07 June 2016

Mississippi Saxophone

Many of my early drawings featured blues players I admire, especially those who play harmonica -- harp, in blues parlance.

I am not alone in saying categorically that Little Walter Jacobs was the greatest of the blues harpmen, a player who moved from the South, made Chicago his home, amplified his instrument and revolutionized the genre.

Here's my portrait:

Blues With a Feeling
Graphite on paper

And, so you have a better idea of his style, here he is with the legendary Chicago houserocker Hound Dog Taylor on guitar (watch closely and you'll notice that Hound Dog has six fingers on his fretting hand.)

A legion of blues harp players were influenced by Little Walter.  Among them, one of my contemporary favorites, Kim Wilson, front man for the Fabulous Thunderbirds:

Fabulous T-Bird
Charcoal on paper
You'll hear echoes of Little Walter in Kim's playing, but he has a developed a master's touch of his own.  And he's a hell of a singer.  This will make a believer out of you.

Brother Jim's new thriller has readers buzzing . . . 

"I found myself not being able to put the book down...it just got better and better."  LS, Arizona

"Jim Yeazel knows how to build and sustain suspense."  LM, NY

06 June 2016

It's Criminal

Since humans began making art, it's been connected to crime in one form or another.  If you're keeping score, here's a very interesting and entertaining timeline.

Mug shot -- Vincenzo Peruggia 

"(Rod) Serling would have loved this!" AD, Chicago

"An amazing tale...that you cannot put down!" ML, Georgia

"It maps the tortures of the human soul in a completely unexpected and shocking way.  Read it!" CE, Illinois

01 June 2016

Silver Screen

My younger brother John is a movie buff with an encyclopedic knowledge of Hollywood films down through the decades.

To satisfy his hunger for all things vintage celluloid, I've done several drawings for him. Here's a sampling, beginning with the great director Orson Welles, starring in his own masterpiece, A Touch of Evil:

Graphite on paper

Then there's everyone's epitome of the suave movie star, Archibald Leach:

Graphite on paper

I don't slight the great beauties of the big screen:

Charcoal on paper
And the amazing Ms. Tierney:

Charcoal on paper

"I read three chapters and was completely gripped!"  VB, London

"I found myself not being able to put the book down...it just got better and better!"  LS, Arizona

"Fantastic book, right up there with Dean Koontz!"  JS, Illinois

Order your copy today!

31 May 2016

You've Got to be Joking

Holiday over.  Back to work.  Bummer.

Maybe these will help take some of the sting out.

“No, you haven’t died—this is airport security.”

My brother's debut novel is winning readers with its blend of suspense, psychological drama and horror.  Find out what the buzz is about -- but leave the lights on!

"An old-fashioned thriller!"  Featured Kirkus Review

Five Stars -- "Picks you up by the scruff of the neck and doesn't let go." VB, London

"A powerful exploration of real-life horror and psychological turmoil."  JC, Illinois

30 May 2016

Princess Diane

A new exhibit opening in July at the Met Breuer in New York throws the spotlight on the remarkable work of Diane Arbus.

"From practically the moment that the commercial photographer Diane Arbus set out to become an artist at the ripe age of 33 . . . she seemed to know that the story of the outsider was her intellectual inheritance."

This is the thriller you've been waiting for!

"An amazing tale...that you cannot put down!" ML, Georgia

"A powerful exploration of real-life horror and psychological turmoil."  JC, Illinois

"(Rod) Serling would have loved this!" AD, Chicago

28 May 2016

Going Negative

One of the most frequently commented on aspects of my work is the drama in many of the portrait drawings.  The explanation is simple, one that I've discussed in earlier posts: negative space.  Its use immediately focuses attention on the subject and its presentation.  If I want to highlight something important I say on this page, 

I single out those words and leave plenty of space around them.

Here are a few drawings that I think best illustrate the same concept in art and how I've used it.  First, a portrait of the great writer Joseph Conrad:

The Secret Sharer
Graphite on paper

Next, another writer -- American master Edgar Allen Poe:

Graphite on paper

Now, two musicians.  First, Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy:

Damn Right I've Got the Blues
Charcoal on paper

 And, finally, the legendary conductor Herbert Von Karajan:

The Titans -- Von Karajan
Charcoal on paper
I hope these examples clarify how negative space can help create striking, dramatic images.  If you have pieces -- or thoughts -- of your own, please pass them along.

