Saturday, April 6, 2019

SKETCH Staunton

Here's a LOCAL update for you Virginia peeps . . .

For several years, I've wanted to start up a local Staunton, Virginia urban sketching-style group--something good for Staunton and good for local artists and sketchers. Staunton is ideal for such a sketching group with its civil war history, architecture, historic gardens, and colorful year-round events. We are arguably the cultural HOT SPOT of Virginia. Wow! it's a mystery to me why nobody's engineered the sketching phenomena in Staunton until now. So, "Step aside. I'll do it!"

To start with you can JOIN our new FACEBOOK group [search SKETCH Staunton] - We are a group of dedicated local artists/sketchers capturing the beauty and history of Staunton, VA. What's posted on the group page, stays in the group, like images, conversations, tips, techniques, locations, meetup alerts, etc. We're a "closed" group.

I've started an Instagram page for SKETCH Staunton and (with permissions) sketchers work is posted there for you to see, enjoy, LOVE, and comment on. Take a look at us so far at
SKETCH Staunton on Instagram

If you are not a Facebook user and have an interest in joining us, you can reach us by email at

Please note: WE ARE NOT a member of the international group known as Urban Sketchers

For now, we're meeting once a week on Thursdays, but we've got BIG plans, including a once a month meetup on Sundays, and periodic "sketch crawls" at big events like our annual Harry Potter event, Queen City Mischief and Magic festival that takes place over three days in Staunton.

Here's one of my recent sketches . . .

SKETCH Staunton -  Paris Cake Company, Staunton, Va

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Long shadows

I've noticed in these aerial sketches I'm doing, that long shadows help to distort and abstract what I'm seeing--in a good way. And there's just something about the simple spots of undefined colors and distorted reality that I find interesting. The architecture in these pieces is not meant to be accurate and neither is the perspective--call them "wonky". I'm not playing by the rules. If an artist isn't put on this planet to explore, discover, and experiment, who is?

Here's my latest . . .

Downtown Staunton #3
9.5" x 9.5" ink and watercolor

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Downward Dog

This post is a follow on from my last post . . .

Ta-da! #2 painting in ORANGE RED and DARK OLIVE GREEN - and a little bit of fun
with titles.

Sadly, I've had no new technicolor dreams.

Downward Dog
24" x 24" acrylic on birch board

(click on image for a larger view)

Saturday, March 23, 2019

There's a lot of barking going on

As odd as it may seem, this last week I have received two very clear night dreams about color palettes. I'm not nuts,--honest! Both times these color swatches popped up--two-colors side-by-side like those paint chips you pick up at Lowe's Hardware Store in their paint department, and then they disappeared--just like that. The first night I dreamt GOLD and BLOOD RED. The second night it was DARK OLIVE GREEN and ORANGE RED. Amazing, right?

So, who am I to turn down free color choices delivered in bed?

The gold and red painting I finished this morning. Can you guess what comes next?

I'm on it!

Barks and Bones
36" x 36" acrylic on birch board

(click on image for larger view)

Friday, March 22, 2019

A new look at old ideas

Two ideas have tugged at my attention over the past few years--urban sketching, for one.  I like the look and feel of ink on paper with bits of color here and there. There can be a spacious atmospheric quality to this kind of work when the paint is limited and ink and white space become a medium in itself.

The other idea that keeps calling me is aerial painting. The view from above as in a bird's eye view of land or sea or city is an impersonal looking and quite abstract. There's a kind of knowing what's being seen, and at the same time not quite identifying what's being seen--abstract.

I did a painting in 2017 for an exhibition project offered by Shenandoah Valley Art Center. The challenge was to paint a landmark location in the city of Waynesboro, VA--a town near my home. I chose to paint an aerial view "Bower St. and Hermitage Rd." which I liked. It was well received, and quickly sold to a gentleman geologist. You can see the painting here in my July 2017 post . . .

Waynesboro Challenge - Landmark: Bower St. & Hermitage Rd.)

So, long story short, I've begun both--weekly urban sketching around town and a series of aerial sketches. Below are images of my first two aerial sketches.

It's never too late to follow up on some of those old ideas you've had and maybe even combine them. Cheers!

Downtown Staunton Sketch #1
9.5" x 9.5" Ink and Watercolor 

Downtown Staunton Sketch #2
9.5" x 9.5" Ink and Watercolor

(click on images for a larger view)

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Introducing Nicholas Wilton

Good morning,

I want to make sure artists like me have a chance to meet and absorb the enlightened wisdom of NICHOLAS WILTON, a successful abstract artist, and teacher. Nicholas publishes short instructive and inspiring videos nearly every day. He has an active, fun Facebook presence, and he also offers high-end online workshops.

Here's a video worth watching . . . (link below) . . .

Art2Life VIDEO learn-this-to-start-your-art