None of us are Free if some of us are In Chains


For the last three years, I have worked with organizations in my community to raise awareness of human trafficking, with the goal of rescuing and rehabilitating victims. Each year, my inspiration comes from a different source. This year, I have been swamped with commissions and did not think I would have time to create a painting for the upcoming auction. 

One night, while working in the studio, I heard Solomon Burke’s iconic song come across my tablet, and I had a sudden flash of inspiration. Because of the short time frame, I really had to work hard to get this painting set up and completed in time for The Night of Awareness

None of us are Free if some of us are In Chains

12″ x 48″

acrylic on canvas

The concepts of individual liberty and human rights are inherent in both my art and the foundations of the modern abolitionist movement. The term freedom is not just an ideological construct; it is a basic human right. Freedom is the natural state of all human beings throughout the world, whether recognized by their governments or not. 

Freedom cannot be infringed upon by any society or individual seeking the classifications of just or civilized. Daily, freedom is denied to individuals both openly and covertly, across the globe. We may turn a blind eye here in America, but that does not make the violation go away. It has been said that allowing a crime to go unpunished is itself complicity in the crime. 

Unknown or ignored by most people, acts of slavery are committed on a daily basis without any redress for the victims. For the last two years, I have endeavored to to use my art as a means to address this issue. 

A Moral Outrage

Moral Outrage

Part 1 of 2: The Crime

Stand Up

Part 2 of 2: The Rescue

Lifted up on Golden Wings


From a moral perspective, we cannot turn a blind eye to the crime of human trafficking. Whether we are effected as individuals or not, whether there is a measurable public health crisis or not, we must eradicate human slavery practices wherever they exist. This is a true social justice issue for which everyone should feel compelled to raise awareness and eliminate its practice. 

Human slavery is quite literally a stain on the very soul and fabric of our nation. Let’s come together as Americans and see to our own house, with open eyes, focused effort, and human compassion.

Stand up and be counted among the just.


Collaborative Project: The Remnant

This mixed media flag on salvaged lumber is a collaborative project with Red Barn Forge of Braselton, Georgia. Local blacksmith, Dave Leimbach is creating the  frame and post/hanging hardware to convert this large flag into a tavern sign.


** Project Update: July 25, 2016.

As art often does, this project has evolved beyond the original vision of the artist. This is one of the many reasons I keep an art journal – a topic for separate discussion – because I often deviate far from my original concept. If I didn’t put the ideas down in notes and sketches, I might forget the original idea and never revisit it in a piece of art. I still might not, but it is at least possible if I can sit down with an art journal and reexamine ideas.

At any rate, my good friend and craftsman Dave has a creative spirit that often deviates from his best laid-plans. When I first showed him ‘The Remnant”, it was in the early stages of design. I had secured the heavy pieces of salvaged lumber to a support and cleaned off the debris accumulated from sitting in the wood pile out back of my tractor shed. You could see the path roots had taken across the wood and I intended for that character to show through.

I carefully wiped the wood down and applied a heavy coat of acrylic medium to preserve the stains and seal the grain of the wood. Then, I used my layering techniques to create a distressed version of the Revolutionary Era flag. For once, I was successful at keeping it simple. After a coat of varnish to protect the finish, I was off to Dave’s shop to turn it over to him.

Dave was going to create a forged frame and hanging hardware so The Remnant could hang like a tavern sign. Then, he pulled it out of my car, and noticed the weight, which had concerned me. We talked about it for a while and Dave thought he might make a post instead. I told him to follow his inspiration and let me know what he came up with. I would be as surprised as everyone else at the Independence Day reveal.

I was, in fact, humbled and blown away. It turned out that Dave couldn’t figure out hardware or a post. Dave is a superb craftsman; this was no lack of talent on his part. You see, he had become attached to The Remnant and its symbolism. He had to have it for his own. He needed to have a more tangible relationship with it.

Dave has not only purchased The Remnant for himself; he has converted it into a tabletop on which he can write and design his own art – finely crafted knives, forged utilitarian pieces, and beautiful leatherwork. The table now resides in his shop, which opens in Braselton on the first of August.

**Photos and links will be posted after the opening of Red barn Forge***




March Drawings and Book Pages, Part 1

These items are part of a new series that will be featured in several locations during the month of April.

First, I am excited to announce that I will be joining the artists represented by Braselton Gallery. As part of this new partnership, I will be participating in the semi-annual Braselton Antique and Artisan Festival April 22-24.

On Saturday, April 30, I will be at the Gainesville Chicken Festival‘s ReHatched Market.

I hope you can stop by one of these locations to see the work in person.
























Track Braselton Gallery updates and new art on their Facebook Page


Daily Drawing 2.10.2016: Angel Study

This drawing was the initial study for a large scale angel painting that I created to help raise money to fight human trafficking. My friend Katie was gracious enough to pose for the reference photos for this project.

The painting was purchased by a good friend, and consequently, has become one of my few donated paintings to remain where I can enjoy it. Just before Christmas, it survived a large fire and I had the opportunity to restore it for its owner. It is now on loan for my booth at Don Byram Art and Antiques hosted by the Jackson County Arts Council. If you live in the area, please stop by and check it out in person.


DBA Booth



Daily Drawings 2.9.2016: Female Eastern Bluebird

This is a rough preliminary drawing for a couple of upcoming series of work I am planning. The initial concept is for a small series of mixed media works on repurposed book pages. More advanced paintings of various song birds will develop as time allows.

