Drawing and Painting of a Dolphin

This is a 15″x21″ drawing and painting of a dolphin, drawn and painted with pens, paint pens, and watercolors on matte board. The drawing started with a quick blue pen sketch, followed by deep blue paint pen. White paint pen on the white of the paper was next, which creates interesting patterns under the watercolors applied last.

Unusual placement of blue, red, and other colors in the abstract background create an uncomfortable viewing angle for a dolphin, traditionally shown underwater. Lately, I have been affected by thinking about dolphins as “the most intelligent creatures on Earth after humans”, and “should therefore be treated as “non-human persons” and granted rights as individuals.” (physorg.com)

Drawing and Painting of a Dolphin

Biography / Artist Statement – Michael D. Edens

Due to the overwhelming number of requests for more information about my life, process, and art, and my inability to respond individually in a timely manner, I’ve decided to post a broad biography and artistic statement for you to use for your research and reports. I appreciate your interest in my art, and am sincerely thankful for your positive feedback and curiosity.

~Michael D. Edens


I was born in 1980 and raised in Rochester MN, with my Mom and Dad, a younger brother, and younger sister. I currently live in Houston TX with my wife. When I was a child, I had a strong urge to create things, not just artistically, but I liked being inventive and imaginative. I enjoyed drawing and sculpting a lot, and would spend hours playing with homemade playdough, crayons, and construction paper. The enjoyment I got from these activities is a feeling I’ve pursued most of my life.

Other people, even my parents, didn’t always understand my art. Abstract art was especially confusing to the people around me, and I was encouraged to paint pretty landscapes. I enjoy pretty landscapes too, but there was more that I wanted to express. And I understood that sometimes I was able to express myself and my emotions with colors and abstract shapes.

Eventually, I found other people at school and over the Internet that understood there are a variety of ways to create art as well. It took a long time to find encouragement and support from other people, and I suppose it was never a guarantee, but I couldn’t stop creating, doodling, and sketching even if nobody else in the world affirmed my work. I also began to see there is always more to learn, both about the process of creating from other people, and about myself and how I would like to create.

As I’ve grown up, my understanding of the process of creating art continually changes. I learned a lot about technique, color theory, and practiced a lot. And every other artist’s work I see influences me in some way, whether I realize it or not. Even day to day events can influence art too, like a particularly interesting sunset, or an interesting scientific concept, or the makeup on someone’s face. I don’t walk around all the time like this, but sometimes I am able to let everything that I can sense in this world pour through me, and I let my interpretation come out on paper.

The process is difficult to explain in words, but it’s a very non-judgmental, observant process. In a way, it doesn’t feel like I’m the one creating the art. For example, I usually don’t plan on what I’m going to draw, or what colors I will use. I open up to the world around me, and the images and color choices seem to pop in to mind when they are ready. I suspect this is due to years of learning about art, and practicing until I don’t think about the process too much. I could always use some more practice, and I was about 25 years old before this process felt comfortable. However, I’m still unable to repeat it consistently.

Additionally, as all of this artistic growth was occurring during my high school years, college years, and beyond, I was going to school and working a lot. I’ve sold a few drawings and paintings here and there, many to friends and family, but I’ve been primarily working as a Marketing Specialist for businesses and individuals for the past 10 years. I love my job very much, because it allows me to be creative in a different way. But I still use the same process of taking in as much information as possible about a person or business, and creating a plan that gets them attention for their work. This creative process is a big part of my life, but again, I suspect it will change over time.

I also feel that it’s important to note that I don’t primarily create art for money. While I think most working artists are fantastic, and I would enjoy trying it someday, I currently create from a uniquely spontaneous attitude, both in subject matter and style. Also, in terms of consistency, there are times when I will draw every day for weeks or months at a time, and other times I’ll focus on activities like reading, playing games, and dealing with the day-to-day events of life for months or years at a time.

For more information and examples of my artistic process, I’ll refer you to an Interview with me in 2008, as well as to time-lapse videos of my drawing/painting process via YouTube. And for more biographical facts, there’s the original School/Work Biography and Art Resume.

