Category Archives: colored pencil

The Secret Gallery in Grandma’s Closet

After years of being stored away, I discovered that my mother had hidden a hoard of my old artworks in the upstairs closet in Grandma Aldrich’s house (now my parents’ house).

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This oil painting was done on an old saw blade at the request of my Grandpa Aldrich.  He wanted a farm painting on it, like the one he’d seen in a restaurant during a fishing trip in Minnesota.  I chose as the subject Sally the pig.  Sally was a hairlip piglet that had to be bottle fed and raised in a box by the stove until later in life she became a favorite pet.  Believe it or not, pigs are smarter than the family dog.  She became a pig you could ride.  And Grandma had taken a precious old photo of my mother and Uncle Larry riding the pig.  I used that photo to make this painting.  It was also the painting I wanted to find on this trip to Iowa.  Searching for it led to finding all the others.

These two are among the earliest paintings I did.  They were both done on canvases that I stretched over the frame myself in high school art class.  The purple one is a scene from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The blue one doesn’t have a title, but you can see what it is.  It is an ancient shibboleth water monster lurking under a dock, fishing for young boys to eat.

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This drawing was done on the front porch in the house in Rowan.  It would be years before mom framed it.  It is another example of what I could do as a high school kid.  In fact, I composed it from art-class sketches I did my senior year in school.

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The Boy in the Barn was painted on the remains of an old chalkboard that my sisters, brother, and I had used in grade school.

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Grandma Aldrich asked for this picture to hang over the sofa in the farmhouse living room.  It stayed there for many years.

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Great Grandma Hinckley passed away in 1980.  I created this portrait from a combination of photos and memory.  It was too good.  It was never hung anywhere because it always made her daughter, my Grandma Aldrich, tear up.

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This pencil drawing won a blue ribbon at the Wright County Fair in the late 70’s.

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This picture is called First Years are Hard Years.  It was painted in 1982 after my first year of teaching at the junior high school in Cotulla, Texas.   I painted mostly the good kids.  The girl on the lower right would later go on to become a teacher for our school district.  I can’t claim to be the one who inspired her, but she did make straight A’s in my class.

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This is called Beauty.  It is done in oil crayon on canvas.  I did it for my mother to hang in the hallway in the house in Taylor, Texas.

So, it turns out, I unearthed art treasures by searching for the one painting.

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Filed under artwork, colored pencil, homely art, humor, oil painting, old art, Paffooney

Crayon Addictions

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A simple, black-and-white drawing done in pen and ink.  Elegant. Easy to understand.  At least, if you can get past the weird little kid inside a birdhouse who has apparently saddled a mutant pigeon-sparrow. The black and white is the essential underpinning.  The bones of the idea.

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So, adding color makes things a little more complex.  I started with the girl’s face. Here is where I establish the basic color-theme.  And give more character to the surprised face peering through the portal of the bird house.

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Much of the work in coloring this little articus projecticus is a matter of pattern.  I like doing wood-grain patterns in colored pencil.  It looks good when it’s finished.  But it also takes time to do line after line.

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The last step is to color the bird-riding fairy-kid. Here I am completing the color-echoes and the pattern-making.  More lines.  More care with giving the shapes volume by using light and shadow.  And now we are at the final destination.  The picture is complete.

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Filed under art editing, artwork, colored pencil, coloring, drawing, humor

Critical Characters in My Fiction

Valerie Clarke
Ricky Porter
Poppensparkle the Butterfly Child
Horatio T. Dogg
Mickey the Wererat
Grandma Gretel Stein and General Tuffaney Swift the Storybook Fairy
Blueberry Bates
Tim Kellogg
Devon Martinez
Francois Martin
Derfentwinkle and her Master, Sorcerer Eli Tragedy

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Filed under artwork, characters, colored pencil, fairies, humor, illustrations, Paffooney, pen and ink, Uncategorized

Pictures I Like Whether I Drew Them or Not

The key factor in having an artist’s eye is being able to find what is beautiful no matter what or where you look.

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Filed under artwork, colored pencil, illustrations, oil painting, old art, Paffooney

Mickian Artistical Nonsense

The word for it is Paffooney.  I know that is not a real word.  It is a Mickian word.  Kinda like the word “Mickian”.  It is entirely made up gibberish, made up by Mickey, and used to mean an artwork made by the hand of Mickey.  So I can’t really explain it.  I have to show you what it basically is.

