Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dear Future Self

A Letter to My More Successful Me.

I always write to encourage my art, diffuse my problems and hype myself up about the future (in the best possible way of course).

The struggle of coping with being born an artist, as with many terminal diseases one cannot simply ignore or take off this role like a skin, is a lifelong thing. It consumes you, burns deep, and hopefully guides you to pushing art and creative things out of your pores into a world that wants to be inspired.

You can either take this dark passenger and let it embolden you to create things that never existed before or you ignore it like a mysterious smell.

It will be strange and alienating in some parts, you will stay in for so many nights while others go out, and laugh and party nights away. You may even let cultural events pass you by, movies, things on the news, and lose the ability to waste time. Because time wasted is art unmade.

This strange realization makes art an every day affair that steals you away from your normal life, but this affair, like anything un-normal in the world, is so much more exciting, often not understood by outside forces. But that's alright.

Because at the end of a long night, when you lay your tools down exhausted, you have made something that never existed before. Something real.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Back to the Blarg

Well hello again.

As your resident artist, I am checking back in after what has been a far-too-long hiatus. Hopefully I am back for good since a writer friend told me that artists seem to all have blogs they abandon. And who wants to be another statistic?

After all, I have some new work to share anyways and I will hopefully be updating weekly at least from now on, but then again artists always say that. So I apologize in advance if life gets hectic and I do you wrong bloggers.

Until then, here are some sketchbook pages from Last winter when it snowed extensively here in Virginia and I had a lot of time to stay in the house and produce art.

I did several other watercolors over this time period but in this post I will focus on the environments since I was enamored with drawing the snow since it is a rare sight when living next to a beach on the east coast.

I was also infatuated with having ordered the latest "James Jean" pens which are the Korean S.K.B. 0.5mm ballpoint pens. They really are great for detail and shading. I have several fellow artists who complete full pieces with their line work only in ballpoint pen so I figured I would give it a whirl.

The first image is a study of our bathroom which has seen better days, but I was working in a sketchbook that was landscape format so that when you opened it up it was about 5"x16". While it proved to be a challenging format, it also gave way to some interesting compositions such as the bathroom sketch, I was able to leave a lot of pleasant negative space at the bottom of the image.

The next two are shorter studies of the colors of the snow and the surrounding buildings since they sky was pitch grey the entire week it snowed, and the third picture was a study of the damp wood left behind after the snow melted.

Lastly, one of my favorites is the last watercolor which I selectively used color in and faded the color out as the picture went on. The study is of a large, busy intersection while I sat in a fast food restaurant. The reason for the whole illustration was the large pile of dirty snow that had been piled right next to the fresh white patch surrounding the base of the fast food establishment's sign. The colors were so impossibly different, and the lavenders and cold blues int he fresh snow were beautiful and compelled me to capture them.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Woods Photoshoot

Collaborative Photoshoot
Alea Mayfield
Christine Skelly

Our first collaborative photoshoot together took Alea Mayfield and myself into the woods of Yorktown where the light was warm but scarce, and where the mosquitoes came and left their love marks on us. Despite the infestation encouraging us to leave and the light fleeting from our afternoon into twilight shoot very quickly, we managed to take several pictures each and end up with some very nice portraits.

It was on this shoot that I taught my dear friend what shutter speed and aperture did and how they were far superior to point and shoot technology. She seemed to capture some excellent shots if I do say so myself. The first one below is one I positively love.

My role was to take a few posed portraits of Alea and perhaps a few candids that would show her off without being overly glamorous or cheesy. We found a balance that worked and I shot her in some really warm light that brought out her smile. Here are the results, so do enjoy and if you have any questions or comments, leave them below!

I adore the grain of this photo, the soft texture steals my heart away.
Taken by Alea Mayfield on 19June 2011

A quiet day in the woods.
Taken by Alea Mayfield on 19June 2011

Alea Mayfield, Yorktown Beauty
Photo Taken by Christine Skelly
on 19June2011

Eat Your Heart Out
Photo Taken by Christine Skelly
on 19June2011

Softly, Sweetly.
Photo Taken by Christine Skelly on 19June2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Expectations. F*ck 'Em.

You Are Wonderful.
How often are we told to think this? Variations, perhaps often. “You are special.” “Unique”. “Talented”. It is difficult for me to support these terms because there is a sense of comparison beneath the façade of the compliment. “You are more special than that child”, “You are more unique than others could hope to be”, and thus, more talented than others are. And we wonder where our sense of entitlement comes from these days.

Not only is there a sense of comparison inherent in these seemingly harmless terms used to extol our 5 year olds for scribbling on a napkin that we will later hang on our freezer door, there is also a set of expectations that comes attached to the things,
words. Now, allow the word expectations to be loosely defined: something which one or another expects to happen.

The cause of such expectations is not the point, as expectations are fantasies in the first and foremost place. Things people want to happen, but are not happening. Goals are one thing. Expectations, another. Expectations can often lead to pressure, and pressure to guilt when one deviates from whatever is laid before them as the plan by whatever implement of society is at hand, be it themselves, a family member, etc. And thus guilt and pain come when there is nothing wrong with the daily life of a garbage man, working a wage and paying for food for the family he loves.

