I apologize for the lack of fresh new art these days but I had to get the art show done and start working on the next Stasheff. I promise you I'll design some amusing material for you as a distraction from the politics of the absurd. This sinister looking lady is sinister. She is Dame Ingaria Colanto, an aristocratic character from the "Powers that Be" game that I illustrated back in 2003. She had no qualms about poisoning her opponents but she was very kind to animals and kept her little lap dog with her at all times.
This is originally a black and white ink drawing which was colored in with "Painter," a grand illustration/fine art program that I used back then. "Painter" is still around and its 2017 version has just been released. I am wondering whether it will run on my Cintiq and whether it will be free of the extremely annoying pop-up problem that Photoshop has. There is a new version of the Cintiq coming out shortly as well, but I suspect that it would have the same problem with Photoshop. This is all very expensive equipment and I don't feel like sinking more money into over-engineered bug-ridden graphics specialties.
Original drawing was ink on illustration board, colored in Painter 9, 4" x 5", March 2003.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
A note before you read this: Much of the following text was posted to Facebook earlier last evening. I added more for your edification. What does "edification" mean anyway. Something that will instruct and improve your life. Might as well hope so.
I'm back from Chessiecon and I am happy to report that I sold at least 7 pictures, some of them to my best customers. The prints of my Christopher Stasheff covers dated 2016 show that I am still active as a professional artist and my digital work will attract people.
The art show gallery was crammed into a tiny room which I and others found disappointing, but when the circumstances were explained to me I understood and didn't complain. Seain Gutridge (sorry for spelling) proved himself a heroic administrator for the art show, defying a balky computer and finding a place for my art when I didn't have a registration (because unlike in previous conventions I was supposed to pre-pay and register). This was all taken care of. I was also bemused that all the art had a consistent theme of "composite creatures" and fantasy animals, such as little black mice with monarch butterfly wings. If this was a deliberate theme decision I didn't get the program and my art contained no fantasy creatures except Fess, Stasheff's robot horse. It all was OK at the show's end.
I also had a great time with Friendly Mathematician David and his glamorous lady Gloria. They brought with them two young professional opera singers, a mezzo soprano and a soprano, who filled my party room with music and laughter. There was plenty of wine too.
Chessiecon was very underpopulated, the attendance seems to decrease every year, but they are planning to hold another one next year. It's always a great way for me to see my friends face to face when they are usually just print on a screen.
The photo above which is of mediocre quality but so was the whole room, is my exhibit. The larger one, the pink sky image, sold to a friend and collector. Another friendly collector bought the one with the black horse head. The green nebula was bought. I also sold three prints in the printshop and one to a gallery administrator before it was even shown. So that makes 7 prints or arts sold out of 12 items that I offered for sale. Not bad for a very underpopulated convention where I doubt there were more than 200 people attending.
Blogging will now Resume.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
After the astral battle the invader wizards concede and give up their plans for the village. Epona and her team of otherwise untamed horses have saved the day. From the strength and amount of power Epona delivered in the fight, they have decided to leave her and the village in peace and not attempt again to take over.
The villagers repair the ruined tower and agree to support Epona as the guardian of the region, together with her herd of magical horses. She will live in the Tower which will be provisioned and maintained for her. Sounds like a good life if you can tolerate cold and are fond of horses. If I had a superpower "being able to talk with animals" would be one of my choices. So she would have friends and protectors out there by the gloomy loch. In my drawings I tried to evoke the dark cloudy rugged rocky landscape of Scotland. Also in the lower right corner is part of the castle ruins with a stone carved with the arms of a great magic-using clan of distant past. In the song it is suggested that Epona was an unknown or unrecognized offspring of that empowered family.
This brings to a close my sequential treatment of "Horse Tamer's Daughter." Looking at it again after 32 years it doesn't look that bad to me. Interestingly my current assignment also includes a depiction of a horse. But this one is a robot.
Black ink on sketchbook page, 8" x 10", summer 1984.
