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2015; It all started with a …

January 14, 2015

What a wild ride the holidays were this year! As I continue to juggle my career as an artist with being a fire fighter, I am finding that some nights are not conducive to rest. For example, on December 30th, at about 9pm, I and the rest of the Engine 21 crew pulled up on the scene of a very large house fire. The house, a new build, was approximately 7000 square feet and was already spitting flames in to the air as high as 40 feet when we arrived. As the first crew on the scene, we stretched hose and started putting water on the fire, hoping to save any thing we could. We managed to keep the fire away from the neighboring homes, but the new house was a total loss. We fought the fire for nearly seven hours.

December 30, 2014

The next day, as I woke up from about two hours of rest, I sat down in my studio and flipped through my emails. Inside my mailbox were three work offers; one of them a picture book! This work, along with my teaching schedule will likely keep me busy in to May or June of this year. It is a wonderful feeling to start the new year like this.

After a short visit to Los Angeles with The Ghosts Stories group , Jay Asher and Sammy Sarzoza, I returned home, anxious to get started on the first batch of work for 2015.

Photo-bombing myself

With every jump forward, I occasionally find that a tiny step back is necessary. The most recent step back was a black screen of death on my art computer. As I sat down on Monday morning, ready to get started on a big week of work, I hit the power button on my computer. I sipped some water while flipping through my mail and watched as my computer screen sat blank. The computer whistled, hummed and “grinded”; but it never brought an image up on the screen. Crossing my fingers and letting the cold sweat from my brow sting the whites of my eyes, I restarted it…five times. Nothing changed. Bummer…At 8 am on a Monday, I had lost my primary tool of creation. I panicked as I lost my calendar, my notes and all of the work I had done the previous week. Did I back everything up? About three weeks prior, but everything from the middle of December to this day was gone; lost in the darkness that was now my computer’s corpse.

Running in Hollywood

Look out Hollywood!

After two days or drawing “rough sketches” (caveman-style) on a lap board with pencils, the computer repair shop had set me up with a brand new computer and I was soon to be back; full swing in to my work. It only took four hours for me to re-install all of my software. 🙂

So today, I start work on four new projects, with a brand new computer system as my tool. Look out world; 2015 has arrived and I’m driving! I hope everyone has an amazing 2015!

October: Mascots, fire fighters, cats and meteor showers!

October 13, 2014

The second half of summer was an illustration-juggling act. Since July, I have created art for the fire department, a school mascot, the thumbnails and script for a graphic novel, signage for a pair of festivals and the text and rough art for a children’s picture book (about a meteor).

While not glued to my workstation, I tried to get outside and enjoy the sunshine (and the rain). After returning from an extended visit to Europe, we floated, golfed and ran the bases a few times. It was a very enjoyable (but much too short) summer. Relaxation came only when exhaustion demanded it.

Here are a few photos from the second half of summer.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable October!


Summer has been a busy busy time!

August 29, 2014

It has been quite a summer and my to-do list is still pouring off the edges of my desk.

Since my last post, I have created over 300 illustrations for 14 clients, taught over 250 hours of drawing and storytelling classes, traveled for two weeks in Europe and received my certifications in firefighting and hazmat operations. Here are a few peeks at what I have done so far this summer.

Now, I must get back to work. Here’s hoping all of you have a great end to the summer!

More to come very soon!

My exhibit at the Historic Red Wing Train Depot…Begins March 1st.

February 24, 2014


Red Wing, Minnesota has always been one of my favorite small cities. In many ways, it seems as though modern times has left Red Wing untouched, preserving the town’s extensive history. There are many attractions in this little town to keep the average visitor busy and happy.


The Bluff is perfect for hikers and rock climbers of all skill levels. The Antique Mall and the Red Wing Shoe company both offer hours of casual wandering and fun shopping opportunities for the whole family. And my favorite aspect of Red Wing is the old downtown area. Brick buildings with well over 100 years of stories are decorated with age and “metal-smithed” stars designed to prevent the brick walls from crumbling to the sidewalks. (This is true.)

At the lowest point of the town, along the edge of the Mississippi River, stands a historic train depot, which is still in operation.To many, this little building is one of the key features of Red Wing. Built in 1905, this building now houses more than just a train station. Since 2003, this amazing building has been home to an art gallery, maintained by the Red Wing Arts Association. 

Beginning March 1st and running to the end of the month, I am exhibiting a collection of my work within this gallery. I will share the space with a number of very talented school-age artists who will undoubtedly remind all of us how wonderful it was to be a child artist. It should be a wonderful exhibit and I am looking forward to sharing the gallery with this great group of kids.


