Posts Tagged ‘art’

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.

Medgar Evers

Medgar Wiley Evers was an African American civil rights activist in Mississippi and the state’s field secretary of the NAACP. He worked to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi, to end segregation of public facilities, and to expand opportunities for African Americans, including enforcement of voting rights. He was assassinated by a white supremacist and Klansman.

In May of 2007 I was given the assignment to illustrate 51 inductees into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame that would be used in a traveling exhibit sponsored by Anheuser Busch. I have shown many these portraits in the past and for those that may not have seen them I will show a selection of these portraits.  The average size of these portraits was 10″ x 14″ and were drawn in pencil and colored with liquid acrylic paint.

Jesse Jackson

Jesse Louis Jackson Sr. (born Jesse Louis Burns; October 8, 1941) is an American civil rights activist, Baptist minister, and politician

Marian Wright Edelman

Portrait of Marian Wright Edelman, who is an American activist for the rights of children.

Con.Maxine Waters

Maxine Moore Waters currently serves as the U.S. Representative for California’s 43rd congressional district

Stevie Wonder

Stevland Hardaway Morris, known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist.

Lerone Bennett

Lerone Bennett Jr. was an African-American scholar, author and social historian, known for his analysis of race relations in the United States

Joseph Lowery

Joseph Echols Lowery (born October 6, 1921) is an American minister in the United Methodist Church and leader in the Civil Rights Movement.

cover illustration

I illustrated this small book “To Be Free” by Eleanora E. Tate in 2004. The book size is 5.25″ wide by 7.5″ high. There is a full color cover and eleven black and white interior drawings. It is a story about a teenage slave that escapes from a plantation near Beaufort, North Carolina.With the help from a man named Traveler and the Underground Railroad he he is hidden on a sail boat and becomes free when he arrives in Philadelphia. I hired two African Americans to pose for my drawings and used myself as a model for the slave owner.

To Be Free the boat builder

Chapter 1,The Boat Builder

To Be Free old Henry beaten

Chapter 2 Old Henry Beaten

Abram helping Old Henry

Abram helping Old Henry

To Be Free Abram on boat

Abram on the deck of the boat arriving in Philadelphia.

To be Free pencil 3

pencil sketch to show the art director

Abram photo 3

Photo reference of models

When Abram escaped he carried his saw in a poach because he wanted to be a carpenter, when he became free.

Abram and Traveler

Traveler finder Abram on board the ship.

Frederick Douglas

This illustration of Frederick Douglas was created for “America Its People and Values” which is a text book published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. I created at least 50 drawings of historical Americans for this book. Only five were African Americans.This book was published in 1985 and these were some of the first of many drawings and paintings that I have created of Black history. I have posted many of these images on my blog before. These images were scans from the book. I didn’t get the originals returned. 

Benjamin Banneker

Matthew Henson

Phillis WheatleyCharles Richard Drew

posters 2 Guanajuato

While walking the streets of Guanajuato, Mexico several years ago ,I noticed this torn poster “El Curso Britannico” , and took this photograph. This is one of a series of photographs of textures found on buildings and streets in this city. Additional images of my paintings ,drawings and photographs can be found on my website and fine art prints can be purchased at