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Updated: 2018-03-05T07:54:31.475-08:00




(image) Well, there he is after all this time. The finished piece for The Valley Of The Kings, tiger and animal rescue organization of Wisconsin.

The finished piece has a roughly two inch copper boarder and the whole thing as I described in my previous post was done in graphite and pastel. I know there is a dichotomy in the fact there is snow on the ground and leaves on the trees, but it was meant to be just a bit symbolic in that regard. It tends to fade around the edges so that my initial drawing can be artifices here my friends, this was done by hand with that fact in mind.
A human being did this, as flawed and fallible as you or any other. The difference is that this human did this for free when I dearly needed to make a living and with as much love as I could find in my heart to give it.
In a funny way, the wait was worth it. You see, the interval between posts gave birth to a few surprises. The good stuff that happened was that ace writer, poet and storyteller and boon companion Neil Gaiman will be writing a short piece to grace it with and the impeccable Todd Klein will be hand lettering it. Nice indeed.
Now Kitty who runs the fabulous put up a pretty penny to have it scanned to the hilt and this as any project like it coming as it does from the heart is not for profit to anyone but VOTK. So, I really would be terribly happy to see a full sell out and full sell through on a second printing to make HUGE money to help the organization meet the enormous demands of time and money it takes to treat the animal there house and love so dearly with dignity and respect. I am guessing that it will be available as soon as both Neil and Todd are free to spend the time to do it as right as possible. Say, sometime mid-summer ish? Be sure that we, both Kitty and I as well as Neil will let you know as soon as it is available. Until then, be kind, be fully human and be real.

Oh, and save a few bucks, okay?




ZooooommmmPardon the sound effects. It felt poignant.Whatever that means.Things are, or seem to be moving so fast these days the biggest fear I have is my afterburners cutting out at thirty thousand feet. Long way down.Lets see,.....umm, just finished an oil of Amanda Palmer, which I am pretty sure I am reasonably proud of. If they find me dead garroted with a ukulele string you'll know who did it.just moving up closely up on a really big commission which is one of the weirdest creepiest and funniest things I think I have ever done.I just received the final image of the piece I did for the Valley of the Kings,( see the last "working" post.) and I will be putting it up with some what I hope is interesting stuff about why and how it came to be what it is. PLEASE STAY TUNED as I care very, very deeply about the mission statement of VOTK's.I hope to get out there this fall. Phalanges crossed.Look for the post in the next few days.Umm, and I hate to bring this up because it seems like I am always doing this these days, but I honestly, and very sincerely NEED one more commission to come in the next day or two.As I have mentioned recently, ALL commissions MUST go through Ryan Graff and Eidolon Fines Arts. I will not take a direct commission if you write to me. It's just the way honest representation works. So, if you have a hankering for something and you think now is the time,(and brothers and sisters it is.) to have an original on the wall, lets get it going, okay?My brushes are so old that while painting the "Amanda" portrait they were literally falling apart. This is very bad.Oh, and for those of you interested, yes, I will be at San Diego this year at the Eidolon booth.See you when I touch down, or I run out of fuel.M.Z.[...]




I came here with the intention of perhaps saying something.
Now that I am here, I am at a complete loss for words.

Maybe some other time.

Oh, and thanks you all out there, however many of you there are,
for supporting my work. I often think I forget to say "thanks" enough.

Later, or not,




Here goes,I am taking three commissions starting now.All enquiries should be addressed to Ryan Graff at Eidolon Fine Arts.As he is now my artistic representative, all work not of a personal nature goes through him. As you all should know by now, all commissions are a flat thousand. No wriggle room. Period.No superheros, no nudes. Unless I approve.No I am apparently coming down with a nasty cold or something and feel like utter shit, so anyone interested do realize I will start on them as soon as I am sure I am in good form.I am also working on a somewhat complicated portrait Of Amanda Palmer that was privately commissions some time ago. I needed to clear time before I brought out the oils.But right now, I am going back to bed and trying to forget how awful I feel.See you as soon as I am there will be only one more tiger blog over at the working blog due to the fact that the photos I took of the process have vanished into stray electrons. I am waiting for one more photo from the lovely Cat Mihos to complete to posting. thank you for understanding.Z.[...]



Well my friends, it's commission time once more.
I'll take the first three. No Death, No nudes. Not in the mood.

Please sent your requests to Ryan Graff care off EIDOLON FINE ARTS.

