A sketch from my notebook. This is pretty accurate depiction of driving around with my dog. He likes to sit in the front seat which makes him subject to my lightning fast dad-arm-seatbelt.
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.
Its time to get started on the 2017 Notable Missourian illustrations for Truman State University Press. The first book features James Cash Penney. That's right, JC Penney himself. Here are some of the sketches done for Chapter 1 - They show a young JC in the hog business.
I have some problems with how I chose to compose this one, but I still like the lively atmosphere.
I bet you didn't know it, but robots love apples.
This illustration shows an older Andrew Taylor (A.T.) Still watching over a class being taught at his newly founded school of Osteopathy. This illustration is for the Notable Missourian series published by Truman State University Press.
Here is the first illustration for the Notable Missourian book on AT (Andrew Taylor) Still. He founded the school of Osteopathy. What is Osteopathy? Well this question illustrates why I like these Notable Missourian books so much...I learn from them! I've always wondered what it meant when a doctor has DO by his or her name instead of MD. Now I know It stands for Doctor of Osteopathy. I'm pretty sure a lot of you are saying "No shit", but I had no idea. Anyways this first illustration shows AT Still as a child with his family watching his dad return a trip. His dad was a traveling preacher.
The Notable Missourian series is published by Truman State University Press.
Ella was much more than just a side show act. She was a kind person who made many close friends throughout her life. After retiring from the circus she returned home where she greatly enjoyed sharing the company of her friends and family.
This illustration is for the Notable Missourian (Truman State University Press) book on Ella Ewing.
Maybe its the influence of growing up in Kansas, but I like to put storm clouds in the background of otherwise pastoral paintings. I remember so many gorgeous days where by late afternoon these massive mountains of moisture and turbulence would hug the horizon, rising higher and higher until they would flatten out on top and begin to turn pink with the sunset. It was always quite a show and pleasant to see in the background. Now it was a different story if they were rising to the southwest. That meant soon they would blot out the sun and make the streetlights come on early. Concerned heads would poke out of front doors to look skyward as kids would run home lest their moms freak out (well, mine anyways). I think thats what I like about storms in the background of paintings. Its a great reminder that whatever the situation is, its fleeting. Maybe right now its beautiful here and stormy there. Will it stay in the background? Is the storm on its way here? What's it like under that big thunderhead with all the lightning? Will I be able to watch with fascination as this potentially destructive force moves and grows at a distance? Or will I be picking up the pieces under a cloud looking pretty in the distance of somebody else's sky? Its humbling.
This painting is for the 2016 Katy Days, a railroad heritage festival held annually in Parsons Kansas. I'll have a booth there where I will be whipping up fun little paintings for the kids and selling originals and prints. Its always a good time and frankly its a great excuse to go back to Parsons and catch up with my old friends.
This illustration for the Notable Missourian book on Ella Ewing (Truman State University Press) shows the Missouri giantess Ella Ewing as an attraction at a state fair.
This illustration is for the Notable Missourian book (Truman State University Press) on Ella Ewing. Ella was a giant hailing from Missouri. I'm not sure if calling someone a "giant" is politically correct, but it seems like one of those words that can't be used in a diminishing way. Well I guess when you use it as an adjective it definitely can be used to diminish. Like "Fred is a giant @#$&#%$". But! as noun its hard to imagine that it would be offensive. That said what do I know?!
Okay, forgive me that tangent. This illustration shows a young Ella and her parents visiting Chicago for the first time. Ella's parents were initially reluctant to accept any of the offers to "display" her at fairs or the circus, but the money was good and Ella thought it would be an opportunity to travel and meet new people. Her parents ultimately agreed so long as they could travel with her, no doubt to look out for her.
This is actually a painting that I "started" a year or two ago. I painted the lady bugs very roughly on top of an old painting, brought said rough lady bugs into photoshop, cleaned them up and made them into wall sticker art (see below). Well the other day I was re-arranging my studio and came across the half done rough and decided it would be fun to finish the actual painting (vs finishing it digitally as before). Honestly I like it better. Wall sticker art made for certain limitations. For example I didn't want any long, skinny protrusions as they can get torn off or folded onto themselves relatively easilly when made into vinyl stickers. And dang it my bugs need legs and long antennae. Anyways this is all part of my prep for Katy Days, my annual excuse to go to Parsons, Kansas, see old friends and hock some art. Looking forward to it!(Memorial Weekend).
This illustration for the Notable Missourian book on Buck O'Neil shows him scouting for the Kansas City Royals.
Here's the Chapter 4 illustration for the Notable Missourian book on Buck O'Neil.
While Buck was serving in the Pacific he got the news about Jackie Robinson getting signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Black players finally being "welcomed" into the major leagues was a big deal; it also meant the inevitable death of the Negro League which had become a celebrated contributor to black culture. Still, Buck and most of the country was thrilled. Finally, the best could play with the best.
This illustration is for the Notable Missourian book on Buck O'Neil, published by Truman State University Press.
Here's another illustration for the Notable Missourian book on Buck O'Neil (Truman State University Press). This one shows Buck playing 1st base for the Kansas City Monarchs during the Negro League World Series against the Homestead Grays.