This drawing is an example of what sometimes happens for an artist. Basically, we have a mental image of how things look and it sometimes overrides the actual subject. When teaching drawing to students, I always emphasize the need to draw what you see. They typically react by looking at me like I am a fool. The truth is, though, that you have a simplified and often idealized mental image of things you see often. These simplifications are manifested in your drawing if you are not focused on the subject. When working from references, the issue is compounded.

When I started on the subject of the Eastern Bluebird I was excited. They are one of my favorite song birds. In fact, I see them nearly every day now that I live in the country. When I sat down with my references, I didn’t give much thought to their being drawings rather than photographs. Once I completed my color study, I realized there were some discrepancies in the shape of the bird’s head and distribution of color.

A couple of days later, I saw some bluebirds flitting around the yard and realized the color was also off. The actual birds are a beautiful and rich indigo color, rather than the almost neutral blue in my study.

Mistakes, if you want to call them that, are no big deal in the studio. There is always something to be learned and skills to be developed as an artist. I personally have a rather drawn-out process that involves a lot of thinking and sifting through images or researching background concepts before starting a painting. I also like to see a progression of artistic development in my work. For this reason, I post the rushed and inaccurate pieces as often as the finished art. I also enjoy the juxtaposition of preliminary drawings with completed paintings so the viewer can see how a concept changes via medium or artistic development.

Consequently, I will post updates to this drawing as they are completed and links to finished paintings. Art is a process of growth, skill development, and creative expression. It is fluid and developmental for those who are focused on personal growth and advancement. This series is a window into my personal development as an artist. I hope it will inspire others to develop their own creativity.

Daily Drawings February 1-7

The main image for this post is the base layer for a new series I am working on for the upcoming ReHatched Market at the Gainesville Chicken Festival. I am using book pages from salvaged pulp fiction to create a series of bird themed art. Each piece will start with a line drawing on a book page. Additional layers and mixed media will be applied as inspiration dictates.


BE Banner


This bald eagle and banner is an artistic rendering of a metal bas-relief in a local historic district. I am planning to use this design on a series of tavern-style signs, as well as in the Book Pages series.

BE Sketch


This is the preliminary sketch for the featured image in this post. It is a simple line drawing of a bald eagle. My main focus here was catching the spirit of the bird and conveying the strength and integrity it embodies as our national symbol.
Though there are a couple of minor issues in scale and anatomy, it’s a pretty solid sketch. I will use it for graphics and the base image of future paintings.



MachinePolitick is Going Public!

I am proud to announce that I will be part of an upcoming public art project in downtown Gainesville, Georgia. My painting, The Revolutionary Halo of (Social) Justice was chosen from submissions by local artists.
I will make further announcements once a location is chosen and the unveiling date is set. 

Free Range Art Project

Vision 2030, in partnership with the Quinlan Visual Arts Center and the North Georgia Community Foundation, will be creating Free Range Art Project “murals” which will involve reproducing two dimensional works on an 8-foot by 8-foot scale durable, fade-resistant marine grade board. There will be 10 pieces in total selected on a rotating basis for the purpose of temporary installation in a public area in Gainesville/Hall County.

Five (5) will be installed in 2015, and five (5) in 2016. These interchangeable pieces will be on view for approximately three (3) years. Artists will be identified on location in all promotional materials for the project. Sites and piece selections will be determined by the Public Art Committee of Vision 2030.


Daily Drawings Series

In 2016, I have set myself the goal of working full time on my art. One of the ways I plan to do this is to establish a daily drawing schedule.


So many times, when I go into my studio to work, I find myself wandering around fiddling with stuff until I get focused. As one would expect from an artist, my studio is crammed to the gills with stuff – piles of notes and images, ongoing projects, supplies, piles of projects that I need to get started on, reference materials… in general, chaos. Though all of these items need to find a home instead of cluttering up the place, they do nothing to add to my creative process directly.

It is my hope that redirecting this energy into a daily drawing will have several benefits for my growth as an artist. At the very least, it will force me to spend time drawing; which I enjoy a great deal. In addition, it gets me on here, posting regularly and interacting with (and hopefully growing) my audience.

Because my fine art is very contemporary in style and typically politically motivated, I think this will be a good way to engage people on the meaning of that work. The daily Drawings give a foundational background to my skills as an artist and provide interest for those not particularly committed to supporting ideological art. They also give my viewers an idea of the process behind the more complex fine art pieces. Every painting begins with some kind of sketch, either in one of my many art journals, or in a sketchbook – all organized separately on themes with notes and references. Yes, I’m a little compulsive.


I also find that I just need time to think before I start working. A great deal of thought and research goes into every painting, both before I begin and throughout the creative process. I need to get into my own head before I start painting. I also need to master the subject matter so that references become less important and a personal style develops. I feel that this makes the work stronger and more compelling to the viewer.

Now that I have the crow concept firmly established, I am moving on to birds of prey and songbirds. Beginning now, I will be posting one drawing per day from the series. On days when it is not possible for me to work on a drawing, I will pull from my art journals and sketchbooks to share the drawings behind completed paintings or post mixed media projects that include drawing.


Eventually, I hope to have enough drawings to offer them for sale online and at festival shows. To anyone reading this, please take the time to share and stop back in when you can to see what is new. Thanks in advance for your support and please leave feedback!


Handcrafted for the Holidays

Please join me this weekend for the annual Christmas Market at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center in Gainesville. I will be one of the art vendors with small patriotic art, primitives and folk pieces, hand-made Christmas cards and ornaments, and painted boxes and trunks.