I'll be at "Chessiecon" convention this weekend, no blogging till next Tuesday. Happy Thanksgiving to those readers who celebrate it.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
I did the illustrations for a tabletop role playing game, created in the early 2000s. It was set in a kind of modernist Renaissance at a seaport city full of intrigue, corruption, and a bit of weirdness. I did a number of character portraits and action scenes, as well as page border illustrations and some environments and interiors. I've posted some of them here but not this one I think. This is the grandiose Council Chamber where the powerful members of the oligarchy meet to impose their will and exploit the resources of the city. Just like now, Indeed. I received some money for my illustrations but I also got paid in mathematics tutoring by the game designer. At that time I was still working through my self-training in mathematics. In this portrayal of an environment I had to create the idea of a big space with small art.
"Council Chamber" is black ink on illustration board, 10" x 6 1/2", early 2003. Clickonit for a closer view.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
I apologize for so many Darkover postings but it is that Darkover time of year when "Darkover Grand Council" drew a fantasy-loving Bradley fan crowd. I could fill a whole art display panel with Darkover art and sell it, too. So here's one from a fan publication starring a known Darkover character, the future bad guy "Dyan Ardais." Here he is flirting and sharing magic with a Keeper of one of the Towers, the psychic power stations you are familiar with. She is blind but she can see with her psychic powers as well as read people's minds. Keepers take vows of celibacy like nuns (abstinence is said to strengthen psychic powers) and they dress all in red. Marion B. poured forth many a chapter on the sexual/psychic travails of Keepers who found Love and had to quit the duties of the Tower. Dyan later found a nastier type of Love with young men as a sadistic overlord.
Black ink on illustration board, 7" x 10", May 1985.
Monday, November 21, 2016
At the exciting part of the tale, Epona the Horse-tamer's Daughter sends forth her group of horses in astral form as fighters against the invading team of wizards. Despite her lack of magical training, Epona and her horses rout the invaders and save the independence of the village.
The drawings you see here are designed to be in the border. I blocked out the poorly lettered lyrics text, which I didn't write. I still want to do more sequential art, whether Darkovan or not.
Black ink on illustration board, 8 1/2" x 11", summer 1984. Click the image for a larger view.
Sunday, November 20, 2016
"Wine Saturday" was spent under threatening clouds and blustery winds. The Wine Team was happy to find shelter in the wine lodge at "Miracle Valley" vineyard in Delaplane, Virginia. We sipped warmed and rich red wines as a shower of winter's first sleet blew outside. I drew this image in one of the tasting rooms. No more outdoor winery drawing till Spring! I met the congenial and lively winemaker and host, Joe, who remembered me visiting from five years ago! I won't wait that long before I go there again.
Brown sepia tech pen ink on sketchbook page, colored with "Irojiten" colored pencils, 7 1/2" x 5 1/2", November 19, 2016.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Early on in my professional artistic life I was friends with a group of fans in the Boston area who published somewhat "scholarly" and well-written fanzines about comics and comic book people. I would draw them cartoons for a few pennies and work on humorous illustrations for the text. This one comes from an entire magazine issue devoted to the question of girls and women as comic book fans. Why weren't violent super-hero or spy or war or horror comics appealing to females? Why were female super-heroes unpopular, and even written out of stories if they became too powerful? Why were females in comics depicted with grossly exaggerated bodies? No surprise, these are still questions that are relevant in the comics world though great progress has been made. The comic creator community is much more gender-diverse than it used to be but there is still an overload of males in the business. There have been attempts all along to make comics that appeal to girls and women, with varying success, as I've drawn here with "Ms. Meteor." But I've always been a comics fan no matter what the theme is, and the fangirl you see at left is (except for the bushy hairdo) a self-portrait of what I looked like in my high school days.
Black ink on illustration board, 6" x 7 1/2", mid to late 1980. That's 36 years, folks.
Friday, November 18, 2016
Darkover was a planet mainly covered by snow and icy glaciers, uninhabitable by humans except for a band around the equator. There was a variety of climates and terrains on that band. That included a small but significant area of desert, the warmest place on Darkover, which was nicknamed the "Dry Towns." In that area, desert animals thrived, and human cultures lived lives similar to Bedouins, nomads, or oasis dwellers. The people of the Dry Towns rode imported horses but also used native creatures similar to camels, you might call them "cameloids." Another reason why Marion Zimmer Bradley invented the Dry Towns was so that she, and later her fan fiction writers, could write tragic stories about the mistreatment of women in tribal cultures.
