Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Happiest Dogs in the World

The client just picked up their oil portraits of Jessy (little girl dog), and Maverick (big Dane guy), and were glad to get it for the Christmas giving.  This was an almost life sized painting and very fun to work on.  I love Jessie's sweet smile and Mavericks goofy grin!   

I hope the owners enjoy this painting for years to come, and that you all have a Very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Maggie and Her Painting

I just received a lovely notice that Maggie MacLean is well pleased with her portrait and so is her owner Kevin. I'm so pleased they both are too. Kevin is a Disney animator now and has many screen credits under his belt. I first met him at the Will Vinton Studios where he was the youngest animator barely out of High school. Go Kevin, go Maggie!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Pet Portraits

Yep, I'm doing oil portraits of our best friends.  My introductory prices are set low to grow the business so you may want to take advantage now before Christmas!

Working off of your favorite picture or photo session.  Prices based on one head, and 50% on each additional head.

Canvas Sizes

8 x 10    $175
11 x 14   $275
16 x 20   $375
20 x 24   $475

(503) 659-2872 or (503) 839-9235

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Limited Animation

I’m not ashamed to say I’ve been around awhile, and I’m proud to say I’ve worked in animation professionally for most of that time.  I share a time period similar with legendary animator Eric Goldberg who has repeatedly said his influences were early television which used the best of theatrical shorts to fill it’s ravenous maw with screen time.   Every Hollywood studio had a shorts division, and specifically an animation studio, turning out on average, 12 seven-minute animated cartoons a year.  These cartoons were made by adults and aimed at a general audience who might find them equally as funny as the people who made them. 

Television gave these old shorts a new audience, (they even played the silent cartoons with piano music added), and created a special arena for new cartoons made especially for this media.  Hanna Barbera, who incidentally gave us the wonderful, noisy, and hilarious original “Tom and Jerry” cartoons, made a reputation with their limited animation series and dominated the Saturday morning time slots, and even broke into prime time, with original material.

I was able to watch and learn from it all.  Now, I’ve been given a chance to do some limited animation myself.  The term once was a derogatory slur and called ‘Illustrated Radio’, because of it’s reliance on heavily dialogue driven scripts. Admittedly the over use of dialogue is still a problem with today’s animation, but I digress. 

One technique, used to fill copious screen time with the least amount of animation, is the wide establishing scene, or a master shot.  From this wide perspective all the characters are shown, and then cuts to individual characters in close-up or isolated groups are used to bring focus to who ever is speaking and should be the center of our attention.  Cutting around this main group of people can bring life to a static stage setting and the reuse of mouth shapes and simple gestures used to fill minutes of screen time.

I used this "master shot' method  to pitch an idea for my New Bremen Town Musicians, or BTM to a studio I was working for at the time who wanted to look into web-animation.  Made in Flash before it was thought of as an animation platform, I did two master shots and cut around inside them.  Remember this was done  for a pitch session in-house and never meant to be seen by the public so the sound is awful but I wanted to show it could be done quickly.

I used the same technique for my talented friend, Jim Hardison.   Jim is the creator and writer for “The Helm”, a popular comic book published by Dark Horse.  Jim wanted to keep cost down, and we agreed on a kind of “Scooby Doo” approach.  This is what I came up with for him, ‘limited animation’, using one long panning background; the same recycled animation and a few camera cuts.

It was quite fun and a second one is waiting to have music scored for it.  I hope you enjoy it and you really should check out the comic book, which has some great artwork and very clever writing. 


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Miss Daisy Dauschund

Last posting I mentioned finishing up on a pet portrait of Miss Daisy and here she is.  Along with doing humans, I'm offering pets as well.  Now would be a great time to order one for Christmas.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Family Portraits

It's been awhile since I've blogged.  That's a good thing and means I'm busy.  A few portraits have come in and this one was still wet when I took its picture, that's why the screen left upper corner is a little shinny.

