Thursday, December 15, 2011


An 8"x10" board that I worked on this week.  The tassels are put on the bridle as decoration and are often seen on bridles that were historically used as decorative attire for the horse for fancy events.  They may go back historically as a form of fly preventative to keep insects out of the horses eyes, but I could be wrong about that too :)  This quarter horse I photographed at a junior rodeo and I thought the tassels and fancy bling buckle made it visually interesting.  The original is available for sale.  e-mail me at if you are interested in more information about it.
"Tassels" - 8"x10" - Scratchbaord Art

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Great article by Jim Bortz - Talent...or Skill?

I am reposting with his permission a great blog posting by Jim Bortz, a fellow wildlife artist.  You can check out his blog at:

Talent... or Skill?
by Jim Bortz

When someone tells me that I’m “talented,” I know it’s a term of admiration… though unknowingly misguided. Don’t admire my talent, for it is such a small part of what I do. Admire my dedication, skill, and sacrifice. Those are the qualities of which I’m most proud.

It starts out innocent enough. Someone at a show or exhibit will be gushing over my work, tossing complements about like rice at a wedding (no one throws rice anymore, do they?) and all but making me squirm with at having to say “thank you” so many times. Then the words come out that make my blood boil. “I wish I had your talent. This must come naturally to you.” Really? Like I eat a couple of tubes of paint for breakfast every morning and crap out finished 12x16 canvas later the same night (never mind how painful that might be. Or the fact that if it were physically possible to “shit out a painting”, the “important” galleries in London, LA, and New York would be fighting over my so-called “art.” But I digress). And I know they mean nothing hurtful by these words, so I just smile and nod hoping they don’t notice my white knuckles as I grind a fist into my leg. If they only knew the mind-boggling stack of past failures it took to get here and the paralyzing knowledge that there are many more failures to come... the years of study and frustration to achieve a level of competence where I wouldn’t throw up at the thought of showing my work in public... the amount of research and planning it takes before I ever dip a brush in paint.

I love what I do, but there is no “magic” in the process. It’s simply work. Not the kind of work you do with a wrench or shovel. I’ve done plenty of that in my time. And not unpleasant work, but a continual task of study, experimentation, evaluation, and then application of a learned knowledge. It’s a skill… not a talent. The magic happens when someone stands in front of a painting and says something like, “I’ve been there” or “I can almost smell that water.” Now that’s magic!

I don’t deny that it’s possible (maybe even necessary) talent may play a part in the stages of artistic development. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an obsession with drawing. Still, I didn’t understand much about it until I started studying the work and teachings of others who were highly skilled at the craft. To dismiss what any skilled craftsman or woman does as some whimsical gift by a higher power is an insult (though it’s almost never intended that way).

There will always be folks that disagree with me on this subject (though very few of them are professional artists), and that’s okay. I’m not really hoping to change anyone’s mind. These merely the ramblings of my own tormented mind (discussed in an earlier post). It’s fine that there is some mystery to art. It adds an element of romantic notion to what I do. But I’d much rather that romance be directed toward the finished piece than any mistaken enchantment in its creation.
Cathy's thoughts on the topic:
I am re-posting because it is a topic that I have almost posted about myself several times, but never been able to figure out quite how to do so without offending.  I get told that I am "so talented" often with both my photography and my artwork in recent years and each time it causes a bit of a clenching of my jaw.  I know it is a well meaning comment, but the term talent indicates that the skills you see before you are something that someone was born with, not requiring further development, and I know that is only a very small part of it.  And yes I am talented, but it is maybe 1% of what makes me the artist that I am.  As a matter of fact throughout high school I was little more than an average artist, but I enjoyed it and I pushed myself to improve through practice and seeking honest and constructive feedback and learning from those who were more skilled than me.  I have literally spent 20 to 40 hours a week for over 10 years learning my artistic skills.  I have messed up many drawings and deleted hundreds of thousands of bad photos, but through it all I have taken my 'talents' and learned and honed my skills, and honestly I still am still learning and still honing :)  I learn new things with ever work that I create.  Yes, it is nice to be talented, to have a natural affinity for something, however like most artists (or top sports figures, or world class musicians) talent will only take you a little ways by itself. To truly become a good or even great artist requires much more than talent - it requires sweat, tears, and MANY hours of hard work.  I once heard an art teacher say that they would much rather have one hard working student than ten talented, but lazy ones (and that the hard working one will usually go further with their art in the long run that the talented one), so go forth, work hard and prosper, with or without any natural talent!
My thanks to Jim for allowing me to re-post his article.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Scatter - Magpies - FINISHED

I am calling the magpies done:)

"Scatter" - 18"x16" - Scratchboard, Ink and Iridescent Medium
Black Billed Magpies

Monday, December 5, 2011

Updates on Works In Progress

Well last time I tried to sign in blogger was down, so I am glad it is working again. 

