Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Colorform Opal


Four pieces of each primary color, same shape, different sizes. One unique feature. All arranged on a square black background. This is the "Colorforms" game remembered from my artistic childhood. My "game" never existed, of course, only the pieces and shiny black background. This one's "unique feature" is the bigger greenish square, reminiscent of a pale opal. I didn't want any red in the picture, but the game demands it, so I lined up my red triangles in a corner like a car's brake light, small enough not to disturb my design. You'd think that a Colorform would be an easy thing to knock out on Photoshop but it actually takes quite a while as sketches go...this one took more than an hour to compose, while I was listening to ambient-electronic music.

Photoshop, 5" x 5", August 21, 2018.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Snake Priestess 1975


Marie Corelli (1860-1925) is one of my favorite fantasy authors. I am one of few in this world who remember her; she is almost completely forgotten now. I read and re-read her books and illustrated her characters constantly. This babe is one of her best. You can read about her and the melodramatic plot of Corelli's "Ardath" (published 1889) at this older post from 2008. I did a Snake Priestess portrait every year until my attention was diverted to other artistic themes. This is the one for 1975. I followed the garish color scheme described by the author.

Ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 7 1/2" x 8", May 1975.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Bull Run Winery produce hut


This "Wine Saturday" was my first wining expedition since my operation and captivity. My friends and I visited "The Winery at Bull Run," set near the famous Civil War historic site. Though it was crowded we found our way to a quiet refuge in a barrel room basement where we sipped and I drew in peace. This view is of a hut in back of the winery's tasting room, probably for storing and selling fruits and vegetables. I wasn't able to draw outside but I managed this sketch looking through a back window. My sketchbook was balanced on a wine barrel with my glass of Virginia Pinot Noir in front of me. I guess I'm recovering, even if slowly.

Sepia pens and markers on sketchbook page, 6" x 6", August 18, 2018.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

642: Tube of Toothpaste


You haven't seen anything new from my "642 things to draw" sketchbook so here's one. The prompt is the mundane "A tube of toothpaste." But my 642s will never be mundane as I have committed myself in this sketchbook to the weird, the quirky, and sometimes downright bizarre. So here is a tube of toothpaste, erotic and winged like the winged phalli of the ancient classical world. Or perhaps it's a pasty green mint-flavored angel, bringing good tidings and fresh breath to Mary mother of God. 

Black tech pen, 5 1/2" x 2 1/2", August 18, 2018.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Geometrika tiles Colors of Summer


Here's the last one of the series, titled "Colors of Summer." It's done in marker which shows quite a difference from digital coloring. I suppose I could simulate these marker variations with Photoshop tricks but that's too much like work. I'll keep this in my not-so-lavishly illustrated sketchbook journal to bring back memories of a summer most of which I missed.

Markers, 3 1/2" x 5 1/2", August 2018.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Geometrika tiles color digital Augustgreens


Here it is, colored in Photoshop. If you design it correctly, you can use Photoshop's area-finding tool to instantly drop the color of your choice into your art work. My colors of choice here are yellowish greens matching the greens of August in late summer.

And...Ding! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. One of my Facebook correspondents correctly identified the Boston modernist building with geometric designs on it as the exhibition space of the Massachusetts Institute of Contemporary Art, which was built in 1960.

Marker ink drawing, colored in Photoshop, 3 1/2" x 5 1/2", August 2018.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Geometrika tiles black and white


Here's a multiple Geometrikon in the form of a series of tiles. These are not real tiles of ceramic or wood, they're just designs. I plan to do three versions of this set: one in black and white (this one), one in digital coloring, and the third colored by hand. I won't rotate it, this is what you get for all three. I was inspired to do these designs by the heraldic devices of my neo-medieval friends who pitched white tents decorated in their coats of arms at the "Pennsic" fair and gathering. I also remember a peculiar building way long ago, a small exhibition hall on the banks of the Charles River in Allston, Massachusetts. It was decorated in black and white geometry similar to this. The date was in the late 1950s - mid-century modern for sure and I'd love to find it again somewhere though it no longer exists.

