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Done. Two new acrylic paintings

October 30, 2021

Barn, 16×20, Acrylic on canvas

Like most artists, I love drawing and painting old barns. This one was new to us, located somewhere near Mount Vernon, Ohio.

County Road, 9×12, Acrylic

This is about a five minute walk from our home. It is a paved country road, but I took the liberty of turning it into dirt. I struggled with this one, and found my self studying a few of my favorite 19th century landscape painters (like Corot) and the Hudson River painters, including the modern day master Erik Koeppel. Not that I’m in the same universe as those guys, but one should always aspire to improve.

This was a nice break from the graphic novel work It was also reassuring that I can still mix paint and use a brush.


Barn, Work In Progress

October 24, 2021

Red Barn (in progress), 16×20, Acrylic

Still some things to do on this (darken the area under the trees on the right; add a bit more textural touches in the foreground pastere; and maybe soften some edges on the barn). It’s been a nice change of pace to return to painting after about a two year layoff.

Barn In Acrylic, Progress shot

October 21, 2021

Here’s where I stopped today:

I adjusted the color on the front wall (facing the camera) and I shouldn’t have. So there’s that. I tightened up some edges, especially on the openings, and spent time beginning to develop the trees and the foreground grasses. It’s been a while and I’ve lost a bit of my touch, but I’m enjoying the challenge.

A Barn… Of Course

October 20, 2021

If you read the previous post you know I decided to take a break from the pen & ink panels for the graphic novel and do a little traditional painting. Just a break, mind you… nothing permanent. For better or worse I WILL finish the graphic novel. But for a few days, I’ll paint.

I went with the surface I had in the storage cabinet, a 16×20 unfinished painting on stretched canvas. The painting was never going to be finished so I decided to just paint over it. Since it was an acrylic painting, that determined what medium I would use. So here was the beginning of the paint-over, blocking in the barn and cutting back some of the trees.

The paint on the canvas wasn’t very thick (see the foreground above) so it was fairly easy to just paint over it. Painting over thick acrylic just decreases the texture and makes the surface slippery. This one doesn’t quite have the tooth of a new canvas but it’s taking the paint well.

And here is where I stopped this afternoon:

The top photo was taken outdoors and the bottom one was indoors so the lighting is different. The barn is fairly faithful to the reference photo but I am taking some liberties with it as well as with the landscape. It will be fun to see where we go from here after such a long layoff from painting.

Stay turned.

Taking A Painting Break

October 18, 2021

If anyone is still out there…

I’ve made considerable progress on the graphic novella, but I seem to have hit a little wall. Things really moved forward during an extended visit with family in Ohio during July and August and a lot has been accomplished in the last couple of months since we’ve been back home. But the drawing part of my brain seems to have become a bit overloaded and the creative process required for the book has ground to a halt. I am blessed with the ability to shift gears in my art interests and maybe it’s time to take advantage of that.

If there is still anyone left reading this blog, I’m guessing most of you have been primarily interested in the paintings. The last serious landscape painting I did was almost three years ago:

This was painted from a photograph, which is my normal way of painting. As I recall, it was a 16×20, acrylic on canvas. The location is near Cloudcroft, New Mexico in Scott Able Canyon if my memory is correct. We enjoyed a picnic lunch with family here. The painting was done as a gift.

In addition, I had a commission to do a mural for a family’s upstairs game room.

The work was to commemorate events in the family’s life and their personal interests. Because this was such a personal thing, we decided that a more practical solution was to do a wall-size group of paintings which could be relocated if the family moved and separated to different locations if they so chose in the future. This was done two years ago.

I’m way overdue to do some painting, so tomorrow I’ll dig into the existing supplies and see what surfaces I’ve got to work on. I know I have plenty of gouache and also acrylic. The question will be what size and which medium I want to work in. This isn’t just some sudden flash of inspiration. When we were in Ohio during the summer, our first visit in about two years due to Covid, we saw some things that I had forgotten inspired me.