So, if you are in the area of Red Wing, I’d love to see you stop and visit the gallery. The show begins on March 1st and will follow the normal business hours of the gallery. I look forward to seeing all of you there!


Kids Do Art: Now through March 1st!

February 7, 2014

KidsDoArtLOGOChildren bring an edge to art that is hard to duplicate. The free spirit they express when working with pencils or paint or molding clay is a clear expression of youth. Each work of art carries with it the intricacies of a well developed vision, but gives us the feeling it was laid down without a second of hesitation. Beginning February 8th and running through March 1st, Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts in Fridley, Minnesota will have on display over 600 pieces of art…created by children!

At the Kids Do Art exhibit, curated by your’s truly, you will see artwork from children of all ages, from kindergarten through high school. Some have used traditional mediums, like watercolor, pastels and graphite and others have used more “new age” mediums like digital imagery and collage. There is also a wonderful collection of three-dimensional work.


On February 8th and February 15th, there are open-to-the-public receptions for the artists. During these receptions, visitors can meet the young artists and see them in action as they “Draw a Winter Story” on the wall of the main classroom at the art center. The receptions begin at 1:00pm and run until 3:30pm. The receptions (and the exhibits) are free.



So, if you and your family are looking for some free culture this month, look no further than Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts in Fridley, Minnesota. The gallery walls are currently covered from floor to ceiling with hundreds of pieces of art from talented Minnesota children. It is a breath-taking exhibit to be enjoyed by the entire family.

Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts is located at 6666 East River Road, Fridley, MN 55432. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

Happy Holidays and all that Jazz!

December 18, 2013

Oh the weather outside is frightful…But it’s amazing how quickly that chill in your toes goes away when you are doing something that warms your heart. This holiday season, I’ve been donating a few hours of my time to the Salvation Army. Stationed in front of Lund’s, in our turn-out gear and our ringing bells, fellow firefighter, Mark Dreyer and I are doing all we can to remind our community what the holiday season is truly about. And last night’s experience was a great one!

Though the temperature was dropping at a good clip, we greeted dozens of smiling faces as they slipped their donations in to the red kettle. Things were going pretty well…

LongLakeFire_SalvationArmy2013and they were about to get better!

I was already proud to be representing the Long Lake Fire Department and collecting so many donations from our little community. And then, from the parking lot emerged four members of the Westonka High School Madd Jazz ensemble. They were smiling, laughing and all bundled up; ready to sing carols on a chilly winter’s night.

As Mark and I gave our bells a rest, the quartet of talented high-schoolers gathered around the red kettle and started singing. Their voices and the harmony from the group painted the night sky with a warm layer of happiness. An evening that only moments ago felt frigid and dark, quickly became a sparkling, crisp, smile-making moment.

They sang holiday songs for over an hour. Every song was amazing! I found myself wearing a permanent grin while the music filled the chilly air. As patrons walked in and out of the store, they moved just a bit slower; obviously buying themselves as many seconds of wonderful music as they could before they climbed in to their vehicles and headed home. Donations to the red kettle poured in at an even more impressive rate while the kids sang their songs. It was a wonderful experience to witness and be part of.

Though the holiday season is currently closer to the new year than it is to Thanksgiving, I am happy to say I am still finding more reasons to be thankful. On this day, I am thankful for the community I live in, the friends I have found within the fire department and most of all…I am thankful for the music four high school kids created on a chilly night in Navarre.

Catch some of the Madd Jazz performers as they sing carols this holiday season at Lord Fletcher’s and at Maynards, on Lake Minnetonka!

December is the month of…

December 9, 2013

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when December 1st arrives? Snow? Winter? The holidays?

This is the time of year where I begin spending some of my daily effort on developing new ideas for stories and illustrations. Some times I use trigger words, grabbing them from Websites like or . Other times, I just sit back in my chair and search my mind for something that inspires an idea. From there, I start sketching or typing and I follow it wherever it takes me.

One morning, a trigger word led me to this…

Snow BallWhich brings up a second thought…

I love comic strips! So, I often find myself (when doing my daily warm-up drawing) creating a story, creating characters, grabbing one small idea from that story and turning it in to my daily warm-up. In fact, as I type this, I am sitting on another idea for a comic strip.

Whether I’m just warming up or I’m working on a full-fledged concept, I find that trigger words (and the Websites that provide them) are very valuable. They help me avoid ruts and they keep my mind loose and prepared for anything that might come my way.

I hope all of you enjoy the holidays

and avoid the ruts too! 🙂

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