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This is a Paffooney.  It is inspired by the incredibly unbelievable time in Mickey’s life when they let Mickey be a teacher in Texas.  It has no other relationship to reality.  Chinese girls in Texas generally do not have manga eyes and blue hair, and while Hispanic girls have been known to eat pencils, they never bring their own notebook paper to class.  They always borrow.  So there is the basic formula.  Colored-pencil nonsense drawn by Mickey and attached somehow to a story.

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This Paffooney has a self-explanatory story embedded in it.  It is obvious this is the story of an average family car trip in Texas.  Notice how they demonstrate the Texas State highway motto of, “Drive friendly”.

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And this Paffooney is a Mickian recurring nightmare about a duck with teeth.  Silly Mickey, ducks don’t have teeth in real life!

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And moose bowling is a Paffooney that needs no explanation… or does it?  Well, never mind.  I have forgotten what it is for anyway.

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And this oil-painting Paffooney speaks volumes about a philosophy of life.  See the pilot giving the viewer a thumbs up? And that isn’t a parachute on his back.  They didn’t have parachutes in World War I.  It is a message pouch with German war plans in it.  I even painted it with a bratwurst sandwich inside for the pilot’s lunch.  Don’t I do great detail work?  But he will have to eat it quickly before he reaches the ground.

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And this is me teaching an ESL class.  When you teach English to non-English speakers in Texas, you get to hold the big pencil.  And it helps to be a big white rabbit.

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And this is a science fiction Paffooney, although the science is questionable.  Don’t doubt that the flower-people of the planet Cornucopia are real, though.  And Mai Ling, the psionic space ninja really can elongate her arm to get maximum thrust into her left-handed karate chops.

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And we end for today with the Paffooney of a stupid boy.  He’s not really me.  Not really.  And I don’t even know who gave him the black eye.  So it can’t be me.  So maybe he is not so stupid.  You can’t say that about somebody you don’t know and is not even you.

So, now do you know what a Paffooney is?  No?  Me neither.  But if you Google images with the words “Beyer Paffooney” you can see a lot more of them.  Nobody else uses that word but little ol’ me.

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Filed under artwork, cartoons, colored pencil, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Art Day Look-Back at 2015

This is artwork from this blog in 2015, a year after I retired from teaching.

December … The Leap
December… Annette Funicello
November … The Singers
November … Shannon
October … Tiger Swallowtail
September … oil painting … Defiance
The Blue Faun who represents the lovely melancholy sensuality that informs my wordy little life. August 2015
July … Endaemion and the Minotaur
June … Miltie is actually Me
May … The Ship with Pink Sails
April … Player #3
April … oil painting … Poppa Comes Home
March … The Little Red-Haired Girl
February … The Boy and his Bugle
February … Klown Kops, Pie-whackers brigade
January … Harker Dawes, lovable fool
January … Sizzahl the Galtorrian scientist

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Filed under artwork, colored pencil, oil painting, Paffooney, pen and ink

Made-Up People

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I often get criticized for talking to people who are basically invisible, probably imaginary, and definitely not real people, no matter what else they may be.

The unfinished cover picture is from the novel The Bicycle-Wheel Genius which I finished the final rewrite and edit for and then published in 2018.  All of the characters in that book are fictional.    Even though some of them strongly resemble the real people who inspired me to create them, they are fictional people doing fictional and sometimes impossible things.  And yet, they are all people who I have lived with as walking, talking, fictional people for many years.  Most of those people have been talking to me since the 1970’s.  I know some of them far better than any of the real people who are a part of my life.

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These, of course, are only a few of my imaginary friends.  Some I spend time with a lot.  Some I haven’t seen or heard from in quite a while.  And I do know they are not real people.  Mandy is a cartoon panda bear, and Anneliese is a living gingerbread cookie.  I do understand I made these people up in my stupid little head.

But it seems to me that the people in the world around us are really no less imaginary, ephemeral, and unreal.  Look at the recently replaced Presidentumb of the Disunited States.  He is an evil cartoon James Bond villain if there ever was one.

Animated cast of OUR CARTOON PRESIDENT. Photo: Courtesy of SHOWTIME

Animated cast of OUR CARTOON PRESIDENT. Photo: Courtesy of SHOWTIME

People in the real world create an imaginary person in their own stupid little heads, and pretend real hard that that imaginary person is really them in real life.  And of course, nobody sees anybody else in the same way that they see themselves.  Everybody thinks they are a somebody who is different from anybody else who thinks they are a somebody too, and really they are telling themselves, and each other, lies about who somebody really is, and it is all very confusing, and if you can follow this sentence, you must be a far better reader than I am a writer, because none of it really makes sense to me.  I think everybody is imaginary in some sense of the word.

