Wednesday, April 30, 2008

House behind Hole

This is a house in Falls Church, Virginia, which is behind the "Hole in the Wall" used book and comic book store. It's part of an older built-up area in Falls Church that is quickly disappearing, to be replaced by useful, profitable, but generic mid-rise commercial and residential buildings.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pink Goddess

A set of tiny character concepts I did while waiting for a copy run to finish. She is the "Pink Goddess" from a fantasy I recently read. This will eventually become a costume/character portrait. Imagine the color Pink as a relentlessly sweet, aggressive, and emotionally intrusive Goddess.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Trashman's Cozy Cottage

This structure is not a living space, but an office for processing the fees people pay to dump trash and landscaping waste at Fairfax County's recycling center. I was recently there to do some recycling, and the place is being re-modeled. I have had a fascination with tiny living spaces all my life since I played and even slept some summer nights in a similar shed during my childhood. 

This drawing is from 2003. I can't always make a fresh new drawing for this Weblog every day, but I have a large amount of archival material.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I created this one digitally in 2005. It was the sketch for an acrylic on canvas. I was never really satisfied with the final painted product. It's inspired by detectors at atom smashers, where the collision of particle beams produces all sorts of subatomic fragments which are recorded by layers of sensors. I used squares, even though these detectors are usually round.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Artistic License

What else would I do while waiting to renew my driver's license? People get into all sorts of positions when they're bored and stuck in one place. Class distinctions are very sharply defined by dress, body language, and accessories. I draw'em all. 

Friday, April 25, 2008

Another Workplace

I have many workplaces. One of them is a bagel and sandwich shop in a nearby shopping center. I do signs advertising breakfast, lunch specials, and weekly features. In this workplace, I get paid in food. I drew this portrait of the shop's interior earlier this year.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cosmic Business

An image from 2001. On a lunar base, a cosmic businessman prepares to make a presentation. Original is acrylic and watercolor on illustration board, 11" x 14".

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Spring Colors

I saw this amazing color combination last weekend in Pennsylvania. There were thunderclouds in the sky, but they were isolated, so there was sunlight as well. This image depicts new spring leaves sunlit against a dark stormcloud, and in front of the new leaves is a redbud tree in bloom. Photoshop, from memory. 

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Old Stone House at Temenos

I spent a wonderful, peaceful, nature-filled weekend at Temenos Retreat House near West Chester, Pennsylvania. It was just what I needed at a rather stressful time in my life. I was with friends and did lots of hiking and birdwatching. I also drew some of the old 19th century buildings on the retreat grounds. This old stone house is currently abandoned, and I was told that it would take at least a million and a half dollars to completely re-build it up to modern standards. I'm sorry but that is a little out of my price range.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

On Retreat

This one's from 1991. Original is ink and watercolor on board, 10" x 7". I'll be on retreat this weekend with my religious group, so no added art by-products here until I come back.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pink Spring

Here in MidAtlantica the crabapple trees are in full bloom. This is a very fast sketch done from memory in Photoshop.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fresh Leaves, Old Art

I did this study of April leaves just emerging some years ago, for a 'zine illustration. It was one of the first things I ever did in Painter. 

Monday, April 14, 2008

Goddess in Black

I'm reading a rather puffy Pagan fantasy tale about a land where a set of twelve Gods and Goddesses each represent a different color. They not only have the usual rainbow but other non-spectrum colors such as black, silver, white, and brown. I decided to try an outfit for the Goddess of Black. Lady Black is wearing a sheath of black velvet, accented with black diamonds and hematite glitter, and is draped with a black velvet cape. If you're a Goddess, you can afford the very best.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spring Clouds

No rain fell, but the clouds were spectacular over Northern Virginia on Saturday. I was in awe of the sky while standing in a parking lot in McLean. I didn't have a camera the way I usually do, but I made this Photoshop sketch from memory when I got home.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Classical Bank Dome

This was built as a Riggs Bank in Vienna, Virginia, to imitate the neo-classical image of the downtown Washington Riggs Bank. Now it's a PNC Bank branch. The dome and colonnade, which is not in the best of shape, is also an imitation of the Jefferson Memorial down in the monument area of Washington. The classical Tempietto has gone from ancient Greece to the Renaissance to American neo-classicism to a suburban bank. Banks have always used Greek and Roman classical forms to suggest to you that your money is secure with them.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fashion Attempt

I'm trying to learn how to do a bit of fashion drawing. I bought a large handbook about this specific art and also some reference material for fashion artists. "Ordinary" proportions don't look right for the fantasy figures I'm trying to do. Also, since I design a lot of costumes, I want to draw them on "fashion figures" which are already fantasy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

From the Archives: C.J. Cherryh illustration 1982

Once upon a time, I painted images like this. It's an illustration from a book by C.J. Cherryh, called PORT ETERNITY, which was published in 1982. In those days I hobnobbed with the authors at conventions and Cherryh herself commissioned this one for her own collection. The story, as I dimly recall, takes place on a spaceship lost in warped reality, where the increasingly demented crew take on "Camelot" roles and Pre-Raphaelite robots fight dragonlike monsters. 

Acrylic on illustration board, 14" x 21".  

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Trader Joe's Cheese Tasting

Here's a sign I just did for Trader Joe's, where I work. I cannot take credit for the theme, the humorous puns, or the wording. That was done by a group of us directed by a manager. The design and execution is mine. Trader Joe's cheese really is good, and it's also lower in price than other stores. Sign is done in opaque acrylic markers on foamboard with added foamboard cut-outs. 

Monday, April 7, 2008

Cosi Eater

Those other sketchbloggers are all drawing people in subways or buses or cafe's, so I can too. Here's a Sunday evening eater I sketched while waiting for my goodies at Cosi.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Post-Modern Portico

This neo-Victorian portico, with its two neo-Vict street lamps, is the facade of a Staybridge Suites hotel in McLean, Virginia. This hotel chain's design has a kind of faux-frontier flavor complete with stone facings and railroad-station-style dark woodwork. I approve. This picture was drawn from inside a coffee house across the street.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

I Try A Figure

Honestly, I've never been good at drawing human figures. One friend of mine said that all my people look like buildings. I have been "psychoanalyzed" as to why my figures look so stiff and lifeless, and no matter how much drawing I do, they never seem to get any better. But since scantily clad women drawn well are an essential for any kind of popular work, I'd better get busy and keep trying. I don't get a chance to draw them from life, so I have to work from photographs. This one is a "modest" swimsuit model from a well-known catalog. Pencil, enhanced in Photoshop.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Chilly Blossoms

It's cherry blossom time in the Metro DC area, including the famous ones downtown in the monument areas. Ornamental cherry trees are everywhere in this area, either planted as landscaping or appearing in patches of urban forest. The leaves are not out yet in the cool weather, but the flowers show up against the background of twigs.

Sketch from memory, done in Photoshop

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Gene Wolfe, from 1984

An illustration from 1984, retrieved from my old color slide. This depicts a moment in one of Gene Wolfe's "Book of the New Sun" tales of Severian, the wandering executioner. I was inspired by Italian Renaissance painting as well as Italian hill town architecture. The painting was sold in April 1984 at a convention in Nashville, Tennessee. That was 24 years ago, believe it or not. 

Acrylic watercolor and ink on board, 12" x 18".

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

One Bright Spot

Title of this is "One Bright Spot." Can you see what it is? As always, click on the picture for a larger version. This is one of my Shenandoah country scenes which is now at a gallery in Staunton, VA, in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley. Done in a mixture of colored pencil and acrylic on brown board, 9" x 11".