Monday, December 22, 2008

Sculpting blog open...almost

Now that I'm back to pushing Sculpey and putty around it's time to open up my sculpting blog. Though I do not update this one near enough as I should, lets see what happens adding a second one. You can either click on the link here or find it on the menu located on the right side of the page.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gettysburg's Remmembrance Day

My wife and I drove down to Gettysburg for it's annual Remembrance Day observance. This year marked the 145th Anniversary of the dedication of the Soldier's Cemetery and Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Cold is one word that describes our four day stay at our home away from home. The parade that was held on Saturday was pretty nice. Though the authenticity of the groups varied it was impressive seeing a mass of men and women in period dress dominating a parade. This was also a chance to see the battlefield's NEW visitor's center. Though I have many mixed feelings about the whole thing I've decided to NOT comment on it. One thing that was a treat to see was the bottom of the triangular field below Devil's Den without trees. Those guys from the 1st Texas sure had a lot of open ground to cross while under the guns of Smith's battery up on Devil's Den.

Here is what the Triangular Field now looks without the trees. It really gives you an idea of it's appearance during the battle, though there were leaves on the trees.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Von Steuben Continental

Though I've already painted a soldier from the 2nd Virginia, I wanted a different title. This was more of an exercise in painting large areas of color, in addition to sorting out the benefits and limitations of acrylics. The painting is 8 X 10 and is painted on colored multimedia board.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

I wanted to do an illustration but did not have time to do the one I wanted. This old sketch was in a folder of stuff I did when I was into doing gaming type art.

Monday, October 20, 2008

APG Gettysburg "blurbs"

I came up with the idea of doing these mini write-ups ("blurbs" whatever that is) to be posted between information about the Artist Preservation Group's upcoming show in 2009. The first "blurb" is about the group's 2009 preservation/restoration project. Future postings will feature an illustration and write-up about relevant Gettysburg subjects.

Follow the link to the APG blog these will be posted there and not on my blog.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


This brief step by step is for a small painting I did that will be on the Artist Preservation Group's blog. The painting is one of a series of small studies and write ups that will be posted there along with information on the upcoming APG Miniature exhibition in Gettysburg, Pa.

STEP A. All of my paintings start off as thumbnail sketches or drawings to figure out the composition. Since I already had a specific idea in mind I only did one small drawing. Then I proceeded to photograph the composition using a reproduction cup. The photos were then used to paint the items in acrylics on multimedia board.

STEP B. Here is a color photograph of the composition. The cup is an accurate reproduction. Since I did not have a piece of hardtack handy I made one from foam board. I slapped some paint on it and punched in 16 holes like the real thing.

STEP 2B. This black and white photograph was used to prepare the line drawing for the painting. I also use it to see where all of my lights and darks are.

STEP C. The basic line drawing based on the black and white photograph. I scanned this drawing and transferred a reversed version of it to my painting surface.

STEP D. Here is the finished study. I decided to paint a plain flat background verses a more realistic setting.The only drawback is that without any shadows under and around the objects they may appear to be floating.

STEP D2. I decided to use Photoshop to clean up the lower left corner of the hardtack. I thought that it had a bit of a droop to it that bothered me.

Though this is not a very detailed step by step, it should give you a little insight into the process that was used for this piece. I hope to do a much more detailed sbs on a larger piece later.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Officer, American Light Infantry Battalions

I finally finished the study this morning. This is the third version that finally worked. The figure represents an officer of light infantry from New Jersey. Though he is not carrying a musket the officer has his hat cocked to the left in the manner of an enlisted man to give him a bit of attitude.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Artist Preservation Group Membership drive

Want to support historic preservation? Why not join the APG? There are some decent benefits not to mention a chance to win a free night at the Wyndham in Gettysburg where the APG will hold it's first show in August of 2009.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Venue change for APG Exhibition

There has been a change of venue for the Artist Preservation Group's Miniature Exhibition to be held in Gettysburg, Pa on August 7-9, 2009. Check it out.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Officer, American Light Infantry Battalions, WIP