My art web site has officially now moved to and has a new color scheme and some other changes to the layout.  Please check it out and let me know what you think.  My photography will stay at and hopefully I will get that too updated by early next year (not easy to sort through 500,000 photos on three different hard drives and decide which images are my best!)

I continue to have multiple art works on the go. 

I am getting close to done on the black and white portions of "Coming At Ya"  (36"x24") though still doing some 'tweaking' all over to get everything the way I want it.  I'm actually going to hold off coloring it as I have heard from an outside source that I was accepted into a show that I will need a large, impressive, black and white piece for, and I am not sure whether I will have time to make another one between now and that event.  I should hear officially in January (and I don't think my outside source knows 100%, so not expecting either way).  If it does not get into that show I will be doing some subtle color on it.

Anyways here is a picture from a last week (I have done a bit more since then, but it is snowing outside, so can't get a good updated picture right now).  Still a ways to go though.

"Coming At Ya" - Palomino Quarter Horse - 36"x24"

I also have been working on a piece with a couple of Black Billed Magpies.  While not really a favorite bird to many, I really enjoy all of the corvid family (crows, ravens, magpies).  Even though they are scavengers they seem to have a true sense of humor and intelligence.  While not as beloved as the birds of prey to me, I still really enjoy them.  I am temporarily calling this work "Scatter" as a title, but not sure if that will be what I go with.  Size is 18"x16" and it has been a bit of an experiment.  Not only is the background more 'contemporary' than my usual works, but it also has some iridescent medium added to the colored feathers, so they truly do have a bit of iridescence to them from different angles.  I was a little worried that it would make it look cheesy but it actually is quite subtle and nice I think.  It is not quite done yet, but it too is fairly close.

"Scatter" - Black Billed Magpies - 18"x16"

And when I need a break from scratching I return to my harris hawk wood burning.  Many people really like how this piece is going so I will definitely finish it, just not quite sure when :)  I find burning to be even slower than scratching and also shading large areas starts to hurt my fingers a bit.  I hope to finish it by April to possibly enter it into "Birds In Art"  Size is 18"x24"

"Landing Gear Engaged" - Harris Hawk Pyrography (wood burning) on birch plywood

I also heard back that I will be included in the Colorado Governor's Show again in 2012.  I did very well at this show last year and am excited to be included again this coming year.  I believe the opening is April 28.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Progress on "Coming At Ya!"

This big board (36"x24") I started way back in May.  Sometimes I have to set aside these big boards and take a break on them and then work on some other stuff to get renewed energy and fresh perspective.  Anyways I am back at it and here is a couple of updates.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Little Grizzly Bear

I felt like doing a quick little board and desided to go with this grizzly bear that I photogrpahed at the Denver Zoo.  I like how his fur and shape of his head is almost a heart shape.

This piece is only 6"x6" in size

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mother May I?

Well this piece that I did a few months back I decided to color, as I felt it was missing 'something'.  Here is "Mother May I?" in color.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Here is the piece that I mentioned in my last post that I said I would post when it was done.  I started it on my trip to Michigan and finished coloring it today.  It is from one of my photos (as usual).  Size is 14"x11" and I am pretty pleased with how it came out.  I will probably do a little more tweaking over the next few days, but it is pretty much done as it sits here.

Here is the black and white version.  I knew I was going to color it so the whiskers had to be added after the color was put in to make them more pristine white and not risk getting colored ink on them.  The lack of whiskers definitely made his jaw look funny.

And here it is after coloring and with whiskers!

"Spotted" - 14"x11" - Original Available

As always, I love hearing your comments nad feedback!

Monday, October 17, 2011


Well it has been a while since I have posted, so my apologies to those that follow along on here.  The days just go by too dang fast!  Here we are toward the middle of October and it seems like the new year just rolled around not long ago at all!

The cover of my 2012 calendar.

