Archive for January, 2010

A fun crafting project… making your own hand lotion…

Yeah thats right, its done easily. Its something that is fun and highly satisfying to make your own lotion. Something you use everyday, tailored exactly to your needs.

You will need a measuring scale that weighs in grams. Here are the ingredients.

350 grams distilled water

1 Tablespoon liquid glycerin

30 grams aloe butter

60 grams coffee butter

26 grams emulsifying wax

8.0 grams stearic acid

11 grams hemp oil

Various essential oil to scent

Vitamin E (can add if you like, I love it)

liquid germall (this is necessary if you make a large batch. I only make enough to last 6 weeks or so so no chance of it spoiling. You can make lotion without it, just increases the likelyhood it will spoil.)

Add distilled water, hemp oil, glycerin, aloe butter, coffee butter, emulsifying wax, and stearic acid in a large bowl.  Cook for around 2 to 3 minutes until all ingredients are melting. Then take an immersion blender and mix together until its like a gravy, around 30 seconds to one minute on a low speed. Let the mixture cool now. After a couple of hours take notice, if you would like the lotion thicker add more water, thinner add more emulsifying wax. Also you may add essential oils for scents at this time and add some germaben or other preservative at this time if you like.

I heat the mixture again just until it melts so its easier for me to pour into an 8 ounce container. This makes around 8 ounces I believe, enough to last me in a dry climate for a little longer than one month. Its not necessary to heat again after you found the right consistency, I do it so its easier to get from the bowl to my storage container with only a funnel.

Its easy to find all items on or . Good deals for all of your supplies here. Its easy and simple, it took me around 8 minutes to weigh, cook, and mix the lotion last night. Come this morning I had a brand new batch of lotion to use.

This lotion may be different for you than what you are used to. Realize that what you are used to contains more than likely petroleum refuse. When a barrel of oil is processed they take some of what is left and make soap and lotions with it. It dries out the skin, then you need more of their product. 8 ounces of your own homemade lotion will last a little longer and you won’t notice your hands drying out. Plus no medicinal hospital smell.

Look on the internet for recipes, go to the library and borrow some books. I had started a personal products company making lotions, soaps, and lip balms but the insurance just got to be too expensive.

I hope to have given you  some easy tips and a good recipe for making your own lotion. TRY IT! Have fun with it! Break thru your plateau in creativity to make some personal products you can use everyday.

Keep learning! Enjoy the process not just the end result.


Artists who paint trees…Mixed Media Artist Tal Walton

I love this artists work. He seems to paint on a marbled ground. I am very curious to see this artists work in person and found out he has a gallery close by in Fort Collins. Plan to visit it within 2 weeks time.  To see the gallery I will visit please go to and look for his name.

Lets talk about some of his works. Red Rose is great. It breaks many of the adhered to ideas of composition. I have seen thousands of still lifes and not one where the flower is nearly straight up and down in composition. The use of varnish is keen and helps give the surface a different and fun texture. From this picture I couldn’t really find the use of gold leaf, will have to add to the post when I see it in person. But great composition idea and well executed.

If you can, try doing some flowers where no vase is involved. Dyanna Hesson and georgia okeefe did this by enlarging the flower tremendously. Try some ideas where its just one single flower in the picture plane and use simple simple shapes in the design.

Standing as One is also a great  piece to discuss. You get the foreground tree without leaves. It seems his style is to have the trees long and lengthy as if they are dancing or swaying in the wind. And then behind the skeleton of the tree is shows the viewer what it looks like when the trees are in full blossom in the summer. Similar to showing a single person, and then also what the person looks like in a group of people. Gold leaf is used as a reflection of the sun here, you can feel the hotness of the scorched earth especially compared to the more boring and flat color next to it.

Also view this artists work @ He is just in fine form in this painting. The viewer can feel the hot summer sun going away for the evening. Instead of giving us bare bones trees in the front, we get leaves on this trees as well, though the background is still fully covered with leaves. The play of light in the foreground trees, maybe an underpainting of oranges and yellows and glazing the green over the top, give real depth to the piece. I have no idea what the square gold leaf box represents, but I enjoy the picture tremendously. I have used aluminum and silver leaf for snow and ice patches but never thought to use gold leaf to indicate sun on the earth.  I get the same sense of feel from Gustav Klimts landscape work, so real but so abstracted at the same time.

