Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Marino L. Tripoli - Artist of a Lifetime

Marino L. Tripoli
June 10, 1929 - Nov. 22, 2013

This is going to be a tough posting to write, because it is about my father, Marino L. Tripoli, who passed away last month, on November 22, 2013, the 50th Anniversary of the JFK assassination.  Dad was with us for 84 and a half years, he would have been 85 next June 10, but it still doesn't seem like enough time.  So please indulge me while I dedicate my "Artist of the Day" feature to honor my Dad.  This time around, there will be no links to other websites, or Facebook pages, or Etsy Shops, etc.  In fact, there won't even be links to artwork, because I don't have a single drawing or piece of artwork that my Dad left behind.  But make no mistake about it, even though all I have are memories, Dad was one heck of an artist.  He could draw anything, and cartooning was his forte.  Growing up, I remember we used to love to put paper and pencil in front of him and ask him to draw whatever images our hearts desired - cats, dogs, horses, cowboys, you name it.  He would take hold of the pencil, go through a few "Nortonesque" flourishes (ala Ed Norton in The Honeymooners), and before you knew it, the image requested was on the paper.  I'll always remember the various school projects he helped me with, and remember taking particular pride in the fact that in the 3rd Grade (Miss Moody's class), I was the "go to guy" for one project in particular - our class' depiction of the first Thanksgiving, featuring Pilgrims and Indians and a forest background, etc. I did most of the layout work and figure drawing, while others in the class followed behind me adding color and background.  So I would have to say that any innate artistic ability that I have is a direct result of my Dad's influence and DNA.  

At the Keyboard
 Not only was my Dad an artist/cartoonist, he was also a musician.  His instrument, from his early years, was
the accordion.  Whenever we had a family function, and with a big family like ours, we had many - out would come the accordion and Dad would be the entertainment for the evening.  I don't think there was ever a party that didn't include, at some point or other, The Hokey Pokey, with everyone getting up and "dancing" to my Dad's accompaniment. I think his accordion was a permanent fixture in the trunk of the car, so that no matter where we were, it would always be handy.  One of the stories recounted for my Dad's Memorial had to do with the time he and my Grandfather (Mom's dad) where out for a drive in our new car.  My Grandfather was a smoker, and flicked the butt of his cigarette out the passenger's window. The wind kicked it into the back seat, where it lodged between the cushions unbeknownst to Dad and Grandpop. An hour or so later, with the back seat smoldering, the fire department had to come to the house to put out the fire in the car.  Grandpop was very upset over having caused the fire in the new car, but Dad handled it the best way he knew how.  He grabbed his accordion and started to entertain everyone to lighten the mood and relieve the stress.  When I was in the 2nd, or 3rd Grade, maybe 4th at most, they were signing up kids in school for accordion lessons, and I wanted to sign up so I could play, just like my Dad.  I guess he did not have real fond memories of his early accordion lessons, so he didn't want me to take it up.  Instead, I took drum lessons, and was in the school band and also the Fife and Drum Corps for a short time. One day, when I came home from school, there was a new addition to the dining room - an electric organ that Dad had recently purchased.  He applied his knowledge of the accordion to a different type of keyboard, but what was really amazing was that he played both instruments by ear.  He never did learn how to read music.  Needless to say, it wasn't long before I was teaching myself to play the keyboard as well, so it all came around in the end.

In addition to being an artist and a musician, Dad was an inventor, of sorts.  When my Dad was growing up, on South Street in Elizabeth, NJ, the family business was a neighborhood grocery - Tripoli & Sons.  Somewhere along the way, Dad got an idea for a collapsible shopping cart, which would fold up and make it easy for the moms on the block to haul their daily shopping home.  He even patented the idea, and I vividly remember him showing me the specs of his design. Well, I guess he was never able to come up with any financing to fully pursue production of his plans, and after 20 years, the patent lapsed.  He was never bitter about it, it was just one of those things.  Ironically, I now have a collapsible shopping cart in my garage, very similar to the one I saw on paper all those years ago.  I wonder if it is possible to check back on old patents and find my Dad's original specs. Maybe LegalZoom could point me in the right direction, if there is one.  I'll have to check it out.  For now, I'll just say goodbye Dad, we'll all miss you, and I'm thankful that I got to spend that last week with you, but it still wasn't enough.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Val de re, Val de ra

Oh, I love to go a-wandering, etc., etc.  As I participate in my daily treks through the neighboring foothills, I'm constantly amazed by the ever-changing topography of our forests and mountains.  Sometimes, these changes take place over an elapsed period of time, from season to season, for years at a time.  Sometimes they take place in the blink of an eye. Each Autumn, we fret over the falling leaves that clutter up our yards, and go about the chore of raking and burning (if your state allows such activity), or turning them into mulch, etc.  Each day, as I walk the dogs in the forest near our house, I can't help but notice the accumulation of leaves around me.  Literally tons and tons of leaves, yet the next Spring and Summer, these leaves are gone, decomposed into the food that feeds the forest.  So, raking seems like a lot of wasted work to me, but then, we must keep up the over-all appearance of our properties, so rake on home owners.  The forest that I hike in was once used for logging, and I like to look for traces of that enterprise from decades ago, and the changes since then. Along the many spur roads which branch out from the main road, I'll see the stumps of these fallen trees from long ago. What I find interesting is the newer, more recent growth of trees sprouting up from the rotten stumps.  I mean, there are some stumps that easily measure 6 feet  or more across, which now have 75 - 100 ft. tall trees sprouting from them, and their trunks may only measure 1 - 2 ft. across.   I can only imagine how tall these previous trees were.  In fact, along one of the spurs that I hike each day, there is a dead giant of a tree that shoots up about 250-300 ft.  For the past 7 years, I've wondered what would happen if that thing ever came down.  Well, earlier this week, we had a fairly violent wind storm sweep through, and I got my answer.  Now, the whole tree didn't come crashing down, but about 25 ft or so of rotten wood from the top was ripped off and thrown down onto the trail, impacting somewhat the surrounding trees at the base of this behemoth.  Glad I wasn't in the vicinity at the time!  For the past year or so, the Forest Service has been working on a project to thin out the trees from around the main road and some of the spurs, to let more sunlight in and aid in the growth of the rest of the forest. 

