Himba boy from Namibia


I recently came upon a black and white photograph of a Himba boy of Namibia. Not sure of what I was even reading online that day, but you know the internet…one article leads to something else and so on and so on. But the boys facial expression was so captivating I thought that it would make a great painting. So Sunday I began painting the boy from the photograph on a 16 x 20 canvas and here is the finished piece.
I hope you are as captivated as I was with this young boys expression.


Mikhail Baryshnikov – the color of dance


Mikhail Baryshnikov – the color of dance.  For this painting I used a 16 x 20 inch canvas, acrylic paint and matte gel.  The painting was inspired from a photograph of Mikhail Baryshnikov performing one of his signature artistic ballet jumps.  I wanted the painting to capture the fluid movement and absolute perfection of his body placement in this ballet jump.  Mikhail Baryshnikov, “Misha”,  will forever be known as one of the greatest ballet dancers in history.


Barry Larkin – Freestyle


With no formal training, my usual style of painting has been to use hand-cut stencils taken from photographs and spray paint the canvas.  For this painting, I thought I would go freestyle and try to paint without the use of a stencil.  I did, however, use a basic outline of a photograph of Barry Larkin in portrait and action to get the correct proportions.  One photograph was a close-up of his face and the other was an action shot of him in the infield.  After setting up the placement for the portrait and the action shot and with the use of the computer adding coloring for the shadows, mid-tones and highlights I began painting.  The canvas size is 12 x 24 and for most of the painting I used acrylic paints.  For the lettering and star I used my tried and true method of hand-cut stencils and spray paint.

Here is the end result.

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I like to think, when viewed from afar, the painting is a pretty good likeness of the Hall of Fame short stop.  Enjoy!

Sleepy Man Banjo Boys – Keepin’ Time with the Masters


I couple of months ago I entered a large painting for an exhibit at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea Kentucky.  Unfortunately the piece was not selected, but I have updated it a bit and am thinking about selling it on my Etsy site.  The piece is mounted in a wood frame that measures 41 inches wide by 29 inches high, rather large I know, but for the Bluegrass fan just the right size for a wall hanging.  The piece includes two vinyl records, one is a clock and the other is a painting of the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe.  In the center of the piece, a painting of the young and very talented, Sleepy Man Banjo Boys.  Each of the paintings were created using hand-cut stencils, six total, and spray/hand painted.  The indicators on the clock are made of wood and were found pieces from an old microwave cart and a bag of cutouts.  The background paint, the gray color, came from a can of paint I had used for another project some time ago.  I also hand cut stencils for all of the lettering and applied each with either a sponge or paint brush.

The piece has not been added to my Etsy site yet, as I am unsure about the asking price.  What would you pay for a piece of artwork this size?  What are your thoughts and/or comments about the quality of work?

Keepin' Time with the Masters

Original piece – Keepin’ Time with the Masters

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Thanks for all your support!


Next up – the ride of a lifetime


It was the summer of 1990, I was stationed at Camp Atterbury in Indiana participating in my two-week training requirement for the Army Reserve.    At work one evening I met the pilot of a UH-1H Huey helicopter that also was there for his training.  While we were talking, he mentioned that in the morning the crew would be flying to a nearby airport to fuel up and asked if any of us would like to go.  Now I have to admit I was a bit hesitant at first, but I agreed along with a couple of friends to be there in the morning.  It’ll be fun, right?

We left work that morning and walked over to the clearing where the Huey was parked and met with the crew and climbed aboard.  If you’re not familiar with this type of aircraft, the Huey was the work horse during the Vietnam war.  During the war, the aircraft equipped with 2.75 rockets, one on each side and .30 caliber machine guns.  The aircraft had been used as a gunship to escort Army and Marine transport helicopters.

I picked the seat in the back referred to as the gunner seat and tightened down the Army issue green canvas strap.  Sitting in this seat, with the door open, my boot tips hanging over the edge I felt both exhilarated and terrified!  The Huey we were now sitting in had actually flown missions during the Vietnam war and several bullet holes could be seen in the cabin.  I was riding in a piece of history, how awesome!  The lift off was smooth and uniquely different from taking off in an airplane and the sound from the propellers was deafening!  Now if you have ever ridden in a Huey or have seen any Vietnam war movies, you surely will know what I am speaking of when I say the sound of the rotating propellers are certainly not mistaken. (see video)