I hope you take the time to look at more of this artists work. Remember to keep the trees long and lean and full of life. Keep painting, the journey is tough but well worth it.

Many more painters of trees to cover! We are just getting started.

Get to sketching and painting a few new ideas right now!

Nathan Sawaya, the best Lego artist you will ever see…

its amazing what adults can do with things usually used by children. Love this artist’s creativity. What is even more amazing the size of his pieces.  Next time you get a chance visit . Never thought you could make a likeness out of legos, but this artist even did a copy of Mt. Rushmore. It made me smile. Awesome.

And the figures he makes are amazing as well. One of he and his lady standing right alongside the sculptures. Wow! This piece totally blew my mind! So big and real. And of love cats so go check out pluto as well. Who are we kidding, everyone has played with legos. Go check this website out and then share it with young kids, give them some inspiration to do build something out of their own mind rather than just whats on the box.  Creativity is king!

On Mr. Sawaya’s site he has a link to when he appeared on the Stephen Colbert Report. He made a lifesize portrait of Mr. Colbert but watch the clip to its only around 5 minutes long.

I also love the color of his work. You have a limited palette when working with legos, but his color combinations are spot on as they say in England. Well done!

Hope this gives you some inspiration to get out there and create some paintings and try something new!

As an artist we should be learning everyday is should become a process you do everyday. I make my own soap, lotion, and lip balm. I will be posting a lip balm recipe for you to try. Most are petroleum based, the more you use, the more you need. Its about money$$$. Take that next step and make your own, you will feel empowered.  Washing and using your own products, a tremendous feeling of satisfaction indeed.

Go start a new piece!

Don’t forget Ron Hicks’ demo at Meiningers on Broadway in Downtown Denver on Saturday from 1 to 3pm. I hope to see you there!

keep on the journey!

That’s Clever and sculptor David Mach…

hope you caught this mornings show on HGTV called Thats Clever. If you love arts and crafts as I do, this is a great show for ideas and inspirations. Today’s art projects were making a pink dog footstool, a 3d caterpillar mosaic, and an animal, vegetable, mineral basket. I was really intrigued by the basket idea and may look to try something similar in the future. Here in Colorado the show airs tuesday mornings at 5:30 AM. If you have never seen, please check it out!

Today I wanted to enlighten your world with the art of British Artist David Mach. A true mixed media aritst, he is my favorite sculptor just for his creativity. He usually casts in fiberglass and then attaches different materials to give a piece a certain look. Matchsticks, coathangers, and scrabble tiles are among the many mediums he has worked over his fiberglass base.

Do a google search and then put in artnet David Mach. Check out the sculpture David. The great colored blue matchsticks he gets from china gave the piece an awesome feel to me. And matchsticks, never thought to put  them on my palette!

Dominatrix. A great figure, without a face yet very expressive. Great lines on the silhouette. And dominos to cover her. Awesome creativity here! An A+ for sure.

And lastly David Mach has gotten into collage. I too have been bitten by the collage bug!  He has made a picture of a lion roaring that is huge 4 foot by 4 foot. I love when artists use the square and have a great design, its easier to design the length of a rectangle rather than the same sided square. The collage was made with postcards!

One time before a show during installation a matchhead caught fire. Learning from his mistake, next time he made another casting and during opening night set it ablaze. It was on his website for awhile, didn’t see it at first glance when I visited it this morning. You could see before and after pictures, amazing. The grey toned burnt match sticks gave the piece a far different look than the colored matchsticks.

And he even has made a submarine out of used tires. What a genius this man is! Art from tires! It lasts around 6 minutes and you can check it out youtube.  Also on youtube you can see some of his great female sculptures he made for a show in  Los Angeles. The submarine was made in Haarlem, Amsterdam’s little brother about 20 minutes by tram away. If you have never been visit there and be sure and check out some Dutch painters like Frans Hals, who hailed from this city. Haarlem rocks!

