Goodbye Old Friend

A week ago my dear old dog and friend Marcus passed away. He was a spirited, ornery as hell wire haired fox terrier who had been a close part of my life for 17 years. My wife and I called him one of our “protochildren” (along with two cats), our kids before we had kids. I’ll miss him dearly! If you look at many MANY of my old paintings and illustrations, you’ll find him.

This is very VERY accurate representation of Marcus’s personality.

This is very VERY accurate representation of Marcus’s personality.

A painting from a board book made many years ago staring Marcus.  You’ll be missed, buddy!

A painting from a board book made many years ago staring Marcus. You’ll be missed, buddy!

Alternate cover for Field Trip to the Moon

So right before I turned in the final art for Field Trip to the Moon, I had an idea for an alternate cover. It featured the class and space station more, and the bus less. Basically I just really thought the station should look like it spins to make artificial gravity. The editor passed on it, which I agree with, but I still like the way it looks.

This sketch show an alternate cover design showing the kids departing a station that spins to make artificial gravity.

This sketch show an alternate cover design showing the kids departing a station that spins to make artificial gravity.

And this sketch shows what that station looked like from space. The scale of it is much more enormous than the station used on the title page of Field Trip to the Moon.  See below.

And this sketch shows what that station looked like from space. The scale of it is much more enormous than the station used on the title page of Field Trip to the Moon. See below.

This is the final art of the version used.

This is the final art of the version used.


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.

William Clark as an Indian Agent

Rough sketch

Rough sketch

William Clark spent much of his later years as an Indian Agent - basically someone who acted as a liaison between the native americans and the U.S. government.  Its easy to look back at Indian Agents as bad guys but it should be noted that many of them such as Clark worked hard to make sure the natives weren't exploited or booted off their land during the explosion of western expansion. In fact, Clark lost a bid to be Governor of Missouri because his opponents painted him as too friendly with the Indians.  

This illustration for the Notable Missourian book on William Clark shows Clark and other officials meeting with native american leaders for a treaty signing.  The Notable MIssourian book series is published by Truman State University Press.

Alternate rough sketch

Alternate rough sketch

Another alternative rough showing Clark meeting with an tribal leader.  I ended up using a version of this for the chapter 5 artwork.

Another alternative rough showing Clark meeting with an tribal leader.  I ended up using a version of this for the chapter 5 artwork.

Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for lots of stuff. My Family, health, sunny days, not strangling my kids, having enough toilet paper, pipes not leaking, leaf blowers not blowing, old cats not dying, old friends I neglect too much, new friends waiting to be neglected, good neighbors including the ones I'm strangely awkward around, interesting times, taco night, , sunglasses, kind strangers, words that have the letter z in them, electricity, perspective, regular doses of unsolicited humility, my dog coming to me when I call him (I'm about to test that one out), an awesome city to call home, etc etc.

Anyways in the spirit of the holiday of thankgivingness,  here's a painting from several years back but its still one of my favs. Its supposed to be my late big bro playing piano while I played with my toys nearby. I would literally grab my toys and rush to the piano when I'd hear him start playing. It was like having a live music soundtrack to my imagination.  Anyways super thankful for family and however much time we're granted with them!  

This is still one of my favorites.  Its the right panel of a two panel set.  Each canvas is 2'x4'

This is still one of my favorites.  Its the right panel of a two panel set.  Each canvas is 2'x4'

Here's both canvases together showing my other brothers and a close family friend who is a de-facto bro.

Here's both canvases together showing my other brothers and a close family friend who is a de-facto bro.

What's better than motorcycles and balloons?

Answer:  Many things depending on who you are!  Maybe its ice cream, or bungee jumping, or quiet walks on the beach, or doing crossword puzzles in the bathroom.  But if you were Albert Bond Lambert, the answer to that question would be airplanes!  Albert loved adventure from his youth on.  He first satisfied his thirst for adventure with motorcycling.  That gave way to ballooning. Once the Wright Bros proved the viability of the fixed wing aircraft, Albert was immediately intrigued.  He took lessons and bought himself a Wright brothers built aircraft.  Not only did this become a hobby of his, but as a business man he could see how airplanes were going to change the world.  Thus (yes...i said thus) he became a major investor in aviation and aviation infrastructure.  I hear he also still really enjoyed doing crossword puzzles in the bathroom though.  Some old hobby's are hard to let go.

The illustration below is for the Notable Missourian book on Albert Bond Lambert.  This book was written by Christopher Lynch and published by Truman State University Press.

Albert flying a Wright Model B

Albert flying a Wright Model B



Katy Days 2015. I'm back!

Its Katy Days time!  Katy Days is a festival celebrating the railroad heritage of the town of Parsons, Kansas (where I was raised). The town was founded by the MKT railroad (the Katy) and since its founding trains have continued to play a big role in that town.  Everybody there knows a railroader.  Or 10. 

Last year I skipped being a demo painter at Katy Days because I was feeling swamped with work. I was about to skip again this year for the same reason, but I had some time in between projects to whip something up.  The paintings that resulted are modeled after the old black and white images of locomotives that I used to love to look at as a kid. There was something about those engines in black and white that really gave them personality.  Anyways.  These are the ones I came up with in a pinch.  

While there I will be selling many other train paintings as well as art featuring regional people and themes.  I'm going to be selling them cheap because I need to make some room!  So those folks in my beloved PK come out and get some cheap original art!  And oh yes, I will be doing a paintings demonstration too.

Acrylic Black and White, 22" x 22"

Acrylic Black and White, 22" x 22"

Acrylic Black and White, 48" x 24".  I had to throw in the water tower for good measure.  When I was a kid I was convinced that thing was going to collapse and flood the town.

Acrylic Black and White, 48" x 24".  I had to throw in the water tower for good measure.  When I was a kid I was convinced that thing was going to collapse and flood the town.