Wednesday, April 20, 2005


I'm back on the IF bandwagon folks... This is something that sort of hit me this morning. Let me know what you think...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


This past weekend was the annual auction to benefit the preschool where my wife Mandy teaches. It should also be noted that my good friend Ward's daughter is in Mandy's class--just in the interest of full disclosure.

In years past, the auction has been a great showcase for some of the spectacularly talented parents and friends of the preschool. I, myself, have had several paintings sell at the auction--a small ego stroke for myself I'm happy to say. Not only is it a celebration of the preschool and the children, it's also a celebration of the wonderfully diverse and talented community we live in.

This year's auction was every bit as festive. The food was great and the music--provided by still another of the talented preschool parents, was simply awesome. There was however one thing that bothered me. The actual event was billed as an auction with an "Art Show Featuring Local Atlanta Artists." The event took up two rooms in the gallery space. One room was reserved for the auction items (which included original and local art by the way) while the other was reserved for the art show. The art show items were intentionally set apart from the auction--for what reason I don't know. I do know that there were several pieces of original art by some local Atlanta artists that were not included in the art show--where pieces were selling for much higher than at the auction.

I know it may seem like I am splitting hairs. I mean who cares, right? The preschool is really the winner in the end. What exactly, James, are you sore about?? I guess it's sort of a cultural thing that I really struggle with--maybe it's just me. It very well could be. I tend to get my panties in a wad over stuff that is, ultimately, pretty silly. But I notice these things you know? I am sensitive to how these things play out. I am sensitive to how easy it is to separate and segregate this art from that--and not just because I aam an atist myself. It just seems unfair that this painting gets a prime spot on the wall and a huge price tag while that piece over there is sent to the "other" room with the "other" stuff. The cool thing would have been to invite ALL those people in the preschool who are artists to participate in the Art Show. Better yet, why not include some of the amazing art work done by the children (the mobiles, quilts, tables) in the art show of "Local Atlanta Artists."

I know I am probably not seeing the forest for the trees. The auction was, as far as I know, an amazing success. The preschool did very well. They are the ones who will ultimately benefit from the auction/art show. I am very happy for that. I only wish it had been a little bit more inclusive with regards to the Art Show portion of the event.

Friday, April 15, 2005


I saw Ward's Illustration Friday topic and thought it was perfectly representing how I feel at the moment.

Ever have one of those days where you just don't think you have it, that you'll EVER have it and that you're wasting yours and everyone else's time? I'm feeling a little of that now... I am working with a client that is chewing my last nerve. Mandy was horrified by my caricature of her and is still pissed at me. All the projects I WANT to be working are either on the back burner or are all together not happening. I haven't even felt like picking up my sketchbook lately. Where's the inspiration?

I know, I'm just having a pity-party and that means it's time for a trip to Borders!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


As some of my other blogger friends are paying wonderful online tributes to their better halves, I thought I would do the same. This is a caricature of my lovely wife (and Ward-o-matic's daughter Ava's preschool teacher) Mandy. She is a truly beautiful person--in every way. She and I are celebrating 5 years of marriage this month! Jeez, it just hit me that I have to do something extra special for her! Sheesh! It is impossible for me to express how blessed we have been these past five years--and, as we are about to undergo in-vitro fertilization in the next two months, we hope that we will CONTINUE to be blessed. Who knows? We'll definitely keep y'all posted!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Finally finished another one... Let me know what you all think!


Here is an illustration depicting Marion and some of his men fighting Cherokee during the French and Indian War. It's not finished--I still have to add some furious Cherokee warriors and other elements... I'm pretty pleased so far. It's very definitely reflecting my love of N.C. Wyeth's work. I have been pouring over his work for inspiration. His style--loose and painterly, is something that I think works for this subject matter. His illustrations for LAST OF THE MOHICHANS and others are forever in my head. Howard Pyle's work is also a great source of inspiration for me. His painting, entitled The Nation Makers is a wonderful example of the style I am after.

I want to keep everything as exciting as possible without making it too over-the-top-violent. Y'all let me know what you think!!

Monday, April 04, 2005


I am not really a big fan of graphic novels. I don't have anything really against them, they just aren't for me. There are, however, a few that I love. In particular, Frank Miller's Dark Knight series, were a favorite of mine--not so much for the writing but for the pictures. Miller's angular line work somehow doesn't keep his beautifully rendered figures from leaping from the page.

So, I was understandably excited to see SIN CITY this weekend. I am always interested in how filmmakers mate film and a visually stunning media such as comics/graphic novels. I had seen some of the clips and trailers, read some of the pre-release press that showed some pretty awesome stills from the film. It looked like this was going to be a romp.

As excited as I was, I was equally dissapointed when the film just sort of fell flat. Visually, it was stunning. The black and white, high-contrast look with splashes of color here and there was artfully done. It was paced well. The characters were pretty well designed--although Marv (Micky Rourke) looked a little bit silly. Even as one is able to suspend a fair amount of disbelief in a film like this, you can't help but be a little annoyed when the make-up starts to look like a bad halloween mask. Visually, Miller's work is about his characters cutting a dynamic silouette against the background. It works well on the page but in life it can have the effect of looking forced--almost as if they are trying WAAAAAY too hard to get Marv's coat to flutter out towards his left or right etc...

Still, as visually interesting as the film was, it was impossible for me sustain interest for more than an hour. The stilted dialogue, the hackneyed noir voiceovers, the obscene amounts of voilence... It just started to wear on me. I found myself truly, well, bored... I felt a similar reaction to SKY CAPTAIN--another film that is very much visual-effects-centric.

As to the whole genre of films adapted from graphic novels... FROM HELL remains my favorite. Faithful to the original, yet it is its own entity. SIN CITY is too closely connected to the source to be strong enough to stand alone. I wonder, why not just creat an animated adaptation--sort of in the style of COWBOY BEBOP? I don't know...

I still have high hopes for BATMAN BEGINS...

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Here is a new rendering of a Cherokee warrior. Scary isn't he? Well, I think that's the point... These guys were fierce, determined fighters. I have him carrying a French-issued smoothbore musket. In addition, he would be carrying a belt knife and a tomahawk. As I mentioned in my previous post, the Cherokee were very prominent in the South Carolina Piedmont and surrounding areas. Although they were generally peacful--trading and co-habitating with many settlers in the back country, they could be provoked into a terrible wrath.

I've read accounts of how brutal Indians could be to their captives--often burning them alive or torturing them to death. I'm not sure how much of this is fiction and how much is fact. I know that scalping was a common practice--a practice that was made worse by the Europeans paying handsome bounties for every scalp taken.