It's startling when something you have been doing almost literally your entire life suddenly clicks into place as something you could do for...well, almost literally your entire life. I have been drawing and painting for going on nearly 4 decades now. Since I was a wee lad in the Georgia countryside looking for my own way to escape what I saw as a boring existence (and have since learned to heartily embrace) I have used art as a means of expression and personal escape.

As a youth I did not have immediate access to oils and other fine art media and even when I did, I had no one to train me in their usage. I was extremely intimidated by these tools and it wasn't until college that I got my first true look at most of them. So what I was left with was pencil and pen. I never looked at color as much as I looked at the linear aspects of drawing. I have, of course, since learned to appreciate and even revel in my appreciation of color. But I still first look at those linear aspects that formed so much of my early views of drawing and composition.

Since I have started these pen and ink watercolors, it is as if some sort of mental barrier has been broken down for me. This method allows me the fine tuning I can achieve with pen and ink and the coloring that I later learned a love for. With the oils and other painting mediums I have to force myself to allow the details to not take over. I am not a "realism" painter. But with the pens I can achieve much more the look I am searching for.

First up, a cardinal.

Next up, an elephant. I have painted this big fella a few times now. On a trip to Africa many years ago, this was the first elephant we saw after MANY days of looking. I still like painting the old tusker's portrait...

I did both of these as tests for the new style. Both of them are only 4"x6" watercolor sheets. Let me know what you think!