Anyways firstly please check out my 2012 calendar.  These are high quality calendars printed on heavy weight paper featuring 14 of my scratchboard images.  If you enjoy my art this is a great way to get to see it all year round.  Many people tell me they have kept my previous ones alter the year is over just to enjoy the art.  These calendars are a reasonable $15 each plus S&H.  To order go to 

Next news is about the International Society of Scratchboard Artists (ISSA).  We have officially launched and are now taking members!  It has been months of hard work getting everything in place, but it is quite exciting to watch it become a reality!  Members joining in 2011 will have their membership carry through to 2012 too!  We have all different level of membership designed to suit everyone from novice up to expert scratchboard artist!  Some of the perks of membership will include a quarterly newsletter, reduced rates for entering our 2012 exhibition and workshops, publicity on the web site, and of course being connected with a group of other scratchboard artists.  For information on joining please check it out at

And then updates on art.  I am still working on the wolves.  Also have a new leopard piece that I am going to wait to post until it is finished.  But here is an update on the wolves.  Getting there, but still not done.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Where Wolves?

Well I didn't make as much progress as I wanted on the pair of wolves, while I was in Michigan, but did make some headway and I am pleased with how it is progressing (and also started another board, which I will eventually get around to posting). 

Here is the update on "Sibling Rivalry"

I am headed off on Monday to Yellowstone and Grand Teton NP.  I love that part of the country and try to go there once a year (usually at peak fall color which also happens to be around my Birthday).  As a matter of fact the images for "Sibling Rivalry" were gathered on my trip through that part of the country last year (at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, MT).  I will be spending a few days there on this trip as well.  The reference images for  "Edge of Darkness"  came from there as well.  Where do you like to go and take reference photos?  Wolf works are some of my favorites to do and also my best sellers, but getting good references is not always easy. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Progress on Sibling Rivalry

Here is an update on the wolf piece.  I will be taking it with me to Michigan next week for the Society of Animal Artists show opening in Travers City.  I will be staying with an SAA friend for a few days afterwards and she is going to take me to her art class and I offered to demo scratchboard for them. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I was notified that my scratchboard and ink piece of a white tiger,  titled "The Interrupted Drink", won Viewer's Choice at the Bennington Center for the Arts "Art of the Animal Kingdom XVI".  Thanks to all who voted for my piece!  It was totally unexpected to me :)

"The Interrupted Drink" - Original Available

Here is an update on "Comin' At Ya" the big horse piece that I am working on (36"x24").  Still a long ways to go.

"Comin' At Ya" - WIP - 36"x24"

And I have also started a new piece titled "Sibling Rivalry" sized 16"x20".  As you may figure by the title (and random tooth) there will be a 2nd wolf in the image

"Sibling Rivalry" - WIP - 16"x20"

Monday, August 15, 2011

International Society of Scratchboard Artists (ISSA) continues to take shape

First Ever Scratchboard Society: International Society of Scratchboard Artists (ISSA)

Scratching, as an art form, has been around since the first people painted and scratched on cave walls. Today’s scratchboard is much more refined, allowing for intricate detail and a wide variety of styles. Scratchboard Art involves using a variety of abrasive tools to remove darker color to reveal a white layer below. Artists may leave the artwork in black and white or color it with a variety of mediums. Scratchboard Art was historically used for illustrations in the advertising and publishing industries as an alternative to engraving. It has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity, is now finding its way into fine art circles.

In recent years an International group of artists have been experimenting, pushing boundaries and honing their skills in scratchboard, working to move beyond illustrations into the creation of fine art. It was discovered that a large portion of the general public and art community had little knowledge of this medium. When entering juried shows, often show organizers do not know what category to put scratchboard art into and some would even exclude it from shows without ever seeing the work or understanding what scratchboard is capable of in the hands of fine artists.

Initially brought together through an online art community called WetCanvas, the first International Scratchboard Exhibition was held in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2008 with a second one held in Alamosa, Colorado in 2009. While these shows were very well received, they were not juried and not inclusive to all scratchboard artists or promoted to those that were not part of the online community.

With almost all other mediums having their own societies representing them and helping to promote their interests, it was felt that a similar society dedicated specifically to Scratchboard Art was overdue. ISSA has the goal of lifting the profile of scratchboard art internationally; providing exhibitions to showcase this art form, organizing workshops, uniting all artists working in the medium, and endeavoring to continue educating about the medium to the arts and public communities.

In July, 2010 discussions started for creating a formal society dedicated to Scratchboard Art with the aims to reach and include all scratchboard artists everywhere. After this meeting work began on the society’s bylaws, the development of a board of directors, and a lawyer is presently working with us on incorporation and the process to obtain 501c3 non-profit status. The ISSA will begin accepting members in Fall of 2011. Its web site, presently still under construction, can be found at

Membership within the society will include a variety of levels to encourage artists from novice up to professionals. Top tiers of membership and all shows will be carefully juried to encourage and promote excellence in the medium. At least one international show of scratchboard art will occur each year. In 2012 all scratchboard artists, worldwide, will be welcomed and encouraged to submit for jury to the inaugural ISSA International Exhibition of Scratchboard Art.

