Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Golden Leaf Cascade

This golden cascade of leaves was in my back yard in Cambridge, Mass. back in 1984. As it is even now, parts of some cities, even where I am now, have bits of nature hidden behind houses and apartments. I used to go on wildflower walks and "field trips" in the city. Cambridge had all sorts of woodland creatures like raccoons, skunks, squirrels, and plenty of birds. And so it is in Northern Virginia's urban area where I have just heard some raccoons chittering and where Barred Owls hoot. This yard back in Cambridge is much different now. It is a garden and play area enclosed by a high wall so you can't see into it. The house was a duplex, later divided into 4 apartments one of them mine. Now it has been all transformed into a single-family house which must be valued in the millions given its Harvard location. Sunlight was lovely in the fall with bright city leaves.

Ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 7 1/2" x 9 1/2", October 16, 1984.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Industrial Patterns 13

Here we see yet another of my "Industrial Patterns" series, in which I use industrial details to make abstract art drawings. This one isn't a real engine, I think, but rather a fanciful conglomeration of discarded debris which someone made into a 3-dimensional industrial pattern.The game-like challenge is to copy each angle, bar, wheel, or bulkhead just as it is in the photo or in real life, if you are lucky enough to be able to draw these on site.

Brown technical pen ink on sketchbook page, 4" x 2 1/4", November 23, 2015.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Aragorn Nametag Miniature

I rarely have illustrated anything from "Lord of the Rings" or other work by Tolkien, since other artists have done countless illustrations far better than mine. However in the late 70s I was friends with a family who loved all things Tolkien and they asked me to do miniature character portraits that they could wear at conventions as name tags.This is one I did of Aragorn, the king in exile who returns to claim his kingdom. Although Aragorn in the book and films was a younger man, I decided to make him greying and middle-aged, as a real exile for years would be. I was also experimenting with modern or mythic icons of Jesus and angels which influenced this portrait. The blank bar at the bottom was where the name would go.

"Aragorn" nametag miniature is mixed media on thick paper, 3 1/2" x 2 1/4", winter 1980.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Unboxing the Cintiq

I sleep by day and work by night, most days. My sleep/wake pattern resembles a cat or a fox rather than a human being. I have been lucky throughout my life that jobs I have had allowed for this type of schedule. Most people would only do this if they had to but I seem to do it naturally, as did my father before me. He would work on his music all night long until dawn. People think that my schedule is horrifying or at best LAZY and also creepy because in the winter I barely see daylight what with the sun setting at 4 PM. I am not a vampire fan. I was just born this way.

However, I get quite a lot of (art) work done and I expect that the use of the highly portable Cintiq will allow me to get even more done because I can use it anywhere, even on a pile of laundry. Here you see the interesting abstract patterns made by the unfolded cardboard supports from the Cintiq's box.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 7 1/2" x 4 1/2", November 21, 2015.

Friday, November 20, 2015

November Colors

I couldn't resist making this iPad study of colorful leaves as viewed from my window. Soon I will be making art on my new Cintiq graphics tablet and it will be interesting to compare the output of both devices. I recently went into the Apple Store and had the iPad Pro demonstrated to me. It seemed to work OK but its surface is very slick and reflective which means that it's hard to see the screen if you are outside under a bright sky. Which I often am if I do on-site work at wineries. Of course the best thing about all these gadgets is that you don't have to store the art you make anywhere except a hard drive which takes up minimal space. And you don't need messy art materials nor even a studio to work in, just hold the gadget on your lap like a real lap top and create. 

"ArtStudio" app on iPad, November 19, 2015.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

BoxScape 1999

I may have posted this image before, but after 7 years of mostly continuous bloggery, who knows. It shows the results of a flurry of material consumption by me in March of 1999. You see boxes for pieces of gear: a Dell computer, a Technics CD player, a Sears Kenmore vacuum cleaner, and other unidentifiable stuff. Of these things, the CD player and vacuum cleaner are still in operation, but the Dell computer is history. Note that I saved the beige hue of the faded sketchbook page rather than converting the whole image to grayscale.

Black technical pen on sketchbook page, 7" x 10", March 15, 1999.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

1980s Medieval Lady

As I have said before (when? who cares) I used to frequent "Society for Creative Anachronism" (SCA) events in order to draw the participants in their costumes. Much of this garb was simple and amateur-made, not like the fabulous "cosplay" of modern times. Because the garb was amateur-made, it looked more "authentic" than the operatic attire of nowadays. This young lady, who presented herself as "Lady Gwynedd of Owensrealm," wore a nice 12th-century outfit with plenty of drawing-friendly drapery. She was at an indoor event in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Just a bit of commentary here, folks....we are seeing a lot of atrocities on our screens these days, bloody barbarism and endless tribal and religious conflicts, beheaded bodies and heads on pikes, bandits and warlords and killers, and in other areas plagues that decimate villages and countryside alike. These were all features of the Middle Ages that our SCA players deliberately chose to ignore. 

Original pencil drawing on sketchbook page, 5" x 8", early 1980s.