Monday, December 22, 2008

Alice in Wonderland

This piece is on exhibit now through January 31 at Flanders 311 in Raleigh, NC as part of a show about Alice in Wonderland and the writings of Lewis Carroll. Oil on canvas, 12" by 12".

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Upcoming Show

In February of next year I will be showing some new and some older paintings at Flanders 311 in Raleigh, NC.
This is one may or may not make it into the show, but it is recent and in progress, so I thought I'd share it. The image of the cowboy was inspired by the work of a former classmate at the Academy of Art, David Ryan. David must have painted 40 images of the Marlborough Man. This is in no way an attempt to copy what he did, but the image of the smoking cowboy was in my mind when I began.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Failure and Sandwiches

I am thinking that failing is the only way one can approach making "good" art. I think that without it, and the subsequent collapse of ego, the true painting cannot begin. Until this event, a failure, we can rely upon what we know, what works, and the results of what has come before. What I do not think we can do is push past what we have done before and create something new that surprises and challenges us. It seems that it is really only when I am lost that I can find the painting. Otherwise, I am just repeating myself, repeating the works of others, relying on and developing from the point of a style, and not making something that is really all that good.

Maybe this is why I like to do so many things, why I get stuck sometimes and cannot finish a thing, and the things I do finish are better than I am capable of doing through skill, talent, knowledge, what have you. I like being in the unknown, but crave the illusion that others' successes came out of knowing what they were doing or where they were going.

Maybe this is why I have always doubted the value of my work, always looked at what the other, more financially successful artists were doing, even though I felt that some of them were only stealing from more talented and original artists and passing it off as their own. Some of them seem to have a confidence I lack. I don't know. Like I said, it is an illusion that things are easier, that they have confidence.

I had anger for many years toward artists who steal blatantly from others. Especially when this theft resulted in financial gain for them. I was jealous of their success and my failure. These are artists whose work I actually looked up to and thought was somehow better than mine. The real failure was letting fear stop me from doing what I wanted and paying the other artists any attention. Though my anger is gone, I no longer see their work as having any value to me. I see it as just them trying on hats, wanting to do what they loved, and maybe not as conscious of their thefts. At any rate, is it really possible for a work to be "better" than another. I am on the fence on this.

I was making sandwiches this morning for my son Gabriel and myself. And I felt, that I was only really making good sandwiches, being a good father, by completely forgetting about myself and focussing on his welfare, his well being, and making a sandwich.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Painting, Teaching, Etc

I have been painting a lot for an upcoming show. February at Flanders 311 in Raleigh, NC.

In response to those who contacted me about taking courses. First of all, thank you. Expect a PDF in early January outlining the classes and pricing structure.

The following are photos of some of the recent paintings. I am not really sure what I think of them yet. It is a struggle to paint, and I do not know if I am any good at it anymore. The best things I have produced seem to result after much failure and many, many mistakes and reworkings. Most often, I feel like a failure. I do not know any artist whose work I value who has not failed miserably in order to create their work. Not that it has to be a painful struggle every time. There are happy accidents. But what I get at least out of knowing what I am doing is at best an imitation of what I have seen before, and if all I can do is repeat and copy the achievements of other more skilled painters, then I am not a painter, or at least, not a very good one. If nothing new occurs, if no new ground is discovered, it hardly seems worth it. There are plenty of bad pictures out there, and we need no more. Sometimes, even when trying to forget about what is right, to forget about how to paint with what you know, about what colors work at the moment, about how to use a brush, to forget everything you have seen or read about other paintings, you still end up with something that looks like a pale echo of past artists' works. Damn those great artists who have discovered incredible pathways and exhibited their discoveries! Damn all the labels about what "ism" it falls into. Categories such as "abstract", "surreal", "representational", damn all that! One great thing about painting, is that after a long round of painting, I will go outside and see beauty everywhere. The asphalt, the dirt, the leaves of autumn, all are so much more beautiful than anything I have done.

So, in humility, I share these recent efforts. I welcome any and all feedback.



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President Obama

Last night, I watched as the country chose its next president. At 11:00 CNN announced that Barack Obama would be the next president of the United States.

This is the greatest thing to happen to this country in many, many years!