Once in the air, the pilots decided to test our metal, so to speak and began banking back and forth just above the treetops.  I was sitting in the rear on the right and each time we would bank to the right, I would rise out of my seat just a bit, wind blowing in my hair and look over my boots at the treetops.  OoohRah!  Cruising at a speed of 110 knots or about 126 mph, I was shaking with excitement!  For the pilots this was just another day at the office, but for me it was fantastic!  The pilots were able to get one of the guys that had come with us to use the on-board barf bag and both seemed to enjoy watching him in agony as they continued banking back and forth above the trees.  Mission accomplished! UH-1H Huey

This exhilarating ride continued for about 45 minutes and I could not have been happier!  When we landed the crew invited us back for another flight tomorrow.  Excellent!  We had to go back the next day for another rush, minus one from our group, but it is a bucket list memory that has not been forgotten!  If you ever get a chance to ride in a Huey, go for it, there is nothing like it!

Bucket List item # 3 – surviving Basic Training


In honor of our Veterans, I thought I would take a look back at my experience in the Military.  I joined the United States Army Reserve in 1987 as a Private First Class and headed off to Fort Jackson, South Carolina on one very hot August day to begin Basic Training.

Ft. Jackson SC
Basic Training Photo

Now for any of you that have served you know what I’m talking about when I say it is quite a culture shock and very challenging!  Military life is unlike any other and there is only one way to do everything and I mean everything and that is the Military way.  Basic Training is up at 4:15 a.m. run a couple of miles, knock out an hour or so of physical training (PT) and then head to breakfast.  Then the day really begins.

You are trained in the Military way to clean, dress, speak, march, drill, salute, fire a weapon, exercise, teamwork…and a huge amount of time will be spent practicing standing around in formation.

Oh and don’t forget the enormous amount of hat brim to forehead in your face screaming, a Drill Sargent specialty.  Ah I remember it as if it were yesterday.

I have to admit I was not a fan of all of the cleaning, marching, screaming and endless standing around, but I did enjoy firing the many weapons.  I threw a couple of hand grenades, exhilarating and terrifying at the same time!  Fired a grenade launcher and hit a tank, excellent!  And climbed into a standing fox hole and got my hands on the M-50 machine gun.  What a thrill!  Of course there is a down side to combat training and with the Military what seems to be a blast one minute is surely agony the next especially when you are walked into a concrete building filled with CS gas and made to take off your gas mask.  This bit of training I know I could have done without!

Overall I did enjoy the challenge and rigors of basic training and after a while even began to enjoy the screaming and at times thought it was pretty comical.  Oh there were some that cried and some that left, but for those of us that graduated it is an experience that is never forgotten.  So for this Veterans day, I would like to say OOHRAH! to all of my fellow Veterans those here with us and for those that have given the ultimate sacrifice and those currently serving.  And to remind everyone that Freedom is not Free and acknowledge the sacrifice each of our service members have given past and present.

Thanks Again for your Service!

Uncle Sam a blood-sucking Vampire?

I created this 16 x 20 acrylic mixed media piece for the July 2014 Red Door Project with the theme being Freedom.

Uncle Sam is portrayed as a blood-sucking vampire wanting you to want to give more.  The protesting citizens are in silhouette each holding a sign in protest of the exorbitant amount of taxes, liberties and freedom each will happily relinquish.


I Want you to Want to Give more

Don’t forget to drop a quart of blood off on November 4, 2014, your freedom depends on it!


Doodling Obsession

My recent doodling obsession has gone from my drawing pad to a t-shirt.  I began one day while I was watching the Breaking Bad series, doodling faces.


Once I had filled this sheet I decided to do another and began drawing boxes, in color.

1-squareheads 50

the boxes became frogs…

1-frogs 001

the frogs hopped on a T-shirt once again as faces.  Go figure.

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Not certain where my doodling obsession will lead next…


Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday

I love a good western and one of my favorites is Tombstone. Tombstone is a 1993 American Western directed by George P. Cosmatos, written by Kevin Jarre and starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, with Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, and Dana Delany, in supporting roles, as well as a narration by Robert Mitchum.  Outstanding cast, to say the least, and had all of the usual drama of a good western, good guys against bad guys.  And if I must say so, Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday made the movie!

I was recently asked to create a piece of stencil art of Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday and here is the finished product.

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If you’ve not seen the movie, or haven’t seen it in a long time, then it’s a good time for a great American Western.

I hope you enjoy viewing it as much as I did producing the piece and enjoy the movie!

Spring Painting – Ole Blue Eyes

Spring painting of the Chairman of the Board.

Stencil art painting of Ole Blue Eyes including his favorite quote, “you gotta love livin’, baby, cause dyin’ is a pain in the ass.”

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You can see more of my stencil art at my Etsy shop Ditto Cats.