Sketchbook: Journey of an Absolute Rookie: Paintings and Sketches - Page 68

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  1. #2011
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    Feb 2010
    Thanked 21 Times in 21 Posts
    wow. very great stuff! Thanks for the inspiration dude!

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  3. #2012
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    Feb 2009
    Thanked 627 Times in 498 Posts
    I see mister superimprovement is back! I'm glad, huge fan of yours.

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  4. #2013
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    Apr 2010
    Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
    Helo cir improver....sory for my bad english....I'm new here in CA and I thank god I found ur journey It is so inspiring that I will never stop drawing specially from life thanks again and more power !!

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  5. #2014
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    Apr 2010
    Thanked 22 Times in 20 Posts
    Wow, I just randomly come across this. Thanks for the epic inspiration man! It makes the journey seem less intimidating and worth all the blood sweat and tears. ;P

    All the best for the future!

    "It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a halfbrick in the path of the bicycle of history." ~ Terry Pratchett

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  6. #2015
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    Apr 2006
    North Carolina
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    I just wanted to drop a line and thank you for documenting your progress, it truly is inspiring. I look at this and think that if you can do it, then I can do it to! Your comment in the back to basics post really hit home with me about needing to stop talking about becoming an artist and just become one. I know its going to be a long journey but at the very least know that you have helped me start the path, which i think is the hardest part in general. so Thanks.

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  7. #2016
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    Feb 2010
    Everett, Washington
    Thanked 648 Times in 410 Posts
    Hey MCM you stuff is inspiring, I think everyone who has seen it can agree. How old were you when you started the SB? 7 years is a monstrous amount of time but damn you improved so much you would think it was two different people

    The Penvirates:: Xeon_OND :: PermaN00b:: Kamber Parrk :: Cygear ::Diarum

    "Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning." -Bruce Lee

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  8. #2017
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    May 2007
    Thanked 1,024 Times in 879 Posts
    This sketchbook easily has the most improvement I've seen on concept art (within a single SB) - so inspired because of you and thankyou for making this so that all can see where hard work and dedication can get you! I love how your painting style has developed - keep up the great posts




    "We make our own fortunes and we call them fate" - Benjamin Disraeli
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  9. #2018
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    May 2010
    Thanked 62 Times in 39 Posts
    You're a huge inspiration to me. I thank you so much for sharing your artistic growth--the good and bad--on this site, for always being honest and humble, and for always distributing what you have learned (mostly for free, too!). I just went through the entire thread and I must say your diligence, persistence, and commitment astonish me. I'm really proud of the artistic maturation you have achieved, and I know I can't wait to watch you develop further.

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  10. #2019
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    Apr 2009
    Thanked 129 Times in 118 Posts
    this face is so lovely, i'd love to paint as well
    your improvements are great motivations for me, thx

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  11. #2020
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    Apr 2010
    currently in Hasselt, Belgium
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
    wauw this progress is unbelievable! Awsome Job!

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  12. #2021
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    May 2010
    Peoria, IL
    Thanked 26 Times in 26 Posts
    Absolutely incredibly progress you made man. Certainly worthy of praise. Good job.

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  13. #2022
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    Mar 2010
    United States
    Thanked 36 Times in 35 Posts
    Your an absolutely amazing artist! I'm inspired by your impressive progress and dedication. If you have any advice for a novice like me, I'd love the input. I realize your busy, so I will end with incredible job and I wish the best of success in your future.

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  14. #2023
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    Nov 2009
    Hora,Naxos Greece
    Thanked 28 Times in 17 Posts
    Woohoo man great progress i love it your hard work is paying off

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  15. #2024
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    Aug 2009
    Malta - Floriana
    Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts
    Congratz dude, I've passed this whole morning looking at your progress. Well done. You're really a role model for many artists. Keep it up.

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  16. #2025
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    Mar 2009
    Thanked 140 Times in 133 Posts
    I'm so glad I stopped by. Your sketchbook is a prime example of what hard work and dedication can lead to.

    Please, post more ASAP! I look forward to seeing your updates.

    "It's pointless to hate people . . ." - Gale from Digital Devil Saga 2

    CA Sketchbook | CGHub Gallery | Portfolio
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  17. #2026
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    Feb 2008
    Orlando, Florida
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    This. This is really a 5-star sketchbook.

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  18. #2027
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    Jul 2009
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    Great work, very inspiring! I have one quick question. How many hours a day, not including weekends, did you average practicing your art while still having a day job?

