Saturday, December 24, 2011

In the Bleak Midwinter

This is O L D, but I still like it. It was done for a Christmas Day issue of a newspaper supplement magazine. I had in mind what the object in the sky was, but I suppose I shouldn't identify it and leave that up to the viewer.
Someone once asked me "What is the spirit of Christmas to you?" and I dragged this out, much to her confusion. It's really more about the mystery and magic of winter nights in general, specifically those this time of year, with all of the connotations the various Winter holidays bring.
Whatever your holiday of choice might be, I hope it's a good one.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bosch in the round.

This past weekend we attended a holiday party at some friends' house. The lady of the house, artist Rosemary Meza, had a collection of toys and resin figurines, which were three dimensional interpretations of images from famous paintings. I found out where she got these figures and checked out the web site.

Among the most interesting figurines were those taken from Hieronymus Bosch's "The Garden of Earthly Delights" and "The Temptation of Saint Anthony". I also thought it was interesting that the subjects chosen were among the more horrific images in those paintings, the monsters and demons wreaking their own Boschian havoc on sinners and malcontents deemed unworthy of Paradise.

I found one of my favorite images from Bosch's work recast as a figurine and will one day get one of my very own. Of course it ended up being one of the more expensive pieces.

It's the "Tree Man", which always looked like an eggshell to me. In any case it's from the "Hell" side of "The Garden of Earthly Delights".

There was also a series of pieces based on Salvador Dali images. Dali was probably my favorite artist, followed by Bosch and M.C. Escher (who is represented by 3D versions of his "Tessellations" series), from my college days. One of the Dali pieces is from "Geopolitius Child Watching The Birth Of The New Man", which back then hung in poster form on my bedroom wall.
I think it's interesting that while the Dali pieces are from some of his most famous paintings, his signature image, the melting watches from "Persistence of Memory" aren't among them.

Anyway, these objects and others can be found at

Friday, December 9, 2011

Late bird

A student found a dead bird outside the classroom and brought it to class wrapped in a paper towel. She laid it out and proceeded to do several very nice drawings of it. So I decided to do a drawing of it, too (and I'm only showing mine).
It was poignant seeing the bird separated from its previous life and I hope in our different interpretations we depicted it with dignity.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dugald Stermer

I'm sad to hear of the passing of Dugald Stermer, a great artist who was always passionate about his work and his profession. Although my encounters with him were limited, he was always generous with his time and hospitality.
At the 2005 San Francisco Illustrators Conference my wife Becky and I were fortunate to have dinner with Dugald and Brad Holland. Dugald was jovial and full of stories about mutual acquaintances. It was one of my favorite evenings.
His work can be seen here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Winter Berries

"Winter Berries", 6 by 8 inches, acrylic on canvas.
This piece is my donation to the Dallas Challenge Auction Party, benefitting Dallas Challenge, a non-profit organization that has provided prevention, intervention, education and outpatient treatment services to over 147,000 kids in North Texas since 1984.
The auction is Thursday, December 1, 6:30 - 9:00 pm, at Norwood Flynn Gallery.

Holiday cards with this and other artists' images can be acquired, with proceeds benefitting the organization, from Dallas Challenge.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Finalist" in The Artist's Magazine

I've posted this image before, but the December issue of the Artist's Magazine features the winners of their 28th Annual Art Competition. I wasn't one of those, but I was a "Finalist" in the Animal/Wildlife category.
That means my name was listed, but without an image of the painting I submitted. So here it is, "Icons".

An addendum; I learned this Thanksgiving weekend that "Icons" has been sold. So thanks to the buyer and I hope it fits well into its new home.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wasted energy

Having energy to waste, and wasting it, in a futile effort may be the ultimate vanity. But we never know what might be futile until it we've tried it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


It's 34 days until Beethoven's birthday.
He lived in a world of silence, but created some of the greatest and most important music.
This image has been used by a local Beethoven ensemble for the past several years.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Copper Moon Gallery, Taos, NM

I'm happy to report that my work is now represented in one of my favorite places, Taos, New Mexico. The new Copper Moon Gallery on Kit Carson Road, near the Plaza, shows my paintings. Other artists include metal sculptor Tom Wheeler and paper artist Ed Morgan, among others. If you're in the area, check it out.
Sorry, I don't presently know the name of the designer of the gallery logo, pictured above, but when I learn that I'll give him/her credit.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Coffee is good fuel.

