acrylic (74) celebrity (35) charcoal (11) charity (4) craft (4) dogs (23) ebay (1) graphite (24) illustration (5) landscapes (8) oil (3) pet portraiture (28) portraiture (60) signage (5) sketch (10) still life (3) video (1) vintage (10) watercolor (3)

Friday, December 31, 2010

Elaine's Sign

Elaine's Sewing Room, acrylic on board, approx. 11x30", 2010
(Our arts & craft booth snapshot - 2010)
I had the recent pleasure of producing a custom sign for a local artisan in Prattville, AL. During an arts and craft show in October, a gentleman approached me and wanted to know if I could do a customized antiqued sign, similar to the John Deere sign shown in the booth snapshot above. I pulled a couple scraps of wood from our property and put together the Elaine's Sewing Room sign. My client, John, told me I was free to make it as I pleased so long as it had "Elaine's Sewing Room" on it. I love that kind of freedom and confidence from a client. In the end, the wife and I really loved the way it looked. About 10 days later, my wife and I were at a sewing supply store ourselves looking at sewing machines when the employee at the counter said that she recognized my name. John had been there just hours earlier and mentioned to the employees that he had just commissioned a local artist to do a special sign for his wife's sewing room. He even had the sign in his car and showed the staff the actually sign. It made me feel good to know that my client loved his sign enough to keep it in his car for show & tell - 10 days after I gave it to him! Very funny. Happy New Year - Jared

Chaplin, the Funny Man

Silver Screens & Tarnished Hearts, acrylic on board, 24x24", 2010 $1200
(free shipping)

This is the newest addition to my celebrity portraits at the Chop House. I will be delivering it with Conan's portrait - which I think is very appropriate. I loved the idea of incorporating elements of the silent picture screen into this vintage portrait. The script and pin-striping were done in platinum tined metallic paint, chased over with a dirty antique glaze for an added aging effect. I was drawn to this image of Chaplin because if the irony elicited by the photo; a comedian in pain. This led me to the text which is an additional pun and also adds to the "vintage" redundancy throughout the piece as a whole. Also, during the painting process I noticed that I overlooked one small drip that occurred in the corner of his left eye. You can see this serendipitous drip better by clicking on the image to enlarge it slightly. Normally I would paint over such an error but I thought it was too a propo. Make it yours today - click below to purchase. FREE SHIPPING! - Jared

End of Year Pillow Commissions

Customized pillows - acrylic on raw linen, 2010
Here are a few examples of my pillow commissions of recent. My wife will take the painted fronts (shown above) and turn them into pillows. They look awesome! Thought y'all would like to see these before the new year. These pillows look great in any contemporary living room setting. Contact me for prices if you're interested. - Jared

Monday, November 22, 2010

Giving thanks for the Curls

Private Commission for Bill & Cathy Perry, approx. 10x11", 2010

It's been a while since I was asked to do a child's portrait. Actually, it's been less than a year but it seems much longer than than. My wife and I were fortunate enough to meet a nice couple at one of our many arts & crafts events this year who asked me to do this portrait for them. They made life so easy for me; they told me EXACTLY what they wanted, gave me a crystal clear photo in the exact composition that they desired and told me to go from there. Of course the main feature is this tot's wild curls! I have never had to do such fine lines in a graphite portrait before. To get the bulk of the curls completed I used various erasers, some which were custom cut for fine detail work. The last step, after darkening the background, was to use an X-Acto knife to scrape away individual curls floating around the child's head. This was a great technique and I am absolutely pleased with this portrait. I just love the innocent look on the boys face! Thanks to the Perry's for lending me this opportunity!!!! - Jared

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hail the Hair!!