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  19. #2028
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    Feb 2007
    Chicagoland IL
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    I have been following your thread for a while and though I do not post very often, I have been deeply encouraged by your thread. Most people are encouraged by how far you have come (which in itself is inspiring!) but what has encouraged me is how willing you have been to give back to those who are just beginning as you once did. THIS has inspired me to post more, not only my own journey, but also any advice I have learned along the way that could be of use to someone else.

    Keep up the video updates too! I only recently discovered these and I really enjoy listening to them, not to mention they really help me. I am about to enter my 3rd year of atelier study, my first official year of a painting focus. I need all the help I can get!


    "The Lord illuminates my darkness. "
    - 2 Samuel 22:29


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  21. #2029
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    Feb 2006
    Thanked 230 Times in 163 Posts
    aaah man you are such an inspiration words cannot describe. you must be so proud of yourself and what you've achieved.

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  22. #2030
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    Aug 2010
    Thanked 10 Times in 8 Posts
    hey there... i have not looked at everything in the thread yet, just stuff here and there. your improvements from '02 till now... omg you're freaky... totally freaky... almost a living van gogh.. i'm inspired.

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  23. #2031
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    Mar 2005
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Thanked 181 Times in 101 Posts
    Man, going through your sketchbook, looking at your progress, the care you take in your painting and the mood you express-- if I had half your tenacity I feel like I'd be 10 times the artist I am today. This is really the kick in the pants I needed to get the hell back to work!

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  24. #2032
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    Sep 2010
    Thanked 204 Times in 50 Posts
    I know it's been said over and over again, but your SB is truly inspirational. It's absolutely amazing to see the huge amount of progress you've made over the years. I'm in awe If only I had a fraction of the focus and dedication you possess!

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  25. #2033
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    Oct 2010
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    Your progress is really really amazing. I'm at the beginning of the journey and I will be pleased if i only achive half of your skill

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  26. #2034
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    Sep 2002
    York, PA
    Thanked 197 Times in 49 Posts

    Update including the Orphan & TAD

    Dr poPcoRN - Thanks! Hopefully you still feel that way seeing the finished version

    Istmin52 - Thanks so much. Broken record or not it is still really encouraging for me to hear. Thanks again

    jaredsalmond - No problem man I'll try to keep it comin

    Icecold - Thanks man I appreciate it!

    Isadore - Your English is great to me. I'm glad my thread could inspire you. Never stop drawing.

    Prion - The journey is definitely worth the work. It's been a hard road at times, but I am super glad. I love my job every day and unfortunately not everyone can say that.

    Axioma - Awesome man I'm glad I could help inspire you to get rolling. Starting is definitely hard because everything you do is bad at the beginning. Just stay consistent and you will go far.

    Diarum - Haha I actually feel an entirely different person than when I first started. I was newly married then and now I am coming up on my ten year anniversary and I've got a baby boy. So it's been an interesting 7 years that's for sure. I was 23 when I started I think. Or just at the end of 22...something like that.

    ThomasM - Thanks man. I appreciate the kind words. Painting is a deep pool and I keep learning more and more about it every day.

    pretentieuse - Thanks so much for the kind words. I think the bad times are when I learned the most actually hehe. When I'm frustrated that means I'm learning something I am not familiar with yet.

    Twan - Thanks for the kind words and I'm glad my stuff could motivate you. Her face was beautiful in person that's for sure. All the Africans I met there were beautiful. They all had surprisingly perfect teeth as well. Not everyone but a lot of the people. I expected the opposite because of the water sources. hey would rub charcoal on their teeth and they were so pearly white.

    SU7V80KKT - Thanks so much.

    Wgrace - Thanks I appreciate it!

    loper42 - Thanks for the kind words and as far as words of wisdom I would say to study from the masters both in illustration and in fine art. If you figure out how they learned and what they put into practice you can have success just like them...with practice of course

    Vladimir Gasai - Thanks so much I appreciate it.

    lucauchi - Oh wow thanks so much for spending the whole morning looking over this stuff. That means the world to me. I"m not sure if I'm role model material though

    orochigenocide - Thanks for the kind words and your wish is my command. Although it wasn't ASAP that's for sure.

    ninjacat11 - Haha thanks. I'll try to keep it at that level. Keep me honest too...if my work gets crappy start cutting those stars!

    idlemind71 - Good question. When I was training my schedule was wake up at 4:30 and go to my bread making job (the early hours allowed me to attend the figure sessions in the afternoon). Then I would work till about 12:30 and then I would be at the studio till about eight. So usually 4-6 hours of work a day at the studio.

