Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Approaching Storm, Culpeper County


On the way home from central Virginia I saw spectacular huge clouds on the western horizon, bringing with them darkness and an abundance of rain. There was no place to stop and make a sketch so this rendering is from memory. Drawing from memory is less verboten than drawing from a photograph. Also when you're doing a scene from memory, you are the God of the image world so you can add or remove anything you want from it. I added a vineyard, naturally. The place I am remembering here is close to the "Old House" winery near Culpeper, which needs a visit from me as I missed it on my way past that area. 

From the look of it you'd think this was a watercolor but no, it's done with markers. The alcohol-based markers include Copic, Prismacolor, Pantone, "Touch," and Chartpak. They can blend on your page and look just like watercolors. They come in hundreds of delectable and natural-looking shades. The only problem with these markers is that their colors are all fadeable and so cannot be used for final art pieces. You have to scan anything you do in marker if you want a permanent image.

This is another piece for the upcoming second volume of my winery drawings, "Virginia Under Vine." I am hoping for a fall 2017 release date but that is tentative. Winery drawing is not as easy as it used to be for me though I take the opportunity to go when I can.

"Approaching Storm" is markers on sketchbook page, 11" x 7 1/2", August 24, 2016. Clicquez for larger view.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Kinkadian at Honah Lee


I am back from vacation now and back at work in the studio. This piece is the only winery drawing I did on my vacation days, at Honah Lee Winery near Orange, Virginia. I just didn't want to "work" while on holiday. Honah Lee started out as only a vineyard making no wine but this year they are licensed and putting out their own brand of wine which is quite nice both white and red. They have also built up their location to make a wedding venue complete with garden path and a gazebo, which makes it look like a painting by the unfortunate Thomas Kinkade. They have a big white event tent for the guests. "Honah Lee" is of course from the famous Peter, Paul, and Mary song "Puff the Magic Dragon," and their logo has a dragon and wineglass combination.

Brown tech pen ink and colored pencil on sketchbook page, 8" x 7", some color added in the studio, August 18, 2016. 

Blogging will resume now.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cambridge Cornices 1984


I lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts for about 13 years, some of those times suffering in grad school dorms. The rest were spent in an 1890 vintage house only a few yards from Harvard Divinity School. During the 1980s I studied architectural drawing at Harvard's Graduate School of Design and did numerous studies of older Cambridge housing. My neighborhood was full of these wooden houses, many of them in poor repair. This one above was in better shape. I love the elaborate woodwork and cornices above the door and upstairs window. Houses like these exist all over America especially in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic (Pennsylvania and New York, for instance) states. Here in Northern Virginia most of the old houses have been whisked away to be replaced by nondescript apartment complexes, McMansions, and glassy office buildings.

Black ink on illustration board, about 8" x 10", summer 1984.

No blogging for the next few days, I'll be on vacation.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Gothic Utility Shed


I go by this building just about every day. It is a storage shed for utility and maintenance equipment. Many years ago when I moved into the apartment complex this space was a basketball court but it attracted gang activity and after an incident that nearly turned into a riot the court was removed and this building was placed there instead. It is made of modules of aluminum and its shape is referred to as "gothic," due to its pointed roof line. I love the idea of a gothic chapel of landscaping equipment.

While I was drawing this sketch (and sweating profusely in 90+ degrees heat) a young man came up to the step I was sitting on and admired the drawing. He didn't know any English and I know almost no Spanish but I got the idea from him that he wanted to take a picture of the drawing with his camera phone. So I displayed it to him and he got the picture. This happens a lot when I draw in public, now that everyone has a phone which is equipped with a camera.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 6 1/2" x 4", August 14, 2016.

I missed blogging yesterday, that is, August 14. I drew but did not blog. I blame the Olympics which I cannot resist watching, and it took up my time and made me forget about everything. I apologize even if you never noticed my little failure. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Iron wheel


Back in the 19th century and early 20th century, work was really WORK. Dirt-covered men slaved in factories of grinding iron machinery, while stacks poured out billows of black smoke. It didn't matter whether you had an education or even whether you could read or write, as long as you could turn a wrench or wield a hammer. Yeah, those were the days of real MAN'S work, and you got paid well for it. None of this sissy stuff of modern times where you sit for 10 hours in front of a computer screen and someone pastes shit together with a three-dimensional printer, whatever the hell that is. Who will make the iron wheels turn again? I don't use the friggin' Internet. Who will bring back jobs for the strong and uneducated? Where will we go when the machines take over all our work? Will we sit with the old ladies and string beads and weave baskets? 

Black industrial smokestack tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 4" x 3 1/2", August 13, 2016.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Deryni Pageantry


I am a longtime fan of Katherine Kurtz's "Deryni" world and writing, as well as a good friend of Katherine herself. She packs her books with vivid descriptive scenes that inspire me as an illustrator. Many years ago when she published the first two series I did some experiments on how I could best present these books as illustrated work. These black and white images would be a cross between the work of H.J Ford in the various colorful fairy tale books, and the perennial favorite set in medieval times, "Prince Valiant." This illustration above was one of my experiments, mixing printed text with ink drawing. I went on to do other sample varieties including some "traditional" comic book pages, but didn't publish any of it except in fan zines.

Black ink and computer-printed text, 7 1/2" x 9", August-September 1993.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Starbucks Boy


He is Privileged and will never know prejudice, deprivation, and violence. He is studying to become something that will make him a lot of money. In a few years he will be a Washington consultant, providing curated information for his clients. There are other stories you could tell about him. Maybe he is studying engineering or law. He is not studying Latin. His briefcase/backpack is made out of real leather and his little computer is up to date. He may be the only white Anglo boy in his class, or he may be in a class composed of all white boys like him. Whatever he is, I will still be sitting drawing random dudes at Starbucks while he moves ahead in his career.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 3" x 4", blah blah blah.