Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Nepalese Bride

Some of my co-workers at Trader Joe's are from Nepal. One of them is getting married soon and he asked me to do a portrait of his fiancee. All he could provide for me was a small blurry image on his mobile phone. He sent me the image and I recreated it here with, uh, imagination and improvements. I tried to render the details of her splendid sari without getting too literal. I don't think that's her wedding garb though. The pair will get married in a civil ceremony in the USA and then later, travel to Nepal for a traditional big Hindu family wedding.

I used to do a lot of these colored pencil portraits, often from life quickly as the subject was sitting at a convention. I now use lightfast non-fading colored pencils which are good for quick portraits. Original image is 9" x 12", March 29-30, 2013.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Amber characters

Amber again...This is an illustration of an event in Zelazny's SIGN OF THE UNICORN, the second book in the original Amber series. In this scene, Corwin, in the center wearing black, convenes a meeting of his royal brothers and sisters to find out whether one of them might have committed a murder. There are nine characters in the illustration and each one has a Tarot trump portrait which I had already depicted some years before this piece. I think someone suggested to me that this scene would make a good illustration, though it was not  a commission. It's got a lot of details so I have posted it here larger than I usually do with pictures. Click on the picture to see the different princes and princesses. From left to right, Gerard, Benedict, Random, Llewella (sitting with a book in the back), Corwin, Deirdre, Fiona (red-haired gal in green) Julian, and Flora. The hanging flags and tapestries reflect the heraldic symbols and colors of some of the characters. The portrait above the fireplace is that of the King of Amber, the characters' father.

Amber library scene is ink and acrylic watercolor on illustration board, 15" x 11",  summer 1982. Clikonthepic to see it larger.

Friday, March 29, 2013

City of Amber study

In the Zelazny series, the royal city of Amber was located on a mountain inside of which was the "Pattern," the magical blueprint of the original reality universe. The princes and princesses had to walk this pattern like a labyrinth to gain their universe-shifting powers. My original concept for the City of Amber was a European hill town with the castle and the cathedral at its summit. This was one of the studies I made of the city. After I did this one I decided that my concepts of the City were too "village-y" and not magnificent enough. Many years later I did my definitive concept of the City of  Amber on commission from some of my best patrons.

"Amber City" is ink and watercolor on illustration board, about 6" x 11", April 1981.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Abstract Sketch K11

I haven't done one of these in quite a while. This is in my "K" series of abstract digital studies. "K" is for Kandinsky, whose geometric and whimsical art inspired the series. Kandinsky combined High Modernism with playful color. I give it an alphanumeric title, the 11th "K" work, though if I were truly Modernist I'd just go with "Untitled," for all of them. The "K" series is meant to be experimental and not near any sort of finality. I can generate more Artist Statement blather for it if necessary.

I did this at the coffeehouse on the iPad, using the resources of ArtStudio. The designers give you "imprints" of pixels that you can decorate with. They also have "blender" tools and simulated "impasto" and 3-D effects. The app invites you to play with these things, without having to call the results "art." Yes, some of my artist friends would not call this "art" because it was made digitally. 

Let me say something here. This piece took 20 minutes to do on the iPad. If I were to duplicate it with acrylic, it would take 20 hours. Airbrush backgrounds, filling in shapes, adding more shapes and blurs with airbrush, and adding more accent colors in. Plus waiting for each layer to dry before I can go on to the next. How much time do I want to spend to bring this image and its series into existence? Do I want it to exist? 20 minutes or 20 hours; do the math.

ArtStudio app on iPad, March 27, 2013.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Brother Enemies of Amber

At one point in Roger Zelazny's "Amber" series, the hero, Corwin, has to fight his brothers for power in their royal family. In this scene, he's fighting Eric, one of his full brothers (same father and mother). Each sibling adopted an individual color scheme for their garb which makes it easy for the illustrator and viewer to identify them. Corwin's colors were black and silver, hence he is the one facing us. Eric's were red and black and you see him from the back. I don't remember whether anyone got killed in this swashbuckling saber match. I borrowed the scene and the character images from a still picture from a German horror movie of the time, "Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter." 