Conan, acrylic on board, 24x24", 2010 $1200
I am back! It's been a busy couple of months. I have been in talks with Upper Deck to do a limited edition series of the American Presidents for early 2011, talked with various clients for commission pieces, was laid off from one of the funnest jobs I've ever had, and have been vending at several arts and craft festivals around Alabama. In addition to all of that, I have started up the celeb portraiture for the Chop House restaurant while my schedule briefly permits. I like to hear folks talk about these portraits after they have eaten at the Chop House. Moreover, I like it when I sell them!! The more the merrier, right? I was happy to add Conan to the mix. We were excited to see his arrival back to the tube earlier this month. I thought that I could have done just the hair and still have it a recognizable piece but a little more was added for good measure. Let me know what you think and stay tuned for more updates, more art, and more news very soon! Happy Thanksgiving too. - Jared

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Music Speaks

Music Speaks, private commission, acrylic on board, 14x11", 2010
A good acquaintance of mine contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I could put this painting together for her. It was a surprise for a friend of hers and thoughtful indeed. I was supplied the photo images that she had in mind. I always like to make adjustments to photo references when possible so that the final painting is a one-of-a-kind; not found in any existing photos. I suggested adding text somewhere in the painting and my good friend came up with the text which is now part of this painting. I thought is was a great piece - there is a really nice jazz vibe throughout the entire composition. Hope you enjoy - Jared

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The 3 Egos

The Lover, The Lethargic & The Lunatic, acrylic on MDF, 24x12" (3 - 8x12"vignettes)$500
(scroll below to purchase)

There are intended to be studies for a particular vintage sign I have planned soon. I have done several dog paintings in the recent past, indeed they are beginning to define my art, and I thought I'd show you these quick sketches. If any of you have pets at home you know how temperamental they can be sometimes. My wife and I have two cats and they speak as clearly to us as any one else we know. Once you pick up on their ticks and traits, it's pretty hard not to understand what it is they are trying to communicate, as seen in the paintings above. If you'd like to have a closer look at each sketch, visit my Art Scuttlebutt page. Enjoy - Jared

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hitchcock Makes it to the Chophouse

Alfred Hitchcock, acrylic on panel, 24x24" SOLD

Here's another American icon for the Chop House wall. The talk about these portraits is growing all the time. Locals in Montgomery have fun tossing their 2 cents around about whomever is featured on any given week. I recently sold my Audrey Hepburn (I was very tempted to keep her to myself). This allowed for a couple more pieces to be placed on the wall. The crow's eye has iridescent paint in it and will glow in the dark; a detail that the restaurant staff was glad that I shared. I hope that you enjoy and if you are ever in Montgomery, stop by The Chop House and tell Patrick that Jared sent you. - Jared

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Shakey Hand Tattoo Parlor

Shakey Hand Tattoo Parlor sign, approx. 20x4" SOLD

This sign is painted on reclaimed pressure-treated wood. It is extremely sturdy and would make a great defensive implement next to any one's bed. Humor is always a nice addition to any piece of art and I had fun thinking of the "worst branding for a tattoo parlor". Of course there are many other names I may paint in the future, but this one made me laugh right when I thought of it. Everything is hand painted and distressed. As seen in the photo, screw-eyes are inserted in the top to allow for hanging. This item will be shipped with fine grade hemp rope, ready to hang. Stay tuned for more parlor names. Enjoy - Jared

Sunday, August 29, 2010

War Eagle!!!!!!!

War Eagle sign, approx. 20x4", SOLD
(scroll below to purchase)

Here's a sign just in time for the greatest season of the year - Auburn football. I honestly think that I love Auburn football more than the Christmas season, though Santa pulls a very close second. At least my power bill doesn't spike by $200 during the football season. This sign was painted on reclaimed pressure treated wood. The weathering seen on the surface was largely done by hand, though I did leave the finished product outside for a while. I drilled two holes in the top corners for your choice of hanging material. I've used fine hemp rope in the past and it goes very well with the aged nature of the artwork. This would look absolutely awesome above a front door walkway or porch. Enjoy - Jared

Friday, August 27, 2010

My Own Mercantile Pillows

LEDBTR lobster, painted pillow, approx 14x14", $30 (purchase below)
For the last few years, I've nearly abandoned the use of canvas in my art completely. Thus, small mounds of canvas lye dormant on my studio floor, in cabinets, and tucked away in corners. Once again I turned to Restoration Hardware to dig for ideas and saw these faux-mercantile throw pillows. I decided to make my own in the same vane.

I took raw canvas and taped it to the studio wall. Next I mixed up a wash of acrylic paint - steamed milk and a touch of medium gray. After a couple coats of this mixture, I let it dry and then used a latex taupe hue to paint the lettering and logo. The taupe came from the hardware store's miss-matched paints in the clearance aisle. I think I got a quart for $1 - Gotta love that!!