I’ll post what I’m doing as soon as I know and even stick my neck out and post the process.

It will be fun. Or I may really regret mentioning it ahead of time.

We’ll see.

4 (Book posts are delayed)

February 23, 2021

The Texas weather took me away from home, I’m afraid. Of course I did carry drawing tools with me so I managed to get three decent preliminary page sketches done. Unfortunately, the plan for this project keeps changing and I’m not comfortable posting a page at this point. What I will do is post an image from a future page to make up for it.


February 8, 2021

I admit I could hardly believe my eyes that day, but I trust what my eyes see and I do believe what they show me. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Chirping birds, the rustle of leaves and the skitter of little things moving in the grass were all part of my childhood. My grandfather taught me how to listen to all the sounds the forest makes and how to see things that were different so I could walk in the forest safely.

He said there were predators there and he taught me to use a sharpened stick as a spear and how to use a knife. He also showed me how to use his sword. He said my father would have wanted it to be that way.

I often went walking in the woods, to hear the sounds and see what might be new.


February 1, 2021

I grew up in a stone cottage at the edge of the forest. My grandfather had built it as a young man when he and my grandmother began their life together. I never knew my parents. My grandfather told me they had died in a great war shortly after I was born. My grandparents are gone now, but I still live in that old cottage.

Finding Katya

January 25, 2021


Finding Katya began as a graphic novel, basically a story in a comic book format. Almost all of it has been sketched together in pencil form with very rough draft text. When the ink work started I found that ruling all the panels, drawing speech bubbles with leaders and drawing at least six illustrations per page was going to be tough for these 77 year old eyes. That’s a lot of precise inking. I decided to go with fewer illustrations per page and make them larger. Gouache seemed like a good idea, like little paintings. After a few of those, my detail work didn’t meet my expectations. I went back to ink and watercolor (mostly). I took a look at some of my favorite books and comics. Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee stood out, as did Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant pages. I am no Brian Froud or Hal Foster, but I’m using some of their approaches to put this projet together. Some things are very likely to change as we go along. What I’ll post here will be a mixture of edited second draft and unedited first draft as it is written. A lot of the art may change. The final work, some months and possibly a couple of years, down the road is intended to be printed in a 6″ x 9″ book format.

I’m having fun. I hope you will enjoy going on this journey with me.

~Ralph Parker

^ ^ ^

In the days of the Great Forests, people built their houses and their villages on the edges of the woods, often building under the trees, but close enough to the open grasslands to enjoy the sunshine and plant gardens. They ventured into the woods to gather edible foliage and fruit, to hunt game, and to cut logs to use for building.

They didn’t often go very deep into the forest. Sometimes stories were told about people hearing what sounded like voices, almost like whispers, speaking but never quite understood. Most people laughed at those stories, saying those who told them were imagining things, that the sounds of the trees overhead were playing tricks on them. Although my mother had told some of those stories to me as a child, as I grew older I became one of those who laughed.

And then one day I discovered those voices were real.

My name is William Sawyer and this is my story.

Here We Go Again

January 24, 2021

Yeah, I know. Incosistent. Short attention span. All that. And here I am, after another absence and another change. I’m surprised any of you are still with me. On a positive note, I just celebrated my 77th birthday and I’m still going.

Here’s where we are:

This image appears a bit into the early part of the book, but it’s representative of how I’ve decided to go with the artwork. Yes, it’s ink and watercolor. It’s the medium I’m most comfortable with. Here’s another:

Here’s a potential two page spread:

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an image so hopefully these are a decent size. I’m making some progress although slowly. I’m toying with the idea of posting excerpts as the pages develop but I’m not sure where to do that. Here on WordPress? Instagram?

We all know I’m not good at posting regularly on multiple applications so it’s important to make the right decision. I’ve also sought advice on Facebook.

What do you think?