Marker drawing with digital tinting, 3 1/2" x 5 1/2", August 15, 2018.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

High Summer 1998

I have often complained here that there are no interesting old houses left to draw in my neighborhood, but that's not entirely true. This handsome porch house, from the late 19th or early 20th century, carries the flag in an area full of nice houses. It is only a few blocks from big shopping centers and a main road, but it looks like it's in a small town. I did this drawing on site, and July 4th's flag was still flying. The drawing, which was finished in the studio, is on a page of my lavishly illustrated 1998 sketchbook journal.

Ink and watercolor, 5" x 5", July 21, 1998.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Planet Ouranos


This is not at all meant to be astronomically correct. It is my impression of the planet Uranus, whose name is constantly derided but is really "Ouranos," a Greek word meaning "sky" or "heavens." I'm using layers of textures as I have been experimenting lately. The curved yellow streak is a ring around Ouranos composed of ice, pebbles, and planetary building debris. There are also bunches of asteroids and space rocks floating about. Remember, it's "Ouranos" and this is not meant to be astronomically or politically correct.

Photoshop, 8" x 5", August 13, 2018.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Josephine Cat 1984


In the 1980s and 1990s my father had a cat named "Josephine," who had wandered onto our property and adopted him. Josie was a Maine Coon with an abundant, tabby-colored fur coat and white paws and chest. She also had extra toes, looking like thumbs, on her front paws. She had an intense personality and was attached one-on-one with my father. She followed him everywhere he went at home and tolerated me and my mother when I visited. My father was a cat lover and he liked Josephine more than he liked me or my mother, which was all right with me. Josephine gave my father 17 years of companionship and service. 

Black and sepia brown tech pens, 5" x 8", 1984.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Alice at the Cafe


I went to the local luxury coffee shop,"Caffe Amouri," as I often do with friends. We get together every week to talk about our creative and craft work. Added to our group this Friday was Alice, the daughter of one of my fellow-crafters. She is an artist currently working on a graphic novel. The coffee was excellent, and the atmosphere at Amouri feels like being in a college town.

I don't usually do pictures of people but I did this time because sketching is my craft and I wanted to see whether I could depict a recognizable Alice with the simplest pen-line available.
You haven't seen her but I think I did a pretty good sketch portrait job here.

Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 7", August 10, 2018.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Prairie Doodle


This Photoshop doodle could be used as a background, with a horse rider or buffalo in front, or it could just stand alone as a non-contrasty abstract nature piece. I have all sorts of digital image textures that I never use so I decided to experiment with a few of them here.

Photoshop, 5" x 5", August 9th, 2018.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

More Big Puffy Clouds


This is the moment for them, my friends the big puffy clouds that sail in the sky above me, and throw thunderbolts and torrents at those below. They only have a couple of months left above us before they fade away in the autumn. I lost most of my summer to illness and rehab so I am appreciating everything summery that comes my way.

Colored pencils and markers, 5 1/2" x 4 1/2", August 9, 2018.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

"Charis" character portrait 1975


Here's another character portrait from my Byzantine adventure story from 1975. It is in my sketchbook journal from my Brandeis days and the journaling on the page describes my classes, friends, food, music, etc. This journal is so well-illustrated, I am amazed that I was able to add so many images to it, and elaborate good ones, too! This character, "Charis," was either the mistress of a nobleman or a noblewoman herself. The story took place around 400 A.D. and the shiny silk fashions she wears are typical of a woman of high rank in that era. I based Charis on my fellow Brandeis student Karen. I lost contact with Karen after a few years and I have always wondered what became of her. How could I have made so many highly detailed small illustrations while holding down a whole set of college classes? Maybe because I wasn't wasting my time staring at the Facebook feed for hours? But I had a TV in my room and went out with friends, so all I can say is those were the days.

Ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 8", February 1975.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Tropical Plant Color Doodle


I have an astounding number of markers. When visitors to my studio see them, they almost faint. How could one person have that many colors? Actually, markers are one of the least expensive means of making art, as long as you don't care about the colors fading. So wherever I turn, I can pick up a marker of any color and create...at least something. I started with red here, and then went into dark green. I wasn't thinking of anything in particular but it turned into a tropical plant abstraction. No actual plants are represented here.