I noticed one tree that had been cut down a couple of years ago just as Spring blossoms were starting to show up.  Talk about dead tree walking.  This tree went through the whole seasonal cycle, as if it were still attached to the base of the trunk!  The blossoms turned into beautiful blooms, which were then replaced by a full growth of leaves which lasted through the Summer, only to turn into striking reds and golds as Autumn returned.  Sadly, that tree is now just fodder for the rest of the surrounding plant life.  If I didn't know where it was, I would not be able to see it beneath the wild vinca that has taken over and covered it up. 

Unfortunately, some of the aspects of the ever-changing forest are not especially appealing.  For years, I used to take the dogs up there and let them run around off-leash, exploring their surroundings.  About a year ago, as we were heading back to the 4-Runner at the end of our daily trek, I heard this awful howling and screeching, and knew it was Addie, our Chesapeake Bay Retriever.  She had stepped into a trap of some sort, and was crying out in pain and in panic.  It took me about 20 minutes or so to be able to finally pry the damn thing open and release her.  Thankfully, those old saw tooth traps have been outlawed, so this had flat edges, but there still would have been enough force behind the spring to break her leg nonetheless if it hadn't closed on the fleshy part of her paw.  I used the hook part of the anchor chain to pry open the trap enough to get her foot out, then hurled that trap as deep into the woods as I could so the poacher would not be able to use it again. So now, I keep the dogs on leash on our daily treks.  May not be as much fun for them, but I'm not going to take any more chances.

Naturally, another aspect of hiking in the foothills which I really appreciate is the abundance of wildlife. Sometimes this was problematic, as when we suddenly came upon a couple of young deer that ran right in front of our path, and Addie and Cooper took off in hot pursuit (this was prior to the trap incident).  Boots gave chase for a while, but then quickly returned and waited out their return with me. In addition to the deer, we'll see elk and, on occasion the bear that roams the woods.  I know there is a cougar up there also, but so far, I haven't spotted him.  I'm sure he has seen us, but hopefully, having three dogs as my hiking companions has discouraged any close encounters of the cougar kind.  One of my neighbors up there who has a cabin on the edge of the Forest Service land, once awoke to see the cougar lounging on his deck.  Another time, he saw the cougar sitting there along the road to his place with a young elk that he had just felled. Perhaps the cougar is what those poachers were after, who knows?  Anyway, such is life on the mountain trails in the foothills by my house.  Val de ra ha ha ha ha ha!

Friday, November 08, 2013

Another Horse Portrait, plus "Artist of the Day"!

I just added this horse portrait, titled "Profile" to my FineArtAmerica Gallery, so I thought I'd lead off today's post with this follow-up to "Back in the Saddle Again", my most recent post.  Naturally, I'll be adding "Profile" to my Etsy Shop as well.  And if you're looking for all kinds of gifts that might feature this artwork (mugs, T-shirts, calendars, pillows, etc.), be sure to check out my CafePress Storefront.  Links to all of my Galleries/Storefronts are located in the side panel.  "Profile" is an original graphite portrait, dimensions are 14" x 17".  While I'm waiting to get into town to scan the new pieces I've completed over the past few months, I've been looking for older pieces that haven't been featured previously.  Pretty much everything can be found on my website, but the other galleries/storefronts are not always "mirrors" of what is on my website, although I guess, eventually that is the goal.

Panda Bear
Now, for this edition's "Artist of the Day", I'd like to introduce you to Jurek Zamoyski, from Great Barrington, MA.  Jurek joined FineArtAmerica around the same time that I did, but so far, I don't think that I've featured him yet on any of my "Artist of the Day/Month" posts.  That's not too surprising, considering that there are a few thousand artists posting on FineArtAmerica. That is why I rely on the various groups that I belong to on that site to gather my prospective artists.  Makes the task a little bit easier, yet still provides me with an unlimited number of very talented artists.  Jurek's portfolio at FineArtAmerica consists mostly of animal portraits, although he does have a wide range of other subjects as well.  I hope you'll take some time to visit his Profile page and browse through the rest of his galleries.  Here are a few examples of his artwork.  As usual the links beneath each image will take you over to their respective pages at FineArtAmerica.  From there, you can navigate through the rest of his artwork.  

Snow Leopard

Jurek has had a special affinity for animals ever since he was a child, and I think you'll agree that his portraits capture the essence of the subject, and reflect the very soul of the animals through their eyes.  Jurek paints on wood board or canvas, using a variety of water based paints and inks, and his own style is based on Mische Technique.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Back in the Saddle again!

