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Acquisitions by the Harvard University Art Museums…October 30, 2017

Greetings, once more,

Right side study of a laughing gull with open billI just returned from the Boston/Cambridge area where I gave a lecture at Harvard University on the traditional use of natural graphite by artists from the 16th to 19th centuries. I am very honored to announce that two of my drawings were acquired by the Harvard University Art Museums as an outcome of this lecture.

While I am fortunate that my paintings and drawings have been acquired by many important Museums including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Chicago Art Institute, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and several others, over the past three decades the Harvard University Art Museums have steadily acquired what is now the largest public collection of my artwork.

When natural graphite was first used for drawing in the mid-1500s its lustrous appearance caused it to erroneously be thought to be a metal. Thus historically it was felt to be either metallic lead, antimony, molybdenum, and even bismuth. The most persistent belief was that it was a type of metallic lead, so most commonly it was referred to as both “black lead” and “plumbago”.  However, the artistic community quickly recognized natural graphite as one of the natural chalks, and used it in the same manner by sawing it into rod-like pencil shapes and drawing with it.

All of the natural chalks, including graphite, were formed in nature by metamorphic geological forces, which gave them their unique working properties. They were mined directly from the earth and were cohesiveenough to be sawn into rod-shaped pieces referred to as pencils(Latin, penicillus meaningrod-shaped) and known in French as crayons (chalk pencils). All of the natural chalks are uniformly very fine-grained and are soft enough to mark the drawing support in a manner responsive to the artist’s hand.

Of the drawings just acquired by Harvard, one was made using sawn pencils of pure natural vein graphite, analyzed to be 99.7% graphitic carbon, which were held in traditional goose quill holders. The drawing was highlighted with natural white chalk and is on handmade blue wove paper measuring 11 x 14 inches. It is entitled, Right side study of a laughing gull with open bill, and an image of it can be seen on my website at:

The second drawing was painstakingly done in a traditional 17th to 18th century French drawing technique using natural graphite crayons moulés (molded chalk pencils).These were created from pure vein graphite that was ground to a fine powder, mixed with a small amount of issenglass glue to make a paste, poured into a mould consisting of the hollow cavity of a common reed, and when dried it was sharpened with a knife to expose and point its graphite core similar to the way a modern wood-encased fabricated graphite pencil may be sharpened. This drawing is entitled, Left side study of a Royal tern with raised leg (Natural vein graphite crayons moulés on handmade tan laid paper, 11x 14 inches).  Regrettably, I do not yet have an image of this drawing on my website.

Traditionally, for more than 300 years artists preferred using sawn pencils of pure vein graphite and many of them objected to the changes that occurred with the creation of modern fabricated graphite pencils, sometimes referred to as composition pencils. The modern fabricated graphite pencils contain added materials like clay, lamp black, and often contain lower quality graphite ores that have shiny mica flakes and other impurities. The addition of these materials significantly altered the smooth working properties, coloration, luster, eraseable nature, and other important properties that artists’ valued in pure natural vein graphite. 

If you have any questions or comments I’d love to hear from you.

Best regards,



Lecture and seminar at the Harvard University…September 24, 2017

Greetings, once more,

I am extremely honored to be invited to give a lecture and seminar at Harvard University on the traditional use of natural graphite drawing materials by artists from the 16th to 19th centuries. My presentation entitled, Natural graphite drawings materials from the 16th to 19th centuries, is scheduled for the morning of October 26th, 2017, and will be a technical presentation geared for the conservators, curators, scientists, and art historians of the Harvard University Art Museums and other museums in the Boston/Cambridge area.

Natural graphite was implemented for drawing and writing in the mid-1500s. While much has been written on the history of graphite, most of it focuses on the history and development of the modern wood-encased fabricated graphite pencils most widely used for writing. Less well known is the way that natural graphite was used by artists for over three centuries, both before and after the development of modern fabricated graphite pencils. This presentation covers natural graphite’s geological formation, its unique working properties, field emission scanning electron microscopic images, and importantly it will document how it was used by artists from the 16th to 19th centuries organized century-by-century with historical references and images of extant drawings.

This presentation will be held at Harvard’s Fogg Museum, which opened in 1895 on the northern edge of Harvard Yard in a modest Beaux-Arts building designed by Richard Morris Hunt, twenty-one years after the President and Fellows of Harvard College appointed Charles Eliot Norton the first professor of art history in America. It was made possible when, in 1891, Mrs. Elizabeth Fogg gave a gift in memory of her husband to build “…an Art Museum to be called and known as the William Hayes Fogg Museum of Harvard College.” In 1927, the Fogg Museum moved to its current home at 32 Quincy Street.

The Fogg Museum is a joint art museum and teaching facility and was the first purpose-built structure for the specialized training of art scholars, conservators, and museum professionals in North America. The Fogg Museum is now renowned for its holdings of European paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photographs, prints, and drawings dating from the Middle Ages to the present.

Ever since their founding, the Harvard Art Museums—the Fogg Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum, and Arthur M. Sackler Museum—have been dedicated to advancing and supporting learning at Harvard University, in the local community, and around the world. The museums have played a leading role in the development of art history, conservation, and conservation science, and in the evolution of the art museum as an institution. Through research, teaching, professional training, and public education, the museums strive to advance the understanding and appreciation of art. Programs encourage close looking at original works of art, collaboration with campus and community partners, and the production of new scholarship.