So let this artist by your inspiration today! Next time you are looking at what you might think is trash, just think how can I use my creative genius to make this into a great work of art.

Keep learnings, the journey never ends!

Recycled materials artist Don Charles…

Today I would like to mention the wonderful sculptor Don Charles. A great thinker who lives in a 3d whimsical world. Similar to the painter James Christensen, but in 3d form. Sometimes using beds of nails for grass, or for a horses mane. He gets an A+ for creativity but also for the end result. To see some of this artists work please go to and check under Don Charles.

The first piece that caught my attention was a piece titled Pinocchio’s Whale. I knew it was a large creature of the sea from a distance. The same as you might be attraced to any painting from a distance you know what it is, you want to get closer. Rawhide, wood, zinc, and even glass eyes were used. No one really sculpts the creatures of the sea, but to make them look so animated and lively, my favorite of the pieces at this gallery.

The next piece I will talk about is Icarus. Its great to see common stories and characters brought to 3 dimensions. I can’t wait until I see a lifesize avatar sculpture! Icarus is great because its a whimsical thought brought to 3 dimensions. If you are ever painting or drawing Icarus try to make your character different find a unique way of doing the wings. I have seen some sculptors make a casting of their hands and use it as wings. Try something different! Loose, but very effective work here. Clay is so simple, that is one reason I love it!

The Last work I will talk about is the Clay Horse. I loved the nails used in the mane it looks like and the shape of the tail. Looks like the horse just swatted some flies. A great piece.

Found Object Art Book is a great look at all the recycled materials artists out there. Worth checking out if you get the chance. I will be highlighting several mixed media and strange media artists. One artists who sculpts in bubble gum! And another with match sticks! The art world is where the excitements at, turn the television off and get to a gallery!

Also get a chance to check out the painter James Christensen and you will understand why I think his work is similar to Don Charles. Both artists have a narrative and whimsical feel to their work. You will enjoy it.

Remember to go see Ron Hicks painting demo this weekend at the Meiningers on Broadway in downtown Denver. It goes from one to three pm this Saturday. I hope to see you there!

Keep painting, drawing, and learning! The journey is well worth it!

two other knife painting artists…

while at Borders yesterday I found out about 2 other artists who specialize in knife painting. The artist they featured was Carol Swinney at Fantastic works here. She paints exclusively with the palette knife. I recommend reading her bio on the site and she talks about learning from an older painter who specialized in Western Scenes named Bill Freeman, an artist whose parents were both artists. You can see some of Mr. Freemans works on 

keep learning and painting!

Graffiti artists…

today I will talk about the art of the street otherwise known as graffiti art. There are some who have taken street art to the highest level, turning in painting on trains and subway cars and worn down buildings for painting on canvas. Some still use spray enamel paint. You can view works by doing a google search with the query and then the artists name behind that. Its a great way to see multiple works by different artists.

Basquiat- Became super famous in the 1980s, the first African- American painting star. Classified by most as a neo-expresisonist. Friends with Warhol and dated madonna in the early 1980s. A movie was made about his life I highly recommend, movie name is Basquiat. He was also in a movie called Downtown 81, please see that one as well.  His tag for a long time was SAMO, a tag is street lingo for your signature that way people would know who made the piece. Basquiat was internationally collected despite having died at 28 from drug overdose. Born 1960 and died in 1988. There is a great movie called Basquiat I highly recommend and he was in a movie called Downtown 81 which is another great artistic production.

Chris “Daze” Ellis- Born 1962. Works with spray paint on canvas. Does multiple figure on canvas. Not highly rendered, more a loose and street style. Bold color usage.

John “Crash” Matos= Born in 1961. After Basquiat probably the most famous graffiti artist. Saw some of his work on a trip to Holland one time. Has been in fine art shows since 1983. Similar to a modern day roy lichtenstein. Bold use of color, I love the way he does the figure or just parts of it like the eye. Sometimes uses spray paint.

Donald “Dondi” White. Born in 1961. His specialty was making good designs and works using letters. Before fonts on computers came along only gifted artists could make lettering exciting. Died in 1998 from aids.

