In late 2015, I decided to try my hand at art. Literally. So, I started art classes at the local LGBT Community Center in Palm Springs. The Center had the best volunteer artist/teacher a fledgling artist could possibly hope to have. Dennis Jory finally retired from volunteering in 2016. But for about a full year under his watchful eye and extremely good humor I learned how to use colored pencils, then progressed to pen/ink and then worked on water color. (I'm terrible at water color, so I'm sticking to the other two for the time being.) We started out using 8.5 x 11 sheets of 120lb paper, thus the first set of drawings below is in that format. Afterward, we shifted to larger format stock. I'm working nearly exclusively in that larger format (16x20) as I continue to hone my ability.
It's taken considerable patience and extreme attention to detail to learn this new craft. Some people are what I call natural artists. They can do this blindfolded. I'm a trained artist. There is nothing natural about this to me - unlike novel writing, which came completely naturally. It takes a lot of time and effort for me to get this sorted out. A LOT of time. Like, gobs. Luckily, I'm retired and have said time.
Work your way down this page to see a chronological order of my work. Newest is at the bottom of this page.
Here in Palm Springs we worked really hard to save a particularly pristine canyon from developers. The reason is because this one has a ton of wildlife in it. As of this post we think we have a shot at keeping it out of the hands of an out-of-town developer and in the 'people's' hands so we can continue to hike it.
Oswit Canyon in spring. Features: Flame skimmer dragonfly, cattails, Indian paintbrush wildflower, tiny toad (species unknown), Mojave poppy wildflower, Charming centuary wildflower, rushes, and other species.
The last thing I drew on smaller format art stock, exclusively using colored pencils was this 'boy next door' drawing. We had just learned how to draw feet, which I found easier to draw than hands. All of my drawings originate from either other drawings or photos. This photo had no hands in it. It was perfect.
During the summer of 2016, I officially said goodbye to paper stock and am now working exclusively on matte (or Crescent) board. With the basics down, it was time to work in a larger format. This is a 16x20 colored pencil drawing of a little bell by a neighbor's gate. I had passed by this gate a hundreds times already while walking the dog but never gave it a good look. I whipped out my iPhone, took a few shots and this is the result of my discovery! Summer 2016 / colored pencil
This larger format is awesome. And it was finally time to start drawing the main characters in my novels. I had set that as a goal months before. This is my attempt to draw Scott Faraday from Desert Sons. I found the perfect photo of someone who resembles who I imagine Scott to look like.
I put him in Joshua Tree National Park (I took the photo of the background), a place we both love so much. I had to take several photos of my OWN HAND, adjust the size of the image, print the images out and attempted several times to draw it in that position. I can only do this if I have a photo to work from. It was extremely difficult to do. Summer 2016 / colored pencil
'Ecstasy' / Sept 2016. The image of Icarus flying has stayed with me since I was a youth. Altho the story is about the folly of hubris, I couldn't bring myself to see it that way. I find that moral to be quite unimaginative. Instead, I always saw Icarus as following his bliss. Thus, the title of this drawing.
My muse for this was by Gabriel Picart (a Spanish artist). That was just the starting point. I could only hope to be so talented as that man.
An homage to Konrad Helbig's photo called 'Nude Black Boy in the Ocean'. I changed it up a bit and call it 'Jata Awaits'. Jata is Swahili for 'celestial star' and is apparently a common name in Africa. Since the photo was taken sometime between 1950-1959, it could very well have been taken on the day of my birth for all anyone knows!
Don't laugh. This is the first time I've ever drawn dark skin. Trying to figure out the best combo of colors to get decent contrast took all day.
Colored pencil on Crescent board / Feb 2017