Monday, June 29, 2015

Renovation studio chaos

This is what has kept me from making a decent post on the By-product in the last couple of weeks. With the kaput-ness of my computer, I have had to remove it and everything that was plugged into it too. All these devices and a spaghetti mess of cables were covered with dust. The windows were grungy. So I got to work and have been cleaning off and vacuuming and dusting and attempting to clean the windows. Today I toiled over it with mixed results. There are still annoying streaks on the windows but it is much better than before. This may not look too bad to you but to me it's maddening. You can see the white IKEA desk (child sized!) and my improvised stacks of plastic crates loaded with printed resources. The vacuum cleaner is in the center and on the desk are cleaning stuff, almighty Windex and a red kneeling pad. I have lots of oriental rugs and they need vacuuming. The printer is at upper left. This room is really nice (if crowded) when in good order and operation. I have a view out the window into urban trees, and also Greek icons (the religious type) and a hanging brass lantern from Egypt. Sooner or later all this will be resolved and I can get back to doing productive work and showing you By-products.

Canon S90 photograph. Click for larger view. OK, "Architectural Digest" it isn't.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Archangel Raphael progress

I'll show you a part of what I'm working on. This is the late-medieval-style extravaganza with angels and the Virgin Mary and My Little Pony (OK JUST KIDDING about that last one). The yellow guy is Archangel Raphael. Among other jobs, he is the angel of Healing and Medicine so I have him holding a bowl of chicken soup. OK then it's a mortar and pestle with magic herbs in it that glow pink. 

I'm done painting this image of Raphael and have moved on to the Virgin Mary. I can bring this to you and blogify because I am using a photograph here not a scanner. I am dismantling my iMac studio and am living here in Laptop and Acrylic Land, until my friend brings me the replacement computer.

Acrylic on hardboard, June 2015.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Another Wine Paradise: 868 Estate

Well, it looks like the iMac is pretty much kaput, unless it's something I'm doing wrong or the keyboard wasn't charged correctly or whatever. Usually when a gadget goes wrong, it's my fault and I'd be just delighted if an expert came in and restored it to working order, but I don't think that's gonna happen any time soon. You see my drawing here thanks to my laptop and my digital camera. Since the scanner won't work with the inactive computer and I have no space to drag it into my art studio, I took a picture of my winery art for June 20 with my Canon point and shoot camera and then processed it in Photoshop. Came out pretty good for now.

I was solo wining this "Wine Saturday," because for family reasons my Wine Buddies could not attend. I visited the new winery (established 2013) "868 Estate," near Purcellville, Virginia. This place is so new that I didn't have it in my "Earthly Paradise" wine book because it hadn't opened yet when I published. The Estate is filled with fun and interesting buildings and attractions and even has a gourmet restaurant. I could draw for days here. The wine was excellent, specializing in white varieties. The drawing above is of an 1850s farmhouse, and the color sketch shows rows and rows of baby vines in the distance. They are just getting started but I definitely want to follow this one. 

On the way home from Wine Paradise, a violent thunderstorm exploded over the hills and I was fortunate enough to find a refuge from the storm at "Darya Kabob," a Persian restaurant in Sterling, Virginia, where the kabobs were very good but there was, of course, no wine.

Tech pen ink and colored pencil on sketchbook page, about 7" x 10", June 20, 2015. Clicquez for larger view.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More Mall IPaddery

As I may have said in my previous post, I'm not getting to post here every day due to computer problems. My iMac presented me with the white screen of nothing. It will sort of work if I coax it into "safe mode" but it isn't so hot on Photoshop. So I have moved to my other gadgets, my iPad and this laptop which is nicknamed "WineMac" for vineyard reasons. Instead of a vineyard drawing though, this is from Tysons Corner Mall, just a mile down the road from me, where you can buy anything but toilet paper. Come on, Tysons, I need toilet paper, not glitzy rhinestone cropped T-shirts or neon yellow and purple sneakers.So I sat at one of their rare tables and did this interior study of 50 shades of beige, without the milling crowd of mall walking consumers. The "Nespress" comes from a "Nespresso" coffee machine shop which tempted me with espresso ecstasy drawn from a tiny, non-ecological cup. Should I get one for my daily coffee jolt? It's kind of nice to go to Starbucks and actually be outside the workplace though. 

