Tag Archives: pen and ink


Our twins had their 1st birthday last Saturday, and we had a houseful for the occasion.  Both of our mothers came up, and we had a small party for them.  It was a good time.  I must say that I absolutely am in love with my little girls.  OK, here’s a recent photo…

Our beautiful twin girls, Michaela and Madeline.

Our beautiful twin girls, Michaela and Madeline.

How could you NOT be in love with that?  We have three other children, too, and it blows me away how much love us humans are capable of because of how deeply I love them all!

Right, back to the story.  Ahem…

Saturday was the party, and Sunday, around 2 pm, our mothers were to leave.  There was some “dead” time between breakfast and then, so I grabbed my mini sketchbook and the brush pen and sketched the scene: our dachshund, Suzy, asleep on the floor.

Suzy, asleep on the floor (brush pen & watercolor in the mini sketchbook)

Suzy, asleep on the floor (brush pen & watercolor in the mini sketchbook)

 See the blue bit behind her?  That’s a body pillow we’ve got set up against the bricks on the hearth of the fireplace so the young’ns don’t knock their noggins.  All the bricks are covered up with pillows, matter of fact.  We’ve got the bumper cushions, but they don’t stick worth a flip.  A play phone, a neckerchief, and some other toy are there in the foreground.  How’s that for composition?  🙂

That’ll do for now.  I’ll post up more when I have the time (and urge… need sleeeeep).


A moment presented itself in my hectic schedule in which to sketch.  I knew it was coming, too, so I packed my stuff up and toted our oldest son along to the auto shop.  Nothing major, just having some fluids changed, so I knew I’d have an hour or so to kill.  I only spent a few minutes sketching, however, because some dude walked in and turned the dang TV on in the waiting room.  Well, it wasn’t because he turned it on.  It was because of what he decided to watch… Tombstone!  That is my all-time favorite movie!  I can quote the dialogue along side the actors, almost verbatim.  It’s sad, I know.  Needless to say I watched more than I sketched.  Because my dad and I both loved this movie, and knew everything there is to know about the cast of characters, my dad made me promise to name my first son Wyatt.  Dad passed away before I could have a son, but I honored the promise.  Wyatt James Ayers.

At the end of the visit, this is what I had – after a dude out of a Time magazine laying on the coffee table.

Some dude.  Pentel pocket brush pen in the sketchbook. Notice Kurt Russel as Wyatt Earp from Tombstone in the background.

Some dude. Pentel pocket brush pen in the sketchbook. Notice Kurt Russel as Wyatt Earp from Tombstone in the background.

When I got home I spent five minutes (literally) to throw on some watercolor.

Dude... now with color.

Dude… now with color.

I hope I can have some more moments to doodle again sometime.  I do love it so.

Funny Face

I wanted an interesting face to draw/paint, so I Googled “funny face”, and I was drawn to a certain black and white photo of a man contorting his face just so.  I thought, “That’ll do”, broke out a piece of ACEO and a brush pen, and went at it.  Of course black and white won’t do, so I added a touch of color.  Here he is:

Brush pen and watercolor on ACEO

Brush pen and watercolor on ACEO


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.


I went to Japan in 2005 for 8 days.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.  We got to see Kakegawa castle while we were there, although it was closed for repairs.  The outside was magnificent.  I’m a big fan of Urban Sketchers and thought maybe I’d give it a go – you know doing it like they do.  My first, sort of, urban sketch (although it was from a photo, which is taboo for those guys).  One day I’ll do a live one, then feel like I’ve accomplished something.  Meanwhile, check out the Urban Sketchers website.  It’s fantastic!

Watercolor & fine sharpie pen in the Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.

Watercolor & fine sharpie pen in the Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.

Steve Mac

Boy, twins are a lot of work!  The lack of output here on this blog is mostly due to the business (read, busy-ness) of taking care of infant identical twin girls.  Oh, but do I love them immensely!  I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world, or all the art in it.

I do, however, use that as a crutch… an excuse of sorts because I am able to do some things in short spurts.  For example:

"Steve": Kuretake #8 brush pen and watercolor on the back of an old business card.

“Steve”: Kuretake #8 brush pen and watercolor on the back of an old business card.

This was done in about 15-20 minutes, just after the boys had their baths and were watching TV before bed time, so there are opportunities for me to be creative.  I just have to resolve to take advantage of them.

Anyway, I think I may have found a niche here.  I could offer to paint quick, 5-15 minute, miniature portraits on the backs of business cards for a small sum – free shipping, of course.  Set up a website, draw some traffic.  Yeah, maybe so.  Thoughts?

Why So Blue?

Right after dinner is a good time to doodle, if I’m gonna do it at all.  Before that, I’m usually doing the dishes, then cooking dinner.  Usually, I’ll have right at 45 minutes, to an hour after dinner and before giving the boys a bath, and if I’m quick, I can get a bit in – usually in the sketchbook.  This night was no different.

I got out the Speedball India ink and the dip pen & nibs, and used my daughter as a facial model to sketch out the face.  I used a small brush to paint in some of the thicker lines, and to fill in a bit.  After that, just went crazy with the color.  I like painting like this.  No care for color choice, other than BOLD.  Things flow so much more freely when I don’t seem to care about the outcome.  There’s a lesson somewhere in there, I think.

India ink and watercolor in the Moleskine sketchbook

India ink and watercolor in the Moleskine sketchbook