    NiyanaMae - Thanks so much for the kind words. I'm really glad to hear that my progress has inspired you to help others. That rules. We will keep the videos coming as well. The other instructor at actually just put up a new video on our youtube channel. I'll post up the link to it below in my response.

    monsi - Thanks haha...well not so proud of myself. I've still got a long way to go. The more you learn the more you realize that you don't know. So there are plenty of people that I look up to want to emulate.

    vaporz - Haha thanks man. I'm freakier in person too I think. I haven't cut my ear off yet though so that's good.

    sanya - Awesome glad to hear it! Keep on going and don't stop.

    Stricken - Thanks! I can guarantee though that there is nothing special about me. I am just stubborn that's all and I won't give up. I have always felt like it takes me longer to get things than other people.

    Nuria - You will if you keep it up there is no question there. Nothing special about me at all I have just kept going even when it got hard.


    Hey guys well I wanted to give you a bit update of an update on what I have been doing. I finished up that orphan painting a while ago and I have been letting it dry for a while. I'm going to varnish it soon and then start submitting it to some contests and different things. It's actually really hard to sell this type of painting in a gallery setting. People won't buy the subject matter, but I wanted to paint it anyways because I felt like I had to do it. So I decided to submit it to portrait society of america and things like that because of the interesting subject matter.

    So here is finished...but this is an unvarnished version and crappy pic. I will varnish it soon and get a good pic up.

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    I was also the subject of a blog write up as well. You guys can go here to check it out. James (the writer) is a really cool guy and got ahold of me on facebook. Very cool stuff. Thanks James!


    Now the other thing is that I have been attending TAD (The Art Department) for the past 4 months or so and I have been getting my butt kicked. I have been learning a TON. Before joining the program I talked with Jason about how I wanted to learn more about how to construct good images. It's one thing to know how to render, but it's a whole different thing to complete a compelling image. There is so much that goes into that and I realized I was majorly lacking in that area.

    ****I am going to post up a bunch of work here...some of it is good and some of it is bad...just warning haha****

    I have learned so much this first semester. I will go through the classes and talk about each one.


    Composition class has been fantastic. It was taught by Jason Manley and Terry Brown. We've learned to do thumbnails and work out ideas with a value structure and all the other tools available in composition (overlap, interesting shapes, division of picture plane, etc...). There are so many different things to cover but it's been fantastic. We learned about vignettes and other methods as well. One exercise that I found really interesting was creating a composition with just simple shapes. We learn to work out our compositions in just black and white and illicit an emotion with that simplified image. It was really interesting. At the end of the class we dived into color theory and we will be picking that up again next semester. Here are some of the projects that I completed for that class. The poster was a project/contest that they held to give us all practice making an image that was interesting and would have an easy read. Controlling the size of the text and where the focus of the eyes stayed was really important:

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    I'm still making changes to this last one.


    Sketchbook class has been a revelation for me. Sketchbooks are not often encouraged in ateliers because you are doing more finished work. So, because of that fact, I stink at sketching! I haven't spent the time learning the methods and tools. They have taught me a lot in this class so far. Ron Lemen and Sterling Hundley were the main instructors, but a bunch of amazing people dropped in throughout the semester. Ron went to the next level offering demos and many other things. Sterling was always there and was organized in his approach and method. He coined a phrase ideation that is a process or system for creativity...awesome stuff. Here are some of the images from this class. Remember don't judge haha. Experimentation was encouraged in this class as well.

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    These showcase the 4 different stages they had us go through. Observation, Interpretation, Imagination, and Experimentation.

    Light and Form:

    Light and form was taught by Dorian Iten and this was definitely more familiar ground for me because this is close to what I went through at the atelier. Although they placed pretty quick time limits on everything and that was a real challenge. I found that working quickly and efficiently was something I hadn't made myself do more often. Working well within the time limit was absolutely something I had to learn. Dorian had a different approach than me as well and it was really great learning his methods. I pulled a lot of things from his method that I will use in my own that's for sure. Super cool class. He was really organized and had fantastic whiteboards and demos as well.

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    These are the better ones of the class. You guys have seen a ton of my stuff like this though . The one robot looking project was where we took a flat shape and actually filled out the form. It was really interesting.

    Figure Drawing:

    This class was taught primarily by John English and the photography was by Brent Watkinson. Awesome awesome stuff. He taught a completely different approach than I have ever used and I LOVED it. It was about seeing the figure as a silhouette and maintaining that simple view of it throughout the rendering process. Great great class. I learned a ton about mark making and this really cool approach. The gallery loved these drawings too and they up for sale now. I will be doing tons of them in the future I think. Out of respect for the models I haven't put the original source image next to the drawing. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't care, but the original intent was for just the TAD students so I'm sure you guys understand. If you see numbers listed on the images those are the times for the drawings.