I showed the client , (the mother),  work in progress and she started to cry, never a good sign.  It turns out they were happy tears and she cries at everything.   What a relief.

I'm also offering pet portraits and will post Miss Daisy Dachshund soon.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Copying an Ancient Painting

This is a work in progress, and I will update the finished picture when it's ready.  I have this enlargement of an ancient Chinese painting as a background on my computer and my wife liked it enough to want a copy for our house.  The original is fairly damaged and I think it's a water color, so I'm doing mine as a water color.   The original is also deceptiveness full of intricate brush work, and I wonder how long it took to do the whole painting as this is only a small portion?  I'm learning much from doing this.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Quite Contrary...

Mary isn't the only one who is contrary.  I was made fun of for my work station in my home office.  You see, I have a habit of using my right hand to draw and my left on a computer mouse.  Now, that's not to say I don't use my right hand for the mouse...I just switch it up a bit.  Hopefully I won't get carpal tunnel syndrome, or the worst would be I get it in both hands.  Anyway, it works for me.

Most people who do graphics work on the computer use a large 21" Cinque, and, if you read my blog with any faithfulness, you know my struggle to get something comparable, yet more inexpensive.  I made a decision on a 13" HD, and am well pleased.  It fits my space and I can dump all my menus and tools onto a preexisting monitor where they are larger and more visible than if they encroaching on my work-stage.

You can see I share one mouse pad between two systems, and that works well for me too.  Go figure...

UPDATE:  I found having the keyboard to the side a big inconvenience, and caused me to twist uncomfortably.  But, by adding some Velcro to the back of my keyboard and the riser the monitor sits on, I can mount the keyboard comfortably in front of me.  I also added mouse pad so I'm not sharing anymore.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Donald In 3D

We’ve had this old, damaged stereoscopic picture of Donald on our wall for many years.   It’s under glass and hard to free-view because of the glare but I always thought it was inverted.  I took it out of the frame and swapped the images around and now I can see it correctly.  Can you free view?  Cross your eyes and focus on the image that forms in the middle.
Original Mounted Under Glass

Images Swapped and Glass Removed

UPDATE:  A friend thought this was from a cartoon, and as far as I can tell my picture is from a ViewMaster Reel.  But! There was a Donald cartoon done in 3D called "Working for Peanuts" that someone uploaded to
YouTube in the free-view format here:

Sunday, June 14, 2015

New Painting_Snowy Owl

Here's an oil painting I just finished and mailed out to it's new owners. The lighting is cheated quite a bit but I call it poetic license, perhaps the bird is flying up to a hidden bounce card that's just off screen?  I did smooth out the background and made the stars more varied but I didn't photograph the finished picture.  Shame on me.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Sergio Pablos and the new 2D Twist

With Klaus, Sergio Pablos has created a potential game-changer by applying the latest digital technology to a traditional approach, and, in the process, redefining what a hand-drawn feature could look like. Pablos is keeping his proprietary process under wraps for the moment.

You could be forgiven for thinking the character animation was modeled and animated with CGI software because Klaus has the polished sheen of the latest big-budget studio CGI epic. But watch again, and the enduring organic charm of hand-drawn animation is evident throughout.

Pablos, of course, knows a thing or two about drawn animation. An accomplished animation master who participated in the 1990s Disney renaissance, he animated on films such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules, before supervising Tantor in Tarzan and Dr. Doppler in Treasure Planet.
After the hand-drawn feature animation industry collapsed stateside, he moved back to his home country of Spain where he launched his own company Animagic (today, known as SPA Studios). His company has racked up an impressive list of credits, providing pre-production and production support to feature productions, but Pablos’s biggest claim to fame is originating the concept for the blockbuster Illumination franchise Despicable Me.

  Klaus teaser ©2015 Sergio Pablos Animation Studios, S.L. & ANTENA 3 FILMS, S.L.U. All rights reserved from The SPA Studios on Vimeo.

