dallas_final_aOccasionally, I’ll draw a picture and I’m not really happy with it. I drew such a drawing a couple of years ago of a young lady named Dallas. Hopefully, I’ve made up for that effort – not that I didn’t put effort into it, I just didn’t like the result. The difficulty with this picture was in the source photo she is wearing glasses. She looks great in them but they presented some problems for me that I didn’t want to deal with. So I kind of “drew around” the glasses, drawing what I thought would be behind them.

Hope you like it, Dallas!



Keely at 16

20140809aHere is Keely at 16. If you look back on this blog you will see Keely at 10. She was the very first entry in this blog. She’s grown up a bit since then. This drawing was an experiment of sorts. I used a new technique I’d heard about to make colored pencils more “painterly” and I think I accomplished that. Still, I was hoping to get a nice portrait and I hope I have done that as well.


C-47 Over Normandy on D-Day


Here is the completed picture of two C-47s over Normandy on D-Day. I tried to capture the stormy night and the flak fire aimed at them. It had to have been a scary night. Not everything went by the plan that not but it was still the successful beginning of the defeat of Hitler in Europe. We should always be grateful to the brave men of that night – included our own Ray Pegram from Spindale and my church, Spencer Baptist. Thank you, Ray… and thank you brave men.


Dueling Banjos – the Final

JenkinsBanjosThis is the final of the Dueling Banjos. Actually, they should be called The Jenkins Banjos. I apologize for taking so long and not posting. My back problems just took it’s toll on my efforts. It took 66.5 hours but almost six months to finish this drawing. Hope you like it.




I suppose you’ve noticed that I’ve not posted in a while. I am currently experienceing back pain which prevents me from being able to sit and draw with comfort. I am working on the problem and will be back as soon as possible. I do miss it, so hopefully it will be soon.


Dueling Banjos #3

banjo3_1banjo3_2banjo3_3The completion of the first banjo – a Gibson Mastertone RB-6 played by Hoke Jenkins and owned by Phillip Jenkins of Rutherfordton, NC. Next will be the RB-4 played by Snuffy Jenkins of Rutherford County, NC



TimkenFinal_ARemember this guy? Where I work, The Timken Company, we have an intranet where company employees can look at company news and stuff. Every Friday, the company features an employee who has accomplished something of note. Keep in mind, Timken is a world-wide company with some 17,000 employees, so a lot of people see these features. Back in September, my drawing of the train was featured and drew a good amount of interest because of its ties to Timken from years ago.

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from the General Manager of Purchasing at our company headquarters. In appreciation of some help received from a supplier, he wanted to give the owner a gift of appreciation. It turns out the owner is a big rail enthusieist. He went to the marketing deparment in search of a Timken item that a someone interested in trains would be interested it, but they didn’t have anything. Then someone in Marketing remembered my drawing. He was interested in knowing if I had any prints of my train. I told him that I didn’t have any, but was hoping to have some when I was able to afford it and knew more about how to have it done and all those kind of details.

He wrote me back and told me that he was sure our rail sales people would like to have prints to give to customers as well as his suppliers (we are a ball bearing and steel company). His father has just retired from a printing company who does art reproduction work. They have gotten together to call in some favors and worked up a deal to have prints made of my train. While they are making prints for Timken, they will also make some for me for my own personal use. This is at NO cost for me and they are just waiting for me to send them my original and for me to tell them how many I want! I will now be able to sell these for “seed” money to have prints made of other things. Basically, my own company is setting me up in the art business!

Needless to say, I am estatic! I’ll have more details later on how much a print will sell for and stuff. If you’d like to buy one, keep it in mind and I’ll post more information. This is a Godsend, people. I’ve been praying for this and God has smiled on me. This could only happen because of Him. Y’all pray for me!


Dueling Banjos

You remember the Beverly Hillbillies? Of course you do. Remember the song? Of course you do. If you remember the song, you remember the sound of a banjo. The banjo was played by the famous Earl Scruggs. Earl grew up in Shelby, NC before he bacame a household name. He was influnenced in his three-finger style from a gentleman named Snuffy Jenkins from Forest City, NC which is where I live. Every year, Forest City has a Bluegrass festival in his name. Although Snuffy wasn’t the national household name like Earl Scruggs, he was very well know in the Bluegrass world in the 1930’s, as was Hoke Jenkins, Snuffy’s brother. Hoke’s banjo now belongs to his great-nephew Phillip Jenkins, who is a good friend of mine at work and provided the photos for the source of this drawing. This drawing will be of the banjos belonging to Hoke and Snuffy, Hoke’s will be drawn first. Follow along as I draw these two historic and extremely valuable banjos.


Cape Lookout Lighthouse – In progress.

