Monday, July 11, 2011

Finding beauty in the details

This past June I brought my camera to the Klingberg Vintage Motor Car Festival in New Britain, CT. While so many people were taking snapshots of the exquisite autos at this show, I became fascinated by the beautiful lines and shapes in the details. Standing just a couple of feet away from a fender, a young lady asked me what I was shooting. It reminded me of realizing how odd I looked standing inches away from a giant sequoia, taking pictures of the beautiful red bark. Hope you enjoy these shots... and are encouraged to look for beauty and design in the details around you.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Emma Sings Sinatra

When Emma was born so many well meaning folks tried to comfort us with stories of how the pain of having a special needs child never goes away. In some ways that is true, but the joys of life with her eclipse the struggles. I often tell people that Emma doesn't know she is supposed to be limited by Down Syndrome. Donna certainly doesn't believe it, and she does everything she can to give Emma the hope and reality of a full life.

Emma has always liked memorizing movies and music and performing them for us, especially at dinner. So many times a phrase would come up in conversation that reminded her of a scene in a movie. She'd jump from her chair, quickly get herself in character, and perform the scene, often making up words as she went along (Friends, Romans, countrymen… let me in your ears!). 

Luckily Natalie had a camera on hand for this one. This was not practiced. Friends Slate and Rachel Ballard had given everyone at their wedding a CD of their favorite music. "I've Got the World on a String" was one of them, and turned out to be a favorite of Emma's as well. This was recorded back in 2004. She was only 5 years old at the time. Hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

eklektos on

Lately life has been very full with teaching, making plans for a school, working, hanging out with my family, and working with some folks to help me build a bigger client base. Part of growing the business now includes several portfolios on So far I've been really pleased with their customer service... no taking your credit card number and then forgetting who you are. Let's see what comes of it...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Little Man

My daughter, Lydia snapped a great picture of Levi, my grandson, as he was looking out our kitchen window. "What a great subject for a drawing or painting" I said to myself. So here it is. Seven inches square on Arches hot press block, all in Winsor & Newton burnt sienna with #6 and #3 Kolinsky brushes.

Friday, March 4, 2011

I Love to Draw!

After posting an old pencil drawing last week I decided to return to my first artistic love. No matter what medium I work with, when I draw I want to shout my own rendition of Eric Liddell's famous line from Chariots of Fire... "When I draw I feel His pleasure!"

This past summer, my daughter Natalie snapped some great photos at her older sister's baby shower. One of those photos was of Hannah, a young lady for whom both Natalie and Alayna were babysitters. Hannah's piercing eyes and focused expression were the perfect subject for this seventh portrait.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Teaching two classes and being very busy with work leaves me very grateful but with little time to finish a portrait a week. So, it's back to the archives.

1983 was a very productive year. I was hoping to make my way as a portrait artist, and that year I must have produced dozens of portraits in watercolor and graphite. I had a number of friends who were more than willing to let me draw/paint them or their family.

A friend from high school, Tom Brennan, moved from Hartford to a tiny town called Fletcher, Vermont — so small you had to go to the next town for the post office which was in a general store. Here is a graphite portrait I drew of him and his first daughter, Erin.
My signature style then was to have a rectangular background with the subject breaking out its frame into the blank page.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

So, Can I Do It Without The Computer?

That was a question I asked myself since I will be taking commissions for portraits at the Six Summit Gallery. I know some people might not want a print, feeling it was not an original. Technically, the print is the original since the file is a digital file. I don't think the digital vs traditional argument will ever be settled.

So, I set about finishing the portrait of Lydia by printing the outline I had drawn and posted last week. I printed it on watercolor paper and then painted and drew directly on the paper... no separate layers, no scanning and assembling.

I'm pleased with the piece, but not ecstatic. I don't like the texture of the paper for drawing. I'll have to experiment on a hot press paper to see if I get better results. Also, the colors are not as dynamic as they are when printed on my Epson 7880. I'll keep plugging at this, and maybe even offer a client the choice.

Anyway, here she is... portrait number 5... my daughter Lydia.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

To Dad, Christmas 1978

Once again my week has gotten away from me. I'm grateful that I've been busy with design and illustration work. I also started teaching a class this week. I have a new portrait started, but won't get to finishing it until next week. So, once again, I dig into the archives. Today I'll share the drawing that was a turning point for me in realizing the drawing skills with which I had been blessed.

