As an avid guitar player something that I’ve done for 45 years. It has always been there in my life. Something that I do for others at church or for my own amusement. I became personally aware of Gretsch guitars about four years ago and it really changed things up for me as a guitar player. One of those Gretsch things included a web form called the Gretsch Pages. The place where like-minded guitar players get together and talk about all kinds of things mostly guitars and amplifiers. From time to time they have what is called a round up where they physically actually get together and play guitar, and commiserate. The Northern California branch of the Gretsch pages has been organizing these roundups for a number of years at the same place, a lodge at the top of Donner Pass in California. One of the members asked me to do an illustration for a T-shirt design for this year’s event. I thought with the visual imagery of Donner Pass and a beautiful Gretsch guitar I could not go wrong. Adding some event attendees on the bridge I thought was a fun poke at what we do every day on the Gretsch pages, disseminate information about Gretsch guitars and such.
I made a trip to Savannah Georgia and was impressed at every turn. The public squares every 3 blocks or so with lovely live oak trees, victorian brick architecture, & magnolia trees. I have also admired Martin Heade’s Magnolia painting’s for sometime and thought I would try my hand at painting them.
In 2000 Hidden Valley needed a make over. I was asked to paint an idealized sun lit farm valley & sky, with (17) flavor icons. For 11 years the (valley) has defined the brand and ranch dressing in general.
This was a bit of work I did to show the development process I go through to paint an illustration. Just look at those old crts in my photo, and no gray hair ether.
I am thankful for the many things I learned with this project. It helped me define a style of illustration that was colorful, dramatic & appetizing. It also let me do a landscape inspired by Edwin Frederic Church. His work has given me a great love for landscape.
My wife would always hold up a Celestial Seasonings tea package and say, “honey you should be doing work for them”. I would say, “yep, that would be the coolest”. Thank God He heard my prayer and they called me and said they had wanted to work with me for years. The opportunity came when they rebranded the package design and needed a less narrative and more flavor driven illustration.
The narrative part was still very much a part of the look they were after. Hibiscus is a main ingredient in the tea, so I came up with this hibiscus island concept. The background was to be universal to all of the flavors.
This was the first pencil drawing I did and simplified it a little in the final.
This poster image was created for an event in Palm Desert CA showcasing famously talented chefs and wine curators. I even was privileged enough to travel there, eat & drink and sign my posters. It is a large painting I did digitally in Painter, but like every thing I do drawings had to be made, so here are some of them.
This was my first swing at it, the client was unsure how much event info would be put on the poster, how ever the client wanted to include a wine bottle so something drastic had to be done.
Along the way the idea of weaving the event info into the composition with focus on food elements was done. All of my drawings were drawn separately and composed digitally.
The client wanted me to create a farm with lots of naturalistic landscape elements for a back to nature look. However it needed to be (idealized) in composition and tone.
The inspiration for this painting came from Grant Wood & Robin Moline. It was used for a pecan ice cream package background.
This is my rough pencil sketch.
Final pencil drawing with added tone in painter.
First pass of color in painter. I like to build upon the tone in my pencil drawing as much as possible.
I assembled the final landscape with the graphics as place holders. The foreground pecan spots were done by my friend John Youssi.