The Founding Board Members of the ISSA are Lorna Hannett and Sue Rhodes from Canada, Patrick Hedges from Australia, Diana Lee, Ken MacFarlane, Cathy Sheeter, and Sandra Willard from the US.

"A King On His Throne" - A Scratchboard work by founding ISSA member and artist Cathy Sheeter

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Back From Africa and some bird photos

Well I had a long, fun and productive trip to Africa, coming home with many reference photos (though completing zero art) and memories.  But I am HAPPY to be home (at least for a couple of weeks...LOL).

We saw LOTS of animals in SA! An incomplete list off of the top of my head includes Elephants, Impala, Springbok, Steenbok, Bushbuck, Greater Kudu, Common Duiker, Bush Duiker, Klipspringer, Eland, Blesbok, Gemsbok, Waterbuck, Blue Wildebeest, Black Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest, Burchell's Zebra, Mountain Zebra, White Rhino, African Buffalo, Warthogs, Bush Pigs, Hippos, Giraffes, Lions, Leopards, Side Striped Jackal, Black Backed Jackal, African Civet, Honey Badger, Spotted Hyena, lots of Mongoose of various types, various bats and tons of birds!

Here are a few photos of birds that we saw in South Africa throughout our trip.  South Africa is a premier birders spot with over 900 species calling it home for at least part of the year.  And while I am far from a hard core birder I do enjoy documenting and looking up the species that I saw.  Since I didn't even have a bird book for that part of the world (the cheapest one I saw was about $35) I had to sneak peeks at the bird books that were being sold in each and every gift shop to get my IDs :)
Yellow Hornbill - a VERY common species around Kruger National Park

This is a Crombec (not sure what type).  They have virtually no tail feathers to speak of, which makes them look quite funny.  Before I looked up the species I thought maybe his feathers had been pulled out by a predator, but nope... that is just how they are!

Collared Sun Bird - These little guys are Africa's version of a hummingbird, though they do not hover, they do LOVE nectar from aloe plants.  This is a male sitting on a Marloth Aloe flower. 

Greater Blue Eared Starling - South Africa has many starling species.  Several of them are incredibly iridescent (they look anywhere from black to green to blue depending on the light) from head to tail (not something that you can capture all that well in a photo).  These guys are very common, but nevertheless the beauty of them is something I never got tired of.

Many would consider the Lilac Breasted Roller as one of Africa's more beautiful (and trademark) birds.  I never did get the 'killer' shot of one that I wanted but got a few shots I can't complain too much about.

White Capped Shrike - These little guys flock together and like to talk a lot.   I think their fluffy look is very cute :)

Pied Kingfisher hovering above a river.  I WISH I could have changed the lighting situation on this photo to illuminate his head better, but it is still a neat thing to see.  I also got photos of a brown hooded kingfisher and a giant kingfisher.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Here is an update on the big horse.  I didn't have a very productive week as the transmition on my jeep went out and I have been car shopping this week - have not bought anything yet.  I also leave for almost a month to South Africa in about 10 days so making final preperations for that trip too.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

start on new big board

Not really much to look at right now, but this is the start of another 36"x24" board of a horse and rider. It will be colored.  I need to give him eyes soon so he doesn't look so scary :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Another show, another award... YEAH!

I am working on another 24"x36" board right now, but don't have enough going to show it yet. 

Greeley was a success so far and still open for another week or so.  "Bee-Mused" won the artists choice award on the opening night.  This is a bit different than people's choice since it is only the other participating artists that get to vote on the work.  It sold to a repeat client.    "A Distant Gaze" also sold to a repeat client!  Yeah!!  :)  I was told yesterday that Bee-Mused is in the lead for People's Choice as well.

Me with "Bee-Mused"  It was sold and also selected for "Artists Choice" award at the Greeley Stampede Invitational Western Art Show.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A scratchboard society? Its about time!!

It is long overdue for scratchboard art to have its own society and myself and handful of other motivated and dedicated scratchboard artists from around the world are working hard to make this a reality!  It will be called the International Society of Scratchboard Artists or ISSA for short.  We presently have an official board of directors, by-laws, and have a lawyer working on getting us incorporated and eventually getting our 501(c)(3) non-profit status!  We are working hard behind the scenes to get everything in place (by-laws finalized, a website, etc.) to start taking membership.  We will start taking membership in autumn 2011.