I originally was going to do this figure study some time ago, but was sidetracked. I'll continue on with some Gettysburg related subjects after getting this out of the way. This 11 X 14 acrylic painting depicts an officer of American Light Infantry. The waistcoat and overalls (gaitered trousers) are the only parts that are close to being done. I like to block in the main areas before moving on to the actual finish work.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

APG show in Gettysburg

On August 7-9, 2009 Gettysburg, PA will be the place to be. The Artist Preservation Group will host it first Miniature Exhibition at the Eisenhower Hotel & Convention Center. The rate is $110 a night for double ocupancy.The rate is good for one week prior to and after the show. This exhibition is unlike any other in the country as the proceeds of the APG go to the preservation of historic sites and artifacts.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A few improvements

There were a couple of things I decided to add or improve on the painting. The right eye (or left if your looking at the painting) seemed to be smaller and sitting higher than the other. I also put a bit of shadow behind the knife and lightened the shadow on the shirt that's across from the hand holding the rifle. Now I can call this done.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Liberty Hall Volunteers

This study represents Company I, 4th Virginia Infantry. The company members were largely students from Virginia's Washington College. They were known as The Liberty Hall Volunteers taken from the name of the college from 1776 to 1798. The uniform was worn by the company at the Battle of Manassas in 1861. Like the other "mini" studies this one is 5 X 7 on multimedia board.

I'm not sure how I feel about this piece. There are some things I really like but I do not feel the same way about it as I do the Union soldier study done before this.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Union soldier

Here's another quickie (3-4 days) 5 X 7 acrylic painting on board. This one is based on a period studio photograph of a Union soldier. I decided to have a little fun and put him in a civilian shirt and plaid cravat. I think it helped to add a little splash of color to a somewhat dull subject. This piece was really practice for a few Civil War paintings I'm going to be working on for the APG show in Gettysburg next year.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ansbach-Bayreuth Jaeger, 1777-83,

For me inspiration comes from many sources. It could be a photograph or even a period painting or drawing. The inspiration for this 5 X 7 acrylic "mini" study comes from a scratchbuilt miniature by Jason Whitman. There are about 3-4 of Jason's pieces (so far) that will one day become studies or paintings. Jason has a knack for depicting Revolutionary and Civil War subjects giving them all that period look.Check out Jason's work I'm sure you'll agree with me.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Massachusetts Grand American Army, 1775

Here is the completed painting, just finished about a half hour ago. I wish I had something to post between both postings of the painting as it's a bit annoying seeing the same picture twice with very little difference between the two.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Latest figure study WIP

It feels good to post something, even something not yet finished. This study is represents one civilian turned soldier who helped hold Breed's and Bunker Hill in 1775, which went on to force the British to evacuate Boston for good in 1776. I have to finish the grass and fowling piece the soldier carries before it's done. The trees started out green and evolved into Autumn trees. The painting was done in acrylics and measures 8 X 10.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mini Photoshop projects and getting off my butt

I've been fiddling around with Photoshop and do these little projects from time to time. I designed these blog headers for two folks that are linked on my blog. I've designed about three for Jason, one of which is pictured here. Matt does not know about his. The parachuting solders in the background of his is actually one photo duplicated twice with the planes "erased" in one copy.

This past year and a half have been horrible in terms of me getting stuff done. Though I'm getting a painting done every so often my sculpting has all but come to a halt. I'd like to open my Miniature Sculpting blog but want to do it with something new. Having said that, I feel the need to finish what few things are almost done before beginning something new. Okay guys let the suggestions and opinions fly, I need to get this other blog underway. Thanks in advance.

Monday, March 3, 2008


I'm slowly (big surprise) making my way through the Drawing on the right side of the brain book. More than anything I'm curious as to how the lessons will (if at all) affect my work. I have a 8 X 10 figure study that I'm working on in order to try and keep my painting relatively fresh. The main thing that is a little disheartening about historical art/illustration is the small number of folks that are interested in viewing, commenting and or buying it. Though I paint for myself first, it is nice to have someone to share it with. I'm also on a steady diet of looking at the work of other artists, especially those that are of the "painting a day" variety. There are some exceptionally talented painters doing everything from landscapes to still lifes. There is not one that I know of that does historical subject matter. I think given the work that is being done today I'd be hard pressed to sell a painting of a revolutionary war soldier on Ebay. On the other hand, paintings of glass bottles and peanut butter & jelly sandwhiches seem to sell really well. Some thought is being given to possibly jumping on the bandwagon if for anything else to make a few coins while I work on improving the technical side of my art as well as it's historical accuracy. Anyway I wanted something to post and this is the feeble result.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Drawing on the right side of the brain

