Thursday, December 13, 2018

Winter Trees at Dusk

It's December, and Solstice time. The trees are empty and dusk-light shines through them. There is hardly any birdsong, except for the hardy crows and winter-overing robins. It isn't snowy yet, but that will come. With my owl-like schedule, I spend most of my time in the dark. Every so often I hear hoots and calls from my night-flying comrades.

Original drawing, black tech pen on sketchbook page, 8" x 6", December 6, 1998. Colored in Photoshop, December 2018.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Geometrikon Blue Sky Demo

I went to the art materials store yesterday to get my seasonal colors. Today I bought enough colored pencils to create a fine winter scene. This Geometrikon is a tryout for new colored pencils that match the purplish blue of winter skies, and one snowflake. That's all we got while other people were buried in snow. I also enriched my landscape collection with a selection of evergreen greens: spruce, juniper, sap, cedar, more. And then some light grey for winter clouds. Winter here in MidAtlantica is often bright and sunny, with moderate chill. I've never figured that out.

Colored pencil, marker drawing, 2 1/2" x 2", December 12, 2018.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Terra Nebulosa

"Foggy Earth" would actually be "Terra Nebulosa" in proper Latin, but I'll give the Terra Nebulo people a pass on that. If they were in space, they would be "Nebula," which would make interesting wine. A "shady character" is foggy or shady, hence "nebulo." The vineyard's logo is a black domino mask, which I can't copy here or add to the page, because of copyright rules. Did bandits or burglars ever really wear black domino masks? In the comic books both the bad guys and the good guys wear some type of mask. I just use Photoshop masks.

Photoshop composite, December 2018.

Monday, December 10, 2018

20 Years Ago My Room

DarkoverCon 1998 is over and I'm back at home. Here is a drawing I made of my room after the con. You see bookcases, plush toys, boots and shoes, a plant, bead strings hanging on the wall, and a large pile of laundry. The unusual thing about this is that this room looks exactly the same right now. The only thing that is different is that I now have a bookcase in the  empty wall at center, and my racks of collectible orange sneakers. I still have the felt indoor boots you see in front of the left bookcase. The plant is still in the room but doing poorly; maybe I can re-pot it. The mass of laundry is ever-renewing. The more I wash, the more I pile on the floor, dirty or clean. Twenty years, the same thing.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 8" x 6", November 30, 1998.

Sunday, December 9, 2018


Another little pattern piece fits into my small sketch journal page. This is a piece of "reverse engineering" where I use colored pencil and ink to imitate the layering technique of Photoshop. These are proper Autumn colors of leaves which have now scattered to the winds and it's twiggy time now until the end of March. 

Colored pencil and ink on sketchbook page, 5" x 2", December 7, 2018.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

20 Years Ago Starbucks

There he sits, like a prince, awaiting his coffee. This is the throne room of King Coffee, and that's what Starbucks is all about. There is always so much to be sketched in a coffee house, from people to equipment to drinks. It must have been a rather warm day in November because the people are not bundled up. This Starbucks was established in 1995 and I have been frequenting it ever since.

Black tech pen and marker on sketchbook page, 8" x 6", November 12, 1998. In those days I thought the Millennium would never come.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Cardinal Acquaviva 1978

Some of you remember a fantasy character of mine, a Roman Catholic cardinal named Acquaviva. The name means "Living Water" though anyone who sees that name thinks it has to do with "Aqua Velva," a men's aftershave cologne. I interacted with this character during my explorations of Catholic Christianity and I continued to maintain "contact" with him up to and including my formal conversion and baptism as a Catholic in 1979. Next year, 2019, will be the  40th anniversary of this event. Naturally the Cardinal was pleased to see me join the fold.

I did this little portrait of His Eminence in August 1978. At that point a new Pope had not yet been elected and Cardinal A. was waiting to go into Conclave to meet with his fellow prelates to vote. 

I parted ways with the Cardinal some years after my conversion. Sometimes I still "visit" him in his corner of the Imaginal World to see how he is doing. 

Black ink on sketchbook page, 4" x 5 1/2", August 1978.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Naked Mountain Winery in Winter

Here's a place where if you get naked in the winter, you won't get cold. Naked Mountain winery is one of my top spots for wining. Their wine is super and in the winter you can sit by the fire with your clothes on and sip. They also serve a splendid lasagna plate in January and February. I'm hungry just thinking of it. 

