Tuesday, October 23, 2018
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" 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."
Sunday, October 21, 2018
The concept on this one is a bit different. Nothing prevents me from exploring a bit of design in "Under Vine," and I love the light sky blue. Delaplane's wine is some of the best Virginian I've ever tasted. Some people might wonder what that dark blue triangle to left is, well, it's an umbrella. I added that into the inscription to reduce confusion.
Photoshop composite of 2014 drawing, 8 1/2" x 11".
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Taking a short break from Virginia vineyards: here's an illustration I did in my 1975 sketchbook journal, shortly before I left for my year in Europe. The scene is from "Ardath," Corelli's moralizing fantasy tale of a modern young man magically transported into an ancient decadent city of dreams. He makes friends with the Poet Laureate and goes to a party at the royal palace. As the two friends wander through the grounds of the palace our main character spots what he thinks is a beautiful naked nymph standing in the water waiting for him. The Poet pulls his friend back from the water, telling him that the girl is not real but a sculpture of tinted marble with some light-emitting diodes or something like that. He could have figured that out by simply waiting to see if she moved, but he was never that bright, just bamboozled by the fantasy world he has suddenly dropped into.
Watercolor and colored pencil on sketchbook page, 8" x 5 1/2", spring 1975.
Friday, October 19, 2018
This one needs a bit more work but that can happen later. This is not an exact portrait of a weather event or vineyard. I created it from memory of a real storm that happened in 2016. A few minutes after observing, the storm poured forth drenching torrents and I had to take refuge in a gas station convenience store. Vine growers don't like these sudden outbursts as hail can damage the grapes and deluge will overflow the roots. Still, summer is my precious favorite season.
Original drawing is made in markers on sketchbook page, page composed in Facebook.
Thursday, October 18, 2018
This complex page evokes the height of summer at Doukenie Winery, which is actually in Hillsboro rather than "Purcellville" as I have it on the draft. I made an extra large multi-featured page in my original drawing and sent the original to a concert pianist friend of mine who traded me music CD's of her performances. I'm glad I found the rather antique-looking main typeface. I could letter it myself but then it is not adjustable. Green colors in this piece were carefully worked.
Original drawing was colored pencils on illustration board. Assembled in Photoshop 8 1/2" x 11", October 18, 2018.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
"Crushed Cellars" is tiny as wineries go around here. It has only one active vineyard so they buy or raise grapes off site. They have a tasting lodge and an area in the back where they keep a flock of chickens and sell the eggs. When you sit outside on their little front deck, chickens come up to you and expect to be fed crumbs from your snack. I think "Crushed Cellars" is one of the funniest winery names I've visited. Crushed grapes, but why "Cellars?" From what I've heard from wine people, and even they are not quite sure, the "Cellars" in a winery name means that the wine is kept there but originates from a winemaking facility at another location.
The original color drawing in this page was done on August 8th, 2015. Ink and colored pencils.
"VuV" stands for "Virginia Under Vine."
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
This summery green page is from the upcoming "Virginia Under Vine" project. The story of Brazilian immigrant Nelson DeSouza could fill the whole page but I want to keep concentrating on art. Casanel is a great place to enjoy wine and the winery people including Nelson treat you as family. Nelson's daughter Katie runs the winemaking now as it is a multi-generational enterprise. Visit a virtual Casanel at https://casanelvineyards.com.
Original drawing is ink and colored pencil, August 2017, assembled in Photoshop 2018. Size, 8 1/2" x 11".
Monday, October 15, 2018
If I have all these hundreds of markers I might as well use them, right? This colorful doodle comes mainly from one set which is full of bright saturated colors, appealing to kids but not so much for the pro's. My latest set of markers which I got earlier this year has lots of delicate and misty colors so I'm pleased there. Meanwhile I'll take the saturated colors from the kiddie set and make pseudo-folk-art here.
Markers on sketchbook page, 4" x 3 1/2", October 14, 2018.
Sunday, October 14, 2018
Barren Ridge Vineyards is one of the most beautiful Virginia wine destinations I've ever visited. In good weather you can sit out on the deck and enjoy the wine with an outside fireplace to add autumn warmth. In the distance is the intense atmospheric blue of the Blue Ridge. Here is the "Virginia Under Vine" page for Barren Ridge.
Ink and colored pencil drawing, assembled with type in Photoshop, October 2018.
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Aurelia, in a gesture of monastic asceticism, had her long aristocratic hair cut off. Thenceforth she wore a hood and a Sister's robe. The haircut was a shocking and defiant act in ancient society. Here are four trial sketches of Aurelia in motion and in her religious garb. I have been reading a fascinating book about ancient Rome and early Byzantine society and politics. This book, "428 AD," by Italian scholar Giusto Traina, would have been a great help to me back when I was trying to write Aurelia's story. I am fascinated by the early Byzantine period (350-600 AD) a time a lot like ours of constant ethnic and religious conflict under a decaying Empire.
Sepia ink Graphos pen on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", 1974.
Friday, October 12, 2018
I'm organizing Book 2 of my wine book by the seasons again. I did two Fox Meadow pages last time but I liked this image so I kept it along with the attribution to Fox Meadow. I don't know how many more wineries I can visit before I have to finalize it for publication but I have enough for seasonal pages as well as individual wineries. There's plenty of fall color ahead and "Winding Road's" official portrait is filled with autumn leaves. I can't believe it has been FIVE YEARS since I created and published "The Earthly Paradise."
Original image is watercolor with ink and some pencil, processed and text added in Photoshop. Page is 8 1/2" x 11", October 2018.
