Paints, Pebbles, and Progress

Here’s a smattering of updates for your perusing pleasure:

Alice Moran painting: Slowly but surely, she’s coming along. Finished underpainting & non-churned water (more or less), started background details (city & sky). Remember all those remarks about dormitory lighting when I was working on the M. Moran? My latest location isn’t any better. Here’s a snapshot of the mildly methodical madness from a few days ago:

The mildly methodical madness goes like so:

  1. Lay down a colored wash
  2. Get those big blocks of color painted (water & sky)
  3. Apply detailed layers from background to foreground
  4. The intervene-whenever-you’d-like step: when done for the day, say “Gosh, look at all those leftover bits of mixed paint on the palette,” and use them somewhere before they dry out.

Do You Have a Pebble in Your Pocket?: Finished revisions & started transferring images to canvas paper. That means I’ll be able to start painting tomorrow or Saturday.

Seagull & Spoon: I revised the story a few days ago and have since relegated it to the backburner whilst I figure out a title and just what to do with this quirky turkey.

Cartage: Continuing to develop designs. Last night I spent the better part of an hour researching and sketching shopping cart designs for a high-speed chase scene down the deli meat aisle. (There’s not actually a chase scene, but there is a rollicking ride on a shopping cart.)

Hopping Happenings

It’s hard to believe we’re already more than halfway through June! Things are hop-pening as I bounce between many projects every day. Here’s the latest.

Do You Have a Pebble in Your Pocket?: Met with the author last week to review rough drafts. No major compositional changes are needed–hooray! The author also explained her vision for the artwork, which was helpful as I finalize the spreads before painting. Consequently, I borrowed some field guides from the library to research what plants, animals, etc., I could incorporate. Learning about regional wildlife is fun, too.

Alice Moran: After a lot of sketching and rethinking the composition, I’m ready to start painting.

Cartage: My graphic short story project (“graphic” as in “graphic novel,” and “visual,” not “gory”). If you’re wondering what a graphic short story is, good question! It doesn’t actually exist as a genre yet. I came up with the idea 2 1/2 years ago and recently resumed figuring out just how it works. Last month, I submitted Cartage (text only) to a short story contest; in the meanwhile, I decided to move the art part along–currently designing characters and learning to draw a Mojave Wrangler. It doesn’t look like this. =)


Other Story Endeavors: Completed a rough draft of a children’s book about a seagull and a spoon, which has turned into a bit of an odd bird (the book, not the spoon–the seagull is already an odd bird). It could either end up demonstratively quirky for elder children or significantly reduced for younger ones. Or both. We’ll see where, if, and when it goes. For those of you who are familiar with the event that sparked this story, yes, the spoon is plastic and orange.

Additionally, I’m working on plot outline for a new script and revisiting some John Churchmouse; once some other projects are nearer completion, it’ll be his turn again to hop on the scene.

Hop, hop, and away!

Goats, Boats, and Other Notes


Spent several hours this week sketching rough drafts for another illustration commission, Do You Have a Pebble in Your Pocket?, a book to teach small children counting through representation. The premise: A farm boy keeps a pebble for every goat he has in his pocket; then, when each goat returns to the barn, he places a pebble in a pouch. At the end of the day, he still has one pebble in his pocket and sets out to find the missing goat.

Here are clickable splendid scribbles of the present cover and title page designs:

GP-rd_cover  GP-rd_titlepg


Started work on the next tugboat commission. The Alice Moran is taking shape on the sketchpad. After working out a few more details and drafting a background of New York Harbor, I’ll do at least one more clean draft, then transfer to sturdier paper and bring out the paints.

If you haven’t seen the final, framed M. Moran painting (or images of the earlier stages), you are welcome skim through prior posts in the Captain’s Log (click and scroll down).

Other Notes:

At this point, Terry Treble Music Adventures I & II are still just for sale through me or staff directly. (No online order form just yet.)

I plunged into yet another revision (the fifth major one) of my opera libretto, an adaptation of The Antiquary by Sir Walter Scott. Good things are happening: crisping up some dialogue, incorporating more rhymes and wordplay, and reworking some arias. It’s nearly finished!

Among other projects started and standing, fleshing out and finalizing, I began reviewing two stories I’ll intertwine for a film script. But mum’s the word for now and awhile since it’s just getting underway–that gives you incentive to come back!

Tugboat Painting to Home Port

Two Fridays ago, my painting of the M. Moran docked at its home port — the walls of my great-uncle’s house — in its new-old frame (new for the painting, old in that the frame was built several years ago). It really brightens the room and ties in to the other colors and woodwork.


What’s more, my great-uncle was so pleased that he asked me to do another painting of one of his boats! This time around, it’ll be the Alice L. Moran, another “most powerful” tug.

While visiting, I found the “Marine News” pamphlet containing the picture I worked from. I opened the first page, and, surprise, surprise, — there was a small black and white image of the original painting, complete with the stern of the ship. Although it would have been nice to know what the back of the boat looked like, it was still fun to figure out how everything that was missing might look and to reinterpret the image to fit my great-uncle’s home & frame.

The original is 23.5″ x 16″ by marine artist Charles G. Evers, whereas mine is 22″ x 30″. The background is Diamond Head, HI.

To learn a little more about the specs of this tug and the history of the M. Moran line, click here to read an excerpt from the “Marine News” article. And here to see a photo of its initial tow to Korea.

On the way there (to my great-uncle’s house, not Korea), I passed through Savannah, Georgia, and went down to the river, where, lo and behold, were two Moran tugs! One was docked, the other pushing a steamer. A lovely coincidence.

Now that school is out and I’m back in town, I’ll update this here captain’s log more frequently with bits about the myriad projects I have queued this summer.

So long!

Tug o’ War

Indeed, the painting of this tugboat, active around wartime, is finished.

Then arises the question of whether an artist’s work is ever finished. But essentially it is finished. I may tweak a little after looking at it tomorrow. (Admittedly, I made a few changes since taking the photo you see below!) Comparing this image to the prior photographs, again we may observe the exquisite variation of dormitory lighting. Click to see a larger image.