The Harvard Art Museums advance knowledge about and appreciation of art and art museums. The museums are committed to preserving, documenting, presenting, interpreting, and strengthening the collections and resources in their care. The Harvard Art Museums bring to light the intrinsic power of art and promote critical looking and thinking for students, faculty, and the public. Through research, teaching, professional training, and public education, the museums encourage close study of original works of art, enhance access to the collections, support the production of original scholarship, and foster university-wide collaboration across disciplines.

If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Best regards,



The 30th anniversary Western Visions exhibition at the National Museum of Wildlife Art…August 21, 2017


This year the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its prestigious Western Visions exhibition and sale. To commemorate this milestone, the Museum has carefully curated this year’s Western Visions to feature only living artists whose work is in the Museum’s Permanent Collection.

I am very honored by the fact that over the years the National Museum of Wildlife Art has acquired three of my works of art, and thus I received an invitation to be in this year’s exhibition.

Western Visions is the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s largest and longest running fundraiser featuring a wide selection of art for purchase along with a variety of exciting events.  More than 200 new paintings, sculptures, and sketches by living artists whose work is in the permanent collection will be on display and available for purchase during the 30th Annual Western Visions.  As many as 2,000 people attend the events where they are also able to mingle with many of the Western Visions painters and sculptors.

The 30th Annual Western Visions is one of the signature events of the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival. Top contemporary wildlife artists and collectors from around the world will be congregating at the National Museum of Wildlife Art this September 14 and 15. The Western Visions events offered at the Museum’s award-winning facility draw an international crowd to this critically acclaimed gathering.

The exhibition will hang at the National Museum of Wildlife Art from September 8th to October 8th, 2017.  As part of the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s 30th Annual Western Visions, collectors and patrons have an opportunity to view the art, place bids, and mingle with artists before the big sale on Thursday, September 14, 2017 from 6-9 pm. On Friday, September 15, 2017 from 5-8 pm there will be  special events, which will include the final opportunity to place bids prior to the drawing that evening that determines who is going home with a beautiful new work of art.

The National Museum of Wildlife Art is located at 2820 Rungius Road in Jackson, WY 83001

More information can be had by calling the Museum at (307) 733-5771, or online at their website:

The National Museum of Wildlife Art was founded in 1987 and has more than 5,000 works of art representing wild animals from around the world. Featuring work by prominent artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, Robert Kuhn, John James Audubon, Carl Rungius, and many others, the Museum’s unsurpassed permanent collection chronicles much of the history of wildlife in art from 2500 B.C. to the present. Built into a hillside overlooking the National Elk Refuge, the Museum received the designation “National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States” by order of Congress in 2008.

The National Museum of Wildlife Art is proud to welcome more than 60,000 visitors through its doors annually, including more than 8,000 children. The Museum’s award-winning architecture is known for its amazing synergy with the Jackson Hole landscape. The 51,000 square foot building with its Idaho quartzite façade was inspired by the ruins of Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and echoes the rugged hillside behind the facility. It overlooks the 25,000 acre National Elk Refuge and is 2.5 miles north of the town of Jackson, Wyoming.

If you have any questions, comments, or if you would like to know what artwork I will have in the exhibition, I’d love to hear from you.

Best regards,



The 42nd annual Birds in Art exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum…August 1, 2017

Greetings once again,

Blue sunriseIt is with great pleasure for me to announce that my next exhibition will be the internationally acclaimed 42nd annual Birds in Art exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. I feel extremely honored in that this is the seventh time since 2010 that I have been invited to be in this prestigious exhibition.

Since 1976, the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum has organized Birds in Art annually as their flagship exhibition to present the very best artistic interpretations of birds and their related subject matter. Three simple words – birds in art – took on a life of their own when they became a prestigious Woodson Art Museum exhibition title. Over the years, Birds in Art has grown into what is recognized around the world as the exhibition that sets the standard internationally for avian art.

The Museum’s staff describes the success of their vision as, “The source of limitless creative inspiration, birds connect us to the rhythms of life. Their migrations mark the shifting seasons, their music heralds each dawn, and their shoreline searches highlight the ebb and flow of the tide. Avian art resonates and inspires in endlessly novel ways, too. Talented artists from throughout the world push standards ever higher by continually striving to be among those selected for the internationally renowned Birds in Art exhibition.”

The 42nd annual Birds in Art exhibition opens with a special preview for Museum members and VIPs with a reception for exhibiting artists on Friday, September 8, 2017. The public opening of Birds in Art is on September 9, 2017 and will provide varied opportunities to interact with more than sixty Birds in Art artists visiting from throughout the world. The exhibition will continue at the Museum through November 26, 2017. 

The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum is located at 700 N. 12th Street in Wausau, Wisconsin, and their phone is: 715-845-7010. More information can be found at the Museum’s website at:

It would be well worth your while to see the quality of this amazing exhibition, as the Museum has recently received the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ National Metal, our nation's highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community, at an award ceremony in Washington, DC, held on July 17th, 2017.  The National Medal honors museums for employing powerful programs and services that exceed expected levels of community outreach, often changing visitors' lives.

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum director Kathy Kelsey Foley acknowledged this honor, "Being honored as a National Medal winner brings recognition to the Museum from a federal agency on a national stage. We are grateful beyond words… This recognition is among the highest forms of validation, not only for those of us who work in the museum field, but also for our members, visitors, and all those involved throughout four decades.”

In recognition of this high honor, StoryCorps - a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans - will travel to the Woodson Art Museum to document stories from its visitors and community and preserve them at the Library of Congress.

If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Best regards,