Friday, September 28, 2012

More from the dead.

This is for those of you that might find your self in a museum with dioramas in the near future. Things to remember are that school children will normally be in museums in the mornings until about 1:30. Afternoons are the best time to have halls mostly to yourself. However sketching while students watch can have its benefits as children will say exactly what they think. "Dude that is a cool house!!!""Its the tiger.""Ohhh."
Bringing large sketch boards or sketch pads can be a problem as visitors will bump them. Also if you plan on bringing an easel call first. Many museums do not like to have easels or tripods in their halls.
Bring a bag for you sketch book and other supplies like a snack and something to drink.
The more willing you are to share your art with folks the more cool things seem to happen. I have been given tours of other museum's collections a few times just because some one asked what I was doing and I was open to talking about my love of natural history museums and sketching from their exhibits. You never know when you are talking to some one who loves their work and is excited to show it off.

Enjoy your selves and get out to a museum!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sketching from the dead

Dioramas are wicked cool for artists trying to become more adept at sketching animals. First you can get really close to the animals and they don't try to eat you. Bonus right?! Second the critters stay freaking still totally unlike the caffeine hyped squirrels that hang about the city park system. Thirdly museums often have skeletal elements from the diorama animals in their collections which can often help figure out fur obscured body elements.

All that said, I spent last night drawing from the dioramas of the Academy of Natural Sciences after hours. Sketching at the museum is a great way to spend time and to get your skills going. I spent most of my time in African hall avoiding the animals I have drawn before.

I do like to sketch in ball point pen so you can still see mistakes and the history of the sketch. The first lines and often the lightest are the basic shape or sketch map. Then I work quickly shaping the animal or animals in greater detail as I go. Shadows can be handled very loosely or you can layer hatch marks or lines to gradate shadow and ball point pens work well for both.

I used to carry several pencil types, several eraser types and colored pencils along with my sketch book. but I have scrapped them all except the sketch book and pen. Some times I will still bring colored pencils but I find notes on color to be fine.

That is all I have for now. Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Its not all just dinosaurs kids. Really...

So I have spent the last two weeks with a fossil fish head. It is a beautiful specimen. I will post a photo of it as soon as I have permission from its collection manager.

Fish are strange critters with far too many skull bones. The fish in question is a Cretaceous fish called Enchodus. Life restorations can be challenging but luck would have it that in this case I have been guided by a couple of great paleo folks from The New Jersey State Museum, Jason Schein and David Parris.  Some of what I find cool about this fish are the heavy brow and sure the teeth are totally wicked cool. The fossil I am working from is incredibly complete and beautiful but full of surprises for the researchers and for me. You will see more from me about this fish soon as we continue to learn more about this animal who was first published by Joseph Leidy at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University about one hundred and fifty years ago.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A while ago I was asked to do some silly "Dinosaurs and Beer" sketches. The sketches where used to indicate how close to the bar a person was, measured in dinosaur lengths.

These are the sketches.


So once in a blue moon a good friend of mine and I kill a night catching up with each other over brews and pie. "Berserker" brings the pie and loads to talk about. This time the pie totally "took the cake".
Let me explain: Berserker is a huge fan of all things paleo and history related. Some times things make their way into his everyday life or his pies. Any way I would explain more, but just have a look.

Crazy cool right!!?
Until next time Berserker. Cheers!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Howdy again,

Been painting a bit and I figured I should put some thing up on the blog. These paintings are mostly for my portfolio and a project in the works. You can see that I tend to a more graphic style. I have been working to broaden that and have begun to play with a more painterly approach as well. I like to offer clients several styles or approaches to setting a visual feel for their project with out losing the core of what is my style.  

Friday, August 17, 2012

When ever I get the chance I spend time in the collections of the Academy of Natural Sciences drawing and sketching skulls, bones and taxidermy mounts.
The museum also provides the opportunity to see a lot of cool animals close up in the dioramas. Since the diorama animals are not moving the artist is able to sketch in as much detail as wanted.

I will include diorama/ collection sketches from time to time to keep the dinosaurs from completely taking over. Today's piece is a watercolor and pen and ink mixed media. It is the skull of a female wolverine skull. Males have a much larger sagital crest.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Color and I have a bit of a love hate thing going. I do a lot of color sketches before doing a final painting. Often there is not good color reference for the things I would like to do but why let a general lack of reality stop me... Right?

Here is a black and white and a color pencil color sketch piece to show how crap color can kill an otherwise cool piece. I have since found good reference for all the elements of this piece and I will kick its ass.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

This is the color cast of the gorgosaurus in my first post. You might notice some changes in pose. the entire sculpt was redone do to some creative problems posed by my three year old daughter who just wanted to sculpt like daddy.

Fossils are incredible objects, the colors, textures and shapes are artistically meritorious on their own. Once in a great while "millions of years" nature produces what will be found like this. Sculpture was created using a monograph by Laurence Lambe from 1917 on Gorgosaurus. The skeleton was found in the ground posed just as you see it here.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Color sketches of possible covers for coloring book.

Colored pencil on black and white line art.
Seuuwassea skeleton

This was done for National Geographic World magazine quite a few years ago but it is still one of my favorite skeletal drawings due to its simplicity.

Sneaky lines.

Line art is my favorite especially black and white. I find it so cool that from a simple line or a population of lines, your brain can be tricked into perceiving something that an artist has translated onto paper or onto the beach sand at the shore. It astounds me that our need for recognition goes that far into the abstract.

Here are some of my lines.
Fun with color!

I spend a bit of time out of doors sketching and getting into nature. Most of the dinosaur drawings start out do to something I see in those times spent out of the house. This drawing was hatched from observations of a wood-turtle I caught for a few minutes and released back into the stream. All of the orange colors the turtle had where around the head neck and shoulders. Male wood-turtles get more vibrant during mating season to attract potential mates. Years after observing the turtle in all its glory I did this and included another member of the chelonian family as a nice recognition of where the inspiration came from.

Getting off my bottom.

Noisy bar in Philadelphia. Good friend says when the hell are you going to put your art on a website or a blog or some thing? Not that I haven't been thinking about this for a long while but what the hell.
Then all of a sudden he and his girl friend, also a good friend of mine, have me surrounded and they won't take the usual blab about how busy I have been and all that BS. So here is me... Now shadap, the two of you. Also thanks for the kick in the posterior.

Also I am severely dyslexic so look for all the fun signs of that and don't feel you have to point them out.

Any way here is some of my art.

Gorgosaurus relief