I’ll end with noting that I personally don’t think there is any right or wrong way to create art. I think it’s an expression that is unique to individuals and their experience of the world, which changes over time. Practicing art the way everyone around you says it should be done can be helpful, as there is a lot to learn. But through it all, for me, real joy comes from loving and accepting myself completely, living life fully, and expressing my unique perspective. And thanks to the Internet, sharing with the world.

Thanks again for your interest in my art, life, and process. And good luck with your artistic pursuits!

~Michael D. Edens

Drawing of a Dog in a Sweater with Oil Pastels

This is an 10″ x 8″ drawing of a dog in a sweater, created with oil pastels, pens, colored pencils, and a little white paint pen. The friendly pup’s name is Johnny Cash, and he’s one of the first subjects in a new series of animal portrait art drawings. The drawing style begins with light colored pencil for the initial sketch, black pen for deep dark detailed areas, oil pastels on top, and a touch of white for highlights.

Johnny’s an awesome dog with a great sense of humor. Don’t let his day naps fool you; he loves to run laps around the house. And when he gets to go to the dog park, look out! He runs non-stop! Johnny enjoys it so much that he’s fully aware of when his owner is ready to leave, and he loves a good game of chase before heading home.

Special thanks to his owner for providing a fantastic reference photo!

Drawing of a Dog in a Sweater with Oil Pastels

Drawing / Painting of a Fedora Hat in Memory of Michael Jackson

The following artwork is an 11″ x 14″ drawing and painting of a fedora hat, created with colored pencils, markers, oil pastels, pens, watercolors, and paint pens on paper.

The fedora was often worn by Michael Jackson (b. 29 August 1958, – d. 25 June 2009) during stage performances and public appearances. The article of clothing became nearly synonymous with his image along with other accessories such as a single white glove, white socks with black loafers, and mirrored aviator sun glasses.

Drawing and Painting of a Fedora Hat in Memory of Michael Jackson

Blue Boy | Abstract Drawing of a Boy’s Face

“Blue Boy” is approximately 11″ x 14″, drawn with markers, watercolors, and paint pens on paper. The strokes are swift and gestural, with abstract shapes and lines loosely forming a wide eyed expression on a boy’s face. The accompanying video shows the drawing and painting process in a time lapse format.

Blue Boy | Abstract Drawing of a Boy's Face

Quick Sketch of a Dog Named Spot

This is an 8″ x 10″ quick sketch of my dog Spot, drawn with pen, colored pencil, and paint pen. He’s a pure white five year old Jack Russell Terrier who developed rapid onset cataracts this past week. The vet says his vision has deteriorated to the equivalent of looking through a cloudy shower door. And we learned the hard way yesterday that “fetch” will have to be put on temporary hold. The little guy has a lot of energy, and he’s still young, so I’m starting to save up for surgery. The quality of his life is important to me.

Here is one more drawing of Spot; a watercolor painting of the dog from 2005.

Quick Sketch of a Dog Named Spot

I Have a Road Less Traveled in Mind | Drawing of Meditation

I have a road less traveled in mind. Being sensitive to the external, my attention is often focused outside my body. Now I’m diving inside to explore the source of my thoughts, actions, and affect I bring to the outside world.

I Have a Road Less Traveled in Mind | Drawing of a Person Meditating on Thoughts of the Mind

It takes courage for me to watch my own thoughts. They drift in and out when not being acted upon. And it takes a lot of practice for me to be calm and sit with myself in this way. But the benefits are clear.

The calm lingers. I can think with compassion. And I’m aware of my feelings, and can see them for what they are… feelings. And this helps me make good decisions in my life.

I’m not an expert on meditation, but I’m also distinctly aware of a higher wisdom in my mind that defies what I’ve learned in a few short decades of life. It’s a Knowing of how to take care of my body, how to live, express myself, heal, and breath. It’s an awareness I suspect is always there, but rarely gets the focused attention it deserves.

