Friday, October 25, 2013

Cross-Country Clearprint Journal Project

As part of a Chartpak project called "Cross-Country Clearprint", I received a blank journal in the mail
the other day.  I am to sketch, draw and/or paint whatever I wish on one page.  I chose to fill that page with sketches of Peptalk, a horse I rode in my riding lessons for almost three years.  He has since passed over the rainbow bridge.  But I will always remember him.

I did the sketches from photos I took of him at liberty and in his stall.  Some of the photos were blurry due to low light and I did not want to use the flash.  (The flash can wash-out colors and flatten details plus create odd shadows.)  However, I was able to "un-blur" the pictures in the sketches due to my knowledge of horse anatomy and close familiarity with the subject.

The sketchbook is 6 x 8 and is called a Clearprint Vellum Book.

Images from all of the Cross-Country Clearprint project participants will be available online at

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sketching Idea: By the Square Foot

I got my first chance to put a fun sketching exercise into practice this past weekend that I suggest in my Field Sketching classes.

I spent a few hours plein air painting with the Central Florida Watercolor Society.  We were at Lake Lily Park in Maitland, Florida.

As usual I got to the park and was immediately overwhelmed with all the choices of where to set up and draw or paint.  So, I practiced what I preach!  I found one 10 x 10 square foot area and sketched everything I could see.

I did not know what some things were, but I sketched them anyway.  With some notes written on the side I can research these items to find out more about them.

You can practice this at home, too!  Find a 3 x 3 or 10 x 10 square foot area in your yard, neighborhood or even inside your own home and sketch the things you find in just that area.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Fate of Cursive Writing

A friend and I were discussing the fate of cursive (script) writing recently.  I lamented on how I had to teach my son how to sign his own name in cursive because he was never taught to do so in school.

Here is an interesting article about what one North Carolina school district is doing about this and the comments from some parents and teachers.

Learning Cursive Writing: Is it worthwhile or a waste of time?
by Jacoba Urist

How many people today can read the Declaration of Independence?  When only a few to no one can read it because it is written in cursive they will have to depend on others to translate it for them.

Personally, writing in cursive saves me a lot of time when I have to write quickly and legibly.  I enjoy having the option to print or write in a more beautiful, cursive style.  If nothing else, learning to write in cursive gives one more options.  One day cursive writers may stand out in a crowd of thousands that can only write and read printed, disconnected letters.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sketching Is Not Just For Artists

In Laura Busche's blog post "Hand-Sketching: The Things You Didn't Know Your Doodles Could Accomplish" she explains how sketching on *paper* takes her designs to the next level.

I met with another artist Saturday morning (10/13/13) who worked as a line illustrator.  She learned most of her skills while on the job.  Today she is retired but continues to draw and paint.

We spoke about how sad it is that today there are many graphic arts students who cannot fathom why on earth they need to learn how to draw on anything other than a computer screen.

I found Laura's blog article through Dave Kelley's blog post where he is collecting resources before, during and after the upcoming DevLearn2013 event.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Field Sketching and Gesture Drawing - Birds

Draw enough to recognize the subject.

In each Field Sketching class that I teach at Michaels in Winter Park, FL (32789) we move quickly through a lot of information and as many activities as I can fit into two hours.

One of those activities is to do a gesture drawing.

Gesture drawings are done mostly in life drawing classes.  Little did I know they come in extremely handy when you are trying to draw a flitting bird or a flighty squirrel.

Try it on your own!  You can go just about anywhere and find lots of birds and squirrels.  If you can’t get outside, try watching a nature documentary.  You can practice gesture drawing all types of animals while they are on your TV screen.  If you feel like adding more details, wait for the commercials and add them then.

If you need more information about gesture drawing and how to do it see the following links:

What is Gesture Drawing?  By Helen South, Guide

Examples of Gesture Drawing curated by aed303 (class board for pre-service elementary teachers taking art) on Pinterest.

