Tag Archives: Pastel


I haven’t seen or talked with my dad since sometime in the mid 90’s.  We had a falling out.  He passed away in 2003 at the age of 59, alone – well alone in the sense that he had no family around.  He was in his childhood hometown, Placerville, California, and his brother lived in Pollock Pines, and his father in Sacramento.  I assume he had friends at the assisted living home he was in at the time, but he greatly valued family, and none were present when he died.  I still feel great remorse at the fact that I couldn’t be a better man for not talking to him for years.  It goes back a few years, though – our history.

He left mom for another woman in 1976.  I was 7 years old, my brother was 4, pushing 5.  Our world collapsed on us, and we ended up moving from San Jose, CA clear across the continent to Jacksonville, FL, where mom was from.  We flew out to San Jose the next Summer (’77) and visited for a couple months.  The next time I would see him would be after I graduated boot camp 10 years later.  My brother had to wait until my first marriage in 1991 before he saw dad again.

Reconnecting was awkward after so many years.  We barely remembered him.  I can’t imagine how that must’ve been for him, our father.  He had an anyeurism burst in his brain, and nearly died shortly after he left mom.  He changed after that.  He was cantancerous and bull-headed.  One day, I took it the wrong way, and that was the last time I spoke to him.  I’m sorry, dad.  Turns out I was bull-headed, too.

He and his second wife adopted a little boy, who I am now fairly close with, although he lives in CA and I in GA now.  We both made it to his funeral in ’03, where he met my younger brother for the first time.  They both got along amazingly… so much alike, they were.

My blood brother ended up killing himself in 2006, almost a year after being my best man in my wedding to the absolute best woman I ever knew.  I miss him terribly.  He was my best friend.

Grandpa outlived them both, passing away in 2012 at the age of 93.  I got to see my adopted brother again then, and we enjoyed our time together in Sacramento for the funeral.

A couple weeks ago, he texted me a photo of our dad.  It looks to be about the late ’80s; about the time he and I first re-connected.  Today during lunch I used that photo to practice with my brushpens, and it turned into this.  Not too serious an attempt, but better than sketching (as that’s how it all started).

Brushpens, watercolor, and charcoal on pressboard backing.

Brushpens, watercolor, and charcoal on pressboard backing.

G. Roger Denson

The next page in my Sketchbook Project is G. Roger Denson (@GRogerDenson on Twitter).  Roger is a busy guy!  From his Wikipedia entry:

G. Roger Denson (born 1956) is an American journalist, art critic, theoretician, novelist, and curator. A regular contributor to Huffington Post, his writings have also appeared in such international publications as Art in AmericaParkettArtscribe InternationalFlash ArtCultural PoliticsBijutsu TechoKunstlerhaus Bethanien,Artbyte, “Art Experience”, Arts MagazineContemporaneaTema CelesteM/E/A/N/I/N/GTrans>Arts, Culture,MediaThe New York Times and Journal of Contemporary Art. He has published criticism and commentary on such international artists as Terrence MalickKathryn BigelowHiroshi SugimotoSigmar Polke,Andres SerranoYvonne RainerSarah CharlesworthCindy ShermanJack SmithPhilip TaaffePat SteirShirin NeshatMarilyn MinterRenée Green, John Miller,Robert LongoAshley BickertonNayland Blake, Tishan Hsu, Liz Larner, Gilbert and George, Barbara Ess, Robert RymanDan FlavinGeneral IdeaJules Olitski, Lydia Dona, Maura Sheehan, Jimmy De SanaDan Graham, and Richard Artschwager.[1]

Denson has written on the criticism of Thomas McEvilley (with republished essays by McEvilley) in Capacity: History, the World, and the Self in Contemporary Art and Criticism, currently issued by Routledge, (originally Gordon & Breach).[2] Denson’s monographs and catalogues include Dennis Oppenheim, (Fundacao De Serralves, Portugal);[3]Hunter Reynolds: Memento Mori, Memoriter, (Trinitatiskirche, Cologne); Michael Young: Predella of Difference, (Blum Helman, New York). And in the book by Robert Morris (artist)Continuous Project Altered Daily: The Writings of Robert Morris (October Books, MIT Press), Denson has contributed to the chapter, “Robert Morris Replies to Roger Denson (Or Is That a Mouse in My Paragon?) ”.[4]

He’s all over the place!