First come, first served. Make it snappy. I might chicken out.

More tiger stuff shortly. Be there.

Much love,




Right, the promised "working" blog is up. Be prepared to be underwhelmed.
I had serious technical problems with my ISP yesterday.
And I am hip deep in a huge portrait of Amanda Palmer.

YOU try it.




For me, there is almost nothing on earth so utterly complete and so absolutelywhat it simply IS than a tiger. Poaching and habitat loss have brought the speciesnear the brink.This inexcusable for a species that considers itself lords of the earth or at the very leastan "evolved" race of beings. No, tiger bones will not give you an erection. Ever.No, they really don't need human meat and would much rather they did not see us at all. Ever.Sometimes, I can't say I blame them.So.This is a special blog about my personal efforts to raise funds for an organizationin southern Wisconsin that does near miraculous things with love, hope and a kind of iron determination to give tigers,( and a myriad of other animals.) a decent, humanelife after falling foul to the profound stupidity of my fellow human beings.The Valley of the Kings.Okay, before any technical stuff I need to give you my two cents worth on the specialized field of "wildlife art". First of all, I did that almost exclusively for a few years and I have a very great respect for the best of them. It is a very demanding practice that takes real dedication and skill.After immersing myself in the field for some time I've formed a few opinions of my own, and while they may,(and probably are.) off base in the big picture, they make sense to me.This is my blog so fuck it, my opinion matters.Here goes: wildlife art falls into two basic category's. The first I call the "Bateman school"and the second, the "Schatz school". The difference being not so much in excellence but rather in approach to the subject. Robert Bateman is a superb technician, painting with honesty and attention to detail that can be staggering. That's the problem.Somewhere in all that detail, he loses the creatures essence. The thing he's painting is the VERY THING but it's quite often just an empty image to my eye. The spirit of the thinggets buried under so many feathers, fur, leaves, pine needles etc etc that the subject goes missing.Then, there is the "Schatz school". Manfred Schatz is an astonishing painter with an entirely different approach to subject matter. His beasts and birds soar, gallop, leap, all energy and motion, as if his eye captures the whole scene in one huge gulp of paint. That's often the problem. In all the swirling heat of the moment, the soul of the creature seems secondary.I tend towards a kind of middle ground. Now I would never profess to be as accomplished in the discipline of wildlife art as thee two masters, I simply haven't spent the requisite time to master it. But I know wildlife.The piece I am working on, "burning brightly", is at best a humble effort to capture on paper a Siberian Tiger. This is how I did it.Paper, pencil and pastel. Some ink and acrylic paint.I ruled out the image size, then using a mixture of Dr. Martins dyes I toned the paper to a desired color to act as a base on which to draw my initial image in graphite. I use graphite as an under drawing because I love the silvery gray base to help keep things tonally even.It would be the second photo at the top. It's supposed to be here, but it showed up at the top. Go figure. Anyway, under that one, or above it, I don't fucking know, is a close up.Anyway, as you can obviously see, I keep it rather loose at this point. If I was just going to use pencil and a dash of white chalk I would have started out much tighter. But, this is only a base for color later and I can improvise over the gray tones freely without worry. Oh, I should mention I "fix" the graphite at this point because I do not want to have my colors actually mix with it, just rest sweetly under it.My intention is to focus on the magnificent head and shoulders of the tiger, Bateman.) so I didn't spend a lot of time,(Schatz.) with the rest of him. I intend to fade or let the rest of the picture fall back away from my point of focus to retain interest on the, ( in my opinion only.) on the one featu[...]



Well, here we are...

All things reach a conclusion and fade away. In time, the Mona Lisa will crumble to dust and the sculptors of Rodin will be rust and red dust.

And the Endless are anything but. But not yet. Not now.

So, here's the promised finish. Not a whole lot to say about this part, except to remind you that this interpretation is my own and not necessarily the bible. Desire is the color of heart muscle. (Pull a muscle? *heh*)Destiny the color of dust. Death is simply in black and white, because death is black and white.

You guess the rest. There is one big color pun in there for you to find. I do things like that to make the work fun for whatever reason. Never hurts.

And always remember, white is a color.

Thanks for your attention....




