It’s hard to fly like an eagle…surrounded by turkeys

turkeys out the windowWildlife Outside the Window

A whole flock of wild turkeys walking up the hill. I was working in the studio and looked out the window. Surprise!  One leads and the others follow exactly in the track of the one in front, they wrote the definition of the terms single file.

Rushing around getting the camera and sneaking the door open as quietly as I can, I start taking pictures. It is a trip to see so many wild turkeys walking in their little lines, one leads and the others follow.

turkeys outside walking in a line
turkeys 02

Have you ever heard that sing-along song….

The ants go marching one by one Hoorah, Hoorah
The ants go marching one by one Hoorah, Hoorah
The ants go marching one by one
the first one stops to suck his thumb
The ants go marching one by one Hoorah, Hoorah

The ants go marching two by two Hoorah, Hoorah

I think someone screwed up and put the wrong animal in there, which is obviously a mistake, as it seems much more appropriate for turkeys in the wild!

turkeys outside wildlife
turkeys 03

I am not really happy about this daily trek of the feathered clan in our area, because it means that my garden just got raided. When I go down there to pick today I will find tomatoes hanging on the vine that have been mysteriously cored and all the guts eaten out of them.All the low ripe tomatoes hang there innocent but empty inside. They like the seeds in the juicy insides.  Ripe berries at low levels will be gone, just magically missing when they were there only the afternoon before.

Guess what, my dog is just sitting outside on the deck watching them like, no problem, hi guys. He is a great guard dog, NOT!

turkeys outside walking
turkeys 04

It is at times like this that I remember unimportant information like, Thomas Jefferson wanted the turkey for the national bird didn’t he? Oh, now I got to Google that. Curiosity of the creative mind in action. Check this answer out…

Flying with Turkeys or Eagles?

What an interesting story, I didn’t remember learning all of that in school. Where ever we grow up and what is being taught at that time there greatly affects our education.

outside turkeys going into trees
turkeys 05
turkeys walking outside
turkeys 06


I’m not sure how many turkeys are there walking up the side of our property, but it was more than a dozen. Couldn’t get the camera before they were already heading up the hill so there were probably a lot more than shown in these shots.
Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!

Wild turkeys on parade, it really must be getting close to Thanksgiving huh?

handpainted metal garden markers

Visual Garden Markers

12 durable, beautiful custom metal garden markers for his wife’s roses and garden that show what is growing visually. They are ready to ship UPS this morning! Finished for a wonderful client in the northeast USA, “Happy birthday to his wife on Sunday!” What a great idea on how to mark what you have planted in the garden

These were tricky to paint because they are tiny 3″ wide by 2″ high. Being used to painting in a much larger size made me have to use teeny tiny, detail brushes to do the entire image. It is always good to broaden our skills with all our painting tools though.

metal garden marker
stainless steel garden markers

These are great little metal garden markers made of stainless steel, they are kind of slick on their surfaces so, I had to roughen the surface of the metal with a green scrubber pad before I painted. I wanted to make sure the paint would adhere. After finding reference pictures to work from I painted each one with acrylic paints for each of the twelve different rose and flower species. Then it was the lettering of the names on the front and back of each marker. Last step was a sealer over the entire surface. Dry, pack and ship.

The flower Varieties

Abraham Darby-English Rose

abraham darby English Rose metal garden marker
abraham darby English Rose

Apothecary’s Rose

apothecarys rose metal garden marker
apothecarys rose

Granada Rose – Hybrid Tea

 granada rose Hybrid Tea metal garden marker
granada rose Hybrid Tea

Henry Kelsey-Climbing Rose

henry kelsey Climbing Rose metal garden marker
henry kelsey Climbing Rose

Lavender Mist Meadow Rue

lavender mist Meadow Rue metal garden marker
lavender mist Meadow Rue

Noble Anthony-English Rose

noble anthony English Rose metal garden marker
noble anthony English Rose

Rosa Mundi-Rosa Gallica

rosa mundi Rosa Galica metal garden marker
rosa mundi Rosa Galica


sunsprite floribunda metal garden marker
sunsprite floribunda

Tango-Anise Hyssop

tango Anise Hyssop metal garden marker
tango Anise Hyssop


vavoom floribunda garden marker
vavoom floribunda

Zephirine Droughin-Climbing Rose

zephrine droughin metal garden marker
zephrine droughin climbing rose
zephrine droughin 2 metal garden marker
zephrine droughin 2 climbing rose

I painted the names on the back surface of the metal garden markers.

backs metal garden markers
backs metal garden markers

This couple must have a fantastic garden, with all of these gorgeous kinds of roses and climbing flowers.

juried in YAY!