What Are You Doing With Your Life?

But society looks down on one thing and lifts another. So what if you drop out of college? So what if you work at a convenience store? So what if you are president of a huge company or if you work in the mailroom? The person who “made it” could be a jerk, or could have been the college drop out who followed his dreams, or could have inherited the company. The convenience store worker could be paying for his child’s health bills for a serious disease, working two jobs. They are still a kind and caring person despite not following others’ expectations of success. And while it is a big enough monster to fight others’ expectations, it is our own which can be our largest downfall.

I know I beat myself up over many things that I feel I should be and am not, especially when I compare myself to far more successful peers. Never do this. You are sure to find someone you deem much more successful and may be disappointed. Just focus on goals, not expectations and take steps everyday towards those goals!

Just Do It.
But regardless, I would say there is nothing wrong, and there is everything right about being where you are here and now, doing what you are doing. The key is to realize is there is no worse word than “should”. Just be. Learn to pay attention to what is right in front of you, not ahead or behind.

So as I write this, I am very pleased of the direction my life is going in, as I am writing my blog entry instead of guilting myself about the fact that I have not done so recently. And I am writing my blog post instead of worrying about how many times a week I must post. That’s the past and the future respectively. I am working on acting more and thinking less. Thinking has always gotten me tons of headache and making assumptions has caused worse heartache, especially with not acting because of fear.

Thus, my new mid-year’s resolution is to Do More, Think Less.

Anyone thought similarly? Let me know how thinking and not acting has screwed you up, or let me know ideas of how I can learn to act more and be more decisive. Leave me a comment and let me know guys.


Royal Flush

Royal Flush

Is there anything better than pinball on an old rickety pinball machine that has dusty wedged in the crooks of it's cracked plastic? With yellowing lights and ticking numbers that keep score like an old cash register, these
are the sounds of real mechanisms and real history that can still be turned on eons later as long as electricity is still conducted into a power cord. Digital can rob us of the tangible realness that is in fact slower, but will win the race between the tortoise and the hare. Fast technology dies even faster. Nostalgia is forever.

Shot: 23June2011


This is available as a print. If you’d like to help a fellow artist, or just love the art, contact for information about prints.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

They Call It Patina

They Call It Patina

There are many terms out there that beautify what many consider ugly or unwanted. But it is the same way with everything in language. So choose to transcribe your life with beautifying words and you may find that the outlook ahead is brighter.

But that's just me.

Shot: 22June2011


This is available as a print. For more information contact

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Edward Hopper's (Dairy) Bar

The Dairy Bar reminds me of Edward Hopper’s Paintings in that despite it’s colorful façade, it can be very lonely and isolating when it is not shouting at the viewer.

The beauty is a broken one with two sides, a flashy outgoing one that shines when the lights are on, and a lonely desolate side that
that still yearns to shine even when the fluorescents are turned off for the night.

Shot: 22June2011


This is available as a print. For more information please contact

Monday, June 27, 2011

Clustered Custard

Clustered Custard

The information overload on the menu provides the viewer of this image with a deluge of information that couples the dairy bar’s screaming neon colors.

Shot: 22June2011


This is available as a print. For more information please contact

Dairy Bar

The Margate Dairy Bar offers a taste of a throwback to late night snacking offered by old soft serve ice cream shops, located in Margate New Jersey.

I had the chance to shoot this during a late night walk about the town of Margate outside of Atlantic City, New Jersey and found the appeal of the flamboyant colors strangely appealing, with cotton candy colors and treats just as sweet. Despite how corny that sounds, the Dairy Bar offers a great taste of quintessential summer: sitting out on a picnic bench, eating ice cream, and enjoying the cool summer night finally receiving a break from the humidity. It's one I had to partake of, whether I was hungry or not.

Shot: 22June2011


This is available as a print, please email for information.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Acrylic Self Portrait

A Self Portrait in my sketchbook done with acrylic paint and painted entirely with a palette knife, and the background was done using the left over paint on my palette that I mixed all together and randomly smeared down. With little mixing, the vibrancy is unrivaled within the drawing, and having such rough details for my facial features leaves them vague, but still almost discernible.

Tammy & Johnny's

Tammy & Johnny's.
Chicken and Burgers.

Who needs further explanation?
Well here it is anyway.
Great little joint that serves real chicken and real ice cream, the food is real. The price is right, and the people are southern hospitality. This was a stop on the way to New Jersey for a family trip.

Katie Alexander

My wonderful co-worker Katie Alexander that I drew on my last day of work at my kayaking job of the summer 2010. It was an amazing day despite having to pack up twice due to 2 storms rolling through. But having gone kayaking in the morning was a blast, and I accomplished this to boot!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

James River Bridge

Drawing the towers next to the James River Bridge

Burrfish (or Blowfish)

The Burrfish, which is what many people mistake for a Blowfish where it puffs up and has burrs stick out, and it is one of my favorite fish and I got excited when I saw them there at the aquarium.