Markers on sketchbook page, 4" x 3 1/2", August 6, 2018.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Crescent Street Cambridge 1984


Artist's blurb: I lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts for 12 years during the 1980s. For most of those years I lived a very bohemian life in an old house just one street away from Harvard Divinity School. I worked on art commissions and book covers, sold art at science fiction conventions, and did a lot of sketching. I often drew the houses and trees of my picturesque urban neighborhood. 

This image is of backyards and fences on Crescent Street in Cambridge. The inkwork was done on site and it was colored in the studio. I love these old wooden houses and wish there were more of them to draw here in Metro DC. Many still exist but it is hard to find a spot to draw from.

Brown tech pen ink and watercolor, 5 1/2" x 8", August 22, 1984.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

What I Saw: Steampump


This fabulous assemblage was in the lower level of the rehab building where I spent my captive days. The lower level didn't have residents. It was where physical and occupational therapy was done. There was a pleasant little gym where I spent time exercising under supervision. When I saw this 3-D steampunk assembly by the elevator stop on the lower level, I knew I had to bring it to you. What was it, really? I was told that this was where the water and steam pressures for the whole building were regulated. I think I surprised my rehab keepers by my artistic behavior during my stay there.

iPhone, July 1, 2018.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Geometrikon Purple Butterfly Re-mix


You saw the purple butterfly geometrikon a few days ago. Here's the "re-mix" of it in marker enhanced with a Photoshop gradient background. I do love these colors together and you can find them in Nature in iris flowers.

Markers, with Photoshop added, 4 1/2" x 4", August 2018.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Muscleman 1975


I learned human exterior and muscle anatomy by buying and dissecting muscle magazines. I also copied and traced the models in their photographs. Even in the 1970s the bodybuilders were using steroids and other drugs to enhance their physiques. This guy came from one of these mags. I don't know his name but he wasn't famous. In 1975 Arnold Schwarzenegger won the "Mr. Olympia" bodybuilding championship for the sixth time in a row and by 1982 he was playing "Conan the Barbarian" in the movies. I still have some muscle mags collecting steroid-enhanced dust on my shelves.

Watercolor and ink on sketchbook page, 4" x 4", 1975.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Square Star


This is basically a Colorform with extra elements added, like the twirling webs of red and the switch of colors (the circles are supposed to be yellow). Every time I set up the five-inch black square background I have something new to say. Not that it's very important to say, but there, I've said it. Many of my musical friends can make something delightful or even deep by assembling pre-fabricated sounds into a composition. Why could I not do the same with graphic design elements.

Photoshop, 5" x 5", August 2, 2018.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Geometrikon Purple Butterfly


A butterfly shape isn't the most original of designs, but that's what happened in my tiny process. I'll leave the beautiful women with flowing hair to other artists. I actually like purple as a theme color. But you don't see it that often in arty paintings. Shall I try again with a more tasteful palette? 

Marker drawing, colored in with Photoshop, 4 1/2" x 4", August 1, 2018.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Rehab: The corridor


This is a rather wobbly drawing of the inside of the rehab home's corridor. I drew it while sitting in a wheelchair. The rooms open to right and left, and at the end of the corridor is the nurses' station and general administration, with two wheelchair-using patients under watch. Also at right is the pill wagon where medications are stored and dispensed. While drawing this image I was surrounded by staff members who found it fascinating. Some of them had artistic interests of their own and made comments on my sketch as I drew it. The upper level administrators also saw it and made copies of it on an office copier. I am told that this drawing will appear on the rehab facility's monthly newsletter.

Black gel pen on sketchbook page, 6" x 6", July 9, 2018.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Rehab Home more front landscaping


Here is more front landscaping at the rehab home, this time rendered on my iPad. I am pleased that I matched the colors very well. The birdbath is real and as I sat there many species came there to flutter and bathe. The residents are often walked or wheeled through this landscape if there is someone to accompany them for safety. I learned to recognize many of them in my time there.

"ArtStudio" app on iPad, about 8" x 10", July 19, 2018.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Rehab home front landscaping


This is what the view looks like from the front porch of the rehab facility. The property is enhanced by two majestic black walnut trees which probably have been there before the building was built. A squirrel grazes on a grassy area in front of the door. I sat in this spot almost every day while I was there, watching this managed area of Nature.