Out of the Shadows
Whew! I didn't realize it has been almost 6 months since my last post!  Talk about a busy summer around the old homestead, tending to the property, the gardens, the dogs, etc., etc.  So now I face the daunting task of trying to get back up to speed with all of my online storefronts/galleries.  Let's see, I found out today that 25 of my Etsy Shop listings had expired.  That was job #1.  Oops, 6 months behind on blog postings - working on it.  As many as 15 messages from my various groups on FineArtAmerica - working on it.  No pins on Pinterest during this time either - working on it.  CafePress has a whole new look and easier flow to it since May, and I want to try and update my storefront there as well.  And the big kahuna - revamping my website!  Now, that one will definitely take some dedicated effort and concentration.  Started working with WordPress back in the Spring, but wasn't overly thrilled with the progress at the point when work stopped.  It's soon enough in the process to re-evaluate and possibly start over if necessary.  In either case, this will probably be my main focus over the upcoming months.  And, of course, there's the blog.  The plan is to get back to it now, if not every day, at least three times per week.  I'll keep everyone posted on progress on all of the other fronts, as well as continue with my Artist of the Day features.  Just in the past day or so that I've been starting to get back into the flow, I've noticed a lot of great artwork by many different artists through FineArtAmerica, and Etsy, ArtFlakes, etc., so look for those posts during the upcoming months.  I also have about 5 new pieces to scan and add to my various portfolios, and I look forward to introducing them to everyone in the near future.  For now, in keeping with the title of this first post, here are a few of my horse renderings to get the ball rolling.  You've probably seen them before and already know the drill, but click on the links under each portrait to go to their respective pages in my FineArtAmerica Gallery, and from there feel free to visit the other galleries on the site.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Contemplation", plus Artist of the Day......

First, some news from the trenches - I have undertaken the daunting task of re-designing my website.  Should keep me busy for quite awhile, considering all of the images I have posted.  Thankfully, WordPress seems to be a very comprehensive tool that is easy to use, and should make the task a great learning experience.  Hopefully, much of the look and feel of the website will remain the same, but I am trying to enhance the quality of uploaded images, as well as simplify the navigation and reduce the amount of text.  I may cut back on the number of actual images at first, so I can at least get the website up and running, and then add in the oldies but goodies as I go along.  Will keep you posted!

The latest addition to my Daily Paintworks gallery is "Contemplation", pictured above.  This portrait was completed using the stippling, or pointillism technique.  The original measures 14 x 11 ( or 11 x 14, if you prefer ), and is part of my Other Faces Gallery.  The link below the image will take you over to the auction page, where you can also check out all of the other images in my gallery.  Prints and note cards of "Contemplation" are available through my website, as well as my Etsy Shop and FineArtAmerica gallery, and the links are provided here and in the side panel for your convenience.

African Stallion
One of the groups that I belong to at FineArtAmerica focuses on Scratchboard renderings, and I've found some great artists there.  Some, I've already featured here, but there seems to be no end to the talented people once you spend a little time browsing through the galleries there.  Today's artist is one of my favorite, more recent discoveries, Sheryl Unwin. Sheryl is originally from Massachusetts, growing up about 30 miles north of Boston.  She now resides in North Port, Florida, and has been illustrating portraits of various subjects for over 20 years.  She also works in Graphite and Prismacolor pencil, and is a wonderful photographer as well.  Here are a few of her pieces to whet your appetite.  I hope you will take a few minutes to visit her FineArtAmerica gallery and check out the rest of her portfolio.  As usual, the links beneath the images will take you over to their respective pages, and here is a link to Sheryl's FineArtAmerica Gallery.

Midnight Patrol

Sumatran Tiger

Friday, May 17, 2013

"Mojave Girl" and "Fox"

As usual, I'm a little behind in posting (but my garden looks great!).  Summertime should yield a great harvest of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, romaine lettuce, beets, Swiss chard, kale, and green beans, not to mention the various herbs and spices, like basil, oregano, parsley, cilantro, sage, mint, lemon balm, etc.  Since we've had a few days of rain this week, I'm able to spend some time indoors attending to other chores and tasks and work on some artwork. 

Mojave Girl
"Mojave Girl" is the latest entry to my Daily Paintworks gallery.  This is an original pen & ink rendering of an Edward Curtis photo, circa 1903.  I used black and brown inks in completing this portrait, to give the portrait a sepia tone, much like the old tintype photos.  I used the stippling, or pointillism technique throughout the portrait.  The link beneath the image will take you over to the auction page at Daily Paintworks, and from there, you can check out the other original pieces I have posted so far.  "Mojave Girl" is part of my Faces West Gallery, and is already framed and part of my collection, in fact, she is hanging in our foyer.  Keep in mind that only original artwork is posted at Daily Paintworks.  The auctions run for 7 days, and I can repeat them up to three times before the piece is listed with a "Buy It Now" fixed price.  Anyone interested in prints or note cards of "Mojave Girl" should visit my website, my Etsy Shop, or my FineArtAmerica Gallery.  The links are posted in the side panel on this blog.