Drawing is sepia brown tech pen, and the wood-grain background is by me on Photoshop.
Composite digital and hand done, December 2018.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

20 Years Ago Construction Site

I go by this building every time I pass through Tysons Corner, the "edge city" where I live. It was just a grassy slope when I first moved here. Since then I've seen a whole district of high-rises and glass-faced office and residence buildings pop up. Now that the Metro stops here the rate of building is increasing. The idea is that you live in one of the expensive apartments in a 30-story hive and you take the Metro in to work as a consultant or lawyer in DC. Or you just walk from your hi-rise to your office in this building. If anyone thinks this will take more cars off the road in this area, they are mistaken. Soon after this one was done, they built another similar edifice behind it. I am just part of the Capitalist Progress that is transforming an old country crossroads into a Big City.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 8" x 4 1/2", November 18, 1998.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

20 Years Ago Setting up the Christmas Trees

Continuing my retrospective for November-December 1998 here is my action portrait of men putting up a tree sales display. It is one of my favorite drawings as the humans are drawn in natural poses and the wood beams make a nice pattern. My journal text says that that day was unusually warm so the men could work without heavy clothing. The darker rectangle is the opening to a little shed that holds supplies and provides shelter to the person selling the Christmas trees. The people managing this are members of the Lions Club of Vienna, Virginia. I wondered what the Lions Club was and I find they are a worldwide community service association started in Chicago in 1915. The tree sales raise funds for Lions service projects.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 8" x 6", December 3, 1998. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Taverna Light Fixture Holidays

Happy Holidays one hoped, at least back in the early 80s at a Greek restaurant on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The "Taverna Kephalonia" is long gone but we can still see its Holiday decorations on this light fixture. Tinsel twines the brass candle holders and a folding paper "bell" hangs underneath. This drawing was done while waiting for dinner to arrive. I drew it on a trip I took to visit friends in DC, well before I decided to move to the Metro DC area seven years later.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 6", January 2, 1982.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

20 years ago Van in parking lot

This parking lot and shopping center is more or less the same now as it was when I sketched it in December 1998. You don't see many of these huge utility vans such as the one at right, though. The ambulance is parked and its people are on break, maybe drinking coffee at Starbucks. I always liked the seasonal banners attached to the light posts. These Holiday decorations had gold stars on a green background. There were banners for the other seasons too but after a while they were no longer used. I did this sketch from the driver's seat of my car, parked in the lot.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 8" x 6", December 1,1998.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Rogers Ford Winery Summer

I wanted to do a page which was the essence of summer in Virginia wine country. Rogers Ford, like many Virginia wineries, has historic 19th-century buildings on its estate and if I had had more time I would have drawn more of them. Their tasting room is an old farmhouse with a very nice porch for old-fashioned sitting.

Photoshop composite, 8 1/2" x 11", December 2018.

Friday, November 30, 2018

20 Years Ago DarkoverCon

Back in 1998 DarkoverCon was an active, happening convention which attracted hundreds of people as well as well-known authors and artists. Even though she was in poor health, Marion Zimmer Bradley managed to attend this convention (she died in 1999). Instead of the vast emptiness I saw last weekend, the atrium was filled with dealers, Christmas decorations, and people. The hotel has been through a few changes of ownership, and there is less and less quality with each round. The same is true of the convention, now called "Chessiecon." There is talk of 2019 being the last performance of this venerable event. I think maybe it's time.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 8" x 6 1/2", November 28, 1998.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Wine and Wood

Here's a nearly monochrome page from VuV. There is similar woodwork in many of the wine lodges I visit. I love the interaction of angles and diagonals. Some of it looks like abstract architectural studies, almost Escher-like in its complexity. I don't always capture it when I try. These three are some of my successes.

Photoshop composite, 8 1/2" x 11", November 2018.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Chessiecon Jumbled Chairs

The hangar-like atrium of the "Red Lion Inn" convention hotel also doubled as a social area. When the con was over, the staff gathered up the armchairs from the social area into a geometrically interesting cluster. There was at least one of these armchairs in each room and I imagined a hundred of them arranged in regiments of comfy-ness. There is one little person in this drawing and when he left, it was time to go home.

