Saturday, August 15, 2009

Shades of Gray

Each year in celebration of Earth Day, the Gamblin oil paint company hosts a special contest. Using paint residue scraped out of their "Torit" air filtration system, they blend a limited-edition line of gray paint from the recycled pigments. Since they produce different quantities of each color every year, each year's Torrit Gray blend is different. The ultimate in recycling! Gamblin then hosts a contest challenging artists to make a painting using only Torrit Gray, black, and white. You can check out all the details here, at

This is my entry, a portrait of Frans depicting his inner (contemplative) Viking.

And here's the sketch I did underneath:

Usually I don't do anywhere near as detailed an underpainting or drawing, but because the painting was to be monochromatic I wanted to work out the tonal values a bit more thoroughly first. I kind of wish I hadn't painted over it, as it was a better likeness than the painting turned out to be!

Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

(If I wrote a column for Audubon Magazine, that's exactly what I'd call it! : )

Anyway, here are a few more pieces for the Nature Exploration Area. Basically, we came up with a bucket containing 3-D animal tracks that kids can use to stamp footprints in the sandboxes (actually, they're sand barrels.) In addition to the tracks, the "toolkit" features a key of laminated cards with the animal on one side and a picture of the tracks each one makes on the reverse.

Nothing fancy or too detailed, but I had fun looking at bird photos for reference all the same. (Note that I took the card photos propped up against the phone while stuck at the desk. Very high-tech!)

Merry Christmas! ...8 months late

...or four months early! (Is the glass half-full or half-empty??)

Obviously these are a few X-mas cards that I intended to send out last year (ambitious, I know) and never got around to mailing. They are for a dog-and-peace-loving couple and a wannabe-philosopher, respectively. (The first features said couple's beloved yellow lab, Haille. Somehow in scanning and re-sizing these I accidentally cut off the words on this one, which read "Haille Krishna.") Better get a jump on this coming holiday season!