This illustration, which I rescued from a fan site since I had no copy of it for myself, shows the main character, a young boy, riding on a cameloid as part of a caravan. He's looking back at us readers and seems to be having a good time.
Black ink on illustration board, 8 1/2" x 11", October 1986.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
This is what's in my studio right now. Bags and boxes of either tossed stuff or saved stuff. The wastebasket. The oriental rug. The graphics stool. Books and trays. And an oversized ceramic cup which is really more like a bowl. This is only one corner of what's in my dwelling. Seems like what I throw out is replaced or augmented by more that springs out of the corners like an avalanche of dusty foam. But the Sketchbook Police say you got to draw what you see (like the "Fiction Writing Police" who insist you have to write what you know) so here you go at least for now.
Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 5", November 17, 2016.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Among the family papers and items I brought back from the old house was a tightly packed sheaf of paper rolls, all of them from my father's photography in 1959 to 1962. I knew they existed from earlier explorations but I had not seen them all. Now I am unrolling these cylinders and looking at what is on them. I am also scanning and digitizing all of them to have a record of the images whether I have other prints or not.
These are "contact prints," which in the era of film was the best way to view fresh new photo sessions all at once. You took the developed film and laid it on heavy coated photographic paper, pressed it down with a slab of glass, and used a bright light or your enlarger to make a photo print. These were the results of countless snapshots, all black and white, that my father and mother took as we lived in Rome and toured Europe in our Volkswagen bus.
I know I have the negatives of at least some of these somewhere, so I don't have to rely on the contact print. Some of these photos were taken on my mother's miniature Minolta-16 camera and the negatives are very small. I hope that I can find a way to digitize all of these images or at least the better preserved ones.
This drawing depicts individual unrolled scrolls of ancient images (1959-1962) after I scan them and drop them on the floor. You can see the dark prints on one side of the heavily curled paper. I nicknamed them the "Dead Sea Scrolls." Unlike the holy texts though, eventually I may discard the contact prints, which is what usually happened to them after the photo session was done.
Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 6" x 3 1/2", November 16, 2016.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
There isn't much to do on a smaller ocean liner for a teen-ager. My family traveled to and from Europe by sea, but the ships were not the vast floating entertainment cities that barge around the globe these days. The reason we went by sea was so we could pick up or transport our car, a Volkswagen Campmobile bus which was our family car touring and camping through Europe. The cars were stored in the hold of the ship, tied down like the other cargo.
In 1969 I was a junior in high school age 16 and we had designated the summer of '69 as a European trip so we were there for three months. We sailed on a Norwegian ship, the "Sagafjord," which stopped at Copenhagen, where we disembarked and went to stay with friends. We didn't have the car until it was delivered to us at the Danish home of our friends: a red Volkswagen bus with a white top that popped up to become a mini-tent.
I didn't stay idle on the Sagafjord, since there was always something to eat. But I spent a lot of the week-long voyage reading ("Wuthering Heights," which I hated) and drawing, since of course I had my colored pencils with me. I made this drawing of the porthole in our cabin. It was right near the water line so I could observe all the colors of the sea. It looks like it was a cloudy day when I did this porthole portrait. The bright red color is rust, and you can see some damage around the frame of the port. The Sagafjord may not have been in the best of shape, but the smorgasbord was great. The ship is long gone and very few liners make the transatlantic journey any more.
Colored pencil on sketchbook page, 8 1/2" x 11", some restoration in Photoshop, June 1969.
Monday, November 14, 2016
Constantly creative Darkover fan writers got notions to mix the genres. Darkover was already science fiction and fantasy with a strong strain of Romance. But the fans explored other genres by transplanting them to Darkover, such as detective stories including ones with an interestingly ethnic detective. For instance, there was a Japanese sleuth based on Peter Lorre's famous "Mr. Moto" character. The fans also wrote "noir" mysteries set in Darkover complete with dark psionic magic. The best-written of the Darkover detectives was the Jewish detective, Henry Levich, who works for the Terran Intelligence Agency overseeing Earth's relationship with the re-colonized Darkover. This is an end-piece, based on the famous last scene of "Casablanca," where Levich and his Darkovan contact agree that "this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
Ink on illustration board, 8" x 5", December 1984.
