Friday, August 08, 2014

A Meer Range War...

The insurgency of the prairie begins, with a Meerkat assault.

Get Some! A little light fun with animals "out on the range"

I've been doodling regularly, and I continue to sketch things like these. Animals, normally cute and fuzzy, suddenly are astronauts, or military or otherwise armed and shooting... (!)

Friday, August 01, 2014

"60" Gunner

Today's drawing--
A "60" gunner walking along on patrol.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Little Treasure, Lost and Found

Here's an old sketch I did while on my first deployment as a combat artist, back in 2006. It's of a young jundi (soldier), one Ali Muhammad Kathair, just before he goes out on patrol in his town of Anah, Iraq:

I'm glad we found it (my wife was organizing her new craft space and found it in some things-- we still have no clue how it got there!). I will submit it to the Combat Art Collection of the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, where it belongs.

Sketches like this one are very valuable, I think, because though they may lack refinement or be a bit "off," they are one of a kind records of something the artist saw.

This sketch and the photos I took were used as inspiration and reference for a portrait sketch I did later of the same subject:

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Home of the Commandants

I was going through my photo CDs just now, and found a disc with these photos on it.
They're of the "The Home of the Commandants" in Washington DC, and show the portrait I did of the residence, hanging on the wall in the main hallway.

I still get a kick out of thinking about that.
They really framed it up nicely, too.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Monumental Happenings Continue

Here are the updated renderings I mentioned in the previous post, for the upcoming Marine Aviation Monument.  I souped up the color a bit compared to the previous iterations, and added some detail to suggest what the final bas reliefs will portray:

I also did another architectural rendering of the proposed monument, to be used in a promotional piece:
 It's a veritable hodgepodge of visual elements including digital work, drawings, photographs and sculpted items (the finial Emblem on the top is actually the maquette I did for the project) I must also give credit to Natalie of the architectural firm Fentress, whose original rendering using my design sketches I used as the inspiration and derivation for this image. 

And here are the original brainstorming thumbnail sketches I did for the project, scribbled on the back of a sheet of used paper:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Monumental Happenings

Lately I've been working fervently on a project about which I'm greatly excited, and for which I'm honored to have been hired:  The Marine Corps Aviation Association's Marine Aviation Monument.
I'll be sculpting four bas reliefs for the monument, which will memorialize the main eras of Marine Corps Aviation: WWI, WWII/Korea, Vietnam, and GWOT. 
I've done some basic drawings to visualize the bas reliefs, which I'm now refining and adding color to, to be used in publications and promotional materials.
Sample drawing giving basic concept for bas relief. 
I'll post the refined bas relief designs when I've finished coloring them in.
On the top will be a finial element, a large Marine Emblem, the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.

Working on the maquette of the finial element of the monument: an Eagle, Globe and Anchor in the round.
When finished, this monument will stand ten feet tall, placed on the grounds of the National Museum of the Marine Corps, near the Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Great Send Away

A week ago today, my friends at the National Museum of the Marine Corps had a going away get-together for me at Pancho Villa, one of my favorite Mexican restaurants (I love Mexican food).

They presented me with two very thoughtful and wonderful gifts, which I must confess made me at a loss for words.

The first gift was a personalized Marine NCO sword (I've always wanted one but never bought one...).

The second gift was a custom-made palette plaque, fashioned by the folks in the Museum's Exhibits Department, with the motto, "GO TO WAR, DO ART!" burned in. Attached was a hand-crafted KABAR/palette knife-- a nice touch, as was the "crossed brushes" in the SSgt chevron.

Incredibly thoughtful gifts, from incredibly thoughtful and professional people, which I now display proudly in my home studio.

(And the sword will come in handy when I'm doing any cavalry or pirate illustrations in the future...I've already said "avast" a couple times..!)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Walking Papers


It's OH-fishel.  As of last night at midnight, I am no longer in active service with the Marine Corps.

I have my DD214 copies and my orders releasing me from active duty. It's no April Fools joke, and I'm still a bit sad to see it become reality. If I had my "druthers", I'd still be on active duty.

I had the best job in the Corps. No other billet like it. What a privilege it was to be able to do all the Corps let me do, and to represent the Corps to the folks at home (and art world as well).

I met a lot of great folks, went to many great locations (as well as garden spots like Iraq and Afghanistan), and drew and painted a lot of interesting scenes.

"Slice of Life" scenes were a lot of what I did, and now my little slice of life in the Corps and Combat Art Program is over. A new slice is being carved out.

