Random Selections

30 randomly selected articles from Amdall Gallery’s archives. Enjoy!

Mass Shooting Research Part 2 & Rampage Events (8/9/2017) - In the previous post, I explored Mother Jones' data on mass shooting events in the U.S. What they collected was impressive in depth, but only seems to cover a small subset of violence that falls under the "mass shooting" definition (four or more shot and/or killed in a single event [incident], at the same general time and location, not including the shooter). I'm only speculating, but it seems like these might be only events receiving significant media coverage. As I mentioned previously, gunviolencearchive.org also maintains data on mass shootings. Their publicly available spreadsheets only go back a few years, and Read More
Drawing Two Scenes at Once, First Sketch of Grandma (3/28/2018) - I'm in an unusual place with this sketching hobby right now. I can see improvement in the results to some degree, and it's making me excited to draw more. But, I'm still not that imaginative in terms of subject matter, and I am sort of running out of ideas. A natural place my brainstorming goes is, "which people/family member combinations have I not drawn yet?" I've featured my immediately family (wife and kiddos) in many, and I've sketched my sister, mom, and granny...but I haven't yet drawn my dad, or most of my wife's family.  Very surprisingly, I also haven't Read More
A Masterpiece from My Oldest Daughter (5/9/2018) - Naturally, this site is primarily focused on things that I've drawn. That makes sense, it's right there in the name; Amdall (me) Gallery (a collection of art). But, my three year old daughter drew something a couple days ago which I thought was really good for her age. I figured, hey she's an Amdall too, so technically this fits into the site's purpose! Our oldest is headed to preschool in the fall, and we've been on a wait list to get her into a Montessori school. She got off the wait list this week, so we all went to meet Read More
Getting Back into Art (9/2/2017) - Even though I have always enjoyed it, it's been years since I've actually sat down, got focused, and drawn anything. I've sketched friends, family, self-portraits, and my wife, but never my two little ones. Is it a coincidence that I have a toddler and infant and somehow haven't been able to dedicate a few hours to drawing? Yes, I'm sure it is totally unrelated. Anywho, now that they are getting a little older (relatively speaking), it's getting a little easier to do things other than just laying around. Our toddler enjoys just hanging out with me by the computer desk, Read More
Solar Eclipse (8/21/2017) - The big news of the day was the solar eclipse that was visible in a line across the U.S. Unfortunately, I was well south of the areas of 100% "totality" (total coverage of the sun by the moon). According to a map published by NASA, I was in the 75% totality band: What that meant from the practical side of things is we couldn't see anything. The sun just looked like the regular ol' sun. From what I understand though, about 100-ish miles north, they had a visible partial eclipse. Fortunately, this is the Internet Age, and photos and videos Read More
My Attempted Tribute to Emmitt Smith (5/15/2018) - A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about one of my favorite Dallas Cowboys players of all-time, who recently announced his retirement. Jason Witten is one of the greats, and would have been right at home with the great Super Bowl teams from the early nineties. Towards the end of that post, I discussed how I wanted to draw a few more tributes to my favorite Cowboys. I was in my early teens during that last run as a championship contender (how time flies), and became a huge fan of guys like Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and the Read More
Fried Eggs (8/14/2011) - It's been so blasted hot in Texas this summer, there have been some news stories asking if it was hot enough to cook various food products on various surfaces outside.  For example, bake cookies on a car hood, or fry an egg on the sidewalk.  Well, some co-workers and I took this challenge to heart, and attempted to fry up some eggs on the sidewalk outside of our building. It actually worked pretty well!  At first, we were impatiently expecting instant gratification.  Personally, I was looking for some nice sizzle, like a cracking an egg into a hot frying pan. Read More
Star Trek’s Captain Picard, This Time in Color (4/28/2018) - Back in December 2017, before I switched over to color drawings, I sketched a scene with my three favorite characters from Star Trek. It featured Captain Picard, La Forge, and Data in a crazy dream sequence from one of the more bizarre Star Trek the Next Generation episodes. Although I was pretty happy with how it turned out, I've wanted to give another nod to the show - this time in color. In fact, I would really like to circle back around for some color drawings on some of my favorite black and white subjects, like the band Faith No Read More
Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway (4/19/2018) - Welcome to the last portion of a series of posts thanking subscribers, showing my appreciation for folks out there who've viewed the site, shared advice, and provided encouragement. In part one, I discussed some favorite art sites and asked readers about the types of giveaways they might be interested in. In part two, I shared some interesting statistics (to me, anyway). Now, we're to the actual giveaway! According to the results of the poll in the first post, 80% of respondents would like a color portrait, while 20% would prefer some sort of art supplies as a prize. I decided Read More
Milestone Statistics, Unnecessarily Detailed Data (4/8/2018) - Welcome to part two of three in a series of posts thanking readers, and taking a step back to review Amdall Gallery's status as we approach a subscriber milestone. In the first, I dropped a poll asking what sort of giveaway subscribers might be interested in, and shared a few cool artists I've come across through working on this website. In this post, we're going to focus on data and statistics! Then, for the final entry to the series, we'll have a giveaway/contest. As part of this thought process related to subscribers, I also wanted to get a better idea Read More
Planning for a Dark Tower Drawing (10/8/2017) - Lately, I've been really into the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I've always been a big Stephen King fan, and I enjoy fantasy novels, so it's actually really strange that it's taken me so long to start the series. I'm currently on book 4, Wizard and Glass; so I'm right at the half-way point (please, no later-book spoilers in the comments). Actually, speaking of spoilers, there may be some light spoilers in this post from books 1-4; if you haven't read up to Wizard and Glass, and want to be completely spoiler free, you may want to stop reading. Read More
Back in Time Part 1 – High School Sketches (1/23/2018) - I was doing a little website housecleaning, and saw I had uploaded a bunch of old sketches but never made posts about them. They mostly consisted of sketches from when I was in high school and my late teens, before I took a 15 year break (wow, sounds bad when I say it like that) from drawing. The photo image quality on these old sketches was terrible; these were mostly taken ages ago, probably with an ancient iPhone of some sort. I decided to salvage what I could through sharpening and lighting edits, and re-shoot anything that needed it. Then Read More
Poor Planning Left Off Subjects, Turned Us Into Ghostbusters (3/9/2018) - The next sketch on tap, as I mentioned in the last post, was another "hometown series" sketch. I've done a football huddle scene, and one with some old friends chatting. The next sketch I started with was a close up of a couple of guys, but I realized it once again featured my buddy who was already in the first two. I'll definitely finish it later, but I decided to move to a different one with a new cast for the next post. As I've said, I don't have all that many photographs with scenes to reference. I've considered just Read More
Random Art, One with Madmartigan from Willow (2/21/2018) - I've got some random recent sketches on hand, so I thought I'd just combine a couple unrelated ones into a single post. My favorite of the bunch is a drawing from the movie Willow. If you haven't seen the movie, it's a fantasy-genre movie from the late 1980s, starring Val Kilmer and Warwick Davis. It was directed by Ron Howard, and produced by George Lucas. In my opinion, Willow is a really underrated movie. It's an enjoyable adventure, with an entertaining cast and fun banter - especially between Davis's Willow Ufgood and Kilmer's Madmartigan character. I was a kid when Read More
Matching Men’s Coat and Pants (8/13/2017) - Alright, I admit that this is probably embarrassing and sad...I have difficulty making good fashionable choices. Especially when we start talking about branching out to different colors, matching clothes, and all that. Honestly, if I could get away with it, I'd just wear khaki shorts and a black t-shirt every day at home, and gray slacks with a light blue shirt everyday at work. No variation, just easy clothes selection! That's probably not a good idea for anyone, so occasionally I have to brush up on what I can actually wear. At one point, I was trying to figure out Read More