I entered a painting  named “Jazz”, into the Spokane Watercolor Society Juried Show and just received notice that it was accepted into the show. I tried two times before and was not accepted, this is the first time I was so there is truth to the old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, then try, try, try, again.”


I won’t show you the actual painting but I can show you the small painting I did years ago that inspired it. You know we keep doing it till it comes out right, us artist’s.


Donkey watercolor

Steps to paint in watercolor?

This donkey watercolor painting made it into the juried charitable benefit for Lavender Dreams Farm & Donkey Rescue. These are truly wonderful people who rescue livestock, mainly donkeys in north eastern Washington. North of Newport WA. Please take a second to check them out.If this painting wins in the show, I get some and they get some.

Donkeys are quite important characters, and have been friends with some pretty significant people… really.  After I had heard about this benefit, I was thinking about what I would paint just before I went to sleep at night.

Dream Inspirations

A dream about a donkey appeared in my sleep, a talking donkey just like the old show I used to watch when I was real little. Did you ever see it? It was, “Mr. Ed the Talking Horse and it started with a Palamino horse looking over his stall gate saying…

Hello I’m Mr Ed…

A horse is a horse
of course, of course
and no one can talk to a horse
of course, that is of course
unless the horse
is the
famous Mr. Ed!

Donkey Story

I had a dream of this talkative donkey standing in a dirt road telling me about life as he chewed on some grass. He was telling me about the cool people he knew and the great things he had done.

Then he started to talk about a really neat guy that he gave a ride into a town once. He was brought to this guy that he didn’t know, who talked to him and patted his head, making all the nervous worry go away instantly. It was great to have a human pay some attention to him, instead of just ignore him expecting unquestioned perfect servitude.

This guy was on a mission and there were lots of people all around, so they headed out right away. This man did not hit him with a stick to get going but instead simply asked him to go as he sat comfortable on his back. There were crowds around and people lining the road yelling, it was a scene like he had never seen before or since, but the man on his back was calm.

The people were throwing palm fronds on the road in front of him, making the donkey afraid that he might trip so he had to look down and be careful with each step. They did finally arrive safely in the town and then this man named Jesus got off and came up to him saying, Thank you!

Isn’t that amazing?

The name of this painting, “Then Jesus Said”. I begin by drawing up a few sketches and arriving at one with the little donkey talking to me up close and personal, like in the dream.

pencil layout of donkey
pencil layout of donkey

The first part of the painting process for me is blocking in light washes showing where the background areas are. It is easier to see if my main character is positioned how I want then. With this donkey, it was important to see the sky, with desert background but I also wanted some palm fronds because that is a integral part of the story in my dream. Once the location of the main figure is in I can then start to add the darkest areas on him to see if the figure is still working when it starts to look 3D.

donkey watercolor light washes
donkey watercolor light washes

I almost always have reference photography on the desktop with me as I paint or draw. I don’t have to follow the references exactly, because I am not trying to make a photograph. I use the photography to check my sizes and where the light is casting.

different reference materials
different reference materials

I am adding darkness and detail at this point to the watercolor.

Donkey details left
Donkey details left

Here is the donkey finished, I am happy with him because it can almost hear him talking.

the donkey Je suis fini!
the donkey Je suis fini!

Desktop John Dini

Who is John Dini?

Hunting in a Farmers World, by John Dini which is not about hunting for wildlife, instead it is a business book, that you gotta check out, especially if you are an entrepreneur. I like the way he tells about how things work in business for the different personality types and how these personalities interact in a company. When you think about it, if you know what your intrinsic gifts and skills are, your decisions change as you start out on your new venture.

Pencil Sketch Progress

Here are some of the pencil drawings I am working on for John Dini. They are prehistoric era pencil sketches of a hunting village people and hunting. He isn’t using these drawings in his book. He is going to use them in his slide show presentation that he does on his book tour. I love being able to envision what a book tour would be like through clients like him.

