Sunday, October 27, 2013

...something new.. AGAIN!

i dont know why i cant ever just stick with one thing, but im excited that ive started attempting realism with acrylics. its late, im tired, not much talk from me this time around.

it all started with a painting of a cone flower intended for my mother in law, which turned into an ugly awful frankenflower very quickly. it was so bad..i deleted the pictures of it. that painting has since been painted over and after much frustration and some kicking myself in the nuts, i decided to try again. this time with a different flower.

here is the reference photo i used for the Zinnia flower

and here is the Zinnia ( i say Zin-nee-yah but ive heard its Zeen-yah )  flower painting that i did. Its 9 x 12 on canvas and theres a good bit of glare on the pic but you get the idea. a vast improvement from the franken-cone-flower . not exact but using one reference instead of a few (like the cone flower) seemed to be the answer

and heres a stargazer lily photo that i referenced for the next one, thanks google

and the painting that followed. i think this is 12x12. acrylic on canvas. 

and heres the last one that i did. i found this snail on google images and feel like a dick for not giving photo credit (for using all of these images really) i dont know if its really expected because its a different medium or how that works but if you took this photo (or any of these flower pics too) thank you. i loved them so much i painted them

progress, with reference photo

background done

body done

I didn't choose the slug life, the slug life chose me. 12x15 acrylic on canvas

and there you have it. im trying new things as i can. i would really like to do some creepy bugs but it seems that when i sit on an idea for more than a couple loses its appeal and i dont want to do it anymore. i want to stick with the realism aspect of painting what i see, developing texture and depth. these are mainly to try and train my brain and make me a better artist so who knows...hopefully it will work!

in the interest of humility here is a picture of a flower i painting in 2011, keep in mind its only 4x4 inches but still...its pretty janky

look at this damn... thing.

Im starting to question whether 'talent' is a real thing or not. i think hard work, patience and practice will take you alot further than 'talent' will. Talent might get you where you want to be, but without hard work or practice, you wont stay there for very long. Initially I was really happy with the way these paintings came out...slowly the work i put in was showing and taking a step back from the canvas every hour or so gave me the confirmation that it was really starting to come together. but now, after finishing the beginning to think to myself that they arent so special. i mean, after all, they are just replications of photographs (and some would say not very well rendered) applied with paint to canvas. is it "art"?

so ive been going back and forth in my head trying to determine where im going with these..what the process is doing for me, what i am learning, etc. vs hey, is this art or what? its probably more important to practice and learn from the experience rather than define it.

thats it for now. im looking into some art classes and hopefully i will follow thru and actually register and take them instead of just typing and talking about it. thanks for looking!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Actually thats only one of the 3R's and the last one to boot. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I've become a little pre-occupied (obsessed?) with recycling lately. Mostly how much trash we (household) are throwing out. He has been recycling cans, boxes, glass and plastic since before I've known him but just recently we started talking about really how much stuff we throw into the trash and how we can reduce, reuse and recycle what we throw out.

So I started getting excited and wondering what my county accepted at their recycling centers. I googled that shit, and landed here:
where I could look up items by letter and find if you can drop them off at the center.

Curious as to what your town/county recycling center accepts? Here ya go:
Warren County
Loudoun County
Fairfax County
Prince William County
West Virginia
Berkeley County
Jefferson County

We did a little more research and reading and decided we could definitely reduce our consumption, recycle more, reuse more, and began to look into composting.  We picked up two more bins, and basically set aside an entire (small) closet for them to separate our recyclables.

top to bottom: plastic bottles, plastic packaging & bags, card & paperboard, paper, glass/bi-metal/aluminum cans

   But recycling doesn't just magically happen. It takes fuel, power and energy to turn things into other things. So reducing is VERY important. Reduce so there will be less to recycle.
-Instead of buying cases of bottled water (guilty) I am using a refillable plastic bottle and a Brita water pitcher. The Brita pitcher itself is a little pricey around $29 - $39 and the filters are $18 for 3 . So youre looking at roughly a $50 or $60 purchase, BUT! One Brita filter will give you 40 gallons of drinking water. Thats about 302 plastic bottles, not manufactured, purchased or thrown away (sitting in a landfill). So thats a pretty good investment to me. I refill my plastic water bottles and use a rubbermaid refillable bottle when Im running errands.

-Re-usable grocery bags . Yes, you can buy them (usually for $1 a piece at the grocery store) or use other bags you have to lug your groceries home in. I always felt slightly dorky contemplating using these, but there is nothing dorky about trying to be more ecologically responsible.