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    Media 1:

    Media 1 class was all about learning different materials and different methods. They talked a lot about mark making and how to use your strokes and values to get interesting compositions. John English and George Pratt taught this class. We used graphite, charcoal, ink, and various other things including painter! Andrew Jones taught us how to use painter and get some really cool effects. He actually had us do a series of planets and put them in orbit around a sun to get us used to using painter. Awesome stuff for sure. This class was a boat load of fun. It was something new every time and I loved it. I learned a ton about mark making and controlling a medium. Fantastic learning experience:

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    Photography for Artists:

    This class was taught by Brent Watkinson and it was phenomenal. In my mind I had always thought of photography as something different than what I was doing with painting, but now I realize my deficiencies with paintings how up in my photos. The lack of composition and value control (exposure, etc...) are all there when I take photos. So I was forced to start to think about things much differently and I love that. It's all about crafting a good image and wow did Brent really lay it out there. I loved this class so much. It hasn't given me just an appreciation for photography, but for image making in general. This class was super cool. Here are some of the photos from the class:

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    Perspective Class:

    I almost forgot to include perspective class which is taught by the famous Marshall Vandruff. Marshall is a fantastic teacher and he has such a wonderful sense of humor. Perspective would be a boring subject but he shows how exciting it can be if you dive into it. He taught things clearly and cleared up a lot of issues I was having with perspective. There is going to be a lot more practicing in my future though that's for sure.

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    So that should give you a good idea of what I've been up to. This semester has been awesome. All of the classes really work in tandem and the process was thought out very well. We are still just in the foundational side of things as well! It's only going to get better and more specialized as time goes on. I am super excited about what I am learning there. Have I gotten any with my 10 month old boy in the house, but has the lack of sleep and hard work been worth it...oh yes. I am learning things that I would not have learned anywhere else. Even James Gurney stopped by to do a great lecture...super awesome stuff. The things that I am learning are making me a better artist and I can already see improvements in my work and in my teaching. What I am learning is making me a better teacher as well. The more that I understand as an artist, the more that I can convey to my students. So I am really happy with how things are going. If any of you are on the fence about TAD I would encourage you to take the plunge and go for it. It has been awesome. The other cool thing is that the fellow students I have on there are smart, talented, and hilarious. The other students are all really encouraging and I haven't heard one person trashing someone else's work in a disrespectful way. We are all there to learn and it shows. So thanks to TAD for making me a better artist and teacher. I will say though I am glad to have the Christmas break...I need some rest haha.

    Look for another post in a little while of all my painting updates, etc...

    Oh the last thing as well is an update on youtube that Aaron Reid (fellow instructor on ) posted. He put up a quick video on how to approach bargue drawing. Check it out if you wanna get crackin on some bargues.

    Last edited by MindCandyMan; December 10th, 2010 at 07:44 PM.
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  28. #2035
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    Dec 2008
    Farnborough, UK
    Thanked 541 Times in 483 Posts
    Wow John what a stella update. How great to think that all your hard work has enabled you to be able to give yourself this excellent education. You are so good at passing on what you've been given and I'm really grateful to see what you are doing. Makes a great advert for TAD as well. I already thought it would be great but now you have me thinking how I can find work to be able to save up and attend myself one day. I always wanted to study with you as well John so by the time I get there I bet you'll be teaching a class at TAD to! Many thanks to you for this and to Aaron for his excellent Bargue video.

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  29. #2036
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    Jun 2008
    Thanked 99 Times in 91 Posts
    Wooo. Awesome to see a nice update after some time. Thanks for sharing man, cool stuff to look through. Epic sketchbook, nice to see you're still showing your progress. Thanks!

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  30. #2037
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    Aug 2007
    Gainesville, Fl
    Thanked 322 Times in 310 Posts
    Wowowwow. You're a tonal genius. I so enjoy your soft mediums.



    "Only put off till tomorrow, what you are willing to die left undone." -Pablo Picasso
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  31. #2038
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    Jan 2009
    Thanked 101 Times in 74 Posts
    Huge update

    Charcoal portraits are epic man. I LOVE them.

    I didn't know you were in TAD

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  32. #2039
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    Jun 2009
    Brampton, ontario, CANADA
    Thanked 187 Times in 184 Posts
    amazing progress! I will definitely visit again for more inspiration!

    Behind every great master is a great student...

    Imagination is more important than knowledge- Albert Einstein...

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  33. #2040
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    Jun 2006
    Eindhoven, The Netherlands
    Thanked 129 Times in 118 Posts
    these are great man. love the charcoal stuff a lot. your paintings are great as usual.

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