Cavalryman Watercolor

Posted in History, Illustration, Military, Painting, Step By Step at 8:16 am

Just finished adding some color.  Watercolor was glazed right over the previous drawing, a technique I enjoy using.


100 Photoshop Tutorials for Creating Beautiful Art

Posted in Design, Illustration, Painting, Step By Step at 1:36 pm

Just ran across this Photoshop Tutorial site today and added it to my site list. A lot of useful info for digital artists particularly if you’re interested in painting in Photoshop

100 Photoshop Tutorials


Battle of Cowpens – 227 Years Old

Posted in Drawing, History, Illustration, Military, Painting, Step By Step at 6:26 pm

One of my favorite Revolutionary War reenactment events takes place only about 40 miles from me. The actual battle took place on January 17, 1781. Fast forward 227 years later and the anniversary of the Battle of Cowpens will be held this weekend near Gaffney, SC. at The Cowpens National Battlefield. The Park is set in a nondescript, out of the way, rural landscape that most people wouldn’t look at twice or normally think about even once. But great things happened here that helped change the course of the war.

The reenactors that participate make for curious photographs and even more interesting art subjects. This drawing is intended to be the start of, what I hope will be, a fun and rewarding watercolor painting. Mountain and backwoods militiamen, such as this drawing portrays, played a key part in this colonial victory. The planned painting is based on one of my photographs. Another of my paintings is featured in my previous post on this event. Also below are a few pics from past events. I’m looking forward to getting a few more good pics this year.

Cowpens Battle Backwoods Militiaman
Cowpens Reenactors
Cowpens Backwoods Militiaman in Firing Drill
Colonial Encampment Cowpens Battlefield


101st Airborne - 3rd Pass

Posted in History, Illustration, Military, Painting, Step By Step at 5:24 pm

Excerpt from General Order Number 5 giving birth to the 101st Airborne Division on August 15, 1942.

Due to the nature of our armament, and the tactics in which we shall perfect ourselves, we shall be called upon to carry out operations of far-reaching military importance and we shall habitually go into action when the need is immediate and extreme.

The painting is finished I think. This is the last pass of oil glazes and I am satisfied for now. I should mention that I used a new product (new to me) that proved very interesting - Liquitex clear acrylic gesso. I gessoed over my acrylic underpainting with it and painted my oil glazes on that base. Pretty neat stuff. It was a bit hazier than I preferred and the tooth was like sandpaper. I’m thinking that in the future I can mix it with matte medium and thin it out more and see how that performs. Still, its a pretty cool product and I will definitely explore its uses in the future.

101st Airborne soldier final


101st Airborne – 2nd Pass

Posted in History, Illustration, Military, Painting, Step By Step at 4:21 pm

A few rounds of oil glazes later and this is the result. Generally I’m just trying to darken the mood and atmosphere and focus attention on the soldier’s face in a pool of light. I have more work to do on the background, modeling some smoke and tinting some other areas with glazes but its coming along. I’m trying to stay fairly monochromatic with brief interludes of color in select places.

101st Airborne soldier


The Washington Portrait – Part 2

Posted in History, Illustration, Painting, Step By Step at 2:36 pm

I have finally come around to putting a little paint on this (in case you missed it here is part 1). This is part underpainting and part experimentation. I still don’t know where exactly I’m going with this (not a good plan) but it should be fun getting there. I added the scroll work and signature to the original drawing and think I like them. This is all acrylic washes but I will eventually get to putting oil glazes on and deepening everything. I plan, at that point, to make things like the signature and scroll embellishments very subdued. We’ll see what happens.

George Washington Portrait part 2


Patton Study, 2nd Pass

Posted in History, Illustration, Military, Painting, Step By Step at 2:48 pm

One of my favorite D-Day stories is the Patton command deception leading up to the landings. Patton’s success in Italy earned him a feared reputation with the Germans. They were sure he would lead the attacks at Normandy. They were wrong. Eisenhower instead put him in command of a dummy army in eastern Great Britain complete with inflatable tanks and dummy munitions. News of the false buildup was leaked and the German forces stayed spread out as a result fearing an attack at Calais. What a great misdirection strategy.

Taking a second pass at this technique experiment demonstrates the excellent tinting and glazing quality of acrylic, which is my favorite acrylic characteristic. No further value painting was done at all. This pass was achieved solely by transparent tint washes built up in layers.

General George Patton


L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace

Posted in History, Illustration, Illustration Friday, Military, Painting, Step By Step at 5:39 pm

Translation: Audacity, audacity, always audacity. This was General George Patton’s motto for the men under his command in the Third Army as they rapidly outmaneuvered and pushed back the German army in WWII France. Patton’s ironic reversal of the Blitzkrieg tactics so effective for the Germans in the early war years won him popular acclaim as one of the boldest and most brilliant tactical generals of all time.

Illustration Friday: Cars

So what does this have to do with cars? Patton survived two world wars, three battle wounds and many narrow escapes in battle. His final demise, ironically enough, was due to – you guessed it – a car crash.

General George Patton

This is acrylic and pencil and started out as a media technique study but I think it will serve as a good under painting for an oil or acrylic glaze technique. So I may try coloring it in the future. If so I will post the results.


The Washington Portrait – Part 1

Posted in Drawing, History, Illustration, Painting, Step By Step at 10:28 am

I’ve always wanted to do a portrait of good old George and my last post started me thinking on it again. I didn’t want a copy of the highly recognizable dollar bill image or any of the famous portraiture from days gone by. Those never seemed quite natural enough to me. But aside from pure speculation, how should I change it?

It is pretty well known that many portraits depict him with dentures that made his mouth look odd. So I thought a portrait that shows a more natural mouth would be a must. Then I recently ran across a photo of a life mask made of him and it was striking. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a painting that took in this likeness. Everything from a disproportionate nose to varying head shapes to the afore mentioned denture mouth can be seen in other works. Age differences I’m sure have made made their mark too so I decided on a slightly younger portrait as the life mask seemed to portray. As I studied different portraits certain features appear with regularity so these I tried to include. Most notably the roman nose, the high arching brows and the stern straight-set mouth. So I’ve begun my portrait. Despite everything this is a personal interpretation and a synthesis of several images. You may also see the likeness change just a little as I make adjustments in the painting process.

This under drawing will make the foundation for the painting. The approach will be a multimedia one; going next to an acrylic under painting and wash background and then to an oil glaze rendering on top. I’m taking a purist approach here and won’t be doing any digital painting on this piece. I want an authentic physical original when I’m done and not something I have to print. In reality I can’t wait to experience the smell of the oil paint again. If you are a studio artist you’ll understand.

Washington portrait under drawing