Saturday, March 23, 2019

NoRuz 1998 Persian New Year

Despite the ice falling from the sky in my area, it is Springtime and the season began on March 20. March 21 and the Spring Equinox is designated as "NoRuz," the Persian New Year. I made sketches of NoRuz ceremonies during my time with the Zoroastrians of the Indian Parsi and Iranian diaspora and this was my Equinox sketch for 1998. The traditional "NoRuz table" is laid out in homes and restaurants and displays abundant flowers, a variety of symbolic fruits and sweets as well as coins (symbolizing prosperity), candles, and a book of the Avesta, the Zoroastrian holy scriptures. In the center is a metal urn for the sacred fire, which is kindled on a dish set on the urn's edge.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 8" x 5", March 21, 1998.

Friday, March 22, 2019

My Mother's Studio

My mother Esther Geller was an artist, which is why I am an artist. She taught me most of what I know about making art, all the technical material you learn in art school. She taught me about art materials, color, composition, texture, drawing, and essential things about managing your art space. The drawing above is of my mother's art studio in Natick, Massachusetts where she worked from 1990 to 2001. I found the geometries of the items in the space to be fascinating. You can see framed and wall-mounted finished art pieces, salvaged metal desks, a door opening to a storage space, and a bin full of mounted prints. A big picture hangs on the wall. I spent many hours in my mother's studio over the years, learning about art just by being there.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 8", December 29, 1997.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Iraq War Begins 2003

Around this time in 2003, the Iraq War began. The city of Baghdad was bombed and set to flames, and the USA and its allies attacked in the hope of finding "weapons of mass destruction" and the dictator Saddam Hussein. This drawing, done from memory and magazine photos, depicts the recently built Mosque of Al-Qura, with the smoke and flames from the city in the background. This was 16 years ago, and although the active phase of the war is paused, a seemingly endless struggle to impose order on the Middle East continues. I will never forget the night the war started, as we watched on television as fire and destruction poured down on the faraway city.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 4" x 4 1/2", March 26, 2003.

And to anyone still reading this, a happy Spring Equinox and happy NoRuz, Persian new year.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Cybermen of Peet's Coffee

These gentlemen are doing something which is now common all over the developed world (and in some less "developed" places as well). They are using the coffeehouse WiFi to do work or some other computery task. The coffee house provides not only WiFi, beverages, and snacks, but comfy chairs for the consumers to sit in. They could be preparing their taxes, or plotting to overthrow the government, and I'll never know. Somehow, coffee house people are always fun to draw.

Sepia tech pen on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 4 1/2", March 19, 2019.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Eternal Sparkling Water

I consume a lot of sparkling water. I like it plain with no flavorings, just bubbles. I got my taste for this when I lived in Italy and sampled the mineral waters in every town I visited. In the USA I relied on Poland Spring for many years but then the supply, so to speak, dried up and was no longer sold here in MidAtlantica. Club soda and other sparklers don't cut it because they have sodium added. Just recently I discovered a brand of sparkling water that is just as nice as my old Poland but is twice as expensive. The new brand, sold at CVS, is "Eternal" and its marketing is probably worth that extra dollar. "Eternal" comes from the Shasta Trinity Alps in California (where the Secret Masters live) and has a dormant volcano on its label and is sodium-free. The bottle is pretty and it evokes, well, an eternity of the water of life sparkling in the heavenly sky. The water is as eternal as I might want, as every molecule of this cosmic H2O will pass through the systems of Earth and eventually dry away into the waning Universe until its atoms decay into the void. So drink up, and be eternal. Just don't take a bite of that apple lurking in the darkness....

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, some Photoshop white-out, 3" x 5", March 18, 2019.

Monday, March 18, 2019

More Brandeis Bushy Haired Guy

Here he is again, the bushy-haired Brandeis student posing as an unofficial art model. I don't remember this drawing session at all, but it had to be during one of the warm months since he's outdoors. They don't wear pants like that nowadays, true enough. 

Pencil on sketchbook page, 5" x 8", spring 1972.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Customer and Pastries

I warned the customer over my Starbucks iced latte, if she stands there any longer, I will draw her. She prudently moved out of the way, but not before admiring but not buying any pastries. I never knew a simple pastry display stand could be so interesting. Not because of the sweets, but because of its futuristic, Jetsons-style floating disc on an anti-gravity pedestal. I drew her anyway.

Sepia tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 4", March 16, 2019.