I don't remember who the subject was. It was from a photo I found in a magazine. But it looked like something my father might like. I'm sure I was pushing myself to impress my rugged, machine-shop-working father. He never said much, but the picture was always hanging right above his rocking chair in the den until he died.

I didn't know that there was such a thing as acid-free paper, or that there were other pencils besides your generic yellow number 2 model. But I was surprised and pleased with what I was able to do, and it started me on a path for many years creating very tight pencil portraits for myself and others.

By the way, here's the start of a portrait of my daughter, Lydia. Hope to post the finished piece next week.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Waiting for the J train

In November of 2009, while in NYC for my MFA, I grabbed a photo of this young lady waiting for the train. Tired and cold, she looked like an Ellis Island immigrant.

I'm enjoying working in this loose/tight style. I'm open to any suggestions or any photos you want to toss my way for portraits. I've got a lot of ground to cover these next 50 weeks.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Creation of Adam

OK... So I said I'd be posting a portrait a week. And hopefully I'll finish the piece I'm working on by tomorrow. 

So there you are, rolling your eyes, saying to yourself,"He's slacking already!" But before you jump too quickly, the reason I'm late with this week's portrait is that I've been given an invitation to hang and sell my work in a gallery here in Connecticut. Other than my thesis presentation, I've never had a gallery show. I'll be posting more details about it later. Here's a link to the gallery.

In lieu of a new portrait, allow me to share an image I created for a book cover. The challenge was to portray God seeing Himself in His own creation. While taking a drive to get some coffee, clear my head, and find some inspiration, the thought occurred to me that Genesis tells us Adam was created in God's image, and that he was fashioned from the dust of the ground. I bought my coffee (priorities!) and headed off to the nearest Home Depot to buy a couple bags of potting soil.

Layering the floor of my studio with cardboard and newspaper, I emptied the bags, moistened the soil and began to sculpt.

I photographed the final sculpture and began to play in Photoshop. The final portrait below illustrates the creation story with the shoulder being formed out of the ground, the face taking shape and then turning to flesh after God breathed His Spirit into him. 

I hope you find this portrait inspiring. And I promise to have my next image up soon.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A year of portraits...

It's been 6 months since I graduated with my MFA. And sadly it's been at least that long that I've failed to pick up my pencils or watercolors. I've never been one of those artists who just draws all day long... I need a project with deadlines and some accountability. So I either go for years of counseling to dig into my past and find out why, or I just give myself a project and give myself a reason to keep my feet to the fire. Call me a coward, but I chose the project.

We were visiting friends last week, and I was talking about this with their daughter, Rachel– a lovely, gifted young lady who has the makings of fine photographer. She was pouring out the same lament to me, that working full time has kept her from challenging herself more. So, right there at the dinner table we committed to posting a piece a week on our respective blogs. She will post a photograph, I will post a portrait. If you ask me, she got the sweet end of the deal, but if keeping my commitment makes her better at her craft, then I'm up to the challenge.

Since I've never done a portrait of my youngest daughter, Emma, I decided that would be a great start. For those of you who may not know, you can click on the image for a larger version.

So here's my first of 52 portraits. I ask you, dear reader, to prod and push me as well. And please encourage Rachel as she endeavors to grow creatively.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Klingberg Auto Show

I just completed a series of pieces to help promote the 2011 Klingberg Vintage Motor Car Festival. It was a tremendous honor and opportunity. The VP, Mark Johnson, is one of those delightful clients who knows when to give direction and when to let the artist play. And play I did, deciding to make use of Adobe Illustrator for almost all the art.

This is the second year that the show is running on Father's Day weekend, hence the father/son theme on the poster. The show is features rare and seldom seen antique vehicles, displaying about 500 antique automobiles from collectors in the Northeast. But more importantly, it serves as a fundraiser for Klingberg Family Center, raising funds for vital programs restoring and preserving families for children.

For more info about the show, visit

The car featured on the front of the flyer
is a 1939 Delahaye Type 135M.

I couldn't resist drawing a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado
for the interior spread.

I had a lot of fun with the poster.
Designed for 3 formats, this one is 11" x 17".
The car is a 1914 Locomobile Berline Limousine.