Midwest Summers

To keep myself sane during this never-ending winter, I like to imagine I’m hiking to a rural pond to do a little fishing. The rising suns warms my top half while the otherwise pleasant south wind chills my dew soaked legs. The rumble of a passing train gives way to the chorus of nearby frogs. Ahhh yes it all sounds perfect. And then I remember the mosquitos.

You know what? I’ll take the little bloodsuckers. C’mon spring!

A sketch from a story idea I’ve been rolling around this winter.

A sketch from a story idea I’ve been rolling around this winter.

Cephalopods named Rod, Todd and Maude

Honestly I didn’t know they had names until I just now wrote that. Kind of works.

I was on a revision to a story and added these characters to the mix. That revision was passed on (for good reasons) but I still kind of like this crew.

A squid, a cuttlefish and an octopus pose for photo, as one does.

A squid, a cuttlefish and an octopus pose for photo, as one does.



Holy beans! Its been too long!

Well I have been neglecting my website! 

There has been a lot going on in these here parts.  First off, last fall I got a fun new contract.  I used that contract as an excuse to renovate my studio.  Then I used that renovated studio to survive (hide from) the large amount of family that stayed with us over the holidays.  I think this new studio is going to work out just fine.

One side of the new studio showing new workbench, shelves and painting storage, and a new easel.

One side of the new studio showing new workbench, shelves and painting storage, and a new easel.

To break in the new studio I made some unfocused abstract paintings like this one.

To break in the new studio I made some unfocused abstract paintings like this one.

George Washington Carver

Here are some illustration examples made for the Notable Missourian book on George Washington Carver.  What a fascinating man!  Artist, scientist, thinker, doer. The Notable Missourian series is published by Truman University Press.

Baby George Washington Carver and his mother and brother.

Baby George Washington Carver and his mother and brother.

Young George Washington Carver in his woodland garden.

Young George Washington Carver in his woodland garden.

Collage of George Washington Carver growing up.

Collage of George Washington Carver growing up.

George Washington Carver teaching at Iowa State University.

George Washington Carver teaching at Iowa State University.

George Washington Carver sharing effecient farming techniques with poor farmers.

George Washington Carver sharing effecient farming techniques with poor farmers.

George Caleb Bingham

Recently I made some illustrations for the Notable Missourian book on the painter George Caleb Bingham.  He was an interesting man in both art and politics.

Young George sits and watches Chester Harding paint a portrait of Daniel Boone.  His love of art was now official.

Young George sits and watches Chester Harding paint a portrait of Daniel Boone.  His love of art was now official.

George went east to study the works in the big museums there.

George went east to study the works in the big museums there.

George was passionate about the plight of the people, and got deeply into politics.

George was passionate about the plight of the people, and got deeply into politics.

Not only did George enjoy politics, but he used it as a subject of many of his works.

Not only did George enjoy politics, but he used it as a subject of many of his works.

George as an elder teaching a painting class.

George as an elder teaching a painting class.

Furry Family Portraits

While gathering with fellow illustrators (We like to pretend that we have co-workers like normal people), it was suggested that we make some paintings to sell at a local humane society auction.  I had to think of something to paint on the spot, so I opted to immortalize my old a-hole dog, Marcus,  and my even older, grumpier bag of bones cat, Fritz.  It was a fun, spontaneous project for sure....I'm kind of sad I won't have these portraits of two of my oldest friends on my own wall!  Thats what prints are for.

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Johnson County Library

Awhile back I was commissioned to make an illustration for the Johnson County Library system based on their main branch location.  Their idea was to use the illustration in their annual promotional materials. Well, recently I had a chance to see how the printed materials turned out and I was super impressed! Using the artwork, the library design department put together a summer programs guide, book marks, posters, a summer reading booklet, and a mural I need to see. Below is the original illustration as well as a photo of some of the printed materials. 

Long time no post!

Busy busy!  Now where did we leave off?  Oh yes good old James Cash Penney.  Here are some of the final illustrations for the story of his life, written by Jason Offut and published by Truman State University Press.

Young businessman J.C. Penney raising and selling pigs in his family's yard, much to the chagrin of neighbors.

Young businessman J.C. Penney raising and selling pigs in his family's yard, much to the chagrin of neighbors.

J.C. as a young man, working at the Golden Rule dry goods store in Wyoming.

J.C. as a young man, working at the Golden Rule dry goods store in Wyoming.

J.C also had an interest in raising prize winning livestock.  Now that I look at this illustration for the first time in awhile, I realize both the men look related or like the same guy.  Eesh.  

J.C also had an interest in raising prize winning livestock.  Now that I look at this illustration for the first time in awhile, I realize both the men look related or like the same guy.  Eesh.  

J.C. going over accounts while his wife does some canning.  Every penny had to count during the depression.

J.C. going over accounts while his wife does some canning.  Every penny had to count during the depression.

An older J.C. at a department store during the 50s.

An older J.C. at a department store during the 50s.

New life for an abandoned painting.

"The Gift" original "unfinished" version

"The Gift" original "unfinished" version

So in my studio has sat a painting that had confounded me for a few years now.  I wasn't sure if it was done or if it was unfinished. To be clear, I would tell myself it was done, but there was always a little voice in the back of my brain saying "no its not".

Well the other day I decided I needed to paint.  I was going through old paintings trying to decide if I wanted to paint over an old so-so one or use a new canvas.  While digging around I came across the aforementioned painting and for the first time it struck me that I should finish it...whatever that meant.  So I did!

"The GIft" acrylic on 24"x36" canvas. It probably went a completely different direction then what I originally had in mind, but thats kind of what makes the recently finished version cool.   

"The GIft" acrylic on 24"x36" canvas. It probably went a completely different direction then what I originally had in mind, but thats kind of what makes the recently finished version cool.