Sepia tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 6", November 25, 2018.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Picasso at Chessiecon

Chessiecon is over, and I am back home facing a large amount of domestic tasks. I have 8 loads of laundry to do. I am considering hiring housecleaners for another round, but they don't do laundry. Nevertheless every little bit that I can remove from my house is worthwhile.
Chessie was fun and I was glad to see my friends and spend time talking and dining and sipping wine at Salon Pyracantha, my annual party at the convention. I managed to make two sketches and here's  one. One of the nicest things about Chessiecon is that there's a lot of live music playing, usually Celtic folk and a bit of bluegrass. I sketched two musicians here playing in the large hotel atrium. I based the idea on a famous Cubist piece by Picasso, the "Three Musicians." 

Sepia tech pen on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 3 1/2", November 23, 2018.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Fred the Cat Guest resident

Over the years my friends and relatives would deposit their cats with me for safekeeping while they were out of town or on vacation. I had plenty of cats to draw so I am more familiar with them than with other animals. This is "Fred," who was my guest in 1982. His coat was colored in patches of orange and white. Fred was known for his sense of humor and goofy nature, which always made me laugh, but was glad to see his real persons when they returned.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 5", 1982.

The By-Product will be on a short hiatus for Chessiecon and the Thanksgiving holiday, and I hope to be back next week. Happy Thanksgiving to Americans celebrating. Give your cats some love for me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Hammerstone Wine Lodge

This drawing, despite being from a photograph, was quite difficult to do. I have only visited Hammerstone Cellars once. Their vineyard and lodge was hidden away in a primeval forest and I got lost trying to find them. Now their website says they are "closed for the season" which is an odd time to be closed. Maybe they have shut down for improving or re-starting their operations. This building was recently built when I visited but I didn't have enough time to draw it on site. I think I'll keep the drawing in reserve for now.

Sepia tech pen on sketchbook page, 7" x 6", from a 2017 photo, November 20, 2018. Some white-out and Photoshop touch-up.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

20 Years Ago Hair Salon

It was 20 years ago today... on November 20...that I had my hair done at my usual place in Falls Church, Virginia. Interestingly (is that a word?) I will also be having my hair done today. 1998 to 2018. The difference? I will be going to another hair salon run by different people. This will be the first time in years since I did this. I just feel I need a change of personnel in the hair department. My hair has two colors, red and gold, each one a separate dye job. A new salon has just opened only a few blocks from my home. The old salon has re-located three times, each one getting harder to drive to on complex heavy traffic roads. Let's see what happens with my new cut and color job. If I don't like it I can always go back to the older one. If I do like the new do, then I will face the difficult task of telling them that I won't be using their service any more. Or else I can contrive to have both salons work on me, so I can still see my old hair friends.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 8" x 6", November 20, 1998.

Note on hair salon November 21: The new salon did a great job on my hair but it was very expensive so I think I will stay with my old friends and their good work.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Stone Tower Winery Summer

Here is the more or less finished page for the "Stone Tower" winery. I thought of adding the grey on the horizon rather than the humid green, but decided not to. These drawings are rather old (2014) given the 5-year length of the wine project. I asked the winery folks whether they had a real stone tower someplace but they said no, they would be building one someday. From the website, I don't see any newly built stone tower. If they do build it, I would certainly draw a sketch of it.

Photoshop composite, 8 1/2" x 11", November 2018.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Humid Background

This is one of the backgrounds I am using for my "Summer" section of "Under Vine." I am trying to evoke the feeling of humidity, soft air, and approaching storm that is so much a part of my favorite season. I have another version which I am using on one of the vineyard pages. I want you to hear the sound of distant thunder.

Photoshop, 8 1/2" x 11", November 2018.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

20 Years ago Today: Bookstore conversation

In 1998, the Internet didn't dominate our lives. Only geeky people had it, where they discussed their own little thoughts in their own little cyberworld. There was such a thing as books, bound sheafs of paper which were sold in bookstores like the one depicted above. Now, when every nutcase, conspiracy theory fan, moron, hater, and politician has access to the cyberworld, there are still books but who reads them? City dwellers in their teeming moderate multitudes, I guess, that is, people like me. Here are two guys having a conversation in a Borders Bookstore that is long gone. Perhaps the guys are, too. 

