Gallery Highlight: Pet Portraits

Two Corgis

Two Corgis

Well, I’ve been doing portraits for years, and along the way animals get thrown into the mix! Our beloved furry family members that we sometimes call pets are a delight to illustrate. Two of these portraits were done in remembrance of loved ones that have passed away. Original art is a wonderful way to remember those we have lost.

I have found the texture of fur can be a challenge depending on the medium. With pencils as seen in the drawing of the two Corgis; fur is easy! I find the pencil so much easier to control than wet paint. I have done other pencil portraits of animals and one of my favorites that I don’t have a picture of was of a police officer and his K-9 unit. The German Sheppard’s hair was a blast!



I have highlighted three medium types in this post: graphite pencil, colored pencil, and oil paint. The colored pencil drawing of the Dalmatians had it’s own challenges. Achieving a realistic look and maintaining the form of the dogs while portraying the high contrast coats on a white paper background was the tricky part with this one. All of these examples were commissioned work, but the Dalmatians were done for my brother-in-law. They dearly love their dogs, and this one was named “Heart” because of the heart shaped black spot right on her chest which was a critical element to capture in this portrait.

Pit-bull oil portrait


Lastly, is another dog portrait done in oil paint. I stuck with my usual style of realism with this one, and the fur and whiskers were quite challenging with a paintbrush! The whiskers in particular require just the right consistency of paint and the perfect brush. My wonderful wife made a couple trips to the art store to get me the right tools. Painting with oils is not as easy to me as pencil and I changed the background color mid-way through the project, but in the end this one turned out great! Overall this was a great project featuring a family’s beautiful beloved Pit Bull.

I am looking forward to developing my oil painting skills in the future with MORE pet portraits like this one. If you want to see more of my fine art drawings and paintings click: HERE

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Sketchbook Dump – January 2017

Starting the New Year off with something old:




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Sketchbook Dump – December 2016

Here are some species specific Ents based on the Lord of the Rings Novels by J. R. R. Tolkien

Birch Tree Ent

Birch Tree Ent


Cabbage Palm Ent


Cypress Ent


Redwood Ent

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Ragnorok details (The Lunastell)

on the landing pad
full cut-a-way view
I can almost never design something in CAD without fleshing-out the details. Here are some details of the Ragnorok’s mid-ship: The Lunastell (see my last post). I will likely enhance this model with secret compartments for various spy-type hardware that the twins utilize in their missions.
These are some quick screen captures with no lighting. I hope to do that in the near future. ENJOY!
right side viewleft side view
iso view

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The Ragnorok

This is not exactly a piece I am “currently” working on, but rather something I pulled out of my portfolio. Although, the last image represents a rendering I have done recently after adding some simple lighting and textures. I am showcasing this piece because it represents a milestone of sorts in my model building skills.

It started back in 1981-82 while a good friend and I were brain-storming, doodling, and writing about our own comic book concept. We formulated a HUGE 10 member hero team and while some of them had individual flight capabilities, some did not and needed some cool ships they could fly. This unique design accommodates 5 of the team members in 3 individual crafts that can link together to form one larger craft.

Combatra: property of Marvel Comics

I had of course certain characters in mind during the design process, such as the large ship in the back being piloted by a guy who is almost 8 feet tall, and the middle section being occupied by a pair of spy-twins. Looking carefully at the ship one can see the 80s design influences; notably: Star Wars, Battle of the Planets, and Marvel Comics’ Shogun Warriors. I was particularly fond of Combatra.

Almost as soon as I started using CAD in the mid 80’s I wanted to model this ship! It proved to be a formidable task as the tools and my skills were not up to par as can be seen in the 1996 version of this project. Finally (within the last year) I got up-to-speed with some more advanced modeling skills and have been able to fabricate a full-size 3D model of one of my favorite ships.




Each section can function autonomously, having its own propulsion, weapons and guidance systems. The fore-ship is called the Freebird. The smooth design, low-profile and heavy out-board type engine is designed for speed. The armaments include two embedded chain-guns able to fire an assortment of projectile-based or energy-based rounds depending on the cockpit configuration, and two extendable launch platforms with a total of 30 deployable missiles stowed on-board. The missiles can be configured for various uses before being loaded into the ship. The “skids” on the back are specifically for cradling the mid-ship and includes retractable docking nozzles. The Freebird also has a full communications array with basic tracking and detection capabilities, countermeasures, and limited deflector defenses.

The mid-ship is the Lunastell. Its tiny footprint, radar deflecting skin, quiet running engines, and noise dampeners allows the Lunastell to execute stealth missions effectively. The ship serves as an extension to the spy-master abilities of the twins. The cockpits of each pod are loaded with highly advanced tracking and detection capabilities as well as advanced communications and super-computing hardware, (these features are not shown). Data and communications between the two pods are linked via the connection arches in the middle. Specialized equipment is stored in secret compartments and the armaments include two spread-fire lasers mounted on the underside of each wing and two Vulcan cannon turrets.

The aft-ship is the Albatross. This massive craft is most notable for the four huge engines that are required to propel the three ships in their combined form (the Ragnorok). It also houses the largest member of the team as its pilot (as mentioned before). The nose is a large docking clamp that grasps the mid-ship in the combined phase and can fold shut when not in use. There are large deployable landing pads in the back which give the Albatross and the Ragnorok as a whole VTOL capability when needed. The cockpit is also designed so the pilot can slide back into an instrumentation-only mode that in addition provides extra shielding. In normal-mode the cockpit can store extra equipment or temporarily transport one additional passenger. This vessel is heavily armed with 3 wing-mounted gauss cannons, a rear facing Vulcan cannon, smart bombs, and the biggest weapon on-board. the awesome rail-gun which is lowered down from the belly of the ship during deployment. Defenses include heavy armor and mild deflectors.