Sunday, November 13, 2016
I haven't drawn one of these in a long time so here she is. She is originally a model in the excellent boon for artists image series, "Art Models" books. Her moment under the lights has made countless artists happy because they had a model to draw when no life drawing was available. She has doubtless gone on to other pursuits and will never know that she helped so many artists. Likewise those of you who are feeling depressed over current events, if you can do something or make something or fix something, you must keep doing it and also showing it and making it known because you never know who you might help without your being there at all. I learned this over the years and have to remind myself of it every so often. Even if my drawing isn't so great, as long as I did it and made it known.
Ink on sketchbook page with a little bit of Photoshop correction, 5" x 7", November 13, 2016.
Saturday, November 12, 2016
The Horse-tamer's daughter uses her psychic rapport with horses to call a herd of them to her to defend the tower and village against the invading wizards. The song says she called seven mares and a stallion to the fight. I drew eight horses though it looks like seven, you can just see the head of one of them behind the lead horse who is the stallion.
Here's a closer look at the movement of hooves and one set of human wearing boots on the stone floor of the old tower psychic power station. Editing this set out of the original layouts has been quite a job.Yes, I wish I had done it in sequential frames. Maybe I'll try it on the Cintiq if I can improve its performance. I need wi fi to do this and I don't have it, the system broke down last year and I haven't had the opportunity to have it fixed. Now that the old house is sold and I don't have to go back to Massachusetts maybe I can do that. Call Cox Communications on the psychic power station.
Ink on illustration board, summer 1984.
Friday, November 11, 2016
A tunnel made entirely of hideous, venomous snakes, a floor of poison, and one undersized Orc (or "yark") to brave his way through them to deliver a package. Nothing about real life here, folks. It's an illustration from a fantasy/humor/horror book titled "Yark," written by the late Mark Rogers. "Yark" was published by "Infinity Publications" in 2010. It's a parody of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings," told from the perspective of an Orc, one of the monstrous humanoids in the Tolkien tale. I found "Yark" on my dusty shelf, where I had deposited it after buying it, honestly, as a favor to the author, my fellow artist. To my surprise, I'm enjoying it a lot! Mark did his own illustrations but that doesn't mean I can't doodle a couple as well.
Mark is gone now. He died in 2014 of heart disease, despite having an athletic lifestyle. He was a memorable guy, very creative and full of ideas. But he was also notoriously ill-tempered and angry all the time. He would stomp around conventions and break into rants with potential customers. He was best known for his "Samurai Cat" series, which seemed to be his road to fame before the project fell apart. Of course he was best known for his painting, and he always showed at Balticon. He did marvelous pin-up girls, and I admired his human figures greatly. He was also a fast painter; he could do a painting in just one night.
I don't know why Mark didn't go farther in the fantasy art world. I thought he would, but things didn't turn out with film or animation, and he didn't seem to want to illustrate other people's work. He wrote and published a lot of pulp-style fantasy adventure fiction, which he marketed at Balticon. I don't go to Balticon any more, and (sometimes) I miss Mark the Yark.
Illustration is 2 ink drawings, combined into one with Photoshop and some extra digital inking. 8" x 4", November 11, 2016.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
It's Post Apocalypse time for many of my friends but as a pragmatic type I can't stop my life because Turnip and his crew won the Elexit? Electopocolypse? Trumping? Blogging comes first, dammit, until someone censors me for inappropriate content. Or I run out of disc space. Really, after 8 years and more than 2500 images you'd think that Google (or whoever runs Blogger) would warn me that I'm running out of space on whatever shelf of Cloud bookcase is designated as mine. Well one of the ways I contemplate survival is an oldie but goodie which is, kiss up to the rich and powerful and do art for them. I have done this in the past. Too bad the Churches don't commission art any more. Another oldie but goodie is to station yourself near a commodity and its milieu that people can't live without and for me that's wine. Which is why I've been so successful (in a relative way of course, I'm not a wine celebrity) with my wine art and subjects. The rich and powerful gather at wineries! The rich and powerful of this apocalyptic age are tech folks as well because I believe that they are the new knights and ladies of our world. These neo-medieval thoughts are just taking up space on my Blog until I think of something that will give us all some time to think of survival strategies. Or ignore this altogether.
