Saturday, August 31, 2019
Properly keeping with the Coffee Theme for this year is a drawing of one of many coffee shops I frequent. This is a view inside "Pastry Xpo," an upscale European-style shop which serves not only coffees but a dazzling array of cakes, pies, cookies, and many other pastry delights. The Xpo is located in a recently built complex of shops, residences, restaurants, and offices complete with a plaza with outdoor seating where you can enjoy the good weather. Xpo also has a big window where you can see out to the street. Here you can see a coffee cup and a block of Xpo's ultra-rich cake on the foreground table.
Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 5". Note that this tech pen I'm using has a much thicker point than the needle-pointed Rapidographs I used back in the 1970s. August 30, 2019.
Friday, August 30, 2019
When I returned home from Rome in 1976 I was still drawing lots of Corelli pictures possibly with the idea of making a graphic novel from the book. I did some writing adaptations and page layouts as you will see, and populated it with characters who were debauched versions of Alma-Tadema's well-wrapped Roman aristocrats. Here are two more pretty boys waiting their turn to have a flirtation with the young, beautiful, and sinister Snake Priestess.
I was still using the very thin Rapidograph tech pen which was equivalent to an American 4-0. After 1976 I went on to draw with more visible penwork while still using red-brown ink made by Pelikan.
Red-brown ink in 4-0 tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 8", late 1976. Click for a larger view.
Thursday, August 29, 2019
I returned from Europe in the fall of 1976 and spent some time at my parents' home before going off to graduate school. This is the window of my childhood room, through which you can see the neighbors' house. You will also see a cylindrical lantern hanging at the window. I bought this lantern in Egypt, at the Khan-al-Khalili Market in Cairo, in 1975, and brought it back as a souvenir. I equipped it with an electric flicker-bulb and it is still with me even now, in my studio as I type this in the world of the future. The window, though, is gone, another house has been built on the site.
Reddish-brown tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 5 1/2", 1976.
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
In keeping with the 2019 theme of coffee and coffee houses, here's a sketch of my local Peets Coffee with the busy barista in back. Peets is strategically located next to Trader Joe's. "Order Ahead" allows you to make your coffee order on your everpresent mobile phone, so you can pick up your coffee when you arrive, thus saving you at least three minutes in your caffeine-soaked life. Order ahead, Chaos behind.
Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 4 1/2", August 27, 2019.
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
I created this rather garish piece in the hopes of getting it published as the cover art for a new reprint of Corelli's "Ardath." I depicted the main characters, the two twin-like male lovers and the snake-handling evil Priestess. The top is blank so that the title would go there. But 1889 wasn't good enough, and I never sold the painting. I am not sure where it is, it might even still be in my own collection. In the background you can see the long-bearded Prophet who bursts into various scenes prophesying (truthfully) the destruction of the wicked City in a righteously deserved volcanic eruption.
Acrylic on heavy cardboard, extensively restored in Photoshop, 10" x 18", summer 1978. Click for larger view.
Monday, August 26, 2019
It's sort of a Geometrikon but mostly a texture and color study using my new Arteza marker set. I can get a lot of color mileage from these markers although as I've said they're all saturated with no pale or pastel tones. The texture on paper is like watercolor rather than the grainy quality of colored pencils. Red and purple are not my favorite colors but I wanted to use all the pens in the set and there are a lot of pink, red, and purple markers, probably to appeal to kids.
Markers on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 5", August 26, 2019.
Sunday, August 25, 2019
It's a challenge but a good one, using a sketchy technique for a model study. I always want to use my colored pencils and this one turned out well. By now you recognize some of the elements of the art space our little group rented: the oriental rug, the sofa, the crumpled fabric. I even drew her face. You should see my colored pencil collections now. There are more pencils than any normal human person (or even artist) should own. And I love every last one of them.
Colored pencils on sketchbook page, about 7 1/2" x 7 1/2", 1975.