While in combined mode data and communications flow throughout the Ragnorok via data ports embedded in the docking clamps and surfaces. The Lunastell acts as the “brain” of the Ragnorok and the other two ships cannot combine without it. Advanced systems in the Lunastell take control of communications, computing, tracking and detection routines of the other two ships while in combined mode. Some armaments go off-line and the spread-fire lasers have less rotation due to the wing combination. Primary control of the spread-fire lasers also transfers to the aft-ship pilot to allow the mid-ship members to focus on surveillance and analysis tasks. Navigation priority is routed to the Freebird. Main thrusters of the Freebird and Lunastell go off-line while navigational thrusters remain active leaving the Albatross with main propulsion priority.

As you can tell I am having WAY too much fun with this, but what can I say?

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The details in the foreground of the various plants and flowers proved to be very time consuming, indeed. One of the biggest challenges was matching colors that I had applied two months prior. Having never had any formal training in the fine arts I feel that I need to “level-up my alchemy skills” as they would say in the gaming world, (i.e.: teach myself some color theory). I was also a little jittery about the relief effect mostly because I was unsure how my idea on tinting the existing wall color was going to work out. It was meant to be subtle but noticeable, so I think it worked out.

Well, what else to say that has not already been said… This has been a GREAT experience and I am GRATEFUL to Larry and Nancy for their patience over the duration of this project! As you can see in some of the pictures, life went on in their living room while the main wall was half covered in paint, paper and tape for several months. I was always welcomed in their home and treated as part of the family and quickly given rights to the fridge to get what became my customary glass of diet root-beer. Some of the time I was isolated in my world with my headphones on and other times I was involved in the festivities like catching up on their favorite shows on the DVR – “Top Gear” ROCKS! Such are the joys of working for friends!
So Here it is!:

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Plympton Mural, Part 5: Photo Update

As Nancy said this last Saturday: “We are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.” Thanks so much for visiting!

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Plympton Mural, Part 4… The Bridge to Nowhere

Sorry for my latent blog as of late. I was hoping to make this a 4-post project, but that’s not gonna be possible due to my recent adventures exploring my other passion of being a plumbing repair-man… (not). After 2 weeks of work (nights and weekends) that included 5 days without running water, $360 to a plumber that did not help at all, 4-5 trips to Lowe’s, dozens of phone calls and 2 trips to Brevard County to procure the apparently extremely rare parts needed to fix a 1hp Sta-Rite Projet pump – and after having taken said pump apart twice; we now have running water. We are still troubleshooting the lack of pressure in the system and still need to install final changes to the well head, but I was finally able to get back to the Plympton’s house and paint some more.

As a compensatory bone I am throwing in these two pictures of the bridge in progress: (and yes, it appears that the bridge leads to a void in reality, but I will fix that – I promise)

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Plympton Mural – Part 3

First of all – PICTURES! PICTURES! PICTURES!  My wife said: “More PICTURES!”  So, here ya go.  The first two shots are of the background in progress; before and after the house was placed. 


The pencil works I do are easy because they are usually compact and if I mess up I can erase something, or at worse-case tear it up and get a new piece of paper.  But this… this is someone’s WALL – in their house… it’s HUGE and you can’t tear it up and start over.  The lake is a BIG part of this composition and I knew that to mess it up was equivalent to “buying the farm”.  Mistakes are not an option.  Small ones yes, like the issue I had with the house earlier.  Those are the kinds of thoughts and anxieties that were zooming around in my head as the time to paint the water in the lake approached.  I studied water everywhere I went.  There is a similar lake in Winter Park (the most awesome park EVER: Lake Island Park).  I went there for lunch many days and studied the colors, the reflections and the wind effect and took lots of pictures.  I was ready.  Using the texture of the wall to help with the wind effect and a half loaded fan brush in my hand I applied the paint … and immediately went into CARDIAC ARREST.  It looked like a 2nd grader just smeared green paint all over my beautiful blue lake – it was worse because with a 2nd grader there’s a certain amount of “oh isn’t he cute?”, but this was awful!  In a MOMENT I had to come up with a new plan.  I grabbed a smaller brush and other colors of paint and started fixing the insanely fast-drying puke that was all over my mural.  What resulted was in my mind, one of the most successful sessions yet of working on this project: 


There is some tweaking and touching up left to do and more reflective water in the foreground coming soon, but for the most part, I am pleased with how it turned out.

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Plympton Mural, Part 2

 So the first image is the wall right after the arches had been transferred and masked off.  Then I applied primer inside the arches and after the primer had dried it made perfect sense to construct the enlargement grid – which is about the time that I realized how nervous I was about this project.  After determining that it would work best to paint from the background forward, I promptly painted over most of the enlargement grid with sky, water and grass.

After the enlargement grid was re-traced it was time for the real fun to begin!  What followed was hours of mixing colors, applying the color, FREAKING OUT, and re-mixing the color to try that again.  Finally the background was forming and I was picking up some  momentum.  Now that the project was about 1/3rd of the way finished I started to feel like I had a plan that was working.  Then I hit the first snag…

The scene has a white farm house sitting on a hill in the background.  The first time the house was blocked onto the hill it seemed too big.  It was a Saturday and I had some other stuff to take care of at home, so I asked Larry and Nancy (the clients) to look it over through the rest of the weekend and let me know how they felt next time I came out.  We agreed that the house was too big so I had to concoct a way to shave it down.

This image shows the house in progress after it was reduced.  The weird color blotches show how I used the tree color behind the house to push the edges inward, making the house smaller.

Next week I will share about the highly intimidating process of painting the water in the lake.

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