Solo piano album: The Marks It Makes

The Marks It Makes is a solo album comprised of nine original piano pieces. Each one spawned from an idea fragment I scratched down on manuscript paper at some point in the last 15 years.

For example, one fragment that I expanded into a full piece for this album takes us as far back as 2001, when I was 12 years old. It’s the music snippet that the second piece on the album, The Kind Years, came from.

I have hundreds of these fragments, and I wanted to see if I could make a set of quality pieces that really fit together out of them.

Lots of these half-concepts sit in my old sketchbooks doing nothing. A half-concept scribbled in bad handwriting that only I can interpret might as well not even exist. I think of projects like this album as a sort of responsibility I have over what I’ve made. Nobody can make my ideas real for me.

I waded through loads of these old idea fragments and carefully chose nine. And I know, I’m biased—but I think the finished pieces came together to make something pretty special.

You can listen to the whole album for free here on this page.
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Organic form drawing experiment: Hybrid

Years ago, I started a series called Organic Form Drawings. They’re tiny, intricate pencil drawings made with biology-inspired shapes and motifs. Usually the drawings are made with a single colored pencil on 3″ x 5″ paper.

I’ve been growing this series slowly (organically?) over time, and decided to try an experimental approach with a tangential drawing. Related to the series, but not necessarily part of it.

I have a small—but very appreciated—group of sponsors for my work. When they help pay for my art supplies and giveaways, part of my end of the bargain is to turn old art ideas into new art pieces.

This is one of those old art ideas.

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Overthink Group (formerly GradLime)

I’m COO and co-founder of a company called Overthink Group. There’s a lot to tell about who we are and how we got here, but I’ll start with a TL;DR version.

The short story: what Overthink Group is

Overthink Group is a team that does high-end digital and content strategy for SaaS companies, publishers, non-profits, and ministries.

  • We’re a small team of lynch pins. No one is an assistant to anyone else. If you’re part of Overthink Group, we’re convinced there’s no one out there who’s better at what you do. No joke.
  • Everyone on the team is an entrepreneur, not an employee. Team members have proven their skill in the world of self-employment, and each person chooses to focus their energies on Overthink Group clients. On paper, we have no employees.

That’s the important stuff. But how did I quit my day job and start this agency … with no seed money? That’s a longer story.

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Something Bigger (photograph)

People are driven to create things. (I am no exception; unless you’re new here, you probably know this site is full of art, photography, and music).

There are lots of theories as to why we humans are driven to create.

I won’t pretend to have it all figured out, but I do see some desires at play that push people to bring something into being.

For example, people create out of a desire to feel significant. When we make something, it helps us feel like we matter.

We create out of a need to prove our skill, or connect with each other. Lots of creative projects make great conversation starters.

We sometimes create as a power play, or—on the other end of things—as an act of playfulness. We create to try to influence or impact someone.

Sometimes we create just because we feel like it.

But my favorite act of creation is a fight. 

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The Broken Road: a mixed-media piece

If someone were to show you an art piece of mine chosen at random, there’d be very good odds that the idea for that art piece came to me while I was on a walk.

I’ve always believed that my best thinking tends to happen while I’m walking. And a lot of recent studies seem to prove that’s not all in my head. Walking—it would seem—actually stimulates creative thinking.

Now I can feel good about my habits because of science.

Sometimes the art I make is a little more directly linked to the walk I’m on than others.

It doesn’t get much more direct than the inspiration for the art piece I’m about to show you.

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The Way of the Eagle (Proverbs 30 art)

The Proverbs 30 Series is a collection of surreal graphite drawings I started at the beginning of 2015. I’ve taken the 33 verses of text from Proverbs 30 and have been creating one distinct drawing inspired by each concept.

Often there’s more than one concept bundled in a verse. Proverbs 30:19 is four lines long:

The way of an eagle in the air;
The way of a serpent upon a rock;
The way of a ship in the midst of the sea;
And the way of a man with a maiden.

The author (Agur) is listing four things he claims he just doesn’t understand. Instead of trying to fit them all in one drawing, I’ve broken up the concepts—starting with the first line.

The way of an eagle in the air;

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The 2010 art archives

You probably already know this, but there’s a lot of art on this site.

I’ve been working on ways to make the art pieces and collections more easy—and hopefully more fun—for people like you to browse.

One of the ways I’m doing this is by collecting and archiving all the work I’ve made each year.

I know, 2010 was a while ago, but it’s not like the art has expired.

It was a prolific art-creation year. I did a lot of experiments with different styles. Some of these styles I rejected, and others have developed into ways of drawing and painting that you see me employ still.

During 2010 I started (and in many cases finished) quite a few art series, and I experimented with a large number of concepts and media. The art you’ll find on this page is all over the map. We’ll jump in with one of the creations I’m most proud of from the huge collection of pieces.

Where you see thumbnails of artwork, just click them to enlarge to full screen.

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Art print giveaway: Pouring the Wine

I’ve been giving away art for free for a while now. It might seem like a strange thing to do, but I have some reasons for it. You can check out my profile on the artist support platform, Patreon, to find out more about that.

This month (April 2016) my supporters on Patreon helped me select this piece as the giveaway. Instead of an original, I’ll be giving away a print.

It’s titled Pouring the Wine. The original isn’t available to give away, because it belongs to Icicle Ridge Winery in the Wenatchee Valley.

Here’s what the piece looks like:

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Mixed media piece: Partaking in Grace

If you’re an artist, you’re probably familiar with the letdown when you see an intriguing technique and want to learn what was used, only to see these sad, vague words: “mixed media,” and nothing more.

When someone says an art piece is mixed media—without explaining what mediums were mixed—I’m always disappointed. The artist could have been using anything. Really, it’s kind of a cop out. Or at least that’s how I think of it.

Alternatively, maybe the artist could be trying to hide some kind of trade secrets. Either way, I don’t like it.

Instead of saying that, I will actually tell what I used to make the art piece you’re about to see.

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Back Yard (creatures on scratchboard)

I like envisioning dystopian worlds. Some of them are sort of Orwellian—where humans have lost autonomy and the soul-sucking cubicle desk job ethos has swept over all of daily life. The planet is nearly barren and there’s some industrial revolution spinoff gone too far.

You know, more or less the dystopian norm.

I don’t like imagining those kinds as much as I enjoy exploring the weird biological takeover dystopias. (I really like biology—I’ve created entire biology-inspired art series).

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