Last week, I posted "Fox" to Daily Paintworks, but haven't had a chance to make a blog entry yet, so I'll include that here as well.  "Fox" is an original graphite rendering, part of my Wildlife Gallery.  Other than pencils of various degrees of hardness, the only other tool used here was a kneading eraser to lift out highlights and add depth.  "Fox" is also already framed and part of my collection, although currently, it is on display at the Elkhorn Valley Inn Bed & Breakfast, in Lyons, OR. Again, the link beneath the image takes you to the Daily Paintworks auction page, and prints and note cards are available through my website, Etsy Shop, and FineArtAmerica Gallery.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Man With No Name", plus Artist of the Day - Nat Morley

Man With No Name
Well, I haven't been able to get back into the rhythm of posting every day, or even every other day for that matter, yet.  I knew that would be tough task once Spring/Summer rolled around, what with all of the demands of the property.  I'm almost caught up with getting back up to speed after the Winter lay-off.  The lawn is looking pretty good, the plants are starting to come back (tulips, daffodils, azaleas and camellias are blooming now), most of the accumulated lawn debris has been burned off (only a few weeks left of burning season until we shut it down for the Summer), and now my attention turns to the various flower beds and vegetable garden.  We want to get the garden planted over the next 2-3 weeks.  I've been working on prepping the raised beds, added additional soil to top them off, and start the actual planting today, right after I post this blog.

My Daily Paintworks entry for today is "Man With No Name", one of Clint Eastwood's iconic film characters from the spaghetti western days. This original portrait was done using stroke work and cross-hatching strokes, and is part of my Faces West Gallery.  The link beneath the image will take you over to the Daily Paintworks auction page.  Of course, you can also view "Man With No Name" on any of my other Gallery or Storefront listings by clicking on the appropriate link on the side panel.  For example, if you are interested in T-shirt, mug, calendar or any of the other products that feature this image, check out my storefront at, and look for the Faces West shop.

Morgan Freeman
I also have an Artist of the Day entry today, and his name is Nat Morley.  He is one of my fellow FineArtAmerica artists, but unfortunately, does not have a lot biographic information on his Profile Page.  When I tried to click through to his website, I found out that his domain has just recently lapsed.  I'm hoping he's in the process of renewing, to get back up to speed, but in the meantime, I do know that he hails from the United Kingdom and does a fantastic job with celebrity portraits in graphite.  So, I'll post a few of his portraits here and you can check them out for yourself.  As usual, the links provided beneath the images will take you over to their respective pages at FineArtAmerica, where you can check out the larger versions.

Johnny Depp

The Joker
Zooey Deschanel

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Although I've been back from my recent trip to Florida for a couple of weeks, I haven't posted any blog entries since my return.  Actually, I haven't even been on the computer much since my return. Before we left on our trip, we had about 2 weeks of rain, so much of the yard work fell by the wayside.  Add to that almost 2 weeks that we were gone, and you can imagine the shape of the yard when we returned.  It looked like a jungle! I'm still trying to catch up!  Thankfully, we've been experiencing some great weather lately, and I've been able to make the yard presentable again, to which my aching back will surely (or sorely) testify.  

So, I'm going to ease back into the posting routine with a new Daily Paintworks entry, "Osprey".  This original pen & ink rendering was completed using stroke work in combination with the stippling, or pointillism technique, and is part of my Wildlife Gallery.  The link below the image will take you over to the auction page at Daily Paintworks.  From there you can also browse through the other original pieces featured there. As I get back into the routine, I have a lot of new artists I'm looking forward to introducing through this blog, so keep posted for regular Artist of the Day (Week, Month, etc.) entries, as well as additional original pieces from my portfolio.

Monday, April 01, 2013

"Loggerhead Key Lighthouse", it happens evey spring.

LoggerHead Key Lighthouse
Today's entry at Daily Paintworks is my original pen & ink rendering of "Loggerhead Key Lighthouse".  Actually this was yesterday's entry, but I'm a day behind in posting due to Easter Sunday.  Located on Loggerhead Key, the westernmost key in Dry Tortugas National Park. The lighthouse was first illuminated on July 1, 1858.  Loggerhead Key, as the name implies, is a nesting place for the Loggerhead Turtle, and they return to the island each year to lay their eggs. In 1992, Loggerhead Key was included in Dry Tortugas National Park, and the grounds are open to the public, but the tower is not.  This rendering was completed primarily using line and stroke work, with just a little bit of stippling, or pointillism thrown in. Recently, it was on display at a local medical clinic, in Salem, Oregon, along with about 20 other pieces, as part of a one-man showing.  The link below the image will take you over to the auction page at Daily Paintworks. From there, you can keep tabs on all of the originals at auction right now.  It will probably be sometime around the middle of the month before I post another blog entry, as I'll be on vacation for awhile.  But all of the originals at auction should be cycling through at least one more time at auction before listing at their regular Buy It Now price.  If I can sneak a blog post in while I'm gone,  I will.

March 20th marked the official start of Spring, though depending on where you live, it can be much earlier than that or somewhat later, too.  I know when I used to live in Colorado, I always thought of February as starting the Spring season.  That seems kind of strange, but the weather can be so unpredictable in Colorado, that as soon as I was able to get out for a few rounds of golf, that was the start of Spring.  Of course, you have to realize that it can still snow in May, June or July there also.  I remember one Summer when I worked at the Keystone Ranch Golf Course, I played a round once where I started on the 1st hole in bright sunshine, about 70 degrees or so, and by the time I got to the 7th hole, I was in the middle of a blizzard that dumped about 6" of snow, freezing my butt off and driving the cart back to the clubhouse in white out conditions.