Ink and acrylic watercolor on illustration board, 8" x  10",  April 1981. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


"Tyson's Corner" sounds like a quaint little country crossroads, and once upon a time it was just that. But now in the 21st century Tyson's Corner has become an intensely built-up urban area of offices, residences, shopping centers, and two huge malls. It is also a showplace for bad architecture. This portrait of "Tysons Now" will be going up on the walls of my Trader Joe's, to contrast with the bucolic little crossroads of "Tysons Then." I have "collaged" and condensed the architecture so that all the memorably ugly buildings can be seen in one view. Many of these buildings have nicknames. Under the elevated roadway is the "Flashcube," a dark blue-glass cube. (Only people of a Certain Age can remember what "flashcubes" were.) To the left is the "Toilet Bowl" or "Toilet Head," with its big white "O" shape bordering a scooped-out area in the building's facade. And the brownish building to the right with the archways on top is the "Shopping Bag." I have also depicted the water tower and the communications tower which are at the top of the Tysons Corner hill. The "Shopping Bag" will have a round Trader Joe's logo superimposed on it, so that it looks like a TJ paper shopping bag. 

Acrylic and acrylic markers on Masonite board, 4 ft. x 3 ft., March 2013.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dragon Bird

I drew this on the iPad during my work break. The coffeehouse was crowded and I felt pressured to draw in about 20 minutes or so. I didn't have any ideas so I just put a background down and started making shapes with my pixel pen tool. The feathery shapes resolved into a flying creature who is a cross between a predatory dragon and a Pileated woodpecker. Yes, "Art Studio" is in my opinion the best iPad art app I have ever used.

"Dragon Bird," done in "Art Studio" app on iPad, March 24, 2013.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mediterranean Winery Capital

"Wine Saturday" brought me to Mediterranean Cellars, one of the older vineyards and wineries here in Northern Virginia. Other than some grass and a few tiny wildflowers, there is no leafy green and the vines are still just dark twigs. I tasted a wide array of wines there. Their Viognier is classically sweet and soft, and their Cabernet Sauvignon is surprisingly good for Virginia, though it does not resemble the California Cabernets wine lovers are used to. 

I did this iPad drawing of one of their wooden pillars after the tasting and I was once again frustrated by the lack of precision and the clumsy interface on Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. You have to switch between screens just to make any adjustments on color or "brush" shape and the opacity/size control disc in the center of your drawing is obnoxiously distracting, especially since you have to shut it off with a touch every time you want to draw. A.S.P. is better in simulating pencil and ink drawings, so I'll leave it for that purpose and return to the much better designed "Art Studio." I also want to return to Mediterranean Cellars when it is warm and green so I can draw more of their amusing wine lodge and garden ornaments.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring Fantasy House Portrait

I finally finished my large house portrait, which you saw an excerpt of a few days ago. This piece has been months in the making, due to numerous revisions requested by the client, and limited time for me to work on it. But I think it's turned out quite well, with the profusion of flowers planted by the owners. The azaleas, which will be blooming for real in just a few weeks, really are that brilliant. Dogwoods and azaleas don't usually bloom at the same time but the clients requested all their flowers at once, so I've created a floral fantasy here. The late great Thomas Kinkade did the same thing, but fortunately I've been able to avoid the thatched roof and the glowing windows, though if you look carefully you can see a mini lamppost near the stone wall in front of the stairs. In fact when those dogwood trees are in leaf you can't see the house at all, just leaves, so the white flowers gave me an opportunity to show some of the simple facade and roof of the house so it can be recognized. The clients will be moving out of this house sometime soon and so they will have this as a memory of their landscape design and hard work planting it all.

Watercolor and gouache on Fabriano paper, 15" x 25", March 2013. Click on the pic for a larger view.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Remembering Amber

In the 1970s and into the 1980s, Roger Zelazny's "Amber" series was fresh and very popular among fans. It was the "Game of Thrones" of its day. Set in a shifting kaleidoscope of different dimensions, its story pit the dozens of descendants of a single patriarchal King against each other for possession of the throne of all the worlds. They could communicate with each other and teleport about between worlds and places in worlds with the help of a magical Tarot deck. Each prince or princess had their own set of cards and had their own portrait card. The writing was a mixture of hard-boiled detective story, Renaissance swashbuckling, and high "chaos versus order" fantasy, including a universe-shifting Unicorn. 

The costuming and characters were a great source of ideas and many crafters wearing costumes based on Amber appeared in convention masquerades and won prizes. I did many illustrations from the Amber worlds and characters in its day. Nowadays Amber is forgotten in an era of more "realistic," brutal fantasy such as Martin's "Game of Thrones." I think that the Amber tales would have made a terrific TV series. I heard some time ago that someone was thinking of creating such a show, but I haven't heard anything further. 