I placed a few letter stencils on the pillow and arranged them until I was satisfied with the arch, leaving plenty of room to paint the lobster logo. I liked the idea of the letters closely approaching the edge of the pillow, perhaps even being cut short in the sewing. However in the end everything remained completely visible.

If you like relaxing on the sofa and rubbing your face on a 220 grade pillow surface, possibly removing half your 5 o'clock shadow in the process, then this material is for you. However, I have invested a little money in softer, more appropriate fabrics which make the texture of the pillow much more pleasurable. If you'd like to have a custom pillow made just contact me. Hope you enjoy - Jared

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Farm Fresh Signage

Assorted Signage
Large = 4x20" $20 Small = 4x10" $15 ,
Scroll down to purchase a set

I have been accumulating lots of scrap wood over the last several months and have tried to keep my eyes open for a good use for them. Last month I was flipping through our Pottery Barn catalog and noticed this style of signage hanging in the background of one of the featured rooms. BINGO! That was the perfect use for these scraps. They are also a great platform for me to experiment with new techniques for distressing and aging my artworks.
If you are interested in purchasing one of these ready-to-hang signs, see below. Though the originals for this image have already been snatched up, I have plenty more scrap wood to reproduce each one. The great thing about this is that no 2 signs will ever be exactly the same. You may request your own custom wording as well. Just click below or contact email me HERE. Enjoy - Jared

Pick A Produce
Type Custom Word here

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Greg's Manshtaweenie... (Don't Worry, this is G Rated)

Hershey, acrylic on board, 9x12", 2010 NFS

I finally got back into the studio this week. It's been hectic lately with lots of traveling, car troubles, catching up at the office, and finding time to eat and sleep. I really notice a difference when I haven't painted for days. I honestly don't feel totally happy or totally satisfied unless I have completed a piece of art in the studio. It doesn't matter how big or small, it just has to be completed. Nothing is better than standing back sipping on a beverage and looking at your newly finished creation. It's an awesome feeling.
Which brings me to Hershey. I am an eleven year TALK RADIO addict. When I was 18 and working as a clueless bank teller (yes they hire clueless people as tellers. That should terrify you) I discovered the Almighty Rush Limbaugh. I've been hooked ever since. I listen to everything on the conservative (AKA: Right!) side of the aisle. I don't have even the slightest desire to hear what tripe the left is wasting their breathe on airing on other stations. From local talk radio in the early morning to Rush, Laura, Beck, and Boortz I'm catching it all. Recently, I have been impressed with Beck's promotion of local patriot artists, namely Steve Penley. This got me thinking about ways I might be able to improve my name recognition in a similar manner. I decided to send this pet portrait to a local talk radio host named Greg Budell here in the Montgomery area. He mentions his dog, Hershey, on a regular basis so I knew there was a good chance that Greg would appreciate the painting. After a few hours of having fun last night, the piece was finished, complete with Americana flare and drooling with patriotism. This morning I was able to drop it off at his studio with a note that asked him to do me just one favor if he truly liked the painting and that was to simply mention me on the radio show. It worked! Greg was generous enough to not only mention me by name but gave out my blog address as well. I can't wait to see what traffic this creates for me. The other positive is that my chances are good that any commissions that come from the new visitors to the blog will be from clear-minded, America-loving, Joe-the-plumbing, conservative patriots!!!! Thanks again Greg and best of luck in all you do.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Do-it-Myself Restoration Hardware

Before image

Finished Product

Details of clock frame

This was my relaxation for the weekend. After a hard week of work and not enough time to paint in the studio I came home on Friday and saw that I had received my Restoration Hardware catalog. I have been drawn to vintage, antique items for the last several years, namely due to my beautiful bride who has always been shrewd enough to see the value in the vintage. Often I see items that I'd love to own in these catalogs but don't have thousands to spend on a lamp! The thought that goes through my head is "I could duplicate that!" So to get the creative juices flowing and to find some solace I decided to paint my ubiquitously commercial wall clock so that it resembled the more awesome $300 wall clock in the summer catalog. I started by drawing in a few essential measurements and then based the clock in a mix of slate grey and black. The numbers were then painted in two tones and the dividing lines and typography were rendered in white charcoal. The hands of the clock were neck-tie in shape and I decided to base them in the same dark base color of the clock face. This camouflaged the hands and gave me the opportunity to used metallic paints to create a more ornate hand design. The end product is a very tromp l'eoil effect. Lastly, I aged the clock frame which was originally silver in color. Now, a $3 clock looks like a $100 design element. I hope this inspires you to make your own treasures. Enjoy - Jared