Black tech pen colored later with watercolor markers, 3 1/2" x 3 1/2", July 16, 2018.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Care Home white fence


The landscaping around the rehab home was traditional white-painted wood with some reverse archways on the upper level. I later found out that some of it was white-enameled metal. The fence ran around enclosed areas and a nice courtyard. It was comforting in a way but you had to remember that this fence gently kept those inside who tended to wander in their dementia. I couldn't stop thinking that this could be me in my last years. And it wouldn't be a bad place to end up.

Black gel pen ink on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 4", July 11, 2018.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Care Home front porch


After my hospital stay I was moved to a rehabilitation facility near my home, hidden away in a leafy, affluent urban area. The intention was to help me recover from my operation and consequences but like many others I found it stressful. The facility was lovely, the staff was skilled and caring, and the food was excellent. My problem was the inmates who were suffering from many levels of dementia or chronic illness and often caused disturbances. I won't describe any of these in detail. I consoled myself by sitting out on their small front porch and gazing into their landscaping which was lush and green and habitat to many birds and woodland creatures such as squirrels and chipmunks. I drew a number of small pictures in my sketchbook. This one shows one real bird box (to the left) inhabited by a House Wren, and one imitation bird feeder (no seeds due to risk of rats) in front. I spent more than three weeks in this place.

Black gel pen ink on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 4", July 16, 2016.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Hospital Air Tube


This peculiar instrument with its rather rude proboscis is not a toy or a "specialty" aid. It's a breath meter designed to help hospital inmates retain clear breathing and healthy lungs. You are supposed to suck in air through the tube as much as you can, and it will read out, through adjusted meters on the main stand, how much air you can breathe in. It's supposed to prevent pneumonia or airborne disease by giving you lots of breathing practice. The meter uses a rattle in a column to show your level. I still have mine but I will probably consign it to plastic recycling someday.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 4 1/4" x 3", June 2018.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Hospital Water Tower


This Asian-looking tower is at the hospital where I was treated. Any modern hospital has to have redundancy of resources in case of a disaster whether natural or human-caused. My hospital was top of the line when it came to resources and modern development. Nevertheless this structure reminded me of Indian or Central Asian religious architecture rather than a water tower. I was on the eleventh floor of the hospital and facing west so I could see a long way over lush summer trees. I also saw some glorious sunsets as the sun sank behind the dome. I spent my birthday, June 25, at the hospital where the staff all signed a printed piece of paper for me and brought me a little slice of chocolate cake.

Black gel pen on sketchbook page, 4" x 5", June 23, 2018.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

More Hospital Stuff


The hospital room had a sink equipped with shiny fixtures which were kept scrupulously clean. Modern germ management was in force everywhere, though one technician complained that this sink spilled water on itself and was hard to keep neat. I thought the curved metal pieces looked like a futuristic waterfowl, partnered by the sterilizer dispenser on the wall behind it. These sterilizing gel dispensers were everywhere, and also made a good on-the-spot cleaner if you needed it.

For some absurd reason I call a hospital a "hotel" in my conversation although there is only a little bit of similarity.

Gel pen on sketchbook page, 4" x 3", June 19, 2018.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Hospital Lifting Device


This lifter runs on a track above the bed. It is designed to move other pieces of equipment or larger patients. The load is borne by the hooks you see in the engineering design. The whole thing is made of white enameled metal and it matches other things in the room. The Inova hospital is a marvel of design and cleanliness. I wish my own studio was like this.

I intend to keep blogging on a daily basis though this entry is a little late. 

Black gel pen on sketchbook page, about 2" square, June 18, 2018.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Return of the By-Product


There hasn't been a posting here for more than a month, and one or two of you might actually have noticed it. Well, it's been an ordeal that I hope I never have to repeat. In late June I had a bowel obstruction which required surgery to correct, as well as removing scar tissue and adhesions from an old appendectomy in 1965. After the hospital I was put in a rehabilitation facility for 24 days to recover from the operation and gain strength through physical therapy. I was finally released from the care home with its mixed collection of the aged and demented and stranded sick foreigners. I am hoping that I will not have a recurrence of the problem, but there's no predicting what my guts will do.

The only gadget I had with me was my iPhone from which I do not blog, though I managed to send a few entries to Facebook. I hated typing on the tiny little "keys" and I'm amazed how younger folk and teenagers do it so easily and quickly. I had my sketchbook journal and drew a number of small sketches which I will post in this Blog.