Here's a troubling part. The casual observer will probably find the inked images to be quite complete. They're not. A lot of room was left towards the end image that's to be in color. A fully rendered ink image would far more tonal and visually intricate. As I've stated before, I have certain difficulties when working in traditional pen and ink. I tend to always see things in a painterly way, with fine edges and disappearing softness, tonal insights and color coordination's that form harmonies and for lack of a better term something i call, "dis-harmonies. "

In pen and ink I seem to have trouble getting the finish I want without working the piece to death. The "well enough alone syndrome"as it were. So, when I use pen and ink, to form a base upon which color is the final goal, I find myself with two competing interests. That's why, to those who don't know, my "underworking" ink base will seem to be overdone and complete in it's self. Not so.

At this stage I'm usually at wits end trying to not think in color but needing to because it will be just that, in color.

You have no idea how much I admire artists like John Paul Leon, who I think is a first rate artist in pen and ink, or brush as the case maybe....people like J.Muth and the wonderful simplicity and grace of his use of ink......alas I simply don't think like that, in big grand blocks of black and white.

I'm always looking for the grey in between. That's just me. Since it's futile, and probably a crime against art to work in a style not one's own, I must do a thing in the way I see it. For better or worse.

I suppose you know the next blog will be the finished matter how tired of a subject this is for me, I always endeavor to give it my best.......without you all, I'd never have bought myself the time to do my own "graphic novel"......another phrase that annoys me.

Be here when it goes up, I promise not to many days from now.





These are beginning portions of a rather large (nearly twenty-five inches square) commission I undertook about a month or so ago. And before you think you would want one also, please note I did this for two reasons. 1. It was ordered by a long time patron of my work as a wedding gift. 2. I threw out a ridiculous sum of money to do it and it was accepted. So, don't even think about it unless you really have a a lot of disposable income. A lot.

What makes this unusual, out side of it's size, is that 1. It's the damn endless again, lol. 2. I almost never pencil in a composition so thoroughly. In this case because I've done so much of this sort of thing, I tend to get a tad blase' about the piece in general, and this time I wanted to make it clear how each related to the whole while giving each of them an individual identity. So I spent a great deal of time working out who was who and what was what. I purposely left the background vague so as to bring each of them close as possible to the forefront. All the better to display their various aspects. In my own way of course, rather than follow the usual.though it's still well within the accepted canon of visual continuity. Tradition!

In a few days at best, I'll show more as it progressed.

'till then,




This may come as a minor revelation of sorts, but I honestly don't like working in pen and ink very much. I understand pretty well how it's used, and why though I've never had a true affection for it. It just isn't, well, me.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for masters of the medium, J.C. Cole, and his contemporaries. And Windsor-Smith seems to have ink in his soul, as does J. Muth: but me? Well, it's always a trial. The "big black" guys, Toth and the like that can make whole pictures out of great swoops and dots of black ink stun me into silence. I often think that someday I've got to try that and see if I can get close to that way of seeing. There's the reality of it; "seeing". I simply don't see that way, in ink. I see in grey. In pencil. Soft and subtle and silver.

But, for now, ink it is. At least until this book is done, then we'll see something different maybe. The next book may be a whole new thing. I hope it is.





About a year ago, perhaps a bit more or less, on a whim I picked up a twelve pack of Graphitint water soluble pencils from my art supply store. What appealed to me right away as the claim of tonality like graphite while having subtle color ranges. Sounded good. I'm always on the lookout for anything that will expand the possibilities of communicating ideas in fresh ways.

On several occasions I've been less that enthusiastic about a choice of product, but I have to say, this time I was very pleasantly surprised.

It took only a moment to realize I had a winner. Those of you familiar with my "unknown Dervish" series will see the results. As of this writing, I've only just begun to tap the potential of the medium. I love the the "pencilness" of them as well as the tonal warmth and control when used with water. With a light fixative they can be layered and worked wet on dry and dry on wet, making for wonderful images. As time permits, I'll be pushing into new areas with them for sometime.

The first image is an example of the color range and the second a new "Unknown Dervish" piece soon to in the gallery.

I bought a twelve pack first, then a twenty-four pack, and as soon as I'm able, the can size advertised. An investment well realized.

I'll be back sometime fairly soon with images from the "The Fracture of the Universal Boy" and a discussion of just "what's going on here". At this point, the book being three quarters finished art-wise, I feel it's about time I started showing some of it off . There is so much that went into every aspect of it that before it ever sees print, I'd like to avail myself of this space to make clear a few bits and bobs that went into it's making.

Join me?

You're invited.






Things will be posted here as soon as possible

I'm awaiting images I can show and discuss. I beg your patience.

It will be rewarded.