Friday, December 28, 2007

Closing down another year and a nice way to end the week

Can you believe that we are down to the last three days of 2007? It is so hard to believe that the entire year is over and 2008 is ready to begin. What used to be 12 months until the show I am having at Homewood Studios, now has dwindled down to 6 months and a few days. Can someone say Help! But it is not all that bad. I have been working alot lately on a couple of great book projects and will be wrapping them both up in the month of January. That should give some more time to the painting side of things. With that note, I was also surprised this week with a great letter in the mail. It was from the Arts in Harmony 2008 show and they said that one of my paintings was accepted into the juried competition. It is the Richland County painting that recently took second place at the St. CLoud Art for Artists show. So it seems to have a following and will hopefully find a good home with this show. Plus there is almost $10,000 in prize money up for grabs!

I also wanted to mention that a fellow children's book illustrator and MNSCBWI member that I know by the name of Christina Rodriguez has recently started a blog of her own. If you get a chance, stop by and say hi(tell her I sent you) and congratulate her on a Minnesota Book Award Nomination for her new book "Storm Codes" that she illustrated! It is always fun to see people that you know get the recognition they deserve!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Illustration Friday - Horizon

Thought I would keep thinking of warm thoughts since coming back into the snow. Here is my summer themed Horizon.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Back from a great little trip

After much fun in Arizona, it was time to come back to the beautiful weather here in Minnesota. I know that is hard to believe that there could be beautiful weather here, but when you live here, you have to have the sunny outlook. Nonetheless, leaving the upper 60's to come back to the teens were a little hard. The reason for the trip was my family and I were on a mini vacation to Scottsdale to see my brother Cory graduate from the Mesa Police Academy. He is now a fully sworn officer for the Scottsdale Police Department! Overall, the four days we were there went extremely fast and we always seemed to find fun things to do. One of those things included climbing on Camelback Mountain which you can see by the pictures below was a little bit of a climb (especially coming from flat land)! But we made it quite far and got some beautiful shots of the landscape. You can also see the steepness of the climb in the last photo. Now for the near future it will be snow and cold, but am hoping to get back to AZ sometime in the springtime before it gets too hot down there!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Off to see the desert

Well the good thing about really cold weather is you can get alot done inside that normally would be hard to stay in and do. But with my upcoming trip to Arizona on Thursday, I have been busy getting all of my art projects up to speed and am hoping to not fall too far behind by the time I get back. Overall though, it will be a much needed break that will probably lead to more productive time from here until the beginning of the new year. I hope everyone has a great rest of the week and will be back to the blog with a better post and some new photos from the trip early next week.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Illustration Friday: "Little Things"

Often in life we take the little things for granted. Where did you get your water from this morning?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Decided to sign up for Technorati

Well after a few months of hearing how beneficial it would be to have a Technorati Profile, I have decided to sign up it. What this will help do is bring more and more of you to my site and also create a profile for how much traffic and all is coming here. The thing that really pushed me to deciding to do this was when the Top 101 Artists' Blog list was released today. Having noticed a few people I know like Cynthia listed on it and then being suprised to see my name as the first one on the predictions area. So with that I am hoping to break into the top 101 artists list come the next time it is released. We will just have to see where it goes from here!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Need more wall space

So as you are probably aware of, this weekend there was a nice little storm that dumped lots and lots of snow here in Minnesota. Now, usually I love snow and all the fun that it brings, but not when there is a big art sale that requires people to show up to buy things. There were a few brave souls that made it and bought a few things, but it was pretty slow. So with more things(framed at that) coming back to the studio than I had imagined, I am need of a lot more wall space. But the bright side is I get to look at all of the framed pieces that usually disappear shortly after being framed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Upcoming Art sale this weekend

One of the great things about this time of the year is the fact that there are a number of special "holiday" activities to take part in. My favorite types of course are the art events that come around. This year I will be taking part in an event in my new neighborhood. It is the Holiday Art Sale at Union Church in Elk River. I hear it is quite the event with lots of artists that will be there and will even be featured on Kare 11 news in Minneapolis this friday. SO, with that, I have been busy getting some things ready for the sale and will be going to pick up a number of pieces being framed on Thursday. The pictures above are a little bit of a funny thing since the one that looks the largest(the drawing) is only 10" wide versus the painting at the bottom which is a little over 2 feet. That's the joys of cropping I guess. If any of you are in the area on Saturday from 10-4, you will have to stop by Elk River and come check it out. As for the address, I will be getting that in the next post tomorrow or Thursday. Have a great rest of the evening and hope all is well for everyone.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A "Sunny" project

