Christmas Canine

I looked at the calendar and decided to squeeze one more post into the year, something short and sweet. Like Coda (the resident puppy)!

So here’s a drawing of Coda (from a photograph) I gave my mother for Christmas. It was done in charcoal and colored pencil. I drew on the rough side of pastel paper to achieve the textured look. Click to enlarge.


Merry Christmas, and blessings for the new year.


Latest Nautical Painting

On some previous projects, I’ve sporadically posted images of various stages of the process. For my latest commission, a sailboat painting, I decided to take photos after most painting sessions. Enjoy these snapshots. (The lighting changes, in turn changing the photo colors, but I assure you, it is the same artwork.)

The boat is named Tommy Dundee and is painted in oils on canvas.


Underpainting + sky base color


Basic cloud shapes + water base colors


More developed sky (clouds) and water


Boat base colors (local/actual color) and shapes


Boat details (placement) indicated (rigging, equipment, etc.)

TD-07Boat details developed and refined

TD-08Water details (colors, reflections, etc.) developed

TD-09Final touch-ups and completion!

All About August

Just for fun, I reread posts from August 2014 to see some of what artistic things I did a year ago. Some highlights: finishing the Alice Moran (tugboat) painting (framed & delivered Sept. 2014), planning Pandagrams, and starting an illustration commission for Do You Have a Pebble in Your Pocket?

If you’d like to revisit those posts, too, just type a keyword such as “panda” in the search bar (top left, just under the colorful Racing Pajamas header). The results page shows several posts & pages; scroll down & click “older posts” (at the bottom of the list) to see more results.

Having looked a year back, you might wonder what new things I’m doing now. First off, I’m painting a series of shells in watercolor, and I’ll likely print a couple of them as notecards. (Previews peppered about this post.) Second, I’m celebrating that we’ve gained a blog subscriber this week–hooray! Third, I’ve been recruited to do art for a board game–fun! More on that next time.

Convention Reflections II

Two days ago, I ventured to draft of my Kawa Kon art adventure; after an hour, I realized just how much occurred. Sally forth for my truncation.

As an art vendor, I :

  • Launched out into the deep — my first booth anywhere. Lots to consider in logistics, display, & transactions.
  • Practiced “sailsmanship” and made some (not canvas) sales. 1 fun strategy: Call to people dressed as characters from a show, etc. for which I had art available & show it to them.
  • Purveyed Pandagrams. Though equally well-received, the original ink drawings sold more than the card packs. (For those wondering about Cartage, I had so many changes I want to implement that I decided to make a short preview mock-up for the Kon. I may make it available online.)
  • Noted trends (research for future plans/art/products.)
  • Expanded my audience. I’ve  given more business cards to costumed people than normally-clad folks.
  • Made connections (with potential for future clients/projects). About 4 booth visitors were seeking portrait artists (not generally sought at cartoon-oriented gigs) in their “real lives.” I also held conversations with genuine people, including other creators, musicians, and earnest high-schoolers (some artists) seeking encouragement to succeed. Genre-wise, I was introduced to the “visual novel,” which is different from a graphic novel in that the story is playable like a video game.
  • Gained valuable first-hand experience with ticketed parking lot gates.

Behold the booth.



Before I sign off, there are two elements of my Kawa Kon experience you might be wondering about from last time.

1. Dodging giant gerbils. The dealers’ room/super-tent had large overhead air tubes along the ceiling. Sporadically, a burst of air would WSSSHOOM through the tube, flapping the vents as it went. Totally a giant gerbil running through the tunnel.

2. Surviving an air raid. The hotel was opposite the St. Louis airport. Sunday was busy & noisy.

In short, this experience was about testing the waters–managing a booth, spreading the word, and determining whether I’d like to do it again. I would.

Happy Pi Day of the Century! (3.14.15.) If I weren’t such a revisionist, I could’ve posted at 9:26:53.

Plainly Plein Air

At this time a week ago, I was sitting by the edge of a pond, scribbling my way through a squiggly pastel drawing of a house in the woods. The occasion? My first plein air art competition. (For readers who know the Principia school area, I was about half a mile down the road at Longview Farm Park.)

A few hours later, I started and completed a little painting of a birdhouse. Since I had less than an hour and a half to do it, I challenged myself to capture my painting style during high school. (Click to enlarge.) To compare it to something I did paint in high school, click here.


From the contest I learned and reconfirmed a few things (some of which apply to life at large, not just art):

  1. Take your time — you have more of it than you think. Like the old toy mender in Toy Story 2 says to the impatient, money-seeking owner of Al’s Toy Barn, “You can’t rush art.”
  2. Similarly, it’s better to work steadily on one thing and be happy with it than throw five things together in a slapdash run for the finish.
  3. If you’re going to paint outside, it’s so much easier to use an easel that actually has legs. (I have a tabletop easel.)
  4. (& 4B) As much as I love the outdoors, landscape art, and imagining environments for my stories, plein air painting isn’t my thing. At least not with a short deadline — I appreciate having ample opportunity to shape my drawings & paintings into detailed completion.
  5. Try new things & revisit the old — it’s good for you.
  6. Never, ever drive to run errands during lunch hour.
  7. Display your artwork next to the cookies. Then everyone will see it. 🙂

Artwork from the competition is on display (and for sale) at Longview Farm House through Monday, November 17, including during the Holiday Boutique on the 15th. If you’re in the area and want to check out the gallery, the address is 13525 Clayton Rd., Town & Country, MO, 63141.