But I’m thankful. Appreciative. And very excited to see where this road less traveled leads!

[I Have a Road Less Traveled in Mind was created for Art Challenge #10: A Road Less Traveled at The Artist Challenge. The drawing is approximately 8″ x 11″, created with watercolors, pens, colored pencils, and paint pens.]

Monster In My Closet | “Behind Closed Doors” Art Challenge

The drawing/painting entitled Monster In My Closet was created for Art Challenge #9: Behind Closed Doors at The Artist Challenge. The artwork is approximately 11″ x 14″ and includes mediums such as watercolors, colored pencils, pens, markers, and paint pens.

Drawing of a Monster In My Closet

Monsters in the closet, or monsters under the bed, are an interesting subject to me. I think monsters represent strong beings that are deeply hurt, insecure, and afraid, but refuse to be broken. Monsters act on fear, they isolate, and lash out in defense even when no attack is present. After all, it’s a tactic I’m sure worked before, when real danger was present.

Approaching a monster invites the biggest baddest scariest monster face one can muster. Which is commonly mixed with a heavy dose of intimidation, screaming, and flailing for good measure.

I try to see them deep down, as a being with old pain and wounds that never healed. If there is no immediate danger, I say “scream to me, monster, and tell me about how much it hurts.” And the next time I see the monster the pain isn’t as deep. Keep crying, monster. And let yourself heal. You’re safe, vulnerable, and seen for who you are, perfect in the moment.

And in time, there is a yawn, and maybe even a smile. 😉

Custom Portrait Drawings | Life Drawing Portraiture

I attended a life drawing session this week, in order to improve my portrait drawing skills. My intention is to create custom portraits for people interested in commissioning me to create artwork for them. And the life drawing sessions are a practice method that helps me take one more step in that direction.

The commissioned custom portraits are slightly abstract and may not look exactly like the subject, but they are unique, honest, and will adventurously challenge you to see yourself or the subject in a new way. My portraits are like a conversation with you. I’ll see you without judgment. And you can keep a record of an artistic interpretation of yourself.

The models in the portraiture below posed for 15 minutes each, so I didn’t get much time to hone in on details and backgrounds, but it was great practice! Mediums include pens, colored pencils, and paint pens.

Check out an example of a completed custom portrait of a woman or some custom portraits of a man.

Custom Portrait Drawing of a Woman

Custom Portrait Drawing of a Woman

Custom Portrait Drawing of a Man

Portraiture - Drawing of a Man

Abstract Portrait Drawing

Custom Portrait Drawing

Painting / Drawing of a Rose | Spring Fever

This is a drawing and painting of a yellow rose, created for Art Challenge #8: Spring Fever at The Artist Challenge! Spring is in the air and flowers are blooming. The grass is growing again and there is a bit more chirping and buzzing to be heard outside. The yellow rose is the first bloom in my garden, so I thought I would let it speak for the season and this months free art challenge!

The rose drawing/painting is approximately 8″ x 11″, created with pens, colored pencils, paint pens, and watercolors on card stock paper.

Painting and Drawing of a Yellow Rose

Sun Flower Crayon Drawing | Coloring Contest

Coloring Contest!! My friend Teya Sparks has proposed the brilliant idea of starting a coloring contest! And I even mentioned to her that I was a young fan of Rainbow Bright and Transformers coloring books! 😉 ’nuff said.

So here is my submission. Keeping with the sunny Spring theme this week I have decided to draw and color a “Sun Flower” with my crayons. The drawing is approximately 8″ x 10″ on card stock paper.

I have a new found respect for the crayon! And the contest is being judged purely on skills with a crayon.

Good luck!

Sun Flower Crayon Drawing

Sun Art | Drawings of Suns / Stars

CBS News Sunday Morning LogoThe following drawings of the sun (stars) were created in response to Art Challenge #7: Sun Art, over at The Artist Challenge. The first sun drawing is also part of the CBS News Sunday Morning Television Show Art Library.