Fan art from a Darkover zine. Black ink on illustration board, 8" x 10", summer 1985.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
After the events of tonight involving the election, it is probable that I will spend the next four years in the hidden world of my imagination, keeping my head down and trying to avoid negative attention from whatever passes my way. I'll keep blogging as long as I have art to put up here. The people who frequent this Blog, all five of them, are a vanishing breed: kind, thoughtful, and morally decent. I really appreciate you all, and hope you don't get bored and stop visiting.
Here's the Archangel Michael again, this time spearing a monster which is a cross between a centipede and a scorpion. I met fantasy author Madeleine L'Engle at a convention in Callifornia, "Fantasy Worlds West," where she was Guest of Honor. During conversations with her I offered to draw her a Michael Angel portrait and this is the result.
Archangel Michael is an important being to me as I belong to an esoteric Christian religious group called the "Order of St. Michael." I have been with them since their founding in 1989. Their theme and dedication has varied over the years but recently it has become in my opinion too fond of pretty and boring theatrical rituals about angels. In this increased atmosphere of brutality, conniving, abuse, and profanity we need a stronger commitment to defend against the onslaught.
Original drawing in a folk-art style is ink on illustration board, 7" x 10", June 1985.
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Around this time of year when the weather is cloudless, the sky near the horizon turns a kind of clear turquoise, a greenish blue that fades into yellow closer to the earth. The weather is very clear but I suspect that the green sky is due to a lot of pollutants in the atmosphere that we don't see, such as mold or dust, and light has to pass through more of it near the edge than at a higher elevation. Also during these autumn twilights the trees are in black silhouette, even though in sunlight they are brilliant gold and red. The planet Venus shines in the sky to the West. This could be a real scene but I created it purely from memory.
Photoshop, about 4 3/4" x 5 1/2", November 7, 2016.
Monday, November 7, 2016
I had to practice my horse drawing to do the "Horse Tamer's Daughter" sequence. I have numerous picture books about horses but I was not able to draw any live ones. Later on in Virginia I've had the opportunity to do a few sketches from life and would like to do more. Darkover's image is firmly rooted in 19th century Romanticism as the author MZB was a very well-read lady in books like Blackmore's "Lorna Doone" and the works of Sir Walter Scott. This song is in the neo-folk tradition of story ballads. I must admit I've never read any of these books, I'm just an illustrator and with the Horse Tamer set I didn't even have an art director.
The top illustration shows Epona riding (with no saddle or bridle) one of her group of horses to the ruined Tower. The lower illustration shows the oppressive wizards on their own mounts advancing upon the remote village.
Black ink on illustration board, various sizes, summer 1984.
Sunday, November 6, 2016
I've been watching these vines grow up at "Winding Road Cellars" ever since the vineyard owners planted them as tiny twigs. They have a few more years to mature before they can produce grapes for wine. I have been chronicling these vines in all seasons so this is the "Autumn" view. Grapevines, though they are trained and pruned, are not tortured and killed in the "Vegetable Carnage" of the harvest, as the plants can sprout and bear again and again, dormant in winter and burgeoning in the growing season. Some of you remember me posting about "Winding Road Cellars" as my "base of operations." It is so peaceful there, I wish I lived in a cabin near these vines and the wine lodge. Now that winter timing is here it will be hard to continue visiting wineries before it gets dark. My Wine Team is kind enough to take me along on winery visits.
I did the initial drawing on the iPad which I haven't used in a long time. Finished it in Photoshop, as I didn't have enough time to continue iPaddery at the site.
"ArtStudio" app on iPad, finished in Photovineyard, November 5, 2016.
Saturday, November 5, 2016
And...here is my first use of my new Irojiten colored pencils. It took me a while to set up the boxes where I wanted to have them, but after that (and a little help from the printed guide) I could pick just which one I wanted from the stacked boxes. The boxes are held secure with an elastic band (like the one on a Moleskine sketchbook) and you pull it off when you want to set it up.