Spring also brings back the routine of working in the yard.  First comes the necessary clean-up from the winter months, and then you fall into something of a pattern of scheduling out the daily chores and tasks so that by the time you've cycled through everything, it's time to start over again.  But the yard looks great, and if you time everything right, you can sneak a round of golf every once in awhile.  I think you can get the drift here that I love the game of golf.  I worked in the golf business for about 10 years, so Spring also brings my favorite tournament, The Masters, into focus.  All of the early season tournaments that begin in January are just the warm up for The Masters, the first of the four Majors to be played during the course of the season.

Finally, Spring brings the start of the Baseball Season, and as I'm writing this, Opening Day is under way.  All teams start with a clean slate, and hopes of making it to the Playoffs and World Series are alive for every team.  No 100 game winners or losers yet, no hitting streaks or slumps, the All Star Game is still 4 months away.  And of course, there are the Baseball movies, and there are some great ones.  Most folks are familiar with the more recent ones, like The Natural, Major League, Field of Dreams, The Rookie, etc. although some of these are even approaching the 25-30 year mark, so it's hard to consider them recent.  (Am I really getting that old?)  There are quite a few oldies that I really like also, like It Happens Every Spring, which prompted the title of today's post.  This movie is from 1949, and starred Ray Milland, Jean Peters and Paul Douglas. It's about a professor who accidentally stumbles upon a formula which repels wood.  When the liquid is applied to a baseball, you can imagine the havoc it causes with batters when they swing at the ball.  It's a great baseball classic. Other baseball movies from this era that I really enjoyed as a kid are:  Kill the Ump, from 1951 and starring William Bendix, Angels in the Outfield, from 1950 and starring Paul Douglas (re-made in 1994 with Danny Glover), and one of my all time favorites, Elmer the Great, from way back in 1933 and starring Joe E. Brown.  It's been quite awhile since I've seen any of these movies, so I may have to check Netflix to see if they are available.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

"Pronghorns"....Plus a little road trip.

"Pronghorns" is my entry today into the Daily Paintworks auction. This original pen & ink rendering was completed with black and brown inks, using a combination of stroke work with the stippling, or pointillism technique.  I thought that the sepia tone, like in the old tintype photos, which I use on some of my Native American portraits, would be a nice look here.  

Fans of the TV show "South Park", are probably aware of the fact that there actually is an area of Colorado that this cartoon is based upon.  If you are not a fan, and have never seen the TV program, this little tidbit has more than likely escaped you.  But, having lived in Colorado on and off for about 20 years, I am very familiar with both this fact and this area.  Most of my time in Colorado was spent in the Colorado Springs area, but I did spend five years in Summit County (ski country), home to the towns of Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon, Silverthorne, Keystone and Copper Mountain.

Traveling west from Colorado Springs to Breckenridge would take you through the town of Fairplay, and the area known as South Park.  It was one of my favorite drives through the state.  You did not see the splendor of the Rockies as much as you did on a trip from Denver to Summit County and beyond, say to Vail or Glenwood Springs, but you did get a little taste of everything Colorado has to offer.  As you start off from Colorado Springs on Hwy. 24 you would pass little mountain towns like Green Mountain Falls, Chipita Park and Cascade, which is the gateway to the top of Pike's Peak. Next would be Woodland Park, Divide, and Lake George, plus a turn off (Hwy. 67) that would take you into Cripple Creek.  You would also pass the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, where you could check out some of the prehistoric fossils unearthed in the area.  Once you reached the little town of Hartsel, and turned off onto Hwy. 9, the trip really got interesting.  This stretch of land is like a high mountain dessert stuck in between two mountain ranges.  If you take this trip in the winter, when the area is blanketed by snow, it reminds you of some sort of moonscape or alien terrain.  If you take the trip in the summer, you are more than likely to see herds of Pronghorn Antelope grazing on either side of the highway.  Every time I look at this rendering, I think about all of the times I made that trip over the years spent in Colorado.  This also happens to lead you to the area of South Park and the town of Fairplay.  From there, you start your climb back into the mountains, and your last stop before heading over Hoosier Pass, is the little town of Alma, which I believe is the highest unincorporated town in the United States.  I think that Leadville holds that honor for actual townships.  Next is Hoosier Pass, and the twisty, winding, beautiful drive down into Breckenridge along the Blue River.  Before Breckenridge exploded into the massive ski resort that it is today, it used to be a quaint little village, with a sign on either side of town that said quite simply, "Welcome to the Kingdom of Breckenridge". 

The link beneath the image will take you over to the auction page at Daily Paintworks, and from there you can check out all of the originals currently at auction.  If you are interested in notecards or prints, please visit my website or storefront/galleries at Etsy and FineArtAmerica.  Links are provided in the side panel of the blog for easy access.

Friday, March 29, 2013

"No Peeking", or Here's Looking at You!...Plus Blue Gator Jewelry.

