young female model oil on canvas 16 w x 20 h

This oil on canvas painting was created in the 1980’s and was painted from a model with other illustrator friends of mine. Most of this painting was completed during a two and a half hour session. I just removed it from a storage closet last week. I still like this painting.

native American illustration

illustration of North American Indian. Mixed media on illustration board, created in the 1970’s

From 1969 until 1980 I was employed as an illustrator at Maritz Motivation Company. During those eleven years I created many illustrations, usually of famous people or travel scenes. It was important for my career as an illustrator and provided some national recognition for me.
I have many of these illustrations stored in my house on shelves and inside  boxes. I now have to make decisions on what to do with these illustrations, whether to sell or throw some of them away. After over fifty years of illustrations stored in my house I need more room for new paintings that I am creating.
What is the value of these paintings and illustrations?
Some of these paintings and illustrations are featured on this post.

New Orleans Musicians by John Dyess 1970's 10 h x 19.75 w

“New Orleans musicians”, by John Dyess  was a proposed illustration for a mailer sent to a client’s employees. This was to be used to announce an incentive program to win a trip to New Orleans.

Simon Bolivar Maritz illustration 1970

Illustration by John Dyess  for an announcement for a motivation program with the top sales people being awarded a trip to Venezuela. This marker on tracing paper illustration depicted Simon Bolivar. Created in the early 1970’s. Lots of technique, which was popular in the early 1970’s.


“Benny Goodman Quartet”. Pencil, ink and spray marker on illustration board. Late 1970’s by John Dyess

What is the value of these paintings and illustrations? I’ll have to decide. Thank’s for looking at my blog.

Grocery Cart

Grocery Cart by John Dyess

Does the subject of a painting or lack of a subject change the value of a painting? I’ve created illustrations professionally since I was 22 years old. My illustrations have always had a subject in them and usually a story to tell. Creating illustrations with a subject has provided me with an income to buy things, and pay taxes. My illustrations were created for clients to sell a product, educate children, inform, and tell stories.
Now I create paintings to please myself. My paintings still have a subject and sometimes tell a story.
Grocery Cart is one in a series of paintings that I call “Black shapes and textures”.
My painting Grocery Cart is based on a photograph that I took in a grocery store parking lot.  This Polaroid photo was taken many years ago to use as reference  for a commercial illustration assignment. Recently I was sorting through old Polaroid photos and found this photo. I scanned it into my computer and added a texture that I had painted. Now for me this image of an empty  grocery  cart represents hunger and homelessness.
I have included in this post a comment my friend “Dev”  made about my blog post “What’s the value of a painting”  page 1. Thank you Dev, your comment means a lot to me.

“It allows you to express something inside you – like what you saw when you looked at the fruit. Maybe it was a sense of awe, maybe you were struck by the color or the arrangement or the shadow and light but the art reflects that inner experience. Or perhaps you use the fruit as a metaphor for abundance or what have you. For me the viewer, I can experience what you did by “seeing through your eyes” or I can recall fruit from my past that had meaning for me. I also can just enjoy the beauty of the work, or sense the emotion, or find my own meaning.
At any rate because you chose to paint this and I saw it we connected at some level and shared an experience. I think that is what art does (and a whole lot more but I won’t continue to fill the page!) Now I’ll read page 2.  Dev

End of a Season

End of a Season by John Dyess

My mixed media painting “End of a Season” was in my one man show “to Everything there is a Season” which was in the Gallery Within – Webster Groves Christian Church. The opening was on May 20, 2018 and ran through July 8, 2018. My daughter Christy purchased this painting ,which is hanging in her home. There were 77 paintings and drawings hanging in this show and this was one of the paintings she purchased. For her it had value.
This painting is based on several photographs  that I took. I found a dead bird in the backyard of a home I lived in about 10 years ago. For me this dead bird still had value as a subject matter and metaphor for  life ,death, and change. The time of year was Fall and there were fallen leaves on the ground. I placed the bird on a yard  glove and laid the glove on the ground on top of mushrooms and leaves, and took a photograph. I placed the photograph in Photoshop and added texture to the photo. I printed a black and white print of the digital image, on bond paper and  mounted the print on illustration board. I hand painted it with liquid acrylic paint.

Prints of my paintings and drawings can be purchased at

Wicker basket with apples and pears

Wicker basket with apples and pears by John Dyess

Because I have been creating paintings, drawings and illustrations for over fifty years, I’ve been thinking a lot about the value of my “art”. The apples and pears in a wicker basket, that was my subject matter, for this painting, were eaten and had value as food to nourish my body, but my painting can only be looked at.