Thursday, October 11, 2018
It's springtime...at Aspen Dale winery. Here's another page draft from "Virginia Under Vine." I will be previewing my pages here as they are finished. These pages are a combination of colored pencil drawings, some watercolors, and some iPad sketches. I use less digital imaging on this volume 2, for some reason. All the type is Photoshop though. You get to see it first.
Ink and colored pencil with Photoshop, 8 1/2" x 11", assembled October 2018. The drawing was done in 2016. As always, click on the image for a closer view.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
This picture is a homage to my artist mother, who died three years ago in October. Her work could be called by the standard "abstract expressionism" and I see no need to change the name. Some of my artist friends have been experimenting with this type of non-representational art on their blogs and posts, so why not me. My mother's favorite things to draw were nude women and trees. She would draw a forest scene like this and then add in some female human figures hiding in the branches. Maybe she was possessed by Dryads.
Markers on sketchbook page, 3" x 4", October 9, 2018.
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
As part of my explorations of the eastern Mediterranean I took a cruise tour of the Greek islands. I visited Crete, Mykonos, and Rhodes, where I drew this picture of the Venetian Arsenal. You can see a stone cannonball at lower center. The tour schedule gave me enough time to draw and paint. This place was peaceful and sunny and you would have no idea that this had once been a place of fire, explosives, and war.
Watercolor over pencil drawing on Fabriano paper, 9" x 13", summer 1975.
Monday, October 8, 2018
I've shown you most of the characters in my Byzantine epic tale, but not the girl herself. I made plenty of pictures of her and here she is in monastic habit, visiting a sisterhood in Egypt. In her day, the early 400s AD, Christian monasticism was proliferating but unregulated, without rules such as the later Rule of St. Benedict. There were sisters as well as brothers, usually cloistered and prayerful similar to nuns. Aurelia hides in a convent in Egypt while trying out their way of life.
You'd think I'd base Aurelia on myself but I really didn't look like her. Instead I modeled her on my college chum Jan Sandberg, whose portrait you recently saw on this Blog. Aurelia doesn't stay at the convent very long as her parents and relatives are sending private militiamen to find and capture her so that she can be forced into the marriage she is trying to escape.
Ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 5" x 5", 1974.
Sunday, October 7, 2018
"Virginia Under Vine" is in progress. Here's a draft of one of the pages of my second winery art book. The type needs some adjustment but this is basically what the page will look like. Usually when I visit Bluemont I get rained on but I have had a clear moment or two as well as a "winebow" or rainbow over a vineyard. I decided to depict the cloudy weather with the blue rainy light.
Ink and colored pencils with Photoshop landscape with clouds background, 8 1/2" x 11", fall 2018.
Saturday, October 6, 2018
I have a tiny kit of colored pencils in a plastic holder. They are made by Crayola for kids and these pencils are not more than 4 inches long. I have had this set for years but have only rarely used it because it doesn't have enough landscape colors of blue, gray, or green. It has a lot of bright colors of pink and purple and orange to attract kids. I decided to take this set out with me to a favorite coffeeshop for sketching. Fall leaves was my theme so I could take advantage of all these bright colors. It isn't bright leaf time here yet but I like using autumn red as the main color. The star-shaped leaf in the center is from a yellow poplar. I think I can borrow some pencils from my other collections and use the less fancy ones by cutting them in half to fit the spaces in the kit box. This plastic box of mini pencils is no longer available but you can get the same pencil set full size from Crayola, 100 colors for children or yourself.
"Red October" is colored pencil on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 4", October 5, 2018.
Friday, October 5, 2018
Back in the simple world of Colorforms I'm expressing Autumn. You have the three primary color shapes on the black square background, and my unique color add-in is a Photoshop jumble toss of oak leaves. I did not add a pumpkin nor any spice.
Photoshop, 5" x 5", October 5, 2018.
Thursday, October 4, 2018
The American Academy in Rome is located high up on the Janiculum Hill above the city. The Academy is a cultural embassy designed to bring American scholars and artists to Rome for study and inspiration. There are other national academies as well, though not nearby. The American Academy is placed among Church properties hosting priests and religious orders from other countries. My parents stayed at the American Academy in 1950 and I stayed there in 1976. I drew this view through one of the Academy's windows.
Rapidograph technical pen and colored pencil, 4 1/2" x 7", 1976.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Inspired by memories of software installations of olden days here is a Photoshop doodle. I'm sure users of a "certain age" remember the blue-to-black gradient initial screen and the yellow on black writing of PC software. Press Enter to continue. Do you want to install? Press Enter to continue. Install entire program or custom selection? Yes/no. No internet connection required. Because it didn't exist back then for us mouse pokers. Do you miss 1992? Yes/no.
Photoshop, 5" x 5", October 3, 2018.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Rome has countless fountains, from the imperial and theatrical to the quiet, trickling and humble. In the past, this is where you got fresh water. The fountain depicted here was near a restaurant. It shows a wine barrel and the water is coming out of a wine sampling hole. The letters "SPQR" stand for "Senatus Populus que Romanus" which is the motto of the city of Rome and means "The Senate and the People of Rome."
I did a number of colored pencil sketches of Rome but decided that I preferred ink and watercolor instead.
Colored pencil on smooth Fabriano Italian paper, 4" x 7 1/2", 1975. Click for closer view.
Monday, October 1, 2018
I would have colored this in with pencils while it was still in the sketchbook, but that sketchbook is consistently drawn in sepia tech pen and I wanted the drawings to be all one style. So I scanned it, processed it, and added color in Photoshop. I confess it looks rather like all of my winery art of this kind. I didn't have the opportunity to go outside and draw, since I was enjoying my wine, cheese, and charcuterie. "Charcuterie", that's "summer sausage" for the uninitiated and I sure wish I could have some more summer.
Sepia tech pen and Photoshop, 5" x 7", September 30, 2018.