Saturday, January 31, 2015

Industrial Workshop Interior

"Nova Labs" in Reston, Virginia has just moved into a new space which they are re-modeling into a people's technology center. I was invited to their "meet up" and was given a tour of the facility, or rather what the facility is going to be like when they've finished their re-model job. I sat in their main hall and did this iPad sketch of one of the more finished areas of the lab. The big orange air ducts on the ceiling and the white-painted metal openwork give it a late '70s neo-industrial style reminiscent of the Pompidou Center in Paris. Crafters and inventors and "makers" of all kinds are invited to participate in this new place. I might even take a class there myself, in what I want to call "Carpentry for Ladies." I've always wanted to learn how to use a hammer and saw and make things out of wood, but I was told in my youth that "girls don't do that" so I never tried. Anyway here's my iPaddery of the NovaLabs interior. The grey thing in the center is a printer for big poster-size prints, and the green bits to the right foreground are a stack of metal and plastic chairs.

"ArtStudio" app for iPad, January 30, 2015.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Blast Furnace Dragon

A blast furnace is an awesome thing, and a dragon is also awesome. Do they not resemble each other? A central furnace filled with molten metal is easily compared with the fire-breathing fantastic creature of lore. Here, elements from a blast furnace are recombined to make a dragon whose body is a hearth and whose wings and furnishings are sheet steel and openwork iron. There is a whole genus of steel dragons rattling and fuming fire-lit smoke. 

Brown sepia Pitt technical pen ink on sketchbook page, 4" x 3 3/4", January 29, 2015.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Winter branches 1998

I must have had a load of time back in 1998, because I was able to do a fully rendered color illustration on every page of my sketchbook journal. I had a lot of time but I also remember complaining that I was not "busy" enough and that I was not working hard enough to compare with my friends' "hectic" lives. Because if you had a "hectic" lifestyle you were earning your keep in society. It's still true I guess and I am still putting an illustration on each page of the journal but this year's format is brown ink monochrome as you may have noticed.  As for these winter trees, the view is the same and will probably be the same for a long time, unless climate change brings tropical foliage to Northern Virginia.

Markers and colored pencil on sketchbook page, 4" x 4 1/2", January 13, 1998.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Starbucks in the eternal now

This is the Starbucks closest to my residence, just a few blocks away. I visit there often. It has been there since at least 2000 and from its millennial origin it has dispensed coffee and other treats steadily and with no basic change other than a re-decoration or two and different furniture and displays. I can sit in there and draw and disregard time or progress or the passing of the years. If you notice, there is no clock on the wall in any Starbucks. They want you to drink your coffee and forget the passage of time at least for the moment you are there. I drew this in 2001 but it might as well have been yesterday, in a flat, shadowless winter light with the perpetual parking lot and purgatorial Whole Foods in the background. Is coffee a sacrament? If not officially so, it's close.

Sepia technical pen ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, January 31, 2001.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

More Industrial Patterns

Here's another tiny drawing of industrial architectural elements. It is not an "accurate" portrayal of a scene but rather a doodle which combines pieces from a steel mill and puts them together to make a composition. I want to do more of these and make them larger as the tiny format is hard to see. The three sketches from yesterday and today are all on the same 8 1/2" x 11" sketchbook page. 

"Industrial Pattern 3" is brown sepia technical pen ink on sketchbook page, 3 3/4" x 3", January 27, 2015.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Industrial Patterns

I've been fascinated by heavy industry since my childhood, when my family traveling in Europe would often encounter gasworks or mills on the outskirts of modern cities in ancient places. I recall the awesome sights of steel mills in Youngstown, Ohio and oil refineries in northern New Jersey. The drawings in this post are of a coal mine head (above) and some forms from a steel mill (below). I have a large collection of images of these industrial sites and I also have a good number of the photography books of Bernd and Hilla Becher, a German husband-and-wife team who specialized in photographing and documenting heavy industry. These pen doodles were adapted from Becher photographs in their book "Industrial Landscapes."

Brown technical pen ink on sketchbook page. Top image, 3 3/4" x 3". Bottom image, 4" x 2 1/4". January 26, 2015.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Phantom Stranger

The Phantom Stranger is a DC Comics character who has appeared since the 1950s. Through all those years, the Stranger is part of the story but you never learn who he really is, what his history might be, or even what powers he has. He always looks the same, always wears the same suit, hat, and cape, and is generally spooky. Some say that he is a fallen angel, others that he is a demon, and others that he is really the "Wandering Jew," who mocked Christ carrying the Cross and was consigned to wander as an immortal till the Last Judgement. I always loved the character and was glad to do this piece of fan art for a comic book fanzine.

Black ink on illustration board, 9" x 12", May 1987.

I'll try to make you some fresh art soon. I hate the lethargy of winter.