A quickening.


We are being very productive in the studio these days. Jack (home for Xmas from RISD) and I have been painting together, and the air is redolent with the heady scent of Gamsol and the sounds of Biggie Smalls and NPR.  Our approaches are markedly different but our passion is similar.


Our lemon tree has put out  a fresh crop and the oranges and mandarins are ripe for picking. Each morning in my bare feet, I peel and eat a couple.

Our vegetable garden is fully stocked now and hurling up stalks and leaves (ah, the miracle of living in Cali in December!).  It adds to the fecund atmosphere with the perfume of chicken manure and the excited yaps of hovering crows. The hounds patrol but are more apt to roll in the soil than chase off varmints. Next project: build a dwarf scarecrow.

I love watering my patch and marveling at each’s days growth.  We will be eating well come the next solstice.

Another exciting development: I have finished the manuscript for my next book and it is safely in my editor’s grasp over at Chronicle Books. Now I have a manure-load of drawings and designing to do by my springtime deadline – a lovely chore. More on that as things develop.

And finally, the project I spoke about in my last post is growing by leaps and bounds.  We are working on what it will look like, where it will be housed, how big it will be, how tall, how loud, how fortified with vitamins.  It just keeps getting more and more amazing as more great talents join our team.

I do hope you have signed up to be alerted as soon as the blossoms appear on its branches. Oh, and perhaps put a way a penny or two in your Xmas fund for seed money.

I case you forgot to sign up, there’s still time:



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I have just taken the wraps off my new website.  At last, I have managed to pull all of my best stuff together (drawings, books, films, ads, bloggery, etc) so it’s easy to look (even on your phone).  If you aren’t familiar with all of the stuff I’m up to, check it out.

Kick the tires and do let me know if there’s anything weird, unclear or lame about it.

P.S. I will continue to blog at this location. The one you’re on now. Got it. Okay? Okay.

The leap.

30d3176299e211e19dc71231380fe523_711,305 days ago, I started my career in advertising. Since then I have worked fulltime at nine agencies. In the spring of 2004, I freelanced briefly and also managed to write The Creative License.  Other than those brief months, I have spent most of my hour as an adult employed by other people and working on whatever they wanted me to work on.

When my boy entered high school, Patti started asking me, “How much longer are you going to do this? When Jack goes to college, will you finally stop? Aren’t there things you’d rather be doing?” For most of my career, my mum has asked me, “How can you stomach working for corporate America? When are you going to  give it up already?” Most of the people I work with have, at one point or another, asked me, “Don’t you make enough money from your books to stop working in advertising? It’s amazing you have done so much while holding down this job. Imagine what you could do if you did it full-time.”

I’ve done a lot of shrugging and changing of the subject over those thirty years.

A few months ago, I realized something had to change. I liked my job but I wasn’t growing any more. And it seemed like I spent a lot of time with my nose pressed to the window of my nice office, looking out at the wide world where so many people seemed to be doing so many interesting things. And now Jenny was echoing Patti, asking me if I wouldn’t be happier focussing on art, films, books, teaching, speaking…

With Jack happily at RISD and with no more real day-to-day obligations except walking my dogs, I realized I no longer had to make excuses to myself. I could finally try out something new.

I am writing in this in my empty office. The surprisingly few possessions I have accumulated over the past nine years here are in a bag and I am watching the clock for the last time. It’s my last day and in half an hour or so, I will step into the next chapter of my life.

My next steps are far from complete and I have realized what a luxury that is.

But I do have a big wish list to tackle. My editor at Chronicle is working with me on a really exciting new book project. I have the outlines for three others just waiting to be tightened up and sent off. I have written all of the first online class I will be teaching. Now, I just need to shot a bunch of cool videos to go along with it and release it to you soon. I have a big stack of art books I want to reread and study. There are so many galleries and museum shows I want to attend. Jack and I have some art projects we want to work on before he goes back to school. I have a long, long list of things I want to write about for my blog. I have several new invitations to give talks and workshops. Several very interesting new projects have just come knocking on my door that could open all sorts of new directions. And there are so many people I’ve met over the years, wonderful inspiring artists, who I want to get to know better and to find ways to collaborate with.

Most importantly, I am also keeping a large chunk of time open for serendipity. Open space that is reserved for adventure. If you have any you’d like to send my way, fire me a note.

The first big adventure: going bi-coastal. In September, we will be renting an apartment in Los Angeles and for at least a year will work there and here in New York. A fresh address, a fresh perspective, and loads of fresh possibilities. I can’t wait.

Well, I better go and say my last round of goodbyes, grab my bag, punch out for the last time, and head off into the sunset. See you on the trail!

More on Drawing in the woods with Danny

To those who will be joining me:

Arthur at the Rowe Center tells me that we have maxxed out at 40 attendees and have 10 additional people on the waiting list. That’s encouraging.
A few random thoughts.

1. I have pretty much worked out how I think the weekend will flow. I’ll give a few slide show/ presentations and some direction on drawing and sketchbooking generally. We’ll do some drawings together inside and then have lots of opportunities to wander around Rowe and draw. We’ll have a number of opportunities to meet and hang out, and to share our work with teach other.
As you know, I’m not really an art teacher but I hope to tell you what I have learned from doing this for (yipes!) more than 15 years, and to inspire you however I can. I imagine there will be a lot of opportunities to talk and ask questions and, as I assume I will forget to cover all sorts of things when I do my slide shows, I’ll be counting on you to provoke me with questions that will provide additional useful answers.

2. I plan to bring a bunch of my sketchbooks  to pass round. If you have any projects you’d like to bring along to share, please do.

3. We might set up a flickr group or continue this Facebook group after the weekend so we can keep sharing images from our sketchbooks if we like.

4. We’re also going to bring some copies of my last few books in case you want to round out your library or have me inscribe them for you or just spread the word among all the people who will be so impressed by your newly developed drawing skills and want to get in on the action too.

5. Someone brought up the possibilities of mayflies bugging us as they are common in Vermont in Spring (hence the name “May”flies) and could drift across the border to Mass. Arthur assures me they will be gone by the time we arrive and if not he will stand over us with a swatter. Just in case, you could bring light-colored clothing and some repellant. I am a worrier but I don’t plan to worry about mayflies. I will however be armed for bear.

6. The experience of putting this weekend together has been fun and creative and I think I will try to do this more often, maybe in other beautiful places.

If you have any suggestions of specific sites for future drawing workshops (anywhere in the world), please let me know.