Happy Nov. 5th!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Two recent journal entries regarding the unusual relationship between George Bush and Dick Cheney. (President DiGeckorge BusCheney)

One is almost straight off of a newspaper photo and the other from memory.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Orphan Works Bill

First of all, I want to apologize to those who have contacted me about teaching. I have had a busy schedule of late and not had the time to finalize the outlines for the classes. Please bear with me and I will try to get to this next week. Thank you to all who expressed an interest.

I want to take a few moments to talk about the Orphan Works Bill that was hotlined through the Senate on Friday. It is unfortunate that this has happened, but not the end of the debate. The House has yet to vote on the bill and there is still time to act.

For those not familiar with this bill, please go to this link

This is a quote about "hotlining": "In order for a bill to be hotlined, the Senate Majority Leader and Minority Leader must agree to pass it by unanimous consent, without a roll-call vote. The two leaders then inform Members of this agreement using special hotlines installed in each office and give Members a specified amount of time to object – in some cases as little as 15 minutes. If no objection is registered, the bill is passed."
- Roll Call, Sept 17, 2007

Here's how I see this issue. I am firmly against the bill and hope that it does not pass. I understand why it was written, but it is a pointless bill. Here's why:

Say that you are in a public place and find an object, let's just use a set of keys for this example. They are new keys, but have no identifying marks on them. Under the new bill, these would be orphaned and you would have the right to take them after a substantive search for the owner. What constitutes substantive is undefined. It could be asking the next person who comes along if they are their keys.

The point is, they are not yours, and you have no right to them. That the owner is unknown is beside the point, they are not yours.

Now, say that you come upon the same keys and they are old, let's say, more than 75 years old. If this is the case, then they are no longer owned by anyone because the law that governs their ownership means: life plus 75 years. If this is the case, they are considered to be in the public domain, and even if you know who the owner is, you can most likely use them as you see fit.

So, if an image is less than 75 years old, whether the owner is known or not, registered or not, it is not orphaned. The owner is unknown, but it has an owner. It is not yours, you cannot use it whether you can find the owner or not.

Thanks for reading.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Collage and Painting

These are some paintings I did in a journal a few years back, and a portrait of the Afro Cuban All Stars for the Playboy Jazz Festival.

The piece below came about while developing the background for the Jazz Festival collage. Though the piece above solved the problem of showing the entire group and put them in a setting of old photos on a wall, I like the random, sketchiness of the experiment and the off centered design better than the finish.

The piece with the green flame is the result of shifting colors and altering channels in Photoshop to come up with color variations. I'll post the original of this soon to show how far it got in tone and color.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Online Classes

I am going to be offering online classes in Illustration, Photoshop, and Painting Techniques. If you are interested in a specific topic, more information on schedules or fees, or in signing up, please contact me at the link below.

Many thanks,



Saturday, August 30, 2008

Unpublished Book Cover

Since I posted the photos I took of Katherine Streeter's dolls, I thought I'd post the cover they were used in. This is a piece I did as a cover for White Wolf Books a few years ago. The author was William Browning Spencer and I had the honor of illustrating four of his books, three of which were published by White Wolf. This one was scheduled, but wasn't. It was a fun job nonetheless, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mr. Spencer's stories. My favorite was Zod Wallop.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Women are Heroes

This is an amazingly powerful and beautiful project. Please take a look. Women Are Heroes

Monday, August 25, 2008


Some photos I took some time back of illustrator Katherine Streeter's beautiful dolls for a book cover. I couldn't have done it without her help.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

El Greco and Velazquez

If you are in the Raleigh/Durham area between now and November 9, 2008, take a trip to the Nasher Museum and see the show, "El Greco to Velazquez." here is a link: Nasher Velazquez painted the above piece when he was about 18 or 19.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Recent journal drawing done while listening to "Horse With No Name" by America.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This is a monotype of my cat, Oliver. A monotype is a single print made by painting on a flat plate, usually with oil based paint or ink and then laying an absorbent piece of paper on top and printing the image using an etching press or hand burnishing the image onto the paper. Another way of making a monotype is to lay a thin piece of paper over a plate that is covered in ink or paint and then draw with a pencil or some other type of stylus on the back of the paper, causing parts of it to come into contact with the plate and thus printing the image. This piece was made using the latter method. If I am industrious, I can pull, or print about 40 to 60 prints in a day with this method.