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 8 1/2" x 6 1/2", November 16, 1998.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Winery 32 Colors of Wineworld

I was concerned that my VuV pages were getting a bit dull and colorless so I spiced up my "Winery 32" page with digital color. The deck umbrellas were this illuminated light of orange when I drew them. The logo at the lower right isn't really from Winery 32 but it certainly could be. The "32" in the winery name stands for 32 acres, 32 years married, and 32 peach trees in their orchard entrance. I couldn't fit that all in though. "Under Vine" in general has less text on the pages than its paradisiac predecessor.

Photoshop composite with a drawing from 2014.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Autumn Trees Mini Sketch

I have a new sketchbook journal which is much smaller than the one I've been using. Its pages are thick and easy to work with no matter what medium, including markers. This is a mini marker sketch from memory depicting the changing colors of Autumn and the 2018 theme clouds. Why a smaller journal? If I got one in my standard sketchbook size of 8 1/2" x 11" I wouldn't fill it up. I only need two months' worth of sketchery. 

Markers, 5" x 3", November 2018.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

868 Winery

Some wineries have numbers instead of names. "868" is one of them. This lavish spread in the countryside has historic and new-built edifices as well as acres of vineyards and a restaurant. I did the original art outdoors in worsening weather and by the time I had finished the sketch, it had started to rain. With this "Under Vine" page I decided to portray the inclement weather as well as their landscaping, with colors darkened on a gray day. I didn't get to eat in the restaurant, though. Maybe next time on a drier day. All of these wine establishments are an hour or more's drive from my residence so the logistics of wining and on-site drawing are sometimes quite difficult.

I think I'm doing quite well turning out these page designs but still I won't have the book till early 2019.

Photoshop composite, many image layers, 8 1/2" x 11", November 2018.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

More Otium

Here we are at Otium Cellars again, with foliage in just the right color for a cloudy summer day in Wine Country. If you look closely, you can see the image of a horse at the fence. Otium is run by a German family who raise grapes not usually grown in the USA. These German varieties are Dornfelder and Blaufrankisch, and they are rich dark red, unlike the common Riesling of Germany. The riding ring and stable is next to the tasting room and if you're lucky you can see someone practicing dressage, or "horse ballet."

Photoshop composite, 8 1/2" x 11", November 2018.

Monday, November 12, 2018

20 Years Ago Paradise Sushi

In 1998, there was a small Asian restaurant in the shopping center where I would later work as a Trader Joe's artist. It was called "Paradise Sushi" and it was truly a bit of paradise. Someone had painted murals of beaches and beach people on the walls and the main table had a shade umbrella over it, even though it was indoors at a window and had no sunlight. I would eat there once or twice a week. I love sushi, a treat I had never known before coming to the DC area. They had other simple Asian dishes as well such as teriyaki chicken and donburi fried pork. I loved this place and I was greatly disappointed when it closed. Its space is still occupied by a restaurant but it has a reputation for being unclean and I have never eaten there. Paradise Lost I guess.

Interior of Paradise Sushi is tech pen on sketchbook page, 8" x 6", November 11, 1998.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Maggie Malick's Wine Tunnel

This half-buried bunker is actually a wine-making and wine-tasting room for "Maggie Malick's Wine Caves" winery. It was built to keep the wine in a protected environment while it ferments. The top and sides are earth-sheltered and planted with grass. The tasting room is inside as you can see, with the barrels on the left. Maggie herself will gladly pour you a tasting. If you want to sit down and sip, you go through the tunnel and out onto an open-roofed deck where you can enjoy good weather and wine outside.

Photoshop composition for "Virginia Under Vine."

