Falling Peonies

February 8, 2017 § Leave a comment



I haven’t posted in quite some time.  I’m afraid the the winter doldrums had set in.  So here’s a colored pencil of peonies past their prime falling over one another.

Still Life in Pencil

January 14, 2016 § Leave a comment

IMG_3568 This is a still life completed in pencil and was one of the first pieces in a series based upon the subject of reflection.  Here, I inserted a small mirrored image of myself.


Peonies in the Shadows

December 4, 2015 § 1 Comment

Falling Peonies

I’m re posting a color drawing I completed a few years ago of a cluster of peonies casting shadows in the garden.  I love how the flowers get so loose just before coming apart and provide even more interesting shadow shapes.

Dynamic Composition

June 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

This pencil drawing illustrates the creation of balance on the page.  The fan like light leaves spread out over the dark foliage of leaves and stems.  The light value of the leaves connects with the space and shadows around the plant providing a strong pathway from objects nearest to us and those furthest away. The result is a dynamic composition filled with dramatic movement


Adding Value and Depth to Drawing of a Stork

May 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

IMG_4777I’ve been looking at a drawing I had completed years ago for The Little Book of Drawing and realizing that it seemed quite linear in nature and lacking a real sense of depth.  The original was a pen & ink done in black of a stork sunning itself on a rock.  I added color with a limited palette of black, dark umber, and sienna.  Also thrown in is white Conte’ crayon to allow for more contrast with the background.  The gradations move off of the line and instill a three dimensional nature. Funny how it’s easier to tell your students to do this than see it in your own work!  Oh well, better late than never. I am including both drawings.


Leaves in Space

January 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

IMG_4694 Another example of using the negative space to create a sense of balance with the positive. Here the leaves fill the lower left area giving it density, yet the introduction of only a minimal portion of the subject anchors the upper right and works with the space to create harmony in the composition moving the viewers eye up and off the page.

Creating a Sense of Harmony and Balance Between Figure and Ground

January 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

Continuing in the series based on two dimensional design concepts, we look at allowing the spatial areas of our compositions to step forward and claim power on the page. Too often, we tend to try and fill our artwork with subjects that are figural. In order to create a sense of harmony and balance, we need to allow the negative passages to hold as much power as the positive. Here we see the leaves and berries enter the composition from the edges. They reach out to activate the surrounding space. Notice how important the small passages involving the interplay of space and form become.IMG_4695

Which is Leaf and Which is Space?

January 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

Here is where I eat crow!!!! In years past I would give my 2D students an assignment where they create as much form in the positive space as the negative. This effect is enhanced by using black and white. Most of us can relate to this by remembering the face vase picture. A vase in the center is framed by faces on either side. Sometimes when we look at it we see the vase as form and the faces as space. Other times we see the faces and the vase becomes spatial. Finally I had to complete such a picture for The Little Book of Drawing and I can tell you it was darn hard!!! It is much easier to instruct someone how to do something than to do it yourself; thus the eating of crow!!!! In this composition, which is an extension of using the leaf form in more complex pieces, we see as much form in the black forms as the white. Other terms for form and space or positive and negative are figure and ground. Which are the leaves and which define the space? It is a tricky thing to accomplish as you need to create absolute equality between positive and negative aspects.

Watercolor Washes for the Pileated Woodpecker

April 13, 2014 § 2 Comments

This is the next stage as I finally get to laying in the watercolor washes for the pileated woodpecker.  It was seen in my daughter and son in law’s yard feeding on insects from a dead tree stump.  I will add colored pencil IMG_4201as the final step to give greater depth, nuances, and hue to the contour with washes.  I’m hoping that this combination will allow my drawing to become more free.  I see it is still a work in process!! 

Using the Space Around the Subject

September 17, 2013 § Leave a comment


Here the forms are generally dark in value and the space around them are light, providing a stark contrast. There is also a give and take between the light palm leaves and the dark; creating a sense of interplay and a link with the frontal shapes and the ground. Think of the subjects as figures and the space as ground. Take the time to examine how you can activate portions of the composition usually not thought about by allowing the plants to break out of the borders, create dynamic movement, and instill interesting connections within those areas.  Allow a real give and take between the positive figures and the negative space.

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