When I was in high school my Dad bought Drawing on the right side of the brain. Though I did not complete the entire book, my drawings improved dramatically, especially in drawing likenesses. I've recently corresponded with Historical Arrtist/ Illustrator David Rickman. David has done a number of coloring books in addition to work for the National Park Service. In addition to his style I also admire his meticulous attention to detail and accuracy. In one of his Emails He suggested I give this book a try. Fortunately I still have my copy and will be starting tomorrow. Here is a review I found on the book.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is based on the premise that the left and right hemispheres of the brain process information in very different ways. While this theory has become somewhat outmoded, it is still a useful model to explain the way we function. The right-side concept is referred to continually throughout the book, which focuses extensively on the 'how and why' behind the mental process of drawing, rather than simply demonstrating the techniques.

Right Brain VS Left Brain
In essence, the 'left brain' is logical, rational using words to describe concepts and able to manipulate abstract ideas, numbers and the concept of time. The right brain, in contrast, takes a wholistic approach, sensing relationships and patterns, tends to be intuitive and irrational, and has no sense of time. While some suggest that theories about brain function have moved on from this 'hemispherical' notion, it is still a useful model for how we manipulate information in practice. The first chapters of Drawing on the Right Side are largely devoted to explaining the left/right model, and explaining its relevance to drawing - or more importantly to SEEING. The stages of development in children's drawing are explored, and the impact of the persistence of the childish symbol-system discussed.

I strongly suggest this book to those that feel they can't draw at all or that well. You'll be surprised at the results if you follow the different exercises. A huge thanks goes out to David for his comments and suggestions.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Militia officer sketch

Here's the subject of my next painting. I also decided to finally include other partial figures in the background. The size of the painting was originally going to only be 5 X 7. The size has since grown to 11 X 14. I'm looking forward to working with larger brushes. I may do a half size color study to help avoid obstacles that may come up with a larger piece.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Lt William Falconer, Grenadier Company, 15th Regiment of Foot, 1777

To the best of my knowledge there is no surviving miniature portrait of Falconer. This was a fun piece to do.In addition to the great looking hunting sword I was able to play with reconstructing a simpler uniform that he very well could have worn.The only thing I took a bit of license with was positioning the sword a little higher up on the body. An inscription on the throat of the scabbard helped me decide what I wanted Falconer's face to look like.

"The Honorable Lieut. William Falconer of the 15th Regt. of Foot Commanded by Lieut. Colonel Bird was killed in the action at Brandywine Sept. 11th 1777 in the 19th year of his age."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Miniature portrait

While I'm still working on the preliminary stuff for a larger project I wanted to keep my painting skills (haha) fresh. I decided to to a 5 X 7 portrait of a flank company officer of the 15th Regiment of Foot, c.1777. My inspiration comes from several military and civilian miniature portraits done during the 18th century. Most examples were painted on ivory and are round or oval in shape. The first drawing shows the thumbnail sketch which I then carefully traced and refined. The second drawing shows a larger and more refined example of the smaller cleaned up drawing. A follow up post will show the finished portrait along with some background information on the subject.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sneek peek

Here is one of a series of notes I'm putting together that will be used for determining the final look for some figures studies I'll be doing for a Revolutionary war project. I really like doing this type of stuff. Though there are not a lot of notes here I usually also list the book, article, or pictorial reference the sketches are based on.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

44th Regiment of Foot

I just completed my painting of a Corporal from the 44th Regiment of Foot, circa 1755. I'm still working on painting reds. The most difficult part is getting the highlights just right. aside from trying to master acrylics I'm really working on getting the weapons and equipment just right. More 18th century stuff is on the way, in addition to a number of Gettysburg related subjects.