-Shred mail/sensitive documents for compost

-Re-use microwave safe/dishwasher safe take out containers

-Opt Out of junk mail/weekly paper delivery/catalogs in the mailbox. Consider it spam. Sure you can sign up for a service to do it for you, or you can call the company and ask them to stop sending paper catalogs/advertisements & offers/junk mail. Read the newspaper online when you can. Reuse  / Recycle the paper mail that you do receive (just tear the plastic see thru window out)

-Donate your old clothes, and other items in good condition to second hand stores and
buy stuff from second hand stores.  Donations are tax deductable (make sure to get a receipt, or not, if you want to keep it charitable ;) I am a proud Goodwill shopper! (where else can I get so many black t-shirts for cheap?)

-Food Keepers instead of sandwhich bags. They come in a variety of veggies, usually are dishwasher safe and fool proof.  Of course you can use a tupperware container that you already have, but this way my tupperware doesnt end up smelling like a funky onion. I've also seen people use small stonewear jars too, which you can pick up at a thrift store (an old soup crock or stonewear dish with a lid would work too) and you wont have to worry about plastic at all.

-Compost! We just started our own composting project, I'll post more on that later

Our in-cabinet compost pail
I found this really great video on youtube, i feel like it might be a little kids project or something and i feel like a good referring to it but i actually learned a little about it (mostly the percentages regarding plastic/glass & aluminum)

 And then theres this website, which breaks down the numbers between companies, how much of their product is made from recyled packaging, and how much plastic, aluminum and canned drinks are wasted/recycled.I had no idea that 100% of a glass bottle could be made into something else, aluminum - a percentage, and plastic bottles, and even smaller percentage. This has prompted me to opt for glass rather than plastic , and aluminum rather than plastic when making purchases, especially in the grocery store.

Some people say that its pointless, that we've already polluted the planet and cant turn back the hands of time. Well, that may be true but I will do what I can in my house to at least change how much we reduce/reuse/recycle. While its not much, we have reduced the amount of garbage we throw away, snd the choices we are making when buying things. I am always interesting in sharing tips and tricks, if you have any suggestions please share in a comment or email me

here are some pictures I took from our trip to the recycling center today! Sorry no action shots of me (Dave wasnt really into it) throwing and smashing...maybe next time!

the front gate

and another picture of the front gate

the aluminum can trailer- a TRAILER full of aluminum cans

bi-metal cans (they go both ways... ) if a magnet sticks to it, its bi metal-seperate from aluminum

the bi metal can trailer, one of 2

people doing their part- tractor trailers for paper, plastic bottles, plastic bags, paperboard/cardboard

Thats a whole lot of bottles to be recycled. Maybe there is hope for the human race. Even for you, Heineken drinkers.

the best part is the smashing and throwing of the jars into the other jars

Mulch made of yard waste collected at the center. Pretty cheap for a whole tractor bucket full

You heard 'em ..pie pans and foil only, sucker.

Thanks for looking!

Additional Links & Info 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Documentaries that changed my life

sounds dramatic, really isnt. anyone that knows me knows I really dont get down with television. ok ok ok...with very few exceptions. The Big Bang Theory, Duck Dynasty, Judge Judy, The Office, The First 48, Golden Girls reruns & Seinfeld reruns. I really have become very critical about how much of my time is wasted in front of a tv. I never had a tv in my room growing up (my parents couldnt afford it and even if they could they probably wouldnt allow it).

fuck everything i wrote above. a couple of weeks ago my husband, on a whim picked up the first season of The Walking Dead on dvd...and I AM COMPLETELY OBSESSED. I havent painted or drawn (other than for tattoo appointments) since. it doesnt help that season 2 is on netflix....season 3 is on preorder, bitch! dude, seriously- how could i have missed this? this is what television was intended to be! So, Ive been a little busy...for starters, i began writing this post about 3 weeks ago...

so anyway, what i was GOING to say was that I really dont watch much tv, we cancelled our directv and hooked up with netflix. Its much better and Im not paying $80 for 600 channels of infomercials/commercials and Dancing with the Who-Gives-A-Fuck and Housewives of Who-Fucking-Cares. I watch alot of documentaries. Usually on my day off  I'll watch a couple and if Im up late drawing/painting I have one going as well.  I like anything by VICE , they are always interesting, awesome - see Tattoo Age  and sometimes scary- see: Cannibal Warlords of Liberia...holy shit.

So as far as independent films goes, here are a couple of my recent favorites. For the most part they are informative Earthlings is REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY ROUGH awful/painful/sad to watch, so tread lightly. However I think the knowledge what you can take away from it is immeasurable . The same goes for Pink Ribbons Inc, completely changed the way I look at fundraising and donating money. And there are some just for entertainment value (depending on who you ask...), Last Days Here is great  or better yet Exit Through The Gift Shop is much lighter. Anyway, enough rambling, seriously tho, I posted links to the trailers, so proceed accordingly.

in no particular order

 Food, Inc.
according to IMDB = "An unflattering look inside America's corporate controlled food industry."