Saturday, November 10, 2018

20 Years Ago Today CVS Building

In late 1998 they were just finishing with this building, a CVS pharmacy which is still going now. It has undergone some much-needed renovation recently and I shop there all the time. They have a very good selection of protein and energy bars. When you finish shopping and pay they hand you a ribbon of coupons 6 feet long. I did this drawing sitting in my car in the parking lot.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 8" x 6", November 9, 1998.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Another page for 50 West

I wanted this composition to look like watercolor, though I haven't used watercolor in any of my on-site winery sketches. The blue border is added on in Photoshop, as is the blend into grassy tan. I am thinking of getting a new iPad to do on-site sketching, as my current version is kind of unworkable due to obsolescence. One of my problems with that, though, is that there is no Photoshop for the iPad so I'd have to use a whole new system designed for iPad such as "Procreate" or "Autodesk." Another problem with the iPad is that the screen is very shiny and reflects the sky if you are outdoors. My Cintiq, currently dormant on my studio table, needs an upgrade. I've never used it outdoors or on site due to some of the same problems as with iPad, also the Cintiq is rather heavy. Well rather than ramble on about this I might as well try it again since it runs Photoshop. OK you can wake up now.

Photoshop composite, November 2018.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Dad in the kitchen

In 1998 I made an unusual amount of sketches in many notebooks. Towards the end of that year I did a series dedicated to drawing the mundane environment of my life, my friends, their houses, and street scenes. I did one almost every day in a sketch notebook that combined lines for writing with an unmarked section for art. This was the entry for November 7. It shows the husband of a friend of mine, poring over some printed paper documents in their kitchen. Twenty years ago today, as the Beatles might say.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 8" x 6", November 7, 1998.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Flaming Political Sunset

I voted for this fabulous sunset, seen over the polling place in Northern Virginia. iPhone photo.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Aspen Dale Winery Cloudy Day

I don't often see landscapes with cloudy overcast skies, but here at Aspen Dale all weather is welcome. These views were done from the wine lodge, looking back to the barn and its silo. The Aspen Dale "campus" is filled with heritage buildings, many of them still in use. The place also hosts many different barnyard animals including miniature horses. I often declare Aspen Dale to be the most picturesque winery in Northern Virginia.

Photoshop composite, 8 1/2" x 11", November 2018.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Cats of 1984

As I've said recently, I can draw cats. (In Internetspeek, "I can drawz katz.") These two were on separate pages and drawn at different times in the year 1984, but I combined the drawings with the marvels of Photoshop. The cat on the top is "Marble," small but fierce with a gray stripe and swirled coat. She may have been part Siamese. The feline on the bottom is "Rabbit," so called because she could sit on her hind legs and hold her front paws up, the way rabbits do. She was a gray striped cat too. These cats were guests in my house at various times and have long since passed into blessed memory.

Black ink on sketchbook page, combined drawings about 4" x 4 1/2", 1984.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Old Barn at Aspen Dale draw

It was Saturday, but I didn't go wining. I worked on "Under Vine" instead. I produced this drawing of one of Aspen Dale winery's barns. This is an unusual drawing for me, the result of an experiment. Usually I try to draw my winery and its details directly from the site, when I'm there drinking wine. I want to avoid photographs although I work from them when I need to have a good reference. I think that drawings from photographs can sometimes look too precise. This time I used my computer screen with my reference photo on it. I put my drawing stuff on my computer desk in front of the screen and used a simple desk lamp for lighting. I think it came out quite nicely. I know that other artists especially commercial artists draw from the screen, but I've never done it before.

Tristan, I'm glad you're still reading the By-Product! I visit yours regularly. As to your suggestion about another collection book of my artwork, I am definitely considering making one or two with my best art in it. Darkover has copyright issues with the Marion Zimmer Bradley estate. But my own art is all copyright to me. What do you and other readers think of a book of my "Geometrika," or geometric abstractions that you've seen here? It would be very bright and colorful. I don't know whether it would have words or not. Also possible is a "Best Of" with all my favorites and major works in it. That would be a big, expensive project.

Drawing of barn is sepia tech pen on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 5", November 3, 2018.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Arterra Winery Spring

Even though I've pushed my deadline back a few months, I'm still working on "Virginia Under Vine." This is the last of the seasonal pages and the only one that uses a different typeface on the header text. I don't think my readers and collectors will mind. Arterra is one of my favorite wineries. It is hidden away in the forest and the last time my friends and I went there, I saw a wild turkey wander by. The "marriage of fine wine and fine art" alludes to the owners, a married pair named Jason and Sandy. Jason is the winemaker and Sandy is an artist who makes beautiful ceramic artifacts based on grape leaves. Her kiln is right there in the tasting room.