Rick Prol- Born 1958 and was an assistant to Basquiat Known for urban looking cartoon work. Planes similar to Basquiat. I like a little more realism than this, but he is still sought after by collectors. A child like image.

Here we celebrate creativity so all art is loved and recognized. Also if you have some time and are up early don’t forget to watch That’s Cleaver on the Home and Garden Network at 5:30 am. On each 30 minute episode you get 4 art and craft projects you might work on. Today a lady knitted a purse, a man made a huge wooden sculpture, and a grandmother made a doll out of polymer clay. I have an idea know as to how I would sculpt a head of polymer clay. Use this show to get ideas for another project for you to try. Its especially great for us mixed media artists.

Thanks for reading! Keep painting, drawing, and learning. Its a never ending journey!

Incredible drawings and the artists who make them…

So more information on current artists whose drawings are inspiring to me. You can buy or rent these lessons from a variety of sources like smartflix or art-video. Keep an eye on Ebay auctions at least once per week. I have found some lessons that you couldn’t find elsewhere on the web.

The first DVD I would like to talk about would be  Casey Baughs. A tech student who made a portfolio of drawings and showed them to Richard Schmid. Mr. Baugh moved back east to study with Richard Schmid and his art has really taken off. This lesson was great because it showed me a new way to apply charcoal to canvas or paper. The main difference between what I would call fine art and commercial art, print art that you might see in the newspaper is hard edges. By using a charcoal sock and a tortillion you learn how to apply a light dusting of dark shapes without an outline. For me it would be great if you could do them both. His results are really great and interesting shapes abound in his backgrounds with this technique. 

Daniel  E. Greene N.A. this is short for the National Academy of Art.  The lesson is Portrait Drawing with Daniel E. Greene. This is a great DVD showing you step by step how he makes a fine art portrait from start to finish, at the end he takes the drawing to a completed stage in pastels and its amazing. Having seen Mr. Greene’s work in person, its amazing. I was able to see a subway series, the mosaics he paints are just amazing. If you are in Denver try and catch the Salon D’Art show, its where I saw his work for the first time. I will add his website to the blogroll shortly. Also follow the oil painters of america. Here is where you can see the best of the best if you like traditional oil painting.  Mr. Greene is a great teacher, and more importantly a great communicator of what he is thinking at the moment. As you go along in your art journey you will find that some artists have a technique they use, but they can’t explain to you why they make the decisions that they do.

Burton Silverman. The Language of Drawing. Watch from start to finish Mr. Silverman draw 2 portraits. Its great to learn from an artist who has been both an illustrator and a fine art painter. I always have pages of notes after watching Burton do anything with a pencil. A great value to since you get to see him work on 2 pieces. By using some different colored pencils on a toned paper you can create some amazing results.

Kent Lind and how to airbrush a caricature on a t shirt. This is a great lesson if you would like to learn how to add color to your caricatures. I bought this video after agreeing to work for Fasen Arts. I had only 3 weeks to learn the airbrush and not really anyone to teach me. In this lesson he draws a caricature of Robert DeNiro and colors it with the airbrush. Its great because its a simple likeness and not to exaggerated so its easy to follow. His color method is pretty straighforward and I found it very helpful for a beginner to mid level artist who wants to improve their caricature level and that of using the airbrush.

The last information to share would be that of  This guy worked for the same company I worked with as well. Its a year by year journey of where he started and where he is now. After not getting into Cal Arts the first time he didn’t give up. He kept improving and improving and got accepted. You can see his drawings and what all goes into making a ball bounce or other animation ideas. This artist is currently studying and working at Disney Studios. Learn how to keep lines simple and how to put action in all drawings from this site.

That is all for now! Keep drawing and learning.

January 3, 2010 Drawing and the art of Caricature

Since I was little and watching Scooby Doo and the Flinstones I loved it when there were cartoons drawn that I could recognize. The Harlem Globetrotters, Cary GraniteRock, or the Addams Family, I just loved the way a few lines could suggest a person. Some great caricaturists you should study would be Al Hirschfeld, Tom Richmond (any of the Mad Magazine guys really!) Chris Rommel, Joseph Bluhm, Robert Sundini, and his wife Celestia, and my favorite master of exaggeration Sebastien Kruger. I know Mr. Kruger gives workshops often and even has a few books out. 