Earthlings (very graphic)

wiki: Covering pet stores, puppy mills and animal profession, Earthlings includes footage obtained through the use of hidden cameras to chronicle the day-to-day practices of some of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely on animals. It draws parallels between racism, sexism, and speciesism.

Plastic Planet
imdb: Werner Boote presents an up-close and personal view of the controversial and fascinating material that has found its way into every facet of our daily lives: plastic. He takes us on a journey around the globe, showing that plastics have become a threat for both environment and human health.

Full Film -

"Brian Springer exposes media manipulation in Spin, a documetary composed of 100% unauthorized footage gathered from open satellite feeds."

Park Avenue. Money, Power and the American Dream
full film :
"740 Park Avenue, Manhattan, is one of the most exclusive addresses in the world, home to some of the richest Americans, the 1% of the 1%. Ten minutes to the north, across the Harlem River, is the other Park Avenue, in the South Bronx. Here, unemployment runs at 19% and half the population need food stamps."

Freedom Fries: And Other Stupidity We'll Have to Explain to Our Grandchildren
full documentary (50 minutes)
from youtube: "A whimsical look at patriotism and consumerism in America. It explores the absurdity of many of the symbolic gestures that have recently pervaded our culture, such as the wasting of perfectly good French Wine and the waving of Chinese-made America flags. With the help of a leading scholar and an outspoken social activist, this film draws a concrete relationship between American consumerism and patriotism."

Pink Ribbons, Inc
from imdb: "Breast cancer has become the poster child of corporate cause-related marketing campaigns. Countless women and men walk, bike, climb and shop for the cure. Each year, millions of dollars are raised in the name of breast cancer, but where does this money go and what does it actually achieve? Pink Ribbons, Inc. is a feature documentary that shows how the devastating reality of breast cancer, which marketing experts have labeled a "dream cause," becomes obfuscated by a shiny, pink story of success."

You're Looking At Me Like I Live Here And I Don't
from PBS: Lee Gorewitz struggles to navigate the increasingly confusing landscape of Alzheimer's disease.

Dark Days
from IMDB "A cinematic portrait of the homeless population who live permanently in the underground tunnels of New York City."

Last Days Here
IMDB "Documentary follows Bobby Liebling, lead singer of seminal hard rock/heavy metal band Pentagram, as he battles decades of hard drug addiction and personal demons to try and get his life back."

Bukowski: Born Into This
IMDB "Documentary on Charles Bukowski, author of 'Notes of a Dirty Old Man', 'Love Is a Dog from Hell', and the autobiographical novels, 'Women', 'Hollywood', and 'Post Office'."

 Lost Angels: Skid Row is My Home
Official site: LOST ANGELS: SKID ROW IS MY HOME takes an uncompromising yet life-affirming look at the lives of eight remarkable individuals, people who have found a way to make a life for themselves within the community of homelessness.

Banksy: Exit Through Gift Shop 
"The story of how an eccentric French shop keeper and amateur film maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner. The film contains footage of Banksy, Shephard Fairey, Invader and many of the world's most infamous graffiti artists at work." -Sundance Film Festival via IMDB

Thats it for now, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Portrait drawings 7/17/13

Well its been an eventful past month or so getting settled in at Colorworks. Ive gotten to spend time with my dad and sister, see some old friends, do some tattoos and be a pain in the ass to Tex :-) I am gonna do a watercolor flash sheet soon, ( I have the designs drawn out and everything) I am really trying to get this drawing pad filled up. Its got 50 sheets, and I'm 13 pages in. I would like to do some portraits tattoos eventually, but there are so many bad portrait tattoos out there, I DO NOT wanna be "that guy". So, practice it shall be.  I really need to paint a few of these, and maybe do a few in color (not crazy about color tattoo portraits ...but on paper) to expand my brain a little.

So here's a wolf that I did. Gonna do more animals, they are a much bigger challenge than faces. This one took at least a week.
Have you ever seen me angry? Technically this can be classified under "self portrait"

Mr Schrute. Not super crazy about how this turned out. meh.
This is humongous, I am not a security threat and my middle name is Kurt, not fart.

And Michael Scott as Prison Mike. Clearly,  I love The Office.
Do you really expect me to not push you up against the wall, biatch?

Beetlejuice - this is my favorite so far. i feel like i say that every couple of weeks but really, as of right now, he is my favorite. Until I finish the one Im working on right now (hopefully)
I'll eat anything you want me to eat, I'll swallow anything you want me to swallow, so come on down and I'll...Chew on a dog!

Thats it for now. Im working on Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver and when i finish him and a couple others I will post. Or post Travis in a step by step. Yeah, step by step. Thanks for looking!!

As far as my schedule goes, Im pretty flexible as of right now. If you would like to get tattooed (new stuff/old stuff covered & fixed) email me or call me at the shop! I also have a book of custom drawings I would really like to do so if you are interested, let me know!