This post shows the step by step process of applying color to my Red Tailed Hawk drawing. I used liquid acrylic paint applied on a matte paper print of my drawing,
I will post additional painting steps of My Red Tailed Hawk painting soon.


hawk painting 1

Step one of Hawk painting.

drawing board 1

My drawing board with Hawk painting and my photos I used for reference.

pallette 1

My butcher traypalette with liquid acrylic paint on it.

hawk painting 3

Hawk painting step 3

Redtail Hawk pencil drawing

This week I have been creating a drawing of a Red Tailed Hawk, which is based on photographs that I took. My Red Tailed Hawk photos were taken at the World Bird Sanctuary that is located in St.Louis County, Missouri. The background is based on a photo that either my wife or myself took while visiting a friend in Colorado. The branch I made up, with no reference.

Redtail Hawk photo

This is one of the photos that I took of the Red Tailed hawk, at the World Bird Sanctuary.

red Tail Hawk head

This is a photo of a close up of the Red Tailed Hawk’s head.

poster edges bw

I placed the photo I took of the body into Photoshop and created a digital drawing.

branch 2

I created the branch drawing in pencil on tracing paper and made a scan of it.

red Tail Hawk head poster edges

I decided to change the head angle and combined it with my body drawing of the Hawk.

landscape photo

This is the photo that my landscape is based on.


I made a pencil drawing on tracing paper and after making a scan of it I combined it in Photoshop with my branch drawing.I then combined this drawing with the Red Tailed Hawk drawing

I made a print on Epson heavyweight Matte paper of the completed digital drawing and mounted it on heavy weight drawing paper. Today I have begun painting over the print with transparent liquid acrylic paint. I am going to post the step by step painting process soon.


Red Flower drawing

I just completed my drawing “Red Flower” on Monday August 20, 2018. This will be included in my body of drawings that I call “A Walk in the Woods” It is based on a photograph that I took at the St. Louis Botanical Garden. I created a black ink drawing on bond paper using a 000 Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph pen. I added the color using liquid acrylic ink.The size is 11″ x 17″ I have been a professional illustrator for over 55 years and have always created personnel art when I am not working on illustration assignments. I am currently adjunct faculty at St.Louis Community College at Meramec, and have taught there since 1997. I have also taught at the School of Art at Washington University, and Jefferson College. I begin teaching an illustration class on Friday August 24 at St. Louis Community College at Meramec.    John Foster Dyess


Adele kestler wearing a lace collar

This is a photo of my mother at about 16 years old.This is one of my favorite photos of her. I like the hand colored look and the lace collar.

Zeke-Adele wedding day

My mother and father on their wedding day, August 1933. My mother would have been 17 years old. My father would have been 23 years old. This is another hand colored photo.

1933 was the worst year of the depression with unemployment peaking at 25.2% with ( 1 in 4 people unemployed ) this year . Adolf Hitler became the chancellor of Germany and opened the first concentration camp at Dachau. 10’s of thousands travelled the road and rail in America looking for work , and the US banking system which was under great strain was propped up by the US government ( US banking act of 1933 )to try and stop the panic of people withdrawing their money from the banks. the continuing drought in the Midwest made even more of the land into dust bowls


Adele kestler 10?

This is my mother Adele Kestler around age 10

Adele 1932

My mother Adele kestler age 16

Adele sitting on auto August 1932

My mother Adele is sitting on my father’s automobile in 1932, when they were dating. Her father john Kestler died when she was 13 years old. She went to work sewing after she finished 8th grade and didn’t attend high school. This photo may have been taken in Dittmer, Missouri. I believe the auto is a Model A Ford ,around 1930, probably black in color.

Dittmer is an unincorporated community in western Jefferson County, Missouri, United States.[1] It is located about 14 miles northwest of Hillsboro on Route 30. This is shown on an early railroad map published in 1891 as “Dittmer’s Store.”

A post office called Dittmer’s Store was established in 1870, and the name was changed to Dittmer in 1899.[2] William Dittmer, an early postmaster, gave the community his last name.[3][4]
1n 1932 the United States was in a financial depression. I not sure if this was the reason my mother had to work in a factory and not attend high school.

The initial economic collapse which resulted in the Great Depression can be divided into two parts: 1929 to mid-1931, and then mid-1931 to 1933. The initial decline lasted from mid-1929 to mid-1931. During this time, most people believed that the decline was merely a bad recession, worse than the recessions that occurred in 1923 and 1927, but not as bad as the Depression of 1920-21. Economic forecasters throughout 1930 cheerily predicted an economic rebound come 1931.