I worked as a professional caricaturist in Las Vegas for a great company called Fasen Arts. I didn’t even know such a job existed as I grew up in a society with very little culture having to do with music or visual arts in Montana. In Las Vegas maybe 70% of the people I drew were from out of the country. Other cultures, especially Asian, love for you to draw them and exaggerate their features! I remember a young gentleman I drew I exaggerated the hair right off the page and when I finished I got a standing ovation. It was only 14 people in their group, but I will never forget that!

You are the best teacher you can hope to get! You putting in some time every day. The gift of life is your gift from the creator, what you do with it is your gift back to the creator.  Besides constant practice at least 5 days per week for 10 hours at least, the harder you work the better results you will achieve, go online or to the library see as many books as you can about drawing. If you want to draw faces, start with caricatures. It allows you to get a likeness and more importantly a quick likeness. In Las Vegas I had only 20 minutes to draw and airbrush one or sometimes two people.

Find someone or a group of people and share your love and passion for it. For me this was simple as I found the NATIONAL CARICATURIST ORGANIZATION @  . Its a great group of artists, many professional illustrators or caricaturists who have a monthly magazine called Exaggerated Features. You will learn a lot from this group. How to draw, deal with people, and use different techniques for different results.

One website you must check out would be This guy is the best! First starting off drawing from life everyone struggles. So much information is right there in front of you, but you must edit it out. Drawing is a language. Someone that speaks latin wasn’t just born that way, they learned thru practice repition and failure. You must do this as well. Jim Van Der Keyl’s first video I bought was drawing the profile caricature. After 3 weeks of practice this artist was finally able to draw a quick and simple caricature from the profile. Then I bought his other lessons and was able to draw people from the front view after 2 months of practice. I strongly urge to visit his website because he makes it so simple. Learning from a book is great, but you will learn much more by just sitting and watching other artists work.

When you see a lesson at home, rewatch it as many times as you can. And take notes! Try and copy from the screen. Everyone artist has a different way of producing lines as in speech how you might pronounce a word differently depending on where you live. Notice the differences, borrow what you like to achieve the results you envision. Here is an example of hard work and dedication. This artist worked for the same company as me, though not in Las Vegas. He was a professional on the road caricaturist for a while working fairs and on the road all the time. Now he works mainly as an illustrator. Once he sent a caricature to Hugh Hefner, got a personal response from him, and has since been published several times in Playboy Magazine. Awesome caricature artist and painter. Where as you see many new age artists use digital media to draw Sebastian seems to like the feel of acrylic paints. A fantastic draftsman as well. If you get the chance to have a workshop with him please take the opportunity to do so! Check out his line work, its awesome. And for large scale pictures, his sense of design is great even with 4 people on the page. His caricatures of the Rolling Stones always make me laugh. A great artist/ illustrator who also got his start drawing caricatures in college. Does freelance illustration as well as working for Mad Magazine. Great simple line work that is the essence of caricature. This is a husband and wife team that does all sorts of artwork. From live caricature to illustration. I met both while working at Fasen Arts in Las Vegas and thanks to their studio and insite was able to take my art to a high level of satisfaction in Las Vegas. Robert Sundini is the most amazing PICTIONARY player I ever saw. Rob did most of his drawings upside down! Wow.

Again, the most important tool in my success in becoming an artist was Jim Van Der Keyl’s lessons. You can buy them on www.sketchme. com or rent them at You won’t be disappointed.

Next entry I will add some books and other resources you should look at in order to better yourself as an artist.

To see the company I used to work for visit They have been in business since 1979, and really the know the business well. A big part of their business is temporary tatoos made with the airbrush, this is a great portable idea if you would like to make some money using your airbrush.

Dont’ forget as Bob Ross says, LETS HAVE SOME FUN! Keep drawing and keep learning!