Underwater Sculpture

I recently found a site featuring the works of Jason de Caires Taylor. Check it out and you will be treated to beautiful photos of his underwater sculptures. They stand, sit, and converse in the aqua depths as if waiting for someone to wake them from their timeless state.

Jason de Caires Taylor

Cool Places and Spaces

If you are in the Raleigh area, check out some of these places:

Flanders Art Gallery
This gallery features a variety of established and upcoming artists. They are located at 18 Seaboard, just north of downtown. Currently showing: Float: engravings, photographs, and silverpoints, and featuring prints by artist Andy Farkas.

Marbles Kid's Museum
Located at 201 East Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh, this is the place to take your young and curious. There are a variety of things to see, touch, and learn about. While there, check out their IMAX theater, showing movies about bugs, the Grand Canyon, and also, "The Dark Knight".

To see a variety of local art and sometimes artists at work, visit Artspace.

Artspace is a non-profit visual art center dedicated to presenting quality exhibitions and educational programs within an open studio environment.

Artspace promotes the visual arts by making the creative process accessible to the public. Since 1986 Artspace has provided the community with a unique environment where artists, working in a variety of media with studios open to the public, have invited the community to become part of the creative process, a visual art center where children and adults can express their creativity through enriching educational programs, and a venue for exhibitions by regional, national, and international artists.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Dad

15 years ago today I received a call from my mom telling me that my dad had died. She didn't know the exact day, but it was within a couple days prior. He was 66, and had a heart attack, his second that I know of. He was far from perfect, as I am sure my son will say of me. But he was my dad. Born in 1927, he lived through the depression, served in the final years of World War II and was father to four of us, two girls and two boys. Even after so many years, I still feel sad on this anniversary, and I guess I always will. This drawing was made while at a meeting this morning. The details of the meeting drawn and written around his head, then blacked out, because in the end, at that moment in time, as I thought of him, none of it was very important and all of it overshadowed by my state of mind. It's funny, his is the only face I can really draw from memory and still have it look like him.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Kim Frohsin

I recently purchased a copy of Kim Frohsin's new book, "Figures with Edges 2007-2008". It is a soft cover catalog of 50 of one of Kim's beautiful figurative series of works. Kim Frohsin has been a longtime friend since art school days and is one of the most talented and hard working artists I know. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to name a few. Below, is a link to her site, where you can see her work and also buy original art, prints, and books.

Kim Frohsin

Thursday, August 7, 2008


In two days, we will come upon the anniversary of the dropping of "Fat Man" on Nagasaki. I was reminded by a fellow artist that the firebombing of many Japanese cities equalled if not dwarfed the the atomic bombings in the number of human beings killed. It is a bullies' game, to always hit with a bigger stick, always hit harder, and ensure that your opponent is more devastated. I have been thinking of the religious people lately and the idea that human beings were made in "God's image" and given dominion over all beasts. This kind of thinking, is dangerous I think. It seems to me that it leads to a kind of superior attitude and arrogance. The fact that we can write, make things, and speak in multiple languages does not in my mind make us superior or evolved beings. If this is the legacy of humankind and the world continues to suffer for our dominion, perhaps it's time we step down and let some other animals run the place. They certainly couldn't do worse.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hiroshima Anniversary

Today, August 6 is the 62nd anniversary of the United States dropping the A-Bomb on Hiroshima, killing hundreds of thousands of people, and ushering the world into the age of WMD's, as they have been labeled by the Bush administration.
In honor of those who died on that day and suffered and died in the years that followed, I post this image as a reminder to not follow our leaders blindly into battle, sing hymns of patriotism, or be too quick to think that we are the keepers of some sacred legacy. This event is also part of our legacy to the world. Consider that we are all human and all the same. And for that matter, not much different than the rest of the planet's species.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lost Angels II

Here are some additional pages to the Lost Angels in Mississippi project I mentioned in my previous post.
In the opening sequence, two angels appear in a field and argue as to why they are there. One has all the answers and one has all the questions. They can witness but not act, and what they witness fills one of them in despair and full of angst.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Lost Angels In Mississippi

Many, many years ago I began writing and illustrating a graphic novel titled, "Lost Angels in Mississippi." I have recently pulled out the pages I was working on and began writing on it again. It exists inside of a worn out, cracked paged sketchbook that seemed like the perfect vehicle. I will post more pages as I scan them in. Please send me feedback, I will try to post a synopsis and some script pages soon. Thanks, Bill