The pencils feel lovely in the hand, and the color is reproduced, not always accurately, on the back end. The important thing you notice right away is that the pencil's wax lead is not rich and thick like a Prismacolor, but harder which makes a more transparent color overlay. They don't even bother including a white pencil for blending or drawing on dark paper. You can blend quite nicely with the rest of them. The line is true when using a ruler as I did here. It's also great for "adult coloring" because the pencil mark does not obscure the lines on the paper.
The best thing about these Irojiten pencils is the color range. It is aimed at landscape and nature art fans, with the boxes named "Rainforest," Seascape," and "Woodlands." My little improvisation above was done with "Woodlands" and a burnt siena pencil conveniently titled "Autumn Leaf." There were lots more autumn colors in the "dark tone" box. Their set of sky and cloud tones are what sold me on this set. Three sky blue colors and another 5 cloud colors, which are not specified as clouds but fit perfectly. I've got all 3 of the purplish sky color on the drawing. I haven't used the "seascape" set yet.
There is a box of fluorescent colors, which are fun for playing around with but have limited uses in on-site or scenic drawing. Also, the fluorescent pigments do not scan in my scanner, leaving a rather dim shadow instead of a bright accent. The little triangle on top to the right is really a neon red-orange. I don't know whether these pencils' colors fade in bright light.
So my fellow artists, if you want sensitive and elegant transparency effects in colored pencil, Irojitens are ones to buy. All three sets together, when Blick Studio has a sale, are about $150, so you do have to have a real commitment to the colored pencil medium, as I have. I'll be trying more Irojiten drawing soon enough.
"Irojiten" colored pencils on sketchbook page, 7" x 3 1/2", November 5, 2016.
Friday, November 4, 2016
My "Irojiten" colored pencil set arrived and here is a picture of it partly unboxed. "Irojiten" means "dictionary of colors" in Japanese. There are 9 folder boxes which you see with covers in very tasteful muted colors. Each folder has a different color theme, such as light bright (lower center) and darker neutralized (upper left center). There are other theme boxes such as greyish neutral and very pale. There is even a box of fluorescent colors for sunsets and graphic effects. The folder boxes also come with printed sample colors and drawing examples. The whole package is so elegantly designed that I hesitate to pull the pencils out and use them! I suppose I could bring the set to my next on-site drawing destination but I already have plenty of colored pencils for that use. Since these pencils are Japanese I expect this level of design and when using them in the studio I should pretend that I am practicing a form of tea ceremony for artists.
Thursday, November 3, 2016
I'm not sure why I haven't shown this picture here before. I think there were problems reproducing it. But here is my "Angel of the Storm," commissioned by my friend Maura Bernard. Maura is a fascinating person: a religious clergy person, a professor of media studies, a radio DJ, and a musician. She actually owns the pink harp you see in the painting.
As she commissioned the painting, she wanted a vision of the “Angel of the Storm,” playing
her bright pink harp. I made the Angel an idealized portrait of her. Windswept white hair surrounds her as the Angel floats on the cumulonimbus cloudtops. The color deepens under the clouds to storm green and tornado black, with lightning bolts for harp strings and a big lightning bolt coming from the harp. Maura now lives in Florida with her sister Melissa, where they can enjoy tropical weather and thunderstorms all year around.
Acrylic on hardboard, 16" x 26", spring 2006. Click for larger view.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Here's another semi-sequential page from my "Horse-Tamer's Daughter" series. At the top, Epona looks into her magic mirror/psychic technical screen and sees the world far and wide, including two of Darkover's four moons. The lower illustrations depict the town and an elder warning that the overlord wizards are returning to plunder the village.
Black ink on illustration board, 7 1/2" x 10", summer 1984. Ultimately once the copies were made for publication, I cut apart the original pages, colored them with watercolor, and sold them at the DarkoverCon art show. I wasn't pleased with the coloring job and I like the black and white better. Click for larger view.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Yep, there I am in Starbucks drawing the random coffee house attendee. This one was a gent (a nice little abbreviation I think should be used more) reading through some real papers, not an electronic device. He had a purse stuffed up against his belly and he wore a veterans' inscribed jacket and hat. Y'see, I can draw people if I pay a lot of attention and leave out some of the detail. The "towers" in the lower drawing are stacks of coffee cups. "Tall," "Grande," and "Venti."
Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 4" x 7 1/2", October 31, 2016.