Well, as you can tell I have been quite busy the last few weeks and haven't had a lot of time to post to the blog. I have been working on three projects that came in including two book projects. The image above is a children's young reader that I am working on that will be available sometime in early 2008 and is a story written by Leketha Marie Johnson. I will have more details available when I am able to. Other than that, I am also starting to realize that the June show at Homewood Studios is going to be coming around the corner before I know it and have been prepping some of the canvas's that I will be using. It will be alot of fun to get working in the oils soon. Hope everyone has a great start to their weekend and check back later this weekend for the the new illustration Friday image. I wonder what this weeks topic is going to be?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


As an artist, I often find mentors and others to look up to for not only inspiration but insight into a very challenging career path. In my time that I have been associated with the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, I have come to see the impact that a professor by the name of Kinji Akagawa has had on not only my fellow classmates and I, but students and artists from the last 30+ years. Kinji is a person who not only welcomes you into a class, but as a fellow artist outside of it. It is with his love of the arts and teaching that won over so many people over the years. And with that, it was fantastic to see Kinji win the 2007 McKnight Distinguished Artist award a few months ago and to recieve a copy of the book about him today in the mail. To know him is a gift and to see him honored for his dedication solidify's his passion in the arts. His artist's statement reads:

"I am not a philosopher and I am not a politician. I work as an artist, craftsperson, teacher, learner, and researcher in this community, respecting those who are living and exchanging energies in the landscape of art and the ecology of life."

Kinji Akagawa

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fun little sample

Thought I would give you guys a new little image to look at. I have been spending quite a bit of time doing some new samples of different techniques and styles and this happens to be one of them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Corn or Sugar anyone?

Since my return to the twin cities on Sunday night, I was still thinking of how drastically different it was to be back home in North Dakota versus where i work everyday. The two biggest differences where the abscence of people and the lack of sound. I know sound might seem weird, but when you spend most of your time in the urban setting, you get used to all of the sounds of the city. In North Dakota, it was perfectly quiet (except for the couple of trains that ran through the town in the middle of the night). But the great thing was seeing the landscape that I was so accustomed to. The abscence of trees and the flatness of the land meant that I was home. There was also the harvesting and the huge piles of crop that were visible everywhere. The first photo that you see is of a huge pile of sugar beats that has to be a cool 1/2 mile long and 20 feet high. The second photo is of a pile of corn. This one is one of two piles(the second is behind this one). Pay particular attention to the size of the semi in the picture to get an idea of how much corn there was. So now that I am back to my current home, I have been working on the book illustration project some more. I will be spending the next couple of weeks finalizing the book mockup with all of the sketches and placement and text locations. Hopefully it will go smooth and the end product will be something that works well. When I am able to show more of the project with images, I will be sure to do so, but until then, you just have to trust that I am working (which I know some will find hard to believe!)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Richeson 75

"Superstition Mountain, AZ" 2007

After having worked on a book project for the last few days, it was a nice break tonight to sit and watch some of the World Series. This week has been a busy one with getting the sketching done for the character studies of a book and finishing up a small other project that needed to be done by last night. And now I am in the mode of packing a few things up as I will be heading back home to North Dakota for the weekend. It is hard to believe that it has been almost 5 months since I was last home. In other news, the Richeson 75: International Juried Lanscape show is opening up this weekend in Wisconsin at the Richeson School of Art and Gallery. Hopefully they will have a great turnout and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my hard cover catalogue that they are producing. If you guys get a chance you should really check out the Richeson 75 show. There is definitely a great mix of pieces and the quality of the show is amazing.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Illustration Friday: "Grow"

As the tale of Jimmys fishing expedition was told, the fish he caught did grow.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hard work starting to slowly pay off

Well, in the spirit of being an artist and all of the ups and downs that go with the territory, I can finally say that some of the hard work that I have been doing has been paid off this week. It has been hard not to blog about all that has happened, but will spill a little of the beans. It all started with a phone call a couple of weeks ago from a publisher that was looking to get into the children's book area and was really interested in what I was doing. After going back and forth for the last two weeks, we were able to come to terms and sign a contract and book publishing deal. So, as of today, I will be their main illustrator for projects coming in and already have my first project in hand. I promise that as soon as some of the loose ends and the information is up on their website, I will divulge more, but I know that this is a great opportunity to really expand my capabilities and further my development into the childrens book market. And if that wasn't enough, I was pleasantly surprised to find out today that I was one of the few artists chosen to be apart of the Art on Grand event in St. Paul coming up in November. The event is a one evening extravaganza where they turn the historic grand ave in St. Paul into a gallery walk. Each business that participates sponsors one artist and that artist gets the whole store to showcase their work. It is an event that is very well recieved and attended and can't wait to find out who my sponsor is. But, now the realization of all that has to happen is also starting to hit home a little. The shear amount of work that must be done will be crazy, but with the excitement of all that's going on, I think I can get it done on time.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Illustration Friday: "Extreme"

What can be more extreme than your tourism advertising in the frigid cold?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cartooning around!

