Santa Fe Raven and Basilica

Earlier this Summer, I went with a group of artists from BYU to Santa Fe and various nearby sites. While in Santa Fe, I visited the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. I spent some time sketching the exterior and noticed that no two columns had identical capitals. In fact, they were each very unique. This inspired me to produce the work below, which is one of five ravens atop columns based on those from St. Francis Cathedral.

Ink and oil wash illustration of raven atop capital from cathedral basilica st. francis of assisi.

This is a photo I took at Goblin Valley, where we stopped on the way home. Nothing fancy, but it has that Southwesty feel and thus belongs here helping to describe the trip.


Nervous About Etsy

I’ve wanted to start an Etsy shop for awhile—a few years in fact. Every time I seriously consider it, though, something has stopped me. Sometimes, it is because I am just to busy. Sometimes, it has been because I don’t feel like i have a group of images that would appeal to buyers on Etsy. Now, I find myself just worrying about whether it will hurt my self esteem or something. I browse Etsy from time to time to see what the competition is like and I keep finding people who’s art is either mediocre or not very good at all (that of course is my opinion, but it’s an opinion that I tend to value), yet, they are making sales.

A more optimistic person might say “well if they can sell, I will have no problems”. I find myself, rather, saying, If I don’t sell, logically, my work must be less valuable than mediocre or bad.  That is my dilemma—it is dumb, I know it, but it’s how I feel.

This is a portrait/study of a girl with a green hat.  It is a little older and doesn’t really relate to this post at all… but I hate to put up a post without a picture and I couldn’t see myself writing a post for just this image. So this is the orphan illustration.

Oil painting study or portrait of girl with pink shirt and green hat

Hidden Face

Oil on panel, woman in veiled headdress from fantasy culture.

This is a painting I did fairly recently. It is Oil on panel.  It isn’t supposed to reflect any real-world culture or religion. Once again, I’ve painted something that is actually directed at the fantasy crowd. I started with a sketch, transferred that to toned paper and worked in some highlights. I scanned the toned version and printed it and then mounted the print on my panel using acrylic matte medium. I painted in three stages.

Stage 1 involved painting until I was really tired of painting on it.

Stage 2 was taking a break and not working on it.

Stage 3 was looking at some of the artists I admire and thinking about how i could improve what I had done based on what I learned from them.

Stage 4 was doing the things I learned in Stage 3.

Yep, I told you there were three stages, but it was really four.

Sketch for painting oil portrait on panel

Toned drawing for oil portrait on panel

New Custom Header Image

Until I am sure that I have what it takes to be successful at this blogging business, I don’t want to fork out a lot of cash.  So, I am still running the .wordpress domain and I am built on a free theme called quintus.  However, within a couple of days of starting my blog, I ran across another blogger with the same theme.  Artists don’t like looking the same as someone else, so I had to customize.

My first priority was a new background.  I found a photo of some old wallpaper and used it as a guide to create my own tiling pattern for the background.  I also made a header with similar colors.  However, the style of the header and the background didn’t really jive that well, so, I have just finished a new custom header. Let me know what you think. It is based on Adobe Garamond and Bickham script, but with some mods that hopefully won’t offend any typophiles.

The old and new headers are shown below:

My old header which has been replaced

New Header for Blog James Gardner Art and Stuff

What is she looking for?


Here is another illustration I finished outside of my BFA project. It’s a post-apocalyptic sort of story, directed to the sci-fi/fantasy audience. It is oil on panel.  I worked a bit larger on this than some of my other recent pieces.  I am glad I did, because I feel like the face and hands were just barely large enough to paint without major issues.

I was about to tell you sort of what the story is, but hopefully it conveys a little of that without words.

I don’t really have the money to hire models right now, so luckily I have nice friends and family who will pose for photos now and then. I convinced my sister to help me with the gesture on this one: