Saturday, January 3, 2015


Spacation series 18 x 24 acrylic on canvas

If you see the post below, you see I have a few disappointments to deal with in regards to getting off our watery third stone from the sun called Earth. I've also wondered why we've never really named our planet yet. We just call it the same thing as what we stand on, the earth. Earth or dirt only makes up less than 20% of the planet, maybe should've called it "Water"instead.....just saying. We named every star, planet and asteroid in the galaxy pretty much, and some of you may even have been gifted with a star named after you! But alas, Earth it is.
Anyway, here is the the continuation of my "Spacation" series. I've moved to the planets now, and will have 4 more paintings coming this year. In the meantime, work on that name thing terrans....

Moon Travel? I'm still waiting...

As a child, I grew up in a great time to believe that there was "more out there" that just the place I stood. The space program was well into play, and the USA led the way! Science fiction really blew up in the late 70's and I was wrapped up in the hype that told that "Yes, you can go to places that've never before explored". Well yea.... I grew up and realized there wouldn't be moving sidewalks, flying cars, or any kind of interstellar shenanigans for me to have. Well, I've been sitting on those disappointments for years now, and I felt a need to bring awareness to these serious issues.  I started to create some "Spacation" illustrations not only to better deal with my disappointments, but to also remind society that this could be the next big thing if a bazillion dollars comes dropping out of the sky. I studied many references of the elegant early 20th century travel posters, and looked at my many books of old science fiction toys and paraphernalia and went to town.

Science plus Art = Awesome!

Autophagy three 8 x 10 acrylic on canvas

Autophagy (from the Greek auto-, "self" and phagein, "to eat") is an intracellular degradation system that delivers cytoplasmic constituents to the lysosome. Despite its simplicity, recent progress has demonstrated that autophagy plays a wide variety of physiological and pathophysiological roles, which are sometimes complex.
I love Science! However... it can be hard to mentally consume the intricate things in play with every action and resulting reaction that happens during each moment all over this busy world in which we live in. The above definition was what I had to work with when I started a series of paintings last year for a professor at the University of Michigan who is an extremely smart man in all things microbiology, but especially autophagy. Simply stated, with this illustration job I had to visually explain and paint what happens when a part of a cell senses and recognizes a negative issue within another part within the cell, it will then quarantine and eventually destroy the infected part, so the larger cell can remain alive. Did I mention that this all happens one million times smaller than a head of a pin? Oh yeah, and it's difficult to "really see" whats happening way down there, so wrap that all up in some paintings sir.......As I stated earlier, I love science, so I asked for as much reference as I could get my hands on and I received a ton of thick journals with very small print and many pages, but NO PHOTOS, just a few basic line drawings. This got my wheels turning a bit, but luckily my patron was not only a global speaker on all things autophagy, he also loves my robot paintings.
Long story short, I designed robots to better explain the three phases. 1. Signal- the cell component recognizes an issue 2. Sequester- the defective cell is surrounded 3. Consume- the component is destroyed. The bottom illustration is a digital painting for the cover of Autophagy, a U of M science journal that talks all things autophagy, written by my robot loving maize and blue science friend!

Friday, January 2, 2015


Sasquatch 12 x 24 acrylic on canvas
Growing up in America, no child can escape the mythic tale and the warm fuzzy qualities of the Sasquatch. As a child, I couldn't go into the woods without looking for Bigfoot prints, or wondering if this magnificent creature actually exists. I wanted to portray our friend as a benevolent server of our small warm blooded friends of the forest, so I created a messenger bag for him to fill with nuts and such, so his friends could find something to eat on those cold winter days.


Prologue 24 x 48 acrylic on canvas
This piece is from a couple years back, but features a dear friend of mine Trak. He keeps popping up in my work as my go to guy for action and adventure.  If I ever get time (as we all say) I'd love to fulfill my dream of painting a book, or creating an animated project based on this great beast. I wanted to place him in an illustration that could work as a "story starter" so I could better formulate a plan to write him into an exciting adventure to eventually paint. Is this the beginning, middle, or end to the story?  I don't know, but it hangs above my desk everyday to inspire me to get off my keister and finish the book so I can paint it.........

