broccoliworking artwork in progress by T.J.Brockelman


currently on easle: man, dog and frog


Actually the tree frog on the left is not part of the painting, but I couldn't resist taking some photos of this interesting visitor.  (Click on thumbnails for close-ups) The painting isn't done yet, but fortunately, the frog is sitting on a dry layer of paint...or unfortunately, perhaps? I think tree frogs have the coolest feet in the whole animal kingdom. It would have been neat if the he had come while the paint was wet and made little footprints here and there, and I could have painted over any areas that had unwanted footprints. I'm not going to pursue that idea though--I don't think I'd be comfortable with making a frog roll around on my paint palette and then making it hop around on the canvas.

I took the photos of the man and the dog on the same outing, on the same street. When painting from photos it helps to use multiple shots of the same subject. The more photos, the more visual information available.



I have to do something with this cable craziness. I like how the lines cut the sky into all sorts of shapes.

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lunch time

shackmonsterIt was hanging out next to Krung Thon Bridge today. We need more garbage-eating monsters like this in Bangkok. Or less litterbugs.

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new medium: ballpoint pen

The worse it is for writing, the better for drawing!  How did I manage to overlook the most common office tool all these years? I've always hated writing with ball point pens, and for over a decade I have not used one to write anything longer than a phone message.  Now, I'm totally fascinated with them, thanks to Adina Bricklin, an artist who showed me some of her original Bic pen drawings. Her pieces had such a nice soft shading quality to them that I had to try out the tool for myself.

I've found the ball point pen to be the ideal pen-pencil hybrid. It can go really light and handle all shades like a pencil, but unlike  a pencil, the marks don't smudge or smear under your hand.  And no sharpening needed--I had lost interest in pencil drawing partly because I got tired of spending more time sharpening pencils than drawing. The only drawback with these pens is that you can't undo any mistakes. With a little fixative spray, you can remove the reddish/purplish shine in the dark areas.

The cheap 5 to 25 baht ones (0.15 to 0.75 US$) seem to work best for pencil-like drawing because you can get that "dry" effect for lighter shades. Expensive writing pens usually give cleaner, more solid lines. Different brands have varying smoothness and respond differently to hand pressure. Here are some of the pens I've been using:


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past incarnations of the odalisque

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eagle guy’s neck problems

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what became “albert”


digging up some old process-photos to start off the blog...


steps that led to the collage "albert"

i wanted to get the whole image to match a "dreamy sea-wizard" look, but did not know what pieces or supporting images would lead to that.  so poor albert went through quite a few phases: bra eyes, tentacle head, big pants, no pants, etc.


click on the thumbnails below:

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