Photoshop composite, 8 1/2" x 11", November 2018.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Popcorn cat in window

As longtime By-Product readers may remember, I did many sketches of cats, from viewing the real cat. I'm pretty good at drawing cats, especially if I have a real live one with me. I've been going through old sketchbooks and have found quite a bunch of my cousins' cat, "Popcorn," who I hosted in my house when the cousins were doing a cross-country road trip. Most of these you've seen but here's another one. He liked to sit in the windowsill, so the caption says, "'Popcorn,' Lord of the Windows, July 1984."

Ink on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", July 1984.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Disappointing Vines

I am feeling disappointed this November. I have been working very hard on creating the images and text for "Virginia Under Vine" as you can see from the last month's postings here. But I have come to the realization that I will have to delay the release to spring of next year as I simply do not have enough material to make a decent-sized book. Also, I was hoping to work on it all summer but my surgery and hospital stay took two months out of my life. I need to make more art. Since this involves going to wineries, that isn't such a burden though the logistics are always somewhat difficult. I also want to do more interviewing with the winemakers for the text pages. I wouldn't feel right rushing to release. I'll assemble the ones I already have and see what I can do when. You've already seen the drawing above, it's suitably "seasonal" but it is dated 2014 which feels like an age ago.

Ink, colored by Photoshop, October 12, 2014.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Spring at 50 West vineyard

"50 West" is a vineyard and winery situated near Route 50 in Northern Virginia. Believe it or not, from a coastal Maryland eastern start, this road originally went all the way across the country, finishing in San Francisco. There are numerous wineries on Virginia 50, so many that I like to call it the "Wine Line." These views were made in early spring just as buds were coming out on trees and vines. The top view was done from memory but it is a typical image of what a Virginia vineyard looks like.

Photoshop and drawing composite, 8 1/2" x 11", October 2018.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Welcome Home Delegate

I was still living in Cambridge, Mass. in 1984 and there was a lot of political action in my neighborhood. This house was down the block from me and it was one of many that I sat outside and drew in the summer of 1984. Many of these houses had been divided up, like mine, into apartments where students and aging hippies lived. This house was home to someone who was a delegate to the 1984 Democratic convention at which Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro were chosen to run. He had just come back from San Francisco where it was held. Ronald Reagan was the Republican incumbent. Someone in his household made a sign for the porch to welcome him home. For a brief moment in American history it seemed like politics made sense and could be practiced by real people who lived in ramshackle houses in the shadow of Harvard University.

Ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", July 20,1984.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Horton Vines and wine castle

Horton Vineyards is one of my favorite wine establishments. They have a delightful wine castle (see above) probably adapted from some old farm buildings and a silo. Horton serves more than fifty varieties in many different tasting programs. They grow exotic types of grapes as well as the usual ones. Horton also makes fruit and berry wines under the humorous rustic title of "Chateau Le Cabin." I've visited there a few times and always enjoyed it. 

The page you see here is a composite of photograph and drawing. I did the drawing last year sitting outside on a folding chair. That is a scan. The vines are a photograph which I took at the same session. I don't usually use photographs for my wine pages but this one looked so nice "as is" that I didn't want to waste my time copying it. These vines produce grapes whose variety originally came from Georgia - not the US state but the Central Asian country, which can truthfully claim to be the place where wine was first made.

Photoshop and drawing composite, 8 1/2" x 11", October 2018.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Fabbioli winery in winter

Winter wining is a nice experience in Northern Virginia. You bypass the outdoors and sit inside at the fire and get cozy. You can look out through the windows of the tasting room and sip your choice of Doug Fabbioli's Italian-styled red wines. The only thing to watch out for when wining in winter is to remember that it gets dark early and driving through the countryside at night should be avoided. You have to arrange wine, light, and road for safety. 