So, as you can see, I have been cartooning around a little bit lately. Thought I would share them with you to see what you think. Please try not to think too hard though, I know I didn't!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Illustration Friday: Open

Hello Everybody. Well here this weeks word for Illustration Friday; "Open". It is a reflection of the things to come! This week though is a little different in that they are holding an exhibition call for entries that will feature the top 25 pieces in a show in California starting in November. To go and vote for my piece, click on this link.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Why the bear has a stubby tail!

Here is a little illustration that I did for an extra portfolio piece. Hope you like!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A bit of good news

As you can see by the picture above, one of the things I have been busy doing is getting some illustrations done. This one is of two different illustrations that I am currently working on and will have done by Thursday. The reason that I have two of them going is because of the dry time that each layer of color requires for this technique. When I am waiting for the one to dry, I can simple work on the other and vice versa. It seems to work well and I will be doing three other illustrations after these two. In other news, I was delighted to receive a nice letter in the mail yesterday. It was from the coordinator of the US Bank show in St. Cloud saying that I received second place in the paintings category. It was really a nice surprise and I was also happy to see the comment cards that the judges used when looking over all of the submissions. It's not too often that you get to see what the judges wrote down about your piece in the juried shows. So, with the upcoming meeting with Janet at the end of the week and this new news, it has been a good week so far. Hopefully it will continue into the next week or two as well!

Monday, October 1, 2007

MNSCBWI Fall conference

Image copyright Derek Anderson

With the start of the week and a time in which many things need to get done, it was a very nice email that I received today that was a bright spot. It indicated that I was awarded the opportunity to have a portfolio review with Janet DeCarlo who is a pretty well known member of the children's book market and is also one of the guest speakers at this weekends Minnesota Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference. I know I have mentioned this before, but it is really a new venue for myself and the first of the conferences that I have decided to go to. Usually it is the money that has set them to the side in the past, but I realized that I needed to attend functions of this nature to meet people, get news about the industry and also expand my knowledge of the market itself. With this new mindset, I am really hoping to start dedicating more time and effort into getting myself known in the market of children's books. Another reason that I am looking forward to attending this conference is that Twin Cities illustrator Derek Anderson of the "Little Quack" Series is going to be there as a guest speaker as well. So, it will be a busy, sleepless week as I prepare to create the best work for Janet to view, and one that will end on a whole new foot!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Illustration Friday: "The Blues"

This is a piece I did a few months ago for a blues poster competition. It is a digital illustration.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Getting some needed things done

Well I wish I could be posting a new painting or illustration for your viewing but I have been busy the last few nights with paperwork and a visit to a children's book Illustration class. The class itself was one that was at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and was a blast to visit with them and talk to them about being an illustrator after college. They had alot of great questions and it was refreshing to be back in the classroom and knowing that I wasn't going to be getting an assignment when I left! The other portion of the time has been creating some proposals for some book projects and getting my portfolio prepared for the fall Minnesota Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference. It should be alot of fun and very good to talk with more people in the industry and listen to some amazing guest lecturers.

Since I don't have a new piece of art to show you, I will show you a pic of the book that I am currently reading. It is a fascinating book about the artists that were creating work around 1900 and the huge change in process and styles thereafter. It is from Abrams publishing and is titled "1900 Art at the Crossroads"

So with that I will keep plugging away at my pile of paperwork and have promised myself that I will get back into the studio tomorrow some more.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

So many roads, so many trains to ride!

As I am staring at my studio space here and listening to some blues music, a song came on and just struck a cord. That song was "So many roads, So many trains to ride!" I have been contemplating all night which one of my areas of art was needing to be worked on first. I know that I have a number of paintings that are needing to get done by this November, but also realize that I need to revamp my children's illustration portfolio for a conference that is coming up in three weeks. And then, I was realizing that my paperwork was starting to get out of hand as well. The good thing is that some of my promotional material had come in with my business cards, a small postcard and an oversized postcard of my painting titled "Superstition Mountain". I had been needing to get some new postcards out there to hand out that had my new information on there and have decided to only have my cell phone number instead of address so that I can use them even if I move. People can still get my full address on the web, so I think this will work out even better. Out of the two postcards, I definitely think that the oversized one looks the best cause it can show the detail of the painting more. But as with everything, bigger means more expensive. Well worth the investment though. I am already thinking I might order some more to have on hand. So with all that thought and no work, I will be off to work on my painting tonight. Maybe tomorrow I will get to the illustration work.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fun with color