Friday, July 2, 2010

Presidential Portrait Commissions - Finished

Presidential Portrait Commissions, acrylic on board, 10x12.5", 2010
Collection of John Anzalone

Some of you may remember that I have been working on these Presidential Portraits for sometime now. They were commissioned of me by John Anzalone, a democratic pollster who manages Anzalone Liszt Research. The last of these portraits was LBJ which I was able to deliver on Monday. It felt great to finish such a long string of commissions, which not only included these five paintings but four graphite portraits of children. I anticipate more work in the future from John and look forward to seeing it hanging on the walls of his business.

If you are interested in commissioning a portrait or other work of art, please contact me at and we will get started on designing your new masterpiece. Enjoy - Jared

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Who Knew Yard Work is High in Fiber?

Weed-eater, acrylic on board, approx. 12x8", 2010 SOLD
This was a quick study. I pushed a few bold colors that I"ve had sitting on my palette over the last couple of weeks. The photo doesn't do the violets, blues, and reds justice. I'm reminded of my sister's Shih Tzu, Gizmo. When he was still a pup he had a bad habit of eating anything he could find in the backyard during his potty breaks... and I DOO-DOO mean anything! Luckily, he's broken of those bad habits, but I suppose it's a natural urge for animals to eat a little greenage here and there. My cats will eat grass whenever I track a little indoors after cutting the lawn. I've heard that they will eat grass to help clear out their digestive system. I guess I understand; if I ate some dirty lawn mulch I guarantee that I'd have a cleared digestive system in about 5 seconds flat. Kids: don't try this at home! - Enjoy the art - Jared

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Worth Two in the Bush

Worth 2 in the Bush, acrylic on board, 20x24", 2010 SOLD

I find it absolutely amazing how dog breeds innately understand the purpose for which they were born. Take this Vizsla, for example - a bird dog that never needs training. From the first blast of the shotgun's muzzle, this dog runs like a summer's breeze while keeping an eagle eye on the prey falling from the sky. And it doesn't matter what obstacles come before him; the Vizsla will simply conquer them. Water, fallen timbers, rough terrain.... not a problem. In the end this dog will bring it's owner the reward of his labor, and all while seemingly wearing a smile. Pretty amazing. In fact, is there anything that humans know how to do from birth that equals this amazing attribute??? Enjoy - Jared

Monday, June 28, 2010

Revolutionary??? or Runt

No Che-huahua, acrylic on Birch, approx. 11x22", 2010 $400
(scroll down to purchase)

I don't mind letting anyone know that I am strongly pro-American!!! That's right - I believe this is the greatest country to ever exist! And no arguments to the contrary can defy that statement. After all, why has America always attracted millions from around the globe who seek to fulfill their dreams? Furthermore, how many people around the world have received the blessings of freedom thanks to the USA?!! Hundreds of millions. That's why I get frustrated when I see these little x-generation teens and stoned college hippy American terrorists walking around with their Che Guevara T-shirts, oblivious to the true history of one of the largest branding trends in pop culture. I found it imperative to nip this offensive putrescence in the bud before another dog succumbs to the idea that he is tougher than reality. Bad dog - Good America!!!! - Jared

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Rescued, acrylic & pastel on Birch, approx. 11x22", 2010 $400
(scroll down to purchase)
From the beginning I knew that I wanted to portray this Giant in the mountains. Of course we are all familiar with the St. Bernard depicted with the barrel strapped to the collar, but did you know that the barrel is almost undeniably folklore? In fact, giving stranded Swiss mountain travelers alcohol, the barrel's legendary contents, would actually make things worse. I've never tried mountain climbing after polishing off a liter of vodka but I'm betting it's not safe. Matt Soniak writes a great essay on the origins of the barrel in this article. Enjoy - Jared

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bad Reception? Forget the Rabbit Ears