Although I never drink it. I've never acquired the taste. I do drink iced tea, though, no matter what time of year it is.
This sketch, of a patron who may have had one frozen latte too many, was done on site at a particularly famous corporate coffee shop.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Vortex Tour"

"Vortex Tour", acrylic on canvas, 30 by 24 inches.
This painting, it subject inspired by a trip to Sedona, AZ, will soon be on its way to its new home in Austin, TX. The new owners are practitioners of Tai Chi. Very "TexZen" they said. That would have been a good title, too.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

James Cornelius July 3, 1937 - October 6, 2011

I usually use this space to talk about my professional life, although once in a while I'll veer off into a personal story. This is going to be one of those times.

I have two brothers, Derrell and James, who were teenagers when I was born. James died October 6 at the age of 74. The reason I mention this here is because James was, with the possible exception of my mother, my most enduring and enthusiastic cheerleader and loyal supporter. From the time I was aware of anything he encouraged and enjoyed my drawings, no matter how wild they were. Whenever I needed help, of any kind, or advice or compassion, or occasional kick in the ass, he would provide it without hesitation. Any suggestions he made, even bad ones, were intended to help me and to make me more successful. He never offered criticism uninvited.

I can't really list all the ways he changed and affected my own life for the better. That would require a book. My parents were lovely and well meaning people, but their interests, or at least my dad's, didn't go much beyond the farm I grew up on, or the small town environment they made their home. My brothers expanded my childhood horizons and introduced me to things and places I wouldn't have experienced until much later, if at all. Whatever I am today that's good, James was a big part of making that possible.

It's a cliche to say someone "loved life", but if such a description applies to anybody, James is the one. Although that life handed him some difficulties which were understandably disillusioning, particularly to a person who mostly saw and expected the best from people, he never let cynicism or bitterness define who he was. If you wanted or needed a friend, there was none better. He was generous and warm and witty. He loved children, and could make any kid laugh with expert silliness. I'm don't think there was a sound he liked to hear more than that of a kid laughing.

He showed great compassion to everyone in almost any situation. In the last few years he experienced the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. From the point of his diagnosis he volunteered for a study that used experimental drugs to treat the condition, in the hopes of finding a treatment or even a cure. There are risks in such a program, but he jumped into it with enthusiasm, and not just for how it might help him. His main focus was in helping other people, future Alzheimer's patients for whom successful tested medications could make a positive difference. His doctors suspect one of the medication's side effects contributed to the weakening of the main artery carrying blood to his brain, and could have been the cause of the kind of aneurism that ended his life. He may have sacrificed his own life to help people he would never know. That's the definition of a hero. But he was always a hero to me.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A great night

Here are some pix from the opening. The show continues at Norwood Flynn Gallery until October 15.

I should add, the turnout was great, with many more visitors than these photos suggest. A friend grabbed the camera and started clicking away for a few minutes.
The photos of the exhibit are ones I took earlier, before anyone else had arrived.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tonight's the night...

...for the "Poets and Cattle" opening at Norwood Flynn Gallery in Dallas, from 6 - 8 pm. As I may have mentioned, the show runs through October 15.
Here are "Emily Dickinson's Cows", numbers 1, 2, 3, and 5. I lost the scan of number 4, so I'll have to add it when I can rescan it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

And it gets closer.

The opening for "Poets and Cattle" is this Saturday, September 24, 6 - 8 pm, at Norwood Flynn Gallery in Dallas.
Here are the latest additions.

"Alfred, Lord Tennyson", acrylic on canvas, 14 by 18 inches.

"Charles Baudelaire", acrylic on canvas, 11 by 14 inches.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Poets and Cattle" postcard and poster

These are the postcard and the poster for "Poets and Cattle" at Norwood Flynn Gallery in Dallas. As I may have mentioned before, the opening reception is September 24, with the exhibit running through October 15.
The poster is about 20 by 35 inches and is available here. If one were to want one signed, that could be arranged by contacting me at my e-mail address,

Monday, September 5, 2011

"Poets and Cattle" statement

These paintings were titled in honor of the Brownings, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett. Both are acrylic on canvas, 9 by 12 inches.
Here is the artist statement for this show, which is opening, as I've probably mentioned, with a reception September 24, 6 to 8:30 pm, and ends October 15.

"Those cattle smaller than a Bee, That herd upon the eye..."

So begins the poem by Emily Dickinson that inspired this series of paintings. Cattle are symbols of the pastoral American mythology we all carry in our collective subconscious, regardless of whether or not we have first hand experience with them.

In painting terms, the forms of cattle provide an opportunity to explore mass and shape, as well as color, texture and composition, their rectangular geometry creating contrast to the organic landscape serving as the base.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Big Three-O

Today marks my thirtieth year as an independent professional artist. After graduating from college in 1977 I spent a year staggering around Los Angeles in various free-lance positions for a couple of different design firms. I also landed some illustration projects. Then I was hired in a full time job at a Houston studio, where I stayed for three years. When I decided to go back out on my own Dallas was the logical place to start, since I had many friends and family in the area.