As you can see by the post tonight, I was having some more fun with a limited palette. After my board meeting this evening I had a few minutes and thought I would do a quick study of some houses I have been meaning to get on canvas. This is a little oil painting on a 9 x 12 canvas. I have a larger version of these that I have yet to finish, partly because I haven't decided on the final color scheme yet. So this is tonights work and will probably try another way tomorrow. We will see what I think of it in the morning. In a way I almost like the stark color of the houses against the muted sky.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Illustration Friday: "Wedding"

A little walk on the wild side! Thought I would try a different look and feel to it as well with the mix of digital and scanned texture.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pushing the paint

Friday is near and I am anxious to spend some more time in the studio pushing paint around. As I am looking at the calendar I am seeing alot of opoortunities for exhibiting and such with the fine art. The only problem is that I need more paintings to display, so I will be in production mode the next couple of months and am really enjoying the thought of getting back into the paintings a little more. Tonight I was playing around with the oils and came up with this little 9 x 12 piece. Rough I know but it was good to get the smell of oil paints in the air. Ohh, and a new Illustration Friday topic comes out tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see what the next image is going to be! You'll have to come back soon to check it out.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Exhibits and showings

Well, I thought I better get some information out there before everything has come and gone. This month and next will be a busy one with class visits and some fun events at US Bank, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and The Richeson School of Art and Gallery. The first event is a show that is happening at the downtown St. Cloud Us Bank Building where a juried competition is going to open tomorrow and run thru Oct. 18th. I was fortunate to get a piece in and look forward to seeing the other pieces as well. Then starting Sept. 19th at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, a piece of mine will be hanging for 10 days before the big Art Perchance benefit on Sept. 28 for the Friends of the Institute. It will be a fun evening of games and "spirits" and should be another great showing of art and hopefully raise alot of money for the museum. Last but not least is the Richeson 75: Landscape Juried show that will be opening up Oct. 27 at the Richeson Art Gallery where I had a piece excepted into. So to say the least, it will be a busy upcoming month and a half and am looking forward to having some fun at the openings.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Illustration Friday - Momentum

With the change in temps and labor day over, how can you not think about what's to come!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The signs are complete

So the last two nights of work has been focused around some signs that I was asked to do for a Benefit of the Children's Defense Fund. The challenge was to create out of chalk the logo and image of the benefit on a children's little play easel. One of the first things I noticed was that the surface was a very smooth and non gripping surface that really made it hard to allow the chalk pastel to grab. It just "fell" off most of the time. Over a little bit of time though it seemed to finally hang in there and think the final pieces turned out pretty well for only having two evenings worth of time on them. Its too bad though that after the event they will be wiped away and be as if they never were even there. Guess it is for the moment and the night. Now lets hope that I can get the easels to the event tomorrow afternoon without smudging the image!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Getting into Beale Street again

Detail of Beale Street painting

I can't tell you how great it was last night to dig into the Beale Street painting again. After a few weeks away from the oil painting, I was back at it and looking forward to hopfully finishing this painting by middle of next week. We will see how it actually goes though. I also will be working on some entry pieces of art for a benefit for the Children's Defense Fund of Minnesota. So other than that, it will be a busy couple of days here and am looking forward to the upcoming weekend to get some other tasks done as well.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The end of a great week and weekend

One of the things over the last week that I have come to miss is the artwork that was being done in the studio before this week long odyssey of concerts and time at the lake. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast and it was a much needed break. But it felt good to get back home tonight and will feel even better tomorrow when I get into the studio to slap some paint around! If you read in the previous posts, I had a few concerts that were unbelievable. It all started on Tuesday night with Robert Randolph and the Family Band opening up for the Allman Brothers at the Minnesota State Fair. With this concert I was very impressed not only with the performance that Robert gave in the opening act but the guitar work that was done in the Allman Brothers show. I was really blown away! But that was nothing compared to the lineup that a number of friends and I saw on Thursday night at the fair. It was headlined by Etta James, Al Green and BB King. If there was ever a concert that was to die for, it was this one. It lasted for over four hours and left everyone in a state of hapiness. It is amazing that the fair people were able to put together such a lineup for a single concert. Below you will find a picture of my friends Micah on the left, Jun in the middle, with yours truly on the right. I will definitely be remembering that concert for a long time.

After the concerts it was out to the lake in central Minnesota to celebrate my parents 30th anniversary. We had a small gathering of relatives and had a great time with grilling out, playing games outside and then enjoying the lake. One of the games ended up with my cousins shoes, another cousin himself, a volleyball, and a football up in a tree after they got stuck all at the same time, don't ask how they got up there!! So with that, we left the lake this afternoon and came back to a more normal setting and a studio that desperately needs some attention. I can't believe that the summer has come and gone so fast. Seeing the fields plowed on the way back definitely solidified that thought. But with that comes a great time in fall and all that comes with the changing of the season. I look forward to trying to capture some of that in the near future. Have a great night and will be back again soon.