The one you see above is a medical robot which is equipped with all sorts of testing devices to measure blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, temperature, and blood oxygen. It makes pinging noises and travels on a swivel base. In my hospital room I was fascinated by the modernistic machinery even when I was pinned down by IV tubes and other worse medical impositions. So I drew them. But then, I draw everywhere.

Black gel pen on sketchbook page, 2 1/2" x 6", June 18, 2018.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Blue and Orange Geo


Blue and Orange are my favorite color combination these days and I place them wherever I can enjoy them. They are complementary colors and if you stare too long at one of them you will get an after-image in your eye in the other color. On the artist's color wheel they are opposite or 180 degrees apart from each other on the circle. See, art has something to do with math after all. This geometrikon has textures I am experimenting with but I also wanted to work faster.

Markers and colored pencils on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 2 1/2", June 16, 2018.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Phantom Lady


 I gave it a try, I really did. I tried to do action superhero figures. The "Phantom Lady" was a 1940s-era  superhero-ine who had (engineered) powers of casting illusions and shadows, and  could become (or seem to become) immaterial. She wore the common "boob straps" type of female superhero outfit. I think the engineering of the outfit was more fantastic than that of casting shadows. I have seen cosplay attempts at this with varying results. I was trying to prove to myself, as I said, that I could draw action figures. I've done lots of drawing from real models (life drawing) but I generate "realistic" drawings rather than the sexy cartoons for comics. My art school trainers wanted that realist style of drawing. Meanwhile, the little drawing to the right ("Oops") shows what could happen if Phantom Lady tried to fight while wearing her high heeled boots.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 8" x 8", 1993.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Dig we Must


I  was thrilled to emerge from my studio and out of the building to see this fresh new Kubota excavator parked in front. The management was having repairs done to the foundation and brickwork of the building. I suspect it might be damage going all the way back to the earthquake of 2011. I immediately grabbed my folding chair,("Prince Charles' Throne") set it on the front stoop, and drew as residents passed to and fro, peering at my sketch. This digger is bright red but I opted for monochrome for a quieter look. There was dirt spilled all over the grass and the parking lot. I had a brief talk with the operator, who I recognized from his work replacing my balcony glass door. He said that he and his crew were "professional mess makers." I would so love to get in that glass control cabin and work the machine myself. Dig we must! I dig it.

Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 7 1/2" x 4 1/2", June 13, 2018.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Hair Chairs


Often when I get my hair done I will make drawings while I'm waiting for the hair dye to do its job. Today was a slow day at the hairdresser's so the chairs were empty. So I drew the hair chairs rather than the people and there weren't many people there anyway. Hair chairs are not the same as office or art chairs and are adjusted to humanoid shape and proportions. Thanks to the skill of Lisa my hairdresser I look human again and not like an alternate form of hominin.

Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 7", June 12, 2018.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

DarkoverCon 5 Cover art 1982


As it isn't enough for me to digitize and preserve thousands of photos of my artwork and my family history, I am now working alongside another archivist finding and documenting Darkover fan art and activity. I was for many years the chief fan artist of the Darkovans and you know this only too well if you follow this Blog. The fan archivist asked me to find and scan the programs that I saved from every DarkoverCon I've been to. I just don't have the time to scan 30 or so which is what I have but I will scan for now the ones with my cover art and other stuff relevant to my own role in Darkover fandom. This program for DarkoverCon 5 (or "V" Roman) dates from 1982. I was Artist Guest of Honor that year and the Writer Guest was the late Jo Clayton whose name and work recently surfaced on this Blog. I have hundreds of magazines and fan memorabilia, most of them with my art in them, which I intend to donate to collections at two American universities. It is time for me to give my old work a life in research.

This piece was done in the "Scottish Art Nouveau" style. Art Nouveau and Pre-Raphaelitism were styles and artistic movements which I found appropriate for the Celtic-inspired Darkover world.

Ink on illustration board, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", fall 1982.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Photoshop Modern Improv


One of the nice things about Photoshop is that I can come up with all sorts of improvisations while I'm sitting at my screen. I don't have to push slimy half-congealed acrylic paint around on a tray until I have to replace my jar of muddy paint water. And if I need to change something, all I have to do is delete its layer and start again. With improvisations like this, I can give myself the feeling that I've actually gotten something worthwhile and creative done, even though I probably haven't.