This is a rather truncated posting and the original with an interview of Pablos for Cartoon Brew is here in its entirety:  http://www.cartoonbrew.com/interviews/sergio-pablos-talks-about-his-stunning-hand-drawn-project-klaus-exclusive-113621.html

Thursday, May 28, 2015


I did a decorative piece on wood for some friends.  They wanted hummingbirds for a picture to be mounted above their newly painted garage which has an overhanging roof over the door. This was way out of my comfort zone because I just don't do decorative paintings.  Anyway, they like it so I'm happy.  This is an oil painting on wood which I sealed with Satin Helmsman Indoor/Outdoor Spar Urethane.

The tail going over the border is a trick I picked up from my mother who would paint hands, or a feather in a hat or something, breaking outside the picture and over the border.  She did one of me as a kid where my one arm looked like it was leaning on the border and my hand hung over and cast a shadow.  I wish I had that painting now, and wonder where it is.


Friday, May 22, 2015

The Beatles and Aleister Crowely

This Blog is mostly dedicated to animation but occasionally something gets my attention that prompts me to write about it.  This is one of those times and the subject is once again The Beatles. 

I’ve come to believe that the Beatles were more mirrors than innovators, and because of their popularity, they were able to influence a generation with new ideas.  I think they became a conduit for us that reflected their own spiritual quest and made fashion and esoteric subjects like transcendental mediation assessable to everyone.  The Beatles also brought a very British Victorian history with them and tried to reconcile it to a new modern way of thinking. 

The Beatles admiration of occultist Aleister Crowley is such an example of this British integration.  In England, Crowely was infamously known as ‘the wickedest man on earth’ and called himself ‘the Beast’ after the biblical Antichrist. 

After the controlling influence of manager Brian Epstein was taken away by his passing, the Beatles admittedly felt free to pursue more personal subject matter in their work.  The turning point where Aleister Crowley became visible as an influence was the cover of “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.”  Crowley is plainly shown in the upper left hand corner, but there is some speculation that he may appear twice on the album as the partially obscured red-faced figure wearing a fez.   The idea of ‘twins’ would be further built into the Beatle mythology with the whole Paul is Dead rumor, which also began with the Pepper cover.      

Crowely wrote a book he claims to have been dictated to him by the spirit Aiwass.   According to Crowley, the first appearance of Aiwass was during the Three Days of the writing of Liber al vel Legis. His first and only identification as such is in Chapter I: "Behold! it is revealed by Aiwass the minister of Hoor-paar-kraat"  This spirit would later write the book the Beatles would embrace called “The Book of The Law,” which preached the concept of "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law."

Crowely admonished practitioners of the law to listen to recordings backwards and to practice speaking backwards. An example he gives is “Let him practice speaking backwards: thus for ‘I am He’ let him say ‘Eh ma I’.”  Sounds like ‘I am he, as you are he, as you are me, etc, from “I am the Walrus,” doesn’t it?

How about the image from “The Magical Mystery Tour” showing a sign on Paul’s desk that reads: ‘I Was’?  Now admittedly it reads: ‘I you Was’, but if you just read the bold letters it sounds like Crowely’s spirit guide Aiwass, doesn’t it?

Sir Paul has often stated he believes in magic and he clarifies it’s magic with a ‘K’ spelled ‘magick’.  This is how Crowely spelled it.  Now the Beatles weren’t the only ones to follow Crowely.  Black Sabbath, Lead Zepplin, The Rolling Stones, and many others were adherents, along with the father of solid rocket fuel, Jack Parsons, and the creator of the cult Scientology, L.R. Hubbard, interesting, no?

Friday, May 08, 2015

Will Vinton Making Features Again.


Above is a link to an article from Cartoon Brew announcing the partnering of two companies which will help Will Vinton to make feature films once again.  There are some proposed properties that date back to went I was employed there.  I'm glad to see they may finally get a green light.  But I think there is more to the story. Ideas are free game if someone beats you to the punch, so they say. 