This character is Brand, one of four red-haired siblings (fantasy has been obsessed with red-haired people since its beginnings) holding some of his brothers' and sisters' trump cards. The body came from a photo of a pirate costumer but the head is a portrait of a real person, red hair and all, who was a member of a costume and Amber fan group I belonged to at the time.

"Brand of Amber" is ink and acrylic watercolor on Fabriano paper, 6" x 7", April 1981.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dragon Facebook-off

Your dragon friend posted a notably illiterate posting to Facebook. He used "it's" as the possessive, "who's" instead of "whose," and even worse, he wrote "...for you and I." 

You are a crusader for correct grammar and spelling, even on Facebook postings. What do you do?

Do you challenge the dragon in the name of literacy, like a St. George of the library?
Do you ignore the dragon's illiteracy because, uh, he's a dragon and can either shred you or burn you in a few seconds, despite claiming to be your "friend?"
Do you attempt to use reason and patience to teach the dragon good English?
Or do you just draw his picture and then RUN LIKE HELL?

I chose the last of these options which is why I am still here posting.

Dragondraw is ink and greyscale marker on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 4", March 21, 2013. Adapted from the excellent dragon drawing book, "How to Draw your Dragon," by Spanish illustrator Sergio Guinot.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy NoRuz 2013

It's been a hard winter for many people I know and it isn't over yet, but at least we can celebrate the first day of Spring. The Vernal Equinox is also the Persian New Year's Day, which is observed all over Iran and Central Asia, and anywhere Iranians have made a home. "NoRuz" means "New Day" in Persian.  Long before the Islamic conquest, this was a Zoroastrian holiday, and many of the ancient customs survive to this day, especially the festive table on which symbolic foods and other items are arrayed. I did this NoRuz design for my local Starbucks some years ago. The white area (black in the original) had the Coffee of the Week written on it. The phoenix at left, the Winged Disc, and the columns from Persepolis are all historic symbols of the great Persian culture. Happy spring, and happy NoRuz, friends!

Chalk markers on black board, 2004.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ipomoea 1991

1991 was a long time ago by some people's reckoning. It was the year I got my first computer. It was loaded with CorelDraw 2 and when I saw what it could do, I thought it was miraculous. It could do smooth color blends that would take forever to do in acrylic. It could layer images on top of each other and move them around or remove them, which was of course impossible in conventional paint. And you could mix any color in the rainbow or even not in the rainbow. You could create shapes and fill them with color instantaneously. The only thing you couldn't do very well was print out your design clearly and smoothly.

The above design, showing stylized morning glories (Greek botanical name, Ipomoea) was printed on my first printer, an HP PaintJet. One of the earliest color printers for home consumers, this transitional dot-matrix contraption produced blends which looked like woven cloth or cheap newsprint color printing. It could only print well on special coated paper with holes in the (detachable) edges for a ratchet to move it with. And it was so fade-able that just an hour of sunlight would destroy the dyes. This image is an original PaintJet print which I've kept in a closet file and it will never be exposed to sunlight, at least not any time soon. And I thought these coarse, primitive prints were thrilling.

My current Epson R1900 is as obsolete as the PaintJet but it still turns out splendid prints with a vastly higher resolution than this relic. I have worked with many a printer in my time, some of them friendly, others hostile. The Epson has to be treated carefully but it is still working fine after about 5 years of service.

Another thing that has now seen five years of service is this Blog, "Art By-Products." I began AB-P on March 19, 2008. With some gaps, notably the three weeks recently at the end of 2012, I've been blogging and slogging my way through the blogosphere, putting up one image after another, from the sublime to the ridiculous, and from high quality to crap. After five years, I have, I think, 15 regular readers. I know who you are, folks. You are: Tristan, Sally, Amanda, TommyLee, Emikk, Mary, Rachel, Jim, Debi, Bronwyn, Victoria, Joel, and of course, Mike, Mike, and Mike. Thanks for your friendship and devotion to art. I hope I can continue to provide you with worthwhile art and art by-products.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Garden in Progress

The reason you haven't seen much fresh new art on this By-Product is that I am working on a large house portrait for some folks in the town next to mine, and I have to spend my limited art time on this. Here is a section of the unfinished painting, with a bit of the house visible. The clients are devoted gardeners and specified exactly where all the plants and flowers should go, including the white dogwoods and blazing red azalea in bloom. This painting should be done in a few days, followed in a couple of weeks by the real flowery thing. Spring really is coming despite the "wintry mix" still falling on our area.