Dark Tower Drawing – Campfire Outside the City of Lud (10/8/2017) - In my last post, I discussed an idea for a drawing related to Stephen King's Dark Tower series. I wanted to sketch Roland and his crew outside of Lud, probably by a campfire. In the first article, I talked about some of the challenges I anticipated based on my limitations as an artist. My strength, I think, is drawing people from live subjects or photos. My biggest weaknesses are drawing scenery and drawing from imagination. Once I get outside of the main subjects, I think the quality of my sketches degrades. And coming up with a scene that only exists Read More
Survey Results…Revisited (8/6/2017) - Since I recently found out that Google Forms had a large update, I went back to my old Survey on this site to see if everything still worked. For the most part, it did! I was also hoping for some improvements to the Results html/embed process, but unfortunately it's still pretty similar to the old method. While you can directly embed the form to a website (awesome!), you can't do the same with results (bad times). You have to export to a Google Sheets spreadsheet, then "publish to the web." It's workable, but not perfect. Now those are some sweet Read More
First Attempt at Art with Color (1/6/2018) - This may be a little surprising, but I've never really worked with color. Well, back when I was a kid in school I'm sure I painted something. But, in terms of art as a hobby, I haven't branched out at all from my basic graphite pencil. Exploring other websites via the Wordpress Reader has really opened my mind to it though, because I've seen so many amazing artists sharing paintings, sketches, and other mediums that exist beyond black and white. I really like what I've seen from watercolor artists, but having zero experience with paint, that seemed like a huge Read More
Mass Shooting Research Part 3; State Comparisons, GVA Data (8/15/2017) - I mentioned in a previous article on this topic that I also wanted to explore the state-by-state numbers, but needed to finish processing data from Census.gov. Well, that is now done, so I'm going to explore what I found. I think this will be my last post on mass shooting data analysis, unless something new surfaces. Previous articles: Part 1, Mother Jones Data: https://jonamdall.com/2017/08/07/mass-shooting-research/ Part 2, gunviolencearchives.org Data and Rampages: https://jonamdall.com/2017/08/09/mass-shooting-research-part-2-rampage-events/ For background, let's sum up some of what we've talked about previously. First, we should establish the definition of a mass shooting event; that is, "four or more shot Read More
Cryptocurrency Experiment – the Inevitable Crash, 6 Month Update (2/2/2018) - Well, here we are at the six month mark of this cryptocurrency experiment. Aside from half a year being a nice waypoint of time, there is quite a bit happening in the crypto world. First and foremost, it's been an absolutely wild ride over the last two months; my portfolio boomed to insane levels, then we had the long-expected and much-discussed crash...which is still happening. The second big thing is that it's time to start figuring out the tax situation on this portfolio. So, we'll unpack all of that, after the "previous article" links. Previous articles on this cryptocurrency experiment: Read More
Family Portrait, Thanksgiving Scene (This One Needs Work) (11/27/2017) - This one seemed simple enough, since I've been doing so many family sketches. I set out to draw a scene from a Thanksgiving dinner out with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, wife, and our two little ones. Unfortunately, not all art is destined to actually work...and this one I think falls into that category of "not this time, Jon." Here's what I have at this point: I started confidently enough, drawing very rough basic outlines from what I viewed as prominent shadows or similar color. It was still going fine as I went from left to right, filling in detail on Read More
Working on More Realism in Family Portraits (2/23/2018) - I have drawn four total sketches of my wife. From what I can see looking at these previous drawings, I don't think I've ever quite captured her accurately. Years ago, I did one of me and her together, and it wasn't bad. I also did a rough sketch I used for my proposal, which looked like her but was no Rembrandt in terms of realism. Then, much more recently, I made one of our family with all four of us. Although it was probably the closest to being accurate of any, I ended up basically ruining it by trying to Read More