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So, if you happen to see me talking to a big white rabbit-man who used to be a pet white rabbit, but got changed into a rabbit-man through futuristic genetic science and metal carrots, don’t panic and call the police.  I am just talking to another fictional character from a book I finished writing.  And why are you looking inside my head, anyway?  There’s an awful lot of personal stuff going on in there.  Of course, you only see that because I wrote about it in this essay.  So it is not an invasion of privacy.  It is just me writing down stuff I probably should keep in my own stupid little head.  My bad.

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Filed under characters, colored pencil, commentary, goofy thoughts, humor, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, rabbit people, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Seeing Through an Artist’s Eyes

It is not an easy thing to explain. Artists don’t see things using only their eyes. The brain intrudes in the process. For instance, you are welcome to interpret the picture above any way you like. But the way I see it will be nothing like what you thought this picture is about. You probably see two very different girls here. There is actually only one. I know because, as the artist who drew both parts of this picture, I actually know where the ideas came from. There is only one girl in the picture. Dilsey Murphy, in front and wearing her Carl Eller Minnesota Vikings’ jersey, is based about 33% on the older of my two sisters. On the outside she is pragmatic, no-nonsense, and focused on living a family life that is as normal as possible. But the inner Dilsey is the African leopard-princess. She dreams of going on Tarzan adventures in the movie-jungles of the mind with a handsome male hero. She is fierce, loyal, and completely independent, not even needing the hero she adventures with. In fact, she often saves him.

This picture is about the idyllic parts of my childhood. The mother figure is doing a ritual dance. She is in tune with the music of daily life. She is closely attuned also to her responsibilities of stewardship in her society. Both children are nude. I cropped this picture so that it is not rude and showing Smiling Boy’s penis. But both children are bathed in nature and sunshine, not just because I am pro-nudism personally, but because clothing covers up innocence and joy.

This one is easier to interpret. I was an ESL teacher. I had students who spoke Spanish as their first language and students who learned to speak Mandarin Chinese as their first language. It makes for a classroom that becomes a cultural mixing bowl. You have to learn how to deal with people who are very different than you,, but are benefitting from learning English together.

Every picture the artist draws or paints has its own weirdness embedded inside it. The way the artist sees it is probably never the same as how the viewer thinks about it. And that is as it should be. But as a viewer of art, it is hoped that you will at least try to think about what the artist means to say..

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Art to Help Me Be Happy

Some of the drawings and paintings I do, I do because they make me happy. I know it’s more noble if I do it to make you, the viewer, happy. But part of making art is that you are making it for your own needs. Art is therapy. Often, art is love. This picture of Shannon (not her real name) makes me happy. She was a student I loved, (only in the legal, Platonic sense.)

This one makes me happy. I drew it on a day I needed to laugh. And I laugh a little even now when I look at it.

This one is also a smirkable smirk-maker.

I drew this on a day when I was lonely.

This one tickles me on many levels.

These Telleron, temporary Martians helped me start my publishing career with the publication of Catch a Falling Star.

And pretty girls can make me happy too.

Especially naked ones.

And I mean drawing them, not what was in your evil mind.

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Mickian Fantasy Art

There is a reason why anything in my artwork starting with a rabbit is assumed to be autobiographical. I raised rabbits as a 4-H project from about the age of 10 and we kept rabbits in pens until I was finishing my undergraduate degree. (Rabbit chores fell to my little brother when I was away from home.) In many ways, I was a rabbit-man. My personal avatar as a school teacher was Reluctant Rabbit.

The panda known as Mandy in my cartoon world is an avatar of my wife, an immigrant from the Pandalore Islands.

There is often an exaggerated sense of adventure in my cartoonally weird Paffoonies, the very name of which is a fantasy word.

I have been known to actually believe gingerbread can be magical enough for gingerbread men to come to life once baked. It is the reason I bite the legs off first, so they can’t run away.

I have been known to see elves, fairies, and numerous other things that aren’t really there. In fact, a whole secret hidden kingdom of them inhabited the schoolyard in Iowa where I attended grades K through 6. They were all mostly three inches tall. The biggest ones, like dragons reaching only about six inches tall at their largest.

Of course I am afraid of death, evil, and… (shudder) mummies.
I think of art and story-telling as a form of music. I am a troubadour whose songs (like this one) are often completely silent.
My fantasy art tends to be more “comic book” than “art gallery”.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, cartoons, cartoony Paffooney, colored pencil, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, surrealism