Watercolor and gouache (opaque watercolor) on Fabriano illustration board. Rest of the picture will be posted shortly.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Irish Myst

Today, St. Patrick's day, is the day where we all pretend to be Irish. I think it's mainly marketing, but green is a nice color to wear on the eve of the Spring Equinox. I have been to Ireland twice so perhaps a few atoms of the Old Sod still adhere to me. In 1980 I won a contest with an illustration from an Anne McCaffrey book, "Dragondrums." The prize was a week's trip to Ireland and a visit with McCaffrey herself, who lived in the suburbs of Dublin. A friend and I made the trip and drove for our week through the misty and beautiful Irish landscape. The first thing I learned about Ireland is that all the pretty picture books about the country lie. There is little blue sky in Ireland and you cannot see the horizon. What you see is layers of mist that take away all the color from the background but enhance the brilliant greens of the sodden landscape. There really are "forty shades of green" there including hues of emerald that I have never seen elsewhere. The shifting clouds sometimes allow a shaft or two of sunlight to pass through, illuminating a single field with blazing green, and then just as quickly, the cloud-door closes and the green turns cool again.

I painted this picture from memory, not  a photograph. I wanted it to represent the real Ireland, not the tourist illusion. It was a gift for my friend who accompanied me to Ireland. Many years ago we drifted apart, never to see each other again, but I hope that she still enjoys her Irish vista.

"Irish Mystical Horizon" is acrylic on Masonite, 18" x 14", December 1980.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Marvel's Black Knight

I used to do a lot of these little character costume studies. One reason was that I had plenty of small pieces of illustration board left over after I had cut the boards up for larger works. Another was that I love costumes but don't have the skill to create them for real (what is now called "cosplay") nor the figure or theatrical ability to present them. With a little bit of acrylic I could render colors and textures the way I wanted to see them. With comic book characters such as this one, I could image them in a more "realistic" style than the crudely printed art on the pulp pages of Marvel or DC. This character is the "Black Knight" of Marvel Comics. He wielded a magical "Ebon Blade," rode a winged white horse, and was briefly a member of the Avengers.

Nowadays the comic art and print quality is far superior to that of years past, and character/costume portraits like this one are turned out by the millions by concept artists all over the world. I still want to do this kind of character portrait but in digital medium. For a modern rendering of this character, look at this digital piece.  (I don't know who the artist is.) Note how exciting and action-packed the figure is. He's not just standing there. This is the level of digital character art that I aspire to.

"Black Knight" is acrylic on illustration board, 3" x 7", fall 1985.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Dirigible and Dragon

Everybody's painting 'em, so why not give it a try myself? I am as fond of a fantasy dirigible as anyone else. And throw in a dragon, of course. The dragon doesn't seem like he's about to attack the dirigible, so maybe he's leading the dirigible on its way, or even protecting it. This isn't the first dirigible I've depicted. I did one for a Trader Joe's "Fearless Flyer" illustration, and for a while my drawing (which I admit I copied from an old aviation fantasy from the Victorian era) was featured on the Trader Joe's website. I could do a lot more with Steampunk, and have been considering whether to produce some in that genre, which is ridden with cliche's. It would be a challenge to do some cliche' - free Steampunk. 

Photoshop, about 45 minutes' work, about 6" x 2". March 15, 2013. Clikondapik for a larger view.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cambridge Doorway

They really don't make houses like they used to back in the 19th and early 20th century. In those days even an ordinary single-family house could have a majestic doorway and portico like this one. Cambridge still has many of these though some of them are shabby and have fallen into disrepair. At least they were when I lived there. Possibly with the gentrification and transformation of my old neighborhood into homes for the urban rich, the people have had the means to renovate their architectural treasures. I should go back there someday to see if this has happened, but for various reasons not to be discussed here I am not eager to return to Cambridge.

I gave this architectural study to some friends of mine in return for their hospitality letting me stay with them on a short vacation. You may have noticed that my best work is done with architecture. Even after all these years I still prefer drawing buildings to any other subject matter. I don't know why...there must be some psychological reason for it, but I don't want to force the issue of why I'm like that.

Doorway study is ink and watercolor on thick paper (Bristol board), 9" x 12", 1982. Extensively restored in Photoshop.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Another Sea Creature

I didn't have a lot of time to create this one but the sea and its denizens is an infinite source of creature diversity. This is some sort of sea worm and it has little or no resemblance to anything human. If we meet alien life someday I would bet that it would look more like this than some blonde model babe in a silver bikini. 