One of the key aspects of the society will be continuing to get scratchboard more known through exhibitions and education.  We want scratchboard to be able to take its rightful place among other fine art mediums!  We also want to unite scratchboard artists since many people work in isolation feeling that they are the only person working in the medium.  This truly will be an international group with our board members already including individuals from the USA, Canada and Australia.

One of the highlights of the society will be an annual juried exhibition (and workshops).  2012 will be the official launch of the society and it will kick off with, what we hope is, an amazing exhibit of some of the best scratchboard art in the world!  The show will be in Austin, Texas mid-year next year.  Yours truly is the exhibition director, so if you are interested in getting information about the show send me your e-mail and I will send you a link to the prospectus once it is available.

I think this is going to be a fabulous thing to help promote our medium in the fine art world and hope if you are a scratchboard artist (whether casual or serious) that you too will be excited to see this take shape!

Whats new?

Well quite a few things actually...

First the Greeley Stampede Inviational Western Art Show opens up tonight in Greeley, CO.  It will run through July 4 in conjunction with the Greeley Stampede Rodeo and other events.  For more info click the link above.  I have been selected for People's Choice Award the past two years (the only years I have been in the event) and the purchase award in 2009.  Hope I can make it three for three ;)

One of my pieces was published on the front page of the Greeley Tribune - the local newspaper in Greeley either yesterday or today (a friend on facebook told me).  You can see the article and images at:

I also just returned from our annual scratchboard group get together.  We have been having annual workshops since 2009 and they never fail to be one of the highlights of my year!  The group throughout most of the year is connected through the online scratchboard forums on  If you are interested in scratchboard there is NO better place to learn the medium as well as interact with a bunch of really fun people.  Once a year we find a location to hold workshops taught by members on the forum.  We have people come from all over the US as well as often having a few Canadians.  This group has the BEST sense of humor and keeps me rolling for the whole time, as well as sharing lots of great ideas and techniques.  You can find our workshops from 2009, 2010 and this year on youtube too. 

My demo was on fur and eyes and I did it on a little 3"x5" board and titled "Eye Spy".  Here is the finished project life size-->

Also only about 3 weeks until I leave on a trip for South Africa - I am SOOOOOOO excited!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

"At Attention"

I finished the colt yesterday and opted to go with the title of "At Attention" since he looks so alert

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mustang Colt

And this is a little 8"x10" board that I am working on of a mustang colt.  He was a late yearling or two year old that I saw for adoption at a sanctuary in South Dakota.  They had about 70 horses there in the corrals and something about this guy caught my eye and he is the one I would have taken home if I could have.  He had a very sweet face.  This was a couple of years ago and I hope he found a good home since then.

I hope to finish this piece tomorrow.

A pic of him from the corrals - I think he is super cute :D

Mother May I?

This is a new piece I completed last week.  I may color it - undecided at this point :)

Size is 11"x14"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Am Your Leader!

I am your leader and you are under my control!! Well at least while you are viewing my art. You might scoff, but if fact whether they make a good leader or a poor one, the compositional elements of your art lead the viewer.  The way people view a piece of art is influenced by each elements of the artwork that you are viewing and really the way people see it is essentially human nature and beyond their control… but not beyond, yours, as the artist! 

Every piece of artwork has a flow to it. It has a way that the average person sees each item within the image or how our eye travels the path of the artwork. While there will be some minor deviation based on individuality, most people’s eyes tend to mostly travel a similar path.

Through human nature certain things draw our eyes more than others. Some of the things that tend to draw our eye are:

-Strong contrast of light and dark (Bright whites, dark shadows)
- Bright colors
- Hard edges
- Lines in general, but also lines that lead in or out of an image (these lines can be anything from a branch or piece of grass, to a cloud or rock formation)
- Warm colors in a cool image
- Cool colors in a warm image

Keeping these things in mind when creating a work of art can certainly make us a better artist. Understanding compositional elements and how the eye moves helps me to make certain decisions about my works. The more complex the composition the more the artist needs to contemplate their decisions about HOW they place things in their art work - what direction it faces, how it is lit, how much contrast is on the item, etc.

