Thursday, December 26, 2013

This is a Man's World

So very jazzed that we will be seeing Trampled Under Foot in October on the Blues Cruise. This will be our first time taking the Blues Cruise and we can't wait.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


For some odd reason here it is the day before Christmas and I am obsessing on my latest pet peeve: FCINO, or Famous Characters In Name Only. FCINO is the latest fad sweeping through Hollywood, mostly in TV but also in the movies. In fact, one FCINO is in both. Let's start there.

Robert Downey Jr. is a wonderful actor of incredible talent and more charm than any two men deserve to possess, but he is part of a FCINO franchise that just drives me up the wall. This would be his series of supposedly Sherlock Holmes movies. Sherlock Holmes never was and never will be an action star and yet, there he is as one in Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. I am not saying these aren't fun films to watch, just that these are not Sherlock Holmes films.

Neither is Elementary a TV show about Sherlock Holmes. Now I am not saying this is not an entertaining show or that Jonny Lee Miler is not excellent as the protagonist, I'm just saying that that protagonist, despite his name, is not Sherlock Holmes. And it has nothing to do with the show being set in modern times, Sherlock on PBS is a wonderful show set in modern times and Benedict Cumberbatch plays a character not only named Sherlock Holmes but who, in fact, is Sherlock Holmes. And do not get me started on Lucy Liu not being Watson.

But the phenomenon of FCINO is not limited to bright-minded detectives. There is a TV show called Sleepy Hollow which features a character named Ichabod Crane, who is not, in any way, Ichabod Crane. Now the producers of this show were not the first to bastardize the Legend of Sleepy Hollow; Tim Burton beat them to it by over a decade, but at least the story in that Sleepy Hollow retained some semblance of Washington Irving's plot-points and characters. TV's Sleepy Hollow is about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Entertaining? Perhaps, but Ichabod Crane in name only. 

This past summer one of the biggest box office bombs was a FCINO entitled The Lone Ranger. It probably did not help that the main character in the movie was Tonto, not the buy pretending to be The Lone Ranger.

The latest FCINO occurrence is on NBC and it is entitled Dracula. Not saying this is a bad show, but Jonathan Rhys Meyers is playing a famous character in name only. I loved Meyers in The Tudors, but that is not enough to keep me watching a title character that is not, well, the title character we all know.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Get Naked!

One of those ads they make knowing they will never get them on TV. "Come again!"

Better Things

I participated in a KickStarter campaign for the film Better Things: The Life and Choices of Jeffrey Catherine Jones and received the DVD, a book of artwork and some postcards in the mail yesterday. Last night we watched the film and I loved it. My only gripe is that they have a tendency to pan over Jeff's paintings rather than linger, so you get a taste of them, but with many, not the impact of them. If you loved Jeff's work or are a fan of fantasy or comic artwork, you will appreciate this film.

Besides dealing with Jeff's artistic history, it also delves deeply into his years as a cross-dresser and his eventual trans-gendering from Jeffrey to Catherine. Jeffrey Catherine Jones is no longer with us, but the amazing artwork that was produced in his lifetime will be with us forever.

The film really inspired me to paint again with a web medium, so much so that I gessoed a canvas this morning and am working out ideas for my first acrylic in 10 years or so. We will see how that turns out in later posts.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

New Newton Painting

As you may know, I am the owner of the The Art of Don Newton website dedicated to the memory of the great comic book artist Don Newton. Don died in 1984 and in his early career painted quite a bit. As he took on the full-time job of comic book penciler, his production of paintings dropped off the almost zero. This painting was done in 1983 and may be one of the last he ever did. It was originally supposed to be the cover for the Overstreet Price Guide for 1983, but it was never used for that purpose. This year though Bob Overstreet published The Overstreet Guide To Collecting Comics #1 DC Heroes Edition, and used this as the cover. He subsequently put the painting up for auction and it is now one of the gems of my personal Newton art collection.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


A 25-minute sketch of Adrian done today at Bill Stout's studio. This is black and white charcoal pencil on grey Strathmore paper.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dive! Dive!

Us on the "deck" of the "submarine" on Catalina Island. I used the quotes as this thing never actually submerges. It was a beautiful day though.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


State Street Winery in Redlands held their first Halloween bash Saturday night and Paula reserved us a table. We had everything we needed except costumes. We decided to go as pirates, but when we got home from the costume shop, my pirate shirt did not fit me, so Paula went to the store, bought material and made my shirt, pants and our matching vests all on Saturday before the party. I think they turned out great and we won Best Couple's Costumes at State Street where we had a blast dancing the night away to Minor 6th.

