"Barbara", charcoal on paper

When I look at this drawing I did last week, I feel a mixture of satisfaction and disappointment. Satisfaction because my drawing skills have come a long way, and disappointment because I see subtle drawing mistakes. I also see the charcoal isn't getting the soft effect on the paper that I'd like it to, and I didn't quite capture the mood on the model's face that day. This disappointment motivates me to keep trying because I know with continual practice, I will someday achieve the look I am striving for in my work as long as I keep working towards that goal.

These days I am starting to rethink my goals. While I still believe personal discipline is healthy, I also believe it is ok to accept what I can do right now. This drawing doesn't look quite the way I want it to and is not perfect. It is the result of everything I have learned and experienced up until the moment I drew it. This drawing is a representation of who I am right now...which is the whole point of expressing in the first place.

Light and Shadow

"Dahlias Forever", oil, 9"x12"

I saw some orange dahlias a few weeks ago and bought them so I could set up a still life for painting. I was surprised they lasted long enough to do two paintings - two weeks. When I looked up the historical meaning behind dahlias, I found that in the victorian era dahlias represented enduring love because they last so long.

I like the shadow and light effect I get from placing flowers on this windowsill. When I set up still life objects for painting, I'm always looking for strong lighting. For me, strong lighting illustrates the idea of sun and moon, positive and negative, Yin and Yang. This painting has all the essential elements I believe in, plus one: Earth, Sun, Moon, and enduring love.

"I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars." -- Og Mandino



In the Victorian era, flowers were a coded language of emotions, desires, and unspoken messages. Because of this, flowers had the ability to speak louder than words in a time when speaking the truth of one's emotions was socially unacceptable. Today the language of flowers is still relevant. They symbolize love, regret, passion, loss, remembrance, and have the ability to subtly convey a message.

Like so many artists, I am compelled to paint flowers. For me the subject is not merely decoration. When setting up a still life, I use things like vases, cloth, and other objects, combined with the flowers of my choosing, to help express the thoughts and feelings within. While I am painting, it is easier for me to linger in those feelings. Like the people we are compelled to interact with in our lives, flowers can be powerful symbols from deep within. I will be lingering in this place for a long time.

"Be observant if thou wouldst have a pure heart, for something is born to thee in consequence of every action." - Rumi


Gil Elvgen Charcoal at the American Academy of Art

Here is the drawing by 1950's pin up artist Gil Elvgren I was referring to in the previous post. Unfortunately these are the only photographs I have. The drawing was under glass, so there is a glare. I was also new to photography when I took these 15 years ago. :)

If anyone has a better photo of this drawing, please send it and I'll post it!

This drawing is best seen in person. When I first saw this hanging on the walls at the American Academy of Art, i had an overwhelming desire to learn to draw this way so I could also create something so incredibly beautiful. I'm still working on trying to achieve this level of beauty in my life drawings.