Sand Tiger Shark

Drawing from the shark tank at the VA Beach at the aquarium along with several rays in the tank. My favorite is the tiny shark in the upper left in the distance.

Crocodile sketch

Crocodile sketch at the aquarium

Loggerhead Turtle

Quick sketch of a loggerhead at the aquarium.

Malaysian Stick Insect

Really quick sketch of a Malaysian Stick Insect.

Longnose gar

Another washed out scan of the water soluble crayons. A longnose gar in the aquarium

Turtle from the aquarium

A trip to the Virginia Beach aquarium, yielded many studies of animals. Colors are pretty accurate, the turtle really had red and yellow on his belly.

Dinner at Capri's

Capri's Pizzeria in Hampton has the best Sicilian pizza I have ever had. Go get some! the DMV

Where do you have tons of time, and nothing to do? The wonderful Department of Motor Vehicles in Hampton! Normally the bane of my young existence, the DMV offered a great variety of characters to look at, helplessly sitting, avoiding eye contact, waiting to be drawn and for their sentence to be over.

Foliage Overgrowth

A study of the family garden, in which pencil lays out the plans for the stick wall that supports the plants. But the cropped image shows a great study of the different types of leaves that the variety of plants showed.

A Portly Porsche

Drawing of a Porsche at the VA hospital parking lot, and another attempt at drawing cars, and this came out pretty well. There are pencil under drawing lines that show even more planning and detail if you can see it.

My ideal man isn't a man

A drawing I did of my cat dreamer, that I was going to fill with hand-written typefaces.

Summer Skin Self-Portrait

A self-portrait done on a family day trip down to the outer banks, and personally, is one of my favorites with finally mastering and understanding line weight better, and showing off my freckles that I always get with my summer skin. It was also the beginning of a better understanding proportions, which is obviously a good thing.

A Midnight Show

A brilliant summer thunderstorm that I attempted to capture with the water soluble crayons, though it was difficult to achieve with the water soluble crayons, especially trying to re-ink over it. My family and I were able to see the clouds and lightning over the houses across from us and they are silhouetted.

The Fortress of Solitude

A Drawing accomplished over a few days while at Buckroe Beach. It is a drawing of the trailer used for the Parks and Rec boating rentals. One of the lifeguard chairs is included with a lifeguard in tow.

The Dash

Drawing of our Honda Civic's dashboard, there are pencil planning lines that outline more, but they are apparently invisible, haha.

Darling, from the moment I saw you...

A drawing done at Chili's during dinner, and I had to draw that woman.

Cantamar Court

A Drawing I did while sitting on my front porch of the court in front of our house. The first time I successfully attempted cars, and I enjoyed the trees.

Coca Cola

Another drawing with the water soluble crayons, a coke bottle that it once again, washed out.

Cat got your nose?

Once again, I was working with the water soluble crayons, and the snac washes out the brilliant reds and yellows I used for my skin tone. I did this drawing in an effort to capture my allergenic condition, with my eyes and nose being puffy and red after having had cat dander assault my senses.
This was brighter than the others because it was barely brushed with water, so most of the color is unmixed and retains its brilliance.

Camera Love

Water soluble pastels crayons, very waxy and hard to work with after they have been manipulated with water, impossible to ink over. But the brilliant colors are worth it and the scanner washes out the blue sadly.
This is my Diana Lomography camera I got for my birthday, and I was using him several days through the summer snapping experimental photos.

By the Water

A drawing done on the beach, that has a sepia under drawing and black final inking for revised posing of her hands and hair which she is wringing. The idea for her dress was that it is light and airy, the under layer of the dress being see-through reminding me of beach wear, or a young fairy sitting by the river.

Summer Skin

One of my favorites from the summer, it was a drawing inspired by sunburns, and originally she was going to be peeling, one of the quintessential experiences of summer as a pale individual.

I enjoyed her pose, furtive and mysterious, but confident behind it all.


One more with acrylic and pen and ink, the color was a bit dark. Keyring and keys are the subject.

My Dreamer

Acrylic Paint and pen, I was trying to use the color as a mid-tone.

Ghostly Self-Portrait

One more re-post.

Sketchbook Summer 2010

A Re-Post from a while ago because I am posting all of the summer 2010 sketchbook

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Peppermint Final

Peppermint Final
Oil Painting--24"x24"

Melted, microwaved peppermint. Second Final.
Once again, the melting created an amazing bubbling effect that needed to be photographed to preserve it. Pleased with being able to capture the color and spectacular event of a sugary bubble bursting.

"Milky Way" Final

"Milky Way" Final
Oil Painting--24"x24"

Melted, microwaved Milky Way bar, which created an amazing puffed cloud effect.
Very proud of my understanding of color by this point, especially since using a photo washed all of the color out. And a photo was necessary for this project considering the puffed chocolate clouds would deflate within seconds of halting the microwaving process.

Progress of "Milky Way"

Progress of "Milky Way"
Oil Painting--24"x24"

This is a melted Milky way bar, one of the two final pieces.
Finally understanding color much more.

Swirl Study

Swirl Study
Oil Painting--10"x6"

A melted peppermint. The beginning progression of the gross candy series that led to one of my final two pieces.