Tools for Self-Educating Artists at Figure and Gesture Drawing
This a cool website where they provide timed photos (you choose the timing) to practice a gesture drawing!  Start with the standard session and be brave!  Work down from 10 minutes to the 30 seconds time interval!

Most of all have fun!

If you would like to take a Field Sketching class, my next one is Saturday, October 12, 2013, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  You can sign up for class online at

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Classes at Michaels Arts and Crafts

I'm teaching fine art classes at Michaels in Winter Park, Florida.  On Sunday, March 25, is the last floral project (Magnolia) for the next few months.  Next month will be all waterscape themes.  (They call them Seascapes officially, but the projects scheduled for April are mostly water-themed.

It took awhile to get back to teaching at Michaels again.  I was a fine art instructor a few years ago but they temporarily stopped classes.  Now, I am a Certified Grumbacher Acrylic Instructor which is required before anyone can teach fine art at any Michaels store.

If you would like to see an example of this coming Sunday's project you can see it on my Tumblr site.  I post all my class projects there and everything else here (including notifications of upcoming classes, open house events, etc.)

In the next two weeks I will be activating an email newsletter.  And for my students, future students and anyone else interested in learning to create art I've started an online magazine (free) for your viewing and educational pleasure.  It's called "The Art of Creating Art" and contains all sorts of constantly updated news, information and links on how to paint and draw in all sorts of mediums.

Enjoy and happy creating!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Newest Completed Works

This past summer and fall, I completed one oil painting and one pencil drawing.  The pencil drawing was a commission of one of the horses at Freedom Ride named Ivan.  (When I took a snapshot of the drawing I didn't realize I'd caught some glare on his shiny nose!)

The poem says:

Ride upon the white
horse and a sense of
peace will come; for
the white horse is an
angel with wings
disguised and soon you
will ride as one.  Anon

Pencil is my favorite medium for drawing horses.

The oil painting was done via a reference photo as a starting point.  I originally thought the background was going to be very dark.  However, as happens so many times while painting, it decided it wanted to be a lighter picture.

If you happen to be interested in buying this painting it is available unframed.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book Review Apples for Cheyenne

Rachel is a little girl with autism.  The story is about one of her weekly visits to the barn where Cheyenne lives.  He is one of the therapy horses.

This is a wonderful book for both able-bodied children and those with special needs.  It is a nice way to teach those who do not understand autism  about the way autistic children perceive the world.  Both the author and illustrator of this book are familiar with autism as one has a son with autism and the other has autism.

I got a free copy of this charming book from a friend of mine because he knows I love horses and that I work with/for therapy horses once a week at Freedom Ride It was written by Elizabeth King Gerlach and illustrated by Kim Miller.

If you would like to purchase a copy of this book I have provided links to it at both Barnes and Noble and Amazon for your convenience.  I am not associated in any way whatsoever with either company except as a fellow customer.  Happy reading!

Barnes and Noble


Monday, October 22, 2012

General Colin Powell at Learning 2012

Due to a lack of internet access during his speech and chat with Elliott Maise, I am typing up this synopsis with lots of quotes.  I *would* have tweeted most of these if I'd been able.  Please also make sure to check out #lrn2012 on Twitter to see all the tweets from this and other sessions at Learning 2012.

On conferences like Learning 2012:  "It's important for humans to get together."

The military was the first to use technology for learning.  It was more efficient and saved money.

"Teams are what gets the work done."

General Colin Powell said that in all his 35 years in the military, (I hope I got that right!) he spent 6 of them in school.  Many companies do not recognize the importance of investing in "broadening the perspective of their leaders."

He then told a great story about motivation which included a rubber duck and a rubber chicken and how he used the chicken as a motivation tool in a training class one time.  lol

"It's all about motivating and inspiring people to learn."

He described how he handled the transition from being the Secretary of State one moment to not being the Secretary of State literally overnight.  The solution, if you are over 70, is to buy a Corvette.

He stated that he "was born analog."  Today, his grandchildren help him keep up-to-date on technology.  He said that technology "knocked down all the boundaries."

On technology he says, "The fun part of my life is seeing what's coming next."

