Posts Tagged ‘John Foster Dyess’

Rosa Parks

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks ( February 4,1913 – October 24, 2005) was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement. On December 1,1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake’s order to give up her seat in the “colored section” to a white passenger after the Whites-only  section was filled.

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.

Dick Gregory

Richard Claxton Gregory was an African-American comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, entrepreneur, conspiracy theorist, and occasional actor. My portrait of Dick Gregory was a combination of a photo given to me by AB which was combined with a photo of my hand and arm.

Ralph Abernathy

Ralph David Abernathy Sr. (March 11, 1926 – April 17, 1990) was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement, a minister, and a close friend of Martin Luther King.

John Lewis

John Robert Lewis is an American politician and is a prominent civil rights leader. He is the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district, serving since 1987, and is the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. In 2001, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation awarded Lewis the Profile in Courage Award “for his extraordinary courage, leadership and commitment to civil rights.”

Henry Aaron

Henry Louis Aaron, nicknamed “Hammer” or “Hammerin’ Hank”, is a retired American Major League Baseball right fielder who serves as the senior vice president of the Atlanta Braves. n 1999, MLB created the Hank Aaron Award, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Aaron’s surpassing of Babe Ruth’s career home run mark of 714 home runs and to honor Aaron’s contributions to baseball.

I will show more inductees during the next week. This was a great assignment to illustrate.

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

graffiti 1

While walking the streets of Guanajuato, Mexico several years ago ,I noticed this graffiti on the exterior wall of a building, 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


 While walking the streets with friends in Guanajuato, Mexico I photographed this scene of a green weed growing next to a distressed purple wall. I like the idea of an old broken wall next to a new growing plant.

Frankie-Muse-Freeman copy

In 2007 I created 51 pencil and watercolor portraits for a traveling exhibit of inductees into the Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia. This exhibit was sponsored by Anheuser -Busch.  Frankie Muse Freeman who died several days ago was one of the inductees I painted.The exhibit was built and ready to go but I don’t think it ever traveled. I believe it was canceled when Anheuser-Busch was purchased by InBev

Stan Musial

During the 1990’s I created several paintings of Stan Musial, which was a speculative project, suggested by a client that knew the business manager for Stan Musial. Stan would have been happy to sign prints, if we printed the art. We didn’t make prints. Even though I didn’t earn a profit from this painting and a painting of Stan and Red Schoendienst ,I did have the privilege of meeting Stan and later this painting was part of the Stan Musial portion of the St.Louis Baseball Cardinals Hall of Fame in the old Stadium. When the Cardinals moved into the current stadium I got the painting back. This painting was based on a black and white photograph of Stan hitting five  home runs in a double header on May 2,1954  . My client provided a Stan Musial uniform shirt and I found additional reference at the St.Louis City Library. This is an oil on canvas painting.


This is a detail of my oil on canvas painting of Stan and Red Schoendienst . My reference was a black and white photo a

This is a detail of my oil on canvas painting of Stan and Red Schoendienst . My reference was a black and white photo and photos of myself wearing a Cardinals jersey from the 1950’s era and other reference photos of Stan and red.

Zeke-Adele wedding day

This photo is of my mother and father on their wedding day in 1933. This photo is one of my favorite family photos. My mother’s birthday was yesterday January 17. She was born in 1916 and died June 22,1991. The photo was a hand colored sepia print.

Adele and John

This is a photo of my mother holding me. She would have been around 23 years old.


This image began as a photograph of light refraction on a our white refrigerator. This is the final image after several steps of digital manipulation in Photoshop. The texture of this image reminded me of the texture of skin. I will have a print made of this image, and the size will be 32″ wide by 12″ high


This digital painting “Stars” is part of my “Inner Space” series


I’m working on this digital painting “Formation” which will be part of my “Inner Space” series.

Cartoon County

I am currently reading “Cartoon County” by Cullen Murphy, the son of John Cullen Murphy, who drew the comic strip Prince Valiant . Cullen Murphy was on Fresh Air with Terry Gross talking about this book. I knew I had to ask for this book as a Christmas gift when I heard him talking about his father taking Polaroid pictures of himself and his wife and children to use as reference for his Prince Valiant drawings. John Foster Dyess

I have been an illustrator for fifty years and was part the generation of illustrators that came after the generation of John Cullen Murphy. many of my illustrator friends used a Polaroid camera to take black and white reference photos. I used one until one hour print development started at Fox Photo. Now the camera used to take reference photos  is a smart phone.
I can never thank my family enough for posing for me. Below are a few of my Polaroid photos taken in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Thank you Cullen Murphy for sharing your experience of being the son of a great illustrator.

john holding glass

That’s me posing holding a glass sometime in the 1970’s

christyposing as a pilgram

This is my daughter Christy posing as a Pilgrim for a textbook illustration.

Carolyn as a cowgirl

This is my wife Carolyn sometime in the 1980’s posing as a Cowgirl ,probably for a comp of a beer advertisement.

I  also thank everyone that comments on my blog posts on twitter and facebook.