Busy busy busy...

...which is no excuse. Unfortunately, lots of things are coming at me so postings may be even farther in between. But follow me on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. I get stuff on those pretty regular. And this page will be undergoing a MAJOR transformation sometime soon...stay tuned.

But quickly here are some things I've had going...

Firstly a record sale worthy of the history books:

My friend Travis asked for an ad. That is what I came up with.

Secondly, the internet auction for the Art Gone Wild work that didn't find homes at the reception will be over on July 31st. Bid now! Follow this link.

And lastly, I did this to get people to donate to a worthy cause. Follow this link to see details.

Enjoy and keep watching!

A Muggy Whirlwind

So the last couple of weeks have been an absolute vortex of painting and trying to let as many people know about WHY I was painting so much.

As I mentioned before I was a part of Zoo Atlanta's newest event, Art Gone Wild.  It was an absolute blast!  Aside from purposefully setting aside AN ENTIRE WEEK JUST TO PAINT (seriously, I NEVER have time to do that), it was an absolute joy to be at one of the nation's best zoos and painting animals you just don't get to see every day at the local dog park.

On Wednesday, I looked up from painting at the gorilla habitat and there is John Lemley host of "City Cafe" on the local NPR station with a giant fuzzy microphone asking if they can interview me!  The interview (as well as some photos including some of me) can be found here.  The local ABC station came down and filmed that day, too.  Here is the video from that segment.

Now then...on to business!  Here are the pieces which I submitted for the silent auction!

First up is Utenzi, the big male rhino.  (Listen to my interview to see why I liked him so much!)

Next is Zuberi (I could be wrong on this.  The giraffes move around a lot but I THINK this is the guy I was painting.).

Here is Taz, the guy I was working on when radio fame came a'knockin'...

I love warthogs so I had to go see the newest members of the zoo.  Along with Shirley (Mom) and Vernon (Dad) there are little Eleanor and Lex now.  They seemed to know I needed a good pose.

And finally is one of my all time favorites at Zoo Atlanta, Kelly the elephant.  She and Tara have been my muses and models for years (see previous entries about the children's book I've been working on.)

If you would like to purchase any of these or any of the other fantastic artists' work who participated, go here to purchase tickets to the event (Saturday, June 14th, 2014)!

It was a wonderful experience but I would be remiss if I didn't mention the part that made it all COMPLETELY worth being out and painting in the humid, Georgia heat for a week straight and that is the tremendous zoo staff.  From the volunteers who brought us all water and snacks to the docents who we got to learn from during our sessions (did you know that Willie B's ashes are in his statue?) to the staff people like Julia and Lauren who wrangled cantankerous and sweaty artists all week and made us all feel at home, I give a very big thank you and I cannot WAIT to come back and do it again!

Fundraising Paintmonkey Style!

I've been asked to participate in Fernbank Museum's silent auction again this year for the annual Lost Oasis.  I kind of knew what I wanted to do but last night I hit upon the right idea and stayed up until 2:30 for this:

I will be posting more on the Paintmonkey Facebook page as it gets closer to completion.

Then a few weeks ago as the missus and I were planning a trip down to Zoo Atlanta, I noticed on the zoo's website a call for artists to participate in a plein air event called Art Gone Wild.  I've been wanting to paint at the zoo for awhile so this was perfect.  I applied, got accepted, and went down a week or so ago for what they called the "Find Your Muse" day.  The artists sketched and started getting the feel of the zoo.

Here's a few of mine...

Now unfortunately both of the events and silent auctions are on the same night (June 14th), but if you want to help out some very important institutions in Atlanta...just pick one and go!  You can't go wrong!

Oops! May the...7th be with you?

Forgot to post this the other day.  I put it on Facebook and Twitter but forgot to put it here.  Oh well, here it is now.  Hope everyone had a lovely Star Wars day or May the 4th Be With You day or whatever it's supposed to be called.

P.S.  I thought of this after I'd drawn it but I should have put as the headline "Exhaust Port Malfunction!"  Darn it, I always think of it too late.

Alumni Weekend and Plein Air Practice

This weekend was alumni weekend at Young Harris College which is my spiritual home. I needed to get in some plein air practice for an upcoming event (details to be revealed very soon) so what better place and time than to go see old friends at my very favorite enchanted valley.

