Life has been getting in the way (of art)

Hello followers and fellow blog stars!

I wanted to share with you the reason for the unpredictable and seldom frequency of my post of late. We have been preparing our home to be placed for sale. We have finally made it to the point where we have listed our home with a real estate agent in hopes of a quick sale.

These preparations have temporarily knocked art of the priority list. Most days, after arriving home from work, I am met with a list of tasks that need to be completed, or at least started that evening. By the time that list has been addressed, I am simply too tired to create. Not to mention that my mind is functioning somewhere south of half capacity.

Anyway, I wanted to reach out to you guys, let you know that I truly value your likes & comments and to let you know that I hope to get back up to speed on this blog soon.

Thank you for your patience.

Mike

Gorilla Portrait

Another primate portrait.  I really enjoy drawing primates, it seems there is so much thought and emotion behind their eyes.  I also find the wrinkles and patterns of their faces interesting to draw.

This portrait was finished just a few days ago.  It was created in my sketchbook using a 0.9mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead.  The black background was created using charcoal powder applied with a brush.

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The look of determination

Another older gentleman with an expression that I could pass up.

I do enjoy sketching the older faces.  There’s just so much life written into their skin.  This man’s expression seems to convey concentration and pure determination.

Based, on his expression I don’t believe I would want to get in his way.

 

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5.5″ x 8″, 0.9mm mechanical pencil, 2B lead

 

Thanks for visiting, I hope everyone has a great day. – Mike

Come again?

Greetings,  today I am sharing another portrait from my sketchbook.  This was created in July of this year.  I came across a photo of an older gentleman cupping his hand to his ear in an apparent effort to increase his ability to hear.  I found the act and his facial expression to be so characteristic of an elderly gentleman.  I can imagine that this is a scene that plays out over and over in his daily life.

I fully expect to one day be in the same situation, as a matter of fact, I am already guilty of this exact maneuver.  Too much loud music in my youth… I imagine.

Progress shot with the outlined sketch and beginning stages of flushing out the face and form.  This sketch was created using a 0.9mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead.

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and now the completed sketch.

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Recently, a spider constructed a magnificent site,
just outside of my studio window.

It undulates in the cool breeze,
it shimmers in the morning light.

It brings a smile to my face,
and a feeling of delight. – MDL

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I hope everyone has a wonderful week!  Cheers

Silent Peaceful Solitude

Good morning all.

I am the only one stirring so far this morning.  I enjoy the peaceful reassuring silence of the house on these early weekend mornings.

I do, however, share the silence with our loyal 4 legged girl, Katie.  She is old, quiet, and all so content, to simply be.  Laying on the floor of my study blissfully sleeping away the hours.

This morning I thought I would share a sketch I created back in July.  This was created using a 0.9mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead.  I enjoy the simplicity of using a single pencil, never having to break concentration or rhythm to pick up a different pencil to vary the tones.

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I would like to thank all of you for following along with me on this blog.  I know that my posting frequency has been sporadic and there really hasn’t been any set schedule for regular post.

Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking of ways to improve the value of this blog for my followers.  I would like to begin introducing content that goes beyond the sharing of my art.  I am still trying to sort things out, so please be patient.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  Cheers – Mike

Portrait on Toned Paper

I created this sketch portrait back in April, but, I never posted it here.  So…I thought, why not share it here as well!

It’s Friday night in my little corner of the world.  I’m looking forward to a great weekend.  I hope everyone else is as well.

Cheers, Mike

 

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Happy Monday

Hello everyone,  It’s a new week, full of opportunity.

Below is a sketch that I created back in June.  This was created using a reference photo, unfortunately, I do not know the name of the photographer in order to give proper credit.

This man’s face spoke of joy, experience, and even though he obviously has lived a long life, his face and expression still has a sense of child-like innocence.

I truly enjoy drawing portraits of the more “experienced” people of the world.  Their faces possess endless amounts of character and wear, each wrinkle earned.

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I hope each of you have a wonderful week.  There will be more posts on the way soon.

– Mike

Reflection and Inspiration

Bales of hay lay in a foggy field near Union Grove, NC

Good morning to you all.

It’s Saturday morning and I have spent this morning easing into weekend mode.  This is a weekly transition for me.  I use Saturday and Sunday mornings as a chance to restock my “creativity shelf” (so to speak).

I spend a couple of hours just browsing the web looking at art, photography, & often quotes.  I find that I can take small glimpses of inspiration from doing this.  The medium need not be anything that I practice, inspiration comes in many forms.

Today’s inspiration came largely from a quote that I stumbled upon.  The quote is from Lauren Kate, a successful fiction writer.  The truth of her words, though short, spoke to me.

“I cannot be other than what I am, and I am the choices of all my days.”  – Lauren Kate

There is much truth in her words.  Even though we may aspire to be a better person, or perhaps, just a different version of who we are today, in the end, we are the sum of our daily choices.  The decisions we make each day shape and become our lives.  That singular sentence provides the spark for an abundance of reflection and introspection.  I realize that we are still vulnerable to our circumstances but we are 100% in charge of our reaction to those circumstances.  In the end, the way we choose to react to our circumstance shape our lives and who we are.