Wednesday thru Saturday
Colorworks Tattoo Studio
514 N. Royal Ave
Front Royal, VA

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

the motherload update: Back in Virginia tattooing

Yes! Its true! My favorite place to be, VA baby! I'm currently tattooing at Front Royal's oldest and most reputable studio... Colorworks Tattoo Studio. Before I go into gushing about it, lemme splain some stuff without spilling too much of my guts.

I knew I had to write this update. but I didnt want to write this update. My decision to come to Front Royal and work at Colorworks was actually something I've wanted to do for quite some time and started pulling a couple days at the studio before everything happened with my mom.  My mom getting sick tied in with all of this change of shops and its still pretty fresh so bare with me.

My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer on April 25th after an accident at work. She was given a very grim diagnosis (weeks to a month without treatment, 6 months with treatment) Needless to say my whole world stopped. I pretty much only worked 2 days a week while in WV to spend as much time with her and my family as possible. Im glad I did. If I had known all we had left with her was a month I would have not even bothered tattooing at all, but spent every second in Front Royal with my family and her. On May 21st my mom took a chance and went in for surgery to remove the tumor from her brain. After many seizures and never regaining conciousness, she fell into a coma. She died on June 3rd.

even with a months warning that this was happening, it happened way too fucking fast.

While all this was happening I made the decision to say fuck it, and work in Front Royal at Colorworks. There are many things Ive learned from losing my mom, one of them being that there is no "right time" to do ANYTHING. There is no perfect opportunity. NOW is the time. Also, Death is a THIEF!

I am just now getting back to tattooing full time. Things are hard without my mom , but I have her with me always, in my blood and my sister and I share her spirit.

So many people rallied around my mom and our family during this time, and I will not soon forget those who looked after us, and her. THANK YOU!

I dont know how to close this so Im just going to say thanks for reading.
(guts still partially intact.)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Drawings 6-10-13

Cool title huh? Here are two completed portraits I am uploading. I think I am averaging one a week, or at least it feels that way.

I am working on my first female portrait and once I finish her I'm thinking if doing one more (i already have the lady in mind) or*** drawing an animal like my dog or a wolf or something hairy or*** paint a sheet of tattoo flash of bugs.

I miss the instant gratification of painting flash, but drawing portraits doesn't hurt my hand as much. So, its a toss up. Maybe I can keep a portrait going and work on the sheet during the same week.

Less thinking...more doing.

So here is the completed Swan from The Warriors (why in the fuck Hollywood feels the need to remake this movie is beyond me...I will NOT even acknowledge a remake...stick with the O.G.)

Then there's Clint. Mr Eastwood if you please. From one of the Dollars movies.

And then Westley from the Princess Bride <3 sigh. Ok . Cary Ewles if you prefer but I prefer Westley or The Man in Black.

I have an entire folder on my laptop of people I want to draw. I want to try painting a few, using hatching/cross hatching, and a few different techniques and mediums to really get the hang of this. It's so different from tattooing for me but changing the way I look at images and shapes, so I'm enjoying it, for sho.

Anyway, That's it for now enjoy and thanks for looking.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Something new

Working on...or attempting to try portraits. Not portrait tattoos, but with pencil (first?) I went out an bought a drawing pad specifically for this endeavor and I'm on number 5 so far. Patience is a virtue with this stuff. I don't know if I will ever do portrait tattoos, they ate they most easily fucked up tattoos, and I'm not ready to be responsible for that.

Here's the last one I finished, its Randall "Tex" Cobb aka the Lone Biker of The Apocalypse from Raising Arizona (one of my favorite movies of all time)

Also here is the one I'm currently working on (in progress) , Michael Beck aka Swan from The Warriors. also one of my favorite movies of all time (sensing a theme here?

Anyway, thanks for looking, enjoy

Saturday, April 13, 2013

huge update...all meat no potatoes

       Been a minute since the last post and I'm pretty busy at work so words are probably going to be few on this one. These are all 8x10's that I've done recently, with Dr. Martins and arches. I have been slacking lately big time with painting, been doing alot of custom work and working on a sketch / travel book of custom designs that I can do on the fly.

     heres a couple mandalas and some skulls. most of these were gifts to friends or trades for other paintings . I am still tattooing at Werewolfe Tattoo in Ranson, WV. I am at the studio Wednesday thru Saturday, and I work Sundays by appointment. If you would like to set something up please contact me at the studio 304.728.9880 and you can check out my portfolio I've done at  Enjoy and thanks for looking.

8x10 mandala

8x10 skull

8x10 death cherub

8x10 mandala

Valentines flash- 2 11x14 sheets

8x10 rose

8x10 roses and a candle

8x10 tip sign