I got there right around 10ish so I parked and grabbed my gear and set out for the patio in front of one of the dorms.  I love the Susan B. Harris chapel but everyone always paints it from the same couple of places.  I wanted a different view so I chose the one that most people know but I don't feel they think of as often.

Here's the photo from where I set up...

And here's the painting I got from this vantage point...

So after this, I met up with a couple of friends and we headed over to the gym where we were being served lunch.  Had a lovely time chatting with friends and talking to some students about school and then it was back out into the sun for more painting!

I crawled up the back of campus (holy crap, I am not as young OR in shape as I used to be) and found what everyone pretty much said was the best view of the valley and campus.  After finally wheezing my way up there, I am inclined to agree.

The view...

And what I took from it...

So once again, I had a great time at my alma mater and got some pretty decent pictures out of it.  Not bad for someone who used to be TERRIFIED of landscapes.

Official Business

I had a random day off again yesterday. I took the opportunity to go and get a business license for Paintmonkey Studios. And like most days I had a sketchbook with me. I just feel more productive when I can work from life and get some practice in.

These two gentlemen came into the office right before me. They were standing at the little desk where you could fill out paperwork waiting for their number to be called. I took a spot a little further back from the windows so I could watch everyone.

The guy on the right kept talking with his chin up like that which is what drew me to them. It was such an interesting pose I HAD to draw it.

And I got the license. Paintmonkey Studios is official!

Zoo Sketching

So the wife and I went to the zoo for our anniversary on Friday. I wanted to flex my on the spot sketching muscles a little so instead of a camera I took the trusty Moleskine, a pencil and some Copic pens. Here are the results.

Giraffes wiggle a lot more than you would think. Very hard to try and get the patterning down before they move away.

That lion is just like a big house cat. I picked this pose and the minute I started sketching he rolled over onto his back. Jerk.

I have done many sketches of Kelly for a children's book. I love drawing elephants.

I was drawing the cassowary and it kept coming to the fence right in front of me where it would just stop and stare. Creeped me the hell out. Stupid dinosaur...

And this guy was my best model. He just sat his vulture tail on the faux zebra corpse for about 10 minutes while I sketched away to my heart's content.

There may be news of zoo painting coming in the near future. Stay tuned and I'll let you know when I know.

Whale Coloring!

I helped out the folks at work with some coloring pages for a family event about the new exhibit about whales.  These were some designs I had submitted for something else that weren't used so I let them be used for this.  I think they're pretty fun.

And this next one was originally a vertical design but I felt it worked better horizontally.


First Plein Air of the New Year!

Thanks to the psychotic weather this year we are a little over a week out from being snowed in last week and today it was 70 degrees out.  So I took advantage to get in the first outdoor painting of the year!

There is a tree next to where I park at work that I am obsessed with.  It is a gnarly, bent, kudzu covered old thing that is just fascinating.  This isn't the first time I've painted it and it probably won't be the last (perhaps a nice pen & ink?).

So I did that this afternoon. 

Snow-cation 2014: The Icening

We're stuck inside for Atlanta's second go-round of wintry bluster this year.  Today's contribution is simple: snow makes me think of Young Harris College and my fantastic friends from there and getting to stay inside means I will inevitably start sketching.  So then I get this:

Easy connection to make!  Stay warm, everybody!

Aaaaah! I Wasn't Sleeping...I Swear!

It's February already!  And I haven't posted ONCE this year!  I swear though, it is because I am swamped with projects.  Work, a couple of family projects, and the infamous book I've been working on for FAR too long (but I am very close to completion).  But I figured I could show a couple of things I'm doing so as to not let my lease on this space expire.

 Sketch-ey goodness for the coming year!

First up, a work-up for a niece requested painting...

Next, the first idea I had for a new series that I will begin work on shortly.  (It probably needs an explanation, but I'm not going to.  It's more fun to leave it as a mystery.)

And finally a new sketch of my best model recently...Jasmine.

I'm gonna try her in watercolor soon.

All in all looking to be a good year!

Texas Goodbyes and Stereotypes

I know I've been gone again.  But I really have been working.  Just too busy to post anything.

So at the day job we lost another cashier.  Sad, because she was a wonderful employee and the only one who talked sports with me!  A true loss for the museum.  But, her husband (a pilot) was transferred to Dallas and her family is from Texas so I can't be TOO bummed out by it.  Good for them!