The posted artwork from the decommissioned Digital Domain film, “The Legend of Tembo” has prompted me to write about what I feel may be the origin of other films that did reach the screen, all starting with Will.

 Below the artwork for Tembo I added a concept drawing I did  for one of Will's projects about a baby elephant with a tick bird friend who is hunted by a man riding a Bull Elephant. 

Do you notice the friendly tick bird and Bull Elephant in the Tembo picture?

Just as I suspect Tembo to have had its beginnings with Will Vinton, so do I believe Will may have been the source of several others.  Let me explain.  There was a time feature material was being actively developed at the Will Vinton Studios and the results were three to four ideas that were shopped around Hollywood for financing and distribution.  Nothing came from the effort.  Or did it? 

One idea was about a messenger pigeon that helped win World War One.  Do you recall a film called “Valiant” about a messenger pigeon that helped win World War One?

Another idea was about zoo animals that break out and try to get back to their home in Africa.  Sounds like two films that competed with each other to reach the box office first, “Madagascar” and “The Wild”.  I know first hand both films came from the same script because the lead characters names were the same while I was working on “Wild” and the lions name had to be changed.  Will Vinton was given an executive producer credit on “The Wild” but says he didn’t even know about it till he was told later.

Then there was a musical version of "The Frog Prince" and shortly "The Princess and the Frog " came out.

Lastly an idea was pitched about a small action figure named Cliff Damage, and then the movie “Small Soldiers” hit the screen not long afterwards. 
I see "Jack Hightower",a comic action adventure about a miniaturized secret agent, is among the ideas in development with this new venture.

Good for you Will, and hope to see you on the big screen again.  

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Marc Davis Painting

Painting in Pirates of the Caribbean entitled  "A Portrait of Things to Come"
Well, here's a painting from the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride done by Disney artist Marc Davis.  I first saw it in a View Master reel as a boy and looked for it when I finally got to go on the ride.   It was right where it should be over the bar.  This painting is currently my screen saver.

UPDATE:  I learned the title of this painting is "A Portrait of Things to Come". Apparently there is some controversy over who may have done the actual painting.  It's well documented that Marc did the conceptual design (below) but the rather amateurish finished work appears like it was done by another hand.  Was Marc trying to emulate a more primitive style that would fit better with the time period?   Perhaps.

Someone with the handle Jimmydonc.tellnotales did a painting based on the Davis concept art, and it too is a treat.  I don't know what your preference is but I kind of like the native feel of the painting that lives in the park.  

Jimmydonc. painting more accurately following Davis sketch

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Amazing in Nature

How wonderful to see the complex weave of life!  Things that seem beyond probability are made real, and the mind expands a little bigger to embrace new possibilities. Pardon me for waxing poetic but these photos of the amazing creature Glaucus Atlanticus look like something from the terrible mind and agile hand of artist Jim Woodring!  If you are unfamiliar with Jim's candy colored dreamworld, you should check it out here: http://www.jimwoodring.com/artwork/gallery
GLAUCUS ATLANTICUS on someones hand.

 GLAUCUS ATLANTICUS floating on water
Art by Woodring
Art by Jim Woodring

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Oil Portraiture Price List

Sprinkled throughout this blog are oil portraits I've done, and I considered putting together a brochure to see if there might be some interest. Well, here it is, my price list for portraiture. After doing a lot of price comparisons with other artists, figuring in the cost of shipping and materials, I think this is a pretty good value.

To clarify what I hope the brochure says, I will work off your favorite photos, or do a photo shoot depending on your location. I can work off good quality digital images, if you choose, or scan hard copies you send, and return the originals after scanning.