No Peeking
"No Peeking" is today's entry in my Daily Paintworks Gallery.  I've always thought that an alternate title could be "Here's Looking at You", but decided to go with the shorter moniker.  If you are searching for it on my website, or FineArtAmerica, you will find it in the Other Faces Gallery.  While, strictly speaking, it may not actually be a face, it is, however, a part of a face, and therefore, belongs in this category.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!  Besides, I can't really think of any other category or gallery where it would be a better fit, so here we are. As relatively small and simple as this rendering seems to be, at least when compared to some of my other pieces, I was amazed at the amount of detail required to effectively show the texture of the skin and contours of  the eye.  It was actually one of the most fun pieces I've ever completed.  The grammar is probably not quite right in that last sentence, but you get the idea.  Anyway, the original was completed using Micron pens, in the stippling or pointillism technique, and measures 9" x 12".  The link beneath the image takes you over to the auction page.  From there, you can check out all of the other originals I have posted so far to Daily Paintworks. If you are interested in prints or note card packages, please visit my website.  Other print and note card options are also available at my Etsy Shop and FineArtAmerica Gallery.  

Blue Gator Jewelry

Cherry Cluster Earrings
I've been publishing this blog on and off since 2006, although 2009 doesn't really count, since I only had one entry for the entire year! (what happened there?).  I have been incorporating the Artist of the Month feature from my newsletter on these pages for about the past two years or so, and as I continue to introduce new artists here, I think it's important to periodically re-visit some of my previous featured artists.  With that in mind, today's shout out goes to SallyAnn Rogers and Blue Gator Jewelry.  SallyAnn is a fellow shop owner at Etsy, and the link here and under the image will take you over to her Etsy Shop.  She also happens to be a college classmate of mine from many moons ago, so it is only fitting that she should be the recipient of my first Artist Spotlight Rerun. Anyway, here are a few examples of what you will find at Blue Gator Jewelry.  Click through to their respective pages to see larger versions or to continue shopping.  Enjoy!
Maine Wire Wrapped Beach Stone Pendant
Copper Leaves Earrings

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Alaskan Malamute" plus a little yardwork!

Well, I must say one thing for Daily Paintworks, it sure has helped me to become much more disciplined regarding my blog posts!  I used to post one every once in awhile, sometimes once a week, sometimes once a month. I think I made it to two or three posts in a week maybe once or twice over the past three years. And then there would be lapses of weeks at a time without posting.  Sometimes even months would go by between my posts.  It's been a little over a week since I joined Daily Paintworks, and believe it or not, I've made a blog posting everyday since joining.  I think I can make it to two weeks running, which would bring me to Tuesday of next week, without any problems.  I mention this now because I know my streak will soon be ending.  Oh well.  I'll be on vacation in Florida next week, visiting my family, so I may not be making any posts until I return.  I may be able to sneak a few in during our visit, but more than likely, I'll be busy with other things, like visiting with the family, maybe going to the beach, taking a side trip up to Cocoa Beach to visit with some of Fran's family, and hopefully, getting in a round of golf.  But fear not, once I return, I plan to start a new streak.

Alaskan Malamute
For now, let's keep the current streak going with today's entry in my Daily Paintworks auction, "Alaskan Malamute".  This is an original pen & ink portrait found, naturally enough, in my Pets Gallery, at least on my website and at FineArtAmericaEtsy and Daily Paintworks do not have specific categories that I can plug in, so you just need to do a little scrolling to find it.  That is, of course, if you are interested in prints or note card packages.  The posting at Daily Paintworks is for original art only, and as usual, I'm starting this off at auction, before posting a Buy It Now through PayPal price to it. The link beneath the image will take you over to the auction page, and there are links in the side panel for my website and other online storefronts and galleries. 

Now, since the weather seems to be cooperating a little today, the yard is calling!  There is a lot to catch up on before our trip next week, and I think I'm even getting into a rhythm about balancing yardwork with the rest of the daily necessities of keeping up all of these online shops and galleries, blog posts, Facebook, website, and on and on.  The initial clean up after the Winter is the biggest thing.  Yesterday was burn day for all of the accumulated yard debris over the past few months - fallen tree limbs, Christmas trees, leaves, etc. Today, I'll be prepping the garden beds for planting next month, and cleaning out the weeds from the other flower beds, etc.  I should post some before and after photos, but we'll see.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Hangin' Around" plus Artist of the Day!

Hangin' Around
Today's addition to my Daily Paintworks Gallery is my original pen & ink rendering, "Hangin' Around".  Although they can be somewhat bothersome and a nuisance when it comes to your garbage cans, you will have to admit, raccoons sure make cute subjects for wildlife portraits.  This original rendering was done on Bristol Board paper, using mostly line work and stroke work.  This image has been quite popular as note cards and as a laser-engraved image on various fine wood gift items in my product line.  If you are interested in any of these items, as well 11 x 14 matted prints, please visit my website or storefronts at Etsy and FineArtAmerica.  At FineArtAmerica as well my website, you will find "Hangin' Around" in the Wildlife Gallery.  My Etsy Shop has no specific categories, so you'll just need to scroll through the listings.  Links are provided here for convenience, and also in the side panel. The link beneath the image will take you over to the auction page at Daily Paintworks.  From there, you will also be able to view and navigate to all of the other original pieces that are currently listed at auction, and how many days remain in their respective auctions. 

As I've been mentioning all week, I plan to use and expand a regular feature of my monthly newsletter, which is now on hiatus - the Artist of the Month spotlight.  So let's kick it off with today's edition of the blog.  Still not sure if it will be Artist of the Week or Day, and since I'll be on vacation in FL next week, I may not be able to figure that out until I return.  So for now, let's just call it Artist for Today.  