And as a Texas girl she is a graduate and die-hard supporter of Baylor University.  She even got me rooting for them!  So I came up with a card for her to wish her well.

And this week I have been watching the WNFR (Wrangler National Finals Rodeo).  I figured what a great link.  Even though the finals are held in Las Vegas, most people think "rodeo" when they think Texas so there you go.  Here's my sketches from late at night...

I've got more things in the works right now but I really can't show them until after Christmas.  (Surprises for people, you know!)

Little Boys With Too Much Time...

So the Braves are apparently moving to Cobb County.  The  lease is up on their decrepit old stadium and they are not going to spend one more red cent to pay for the upkeep on that battered old eyesore.  And apparently something they started using in 1997 is like, SUPER old.

Here is my take on the Atlanta sports mentality...

Yep, just a bunch of whiny babies.

But that's not what angers me about this story.  I honestly don't even care if the Braves move out there.  It's not unprecedented in the annals of sport.  The Cowboys play in Arlington, Texas and still refer to themselves as "Dallas".  That would be like a team playing in Macon calling themselves "Atlanta".  (Okay, maybe that's a BIT of a stretch but not by much.  It is a LONG way to Arlington from downtown Dallas.)

Also, I don't go to the games either, really.  It IS a giant headache to go down there.  And the majority of people who buy tickets are from the Cobb area.  So if they want to go...that's fine.

No, what angers me is they are getting over 450 MILLION dollars in revenue from Cobb County.  the same Cobb County that THIS year cut almost 200 teachers from the payroll so they could cut budget gaps.

If I were a parent in Cobb County...I would be PISSED.

Savannah Sketching

The wife and I went down to Savannah this week for a little vacation.  (This is why there was no Tuesday Toonsday this week.  Sorry!)  We ate a lot of seafood and walked around enjoying the town.  And I mean WALKING.  So much walking.  Take our advice.  Don't walk that much.  Jump on one of those trolley tours.  Hijack it if you have to.

We started out by walking down to River street and checking out some shops.  At the end of the street we took a rest and I sketched the waving girl for a few minutes.

We got some tips about stuff to see from my friend Robby.  As the wife and I love old cemeteries, Bonaventure seemed a wonderful place to go.

Tattnall Way running down the length of the cemetery draped on both sides by live oaks and moss...

And here is one of the better carvings on one of the graves...

This week was a big learning experience for me in regards to creating art in the wild.  You might notice that both of these sketches seem a little hurried and unfinished.  This is because...THEY...found me.  "They" are these little insects.  Not the mosquitos.  Those I could tell because they were as big as fruit bats.  No..."they" were these tiny little bugs which took a chunk out of you like a bear trap.  So on both occasions I started working and the little beggars found me and I got up and ran away.

I also learned in Bonaventure that I need to cut down the size of my painting gear when walking around that much.  It gets HEAVY.

And my last sketch is of our hotel, the Thunderbird Inn.

This one got hurried a little, as well.  The sky was a lovely blue when I started but in the course of about 20 minutes started getting more and more grey.  I had to run back into the room before everything got rained on.

We had a fantastic time and absolutely will be going back.  There's just too much down there to see.

I Got the Politicals!!!

(God, I hope a topical ointment will contain it.)

So yes, the current Washington idiot carnival that's going on has inspired me to once again show my cynicism and disgust with all politicians and their ilk.

However, it did get two toons out of me for this week's political edition of Tuesday Toonsday, so I guess it does have SOME benefit.

Number 1:

(Seriously...I just don't believe ANY of them...)

Number 2 came from listening to this more and more over the week and it just kind of started sounding like a hostage negotiation and I was the one wrapped up in an extension cord and gagged with a dirty pillowcase lying on the floor listening to them list the demands over the phone.

So yeah...I pretty much hate all politicians.

Have a great week!!!

No Politics...Yet

I know all everyone is thinking about is the government shutdown and the loss of such wonderful things as national parks, Mars rovers, and panda-cams.  But I am here on the job with today's Tuesday Toonsday to brighten your spirit!

Today's toon comes from when I spend too much time over-analyzing and becoming annoyed by certain commercials while spending the day watching football.

Another benefit to watching football is that sometimes you see that someone has taken one of your labors of love and blown it up and is waving it around on national television.

So no political cartoons to remind you of the current state of affairs...but the week's not over.