Please call or email using the provided info, if interested, and we can set up a consultation. There is a payment of half down/half on delivery to ensure the cost of materials, and shipping and handling after completion. I estimate a four to six week turnaround to do the actual painting once images and other considerations have been met. If complications arise, you will be notified. Other considerations are covered in a contract for both of our satisfaction. I'm excited about creating for someone a family treasure and personal heirloom.

 Better quality pictures can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/29289570@N00/


Thursday, April 02, 2015

Mike Hill

I just discovered the hyper real sculptures of Mike Hill. He's been paying tribute to some of our legendary monsters and monster makers like this charming image of stop-motion pioneer Ray Harryhausen teased by his warring skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts.  Incredible, aren't they?
Ray and his skeletons

Detail of Ray Harryhausen

Dr. Pretorius showing off more of Mikes work

Mike with his Margaret Hamilton

The Wolfman

Friday, March 13, 2015

Beach Boys and Brinkerhoffs

 Well, life is full of surprises and I ran across one quite unexpectedly.  While telling a friend about "Pet Sounds", a revolutionary record by Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys which inspired the Beatles to do  Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, I saw this video clip on YouTube.  What leaped out at me was the black & white image of the recording session showing an upside down logo on a piano.  It looked familiar to me, and flipping the image confirmed that it was in fact a Brinkerhoff piano Brian was playing.

I've mentioned in an earlier post called "Self Indulgence" about the impact the Brinkerhoff clan has made from barbed wire, to pianos.  And now we can claim inspiration for the classic "Wouldn't it be Nice" if we stretch the fabric of logic far enough.

I wonder if I'm entitled to any royalties?


Monday, March 02, 2015

Oil Portraiture

Here's a new painting of a great couple who have become family.  This is a 20 x 24 inch canvas, the largest I've done to date.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Stop Motion in the Digital Age #04

In earlier postings we touched on replacement animation used in stop-motions history, and facial animation  replacements as early as 1935.  We also tracked the replacement evolution with computer sculptures exported as 3D prints being used as early as 2004.

My friend Raphael Cordero ,(whose studio did the sculpture, molds, and castings), posted some images that helps define a timeline for the facial replacements evolution even better with these hand cast test pieces for the 2001 production of the Will Vinton TV series "Gary and Mike", a production that has greater relevance with the digital age, which I will explain later.  These were hand sculpted, using a frame grabber, (see previous post Claymation, Techniques and Innovations ), to ensure registration, and then cast in resin.  The faces were split through the eyes and held on the head with interlocking magnets.

It must be remembered that the 1993 production of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" used both facial replacements and a stored image/live image form of frame grabber. The G&M faces were the first to split the face into two pieces.

These G&M replacements precede Laika's "Corline" which used the same split face and magnetic registration, by eight years.  The difference here being these were hand sculpted and cast replacements, as opposed to computer sculptures exported as 3D prints. 

I'm not sure why this technique wasn't used in the actual production, which went with wax replacement mouths, (I feel it may have been too expensive), but the craftsmanship is astounding and the seam on the face is almost invisible, at least in this still image.

As have been stated before, the computer allows the ability to do more easing into and out of facial extremes, making smoother animation with less chatter, and a way of previewing and modifying before exporting to hard print copies.

 "Gary and Mike" has the distinction of being the first stop motion production to be done digitally. Before then, it was customary for animation to be shot on film and then transferred to video.  This bypassed that method using small lip stick sized digital cameras placed on sets and a custom made data storage system was built to accommodate all the digital still images that made up the action.

The initial cost was hoped to be made back by avoiding film development, and film to tape transfer expenses. It was quite an undertaking for the time, and because of being digital, effects work and other elements could be combined without a film to tape transfer.

The infrastructure for the Will Vinton digital pipeline used for "Gary and Mike" in 2001, created a template for much of the feature work being done today.

Test head replacements for "Gary and Mike" from the Raphael Cordero Studio

Friday, February 06, 2015

Three Facial Animation Tests

Three Facial Animation Tests from Joel Brinkerhoff on Vimeo.
It's rare that I get to do much emoting in commercial work so I've been playing with some acting exercises just for fun.