Ringtail Lemurs
My first official Artist for Today is one of my FineArtAmerica colleagues, Heather Ward.  Heather is from Los Alamos, New Mexico, and has been working in a number of different media, to include Scratchboard, Pyrography, Charcoal, Graphite and Pastel.  She has always attempted to be as realistic as possible in her renderings, and places a high value on accuracy and detail, something which I am very familiar with through my artwork.  Here are a few examples of her work, in different media.  Ringtail Lemurs is one from her Scratchboard Gallery.  The link beneath the image will take you over to that page, where you can see a larger version.  

Eyes on You is an example of one of her Pyrography pieces, which is another name for Woodburning.  Here, she used one of her favorite reference photos on a piece of Italian Poplar.  A Pair of Penguins is an example of one of her Charcoal and Graphite pieces, this one done on Smooth Bristol Paper.  Click through to their respective pages, or use the link here or in her name to get over to her Profile Page at FineArtAmerica.  And here is a link to her website:  Heather Ward - Wildlife Art
Eyes on You

A Pair of Penguins

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Soulful in Ink" plus Newsletter update

Soulful in Ink
Joining my gallery at Daily Paintworks today is my original pen & ink portrait, "Soulful in Ink".  Just prior to working on this piece, I had completed an earlier version titled just "Soulful", which was a scratchboard rendering.  As soon as I completed the scratchboard version, I knew that I wanted to try it in ink as well. I did, however, approach this from a different angle.  Rather than work in  the stippling, or pointillism technique that I often use, I worked most of this portrait with an ink brush, using a pen only at the end of the process, to add some layers of depth using cross-hatch strokes.  The scratchboard version was done on a small, 5" x 7" piece of scratchboard, while this Pen & Ink version measures out at 8" x 10", and was completed on an 11" x 14" sheet of Bristol Board paper.  Once I had the outline in place, the heavy areas of black were brushed in first.  Then I worked the face from the eyes out, trying to capture the "soulful" essence of the image, hence the title.  As usual, the link beneath the image will take you over to the auction at Daily Paintworks if you would like to participate in the auction.  Once there, you can navigate through to any of the other original renderings listed at auction. Each page will have information about the current bids, if any, and the duration of the auction.  Once I take a piece out of auction, it will be listed with a Buy It Now from PayPal option at a fixed price. Anyone interested in purchasing prints or note card packages should visit my website or my Etsy Shop or FineArtAmerica Gallery.  The links for all provided in the side panel. 

In other news, I've been mentioning all week that the Art from the Inkwell Monthly Newsletter will be going on hiatus for awhile, possibly to be retired permanently.  I've been finding that through the various Social Media outlets available, like Facebook and Twitter, as well as all of the online storefronts and galleries that I participate in, plus this blog, an email service for newsletters, etc. is not really necessary.  Everything that I was posting on a monthly basis in the newsletter, I can accomplish on a daily basis through the blog, and hopefully keep it fresher and possibly even more engaging to my friends and readers.  My Artist of the Month feature will likely expand to Artist of the Week, and quite possibly Artist of the Day.  I really enjoy searching for new artists to shine the spotlight on and introducing them to a new audience, while at the same time, providing my fans and readers, etc. artists' work that they may otherwise never know is out there.  And with all of these sites that I participate in, there is an unending supply of artists and artwork to feature.  So, I hope you'll continue to follow along, enjoying my artwork as well as that of the other artists that I feature here.  Any "Likes" and recommendations are greatly appreciated, and please feel free to forward the blog to friends and family and even folks you don't particularly care that much for.  You never know when someone may stumble upon that one piece of artwork that they just can't live without.

Monday, March 25, 2013

"Buffalo Bill Cody"....FB pick of the day!

Buffalo Bill Cody
This will be a relatively short post today, as yard work is beckoning! Ah, Spring is here, I know where I'll be for most of the next 6 months.  Anyway, today's entry in my Daily Paintworks auction is my original pen & ink portrait of "Buffalo Bill Cody". This rendering was done in black ink using the stippling, or pointillism technique.  The link beneath the image will take you over the auction page.

Hunter, Scout, Indian Fighter, Showman; Buffalo Bill romanticized the West in his Wild West Show that toured through the Eastern U.S. and Europe.  William Frederick Cody got his nickname when he was contracted by the Kansas Pacific Railroad after the Civil War to supply the workers with buffalo meat. He proceeded to kill 4,280 American bison in an eighteen month period during 1867-68.  Still, another buffalo hunter, named Bill Comstock, claimed the name as well, so they competed in a buffalo-shooting match to determine who would have exclusive rights to use the name.  Cody won by killing 69 to Comstock's 48. 

Anyone who has been following my blog posts or my Art from the Inkwell Monthly Newsletter for the past few years is familiar with my "Artist of the Month" feature that shines the spotlight on one of my artist colleagues from my various online storefronts and galleries, like Etsy and FineArtAmerica. Well, Daily Paintworks has a similar feature on their Facebook Page - Daily Paintworks Picks of the Day.  I am very pleased to mention here that "Buffalo Bill Cody" has been selected as one of Daily Paintworks Picks of the Day for today.  Here is a link to the Daily Paintworks Facebook Page if you'd like to check it out and perhaps give me a "Like" while you're at it.  Of course, check out all of the other artists as well.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Geronimo" March's Artist of the Month

Today's entry in my Daily Paintworks auction is "Geronimo", an original pen & ink portrait from my Faces West Gallery.  This rendering was completed  using the stippling, or pointillism technique, with black and brown inks, which gives the portrait a sepia-like look, sort of like the old tintype photographs.