I would LOVE to have a cuppa joe with this guy!  Alas, NY is so far away from Atlanta, plus booking a 10-min coffee with him would probably dent his entire day.  Ha!

Right.  Well, I’ve tried all sorts of mediums in this sketchbook project, but haven’t broken out the conte crayons.  Until now, that is.  As with most other mediums, I think it would’ve worked much better on a larger scale (larger than this 5″x7″ anyhow).  It was a bit rushed, and the holidays were buzzing, and we moved in the middle of all that.  All excuses, I know.  Time is running short on completing this sketchbook, so I’m off to the next one.

Roger, man, thanks for following me back!  It was a pleasure, I’m sure, to have ME following you first!  😉

G. Roger Denson: Conte Crayon

G. Roger Denson: Conte Crayon

My Boy, the Supee Heewo

Our boys got the urge to draw tonight. I thought I’d join them. Wyatt, our 4-year-old, decided I was going to draw him. He then struck a “Supee Heewo” pose, complete with sword. So this is what it looked like after a few minutes. He’s so funny.


Abstract Squares

I experimented with thinner over soft pastel, and it gave a pretty smooth, yet textured look.  Theres some oil pastel over top of it all.  Turned out pretty good for messin’ around, don’t you think?

Absquares: Soft and oil pastels mixed with thinner on watercolor paper.

Absquares: Soft and oil pastels mixed with thinner on watercolor paper.

Yet Another Abstract Face!

This came out of me after about fifteen minutes of staring at the blank sheet of blue pastel paper.  Not much to say about it other than, “thar ’tis”.

Abstract Face: Pastel on blue pastel paper.

Abstract Face: Pastel on blue pastel paper.

Abstract Pastel: This Was Cool!

I’ve been in an experimental mood lately.  I had a stretched piece of watercolor paper, ready for some silly little something or another I had no ideas for.  It sat in the garage with the rest of my stuff, patiently waiting for me to attempt to mess it all up.  Lately, my son has been begging me to go into the garage to bang on the drums or sit on my motorcycle (the “see-sum” and “no-nose” respectively), and I’ve just been tooling around with my mess of art junk while he’s playing.  I’d toyed around with oil pastels and turpentine, and found a really cool technique from that.  I figured I’d try it with chalk pastels, and this is the result.  No plans, as with most everything else I do, but it all fell together into this… uhm…thing?  Hell, I don’t know, but I’ve seen things in galleries worse than this selling for thousands.  What the heck… I’ve got no job now, maybe I should pimp it out.  Anybody want it for say $5,000?  I’ll even frame it for ya!

Abstract Pastel

Abstract Pastel

Impressionistic St. Augustine

This is from a picture I took of the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida.  I did this with pastel, and found I really need to invest in pastel pencils.  I’m using the thick chunks of pastel, and it’s like drawing with a log.  Once again, I’m disappointed with what the fixative does to pastel.  The color fades, and the paper starts showing through, and it’s really deflating.

I’ll always have fond memories of this trip to Florida.  The whole trip, we were surrounded by family, and it was really nice.  Of course, this painting looks nothing like the real thing, but I really like the energy I get from creating this way.  God and man made this scene.  I made it my own.


Abstract Art: Oil Pastel

Another creative urge hit me, so I broke out the oil pastels and a 9″ x 12″ piece of watercolor paper, then commenced to sit down and stare at the empty white paper, hoping something would inspire me.  Nothing came.  Minutes passed.  Staring at the paper, I saw the play of the shadows from my head, so I outlined them.  What follows is the result of those first strokes.  The piece practically drew itself.

Oil Pastel on Watercolor Paper

Oil Pastel on Watercolor Paper

Oil Pastel Abstract Impressionism

Everything has to have a name, doesn’t it?  I wasn’t sure what this style is called, but “abstract impressionism” sounds good.  I haven’t studied art history, although I have read much about a good number of artists who fascinate me.  This piece is another larger sized oil pastel on paper that changed directions many times throughout it’s evolution.  I really love the bright colors.  They feel vibrant and alive.  As with most of my work, there’s no special meaning behind anything you see.


Tree: Oil Pastel On Paper

Oil Pastel Painting of Toys

This is the very first oil pastel I attempted.  The pastels took some getting used to, but I ended up really liking working with it.  This was an impromptu arrangement of some of my son’s toys.  This is also one of the largest pieces I’ve made.


Toys: Oil Pastel on Paper