On September 1, 1981 I set up my drawing table in my little Oak Lawn apartment and the rest is hysteria. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting the image that adorned my first business card. It has been an interesting experience and we'll see what the next thirty years may bring.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Birds and Budding Flower"

Yesterday I delivered "Birds and Budding Flower", acrylic on canvas, 36 by 36 inches. It's to be installed at the new Scott and White Children's Hospital in Temple, Texas, which opens in October.

This was the preliminary sketch. Below are photos of the piece in progress.

Here I've used a grid system to enlarge the sketch and draw it onto the canvas.

Some of these photos are not particularly good, sorry. In this one I've begun my usual dark-to-light painting technique to build the forms. I've changed and simplified the stamens.

More progress on the flower.

The birds and the stem and leaves are completed, and I've started on the background. I always paint from the front subject to the back.

I was concerned the background was a little to dark for a children's hospital setting, so I added some clouds at the top to lighten everything. Here the finished painting sits on my easel.

When the hospital opens I'll visit the site and post a photo of the piece (and probably me beside it) in its new home.

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Strokes of Genius"

I'm happy to report that two of my sketchbook drawings, above, are to be included in the un-humbly titled Strokes of Genius 4: Exploring Line, published next year by North Light Books. I'll revisit this when the book actually comes out. There were 112 artists chosen for inclusion out of 1650.

The top drawing is in pencil, and was done while I was waiting for a burger at a restaurant. The bottom one was done with a Sharpie. The sprawling oak tree was in a field. You can click on them to see them larger.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Accidental art...

I spent the last two and a half weeks in Taos, New Mexico, among my favorite places anywhere. For awhile now I've been thinking about photographing shapes or textures or whatever which read as art, albeit accidental art, to my eye, and posting them here. So here's the first one.

I saw this shape on the floor of a Taos building and immediately it called to mind the petroglyphs found carved by prehistoric people on rock walls and in caves. This is obviously not prehistoric, nor is it an intentional marking, just an accident of spilled paint or scratch marks made by moving objects on the floor. That I made the connection with petroglyphs shows how being in an environment as magical as Northern New Mexico can play with one's mind.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Favorite paintings*

Lee Baxter Davis, "The Essentials of Love", 18 by 22 inches, ink and watercolor on paper.

For over thirty years Lee Baxter Davis was a professor (he's now retired) at my alma mater, East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce). I actually had him as a teacher in a woodcut class. We had a pretty rocky teacher-student relationship since his was one of the last classes I was taking before graduation, and I never understood why such a class was on my degree plan, since woodcuts were the last thing to possibly interest me or to have any relevance to the direction I was going. Lee, of course, thought it was the most important class ever. It was at seven-thirty in the morning, plus I was going through some weird personal stuff, never mind the stress of trying to get out of school once and for all, so conflict was, I suppose, inevitable. Lee also had a dim view of communication arts, which was my major, so that only added to the tension.

That said, I always admired his work, and years after I was out of school as a student I returned to the University for one of their Christmas art sales. This painting, an ink and watercolor piece, was available, so I snapped it up. While it's not as wild as much of his imagery, I liked everything about it, including the "love" references. I was newly in love at that time, so it seemed to find a place in my interests.

Lee was a very successful teacher, my issues notwithstanding, influencing many disparate artists working today, including Gary Panter, the renegade punk cartoonist who is best known for his many published sketchbooks outlining life as he sees it, as well as his art direction and design for "PeeWee's Playhouse", probably the best avant garde performance art concept turned popular children's show ever made. Greg Metz, a powerful political artist who also teaches at the University of Texas at Dallas, was another of Lee's students. So was Whitney Biennial artist Trenton Doyle Hancock.

Lee's work is included in the Dallas Museum of Art and Houston's Contemporary Art Museum. He was represented in New York by the Clementine Gallery until recently. He is now living in Greenville, Texas, and, I imagine, continuing to happily explore his singular vision. I'm happy we have this painting to enjoy.

More of Lee Baxter Davis' work can be found at his website,

*Which I also happen to own.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Summer place...

This seems like a good Summer image to post.

I'm going to be out of place for a couple of weeks, so posts to this blog may be even more scarce than they have been recently. After this time away I'll get caught up with some of what's been going on up to now and beyond.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"Anna Laetitia Barbauld"

"Anna Laetitia Barbauld", 10 by 8", acrylic on canvas.