I hope it's got some nice decorative icing on it.

Thanks to all the people who made the calls and did the paperwork to get me on active duty, to keep me on active duty, and finally to send me on my way back into the 1st CivDiv.

Friday, March 28, 2014


 "What counts most is finding new ways to get the world down in paint on my own terms." --Georg Baselitz

This is my final Friday as an active duty combat artist.
Just finishing up several paintings to turn in before the end of Monday.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Your Analysis.
You're in Alice's.
"Please, Marine, come and give us a sample. Just a wee sample in a wee bottle."
Yesterday, I appeared on the company urinalyis roster, with just five days remaining on active duty. It's a great way to experience one last time, one of the great experiences of Marines for the last quarter of a century: the "Whiz Quiz."

I tell you, the excitement was just bottled up within me, and it felt like it was going to burst (Oh wait, that was just my bladder, from chugging the coffee in preparation, cramming for the test).

Also included in the test was a "pop quiz"-- a breathalyzer to see if any of us had been drinking any time in the very recent past. I passed that with flying colors (ya wanna get a ZERO on that test).

Monday, March 24, 2014


EAS. No, it's not a protein supplement.
No, it's not a company name.
It's my E. A. S.... my "End of Active Service."

The countdown has begun.
Monday, 31 March 2014 will be my last day of being an active duty Combat Artist.
Though I wanted to continue in this billet, the Marine Corps has decided that I've been here too long, and should be shown the appropriate pasture.

I will keep you posted on the activities of this, my last week as an artist for the Corps.

Semper Fi
Semper Gumby

Friday, March 21, 2014

Diploma in the Mail!

I graduated this last fall with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Illustration from the University of Hartford, and my diploma arrived (finally, after a bit of an admin snag) yesterday.

I now have my "terminal" degree in my field, and can pursue being some sort of academian!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Saint Chesty
This is a caricature I did for a class a couple summers ago, while I was getting my Master of Fine Arts in Illustration degree from the University of Hartford.

The class was taught by none other than the great Chris Payne, an illustrator whose work has graced the covers of the best magazines in the nation (he's also a scholar and gentlemen, and an excellent conversationalist).

He taught us his process for caricature, and we had a couple days to "master" it (if that's possible!) and bring the work from sketch to completion for critique day. It was fun and intensely challenging all at once.

Caricature, if nothing else, is difficult-- much more difficult than people usually believe. Not only must the artist understand portraiture, but he must also understand how to exaggerate the features of an individual while maintaining a likeness!

My cover's off to Mr. Payne, and to all who venture the wilds of caricature.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Humanitarian Relief-- Operation Damayan assists the people of the Republic of the Philippines

In November, I had the opportunity and privilege of going to the Philippines and take part in Operation Damayan, the humanitarian relief efforts following Typhoon Haiyan.

I was only there for a few days, before the operation wrapped up, but I was there in time to sketch and photograph some of the activities of the Marines as they helped the people of the Philippines, especially in the hardest hit area around Tacloban on the island of Leyte.

Here are some of the sketches I made:


The whole area surrounding Tacloban City was nearly wiped out by the storm. The only structures still standing were made of concrete blocks, and even they were heavily damaged by the typhoon's raging winds and water.
The Philippine people have my great respect, because of the dignity with which they handled themselves in such a trying situation. They were patient and friendly with the Marines as they stood in line waiting for clean water that the Marines had brought in.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Field Trip! An outing to the Delaware Art Museum

I had the great opportunity once again to travel a few hours up I-95 to engage in what's known in military circles as "PME," ("Professional Military Education").

One of my great mentors, though of course I've never met him, is the great artist and illustrator, Howard Pyle. Pyle is one of the greats of the Golden Age of Illustration during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Delaware Art Museum is the center of the Pyle universe, being the premier holder of the works of Howard Pyle, and having been founded to hold his works in the first place.
"Who Shall Be Captain?" by Howard Pyle, 1911.
Detail of pirates watching from "Who Shall Be Captain?"
"An Attack on a Galleon," by Howard Pyle, 1905.

I also got to see a great series of Pyle's black and white illustration work, including a great piece about Blackbeard:
"Blackbeard's Last Fight," by Howard Pyle, 1894.

There also in the gallery, along with his illustrations, stands Mr. Pyle's drawing desk on display-- the design of which I'm really drawn to (I love a good pun!).

I was able to get the measurements of it, and intend to craft a desk similar to this great piece, which is in itself a work of art (from the Arts and Crafts era, I assume?)