Each sun drawing is 11″ x 14″, and drawn on paper with a variety of pens, watercolors, paint pens, colored pencils, oil pastels, markers, and acrylic paint.

The first image of the sun represents the power and energy of the source of light and color, and life, in our world. The drawing is also abstract and impressionistic. The other two sun/star drawings focus on the tumultuous bubbling reaction within a star that produces the warm colors and heat amidst the black depths of space.

The accompanying video shows the drawing and painting process for the colorful abstract sun in a time lapse format.

Colorful Abstract Drawing of the Sun

Drawing of the Sun

Drawing of the Sun and Stars

Drawing of a Turtle | Video Time Lapse

This is an 11″x13″ drawing of a turtle, drawn and painted with markers, pens, paint pens, oil pastels, watercolors, and acrylic paint. The style is loose and impressionistic with an unconventional color palette and mixture of mediums. Shades of blue and green permeate the shadows around the turtle and in the background. This creates contrast between elements like the white highlights on the turtle shell, face, and leg, pushing them forward in the composition. And the variety of mediums in the artwork creates a unique surface texture befitting the turtle and surrounding foliage.

The time lapse video shows the process of drawing and painting the turtle, and how multiple variations and layers all exist within the same artwork.

Drawing of a Turtle

Portrait of a Woman

The following artwork is entitled “Portrait of a Woman”. The slightly abstract and impressionistic drawing is approximately 11″ x 14″ and was created with pens, markers, paint pens, and colored pencils on paper. The portrait was drawn from life, as the woman reclined on a couch. A live subject helps me to capture a unique vibrancy and spirit that emanates from a person.

Interestingly, the woman in this portrait became very ill a few hours after the 20 minute drawing session. I think a certain anxious discomfort was visible before the physical symptoms of the illness were felt by her. It was a 24 hour illness, and she fully recovered.

Portrait of a Woman

The Fool | Abstract Face | Art Challenge #6

Art Challenge #6: “The Fool” gallery is now premiering at The Artist Challenge. My contribution is a colorful abstract drawing of a face that represents some of the emotions behind feeling foolish. Drawn on an 11″ x 14″ piece of paper, layers of expression were built up over time with pens, markers, and paint pens.

Vulnerable feelings of sadness and embarrassment began the drawing, and despite the ultimate attempt at a smile, the reddening of the cheeks and watery eyes add to the complex face of emotions. The fool tries to ignore what’s inside and hide from the outside, stuck in an awkward and chaotic limbo, when honesty may be the truth that sets one free.

The accompanying time lapse drawing video offers insight into the creation of the colorful abstract face and reveals a hidden layer of emotion behind the final expression.

The Fool - Abstract Face Drawing

Abstract Face | Portrait of Lines and Color

This is an abstract face entitled “Portrait of Lines and Color”. The artwork is approximately 11″x13″ on card stock paper, drawn and painted with markers, pens, watercolor, and paint pens. A few wisps of silver and gold paint pens were also used to give the drawing a shimmer from different viewing angles. The shimmer does not show up in the digital reproduction.

The accompanying video shows the drawing and painting process in a time lapse format. The video recording process offers a clear reminder of how the drawing looked during various stages of creation. And I think some very interesting images appear throughout the process that lend a certain experience, age, and depth to the final portrait.

Abstract Portrait - Face of Lines and Color

Windows to the Moon | Abstract Drawings and Paintings

The following artworks are part of a series of drawings/paintings of windows to the moon, each drawn and painted in an abstract style with different mediums. Each single window is approximately 12″x9″, containing a mix of media, including watercolors, pens, markers, colored pencils, paint pens, and oil pastels. The drawings are gestural and impressionistic, evoking a unique atmosphere when seen together or separately. The moon shines bright through each window amidst the dark night colored with black, red, and blue. Occasionally, the moon is visible during the daylight colored with blue, yellow, and white.

Abstract Drawings and Paintings of the Moon Seen Through Windows