Winter pine tree

Blackwing 602 and white colored pencil on Canson Mi Teintes.

The Blackwing 602 is really great on toned paper. I started this with a generic HB, but it just didn’t feel as good, so switched over to the stub of a Blackwing I have with me. The appeal of this was the white sap on this pine tree. I tried to convey it with the white colored pencil.

Historic Church on Blue Paper

I saw this church a few weeks ago in Harper’s Ferry and was struck by how bright the white was in the afternoon light. I took some inspiration from Turner and his contemporaries for subject and method and set this small study on blue paper to keep the rest of the image muted and mid-toned and draw all the focus to the accents. There’s something very satisfying about using titanium white on toned paper.

Thanks for reading.

toad in gloomy weather

It’s been a week of gloomy rainy weather, perfect for painting a toad. I found this proud one up in Lakeville.  have been meaning to paint it on pink Canson Mi-Teintes paper for a while. It seems to go well, conveying a late evening hop-about. Having studied this toad for this small sketch, I understand the proud, stubborn, silliness of Mr. Toad from The Wind in the Willows.


Natural poetry in apparently simple images

I’ve been feeling the need recently to be more deliberate about my painting, more contemplative, maybe, and develop some themes regarding people’s relationships to their places, but I have been so active mentally on other things, that I haven’t really been able to or wanted to focus on close painting studies on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps that will come soon.

In the meantime I am just trying to stay active and try things out. Here’s my Aunt’s dog hearing something disturbing and rising from a nap. I love the effort and contortion he’s going through, just to tell off some small chirping thing. Sometimes there’s natural poetry in apparently simple images, and I don’t need to underlay theory.

I have posted in reverse order from completion back to pencil drawing.





I May, I Might, I Must


I May, I Might, I Must

If you will tell me why the fen
appears impassable, I then
will tell you why I think that I
can get across it if I try.

-Marianne Moore

I was up too early today with the dog, so I took the chance to read a little again. I haven’t read much literature recently–instead it’s mostly been research for work–so it was nice to focus on something short. Apart from the short poem above–which is a great motto for any designer–Marianne Moore was not relaxing reading, though, and I was distracted by a small sketch opportunity out the window. I thought the purple flowers hanging from my neighbors porch would look good on cream colored paper, and the shadows were interesting (though I didn’t do them justice). Still, it was nice to work with some structure again.

Thanks for reading.