Dog Ears, acrylic on board, 9x12", 2010, $200
(scroll down to purchase)
I think this is my first Basset Hound in the mix. Sometimes these dogs scare me: I never quite know if they are OK or if they are having a mild stroke when their eyes roll back in their skulls. I imagine that if there were a Biggest Loser series for dogs, Basset Hounds would be what the winning contestants all look like at the finale. Droopy is the word! Then again there is a slight irresistible nature to their laid back demeanor. They are probably the best dog for the kid who has one too many aunts whose visits throughout the year translate to soar facial cheeks. With this dog nearby, one swift move can get the kid out of "Love's" way and give Aunt Pinch-a-Lots hours of cheek squeezing fun. If there are dog lovers reading this post, please feel free to send in your dogs pics for placement here on the blog. Who knows, maybe you'll see a sketch of your best friend right here on the site. Enjoy - Jared

Friday, June 25, 2010

High Maintenance Girl

Chichi, acrylic on board, 24x24", 2010, SOLD

Here's a nauseatingly cute little ankle-biter. I had fun adding the jeweled pendant. It is a combination of a couple types of metallic paints with extremely brilliant sparkle, which is cool when you're not expecting it as the viewer. I use to work for an awesome muralist who created high-end textured wall finishes similar to finishes often found in the decadent homes in Veranda. I had an old Italian stucco finish in mind when I did the background of this piece and wanted to have the text appear etched into the wall. The subdued, neutral colors of the negative space allow the playfully bright colors of the Yorkie to stand out. Enjoy - Jared

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Flying "Target"

Aerodynamic, acrylic on board, approx. 22x11", 2010 $450
(scroll down to purchase)
Around 2007, Barnes and Nobles, the greatest time-sponge around, closed its doors in an area of Montgomery, AL that has been dwindling due to high crime rates and low income housing nearby. Unfortunately, B&N didn't open up a new location anywhere close to Montgomery. Since my father was a manager there at the time of closing he filled me in on several great clearance cuts in the days preceding the closing. I got my hands on several royalty-free image books which were all in the $20 range, marked down to $1. The eagle motif in the background of this painting was an image that caught my eye in one of those clip art clearance scores.
The Bull Terrier always reminds me of a warm-blooded bullet with four legs. It's like this breed was made for the open road in the back of a pick-up. I thought the coupling of the soaring eagle and the Bull Terrier would be awesome. Afterwards, I kinda got the feel of a K-9 Hell's Angels jacket upon viewing the finished piece. No matter....I hope that you enjoy- Jared

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Did Somebody say "Collagen Injections"?

Angelina, acrylic on board, 24x24", 2010, $1200
(scroll down to purchase)

Some of you may remember some of my past posts which included images of pop culture portraits that I initially contrived for a undergraduate senior thesis project titled The Entitled - The Un-Entitled. After collage a local fine dining establishment needed artworks for their soon-to-be grand opening. The pop culture portraits managed to find their way onto the restaurant walls. Since then, roughly a year and a half ago, the community has been chatting it up about the artworks in the Chop House in Montgomery. It is a strong source of entertainment and the owner, Patrick Skelton, continues to beg for more. While I am busy with two jobs and a slew of portrait commissions already, I manage to squeeze out a new cultural icon here and there.

For Angelina's portrait I wanted to step up the composition by included several intricate designs in the background, which were all slightly distressed to add and extra element of diversity to the renderings. Angie is known to be an ink aficionado and has several tattoos on her body. These are usually in foreign languages. I included some Arabic in a pearlesque pigment to the immediate left of her visage. The calligraphy lays atop gilded representations of lace. Her famously puffy lips were saved for last for obvious reasons - they were time consuming to complete. For a measure of "overkill", I placed a gloss varnish on the lips only so that they are "wetter" in appearance from the right angles. Hope you find it interesting and if there are any Arabic speakers out there, I ask you to please translate the text on the left side. Thanks - Jared

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

British Bully

British Bully, acrylic on board, 17x23", 2010 $500
(scroll down to purchase)
I am still having fun painting the mutts. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I have always liked vintage signage and early Americana arts and crafts. I found new inspiration through artists like Rodney White who turn commercial art into fine art. I truly enjoyed painting this bulldog. I am experimenting with various tools for distressing the painted layers and haven't "mastered" any techniques as of yet. I am also mixing artist quality acrylics with latex house paints. The latex paints are superior in their opaque viscosity and once they dry, are great for sanding and scratching with wet Brillo pads. I wish the letters weren't so close to the edge of the board however as this might cause difficulties upon framing. Nonetheless, I think it's a winner. - Jared

Monday, June 21, 2010

New Blog!!!