"The world is moving from calendar to transactional thinking."

When training you must "change the software and then change the brainware."

Regarding education today, he said that it begins "in a mother's arms."  In the onstage chat with Elliott Maise he said that the "sense of expectation is not being passed down" anymore.  "They need to know they are not expected to fail."  He continued by saying that he has also noticed there is no longer a "sense of shame on the family" when a child does not live up to expectations.  Things were very different when he was growing up.

"It isn't where you start in life.  It's where you end up."

"Your past is not your future.  Your present is not your future."

In the military he was taught to do the following to be an effective leader:

  • State a clear purpose that will make a better society.  This is different than a mission.
  • "Take care of the troops.  Train them.  If you don't teach them you're a lousy leader."
  • Recognize performance.  He writes (in pencil or pen) notes to people on small cards that cost 10 cents.  Simple things like this do not take a lot of time or money.  Yet they can mean so much to the recipient.
A sergeant at Ft. Benning once told him that "you know you're good if your troops will follow you out of curiosity."  Even if it's just to see how you take care of the situation.

On the 9/11 attacks he stated that "one thing no terrorist can do ... is change who we are."

"You've got to have a sense of optimism in our country and the world."  Optimism "is one of the most important traits of leadership."

On the topic of promoting leaders, he said that "performance alone is not a sufficient measurement.  It's a start, but "you have to look at potential."  What is that person learning and doing to improve him or herself?  Do they have "an agility of thinking?"  Do they have the "emotional and mental stability to proceed to the next level?"

On the topic of collaboration, he said that you must convince your team that collaboration is "in their best interest and yours."  It is important.  When speaking with others, he always had a round table in his office and did not wear his jacket "with all that stuff on it."  He just wore a simple black turtle neck sweater.  However, once he'd made a decision it became your decision, too.  "You have to decide what you are going to do and execute."

Also, it is important to have contingency "guys" and "always be in a do loop."  Never be a tyrannical leader.

Well, that's all I got.  I hope you enjoyed it and learned at least one new thing.

Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Plein Air Painting at Langford Park Sat. Mar. 19

The azaleas are blooming! Dickson Azalea Park is directly across the street.  I'll probably be there between 9-10 am along with Sy Rosefelt painting en plein air.  Here's a map and more info if you would like to join us or would just like to enjoy a day in a beautiful park or two.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Friend Sy

Here's a picture of Sy Rosefelt painting at the docks behind the Cornell Museum of Art on the campus of Rollins College in Orlando, Florida.  We were there with Rudy Drapiza and Paul Peters painting en plein air.  Rudy, Sy and I stayed until dark.  I got one evening painting done.  No pic of it yet so I thought I'd post this one in the meantime.  It was taken with the camera on my old phone.  It kinda looks like an old polaroid picture, doesn't it?

As darkness enfolded us Sy and Rudy told me a story about how one time when they were painting at a dock in Sanford, the wind blew Sy's palette with all his paint into the water!  He said that "it sank like a stone."  Rudy valiantly tried to rescue it but was smart enough to test the water first with a very long pole to see if he could walk out into the water to retrieve it.  The pole kept going down and down and down and they said it must have been at least 20 feet deep right off shore.  No rescue was possible.

Once a week I've also been doing some life drawing where artists paint or draw from a live model at the Crealde School of Fine Art in Winter Park, Florida.  I'll post some *discreet* pictures of those later as the models pose nude and I wouldn't want to offend anyone!

And I'm working on a couple of commissions of horse portraits for two people at Brookmore Farms.  I just have a sketch right now that I need to send to the client's for approval.  That's one great thing about the internet and art these days that I like.  Back "in the old days" one had to either schedule and meet in person or mail photos via snail mail *or* (gasp) complete the entire portrait, meet the client with the finished product and hold your breath as it was unveiled before them for the first time!  That was very nerve wracking!  Now it is less so as I know the pose, leg and head positions are already approved.

With my trusty old camera phone I hope to post more often to this blog which gets automatically posted to my FB fan page at

Have a great weekend everyone!