Happy Holidays 2016

Being that I was the artist-in-residence at Sequoia National Park this year I thought it only fitting to have a sequoia tree on my holiday card.


Happy Holiday Mouse


It was the night before Christmas, and all throught the house

everybody was celebrating, including the mouse!


Santa Dude!


Of all the holiday products I've created and have available online, who would of thought that this year's big seller would be my Skateboarding Santa line. Well, it has been a strange year.



Lost my Holiday Cheer...

Well my Christmas cheer just went out the F!@#$%! holiday window -- seems some unscrupulous scourges have been ripping off artwork from my free holiday coloring page website and stripping off the credit, URL, and copyright info and putting it on their website. (Pictured is just one example found by a follower on Pinterest.)  

Hey, you cheap-thieving-jackass-losers, I use the few dollars generated by people visiting the site to fund my personal charity project, Art Mends (www.ArtMends.org.) You see, if they are clicking on your link instead going to SantaTimes.com, some kids in the county hospital are not going to get the art supplies that help them mend and make their stay in the hospital a little more bearable.
Just one example of the many images that are regularly lifted from my websites and altered.


Secret Santa Cards & Gear

Being a Secret Santa this year? Then stop by the Secret Santa Store and pick up your gear.
Lots of fun stuff to choose from there.


The Quack Frog

An Aesop Fable

     Once upon a time a frog came forth from his home in the marsh and proclaimed to all the beasts that he was a learned physician, skilled in the use of drugs and able to make well every disease.  A Fox asked him, "How can you pretend to prescribe for others, when you are unable to heal your own lame gait and wrinkled skin?"


Turkey Lurkey & Chicken Little

"Turkey Lurkey, the sky is falling!" said Chicken Little
"We must run and tell the king!" said Turkey Lurkey


Going Ghosting?

Get an early jump on all the joy and excitement of Halloween this year by going "ghosting." Halloween ghosting, also known as "boo-ing," is a great holiday tradition that can be a lot of fun for everybody. The best time for ghosting is just after dark, a day or two before Halloween.

Ghosting usually involves a "ghost" and a responsible adult anonymously leaving a small bag of wrapped candy treats or small Halloween novelties and a "You've Been Ghosted!" notice on the doorstep of a neighbor or friend. That neighbor in turn makes up a small bag of Halloween goodies and anonymously leaves it on the doorstep of another neighbor or friend, and so on.

Once "ghosted," the "You've Been Ghosted!" notice is usually hung on the door or displayed in the window to let everybody know not to "ghost" that house again. Click here to get a "You've Been Ghosted!" door hanger. (image above)

CAUTION: When sneaking around the neighborhood in the dark be sure to carry a flashlight and watch your step. Have fun, but be safe!


A Little Entomology

chrysalis of a monarch butterfly

Ever wonder what goes on inside the chrysalis of a monarch butterfly? It's a really amazing transformation -- especially the first part of it. Some spot art of mine from the October 2016 issue of ASK Magazine for kids 6 -9 yrs.


Gila Ben Goes to School

Gila Ben's A to Z Arizona Coloring Book being given out to students at Creighton Elementary School in Phoenix
Gila Ben, the Friendliest Gila Monster in the Grand Canyon State, is making his way to schools all around Arizona. Gila Ben's A to Z Arizona Coloring Book, being handed out to students by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, is a creation of mine. The superintendent's office was gracious enough to ask permission for the nonexclusive  reproduction rights, and I was gracious enough to oblige. And, since our Arizona schools (kind of like artists) are perpetually underfunded, I was glad to provide the art and the rights gratis.

Sorry, I don't have any information about distribution of the coloring books. However, you can always contact the Superintendent's office about the needs of your school and for details about the Arizona Department of Education's version of the coloring book. For more info about Gila Ben and some free coloring pages of official Arizona state symbols for educational use go to www.GilaBen.com



Plaguey of the Grand Canyon (and other National Parks and National Forests)

Meet Plaguey the Squirrel (tm). Learn why you should never pet or feed Plaguey. Download Plaguey's coloring page here. (This is for the lady on the Grand Canyon Rim Trail that choose to ignore the posted warning signs and just had to pet Plaguey.)



Marie Antoinette at the Guillotine

Marie Antoinette at the Guillotine --Copyright Mark A. Hicks

With apologies to my wife and daughter. (They have royal Habsburg blood in their veins.)

By the way, although often attributed to her, Marie Antoinette never said, "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" or loosely translated, "Let them eat cake."


This Rocks!

Found (if you know where to look) in nearly every corner of my native state of Arizona, rock art is one of the oldest forms of human communication and one of the most fascinationing as far as capturing the imagaination. That is why I chose it as my design for my entry in this year's Graceful Envelope Contest. This year's theme was communication.

By the way, in case you ever wondered, the logo for the Carefree Artist blog was inspired by rock art.


Creating Art in a National Park

Recently I was the official artist-in-residence for Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (the first one ever, they told me!) The residency was all volunteer and I provided all the materials for the program. I donated the original art produced there to the parks as well. The purpose of my residency was to create artwork and materials that could be used for programs in the parks now and in the future. I also created artwork that I presented at the end of my stay that highlighted many of the wonderful little things of nature that also exist among the giant majestic sequoia trees. Judging by the enthusiastic response of all those who came and participated on presentation day I think it was a success.

During my week in Sequoia -- I actually only had five days to work because of travel and the presentation day -- I created numerous photo-op masks, coloring pages, and several watercolor and acrylic paintings and lots of thumbnail sketches. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to create among by the peacefulness of nature in a historic, secluded rustic cabin. My only regret? Not having more time there to create even more artwork.

Thanks to all the great people at SEKI for the invitation to create art in the park!

UPDATE: In October 2017 the Jr. Ranger Book for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks won a 1st Place Interpretive Media Award for Site Publication from The National Association for Interpretation (NAI.) I illustrated the activities and spot art for interior pages. Read more about it by clicking here.


And here are a couple of watercolor sketches of Kings Canyon.

Interior pages of Sequoia NP Jr. Ranger Book
Above are other pieces of artwork created for SEKI including Jr. Ranger Book artwork.  In 2017, the book and the creative team that put it together was awarded First Place for Site Publications by the National Association for Interpretation (NAI). More info here. I have also created artwork for Pinnacles National Park and Grand Canyon National Park as well.

 Please note: I'm always interested in volunteering to create art, etc. for our National Parks. If you work for a National Park and need artwork please feel free to contact me. Click here.