Jungle Girl

A piece I did at Bill Stout's studio today, Jennifer in black and white charcoal pencil on gray Strathmore paper. A 25-minute sketch. She brought her own spear and outfit; Stout had the skull. Now normally the models at Stout's are nude, but Jennifer thought Bill would appreciate the outfit and she wore it all day long. It worked, we all enjoyed the change of pace.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

My Alex Nino

Today at the San Diego Comic Fest I purchased this beautiful piece from the great Alex Nino. It was a thrill to meet the man and even more so to see the rich catalog of artwork he had for sale. This one is done in Prismacolor pencils on black paper and I am very happy to add it to my collection of wonderful fantasy artwork.

Monday, September 02, 2013


This is a page I did for the Kubert School Correspondence Courses group on Facebook. A number of people were each given one page of a Batman script to illustrate. The idea was that we would all show our pages and put them together into a PDF file, but only three people even finished their page so that never happened. Oh well, nice to practice.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Nobody's Inn

We checked in today at the Nobody's Inn in Durango, CO., so named because, well, nobody was in. We received a code in an email which got us in the door then upstairs we found the key to our room in the door. It was exhaustive carrying our luggage up the steep stairs to our room after spending the day at Mesa Verde. Had we known the door in the back of the hotel was on the upper floor that would have helped a lot. Anyway, very cute place and right downtown.

Monday, June 03, 2013

It Is Real!

We arrived at Monument Valley today and all that stuff you see in the movies, it's real! Not ashamed to admit it made me cry.

Another Sleepy, Dusty, Delta Day

It is the Third of June; Happy Ode to Billie Joe Day!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Almost Weekly Life Drawing

Most weekends I find myself at William Stout's studio for his weekly "Worshiping at the alter of feminine beauty." Most people might just call it a life drawing lab, but I like Bill's title better. These three illustrations are from last weekend. As with the vast majority of my work there, it is blank and white charcoal on grey Strathmore paper. These are all 25-minute poses.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Jack Berchman Keller

My father passed away at 3:10 this morning surrounded by the love of his family. He was one of the kindest people I have ever met.  He was 91 years old and had been in pain for much of the past two decades; he went quietly and peacefully in his sleep. I will miss you papa.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Surface Pro

Guess what I got on Thursday? So far I could not be happier. This is looking to be the best damn computer I have ever owned. This is a game changer for Microsoft. No wonder the Apple people were trying to piss on this before it came out; it... puts their products to shame. I can run over 40,000 Windows 8 apps, 675,000 Android apps (through Bluestack) and any Windows program I own all on one device. There is nothing on the market that comes close to this with a touch or keyboard interface and astonishing handwriting recognition. If it can read my scribbles (and it can) it can read anything.See More

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Happy Couple

This was taken at Paula's son's wedding. Thanks to Lucas and Samantha for providing us with an outlet to express our feelings.

Argo for Me

Every year I try to see all the Oscar nominated films, so that I can have an educated opinion of who should win in each category. Yesterday we saw Flight, DJango Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty. That finished off Best Picture, Sound Editing and Film Editing. I still think the best picture was Argo. Sound Editing is a tough one but I think I would vote for Life of Pi. I would almost go with Pi for Film Editing, but I think I would go for Argo instead. The market scenes the storming of the embassy and the tension at the end were all masterfully done.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Beginning Year Two of My Second Life

One year ago this minute I was a little over two hours away from the beginning of the end of my life. I didn't know it, had no idea it was coming, but that is the way life is. You never know what it has in store for you. In a little over two hours, a year ago, it had a heart attack waiting for me. Ten or fifteen years ago it might have killed me; one of my arteries was 100% blocked, but due to the miracle that is the modern cath lab, it didn't kill me. Only it did. It killed who I was; it killed the life I was living.

As I lay on the table in the cath lab and the miracle workers opened my blocked artery from the inside of the artery, there was that moment when I felt my heart jump in my chest and I didn't know if I had just died. And in that moment the regrets of my life, things I had never admitted to myself, flooded over me. And though I didn't physically die, the person I was, the life I was living, did die.

Within three weeks I would leave my wife and lose the respect of my son. I left the big house on the hill and wonderful neighborhood. I left the neighbors I called friends. But it wasn't all bad.

I found a new/old love; a woman who loves and respects me like I really don't deserve. I found a simpler life, of less things but richer moments. I found my new life.

And now in just a few hours, the first year of that new, second life will have been lived and the second year will begin. This first year has been a year of transitions and not everything from the old life has reached its completion, but they all soon will.

The world is not quite my oyster, not yet, but it has the possibility of being that and that is a beautiful thing.

Here's to new beginnings.