Geronimo was born in 1829 in what is today western New Mexico, but was then still Mexican Territory.  Embittered by the murder of his family by Mexican troops in 1858, Geronimo and his band of guerrilla warriors ferociously fought and terrorized intruders entering Apache lands of the Southwest.  In 1875, all Apaches west of the Rio Grande were ordered to the San Carlos Reservation.  Geronimo escaped from the reservation, and for more than a decade, managed to elude the troops who gave chase.  When Geronimo finally surrendered in 1886, he was the leader of the last American Indian fighting force to finally capitulate to the United States. 

The link beneath the image will take you over to the Daily Paintworks auction page.  Once again, Daily Paintworks is strictly for the sale of original artwork.  If you are interested in ordering prints or note card packages of any of the work you see there, please visit my website, or any of my other online storefronts or galleries.  The links to these sites are located in side panel.  In particular, you may want to check out my Etsy Shop or FineArtAmerica Gallery to take advantage of the specials I am running on these sites through the end of the month.

Flower Girl
Yesterday's featured Artist of the Month (for February) listing was Dirk Dzimirsky, from Germany, and continuing my International theme again for March, allow me to introduce you to Natasha (Natalia) Denger, originally from Ekaterinburg City, in the Ural region of Russia. Natasha has been living in the US for the past 12 years, and has been a member of FineArtAmerica since July of 2012.  Art is Natasha's passion, and she has been drawing/painting ever since she was 8 years old.  She has many small sized original drawings and paintings, which make great gifts for any occasion, and as you can see, the work is realistic, finely detailed and carefully finished.  

Pictured here are some examples of her work.  Flower Girl was completed in Graphite, while Cold Stare was done in Charcoal Pencils on Canson paper and Owl Drawing was done in Colored Pencils.  Click on the images to view the larger versions of the artwork.  The link in the title above will take you over to her Profile page at FineArtAmerica.  Many of Natasha's original drawings/paintings are for sale, and you can contact her directly through FineArtAmerica if something strikes your fancy.  She also accepts commissions for original pet/people portraits.  Here are links to some of Natasha's other galleries/storefronts.

Cold Stare
Owl Drawing

Saturday, March 23, 2013

"Chin Shu" and more.......

Chin Shu
Well, this is a first.  I've now reached the plateau of 3 consecutive days of blog posting.  So let's keep the streak going! Today's entry into my Daily Paintworks auction is "Chin Shu", a Siamese Cat that adopted me many, many years ago, and this portrait was done in her memory. I completed this portrait using black and brown ink pens, utilizing stroke work in combination with stippling, or pointillism.  I used Rapidograph pens for the black portions, and Micron pens for the brown portions.  Please contact me if you'd like a portrait of your pet.  I work from photos, so you can either send me your favorite pictures by email or regular mail.  The link beneath the image will take you over to the auction page for "Chin Shu", and once there, you will be able to see the other originals up for auction, and navigate to their respective pages. Right now, each auction runs for 5 days, but since they rotate and overlap starting days, they will all be ending on different days.  You will be able to see how many days are left in each auction if you would like to get in on the fun.  If a piece does not sell at auction, it can either be re-listed, or I'll assign a Buy It Now through PayPal fixed price to it.  So, if a particular piece really grabs you, and you have some upcoming gifts to give, or are just looking for wall decorations for your walls, jumping in to the auction might be the way to go, as my fixed prices and commission rates are generally higher than what they might sell for at auction.

Black Sun
As I mentioned yesterday, I'll be retiring the Art from the Inkwell Monthly Newsletter for awhile (perhaps permanently).  This month's edition (March) will be the last issue while I figure things out.  However, I still have some catching up to do. Today's listing of one of my recent Artist of the Month selections is a real treat:  Dirk Dzimirsky

 All I can say about February's featured Artist of the Month is WOW!!!  I was actually going to look for an artist from my colleagues, and aim for that international flare again, when I received this notification about a new member to FineArtAmerica, and wouldn't you know it, he hails from Bocholt, Germany. So, my search was a rather abreviated one, and as you look over his examples here, I'm sure you can see why.

Dirk has mastered the art of photorealism with his larger than life drawings.   His works have been shown in worldwide exhibitions, featured in art magazines, and recently published in the Huffington Post.  All images can be viewed and purchased directly from Dirk's Profile Page.

Dirk tries to capture a person's presence and inner self.   He portrays not only the physical attributes but, more importantly, the subject's inner presence of life.   His approach is both representational and lyrical - using marks like words and textured areas like paragraphs.   All parts of a whole, telling a story about a human being. He chooses drawing over painting because it allows him to create layers upon layers of lines and dots which react to each other in order to create a vibrant texture with directions and movement.   This approach enables the finished work to be viewed more by the "senses" as opposed to the standard visual observation of a photo.

Here are a few examples of Dirk's work, and you really need to click through to their respective pages on FineArtAmerica to fully appreciate the power of his work.  Again, these are NOT photographs, but drawings in graphite!  Enjoy!

Deja Vu
Drawn Face VI