I hope everyone finds themselves in good health and spirits.  Best wishes, for a great weekend and for the week ahead.

Until the next post. – Mike

 

Back at it

Hello all,  I’m have returned from my self-imposed leave.  After the passing of my father I just needed to take some time to regroup and recenter.  I’m truly grateful for your patience as I transitioned through this season in my life.

I’m currently sitting in my home office/studio space.  The house is quiet as my beautiful bride and son are still in bed.  I cherish my morning solitude as it gives me the opportunity to collect my thoughts and provides time for much-needed retrospection.  I believe that everyone can benefit from such time spent alone without distraction.

I have made a few minor tweaks to this blog, an updated about page, & a new minimal theme with full-width image display.  I have made the decision to remove the photographer focus from this blog and focus solely on my art.  Art is something that I truly enjoy,  it removes me from my environment for a while as I focus solely on the work in front of me.  It brings me inner peace and is an activity that can be practiced virtually anywhere I go.

Even though I have been absent from this blog for a few weeks I have been posting somewhat regularly on Instagram.  I have decided that IG is where I will post my day to day activities and works in progress.

I will leave you with a portrait that was created during my break from the blog.  For this particular sketch, I was able to reach out to the photographer of the reference photo I was working from and was able to obtain permission to use his image as a reference.  The photographer is Thorbjorn Fessel, a talented photographer to say the least.

This sketch was created with a 2b mechanical pencil and a 6b pencil for the darker areas.  The sketch lives in my current ‘go-to’ sketchbook.

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An Honored Request

Recently, one of the readers of this blog requested a portrait from me.  The subject was his late father who past away earlier this year.

The individual who made the request is a fellow blogger.  We originally started following one another due to our common interest in woodworking.  We quickly became good acquaintances via WordPress and now, even though we have never met in person, I consider Ron one of my friends.

So when he asked if I would consider creating a portrait of his father I was extremely honored that he thought enough of my art to make this request of me.  I gladly accepted the challenge.

With Ron’s permission, I am sharing his father’s portrait in this post.

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Now, I’ll admit I was a touch nervous about drawing this portrait.  I have never created a portrait by request before.  The fact that it was Ron’s father made it all the more important that I did my best.  So, I began making marks, hesitantly at first, but, I gained confidence as I continued to develop the drawing.   I had to remind myself a few times to just relax and draw as I normally would.  Eventually the apprehension fell away and I found my groove.

Ron is a knowledgeable and skilled craftsman who creates his wooden wares with nothing more than human-powered tools in his “unplugged” workshop.  His creations are adorned with intricately carved patterns.  Please visit his blog at  An Unplugged Woodworker to see his skill and craftsmanship for yourself.

Thank you for visiting, I hope you have a great day! – Mike

 

Reality & Tactile Feedback

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Back to the Real Feel…

Lately, I have been spending a good amount of time creating digital sketches with my iPad.  I really like the convenience and tons of media options.

However, I was missing the sound of marks on paper, creating with real tools, and the lack of an undo button.

I haven’t created a pen & ink sketch in a while so I thought I would dust off my pens and get to sketching.  Here are the results!

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Thank for visiting, I hope everyone has a wonderful day.  Feel free to comment!

Bleeding Ink & Negative Space

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Pen & Ink Style with Procreate?

I’ve been wanting to explore the inking brushes in Procreate, in particular, I have been wanting to create a drawing with the Ink Bleed Brush.

I have seen others use the Ink Bleed Brush within Procreate to create some very cool art.  I have been wanting to create a pen & ink portrait in Procreate for a while now, so, I decided to give it a go with my latest sketch.

I received positive feedback with my last sketch where I tried to keep the style loose and minimal.  I enjoyed sketching in that loose style and I also really enjoyed the process of determining what areas to include or exclude within the drawing.  So I knew that I wanted to repeat that style with this sketch as well.

I would love to hear your thoughts, feel free to comment!

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Thanks for visiting – Mike

Trying to let go and just have fun

Keeping it quick & loose

This sketch was inspired by a Lee Jeffries portrait.  I am a big fan of his work.  I find his images so raw and powerful.  I just can’t resist sketching them!

The goal with this sketch was just to keep it simple, try to capture the main features of the subject, and most of all keep the sketch loose.

I think I came closer with this one than I have with my previous attempts.

I believe trying to work a little quicker and more loosely will help me to produce more work, which equals more enjoyment.  I am trying to teach myself to let go a bit.

I am still in the mindset that I need to keep my sketches neat and each one should be as good or better than the previous work.  I am now beginning to see that this mindset can do more harm than good.

By thinking that each work should be as good as the previous works you put unnecessary pressure on yourself to produce quality work.  This self-imposed pressure leads to a decrease in enjoyment.  Sometimes you may completely psych yourself out to the point that you don’t even attempt a sketch because your worried your quality will suffer.

This is certainly not the way to maintain confidence, grow as an artist, or ensure that sketching remains an enjoyable activity.

I plan to produce more work like this, sketches that are loose and free.

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Thanks for visiting – Mike