South Sea man

PortraitThis is one of a series I painted for a friend, Douglas Rees, who is also one of my favorite authors. It’s small—2.5 X 3.5 inches—and in walnut ink. I didn’t really have anything in mind when I sat down to paint this series, but this picture came out- an illustration of his book, Smoking Mirror: An Encounter with Paul Gauguin. It’s a pretty good book. But my favorite book of his is The Janus Gate: An Encounter with John Singer Sargent.
He also wrote Vampire High, a book about a bunch of high school vampires. Much, much better than Twilight, without all the bodice-ripping, steamy, non-sex and extended rape fantasy.

Human anatomy (look Ma, those drawings got no skin!)


I have to admit to being a little bit of an anatomy book junkie. Human anatomy fascinates me. Yes, I know that certain parts of human anatomy—the twiddly bits— fascinate everyone. But if that’s what you’re thinking I’m on about, then shame on you. I’m telling you, we’re not going down that road. Not without a bottle of wine and a beachfront room in Maui full of roses.

I’m talking anatomy for artists. I collect books on the topic. And it turns out my teacher, Rob Anderson, at the Atelier School of Classical Realism, knows the author of  Classic Human Anatomy by Valerie L. Winslow. He thinks highly of the book, so I bought one.

I’m happy I did. Subtitled The Artist’s Guide to Form, Function, and Movement, it’s full of  beautiful drawings. Not just drawings of muscles and skeletons, but also drawings that show important things like the action of individual muscles, how to draw the torso (Rob says, always get the torso right before anything else), and the rhythm of form (although I wish she’d spent a few more pages on this subject.)

If you’re interested in life drawing, you’ll want to check this book out.


I have a new book

Up By Jim Larmache
Up By Jim Larmache

I have to admit to a love of illustrated children’s book. One of my favorite illustrators is Jim LaMarche, and I finally popped for one of his books, Up, from Chronicle Books

I love LaMarche’s current work. It’s acrylic wash under pastel and color pencil. It’s very fresh and filled with light. The story’s a little odd, though, about a boy who can magically lift things. But he can only lift them little bit. They don’t move side to side, only up.

The little boy is about 5 or 6 and he wants to go out on the fishing boat his dad operates. Ok, good dream, but I lived with a commercial fisherman for many years, and I know how dangerous it can be. I’d never let my kid out on one of those boats.

But I suppose that little boys would dream of fishing with their fathers. And having a magical ability might get you out of trouble on a boat. And he does save a whale.

Anyhow, the drawings are lovely. I’m feeling about ready to tackle some pastel work, and I want to study how LaMarche painted these illustrations.

Oh, and by the way, I bought it at a local bookstore, The Linden Tree. I know, I know, it would have been cheaper to buy it online, but frankly, I haven’t had such good luck with buying art books online, especially children’s books. Often the color is bad, the printer’s registration is off, or the binding is so bad it obscures parts of the picture—even, sometimes, the text.

Best, as always, to buy from someone you trust. And that often means buying locally.