Photoshop composite, 8 1/2" x 11", 2015 and 2018.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Endless World Series Game

As some of you know, I am a baseball fanatic, and a lifetime supporter of the Boston Red Sox. This year, they are in the World Series again, that is, the championship series of American baseball (with an international roster). They used to never be in the World Series, losing in creative and sometimes spectacular ways. The legend was that the Boston team was cursed, and could never win it all. But in 2004 some power of light and rational magic finally released the Sox from the curse and they won the World Series in 2004. They went on to win again in 2007 and 2013, and now they are playing in 2018. The Series is 7 games long and whoever wins 4 of these games is the champion. Currently the Crimson Hose are leading in games 2 to 1. They are playing the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tonight and today's game was a World Series record-breaker. The game, usually 2 to 3 hours, went well over 7 hours and was only ended by a member of the Dodgers launching a baseball into low earth orbit. With both teams exhausted by the effort, the final outcome is uncertain.

I did this drawing while watching the game on my mid-90s vintage SONY TV set, a massive chunk of ancient electronics which still works fine. Behind the TV is a large round plate of pretty blue glass. The picture also contains images of my music tapes and records. The words are my notes on what was being advertised during the game. I don't know what "Jalisco" is, maybe a brand of tequila?  The ads are a portrait of middle-class Americana and I find it interesting that the types of people in the ads are much more diverse than the ads I knew during my youth. The next game is later today and I hope these young men have enough energy to play again.

Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 8", October 27, 2018.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Keswick late summer

This VuV page belongs in the "late summer" section, including the date I did that drawing. This year I missed a visit to Keswick due to the surgery and recovery but I'm hoping to get there at some point. I am recycling some design elements from Book 1 like this one, but I altered it with fading green leaves so no one will know the difference.

Photoshop composite with sepia ink drawing, 8 1/2" x 11", October 2018.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Aurelia Anicia 410 AD

Here she is, Aurelia of the prophetic mystery, hiding the text codex under her cloak as she runs away from social oppression. This is my "official" portrait of her in my collection of illustrations. I think I've gone through most of them now. 

I had a selection of possible endings for the story.
1. She gets captured and brought back to Rome where she is forced to marry the older man her parents set for her.
2. She makes it to Jerusalem where she becomes a member of Saint Jerome's group of scholarly women translating the Greek Bible into Latin.
3. She throws the mystical manuscript overboard and discovers that its prophetic powers have transferred to her own person.
4. She trades the mystical manuscript to Heliodorus and in return lives as a scholarly hermit under his protection on one of his land holdings.

I could have chosen any one of these, or written another one, but I ran out of time and interest and had to go to graduate school, which was a bad choice and a whole other line of misery in 1976-1979.

A close-up of Aurelia. She is wearing a rosary but that is anachronistic, rosaries weren't part of Catholic Christianity until the later Middle Ages.

Watercolor and ink on sketchbook page, 4" x 12", 1975.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Autumn Rain Vineyard

This is the Autumn seasonal image page for "Under Vine." I created it from an earlier image which I used to depict an autumn storm. I enjoy evoking not just bright sunny days but darker twilights and weather effects. Each seasonal page also has a reference to a vineyard. This one is from "Winding Road Cellars," which has been my "base of operation" as the years of winery visiting and drawing go by. It has a special mention which my Winding Road friends will get. One of the white blends produced and cellared at Winding Road is named "Twilight." I would make a decorative "Night" page but it would be all dark and you couldn't see anything.

All digital using Photoshop, 8 1/2" x 11", October 2018.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

More Coffeehouse People

I made myself get out of my apartment to have coffee at Starbucks. I always take my sketchbook with me so I can draw these little figures. I like to draw them in this "clear line" style and I want to capture the most accurate personality and attitude with the least amount of messy drawing debris. The bottom figure was drawn not at Starbucks but at Caffe Amouri, a college-style independent coffeehouse in Vienna not Austria but Virginia.

I've picked my theme and color for 2019, if all goes well. The theme is (surprise, not) Coffee. And the color is "Espresso Brown" which translates to pigments like Burnt Umber or Warm Sepia. I order my art materials decaffeinated.

Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 7", October 22, 2018.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Hardscrabble Vineyard at Linden

"Hardscrabble" is basically lousy farmland, dry dirt with rocks and thin soil. Crops don't grow well there, but it's perfect for grapevines. As winter edged into spring I visited Hardscrabble Vineyard and made these drawings, except for the fruit and grape press which I drew from a photograph in the studio. 

Photoshop composite, October 22, 2018. For "Virginia Under Vine."