Currently Browsing: visual vocabulary 8 articles


Thinking about White Hair on Toned Paper

There’s nothing finished in this study of a man with white hair and a beard. It’s me noodling around experimenting with how to get the values of white hair on toned paper. I’m working in a handbound journal made with Zerkall Nideggen (it has a lovely fiber fleck of texture throughout). I guess paper nostalgia […]


Learning to See Freckles Again

I think it’s important to keep looking for new visual vocabulary approaches as our eyes change, so here I was on non-watercolor paper, playing around with thoughts of freckles.  Even if you don’t have a vision change you can still come at a visual observation with a fresh eye and search for new ways to […]


A Quick Sketch To Work On Simplifying

Above: A quick pen and watercolor sketch in the Moleskine with new whiter paper. Click on the image to view an enlargement and read below for more details. Towards the end of the tester Moleskine that I was filling in May I experimented with the scale and size of things I sketched. I also did […]


Protected: Project Friday: Breaking Our Color Habits

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Which Dog Are You Feeding?

Above: Sketch made with the Pentel brush pen with pigmented ink and color added with various acrylic markers. (Japanese Lined Journal, slightly grey paper, approx. 8.75 x 11 inches.) I used this sketch from my journal to day because it shows my Editing Eye in action, not content to stop at a really bad drawing, […]


How I “Doodle” AND Get Ready for the Minnesota State Fair

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Working on a Visual Vocabulary

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Visual Vocabulary and the Best $6.95 You’ll Ever Spend


Left: one in a series of pages from my journal showing notes and diagrams I made on a recent trip to the Minneapolis Art Institute. Click on the image to see an enlargement.

My friend Tom is working with his photographic portraits in Painter (a “natural media” painting software program that mimics oil painting, watercolor, charcoal, etc. depending on the tool selections you make). I visited his studio the other day and looked over his samples. We chatted about filters which rendered things automatically and about making adjustments manually and how best to make those adjustments. It was clear to me right away that we needed to see some oil paintings (the technique he was working on, and a painting medium in which I don’t work).

So we looked at our calendars and agreed to meet in a few days at the Minneapolis Art Institute. That day I went right to the information desk with a plan: Do you have any Sargents? Yes, they had two. The Birthday Party—my heart sank, that was a lovely painting in which everyone’s eyes were downcast or blurred by the glowing candles. I didn’t recognize the other painting’s name, in fact, when we got to the gallery where it hung the painting turned out to be a cityscape that was of no use to us.

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