Circular Thinking

My mind is stuck in a loop of thinking about not much.
I could not get it to focus on drawing anything that would take skill or concentration.
Today we are stuck with lines drawn by a ruler and circles from a small bottle that I keep my nibs in.


All the thoughts that seem random are, in fact, connected. How remains the mystery.


On the water

I like stippling for two reasons.
1. It looks really cool when you are done.
2. You do not really have to think about much while you are doing it. You can let your mind wander and your had will just keep tapping away.

This drawing took around 80 min. During that time I tapped away and had a nice little meditation.

I have not been on the water alone in a long time. I tried to depict how it feels to be out there. Almost like you are the only real thing in the world… or is it the other way around?



The only solid thing in the world is you and your boat.

Today’s editing was done in SnapSeed. It’s ok. Nice for quick edits. I need to play with it more, it has some hidden stuff.


Thoughts of a Sleepless Me : Water

Of all the places I have lived, I like the places with easy access to water.  I like water.

Water has a music that calms the soul.  In cold weather it is the sound of tiny bells tinkling down a path.  In the summer it is barely audible over the call of birds or the wind communing with the trees.  In the Spring, when the rains come, it is a loud shout, telling the world to move.  In the fall, drained of its energy, it becomes a slow wanderer, looking for a place to rest its head.


A small flow of water as the tide heads out

I could sit for hours by a creek, listening to its song.  When listening was not enough, or the wind was particularly chatty, I could watch the light dance on the water, as it moved down the mountain.  Sparkles and bells. The patterns of the sparkles and the sound of the bells and the song of the wind.

When I lived near the Ocean, the water roared.  The difference between a house cat meow and a lions roar.  Creeks and streams meow, the Ocean roars.  I sat on the docks for hours, just looking at the water.  The sun danced across the surface with the ebb and flow.  I would look into the water and see what was there.  Life happened in the water there.

Even when I lived near the great and, sadly, polluted Potomac river, I enjoyed the water.  One could sit and watch the colors of the sunset/rise reflect off the water and know peace.

Water always knows where it is going.  Down, towards the ocean, to join with the greater.  Even the rain, taken from the larger, falling as tiny drops, know to go down, back towards the larger bodies.  Seep into the ground, become a lake, move towards a stream, join to a creek, become  river, always moving towards the Ocean.  Repeat.

Be like water, the wise ones say.  It is flexible.  Nothing gets in the way of water.  It just moves out of the way.  There are times when water will rage and overcome obstacles by force.  Water knows where it is going, and has not issue with taking it’s time to get there.




Melancholy Me

I have been having a pretty high mood lately (I have been happy and energetic.)  I suppose that there is no surprise that it should end.  Now, pretty suddenly, I find my self a bit melancholy. I suppose it is better than being blah.

I do not really like being “generally sad.”  At least I am still feeling things.  Nothing is worse than the “blah’s.”  I cannot create anything with those.  I spent quite a bit of energy avoiding blah.  I would rather be really happy or really depressed.  Bother are great motivators to paint and write.  The blah’s are just a field of monochrome flat mid-tone gray.  Nothing to see, hear or feel.  Vast expanses of blah.

Melencolia I

Durer’s images are really true to their title. You can feel the depression weighting down on the figures. He was also crazy smart. All of the solid shapes are supposedly mathematically perfect or mathematically interesting.

When I am melancholy and even depressed I am thinking.  I think about dark gray and even black things.  Things I do not like about myself, things I dislike about others,  the scary things that keep others up at night.  I paint the ocean at night.  The ocean is a very versatile object to paint.  At night it can show depression or melancholy.  In the day it can show joy and happiness.  At dawn there is hope and at twilight there is dread.

Why am I melancholy?  Lots of small things under one other thing that did not work out well.  Think of it like the straw that broke the camels back.  I was happy and able to deal with all the little things that did not work out right.  After a while one thing that I think is important does not work well and POOF!  melancholy.  The same reasons that anyone would get there, really.

While I am here, in Melancholy town, I think I will work on some paintings.  I was working on one that was under a grey sky (it is about to rain in the painting, I think.)  I might just finish that.  I might also start on an ocean scene.  those are pretty relaxing and lots of people

like them, so it should be easy to “unload.”

While I am painting my dim and dark paintings I will probably think some dim and dark thoughts.  It is a familiar place, this emotion of melancholy.  I spent a good portion of my young adult life here.  More than some 18-22 year olds and less than others, maybe it was “average.”  I do not know.  I do know that I know the roads that lead out quite well.  I may just tarry until I can create something and leave.  I may hang out for a while and just feel sorry for myself.  Maybe I can get a really dark painting or drawing out of it.


Genius! I love this picture for an artists reflection.