OL_01The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is a 163-foot high lighthouse located on the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina. It flashes every 15 seconds and is visible at least 12 miles out to sea and up to 19 miles. The Cape Lookout Light is one of the very few lighthouses that operate during the day. It became fully automated in 1950.The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is the only such structure in the United States to bear the checkered daymark, intended not only for differentiation between similar light towers, but also to show direction. The center of the black diamonds points in a north-south direction, while the center of the white diamonds points east-west.

This is the progress of my pen/ink rendention of the Cape Outlook Lighthouse



Timken Four Aces… #6

Timkken13aThis is at the 153 hour point. All that is left is inking the storage building to the right and some clouds. The train itself is finished. Now for the rest of the history:

On the Northern Pacific, the Four Aces was designated Class A-1. It was the only engine in its class. It was also renumbered 2626. On the side of the cab, the name “Timken” appeared under the road number. On the tender, “All Journals Equipped with Timken Roller Bearings” was stenciled under the roadname. Number 2626 was transferred to the Seattle to Missoula run of the North Coast Limited. This run totaled 656 miles and covered 5 engine districts. When the first complete “general shopping” of 2626 was done in 1934, the driving boxes were disassembled. The roller bearings were in excellent condition and could have returned to service, but the decision was made to replace them because the locomotive had 280,000 miles on it.

NP retired the 2626 in 1955, at which time it was placed in storage. On August 4, 1957, the 2626 made its last run, an excursion loaded with railfans on a round trip from Seattle to Cle Elum, Washington. Efforts were made at preservation for the locomotive, and the Timken Company even seriously attempted to purchase the locomotive and move it back to the company’s Canton, Ohio headquarters under its own power. But the locomotive was scrapped before Timken and Northern Pacific could complete their negotiations. The 2626 was scrapped at the South Tacoma Shops in September 1958. It cost Northern Pacific $322 to dismantle it; from which it realized $5,577 in scrap metal. It seems now to have been such a waste. But at the time, it was just a part of being in the railroad business.

Timken Four Aces… #5

Timken08aFinally… after 101.5 hours, the engine is DONE! It took 90 hours to draw the front and the bottom and 10.5 hours to draw the smokebox and the boiler. Next up is the cab. Now for some more history. I hope you are finding it interesting.

It worked hard but it wasn’t always hard. As mentioned, the train was built to promote Timken’s sealed roller bearings and there was showing off to do. On one occasion, as a publicity stunt, three men pulled the locomotive – 335 tons – back and forth on level track on the Pennsylvania Railroad. Three female secretaries did the same in Chicago. This would have been impossible to do with a solid bearing engine. The Four Aces was equipped with roller bearings on both engine trucks, drivers, and tender trucks. The engine and cab measured nearly 60 feet long, nearly 15 feet high, and about 10 feet wide. The total engine weight was 417,500 pounds (208.75 tons). The driver wheels diameter (the big ones)was 73 inches (6 feet, one inch). The boiler pressure was between 235 psi and 250 psi.  The piston cylinders were 27 inches in diameter and the piston stroke was 30 inches. The top speed was designed to be 85 mph.

Timken had planned to sell the locomotive when it reached 2 years old or 100,000 miles. Four Aces reached both of these on the Northern Pacific Railway. Timken offered up 1111 to NP and, at first, the NP did not respond. The NP was not as impressed with 1111 as other railroads and the NP reported that the locomotive had a damaged crown sheet. The damage occurred when locomotive crews allowed it to run low on water near Auburn, Washington. The NP did not want to fix something it did not own, but Timken maintained a “you broke it, you fix it” attitude. Timken was under a lot of pressure to sell the locomotive because the equipment suppliers were anxious to be paid.

The NP felt that the smokebox and ash pan needed to be modified and that the estimated cost for this work was $50,000. The NP also felt that the grate area needed to be enlarged from 80 square feet to 115 square feet at a cost of another $20,000. Buckwalter didn’t think that these changes were necessary and offered to sell the locomotive to the NP for $50,000, including all of the repair and service parts. There was a contingency agreement in the contract that Timken would pay one-half of the costs, up to $10,000, if the NP decided it was necessary to rebuild the firebox within two years of purchasing the locomotive. The final sale price was $33,000. Following the purchase, NP moved Four Aces to the South Tacoma Shops where the crown sheet was repaired. The locomotive went into regular service pulling the North Coast Limited between St. Paul, Minnesota and Livingston, Montana – the longest continuous run for a steam locomotive in the United States – a distance of 1,008 miles.

Stay tuned for more…


Timken Four Aces… #4

2013-07-20_03-50-16_468-1Here I am at the 84 hour point. Hallelujah, I have finished the bottom of the engine! Next up is the top part of the engine – the boiler. No history this time, my regular computer is broken so I’m on a loaner. But DO stay tuned!


Timken Four Aces… #3

Timken07Here we are at the 70-hour mark. The bottom half of the engine is half done. The back half does not have as much detail as the front so the back will go faster. The drawing of it is complete and some inking has begun. Since the last post, a second driver is completed as well as some pipes, tubing, valves, etc. If you look in the drawing part of the back half, you can see a standing man. This shows just how big this train was.

