Teddy Roosevelt

I was employed as an illustrator at Maritz Motivation Company from 1969 until 1980 and had a great opportunity while working there to create many illustrations. In 1971 I illustrated, using markers and white paint, a series of portraits of famous Americans. These illustrations were for Heinz and were used on mailers sent to their employees to motivate them to encourage their customers to stock Heinz products. They won award points for each item stocked.

Marker layer for Teddy art

My process to create these illustrations started with using “Magic Markers” on tracing paper to create an abstract design. I sprayed the marker drawing with Crystal Clear fixative, which created a texture of spots. I placed a pencil outline drawing of “Teddy” Roosevelt under the tracing paper then applied the markers.

acetate overlay

I laid the pencil drawing of Teddy under clear acetate and painted with Pro White paint the structure of his face. When I was finished with the white painting on acetate I laid it over the marker painting. The offset printing company took a photo of the acetate over the marker painting and  positioned it with the type. A few thousands of the announcement mailers were sent by mail to the employees of Heinz. This was before computers were used to create art and print.

Today I created category tags, using a similar technique, to hang with my paintings for my one person show on Sunday May 20, 4:00pm until 7:30 pm in the Gallery Within-Webster Groves Christian Church. Below is one of the category tags.
wanderer with texture

Coconut Grove fire page 1 and 2

The Lights Went Out. Tonight I found samples of illustrations I rendered in 1987 for a story of the Coconut grove fire in 1942. The story of this fatal nightclub fire was in a small book printed by Barnell Loft,LTD. This book was used as a interactive reading program textbook. This textbook was titled KILLER FIRES. I did several more story illustrations for this series of books.I’m not sure how much i got paid for this series, which I guess probably was not a lot. It seems to me this story and the other three stories illustrated by other artists were pretty dark stories for a reading program.

Coconut Grove Fire page 3 and 4

This may have been the first and last time I illustrated burning people. I think I posed for the figure on the top right of the illustration.I probably posed for the soldier on the left side.

Coconut Grove Fire pages 5 6

This illustration shows dead people laying in the street. I think I posed for some of them and my family members posed for a few dead people.

Time final

This image I created will be included in a gallery show of my visual art in the Gallery Within Webster Groves Christian Church. It is based on photographs that I took of various clocks.This digital image was created at least five years ago. I recently printed this image on a canvas wrap print and today I started to paint over the print with oil paint. The print is 24″ x 24″. My show opening will be Sunday May 20 4:00 to 6:30pm. I will place quotes and verses from songs on the galley walls next to my painting. I want to create a narrative about life, social justice, diversity and preserving our planet, by the arrangement of my art and the words of others and myself.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes  chapter 3  verses 2-8  Old Testament

New York Bridge oil on canvas

This painting “New York City Bridge “is based on a photograph that I took while visiting New York City. It started with the photo that I placed in Photoshop and then I made a high contrast black and white image.  I placed this image over a texture layer that I created using a photo of a painters drop cloth. I had the digital image printed on a canvas wrap print and painted over this print with oil, and enamel paint. The size is 24″ high x 30” wide and is in a wood frame. It is for sale for $1200.00

This painting was accepted in a juried show at Art St.Louis. This exhibit it will be hanging in is called “Maturity and Its Muse: Celebrating Artistic Experience”The show opens on April 14-May 24, 2018. Free reception Saturday, April 21,2018, 5-7 pm.
I have created a series in this style of art.

Dominics painting Aug2017

Oil painting of Dominic

In this paining of my grandson Dominic I tried to capture his desire to always be moving. I took a lot of reference photos of him, in different locations, wearing different clothes . I selected the photo reference I used for this painting because I thought it told a story about a young boy ready to be free to run and jump. I selected the shirt he was wearing because Dominic loves to play with toy cars. The challenge for me was to show Dominic in full figure within a complex environment. I liked the way the afternoon sun was creating interesting highlights. I painted his hair with a used sable brush that had about four strands of hair left on it.
I have painted, in oil on canvas, my seven other grand children.
John Dyess April 2018

