Showing posts from December, 2010


It is a fine thing to view the world with the fresh eyes of a child.


The colors are brighter and motives are purer.


No wonder Goethe's Faust was ready to trade his soul to recover his lost innocence: Give me back youth's golden prime
When my own spirit too was growing
When from my heart unbidden rhymes
Gushed forth, a fount forever flowing;
The world was shrouded in a haze
The bud still promised wondrous powers
And I would cull a thousand flowers
With which all valleys were ablaze
Nothing I had, and yet profusion
The lust for truth, the pleasure in illusion.
Give back the passions unabated,
That deepest joy, alive with pain,
Love's power and the strength of hatred,
Give back my youth to me again.
But it is also a fine thing to view the world through the eyes of experience.

Raphael, the School of Athens

Experience enables us to get past the inanities of youth and start addressing the complexities of life. The world often loses charm in the process, but as James Gould Cozz…

Happy Holidays!


These are paintings I did for the DreamWorks Christmas special "Shrek the Halls". If you're new to my blog you can see more from this show by clicking here and scrolling down. .


The National Gallery of Art reports that "For several months in the winter of 1816-1817, Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld vied with his friends, brothers Ferdinand and Friedrich Olivier, in making precise drawings of dried leaves."

Julius created this tiny pen and ink drawing as part of their competition:

What a blissful way to remain warm: rubbing your impressions of nature up against each other.

There were plenty of dried leaves in 1816, which was known as "the year without a summer." Julius and his friends, isolated from the world and immersed in their game, had no way of knowing that on the other side of the planet, the most deadly explosion in recorded history had taken place: the volcanic eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia. This "super-colossal explosion" was heard over 2,000 kilometers away. It belched massive quantities of volcanic ash into the sky, blocking the sun and creating volcanic winter as far away as Europe where Julius sat peacefully drawing…

Upcoming January Classes

I'm offering two fun filled classes starting in January (see the sidebar for dates and times, To enroll, phone(877) MY-LAAFA). Here are the course descriptions:

Colorful Life Painting in Watercolor and Gouache
Sketching from life is one of the great pleasures for the working artist. This course will provide students with the experience and understanding to work from the costume model quickly with pleasing results. Each session will include a slideshow lecture or demonstration that will guide students step by step through the drawing and painting process. Student painting sessions will be short and long poses from live models emphasizing theatrical color and lighting. Also included will be a study of the head, figure, drapery, and costume. Gouache or watercolor with white gouache is recommended though students are welcome to use acrylics or other water media.

Head and Portrait Drawingin Charcoal

This course will provide each student with the necessary understanding an…


Richard Thompson's drawings make me happy, not just because he is so darn funny but because his work is a daily reminder that a beautiful line and a lively intellect are still enough to succeed in this wicked world. No software, Dolby sound or corporate financing necessary; just pure observations about human nature scratched onto bristol with a dip pen nib.

Thompson is an illustrator / cartoonist / writer in the tradition of James Thurber. If Ronald Searle and Bill Watterson got married and had a baby which was raised by Crockett Johnson, that would be Thompson.

His illustrations have appeared in the New Yorker, The National Geographic, the Atlantic Monthly and other publications. I love this smart, witty series of drawings about superstition that appeared in the Washington Post:

Look at the marvelous way he handles the horizon line in this next image:

Thompson's syndicated comic strip, cul de sac, is regularly the most delightful space on the newspaper comic page. With the demise…

HARVEY DUNN (1884 - 1952)

Harvey Dunn was a tall, muscular prairie farmer with a rare artistic gift. He started out plowing buffalo trails into farmland on the South Dakota frontier and ended up as one of the giants of the golden age of illustration.

A teacher at an a agricultural School noticed Dunn's talent and persuaded the 17 year old to travel to Chicago to train at the Art Institute. There he came to the attention of the legendary Howard Pyle, who brought Dunn to Wilmington Delaware where Pyle ran a school for gifted young illustrators. Among all of Pyle's talented students, Dunn was the young Prometheus who became inspired by Pyle's gift of teaching and passed it along to a whole new generation of artists, from Dean Cornwell and Mead Schaeffer to Saul Tepper and Harold von Schmidt. Dunn returned regularly to his South Dakota home for inspiration later in life.

Here are examples of Dunn's lovely work:

Until this week, Harvey Dunn was the last remaining giant among the "golden age…
Photoshop sketch.
Watercolor on Arches paper, 15"x 20".