Photoshop, tiny picture 5" x 5", June 10, 2018.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sacramento Street Cambridge 1984 Again


I love doing architectural portraits like this one. This house is one of many late 19th - early 20th century buildings in my old neighborhood near Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on "Sacramento Street." I have no idea why a street in Cambridge would be named after a city in California, but why not. In the 1980s I did many such pictures most of which have already graced the pages of this Blog. When I moved to Northern Virginia I didn't have the opportunity or the logistic ability to draw in residential neighborhoods. And for these reasons also it became too difficult to draw on a city street. Wineries have given me another sketching opportunity though very few of the wineries have older architecture. Even so the wine lodges are built in a traditional form so I get to draw a porch anyway.

Brown ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 5" x 8", June 20, 1984.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Drinks on the table


Coffee time with my crafter friends was at Peet's Coffee, a rival to Starbucks. Both their coffee and their interior design are high quality. On the table are plasticware belonging to the other folks who are sipping behind their computer. These simple details of upscale urban life are worth a fortune. I will never take them for granted. 

Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 6 1/2", June 8, 2018.

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Lady at the Door


This Darkover picture illustrates a story, but I never made up the story and neither did anyone else, so feel free to imagine why the lady is standing by the castle door. Will she let you in? Say goodbye? Burst into tears and beg you to help her? I have often role-played with my art, making images that precede the text that it went with. Art doesn't have to play out in time the way a piece of music or a poem or a fictional text does. Well I suppose it could if you measured the artwork by what you focused your eyes on and how long you stayed at a part of the image. I ignore that kind of analysis, I just draw 'em and paint 'em and if you like it, good. 

Thanks, Tex, for your intelligent comments on this blog. The By-product was recently spammed by a Pakistani "escort" service so that may be why you had trouble accessing the Blog.

"The Lady at the Door" is ink and watercolor on orange paper, 9" x 11", November 2003. Click for a larger view.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Three Byzantine Figures 1973


These characters are from the era at the end of my college years when I was illustrating my own fiction. This is the one set in late imperial Rome, about the aristocratic runaway teen girl and the mysterious eunuch courtier. This little painting is a practice piece depicting the costumes and armor of that time. To the left is a warrior, in the center is a court functionary or messenger in livery, and at right is a high-ranking courtier of noble rank. Much of Byzantine attire was inspired by Persian garb rather than the drapery of earlier days. The court's lavish silks and brocades were imported from Central Asia or India via the "Silk Road."

I used gouache, or opaque watercolor, for this piece. Gouache was used in manuscript illuminations and other super-detailed work. I was experimenting to see whether my own illustrations should use this medium. I decided against it as being too painstaking and did the rest of my illustrations in ink and watercolor.

Gouache on illustration board, 4 1/2" x 6", 1973.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Partly Cloudy Geometric


It's partly cloudy here with a few geometric elements. These lovely blues are very difficult to get with markers. Even after you get them and draw with them, they fade quickly unless hidden away. I am glad for the technology of digital scanning which allows me to use my impermanent markers. Once the drawing is scanned, it's potentially immortal, at least within the span of our current lives. Inside the large polygon is the weather. This is what the skies looked like on June 5, 2018 in Northern Virginia during the day. The blue geometrika were added later.

Markers, colored pencils, and a bit of Photoshop work, 4 1/2" x 4 1/2", June 6, 2018.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Philosopher in his Study


The Philosopher looks like he is locked up in a jail cell but that wasn't part of the story at all. The grating on the window is to keep out thieves, ruffians, and gangsters as he is on the ground floor. I suppose he could be in prison and might have landed there if he continued carrying on against Christianity. This character portrait and background were done in the same painstaking ink and watercolor technique that I used for the other illustrations of my Byzantine tale.