Saturday, August 24, 2019
As some of you know I am a fan of the late 1800s fantasy author Marie Corelli. Her book ARDATH is a fabulous over-the-top journey into an ancient Middle Eastern world of intrigue, violence, and eroticism. These figures from my Corelli sketchbook of 1975 were drawn free-hand...all that life drawing was good for something. These are some of the debauched young men who go to the Snake Priestess's parties hoping to embrace her before her pet python or drugs finish them off. I have a trove of Corelli work dating back to the early 1970s. I'll be showing some of it off as my next blogification theme. I haven't drawn a new one in years and if I pulled the 1889 volume off my shelf the book would disintegrate into dust. Most of what you will see is digitized repeat work.
Pencil on sketchbook page, 5" x 9", 1975.
Friday, August 23, 2019
I decided to add in this last page after doing some good art at Rappahannock Cellars. This is what page 45 will look like in "Under Vine." I have Autumn remaining to number, and then start the page-numbering and printing for the book. I look back and think I have wasted my time this summer but on the contrary I've done a whole lot of productive labor and I hope that I can get it all ready for the Holiday gift-giving season. I wish I had some wine now but it would probably upset my stomach so I guess I'll settle for sparkling water.
Colored pencils, sepia ink, and Photoshop, 8 1/2" x 11", August 2019.
Thursday, August 22, 2019
Color has been added to my view of the Rappahannock winery barn, but it isn't finished. After a few more areas of green, it will be ready for placing on the Photoshop page "End of Summer." I would like summer to last forever but if that happened, the grapes would not grow or ripen and we can't have that. In fact some of the vineyard sections at Rappahannock had already been picked and they were grapeless.
Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, colored in Photoshop, 7 1/2" x 4 1/2", August 2019.
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Back to the studio in 1975, a circle of artists surrounds the life drawing model draped over the sofa. There were always around seven of us, and that number means that some of us didn't get the best view. This time it was me and you can see that the model is in what might be called "strong perspective," that is, the top of her head was facing me. It's a difficult drawing assignment for sure and I couldn't get the full body into the sketchbook, so I drew her feet separately (at bottom). I didn't draw her face because of the usual time constraints. It's still an interesting drawing despite the distortion of the position. This would be called "putting life in perspective."
Pencil on sketchbook page, about 5" x 8", 1975.
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
After drawing a successful vineyard scene at Rappahannock, I decided to place it with another landscape on an extra page for "Under Vine." This is the background, composed to evoke the warm, hazy last days of summer. It will be placed at the end of the "Summer" section of the book. Note the goldenrod blossoms in the bottom session. The background is inspired by a vineyard owned by friends of mine, the Kirkman family. They have a vineyard but they don't make wine. They just sell their crop to wineries.
Photoshop, 8 1/2" x 11", August 19, 2019.
Monday, August 19, 2019
It was a very nice wine day as the Wine Team visited Rappahannock Cellars, a favorite winery. The weather was perfect (for me as I love heat), the wine was delicious, and the snack selection went well together. The foliage is taking on the golden tint of August and big billowing clouds drifted through the sky, spilling rain on somewhere else. The circular lantern at left is a detail from the newly renovated wine lodge. This drawing may be a late entry to "Under Vine," or maybe not. It depends on whether it looks good when I color it in.
Sepia brown ink on sketchbook page, 8" x 4 1/2", August 18, 2019.
Sunday, August 18, 2019
During August I try to do an accurate rendering of a "tree-scape" using a combination of media or digital. This year's "AugustGreen" is done mainly with markers, my new pen-style ones from "Arteza", a new online art store that markets just about everything for artists both pro and amateur. This is the view out my studio window in late afternoon, with touches of gold and a multitude of greens. It also features a small spruce tree that was unsuccessfully planted many years ago and has finally toppled over. I often see wildlife in this area such as foxes, rabbits, squirrels, and deer, as well as many species of birds, right in the middle of a big city.
Markers with some white-out and a touch of Photoshop, 3 1/2" x 3 1/2", August 17, 2019.
Saturday, August 17, 2019
Now that a lot of men shave or close-crop their heads, we get to see all sorts of biological shapes. A week or so ago we got to see "Zippy the Pinhead," and now we see, in an upscale coffee shop, a guy with ears worthy of Disney or at least Star Trek. He's got a gadget on his right ear so he can talk on with his client instantaneously as well as looking at his computer at the same time. Don't you love the modern world.
Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 4 1/2", August 16, 2019.
Friday, August 16, 2019
Remember the "642 things to draw" art prompt book? I haven't done a "642" in years! Here's one, chosen more or less at random. Draw a...cinder block! What, building materials? What I first thought of was a cat. Why a cat? Because long ago a friend of mine had a long haired black cat called "Cinder." And now some other friends have a long haired brown cat called "Cinnabar." Imagining Cinnabar as a block gives the fantasy image of a cinder block hollowed out so that Kitty can slither through the carved space. If there is a hollow somewhere, a cat will find it. The block doesn't look very comfortable but I have seen cats in odder spaces than this. Is "odder" a word anyway.
Black ink on "642" sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 6", August 15, 2019.
Thursday, August 15, 2019
You can never have too many art models, or drawings of them, at least if you're an artist. My mother left behind literally thousands of model drawings and I had to sort through them to see which ones I'd keep. This job isn't done, either. I still have more of Mother's drawings. This page is mine and these drawings were done while I was at one of her life drawing sessions. I was experimenting with two different ways to render the same pose: pale limited colored pencil, and light monochrome pencil. Mother scratched hers out in pastel, a medium I never tried then and haven't ever now.
Pencils on sketchbook page, 8" x 10", 1975.
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
This is a small sketch portrait of a Brandeis friend of mine, Nancy Oseasohn. She was one of the dormitory group I belonged to. I drew portraits of many of my Brandeis classmates and they often asked me to draw them. After college Nancy went to law school and became a lawyer in Texas, originally in Odessa but now in San Antonio. I am still in touch with her through Facebook.
Pencil on sketchbook page, 3" x 4", 1975.
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
I haven't done a Colorforms in a long time so here's one. This one fulfills the game that I devised for it. Four basic shapes, in four sizes. four basic colors on a black square background. Two deviations from the rules, here some shading on the blue circle to right lower corner, and that each green leaf is the same. Oh, what does it mean? Nothing but playing with color I guess under game restraints. But also the red triangle in the square is the shape of the famous Citgo gas sign visible from part of the stands at Fenway Park.
Photoshop, 5" x 5", August 13, 2019.
Monday, August 12, 2019
Orthodox Jewish men often wear a little cap on their heads to show religious reverence. The cap is called a "kepah," or more colloquially a "yarmulke." The caps are handmade, usually by crocheting. Kepahs are sometimes made with symbols and colors, like blue and white for the flag of Israel. It is OK to have a whimsical kepah. I have seen them with a "Star Wars" theme. The caps don't stay on the guys' heads so they use a bobby pin to keep the yarmulke on.
This posting concludes my series on Nahum Glatzer's lecture.
Pencil on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 8", 1975.
Sunday, August 11, 2019
After a relaxing interval at the Brandeis "schvitz" (steam room) Dr. Glatzer returned for the rest of his talk on "Judaism and Early Christianity." (OK, I made up the steam room thing.) I also switched to a softer pencil which gave my drawings more contrast. I drew Glatzer again and added details of the audience. Among the attendees was my casual friend Tom Friedman, who later would win two Pulitzer Prizes for his work as a journalist and international politics expert.
Pencil on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 8", 1975.
Saturday, August 10, 2019
The British sketch blogger and art counselor Michael Nobbs has been helping artists with limited space, time, or health for many years. He has changed his website a lot and it is now very nicely built. He is severely disabled but has been able to make an art career for himself. One thing he suggests for ongoing artists is to draw whatever you see, even mundane stuff in your house. Nothing to sketch? Not at all? What about on your living room floor? Your tote bag? This is one of my dozens of tote bags and now it's etched into eternity.
Sepia brown tech pen, 3 1/2" square on sketchbook page, uh, August 10, 2019.
Friday, August 9, 2019
I always love summer cloudscapes. There are the big puffy cumulonimbi and lower down in the atmosphere there is a complex interweaving of white, grey, and blue sky. This scene is entirely accurate as to color, forms, and movement. Well, maybe not exactly, as I know, every cloudscape any artist does that is not from a fixed photographic image is from memory. But this one is as close as I'm going to get and it's nicer than being at the mall. The grey part was the rainy part.