One of my best friends has offered to pass along her 3-year-old, functioning iMac to me while she gets a brand new one. This is a wonderful gesture but I have to wait a while for her to come home from California with this machine in tow. This will be at the end of this month so for now I will blogify with my iPad which is easy to connect with the laptop though the iTunes interface would confound a physicist, let alone me. You connect with a little rectangular icon, and somewhere it says "Apps," and then you look for the one you were using, but you need to first go to your app and export your work to iTunes as a JPEG, and then you look for it and hope it hasn't disappeared. Then I turn on my air fan because it's warm and sticky and I am getting the vapors and my laptop is too.

"ArtStudio" app on iPad, June 15, 2015. Is anyone besides Tristan reading this.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Turkish Domes

I haven't been in Turkey, at least not since 1975. This study is copied from a picture book I have of Ottoman architecture. The scene here is a back alley in Istanbul. This national style with its domes and archways and interlocking forms has been greatly influential on other nations such as France and the USA. It's part of the cultural movement called "Orientalism" where designers and artists evoke the "exotic" world of the nations that were being colonized by "Westerners" at that time in the 19th century. I remember when I did visit Istanbul I was fascinated by the old apartment houses and palaces in the city, because I thought it looked so much like my native Boston, Massachusetts. What was Boston doing on the Bosporus? Or rather, what was Istanbul doing on Newbury Street? It was all about cultural inspiration. Fantasy architecture is also indebted to the Exotic Turkish Domes, above which dragons or magic-users fly.

Originally brown tech pen ink on sketchbook page, grayscaled in Photoshop, about 3" x 5". June 12, 2015.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Tinner Hill Blues Festival

I missed a post yesterday (June 13) because my main computer, the iMac on which I do my blogging and digital art, failed. It reverted to a blank white screen and wouldn't go any further. With some panicked referrals to my Mac-expert friends I was able to get the machine going again but only in what is called "safe mode" which decreases the computer's ability to get stuff done. It goes slowly, cannot download anything to my external storages like memory sticks, has no sound, and my Wacom art tablet doesn't work well. With this failure I decided to go to a live event and forget about the screen for a while. 

The Tinner Hill Blues Festival has been going on for more than 20 years in downtown Falls Church. Tinner Hill was the African-American district of Falls Church and its inhabitants and founding families have a history of civil rights achievements. The festival is in a park where many events and summer concerts take place. I sat on a borrowed chair under an awning and drew the music barn and the tents above the audience and the sound crew. Fortunately, there was no rain. There was delicious "soul food" from vendors, and beer from a local brewpub. 

Here are some drawings of some of the attendees. I always draw at concerts if I get the chance. Meanwhile I have to get my computer fixed. I'll have to drag it to the "Genius Bar" at the Apple Store in the nearby mall, or rather, find or hire someone to drag it because it's too heavy for me to lift. 

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, both drawings about 5" x 7" each.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fan Fetish

Dyan Ardais was a villain in the Darkover stories who became one of those "so bad he's good" characters. He tortured the young male hero in Marion Zimmer Bradley's THE HERITAGE OF HASTUR and attempted both physical and mental rape. Dyan, despite (or perhaps because of) his faults, became a fan favorite and the subject of many S&M fan fictions. There was always an undercurrent of sadomasochism in Darkover and other fan worlds. I brought it into the open with this bit of fan art. Dyan Ardais appears with a "cat 'o nine tails" whip and a chain fastened to a wooden post. Dyan was slightly non-human, the result of human/alien crossbreeding on the Darkover world. He had six fingers on each hand and lots of psychic powers, which he used like the dominator/master that he was. I don't miss this part of Darkover fandom. 

Ink on illustration board, 5" x 9", fall 1980.