Little Watercolor Trees

Little Watercolor Trees


Little Zen Tree 2095

So... (worst first word to use in a blog post note to self)

"What's up with the landscape format trees, Sean?"

I'm glad you asked, random person who doesn't care and has no idea why it matters to me.

When I first started painting these trees it was kind of a "fluke thing" I just wanted to start painting and I needed something simple to get me warmed up. Something that only has a few basic rules to remember and then other than that you almost can't mess it up.... so I nabbed a small scrap of watercolor paper (3"x5") and started painting a little tree.  A bonsai-ish style tree.

Now, in my mind a bonsai tree is more horizontal than vertical. That's the beauty of them really is that they are bent and shaped over the course of their lives by an artist (or oppressor, but lets stay on the light side today) with their final form being something out of the ordinary for a "normal" tree.  A tree's natural tendency is to be larger than it's competing plants and grow as big and as TALL as possible in order to solidify it's place in existence.  That's just what "trees" do. In order to achieve this most trees are fairly vertical in their nature. They are "reaching for the sky" so to speak.  Because of this at the onset of this little art adventure I set some rules for myself in regards to format in order to maintain a structure and discipline (two things that will help any artist who wants to improve and really is the entire point of painting the trees).

So the rules were:

  1. 3"x5" Vertical
  2. No Background
  3. One Brush
  4. Only Watercolor
Well, folks...

Yeah... I've broken them all. The thing that lead me to go BACK to painting horizontal trees (because the first few were in fact horizontal a thing I was reminded of the other day when someone purchased a print of Little Tree 5 ((yeah... 5))) is that I broke the second rule (after I broke the third rule actually) a little while ago when I started painting backgrounds i.e. landscapes, HENCE here we are making the painting of landscapes easier by implementing the infamous LANDSCAPE format.

I've always got some long winded way of explaining why I do the things I do when I get bored ;) THE TRUTH is I'm always looking for ways to grow and as much as I love my routine (and I do) I realize sometimes you have to go on other adventures, see new things etc... because perspective is everything and EXPERIENCE trumps talent every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Posted on 15 December 2018 | 6:21 am

Little Zen Tree 2094

Little Zen Tree 2094

Posted on 14 December 2018 | 3:39 am

Crisp November Sky

Little Zen Tree 2093

Not an exact copy of the photo I snapped while driving in to the shop yesterday, but I feel it captures the spirit and mood of the image so I'll take that if I can get it. Here's the photo:

I went to a small midwestern christian university (Indiana Wesleyan University) and my painting professor said once he firmly believed artists have extra (or extra elite or special or something) guardian angels assigned to them. As you may or may not be able to tell from this photo showing the door frame of my vehicle I'm on the driver's side leaning over looking back to snap this photo.  So yeah... it's a wonder I'm still alive (and this is just the most recent example).  The pastor of our church (who's more of a science guy believe it or not) has said before, "Don't drive faster than your guardian angel can fly."

Which seems like wise advice... you know for normal folk.

Anyway... here's another photo I snapped later that day driving the other way on the same stretch of road.

So yesterday was a good day for the sky as it was kissed by the sun and the moon.  It was a cold day, but a very beautiful day.

Happy Thanksgiving. Take time to cherish the things in life that are free and while maybe some think they are not special because they are for everyone, remember there is only one you and we all paint our own unique images. The scene may be the same, but the strokes are always original and unique to us.

Posted on 22 November 2018 | 5:07 am

Little Zen Tree 2092

Little Zen Tree 2092

Posted on 14 November 2018 | 2:58 am

Pick Your Fights

Little Zen Tree 2091

A couple weeks ago the guys in the shop were talking about paying for a pretty big MMA fight.  I thought that was cool.  I like MMA. The drama the struggle the blood the sweat etc... etc... There's a lot to like.

Today on the way to work I witnessed THE GREATEST nature equivalent of a pay per view MMA fight, only I didn't have to pay.  I watched two titans of nature throwing down as only titans can do.

Title Card: Fall Vs. Winter

round one

p.s. winter always wins. Probably why it's free. LOL

Posted on 9 November 2018 | 4:36 pm

On The Drawing Board

Little Zen Tree 2090

This is kinda fun don't ya think? What I was going for is a fall tree by a lake or river at dawn. IDK if it's good or not, but I like it so happy tree happy me.

