Raven II


17″ x 11″ Acrylic impasto on canvas paper, applied using only palette knife. 2015. Reprise of an earlier subject, using a different technique. Attempting to develop a “linealist” style where many small lines of pigment are composited to render the full image.


Monarch Butterfly on Frostweed


10″ x 10″ Acrylic impasto on canvas paper, linealist style. 2015. Pigment applied using palette knife only. Attempting techniques learned in Maria Lyle’s Illustration Techniques class last year at ACC. Referencing a work photo I took last autumn in my yard, when we had an unusually heavy butterfly migration through here lasting several weeks.

Cici and LIM


6″x10″ Prismacolor and Verithin colored pencils on Strathmore Bristol Vellum. My daughter-in-law Cecilia with her pet cat Lady Inquisitor Le Mew. Drawn from a photo to practice blending and contrast. Harder and more permanent Verithin pencils establish the basic drawing and dark color baseline. Softer and brighter Prismacolor pencils enhance color composition and blending. The scan image did not capture the paintings colors accurately, so color levels have been adjusted to better present the picture’s character.

Pecos Shamans


Acrylic on canvas, 2011, 16″ x 20″,  framed. Depicts colors, textures, forms and themes used over 3,000 years ago by artists of Pecos Valley rock shelters. The palette is limited to natural pigments available to prehistoric rock painting: carbon black, red ochre, yellow ochre and shell white, in addition to colors employed for rendering the rock face. Interpreted from photograph by John Hafner, 2001, by permission.

These prehistoric pictographs were probably created over 3,000 years ago by the people then living in the area.  The area is being studied extensively. A number of books, photographs and web sites are available for further understanding.  The archaeological sites are protected and preserved by several cooperating organizations including the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, the Rock Art Foundation, and the Archaeological Institute of America SHUMLA School.  You can access some of these awesome pictographs much more easily and conveniently than John ever did by visiting the Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site west of Comstock, Texas.



I colored outside the lines on this class assignment. Master artist and instructor Maria Lyle demonstrated an entirely different technique from this, for the acrylics illustration assignment. But as I was mixing my colors I started laying some directly on the canvas paper because it was a hot day and the paints were drying too fast. I started having entirely too much fun painting with the palette knife, which I had never tried before! So I just kept going, playing all the way! Maria was nice enough to give me some expert pointers in this direction, and I was happy with the result. Maria is a patient instructor who constantly tries to bring out the best work from her students. I highly recommend her courses!

Cici’s Cat


“Le Chat du Cici”

8″x8″ Prismacolor and Verithin colored pencils on Strathmore Bristol Vellum. Another picture of Cici’s cat, working from a photo to practice blending, contrast, chroma and value. This drawing was done as a study prior to the last picture posted of Cici’s cat.

Acoma Pueblo Church


18″ x 24″, Acrylic on canvas, framed. Color Study No. 7, 2009, an original painting by Michael Alvin Hill. Repeated elements and symmetries unified by perspective intensifies depth and sense of purposeful strength. 

Interpreted from personal photograph, taken 8/24 1989 with permission of Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico. Ansel Adams first photographed this architectural masterpiece in 1941, from a slightly different perspective. The church was undergoing some renovations at the time I took my own photo. I omitted the scaffolding from this rendering. 

An excellent article on the Acoma Pueblo is written by David Zax in the May 2008 issue of Smithsonian Magazine entitled “Ancient Citadel.” 

Upright Prairie Coneflowers


“Upright Prairie Coneflowers” 8″x8″ Prismacolor and Verithin colored pencils on Strathmore Bristol vellum.

“… let it be remembered that this really the aim of all art; to give us some comfort by helping us to comprehend, to mentally master what we can never get the best of physically.”            – Jeffrey Feinman, “The Mysterious World of Agatha Christie” (biography)