I wanted to let you all know that I have started a new blog in collaboration with my very creative better half, my wife. As I have mentioned before, both my wife and I have been hitting the arts and crafts circuit, especially this time of year. My wife is definitely the motivating force behind this. She's up before the sun loading the car with tents, chairs, tables and crafts and hitting the road. Her hand crafted purse organizers are the big sellers, but I get to sell a few of my prints here and there. One new venture is the letter photography. We have been able to sell tons of photos and many folks ask about a website to find more images for future gift ideas like weddings, new births, birthdays, etc.
This new blog has all the letter options currently available. We don't stock enough frames as of yet to be selling them through the blog but there are endless quantities of photos. All images can be purchased instantly using PayPal, which allows you to buy letters using all major credit cards or your own PayPal account. Check it out and find your favorite word to purchase. Enjoy - Jared

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Boxer

The Boxer, acrylic on board, 10x8", 2010 - SOLD

I have been on a K-9 kick for a while now and I recently found the website of Rodney White and have been inspired to tweak the doggies just a bit. Rodney HAD a cool site a few weeks ago and in revisiting his site before posting this image I have found that it is even cooler. I have never seen a site so easily interactive and entertaining. This guy is awesome. I have always been a moth to typography but have never felt that I had what it takes to become a graphic artist. Honestly, when I was in college I couldn't think of a more boring career than the graphic arts. But now as a wiser and much more cultured 29 year old I have found myself experimenting again with text and symbols in my work. This transition was bridged by my affinity for patterns. On any given day, my house is spattered with patterned fabrics in every room. It;s not because I am the No.1 fan of Project Runway, on the contrary - my wife is a creative body too and spends much of her time sewing small crafts using these various fabrics. I have used elements from these great designs in past watercolors still posted on this blog. Now I am having fun mixing the patterns and the text. I don't know what to tell you to expect in the future but I am sure having fun in the meantime. Now I must go .... Whose Line Is It Anyway? is coming on and I can't miss it. Peace - Jared

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Izzy the Happy Dog

Checkered Past, acrylic on board, approx 8x12", 2010, SOLD

The Charleston House is a gallery in Montgomery, AL which has been gracious enough to hang and sell many of my works. One of the employees there, Brian, is a good guy and a genius furniture designer. If I could trade my best piece of art for one of his pieces of furniture I still think that I'd owe him a few grand. One of the perks, I think, of having Brian's job is that he can see all the cool artwork that rolls through the gallery. That's how I came to do this painting of Izzy, Brian's dog. He wanted to get something done for his mothers birthday and thought an original piece of art would do the job. I took it to the gallery on Monday and he was really impressed. I hated to get rid of Izzy because the truth is that just looking at her exuberant expression brings a smile to my face. It was a worthwhile job and I hope Brian's family enjoys it. - Jared

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tade & Grayson

Grayson & Tade, graphite, each 11x14", 2010, Portrait Commissions
Here are two more children's portraits for a generous patron of mine. Over the years, I have learned several methods of rendering a figure in graphite that work for me. Unfortunately, non of the methods that I find successful were taught to me during my 4 years of undergraduate study, which had a major of Fine Art.
As I mentioned not too long ago, Robert Barrett's book Life Drawing gave me some really great thoughts on drawing accurately and quickly. The most helpful tidbit from his book was the initial toning of the paper. I have therefore made it a habit to lay a thin coat of 4B or 6B graphite over the entire figure to be rendered, blending it all together using a chamois. I usually have a contour line drawing on the paper before this toning step which I have spray fixed to the paper.
I use a gum eraser to remove highlights and then add darker shadows, repeating both steps as needed. The speed at which I can complete a graphite portrait is much greater than before when I used to build values from and all white surface, using harder leads and gradually working to softer, darker leads.
I liked both of these portraits a lot, though I will confess that I thought the background behind the young man looked a little too similar to a nuclear mushroom cloud. Kinda sucks when you see things like that in a piece of art because there's no "unseeing" it. The likenesses are accurate so I guess that's the most important thing. Enjoy - Jared