Time to stay up late and read . . . but keep the lights on when you do!

"This novel picks you up by the scruff of your neck and doesn't let go!"  VB, London

"It takes hold from the first page.  Read it!."  CE, Illinois

"An amazing tale...that you cannot put down!" ML, Georgia

27 May 2016

At Sea

For those who admire the work of J.M.W. Turner, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will be a must-visit through early September for a special exhibition of his whaling works.

When it comes to paintings of the sea and ships, there is no one quite like this English master, who may have played an inspirational role in the creation of one of the great classics of Western literature.

Oil on canvas
c. 1845

"The exhibition also highlights connections between Turner's whaling scenes and Herman Melville's 1851 whaling epic 

Looking for a great read?  You've found it!

"(Rod) Serling would have loved this!" AD, Chicago

"I found myself not being able to put the book down...it just got better and better!"  LS, Arizona

"A powerful exploration of real-life horror and psychological turmoil."  JC, Illinois

26 May 2016


When I began creating tableaux and then photographing them with my iPhone a couple of years ago, I naturally sought out whatever props I thought would be of use.  Early on, I settled on a piece of woodworking I'd done years ago.  Its configuration and sharp angles put me in mind of a tortured tree, one of the sort I imagined was used by Judas Iscariot. The Christian Bible says he ended his life with a length of rope after suffering remorse for facilitating the arrest of Jesus by the Romans, so the piece also symbolizes Judas's own dark night of the soul.  

The title refers to the place where the Bible says Judas's remains were buried:

Potter's Field

Just as a theological sidelight, I've long found it curious that Judas's name has been blackened for all time, ironically, for helping Jesus fulfill his destiny.  If not for Judas, then what?

25 May 2016

Into the Inky Abyss

I was talking with another artist recently about his work as a cartoonist and illustrator of graphic novels.  There is the strong element of science fiction and the fantastical in his work, so I asked if he'd been influenced by the late H. R. Giger.

"He's my godfather," came the almost-reverent response.

I thought this might be a good time to introduce you to this remarkable Swiss artist, if you aren't familiar with him or let you take another look if you are.

Though Giger's name may be unknown to you, if you saw the sci-fi classic Alien, then you'll recognize him as the creative force behind the Grand Guignol sets and unforgettable monster that made life a bit uncomfortable for Sigourney Weaver and her crewmates aboard the Nostromo.

I first came across Giger years before the 1979 Ridley Scott movie.  I had seen his work in Playboy and as part of his first major -- and best-known published work -- The Necronomicon.

Giger is certainly not for every taste.  His work is edgy, dark and often uncomfortable, exploring regions of the subconscious most of us never access.  But there is little doubt that he is a unique artist and a master of his craft.

I appreciate that.  In small doses.

For those who want a closer look at Giger and his world, there is a fascinating documentary available on Netflix.

If you savor a good thrill, then you need to join these readers in picking up a copy of brother Jim's chilling tale of horror:

"This novel picks you up by the scruff of your neck and doesn't let you go until the final pages!" VB, London 

"I found myself not being able to put the book down...it just got better and better!"  LS, Arizona

"Intriguing...kept you wanting more." JS, Illinois

24 May 2016

Orient Expressed

I have long been attracted to and influenced by the Japanese aesthetic -- best expressed through Zen calligraphy, sumi-e, bonsai, ikebana and raku pottery.  What appeals most is that the best of each of these art forms captures the essential spirit of its subject with neither ostentation nor self-consciousness. 

 I hope these three paintings, all focusing on pottery pieces, achieve that.

The first is of a Japanese teapot:

Acrylic on canvas

Next, I tried my hand on two tea bowls:

Raku Ni
Acrylic on canvas

Raku Ichi
Acrylic on canvas

I have several other pieces that focus on Japanese and Zen themes.  I will feature more in future posts.

It's time for you to order brother Jim's exciting thriller!

"I found myself not being able to put the book down!"  LS, Arizona

"I read three chapters and was completely gripped!"  VB, London