More history…

The Timken locomotive was completed and first fired at ALCO’s Schenectady plant in March 1930. It was painted dark green with gold stripes and trim and numbered 1111. The number led to the moniker “Four Aces.” A club, heart, diamond, and a spade appeared in the number boards on either side of the headlight and was stenciled on both sides of the sand dome. The Four Aces worked on 14 railroads between April 14, 1930 and January 4, 1932. The first was the New York Central where it logged 6,582 miles all in freight service. More than 100,300 total miles were logged on the 14 railroads – 51,655 miles in freight service and 48,664 miles in passenger service. Twelve of the 14 railroads seriously tested the Four Aces. In freight service, the locomotive made 328 freight runs pulling an average of 83+ cars per trip, an average speed 29.8 mph. On the Chesapeake & Ohio, Four Aces started and pulled a 132 car coal train weighing 9,864 tons. In passenger service, Four Aces made 227 runs with an average of almost 11 cars per trip at an average speed of 41.2 mph.

But it wasn’t all hard work during this time. On one occasion, as a publicity stunt, three men pulled the locomotive – 335 tons – back and forth on level track on the Pennsylvania Railroad. Three female secretaries did the same in Chicago. This would have been impossible to do with a solid bearing engine. The Four Aces was equipped with roller bearings on both engine trucks, drivers, and tender trucks. The engine and cab measured nearly 60 feet long, nearly 15 feet high, and about 10 feet wide. The total engine weight was 417,500 pounds (208.75 tons). The driver wheels diameter (the big ones)was 73 inches (6 feet, one inch). The boiler pressure was between 235 psi and 250 psi.  The piston cylinders were 27 inches in diameter and the piston stroke was 30 inches. The top speed was designed to be 85 mph.

More later… stay tuned!


Timken Four Aces… Back on track!

Timken06I’ve resumed the drawing of the train The Timken Four Aces. This picture is at the 56 hour mark. Her you see the two from wheels and the completion of one driver (a driver is the big wheels that propel the train), the penciling of another. There are two more to do and then two more smaller wheels under the cab. This is described as a “4-8-4” train — four small wheels in front, eight drivers and four small wheels under the cab. Of course, I’ll only be drawing one side of the train so I’ll be drawing half of them.

As I mentioned before, the Timken Four Aces has a fascinating history. The Timken Company is a bearing and steel company founded by Henry Timken in St. Louis in 1899 and incorporated as The Timken Roller Bearing Axle Company. Later Timken would focus on manufacturing of bearings of all types and steel. In 1930 in the Great Depression, Timken realized that railroads would probably not be purchasing new locomotives unless they could pull both freight and passenger trains, had extended life expectancies, were more efficient, and could be used in long haul, fast freight service. Such flexible-use locomotives could address shifts in business without additional major investments in new locomotives. Roller bearings had successfully been used on passenger cars, but master mechanics of the railroads were very reluctant to use them; pointing out the weight differences between a 60-ton passenger car and a 200-ton locomotive. In an attempt to prove to railroads that roller bearings on locomotive driving axles was indeed more efficient and cost-effective, Timken offered to equip an experimental locomotive for any railroad with their new sealed roller bearings free of charge. No railroad accepted the offer. People at Timken were highly frustrated since they knew roller bearings would produce significant operational savings and maintenance costs.

Timken was convinced that their sealed roller bearings would work. One consideration was to retrofit an existing locomotive. Timken thought that the retrofitted unit would be compared to the railroad’s best locomotives. If the retrofitted unit was an older, inferior design, it would not compare well and the demonstration would be a failure. As an alternative, Timken would have to acquire and equip a demonstration locomotive with roller bearings and put it out for testing on various railroads. This would be the most cost effective means to proving the value of roller bearings.

Timken placed an order with The American Locomotive Company for a demonstration locomotive equipped with roller bearings. Not having the capital to purchase the locomotive outright, Timken convinced 52 equipment suppliers of locomotive equipment to provide their equipment with the provision that the equipment would be paid for when the locomotive was sold at the end of two years or 100,000 miles. It was the first locomotive built with all sealed roller bearings rather than the friction bearings or a mix of the two types. Timken chose a 4-8-4 configuration (four wheels under the front, eight driver wheels which drive the train, and four wheels under the cab) on which to demonstrate the company’s bearings so the locomotive could be used in all types of railroad work. This was a big train!

More history to come later… Stay tuned!


Fantasy Keely – Final!

8634_10151615616352171_11677134_n946853_10151575409037171_319510818_nThis is the final on Fantasy Keely. I’ve included a closeup of her face from an earlier post as the final photo doesn’t capture the details. It took 56 hours to draw this and every min was a joy.