What I find interesting is how the same character can have a different personality depending on the voice and the dialog.

 The first voice I chose is actress Piper Laurie, and the feeling I get from her is a middle aged woman who has had it with a disrespectful younger lover, (this is all fabrication on my part because I've never seen the movies). I don't know who the next British actress is but she sounds much younger, like a teen, or early twenties, and is either proud of or embarrassed by having been caught in a lie. The last is the late great Phyllis Diller, who always brings a wacky flare to all her work. I think of this test as a princess possessed by a crazy witch. She looks very cute but her actions give her away.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

General Reel From Yesteryear

General Reel From Yesteryear from Joel Brinkerhoff on Vimeo.

This is a mix of computer, stop-motion, and drawn animation from various projects I've worked on.  All the animation is mine, most of it very old.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Water-color Roos

I found this old water-color of mine which dates back to the 70's.  I remember this was done after reading about Maxfield Parrish who had experience with color printing.  He painted in color separations like a printers plates, using a layer of varnish to separate each color layer.  I don't remember if he had any order to which color got applied first, but essentially he did a blue, yellow, red, and black layer, all separated by the varnish. It allowed him to wipe off or alter a color without disturbing the color layer below. Then he would commit the whole thing by sealing it with a last coat of varnish.  I guess to see one of his painting was almost like looking into a 3D image because of the depth achieved by the many layers he used.  Pretty cool, huh?

Well, now, back to my picture.  I tried a quicker version using a translucent water color and doing a red, yellow and blue wash just to see how it might work.  I did the kangaroos and laid in the background but never felt inclined to finish it for some reason.  Anyway, having rediscovered this picture, I kind of like the dreamlike quality to it now, so I'll frame it and hang it on my wall.

I tried two other water-colors using this technique and they have appeared elsewhere on this blog, but here they are again.  I'm not sure if it's more effective than mixing colors using water-color, but I think it may be cool to try in oils, like Parrish, and using the varnished layers.  Maybe one day I will finally try it.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Heinz Edelmann, a Brief Review

I hope you all had a splendid start to your new year. With sometime till things kick in for me, I thought I would write about one of my favorite artists: Heinz Edelmann. There are many good reviews of his life and history so mine will be more about his range as an artist and the impact of his work shaping an era.

So much of the 60's was about 'change', and I think much of it led to very positive changes that are now being challenged again. I'd better stop there before going into a full blown rant on politics, but it was within this environment of experimentation and change that Edelmann influenced a generation or two with his work.

Any cursory viewing of his paintings and illustrations immediately show a diverse understanding of drawing and color, and a multiplicity of styles. Edelmann was a chameleon, always changing media and design. His commercial works show a playful and radical departure from the normal conventions in composition and layout which suited the radical changing times these publications were trying to address. This spilled over to his book illustrations which look just as fresh and exciting today, if only a little nostalgic.

It's not surprising that Heinz would be contacted by other prominent artists wanting to make an impact: The Beatles. Heinz singlehandedly created the look of Pepperland and all its residence, including monsters and mop-tops for "Yellow Submarine". It was such an arduous task that it almost killed him and he hated to talk about the experience in later years. A little taste of his discontent can be seen in the picture showing Ringo's head served on a platter, and the people of Pepperland tearing the flesh, and drinking the brains of the Blue Meanies! 

Because he was influenced by innovators and was an innovator, Heinz work became lost in the psychedelic haze of the times. Other people with louder voices started putting their stamp on the 'groovy' look and even his work on "Yellow Submarine" was for many years thought to have been done by imitator, Peter Max.

Heinz went on to teach a new generation of artists to think in radical terms.  His wide ranging abilities show a draftsman of great imagination.  Heinz Edelmann was no one trick pony, and I'm glad he left a body of work that attests to that fact.