I know many people that get depressed when their happy side fails to get them attention.  Not so for me. There is rarely “attention” seeking when melancholy strikes.  It is just a state of mind where I am not really happy.  It is really pretty low key and sometimes relaxing.  It may be just what I need before the holiday’s strike in full force, a nice break from extremely tiring emotions. 

It is also a time when I can be overly real (is that possible?) with myself.  I can look at myself, my flaws, my gems (good points) and I can look at things around me without worrying that they are going to bring my mood down.  I am already down, not much further to go! The view is different in Melancholy town.  It is not bad, just different.  The difference allows me to see some of the things that I take for granted and some of the things that I would normally ignore or justify (like getting the wrong drink from the barista.)  For the next week or so I will be overly honest and a little mean, with everyone (even myself.)  In the end it will pass and I will be back to happy.


Take a Picture or Paint?


Designed by me, printed on an old school press (lithography press) so the image quality was AMAZING. If you have a printing company you work with ask if they have a litho press and us it for important jobs. The images are always much better, think vector quality smoothness.

Today I picked up my business cards from the print shop.  I am super pleased with how they turned out.  One more thing to cross off my to do list. 

On my way back home I stopped off at the Mat Hat Tea House for a cup of Earl Grey (my fave.)  While I was waiting for my beverage I talked to the employees about tea and another customer joined in (add a 1/2 tsp of sugar to 8-10 oz earl grey to bring out the floral notes.)  Luck would have it he was looking for artists to put some work in a show.  Within 10 minutes of getting my business cards I have a new contact, a possible client and someone that wants to show my art (go me!)

On my way home I got to thinking about the different kinds of picture artist.  Digital, abstract, surreal, realistic, photo real, photographers, paper cutters and so many others.  I was thinking about what makes them different and similarities, the different skill levels and view points that make a person choose to do the different types.


I took this photo with my cell. I wanted to remember the peace I felt at the end of my walk. What does it make you think of?

This came to mind as I thought about the pieces I could do that express my artistic vision, skill and fit within the topic requested. I wanted to plan something that shows my skills as a photographer and painter.  I paint mostly in a surreal style, incorporating a lot of feeling and instinct into my images.  When I want express a view of reality I take photos, when I want to express a feeling about reality I paint. I think that an artist has more control over the image if they paint it themselves.  Because photos rely on technology, the photographer and the subject they can come out unexpectedly.

Even if I were to take a photo and make it into a painting the response would be very different.  Photos are a way of showing the world what you see, with your eyes.  Capturing a second in time that is meant to invoke an emotional or logical response (depending on the photo’s subject) as the viewer process the image.  Paintings and digital art make attempt to invoke an emotional response, before the viewer finishes looking at the piece, a gut reaction or instinctive reaction.


If you are not familiar with color psychology I recommend looking into it. More than the shape of something the color a shape is can make us feel a certain way about it. Red shames are going to make people edgy, while blue shapes make people relaxed. There is a reason why hospitals were green for a long time. Schools used to be a mix of yellows and blues, depending on the subject being taught. It is really interesting and worth research.

As someone who is also interested in marketing, I am VERY interested in how people respond to colors and shapes.  I plan everything I do when I paint or create a graphic.  Photography is about the only time I do things on impulse.  You only have a micro second to get that amazing shot, and our brains are already a few seconds behind.  Even though you can think and plan a shot (usually still life or landscape) the second you bring moving objects into the mix you have to know the area and the movement patterns of your subjects. Once you know and understand the key elements behavior you can go on instinct to get those good and quickly paced shots.

Painting is significantly different.  You get to plan the whole thing, start to finish.  Composition is key to get the response you want.  Using shape, color, flow, and all the other “rules” you can slowly create a masterpiece that will last for ages.  Ultimately you have absolute control when you paint.  The only restrictions you have is your skill level. 


Reach, acrylic on canvas. I wanted to show my desire to move beyond where I was to a new level. Plants grow and these guys are growing from a dim, dark place to a vibrant and exciting blue place. Who knows what colors are past the blue.

 I like to include my view in my paintings.  Even though they are of real things, things I have seen in photos, I add the twist of what my emotional  response was. The painting to the right was done out of a desire to be more motivated.  To get out of a rut and move on.  It is a fairly straight forward image.  Even though everyone is going to interpret it differently, most people will get the idea that is is meant to show growth, transitioning from darkness to light.  An image like this would be very difficult (for me anyway) to do as a photograph.   Being restricted to real things can be a problem sometimes.

I could go on about this topic for a while.  I have been typing for an hour now, trying to get my abstract thoughts and emotions into clear words that have an understandable flow.  Sometimes it is hard for me to put the images in my mind into words for others to read and think about.

I want to spark  thoughts in your mind.  What do you think, feel and understand when you create things?  What messages are you trying to convey with your creations? 

Art does not have to be thoughtless. You can control some of the responses that your viewers experience.