Brown and grey ink and watercolor, 8 1/2" x 4 1/2", January 25,1975. Click for a larger view.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Wine Tasting Caddy at Bluemont Vineyard


When you order a wine tasting at Bluemont Vineyard, they hand it to you in one of these metal caddies, unless you order the bigger version which is served traditionally by a wine server. The rustic rough metal construction, with a handle on the top, can hold six glasses, each one of which is loaded with a little bit of wine. The tasting comes with a printed card which you match up, read information about the wines, and then take the tasting sip. This is a clever way of saving the labor of wine servers in a crowded situation. I have never seen wine holders like this before and enjoyed using one at my visit to Bluemont. I wonder if they sell them.

Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 3", June 3, 2018. I would have drawn it looking at the one on my table but I was busy wine tasting. This was copied from a photograph of the tasting holder on the Bluemont website.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Bluemont Vineyard in the Rain


Bluemont, Virginia is a tiny historic town near the Blue Ridge mountains which was originally re-founded as a resort from the stifling heat of the Washington summer. It never worked out but the place is still an attraction to tourists and wine lovers. This scene is the view from Bluemont Vineyard, situated high in the hills over the flatter areas of central Virginia. I went there with my wine-sipping friends and there was plenty of rain torrent, splashing, thunder, and lightning. This sketch of Bluemont's wide view was started indoors with a line drawing and finished with colors when I returned to the studio. Note the brighter green vines on the hill to the left. I like depicting rainy and misty scenes as well as the brighter sunlit moments.

Colored pencils and markers on sketchbook page, and a bit of Photoshop, 7 1/2" x 4 1/2",
June 3, 2018.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Mid-Century June Moodle


I haven't done a "Mid-Century Moodle" for a while but with my continuing work on the Archive I have reached the early 1960s where this geometric design was at its height. I didn't put in a  starscape or moon. I wanted to use shades of blue-purple-grey without my usual bright orange. And with two squares in the background and the network of straight lines forming polygonal shapes I could play with foreground, background, and layers. I could have made this more elaborate but decided not to. This visual improvisation was done while listening to one of my electronic composer friends improvising in his studio thousands of miles away.

Photoshop, about 9" x 4", June 2, 2018.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Golden Sunset


This is from a golden memory, a sunset that is more likely to appear in winter rather than late spring. It must be the mist of humidity that softened the colors into this sky. Or is it the mist of humanity, here in the city. I can't call it total recall, but it's pretty accurate.

Colored pencils, some correction in Photoshop, 3 1/2" x 3 1/2", June 1, 2018.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Arty Model 1975


Here's another highly composed model study from my mother's art group that met at the church in Newton, Massachusetts during the '70s. I attended when I was available and was not too involved in my college studies. From the looks of this piece I was more interested in depicting the environment and furniture than the model, whose pose was rather dull. I also tried to portray the pale winter sunlight as it fell on the figure.

Apart from this: Good luck, Tristan.

Ink and watercolor pencil on sketchbook page, 4" x 5 1/2", January 23, 1975. Click for larger view.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Clearing Out 2006


I'm still and ever trying to reduce the house clutter and packed materials in my closets. This pile is, as you can see, from 2006. During 2006, this stuff was interesting but 12 years later, in 2018 (Yikes, that late!) it isn't that enthralling, and will be respectfully discarded. Why did I keep the receipts for purchasing clothing and housewares? And I was busy spending bucks on art materials even more than I am now. In fact with all this digital stuff I spend much less on physical art materials, including paint. The two separate sketches you see above are of boxes soon to be removed, and packing materials, and my oriental rugs and big bookcase. There are other boxes to be gone through, too, including a large number of black and white photos of my family's stay in Europe in 1961-1962. I may submit these to professionals ("Legacybox" perhaps) and spend the money because I have had it with twisting myself painfully in front of the computer. I am hoping eventually I will be able to archive some of it, once it's all digitized. Well here's the Drawing of the Day, folks....are there any folks....?

Sepia tech pen on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 6 1/2", May 29, 2018.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Colorforms 7: Oracle in the Ruins


On a broad terrace up the mountain lie the ruins of the Oracle, lit by the full moon. Ancient cypress trees have taken root in the old stones. And there in the center, half hidden by the fallen blocks, is the sacred fire of truth and insight, built by the ones who have gone before. But watch and beware, because the truth is also a consuming flame surrounded by deadly vapors. A fantasy from the Mediterranean, still inspiring us today.

This game was played with the four basic shapes but in grayscale. One red triangle for the fire.

Photoshop, 5" x 5", May 29, 2018.