Here's a couple things currently in the works.

"Wild Bullets: New Year's With The Bullets"

Super fun story written by my friend Greg Wright. It's "Pulp Crime Noir" And this panel in particular is just good old fashion cheesy iconic goodness IMO. Like I said super fun.

This one still has a few working titles, but it's a continuation of a story I started with author Tim Kenyon in the first Michigan Comics Collective anthology "My Zombie Wife". This script is about 50 pages so it's going to take awhile to finish. Currently trying to clear my plate so I can focus on it.  Life has a way of getting in the way of passion if you know what I mean and 50 pages is a lot to digest. Require a complete overhaul of habits and daily life in general. 

Clear plate and then a few hours a day devoted to nothing but this script is what it will take. Hopefully I can do it because this script deserves it.

There's also a few things involving colors and covers etc... but we're eating the elephant one bite at a time.

Posted on 4 November 2018 | 4:59 am

Kids Grow Up: Inktober 2018

Little Zen Tree 2089

Still here, still painting trees, still trying to "right the ship"

As we age the ship grows... wider? 😂😂😂 and slightly harder to maneuver. 
Lately I'm finding everything about life extremely funny. So many people taking so many things so very very seriously. I can't do shit when I take things seriously. I can, but everything is forced, stiff and lifeless. It's all a joke life itself is a joke. The sooner people just relax their grip on it the sooner they will find joy in almost EVERYTHING and consequently turns out when we are having FUN we just do things BETTER!

So that's my "deep thought" for today. I'm trying to get things back in order after having been mostly a moron for the last... never mind.  What I mean to say is...

I need to get back to being myself and myself is painting trees, making comics and generally having a pretty good time at life.

Had a pretty good time painting all these "Old School" video game characters for the month of October (Inktober look it up). The list was something I had my son make up because he is really into gaming and I started doing this a few years back as a way for me to practice drawing characters, participate in a kind of art movement and also connect with him a little bit.  I think he's mostly over the us connecting part of it, but that's just another one of those "funny things" about life in general. Kids grow up.

So here they are.
"Balloon Fighter" Balloon Fight

"Rash" Battle Toads

"Jason and Sophia II" Blaster Master

"Bomber Man" Bomber Man

"Bonk" Bonks Adventure

"Simon Belmont" Castlevania

"Bub and Bob" Bubble Bobble

"Bill Rizer" Contra

"Taizo Hori" Dig Dug

"Billy Lee" Double Dragon
(This one I did so fast the original art actually has six knuckles on the foreground fist, but I fixed it in photoshop when I scanned it ((full disclosure)) Also, I rember when they got this in at the pool hall ((yes I remember "pool halls" do they still have those?)) in Irvington in Indianapolis as a kid I think I was eight and I remember riding my bike there with actual rolls of quarters to play it)))

"Dirk The Daring" Dragons Lair
(I remember when they got this game in at the arcade in Washington Square Mall in Indianapolis, IN... and this one made me realize I'm getting old)
"Warrior Of Light" Final Fantasy

"Gyaraga" Galaga
(This one is an artsy personal favorite. Painted this one exclusively with a single flat brush. Art nerd/painter thang)

"Vic Viper" Gradius

"Rob" Gyromite 

"Nana and Popo" Ice Climber

"Pit" Kid Icarus

"Lemming" Lemmings

"Jack" Mighty Bomb Jack
(I think I inadvertently gave him a chubby. Kinda fits the design though so... no worries. Chub on my bomb wielding buddy)

"Ms. Pac-Man"
(kid u not probably the MOST DIFFICULT character to draw)

"Kung-Fu Master" Phantom Fighter

"Little Mac" Punch Out!!
(I remember this game originally as "Mike Tyson's Punch Out!!", but then I also remember Mike going to prison, abusing women and biting a dude's ear off ((Holyfield I think)) so probably why it's just called "Punch Out!!" now😂😂😂. Also... this game is probably a sad commentary on racism since the (original) antagonist is a large scary black man and the protagonist is a small white underdog((aren't we all)))

"Ryu Hayabusa" Ninja Gaiden

(vaguely remember them turning this guy into a Saturday morning cartoon)

"George" Rampage
(Loved the new movie with The Rock)

"Alex and Ryan" River City Ransom

"Mike" Startropics

"White Spy Black Spy" Spy Vs. Spy

(this guy can just go draw himself if you know what I mean?)