Some artists are masters of leading the eye! One of my favorites is when they hide something in plain sight! Here are a couple of examples:

Copyright Bev Doolittle - "Doubled Back"

The first thing that the majority of people will notice in this piece by Bev Doolittle titled “Doubled Back” is the strong contrast and hard edges of the bear tracks lead us right up the line of snow to the rock formation that is shaped like a bear. But then the warm colors of the thicket brings us back to other aspects of the image to notice… surprise! There is a ‘real’ bear in the willows! The similar values between the bear and the thicket keep us from noticing it any sooner, just as the artist intended!

Copyright Robert Bateman - "Winter Reflection Wolf"

Robert Bateman is another one that knows just how your eye travels and uses this for impact. “Winter Reflection Wolf” plays a similar trick on our eyes. The hard lines and strong values of the water with the snow lead our eye there first. We follow it and it only leads us out of the image. But me know there is more so we come back and look harder. Next the lines of the icicles catch my eye, as do the lines leading down through the rocks. Still not all that interesting. Finally my eye catches the one rock with puffy snow pointing upwards and suddenly… bam! There’s the wolf! You wonder how you didn’t see it before, but the wolf is hidden on purpose, by using very minimal contrast and letting him merge just enough with the background that he is obscured.

Probably one of the best known Bateman images is this one:

Robert Bateman - "Midnight - Black Wolf"

Why do you think it is so popular? Not only a popular subject matter, but masterfully crafted by the artist as well!

Of course even when you are not hiding something within the image composition is paramount! How can you keep the viewers eye traveling in a manner that brings attention to the most important aspects of the work and keeps bringing them back to it?

Carl Brenders - "One to One"

Carl Brenders is not known for hiding his critters, but he still uses strong compositions to keep the viewers eye moving, but always coming back to what is most important. Many of his works have a circular flow. His well known image titled “One to One” leads our eye in a perfect circle from the wolf to the rocks, which circle back around to the wolf. Even the lighter color twig brings us back to the wolf. Simple and effective.

Daniel smith - "Sun Struck"

How do the warm colors and light lead your work in this work by Daniel Smith?

As you become more aware of what you eye is doing within a work you might want to stop and think about WHY is it traveling the way that it is. Hard lines, contrast, bright colors? Just as good composition can make an image, poor composition can ruin one just as easily. If all the elements lead out of the image rather than in toward the main subject we tend to quickly loose interest in viewing it. If the work is too busy with no center of interest that too makes us want to move on. If your strongest contrast falls on things that are not significant to the work our eye will go there, rather than to what you are trying to show us. Composition, truly can make you want to leave an image as quickly as you entered it, or it can make you want to sit and stay for a while.

So next time think about your scene and how the viewers eye will travel through your work… Like what direction your grasses are pointing (do they all point out of the frame taking your eye out too). What about branches on a tree. How does your eye flow through them? Does it bring you back around to a location you want it to or again take you out of the image? How does the light affect the travel of your eye? Is there something you can add (or take away) that will improve how smoothly your eye travels through your work? Do you have many strong lines leading out of the image? If you want something hidden is it effective?

After all you are the master and commander of all who view your work!

While I don't consider myself a master at compositions like these artists I posted, I do certainly give them a moderate amount of time and though.  How does your eye travel through this new version of "Edge of Darkness".  How does the body shape of the wolf and my choice of grasses and values in the background trees help to lead your eye in a circle?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"American Icon"

icon  (ˈaɪkɒn) - a person or thing regarded as a symbol of a belief, nation, community, or cultural movement

I have decided to title my little bull Bison "American Icon" as I think of them as one of the critters that people think of that "makes America, America" (maybe after the bald eagle).

This piece was colored with ampersand inks (as are all of my colored works) and size is 10"x8" and he will be headed to the Greeley Stampede Western Art show at the end of June too.  And NO I am not scratching a new board every day.  I just happened to have several close to completion at the same time.  Also once they are sprayed with fixative it evens out the tones and makes them easier to take pictures of.

"American Icon"
Scratchboard and Ink
© Cathy Sheeter

I also spent a couple of hours working on my harris hawk takes a back seat to my scratchboards when I have works due for shows, but I do hope to finish it one of these days ;)

Harris Hawk Pyrography on Birch Plywood

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bee-Mused - the color version

I am done coloring "Bee-Mused" and it will be sprayed with fixative soon.  Here is the final image and a few close ups to show the details.  Size is 24"x25.5"  It will be headed to the 2011 Greeley Stampede Invitational Western Art Show in late June.

This piece is a good follow up to my post about story telling that I posted yesterday. This scene is a composite of 6 photos, all merged to fit a vision and hopefully tell a story to the viewer.