Maxfield Parrish homage

Homage to Parrish 12 x 24 acrylic on canvas
I've always loved the art of Maxfield Parrish and his great use of color, framing, the appreciation of the female form and for those golden moments of sunlight we bathe in every day. In this case, I liked the idea of taking those elements into consideration, but bringing an element of uneasiness into a perfect world. Is our green figure, a friend or foe, I dunno, maybe she'll find out when she wakes up...

Shiny, Happy Robots!

both are 11 x 14 acrylic on canvas

I dislike the idea that most robots in movies and TV are always out to destroy things, so I am fronting an effort to show that robots can be fun, peaceful, things of the world too! Motor on my fiends!

Watercolor robot

 Autophagy Robot 9 x 9 watercolor on paper

Very occasionally I'll do a watercolor painting just to keep my chops up. Watercolor was my first color medium and I learned quite a bit from it and have parlayed that into my acrylic work. This will be for the cover of Autophagy magazine, a science journal for the University of Michigan. A patron of mine is a professor and we've been working quite a bit to collaborate microbiology and art to better illustrate these 'invisible" processes. In this piece, I tried to illustrate the "the building of " a human cell. The robot assembles various parts of a cell (labeled behind him) into a sphere (a cell). I wanted to give a retro future vibe to it, so I made the robot look like he was from the 1950's. I got my reference from my books of 50's cars, household appliances and toys, and jumbled it all up!


Goldie 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas

I've had fish most of my life, but lately, i've only kept various kinds of goldfish for my outdoor pond. This one is modeled after one of my chubby underwater friends. It just didn't look quite right until that third eye was on there, read what you want into that............

Tortoise and the Hare

Tortoise v. Hare 12 x 24 acrylic on canvas

Children's literature has always been an inspiration to me. Simple parables and twisted analogies to help guide us humans along our way through life. In this case, the slow but steady and trustworthy turtle, against the sleek, but overconfident rabbit. My spin is too simply put science fiction elements in there to make people rethink traditional ways they've been presented things, and to surprise them when familiar content in new contexts.

Robots v. Cowboy

Cowboy v. Robot 16 x 20 acrylic  
As a child, I'd been left in front of the TV a lot, especially during those long Michigan winters. I've probably seen every old western movie ever made by watching Bill Kennedy at the Movies, a Detroit TV staple for many years. When I hit 9 or so, I was introduced to Science Fiction, and my world took a bit of a turn. Since then, I clearly favor my science fiction, but still love my western roots. I always loved the look of the simple wooden architecture, big clouds in the sky, and the"action scenes" of those old westerns so I had this idea, and here you have it.....

Celani Vinyards commision

This painting is from about six years back, done as a gift for Tom Celani of Celani Vinyards in California. This piece was a fairly large painting for me these days and was  roughly 4' x 5'. The bottles themselves were just a few inches larger than life, and had a ton of detail that was challenging to say the least. And don't even get me  started on how difficult the bottle reflections were, yikes.....

One of my absolute favorite projects from last year. This painting was inspired by a piece of great line art created in the early 70's by the late great George Watson, (also my children's grandfather). I loved his graphic style and how he was an excellent designer AND illustrator of many styles- not an easy task. He worked the Detroit ad agencies in the 70's - 90's, and continued his wizardry in Traverse City opening his own ad agency AND an historical Victorian bed and breakfast. A very busy and great man for sure, wish I could've met him.
When I would see this original art hanging in my hallway, my wandering mind couldn't help but fill in the gaps around the edges, which eventually set me in motion to do just that, fill in the gaps. I was inspired to create an appropriate background to complement George's great use of line, shape and character in his work. I was also inspired by my love of classic Warner Brothers cartoons and a of influence from R. Crumb too. I painted this on canvas as a birthday gift to my wife. It is 16 x 20 and was done in acrylic paint.