Sunday, December 15, 2019


Winter comes to the By-Product and the cat is warm. I am re-blogging this sketch because I love cats, and I love the happy expression I managed to capture in it. I was over a friend's house and as always had my sketchbook with me. I first posted the drawing in September 2008. The cat-patter is wearing her heart on her sleeve, as you can tell if you look closely.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 4" x 6", December 1991. 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Family Talk at Peet's Coffee

Two Indian gentlemen had a conversation at Peet's Coffee on a dark wet day. The man on the left holds his toddler son in his arms as the little one nodded off to sleep. The "Year of Coffee" sketches and the "Domestic Still Life" theme are almost over, and the new theme for 2020 is "Fantasy Creatures." Some of them are already there in a small sketchbook from 2012 which I found while trying to de-clutter. Still making no progress in de-cluttering, I guess I need a fantasy creature to help me.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, about 4" x 3", December 13, 2019.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Deadhead Couple June 1991

As I have said before somewhere, whenever I am sketching in public there is always someone (or someones) who ask me to draw their portrait. I don't mind, as long as there is enough light and space to draw in. These lovely young people were Ron and Kendra from Central Pennsylvania. They had driven all the way to DC for the show, as had other Deadheads. But I don't think these were "lifer" devotees, they were just having fun in mid-June. I would be surprised if they still were together in any way; but there have been instances of Deadheads marrying and having little fuzzy Grateful Babies. I sent them a copy of this sketch which they kept as a souvenir.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 7 1/2" x 9 1/2", June 14, 1991.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

What, more Grateful Dead?

Grateful Dead Talmudists, I have FAILED you. There are people (and I know at least one of them) who can tell you not only where the Dead played at any point or place in their career, but can tell you which songs they played. My own Deadshow memories are not that clear or comprehensive but if I had risked my life by pulling my journal books for 1991 off the upper closet shelf, I could have supplied CORRECT information for you. The lack of information made me do it. I pulled 1991 down and found out that the first Deadshow that I lavishly illustrated was held in a DC-area sports arena called the "Capital Centre," in Landover, Maryland. The moist weather and the playing of "Dark Star" also was at the Capital Centre, but the concert was in June, not March. I found more "Cap Centre" sketches from that June concert too and here are some of them.

The dancing girl at upper center is holding her index finger up - not in a rude gesture nor as a statement of supremacy ("We're Number One!") but to say that this fan is asking for tickets to the show, either legal or illegal. There was a tradition among Deadheads that some generous souls would buy extra tickets not to sell but to give away to worthy souls at the parking lot scene. Of course there were always scalpers as well but were their tickets legitimate? The Dead had a humorous song called "I Need a Miracle," and ticketless fans sought the grace of the ticket-givers, going to the arena just in case they could get a free one. They held their finger up to say, "I need one ticket!" Other fans would hold signs asking for tickets, with "I Need a Miracle" written on them. I don't think the Dead worried too much about this practice but it was technically wrong.

The Cap Centre was decommissioned in the later 1990s and a re-built version was demolished in 2002. By then I had moved on to other things, with only fond memories and a lot of dusty cassette tapes.

Black tech pen on sketchbook pages, 7 1/2" x 9", June 14, 1991.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Snow Galaxies

It snowed last night after the rains, and I thought about the colors in the darkness. If I had the ambition I could make winter holiday cards out of this but I don't have a printer and am not quite sure that this is what I want. I will probably use the spray and hand painted style. I've done hand painted cards for more than thirty years, before I moved to the DC area. My miniature artificial Christmas tree has seen better days. It's a different world with all the gadgets and social media. I refuse to be on Twitter. I am not an "influencer." But I am on Facebook somewhere.  A light coating of white outside, made out of uncounted galaxies, each one different, will melt in the morning.

Photoshop, 7" x 10", December 11, 2019.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Re-enactors memories

The folks on the right side are, or were, good friends of mine from the science fiction and fantasy community. Their interests were wide-ranging, so much I can't begin to list them. I used to visit them often and we would talk about theology, comic books, esotericism, history, and historical re-enactment. At the top was Jim, the husband, whose genealogical research went all the way to the Middle Ages. They had a constantly changing roster of cats who were mostly friendly. Center lower is the re-enactor herself, Sharon, who passed away recently. She used to tell me stories  about re-enacting Civil War skirmishes in Massachusetts, in the role of a Confederate cavalry officer, which I bet went real well in that state. She's dressed here in part of her old uniform. She didn't re-enact in the real South, one reason being that women were not allowed to play cross-dressed. The young man on lower right is Brian, their son, who loved trains - hence the engineer's cap. On upper left was a tiny logo, inspired by the designs of Picasso, which I drew from a Grateful Dead song, "Picasso Moon."

As I said earlier, Sharon died this fall and I will remember this fascinating if eccentric family as long as I live.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 6" x 9", May 9, 1991.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Color Study 1: Kandinsky gets an iMac for Christmas

This is what happens when you mash up High Art with our trivial culture. You get Vassily tapping out colors and light on that famous screen, shiny with red and green bits to suggest the corruption-racked Holiday Season. I'm not feeling that jolly with someone fit to impeach. Well if you want nutjobs you can always go to Trader Joe's for a crunchy mix.

This was created in a hybrid way, just like a Toyota Prius. Red and green off the screen is scanned in markers, and on the screen are Kandy shapes of the same color. It's not a Colorform, it's not a doodle, not a Geometrikon, not a "K-series"'s an abstract tryout that the 20th century artistic types worked on without too much humor. So put this in your pipe and
smoke it, Kandy-man.

Markers and Photoshop, 5" x 5 1/2", December 9, 2019.