"Mike and Mark" Urban Champion
(IDK I just felt like these were 3 finger kinda guys)

"Gunslinger" Wild Gunman
(I feel like my kid was working me a bit on this one because this is one of the ((if not THE)) first first person shooters so the main character is actually the player. I couldn't find much ((any)) reference for the character, however I did find that this game is based off of / remake of a game from 1974!! So talk about a "Deep Pull".  The boy done good.)

Had a great time and enjoyed getting back into the habit of "daily painting"

Now I just need to regroup, refocus and start moving forward (again)

Posted on 3 November 2018 | 5:57 am

Little Zen Tree 2088

Little Zen Tree 2088

"Goblin Tree"

Really missed painting these guys. Haven't forgotten about ya, fellas.

Posted on 27 October 2018 | 4:14 pm

Little Zen Tree 2087

Little Zen Tree 2087

Posted on 11 October 2018 | 3:18 am

Dust to Dust

Little Zen Tree 2086

Did some sketching this morning. I feel a return to my roots (tree pun haha) coming on in the form of being more interested in nature art lately. I used to do almost nothing but and then at some point I got busy bored etc... then I got into other things (some good some bad) and now I'm getting too busy too bored with those things.

Everything's a cycle really. Eventually we all come back around to where we came from. Dust to dust sort of thing.

Posted on 30 August 2018 | 3:29 am

Little Zen Tree 2085

Little Zen Tree 2085

Posted on 14 August 2018 | 2:48 am


Little Zen Tree 2084

My aren't we a strange dark little tree? Well, I guess the world would be pretty boring without contrast. Thanks for being you, little tree.

Posted on 11 August 2018 | 10:20 am

Little Zen Tree 2083

Little Zen Tree 2083

Posted on 7 August 2018 | 2:30 am

It Happens Sometimes

Little Zen Tree 2082

In the year 2082

This was pretty fun, fast and turned out better than expected.

Random art for no damn good reason helps keep us on our toes, calls fourth spontaneity and forces us to pull from what we know and mash it into what we feel and then BOOM great art just...


Lil zen fer ya ;)

Posted on 28 July 2018 | 2:04 am

I.R.P. Inspiration Ready to Paint

Little Zen Tree 2081

Painted this "American Robin" the other day. I stared it several months ago when I was longing for winter to be over. I often start these things and then leave them out on shelves in my office / studio for times when I don't know what I want to paint I just need to paint. Sorta like inspiration ready to go items... yeah I don't know. You get the idea.

"American Robin"
7" x 10"
M. Graham Artists' Watercolor on Arches 140 lb. Cold Press about

Inspiration Ready to Paint?

OOOO I like that!

Posted on 1 July 2018 | 5:10 am

Little Zen Tree 2080

Little Zen Tree 2080

Posted on 24 June 2018 | 7:38 am

Little Zen Tree 2079

Little Zen Tree 2079

Posted on 6 June 2018 | 3:51 am

Little Zen Tree 2078

Little Zen Tree 2078

Posted on 26 May 2018 | 12:50 am

Little Zen Tree 2077

Little Zen Tree 2077

Posted on 17 May 2018 | 1:48 am

Little Zen Tree 2076

Little Zen Tree 2076

Posted on 8 May 2018 | 1:05 am

Little Zen Tree 2075

Little Zen Tree 2075

Posted on 12 April 2018 | 2:12 am

Little Zen Tree 2074

Little Zen Tree 2074

Posted on 6 April 2018 | 4:16 pm

Little Zen Tree 2073

Little Zen Tree 2073

Posted on 28 March 2018 | 2:09 am

Little Zen Tree 2072

Little Zen Tree 2072

Posted on 27 March 2018 | 2:06 am

Little Zen Tree 2071

Little Zen Tree 2071

Posted on 22 March 2018 | 1:47 am