here is a list of my heroes and people that I admire:

1. All my parents

2. People of the miltary

3. The police and firemen

4. The original founders of our Country and it’s government

Childhood Heroes:

5. Bruce Lee, amazing man although small in size, his strength, speed and wisdom was untouchable.

6. Daniel Boone, frontiersman

7. Tarzan

Tell me who would be on your list?

Twisted fun – Ink wash

I needed another black and white drawing to fill a small space in my studio, and very little time to paint, so I painted this.  All my life, I have always love to walk in the woods and explore.  Some of my favorite t.v. shows are survivor, man vs wild and survivorman which are shows about a person or persons trying to survive a week or month with very little brought along.  When I was younger, I would go into the forest or as we say in southern indiana (a woods) and play the entire day looking and exploring. I can’t tell you how many times that I have walked across a tree similar to the tree in the drawing, over a stream or ditch. I also can’t tell you how many time the tree gave away or I just slipped and fell into that stream or ditch. I was always climbing a tree, walking across a tree or swinging from vines that reached so high into the tree you weren’t sure and couldn’t see how it was attached, but I still climbed it and swung from it, sometimes resulting in injury (I’ve never claimed to be very smart).  Yep, I was and I guess still am a country boy at heart, never wore shoes unless my mom made me, never wore a shirt unless my mom made me and never came home until way after dark, unless my made me. Now that I think about it, I might still be in those woods, shirtless, shoeless and climbing if my mom wouldn’t have made me come in.  But with my pocket knife deep into my pocket and my trusty BB gun at my side, I’m sure this boy could have done just fine.  I was good at making traps, my knife was always sharp and I was so accurate with my BB gun that I could peck a fly off a cats ears at twenty yards with out touching a hair on the cat.  Yep, those were the days, and I still catch myself crossing ditches when hunting, only now I pick those that can hold a 190lb man and low enough to the ditch to where if I fall, things won’t get broke, because if I break something my wife might treat me like a horse and use that for an excuse to get rid of me.

If you haven’t explored a woods, grab a camera, some bug spray and get into one, you will be amazed at all of its beauty.  But be careful, there are a lot of dangers in a simple woods and study your surroundings when walking in, that way you can find your way out when finished.

Things that might make you regret going into the woods:

1.  Chiggers and Ticks, these little $#@*&? (my way of cussing), if you ever had 50 bites along your… well lets just say private parts that itch like crazy, you know why I cuss them.

2.  Not able to find your way out… never a good thing.

3.  Swinging from a vine high in the air… until you hear the cracking noise and throwing you to your back, sucking the air from your lungs.

4.  Enjoying the animals… unless man-eating bears, large cats, poisonous snakes and insects.

5.  Did I mention those Damn Chiggers and ticks!

6.  Falling… that’s all I need to say about that.

7.  Weird toothless guys playing banjo… it’s from a old movie called “Deliverance” … RUN, and don’t stop RUNNING!

Well this may help you survive a trip to the nearest woods, have fun!

Tis the Season-watercolor

SnowwalkI know, I know it’s not winter in Indiana yet, but it is in my world. This is the time, starting in August, that I design corporate Christmas cards, oh, I’m sorry, Holiday cards for those politically correct. The watercolor posted, is a sketch for a card that I had done for one of our customers. Most of you know that I love the beach and the heat. There is only one week that I love snow and winter weather and that’s Christmas. Every once in a while we get lucky in Indiana and receive snow during the Christmas holidays and I love it. But once the new year rolls around, I’m ready for Spring again. I think more than the weather itself, what bothers me is the short days of daylight. I get to work about 7 a.m. and then get back home around 5 p.m., during the winter it’s dark when I go to work and then dark by time I get home for the evening… HATE IT!

But as the season approaches and the temperature drops, may your home and heart be filled with warmth, no matter what religion or philosophy you believe in.

Yep, another watercolor of a barn

barnfnlThis is a follow up on the last post. I finished this last night for my sister (metaphase). The scan once again isn’t the best but it gives you an idea on what it looks like. I’m testing out the best and least expensive way for some students to get into to watercolor. This set of 12, .4 oz tubes of reeves watercolors was $9.00, four nice brushes were $23.00 and watercolor coldpress paper. The barn painting was completed using this exact set. That’s one thing nice about watercolor, the tubes are small but the paint goes a long way.

There are some fantastic artist visiting my blog and I would love to hear your critics on my technic or directions to help improve my paintings. I haven’t been schooled at all, other than high school classes, so any suggestions are welcomed. I hope to be giving free classes over the winter just to get people into the arts and your suggestions will be helpful. I will learn from my students just as much as I will teach I’m sure.

My first Oil Painting



Yep, you would think after painting and drawing for 30 years, I would have attempted an oil painting. But all through high school we weren’t allowed because of the ventilation problems, and I never went to college or had art training. Because of that I just became accustom to acrylics and other medias. This is the first oil painting ever for me, measuring 24″ x 36″ finished in 2007, which took about 10 hours. I get bored with the subjects and mediums so I change frequently. Not the best thing for a fine art career but it keeps me interested. The color and contrast isn’t the best due to poor camera pic, but it will give you an idea of what it look like. 

I would gladly listen to suggestions from experienced oil artist, or anyone else with critic or direction.