This painting of Dominic was accepted in a juried show at the St.Louis Artists’ Guild, called  Clearly Human III. This is a all- media group exhibition of artwork focused on the human figure. This exhibition runs from April 13-May 26, 2018. The opening reception is Friday April 13, 5pm – 8pm.

mlk with words final 2

I created this image of Martin Luther King Jr. that was used to promote an event at Webster Groves Christian Church, honoring Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday January 21st ,2013 ”  An art opening in “The Gallery Within” Webster Groves Christian Church featured the storytelling art of four nationally recognized illustrators living in the St. Louis area. I was one of the illustrators. There was also talk by writer Patricia Mckissack. This image will be part of my one man show in this gallery which will include the portraits I created of many of inductees into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame Museum in Atlanta Georgia. My portraits were created for a traveling exhibit sponsored by Anheuser Busch that featured the inductees. Also included in this show will be illustrations that I created about the history of African Americans for various textbooks. I will also be showing other paintings and drawings , many that have a message about social justice. This opening will be at 4:00 pm on Sunday May 20, 2018.
The mission of  The Gallery Within -located in Webster Groves Christian Church aspires to play a role in the presentation of ideas through the visual arts and thus foster conversations about diversity, inclusiveness, activism, acceptance and social justice. We offer a presentation space for artists to challenge thinking around preconceptions surrounding those who are most marginalized in society. Our visions. Visitors will see artwork in various media including painting, works on paper, sculpture, fiber, and three dimensional works presented in a secure and attractive exhibition gallery with additional space for symposia, workshops, talks, readings and openings that allow artists to express their perspectives. Topics such as racism, poverty, health and wellness, justice and oppression will be explored in this gallery as we dialogue around the greater community in an ever-changing world. The Gallery Within was founded in 2010 under the direction of artists John Dyess and Carolyn Dixon Dyess.
The Gallery Within is located at 1300 W. Lockwood Avenue, St. Louis , Mo 63122.

Charles Richard Drew

During my career as an illustrator I have drawn and painted many famous historical people. This is one of 30 portraits of Americans that I created in 1985 for the text book “America Its People and Values” 

In 1985, when these portraits were created, there was no internet to find images of the people that I illustrated. I went to the local library to find reference, and I had purchased the book “Dictionary of American Portraits” that contained 4000 pictures of important Americans from earliest times to the beginning of the twentieth century,
The way that I communicated with clients was the telephone and slow mail. At some point FedX was available, and fax machines. I shot reference photos with a Polaroid camera until one hour photo development was available.
Elizabeth Blackwell PhiBenjamin Banneker
Phillis Wheatley

Stop Killing

I’ve created four images on this theme of Stop the Killing. My first version was created shortly after the Columbine shooting. I have been an adjunct professor at Washington University School of Art in St.Louis and I have been teaching  at St.Louis Community College at Meramec since 1997. The father of my Graphics co-ordinator at Meramec was shot and died later while serving as Mayor of Kirkwood, Missouri. I usually post this image after a mass casualty shooting. Recently I have began to think about how would I react if there was an active shooter while I am teaching. I think about escape routes.

Frederick Douglas

During my career as an illustrator I have drawn and painted many famous historical people. This is one of 30 portraits of Americans that I created in 1985 for the text book “America Its People and Values”

Matthew Henson

Edward R. Murrow

This is the first portrait that I drew to establish the look of the American Portraits.

Chief Joseph


cosmic textures

This image “Cosmic Textures” started as a scan of a banana peel. I worked on the scan using Photoshop filters and brushes. Many of my Inner Space images started as photos or scans of textures. Leonardo Da Vinci said…”It should not be hard for you to look at stains on walls , or  the ashes of a fire, or the clouds ,or mud, and if you consider them well you will find marvelous new ideas, because the mind is stimulated to new inventions by obscure things” – from the book Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson  

bannana skin004

Banana peel scan

purple palette scan

I also added a scan of oil paint on a paper palette.

purple palette scan inverted cropped

I inverted the paint palette scan an combined with the banana peel scan.