Feeling Geometric

It’s been a long time once again. I have been getting back into posting art on my Instagram account and wanted to get back to writing my thoughts here as well.

It seems the longer I go without doing art the more I am drawn to the geometric drawings and mixed media art. I have been receiving quite a few direct messages on Instagram requesting tattoo designs. My typical answer is that I will be happy to provide a commissioned design if I like the concept and it fits my style. However, in thinking about this answer I wonder if perhaps I am limiting myself. I intend to try to move out of my comfort zone on the next request even if it isn’t exactly to my liking.

Here are a couple drawings that I did over my lunch hour at work. I had never really sat down and seriously drawn a rose before. They really are complex and beautiful I understand why they are so commonly portrayed in art and tattoo pieces. I have been very interested in the triangular vector art and am really enjoying how it mixes and plays in with some more realistic designs in the same scene.

In hindsight now looking at the mountains I really enjoy the way the vector triangles are shaded. I think that may have been a very striking addition to the rose piece as well, I may have to add them and see how I feel. The geometric leaves are ink so I can erase the shading if I hate it.



P.S. I Decided to just add the shading right now before I forgot, I’m not sure how I feel. What do you all think?





Once upon a time in when I was a Sophomore in college, I bought a hedgehog and named him Quilliam. Quilliam was quite a guy and we got along splendiferously. However, our time together was shadowed by a secret that I kept hidden. The secret was that I’m 100% a dog person. My little friend and I are very different in this way. He is terrified of dogs and I was afraid that if I got one he would live in constant fear. One day I found the perfect little 10 month Siberian Husky for rescue and I knew twas time for Quilliam and I to part ways. I found a breeder who was looking for male hedgehogs and sold him to save him from emotional trauma. I like to think he has enjoyed living out the rest of his days creating offspring.

To Quilliam, what a dude.

Long Absence

I must start by saying that although I know there is much potential in blogging, I have struggled to find the desire to write because I’m so inherently skeptical that I will ever have even a small cluster of interested readers. This of course is not the true purpose behind writing, nor should it be the driving force behind ANY sort of art at risk of that art becoming fake and forced. That being said I will try my best to keep posting my artwork and thoughts.

2 months ago I moved from Iowa to Denver Colorado. This has been an immense change for me and I have had so many life changes and things I have been thinking about. I have been slacking in my art creation quite badly and hope to get back on the ball soon. Mostly I go to work and then come home and hang out with my pup. I mean… look at her!


Anyways… I have found that I have a good amount of downtime in between projects at work. There are all kinds of ways to kill time but I have recently been trying to put this extra time to a productive use and do research and actually stimulate my brain. Perhaps I can motivate myself to start writing during my free time if I can slowly start getting feedback. I have been feeling very geometric lately and want to get back into doing some geometric pieces soon hopefully. This was one of my favorites.

20023748_1572534802818116_1703865459182986133_oThanks so much if you took the time to read this. Please feel free to contact me, tell me what you think of art, the world, anything. I will type to a brick wall if I must, but I’m afraid it won’t last very long

Geometry Commission 

One of my friends commissioned me for a few drawings the other day. He wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted so he sent me a large selection of pictures for inspiration. One of the pictures was a fascinating tattoo:

After seeing this tattoo, I knew this was closest to my style. I was working on a 8*10 canvas and initially intended to go with black and white only. After mostly finishing the piece, I remembered my gold India ink and tried it to see if it would work on canvas. I was quite pleased with how well it played on the rough canvas. I added the gold accents and the piece was done. I am really liking this geometric style more and more with each project. 


Painting with Coffee

These fish were one of the first coffee paintings I ever did. I no longer remember exactly how it all began. I have always had a particular interest in sepia photography and it occurred to me that perhaps with coffee tones could emulate that style. After my first couple tries I realized that while producing interesting colors, the coffee I had was unable to produce any dark browns. I get some dark roast coffee out of my cupboard and ran it through the machine twice. Suddenly I was able to good a much wider range of contrast.


After I produced a couple of coffee paintings, it quickly became apparent that this was the kind of art people wanted to see. I received overwhelming responses on my Instagram page (@joel_artaccount shameless plug) and had over 4000 followers a couple weeks after I began posting coffee paintings. For some reason however, after producing around 10 coffee paintings I seemed to lose my desire to create coffee paintings and became fascinated with learning how to use watercolors instead.


I will do another post later of some of my other coffee paintings. In the next couple weeks I am hoping to sit down with a couple cups of coffee and try again to see if inspiration strikes me.


Inspiration vs Skill

Car drawing

I have a 10 hour drive today returning from Ohio and I have been learning a little lesson about how deeply my art is or isn’t based in creativity.  

I’m sitting in a bumpy car with a sketchbook trying to draw some sea creatures from memory. At first I was concerned that the piece would be unappealing because of the sloppiness and difficulty of drawing in the car. I quickly realized this was not the problem. I was much more limited by drawing from memory than I was limited be technical skill difficulties. 

I have only drawn fish a couple times. So when I tried to draw a couple here I completely botched it and hated the drawing. Not because the car made it sloppy, but because I don’t have the details of a fish sufficiently memorized in my brain. 

I moved on to a squid which I have drawn a few more times. I was immediately more happy with this drawing because I was much more confident with the anatomy of this creature. 

To test my theory I moved on to a creature I have studied and drawn more than any other (perhaps aside from the human form) Sure enough, the limitations of the bumpy road were hardly significant at all. 

How is this useful to me? I spend a lot of time honing my skills, working on my pen work and my painting technique. After today I am strongly aware that I am being more limited by my creativity than my skill. I have spent so much time getting my skill ahead of my creativity that I haven’t taken time for a while to study the form of things and learn to draw them. That’s good enough of a goal for me for the next few months, a challenge to notice and internalize the complexity of things. To focus less on skill and more on creativity.