That was the title of the workshop I attended at J. Kirk Richard’s studio a few weeks ago. Workshops are great. Maybe it’s because you learn something new from an instructor, maybe it’s because you can actually get something done when you’re focused and away from home, or maybe it’s because you get so inspired by working along side other artists!  In any case, they’re fun. I seriously get so distracted sometimes so it was nice to have set aside time to work on this.

Truth from the Earth (small)

I’m deciding on a name like “By the Power of God” or “Truth Out of the Earth” – something like that.  This is a historical scene from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint (LDS). It shows Joseph unearthing the golden plates from the Hill Cumorah on a fall day. I had lots of photo reference that I mashed together and tweaked the colors of (ie exaggerated the complimentary colors). Still haven’t decided if it’s done or not but either way, it’s for sale.

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I’ve always loved animals and drawing them as a kid was one of my favorite things to do! So, gee, guess I’m just trying to keep up how good I was when I was little ;).  Recently I’ve been going to the Bean Museum nearby with some art friends.  It’s full of taxodermied animals, making it the perfect place to draw real life animals without all the moving. I try to do a good sketching trip of some sort once a week now. Gotta keep drawing from life!




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I guess I’ve been on a little nature kick recently since going to the local greenhouse.  Purely because it seemed fun and I wanted to, I painted these little oil studies. Also, I had a great time sketching outdoors on the “Y” mountain.  I did a panoramic sketch of the Utah Valley below.  I do believe it is NOT a waste of time to paint things or draw things just for fun.  In fact, please do!  A LOT!  So that the art you love doesn’t become only a career.  It’s better when it’s a hobby you love too.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

Joseph Praying

I did this painting for the church crowd, but I hope that even if you don’t know the story of Joseph Smith, it can still be an enjoyable painting to look at of a pretty place in New York.  Also, it’s a good painting to use as an example.

My advice here is to take LOTS of photos of any potential painting subjects! People, places, things.  I had a mentor who just kept photos organized in folders for future reference.  This was an oil painting I did from a photo.  I was in upstate New York for 18 months, and I took lots of pictures. . .but still not nearly enough!  Luckily, I was able to paint this from just one good photo. A lot of times you won’t be so lucky, and in order to make a painting just how you envision it, you will have to combine elements from lots of photos. So you oughta have loads!  Then when you mesh photos together you will have to worry about matching the lighting and color schemes and so forth and so forth.


Prints for Sale!

Howdy!  I just created a small print store on my art website. There are only a few options right now, but hopefully one day things will expand.  In the meantime, basically any art of mine you see is printable – so I can make special print orders for you. And a ton of original artwork is available too!  Whatever floats your boat really. Thanks for reading! Here’s the link:






Secret Garden - acrylic

Secret Garden – acrylic


The Rabbit in the Moon - ink and watercolor

The Rabbit in the Moon – ink and watercolor


Figure Drawing

During my time in the Illustration department at Brigham Young University it was beat into my head to practice figure drawing, practice figure drawing, practice PRACTICE! – just like that. Figure drawing helps your overall skills as a sketching artist. It also helps you draw more convincingly as an illustrator (whether you stylize your characters or not). So . . . I haven’t been as good as I should since graduating at keeping up figure drawing, but I am determined to try and do some figure drawing every week from now on.  There are figure drawing sessions open to anyone at BYU where models come in, and I was recently able to do some of these there.  If anything, it is a wonderful fun time!

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I decided that I wanted to paint a portrait of our beloved family dog that passed away. Painting from life is always preferable, but not always possible.  So, to start out, I had to gather various reference photos. None of the photos I found was exactly what I had in mind, so I mashed a few of them together (this is a pretty common thing to do in illustration). After a neutral background wash, a little designing, and a rough sketch, I began painting. My conclusions are – almost never use flowers as background (I just got too lazy to change it once I saw how corny it looked), and a canvas surface is much harder to get detail on than a wood panel. I’m going to stick to the freedom of gessoed wood panels from now on I think.

If anyone knows anyone who would like a portrait done of a beloved pet, please contact me. I would love to do some more!

oil painting

Photo Illustrations

I just found some more illustrations from my Santa Fe project! Here are a few more of these fun photography/illustration hybrids.

Santa Fe 1 Santa Fe 8 Santa Fe 10(ps- I hope this is not sacrilegious in any way. There is no symbolism!)

Oh, also, I AM selling a lot of the artwork that can be seen on this blog, so please write a comment or contact me if you’re interested in an original or print.


For 9 months now I have been working part time as a studio assistant for artist J Kirk Richards.  What a great experience it is! My job consists of painting, photoshopping, video editing, sketching, wood working, print packaging . . . basically just helping out with whatever current projects he’s working on.   One of the great things about working in his studio is that I get to be surrounded by wonderful art and the wisdom of an artist who has been very successful.  It’s always important to expose yourself to art and be practicing it a ton! (especially if you don’t have that aspect from art classes anymore like me) Besides that, I am gaining many new valuable skills.

J Kirk Richards is mainly a religious gallery artist, but he also dabbles in publishing.  You can see his art at http://www.jkirkrichards.com/

He also let me write a post on his blog about my job with him: http://jkirkrichards.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/how-to-treat-your-studio-help-a-message-from-kirks-art-assistant/#

A photo of me working on the underpainting of one of Kirk's biggies.

A photo of me working on the underpainting of one of Kirk’s biggies.

As an illustrator who loves monsters and other fantastical things, naturally, I have been working on multiple children’s books with monsters as characters.  If you saw some of my other posts, you would have noticed my big Monster Safari project I did which is going to end up as a 32 page picture book.  This is another one I’ve been working on called Bill and Sue (title could still change though).  It is about these two monster kids that love to go on imaginary adventures and particularly love to pretend to be humans.  It’s good fun and should be a pretty funny book!  The dummy version of the book is done (which is the rough draft version that is shown to publishers), and I also worked on a couple finished pieces.  Now I just need to submit it!  As well as my other stories.  Be on the lookout for them because one day they WILL be in bookstores.

bill and sue 9 bill and sue finished exThe top is a pencil sketch.  The bottom is black ink and acrylic on masonite board.