Photoshop gives you a near-infinite number of shapes to work with that can be repeated, scattered, re-sized, and multiplied. I thought that this was sort of "cheating" if you didn't create each one by hand and "paint" it on the surface but then I thought of all the stuff you can do with conventional paint, even using a crumpled up paper towel or mushy brush as a texture imprinter, which I do in acrylics, so it isn't cheating, it's creativity. Next time I'll depict the blonde alien girl with the silver bikini. Some day I guess. What do you mean she has four arms and four... uh...? Where do you put the bikini? A multikini?

Photoshop, March 13, 2013.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Brown Picket Fence, Cambridge

Even though Cambridge is a big city, there are little places all over the area that have a rural quality. Usually these places are the gardens or environs of old wood houses. I lived in such a place from 1978 to 1988, and it had enough land for an urban garden where I grew tomatoes and green beans. You needed a fence to protect your garden against marauding people, though I don't think this picket wood fence is intended to protect anything. I loved finding these bits of the country in the city and drawing them. There are places like this in a lot of cities, including my own in the suburban DC-area but drawing is more difficult because residents are suspicious of someone who parks themselves on their street for no apparent reason. 

"Country in the City" is ink and watercolor on illustration board, 8" x 10", c. 1982. Extensively restored in Photoshop.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ghost Knight

This is an experimental piece, combining digital and hand-drawn images. Also experimental is that I drew it in front of the computer, looking at the armor subject on the screen. This is something that is done more often than the artists admit. I just put my rather cumbersome sketchbook down over the keyboard and drawing tablet. I would like more room to work this way as there isn't much space here in the studio. I drew the armored figure and then scanned it into a digital file. Then using the marvels of "layer" technology I was able to color it in without losing any of the pen drawing. I am still ignorant about many factors in this drawing-to-digital conversion but this is how comics are colored nowadays.

"Ghost Knight" is fine point gel pens and brush pen on sketchbook page, 4" x 3 1/2". Colors added in Photoshop. March 11, 2013.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Temple of Dawn

I borrowed designs from Hindu Indian temples to create this one. These stone buildings are decorated on every surface with carvings, all of them illustrating a mythological or historical story. I recreated this temple out of reflective translucent material, with dawn and clouds rising in the background. I always use some real architecture as the inspiration for my building fantasies.

"Temple of Dawn" is gouache and colored pencil on grey paper, 7" x 10", February 1994.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Chaos can be Cute

Chaos Creatures are usually hideous, asymmetric, chimerical, and angry. But some of these mixed-up creatures are oddly cute, especially if they're small. This one's two mouths seem to smile and the big eyes, four of them, seem to say "Hi there." But cuteness can be badly misleading. You never know what deadly venom comes out of those two spine-pointed tubes on its head. And you don't know how many other creatures like this are out there, ready to swarm over you.

Pitt brush pen and grayscale marker on sketchbook page, 4" x 5", March 8, 2013.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Architectural Wizard

Who designs those magical castles? An architectural wizard, of course. And he has magical creatures to help him assemble the turrets and domes and gothic windows and translucent walls. He has to make sure he rewards the creatures appropriately for their hard work, or else mayhem will follow. Here is the architectural wizard inspecting their work as he holds the magic blueprint. His black and white cat accompanies him. This is done in what I refer to as my "storybook style," a lighter and more sketchy ink and watercolor format.

"Architectural Wizard" is ink and watercolor on illustration board, 7" x 10", spring 1992.
Clikonthepic for a larger view.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

At Sea in the Stars

This is the cover art for a privately published novel by an academic specializing in womens' military history. Her name is Linda Grant dePauw and as far as I know from doing the usual web search, she is still alive though she may not be writing science fiction any more. She contacted me at a Maryland convention, if I recall it, and it led to the commission for her cover.

"Baptism of Fire" takes place in dePauw's original world where battleships are big spacecraft spanning the stars. The whole military society is based on the British Navy of the 18th and 19th century, sort of Horatio Hornblower style, but women serve equally with men. What if Horatio was a girl? In this story, a sudden and unexpected enemy attack kills off the entire upper level officer staff, leaving only one young female officer (depicted here in the blue uniform) to be the captain. I did a lot of concept art for dePauw before she approved of the uniforms and the characters. I did the scroll-like title panel and the type as well, painted right into the picture.