The Dark Tower Villain Sketches (1/14/2018) - I've given significant sketching time to the heroes from the Dark Tower, but haven't done anything on the villains. Actually, maybe villain isn't quite the word for all of them. Certainly, the Crimson King is villainous, but Mia is more of a single-minded, selfish antagonist. Anywho, I decided to do a series of drawings for some of these folks working against Roland and his Beam-saving crew. Words of warning: I will discuss a bit on how the story ends for these creeps, so there will be spoilers! Abandon now if you want to remain spoiler-free about the Dark Tower. In Read More
Totinos Pizza and Chili (1/3/2018) - I'm a grown adult, rapidly approaching 40 years old. I've got children, a mortgage, probably a bunch of other stuff that might suggest a mature individual with grown-up tastes. Well, I think most people who know me might laugh at the "grown-up tastes" portion of that statement. I can find no more definitive evidence of that than my life-long love of Totinos Pizza, especially when it's topped with homemade chili. If you're not familiar with Totinos, it's a bargain-priced square pizza that is recognizable by it's bright red box (or more recently red plastic wrap) and $1-ish price. You may Read More
Inspiration from Twitter, Historical Photo Account Part 1 (4/22/2018) - It seems I'm always on the search for art subjects lately. And since I can be somewhat creatively limited when it comes to drawing, the best resources have been people I actually know and famous people (athletes, musicians, etc). I can't help it; I can draw a portrait of a real person, but ask me to create a character out of thin air? It's probably not going to be that great. Anyway, I recently came across a cool Twitter account called "History Lovers Club" (@historylvrsclub). This account basically posts various photos from recent history, many of which seem to be Read More
Is it Worth it to Wait? Analysis of Home Prices in Booming Markets (9/26/2017) - My wife and I have recently been exploring moving from Louisiana back to where we both grew up; Dallas, Texas. It's home sweet home for us, but we haven't lived there in quite a few years. Since we left, housing prices have apparently been booming...which is causing us some worry. There was some housing price parity between Alexandria, Louisiana and Dallas about 3-4 years ago, but since then Dallas has zoomed ahead with what I've read is around 7-8% annual home price growth. For a data nerd like me, this had my head spinning with questions that I knew Excel Read More
Round 2 with Color, Dad and Youngest Daughter (1/7/2018) - Now that I've gotten my first attempt using colored pencils down, I decided to jump right back into the fire and try again. I think I learned a couple of things from the first attempt, so I figured it would be good get right back into it while the lessons are fresh. For round 2, I wanted to start with a completely fresh sketch and keep the graphite pencil portion very basic. The plan was to keep it to no more than the most basic outline, and the rest would be done using color. In my first color attempt, I had Read More
Tribute to Some Good Folks (9/23/2017) - This week, my grandmother on my mother's side (we all call her Granny) had heart surgery. Fortunately, everything seems to have gone very well. She's recovering nicely, and has physically improved quite a bit even after only five days. She's my only grandparent, and my two little ones' only great-grandparent. Granny is a really kind person, and much loved by all of us. This week has naturally led me to think of her husband, my grandfather, who we all called "Paw Paw." He passed away about nine years ago, and was also a greatly loved person who we all miss. Read More
Two Concurrent Sketches, Dad and the Girls (3/29/2018) - Welcome to part two of this reckless "drawing two things at once" series. Basically, I was so pumped up from feeling like I've actually been improving, I decided to sketch two scenes concurrently. This was not my best idea, as I felt compelled to finish too much too quickly. The smaller sketch suffered in quality partially because of that. The larger drawing, though, I think actually turned out well! As I mentioned in the other post, things started out fine. I appreciated having some variety, and being able to switch back and forth. As I started layering color, I could Read More
Hometown Series, the Unfinished One (3/25/2018) - At the beginning of this month, I started something I referred to as a "hometown series" of sketches. Basically, I tried to capture some scenes of friends from my hometown, mostly from old (really? 10-15 years is old?) photographs I have. I sketched some of us in a football huddle, a couple guys chatting, and a group shot. One common complaint I shared in those posts is I just don't have that many photos. This was mostly the pre-smartphone era (except for the third in the series), so I didn't have a million sources of inspiration to choose from as Read More