Desktop John Dini
Desktop John Dini

I have not gone out on book tours myself, but when I finish my book on drawing in perspective that may change. Leading a much more reclusive artist existence, I share my desktop view, to give an idea of how I go about my work here in the studio. You can see that many references are close at hand and other already complete images are also close for my reference to help keep the style consistent throughout the project.

Book layout and design

Just finished doing a text book design/layout for A. G. Sheikh, on the unfamiliar subject of, “Ladakh, Tibet and Central Asia”. The author is a wonderful man to talk with and strikes me as very kind soul. The layout of this book is colorful including many beautiful scenic views of the country and cultural artifacts. A must read, tabletop picture book with cultural information that will assist anyone anticipating a visit to the middle east. It should help to not appear so ignorant when you arrive.

Did not know this area of the world had so many cool landscape views and such rich heritage. I found myself reading simply out of interest as I worked on the layout. At first the word Ladakh, was just a word that was hard to spell, but now it is a land where spiritual and cultural histories astound the mind.

check it out on Amazon

Reflections on Ladakh, Tibet and Central Asia

Central Asia history text
Reflections of Ladakh, Tibet and Central Asia

taken from the description:

  1. A well researched book about the history and culture of Ladakh, written by one of Ladakh’s native and most prominent scholars. This book brings together 22 of his papers, originally published elsewhere, and dealing with topics as diverse as a new perspective on Ladakh’s history, and interactions with its neighbors, Islam in Ladakh and contemporary cultural manifestations. It provides a comprehensive overview of different facets of Ladakh’s rich cultural heritage, especially past historical, political and cultural linkages with neighboring countries.

Working in opposite

Opposite drawing is a great way to exercise the artist mind. Recording the highlights on a dark surface, instead of looking for the shadows and putting them down on white paper.

Last Sunday with the kids, we produced pictures of Jesus laughing.

I got to keep those gears in the mind well-greased to have creativity remain alive and drawing skills improving. Changing what I am looking at, to see the shapes of, and put down, really does a “switch-a-roo” on the mind! It makes the journey through the mind go on nerves not used very often which builds new bridges for my brain to walk on. Synapses!

I will work with kids in art at our church every 2nd or 3rd Sunday through the summer… Check us out at

Jesus smiling. Chaulk on Black paper
Jesus smiling. Chaulk on Black paper

Grandkids Playing at the Beach Portrait.

Portrait of the grandkids playing at the beach is commissioned by the Franks family. This was added after the initial five adults were painted so that the grandkids would be included too. For those of you who know me, this location/subject did not need to be researched to be able to paint it. These are the children of the first son named Nathan and his wife Nikki.

This first image shows the pencil sketch with both boys laid out sitting on the beach sand with their buckets, shovels and the waves in the background. There is some yellow mastik applied to the paper where I want to reserve the white areas of the paper.

Franks grandkids 02
Franks grandkids 02

The background wash of the waves and the sand around the figures is now complete.

Franks grandkids 03
Franks grandkids 03

The basic skins are laid in in light washes with some shadow to show shape. Colors on the swimming suite are placed carefully to save the highlight areas. The same with the sand buckets and shovels.

Franks grandkids 04
Franks grandkids 04

Eyes and faces are detailed with darker tones, shadows are darkened too. Opposite color wheel colors are chosen to shadow on the sand and in the water. Greens are added tot he tans of the sand. Red or orange is touched to the ocean water to bring it into shadow.

Franks grandkids 05
Franks grandkids 05

Five Watercolor Portraits Frank’s Family

Five watercolor portraits for the Franks family are now complete. See the final images below.All four portraits done...

Here is the couple, Marian and Noel Franks, portrait.

Nathan Franks Portrait
  Nathan Franks
Nikki Franks Portrait
Nikki Franks Portrait

The first son, Nathan and his wife, Nikki.

Damian Franks Portrait
Damian Franks Portrait

The second son, Damian.

Sarah Franks Portrait
Sarah Franks Portrait

The beautiful daughter Sarah.

three portraits Franks

Three portraits of the Franks family, first the sons, one complete minus some minor details, second one is blocked in with background washes complete ready for detailed completion of the figure this afternoon. Third one, is of the couple and is sketched in with resist applied where I want to reserve the white areas on the paper.

Lunch break!

Nathan portrait
Nathan portrait
Damian portrait
Damian portrait
Marian Noel sketch
Marian Noel sketch