In this world of dePauw's, there are two humanoid races as well as at least one alien enemy species. One of them is like our own, except that there appears to be a genetically engineered caste system. The other looks entirely human but they can not speak, and communicate only by telepathy. Those who wish to work with humans must use a voice synthesizer and not attempt to use telepathy with humans. The woman to the left, with her hand on the voice synthesizer, is one of this alternate human race.

One of the more interesting ideas from dePauw's world is that the officers and leaders in the  military belong to a group, or caste, called meritocrats, who are mentally constrained to only act in morally correct ways. She does not develop it too much in the story because she wants to keep the action going. But what would a meritocrat do when faced with only two equally morally wrong options? The lesser of two evils? Maybe if dePauw had written more, she would have addressed this. She planned a sequel but I don't think she ever published it.

You can find this book still for sale at this used-book address. Linda Grant dePauw has moved on and is now a "life coach" at this address, the "Magical Godmother," though it seems not to have been updated for a while. 

"Baptism of Fire" is acrylic on Strathmore illustration board, 14" x 22", September 1992.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Green Sky before the Storm

I have noted this unusual sky color before on this Blog, and I observed it again this evening as clouds moved in ahead of a winter storm. The lower level of the sky under the cloudbank turned an eerie shade of aqua green, while the sky was the usual blue above the clouds. It persisted until the sun set. Now the snowflakes are whirling and we are due for all the snow we missed earlier in the winter. Spring is still a distance away.

"Art Studio" on the iPad, done from memory. Some reworking in Photoshop.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Faerie Village in an Iris Flower

I admit it, I have done Faerie themed art in my time as an artist. At the time I was making a lot of iris flower pictures so the idea of a miniature Faerie village in an iris flower was a good combination. The faeries are no bigger than tiny insects. Even a bumblebee would seem huge to them, like a fuzzy blimp. 

"Faerie Village" is watercolor and ink on illustration board, 7" x 10", spring 1992.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dragon Gets A Head

Inspired by a close-up photo of an iguana in a science magazine, I created this iguaniform dragon with a long non-iguanid neck. Then I realized that by extending the neck to make it a dragon, there was no room for its head. So do I stay with a headless dragon? I thought of bending the snaky neck around so the dragon could look back into the frame, but it still wouldn't fit or look right. 

So I scanned the original ink drawing, and through the marvel of Photoshop I placed it on a new "panel" with room for the dragon's head. Then I drew it in with my Wacom tablet and digital inking. Now the dragon has gotten ahead. Or has got a head. Or any other rude pun that I wouldn't make on "Art By-Products."

Original drawing is Pitt drawing pens on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 4", March 4, 2013.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Naked in Winter

"Wine Saturday" brought my friends and myself back to Naked Mountain vineyard and winery, where they offer lasagna as their winter feasting offering. We ate mountainous portions of lasagna along with a bottle of Naked's Cabernet Franc deep red wine. The wine tasting room has a big stone fireplace with a real wood fire in it. Filled with wine and lasagna I pulled out the iPad and did this scene of the hills and their leafless trees and vines and vine posts. A sparse sprinkling of snowflakes decorated the landscape. It was a fine afternoon. 

"Art Studio" app on iPad, March 2, 2013.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Castle Caprice

Here's another little piece I did as part of a set of small originals, this time for Balticon 1992. I guess I did pictures of dragons in those days too, but they weren't very good. One of the dragons in the back is attempting to fly upside down, which probably won't work. No one has ever depicted, as far as I know, a dragon falling out of the air and going "splat."

Everyone likes my castles but this picture, as with the others, never was bid up at auction and sold for mini-bucks ($20). If I can't sell my handmade originals for a good price, then I don't see why I should continue to use conventional media when I really want to use and improve my digital painting skills in Photoshop.

"Castle Caprice" is ink and watercolor on illustration board, 7" x 10",  March 1992.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sea Proboscis

This creature lives in the sea. It tastes and slurps up its food through its proboscis (tube nose) and can also feed through its mouth (under the proboscis). The many bulbous things attached to the creature are buds which will eventually detach and grow into another of this creature. Though it is looking through two forward eyes right now, it also has other eyes in other parts of its central body so it has the option of almost 360 degree vision. It swims using its tentacles which also grab the sea plants that it feeds on. It is no more than a few inches wide and is distantly related to starfish and worms. No, it is not a "real" creature but our planet is host to similar things as well as life forms far more outlandish than this.

Pitt drawing brush pen and technical pens with greyscale markers, about 3 1/2" x 4", February 28, 2013.