Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Walk in the (Cretaceous) Woods

Sometimes, ya jes' gotta paint DINOSAURS!!

Deinonychus,raptor,Cretaceous,dinosaur,tree fern,cycad,macaw palm,Wollemia nobilis,wollemi pine,forest,mist,fog,yellow
A Walk in the Mist -- Deinonychus   10" x 8" / 25cm x 20cm

Here we have a group of Deinonychus ("die-NO-nee-kus"), a raptor species that was about 6'-7'/2m tall (and was what the "velociraptors" really were in the Jurassic Park movies). It's likely that, like modern-day lions, they finished gorging themselves on a kill and are now looking for a safe place to sleep it off -- safe from critters that might eat them!

Deinonychus lived in the late Cretaceous -- a hot, muggy, carbon dioxide-heavy time. Thus, I wanted the air to appear very foggy but still lit up by the blazing afternoon sun.

Although these dinos are long extinct, most of the plants I've depicted are still around -- "living relics" or "living fossils." The tall trees are Wollemia nobilis or Wollemi pine -- I believe they're limited today in the wild to SE Australia but can be found in landscaping for homes or businesses -- they're attractive trees! To the left is a cycad or sago palm, and further back are some taller Macaw palms, Acrocomia aculeata. And, of course, tree ferns and other species of low-growing ferns and mosses.

(Ya know -- finding resources to visualize dinosaurs isn't hard, but information about how extinct plants looked takes more effort!)

I'm not a dinosaur expert -- my area was microbiology -- but I do have a childlike fascination with these animals. They give me an opportunity to paint something a little different while applying what I've learned about Old Masters techniques and composition in art. I wanted to get away from the edge-to-edge sharpness that I see so often in paleoart and illustration; thus, the only spots in this painting that are detailed are the dinos and the treefern to their upper right. (Treeferns, by the way, are my favorite plants, especially the species that grow on Kauai'i (Cibotium chamissoi), even more than organ pipe cactus and Joshua trees.

I'm curious to see what kind of reaction I get from potential collectors. I have no idea what the market is for artwork like this -- I suspect it's limited -- but if works like these sell, I may have to work bigger in the future!


Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Wilds of California

Believe it or not, southern California still has some wild areas. Even in somewhat urban places!

California State Polytechnic University,Cal Poly,Pomona,sunset,sundown,green trees,green grass,orange sky, coastal sage scrub,trail,path,small painting
California Wilds                    11" x 14"
One of my alma maters is California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA, where I received my science degrees (Cal State L.A. is where I earned my BA in Art). Cal Poly is big on agricultural programs and has a lot of miniature farm- and ranch-like areas. But parts of the campus are natural, undeveloped land -- coastal sage scrub plant community typical of much of SoCal.

Many field biology classes (I was in some of those) take hikes out in this region to collect specimens, take measurements (i.e., what percentage of the ground is covered with plant materials), go on bird walks -- stuff like that.

So I had some opportunities to see some of this natural beauty -- things that many other students really don't even know about! And, of course, I've made a few paintings of it, with more to come.

In California Wilds, I made only a few slight changes to make the painting "work" better for me. The cluster of California sycamore trees on the left was actually another species of tree (black walnut). But I happen to like the sycamores (which do grow there), so in they went!

Also, the hiking trail is really a double track from vehicles that occasionally drive through here.

In all, I think I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish -- a dramatic, yet peaceful and contemplative, scene; a nice break from the concrete and brick of the buildings at Cal Poly.

See me at!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Not-So-Boring (for Me) Statistics

I had to take a minute to look over the statistics that we bloggers get. Just to satisfy my curiosity. I'm a curious sort -- what can I say?

Not including this post: I've written 391 posts since I started this, with 11,784 views. Not bad -- I guess!

Many, many posts have only one or NO views, especially in the beginning years. It has picked up in the last couple of years, and six posts caught the attention of more than 100 readers each. They are, in descending order:
  • 648 views   Desert Painting in the Dutch Tradition   11-29-2009
  • 450    "         Jean-Léon Gérôme   8-28-2010
  • 285    "         Desert Hills   1-23-2009
  • 156    "         Kelly Clarkson and Fat-Ness   5-31-2009
  • 149    "         Additional Website URL   1-22-2009
  • 105    "         Desert Shack   11-05-2008
Don't know what it all means. I assume my piece on Gérôme got some hits because people were looking either for his artwork or for information about the man. Kelly Clarkson -- well, I wrote about how much I love a little plumpness in women -- many guys do, in fact, and don't care for the skinny, "concentration camp" look the entertainment industry constantly sells us.

I AM surprised that a post about a second URL ( I created, which will redirect the viewer to my "main" URL (, got as much attention as it did!

My blog is useful to me in other ways, too -- it helps me look up events that happened and I can't remember the dates for. I.e., I never remember when I was officially diagnosed with Type II diabetes. But I wrote about it here in May 31, 2011. So it's been over four years ago.

Lately, my posts have been getting anywhere from a dozen to three dozen viewers. Nice to know friends out there have "discovered" me!

Thanks, everybody! We'll meet here again soon!

Postscript: how about an image of Kelly Clarkson in February, 2015 to finish this off?

Kelly Clarkson,plus-sized,plump,chubby,cuddly,fat,overweight
Kelly Clarkson -- plus-size beauty!