The General’s Letter

Friends, I wanted to share this graciously written letter from the General. Thank you General Thomas Mc Inerney, Portraits Inc, and Erin Cassidy.
* * * * * * * * *

Dear Glenda, 25 July 2016
Our deepest thanks for the magnificent portrait of Tom, Mona and myself on our way to England as the air attaché 42 years ago today. It is also Tom’s 42nd birthday as well as his first wedding anniversary to Yoko so this beautiful portrait was a wonderful surprise. I can not thank Erin Cassidy enough for selecting you and all the work she did to assist you in creating this wonderful portrait as well as the print you made for us. We are deeply grateful, our deepest thanks.
Tom and Mona.

A Special Family Gift – First stage – part 1

The date is June 5th1974. A loving young family, and one special B&W photograph has endured the test of time. Forty-two years have passed. The child is now a man expecting his child. The Father is giving his gift of love to his son and family. I am honored to be the selected artist for this special occasion. Thank you Portraits Inc. and representative, Erin Cassidy of Alexandria Virginia for this commission. Also a special thank you to the General for selecting me as the artist. I feel privileged to walk you through this special creative gift.


When I began learning the world of portraiture Charcoal was my first medium to explore. Charcoal work is much more like painting than any other form of drawing. A wide piece of charcoal makes a wide mark similar to working with a brush. The light manner with which it has to be handled is also much more like handling a brush than any other point in drawing. When you rub with your sponge or finger over the charcoal, it sheds a soft gray over the paper. You now have a middle tone to build your values from dark to light. Highlights can be taken out with precision using a kneed eraser molded into a point or areas can be lifted almost like Silly Putty lifting print off a newspaper.

When I first learned to use charcoal it was a love – hate relationship, I have grown to love this beautiful medium called Charcoal. Slowly I learned how to keep my drawings light then work into dark and build again into the light. Yes, there were a lot of mistakes along this learning curve. Charcoal paper comes in a huge variety of colors and types; it takes time along with trial and error to find the paper that best suits you. In my early years I used only white paper. Now I prefer a neutral toned paper because I can use the white chalk for the highlights instead of the white of the paper.

An 8 x 10 photo, the tools used for this drawing.




draw and transfer images keeping a very light touch using vine charcoal.

keeping the light touch begin a soften the lines of the vine charcoal with a sponge, charcoal stump or this handy little tool used in pastel.