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Two Versions

Two versions of the same two and a quarter photo of Gabriel and his friend Katie from my Holga camera. The original in black and white and an altered version in sepia.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


This is a portrait I did of Peter Gabriel in 1990. It is pen and ink over acrylic and ink washes.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Lately, I have been looking at the sections of my paintings between the objects, usually figures, and have been wanting to explore these areas as objects in and of themselves. Often when painting, I find that the pallet has more to it than the painting. My response when this occurs is to either attach or press the pallet to the canvas, making it part of the whole. Abstract painting as an endeavor has always eluded me. It is easier to have a picture be about something when the language is familiar. But when the meaning and imagery or surface is tied to a language only known by references to it by other artists, then the task of painting becomes more difficult. Every abstract painting is compared in mind to every other abstract painting. This is not the case when viewing and evaluating paintings with external subject matter.

Below, is a study for a new painting. it is small, only about 4 by 6 inches, painted in gouache on vellum. The influences for this line of thinking are Antonio Tåpies and memories of my grandfather.

Any comments are welcome and appreciated.



Friday, May 23, 2008

Deer Photograph

Recently, while on an outing with my son Gabriel, we came upon this deer skeleton. Unfortunately, deer laying dead on the roads of North Carolina are an all too often occurrence. Rarely have I seen one in such an advanced state of decay. I find deer to be one of the most beautiful species. In death, this creature gave up to the earth as much as he took.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Island of Dr. Moreau

This isn't exactly the story of an island with human/animal hybrids, but it seems that now, if someone wanted to, they could create a customized human/dog/parakeet/whatever.

What would H.G. Wells say?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


This is a preliminary drawing for a larger painting called Daedalus. I just wrote and then deleted a whole paragraph about what this is about for me, but I felt like I was diminishing the thing before it had even been started.

Picasso Head

A watercolor done in late 2007. I like the cubist idea of showing all sides in a single plane, so I tried that a little here, by bringing the ears out to the frontal plane. It would be fun to do a portrait of Picasso or Braque in this manner.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Monotypes of my Dad

These are four monotypes based on an old photo of my father, in Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. (CMYK)


Tens of thousands of people across southwest China remained buried beneath rubble after a massive earthquake that has left thousands dead.

This is the lead in text of the New York Times article on the recent earthquake in China.

Thinking about this and the cyclone that has left tens of thousands missing or dead in Myanmar, and all of the other disasters that have devastated the lives of people across the planet.

Everything else seems trivial in the face of these things. If you know of an organization that is helping people survive these and other tragic events, please give to them.


Monday, May 12, 2008


This is a pen drawing that I scanned recently and was messing around with in Photoshop.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Copyright and the Orphan Works Bill

This is a call to action to anyone who cares about the protection of intellectual property, or, ideas fixed in tangible form, e.g., a painting, sheet music, a book, photos of your kids.

There are two new Orphan Works bills that have been introduced into the house and senate. These are: H.R. 5889 The Orphan Works Act of 2008 and S 2913 The Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008. The passage of them will make it easier to infringe on artwork, photographs, stories, anything now protected by copyright laws. If passed, it would mean that any work created would have to have a clear designation of the copyright holder in plain sight. If it is not in plain sight, it could be removed by the infringer, and then they would be able to say that they didn't know who did the work, that it was orphaned.

So, if I made this painting:And didn't add this notice to it,
And only added a small notice (see lower right corner)
Some clever person could come along, remove my notice, (see empty lower right corner)
and then do this to my image and claim that my work was orphaned.
Now, with the Mona Lisa, it's pretty obvious who did it, it is only the most famous painting in western art history, but what if it was something less well known, like a drawing done for a friend, or an illustration done ten years ago, or whatever. If not immediately known by the public as a stolen/infringed upon work, it could be easily used by someone else, someone who didn't own the rights to use it or even bother to find the artist who made it and pay them for the use? If this sounds like an impossible thing, I can tell you from first hand experience that I have seen my work cut out of magazines and glued to another artist's canvas, I have seen drawings I did years ago on other people's myspace pages claimed as their own.

If you want to help fight this bill, please click here, fill out a letter and send it to your representatives. Tell whomever you know to write a letter to their reps and ask them to oppose these bills.