Markers and colored pencil on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 4 1/2", August 7, 2019.
Thursday, August 8, 2019
Sixteen years ago on this day, August 8, I went into the nearby Tysons Corner Mall and did a drawing of the environment. Malls are popular in the summer because there's air conditioning, the kids are still out of school, and there's plenty to do and eat. I park myself outside of Starbucks with a coffee and apply myself to the sketchbook. I haven't done a mall sketch in quite a long time. Maybe I'll do another session.
Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 4 1/2", August 8, 2003.
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
We're still at Nahum Glatzer's Brandeis lecture and I'm trying to take down the words as I hear them. Something like this:
"This event testifies to the warm steam in which we hold this man. Having Professor Nahum Glatzer at Brandeis is like the good old days."
What..."warm steam?" I didn't know there was a spa and old-time steam room at Brandeis for visiting lecturers.
Oh, you mean "warm esteem." I guess the sound system wasn't so good in that room...
Pencils on sketchbook page, 5" x 7", 1975.
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
The computer is giving me trouble again, or perhaps I am giving it trouble. I wanted a simple design aligned toward a central point, so here it is. I managed to post it even though I must have pressed the wrong button and the row of icons that launches apps on the bottom row has disappeared. It could have just been some damn random hand move that hit the wrong key but I won't lose more time about it unless it really starts falling apart. I like the "tropical" colors of the top half and I'm waiting for some thundery rains to be summer-like. I am actually doing Meaningful Activity this summer, that is, art, reading real paper books, and producing "Under Vine" which I am putting in order, almost ready to start business with the printers.
Marker drawing colored in Photoshop, 3 1/2" x 3", August 2019.
Monday, August 5, 2019
This one in the lecture sketch series was quite hard to restore and I'll quote what the Professor was talking about. "....tremendous amount of mystery religions...Tammuz, who survives, you know, as a Hebrew month...he is the god of vegetation..." Two bearded devotees (not of Tammuz, but the real thing) sit pondering. I forgot to put in the eyes on the one at lower left, probably because he moved.
Pencil on sketchbook page, about 4" x 6", 1975.
Sunday, August 4, 2019
Here is my recent modernist study done up in a conventional non-digital "re-mix" using watercolor markers and colored pencils. The dark gold streamers are done with metallic colored pencil and ink design overlay. I used copper and gold metallic pencil but it just didn't come out shiny enough in the scan, hence my simulation in digital medium in the original posting of this piece. With digital re-mixing you can "fix" what you don't like in a piece but is that "cheating." That question is still being argued about by artists as soon as a new medium appears.
Markers and colored pencil, 5 1/2" x 3 1/4", August 2019.
Saturday, August 3, 2019
I can't help it. If I'm there, I draw. If I don't have the time, I do a tiny wire frame like this one. He had a weird pointy head like Zippy the Clown, but all bald with no tuft and ribbon. Can figure-recognition artificial intelligences recognize this man and track him down? I sure hope not. Can they track ME down for posting this? Someone is watching you. Everywhere. Have a coffee re-fill - Don't mind the monitor cameras at the coffee house.
Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 2 1/2" x 2 1/2", August 2, 2019.
Friday, August 2, 2019
This gentleman was listening so intently to Glatzer's talk that I could draw him in close detail. I'm following in the pencil marks of Leonardo da Vinci (Sure! Except I'm not left handed) capturing character faces at random. I want to try this again and see if I can still draw a face rather than a wine bottle.
Pencil on sketchbook page, 3" x 4", 1975.
Thursday, August 1, 2019
It's August! The grapes are ripening, a process winemakers know as "veraison" or "greening." In just a few weeks they will be ready to harvest, and the aroma of wine will drift through the air. I have just finished the final cover for "Under Vine," and here it is. I used my portrait of the "Honah Lee" winery grounds for the image. A few more details, and then it will be time to start the printing action with the press in Queens, NY that produced "Earthly Paradise" 6 years ago. This is your preview for your wine book, coming in fall 2019!
Colored pencils and Photoshop, 8 1/2" x 11", August 2019.