Saturday, May 31, 2008

Very Quick Sketch

It isn't a live model, just a photo in a model book for artists. But I treated it as if she were only posing for a minute or two, with Photoshop as my quick sketch medium. Of course I cheated and erased or "corrected" things that I wouldn't have been able to do in pencil or pen. 

Friday, May 30, 2008

S'mores at Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's, where I work as a sign maker, is selling the ingredients for a gourmet version of "S'mores," the sticky melted campfire delicacy. I did this sign for a display of these goodies. The main board is a Masonite panel, painted in black chalkboard paint. The colors and lettering are done with opaque acrylic markers. The extra pieces around the edges are done on foamboard with spray paint and more acrylic marker. Signs at my Trader Joe's are currently multi-panel assemblies, complete with comic book-like frames.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Superheroine sketch

A very quick superheroine costume sketch, done in Photoshop. I like to use the drawing tools at medium (50%) opacity. That looks more like pencil.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Marriott Courtyard

While I was at Balticon, I stayed in a Marriott Courtyard hotel. These hotels really do have a courtyard, and it is a nice piece of landscape architecture, contained within the building. A gazebo is always a plus. The windows of all the interior rooms look out on this courtyard garden, as if it were a terrarium big enough to walk around in. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Balticon Sketches

Here are some more sketches of attendees at Balticon. Many people were in costume or wore some costume elements. Balticon is like a family gathering. You see the same people every year. 

Monday, May 26, 2008

Balticon Sketches

I'm back from Balticon. I had a great time and my art collectors were there. I sold "Kosmograd" to one of my best collectors. While I was at the convention I did a lot of sketches of the attendees and here is one assemblage of them. 

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I have just finished my latest painting which I am taking with me to the Baltimore Science Fiction Convention this weekend. (No updating here till I return.) The painting is called "Kosmograd," in Russian "City of the Cosmos," and it is based on early twentieth century Russian Constructivist graphics. Russian Constructivism was kind of like a Soviet Socialist Art Deco. In my image you can see the stylized City of the Future which Socialism will bring us, where everyone lives in harmony and the workers control the means of production. There is also a tower (on the left) where the old church steeple has been replaced by a symbol of secular aspiration: a missile. Cultural workers of the world, let us follow our five-year plan! 

"Kosmograd" is acrylic on canvas, 16" x 12". My thanks to this design site for the wonderful name.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Big Truck

I drew this big rig while looking out my hotel window, near Hagerstown, Maryland. This was during my landscape and building tour in late summer 2006. I love big trucks and construction equipment. I'm like a little boy. I like trucks and cranes and earth movers and building sites. I like comic books and stuff that burns and blows up. You will never ever see me wearing pink. Someday soon I hope that I will get a Dyno-Inventic Build Your Own Electronics Kit. I want to grow up to be an engineer, or a comic book illustrator. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Etna has been erupting lately. Lava pours peacefully from fissures near the summit craters, looking great and harming no one. Here's a Photoshop tribute to Monjibeddu, Sicilian dialect for "Beautiful Mountain."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Draw a Girl

Another effort in my ongoing attempt to draw a nude female. Yes, I know, this is drawn from a photograph in a model book, and true drawing is only from real life models. 

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Wine and Craft Festival

This Saturday I went to the Virginia Wine and Craft Festival in Front Royal. I have gone to this festival almost all of the twenty or so years it has been in existence. I tasted lots of Virginia wines, ate well, and drew this picture of some of the vendor tents and the crowd. This is the last page in my sketchbook so I get to start a new one. 

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Fantasy Baroque

This one's from 1993. It is inspired by the fantasy works of Julian May. The structure is a never-built temple that was used for stage sets in the European Baroque era (17th century). Original is mixed media (colored pencil, acrylic, ink, etc.) on blue paper, 10" x 7".

Friday, May 16, 2008

Stylized figure

Nude figures, nude figures, nude figures. Especially female nude figures. If I can't draw these human bodies well, I can't call myself a real artist. I don't draw them well. But I keep trying, and will till I do. I don't have the luxury of a real live model so I have to draw from model photo books, and I'm using Photoshop for the whole drawing. This one is kind of stylized and idealized, but so is the model in the book.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cat Show Sketch

These drawings are from 1999, when I went to a cat show. I love cats but do not own one due to allergy problems. So I am happy to visit cats whenever I can. The "Russian Blue" is my favorite cat breed. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

More Blue Stuff

This is a watercolor abstraction from 2003, inspired by high-energy astronomy. Furious jets of fiery particles pour from active galaxy nuclei and enormous black holes. This is my interpretation of this cosmic phenomenon. I seem to like blue color schemes, and so do the people who buy my art. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Blue Moon

This one is retrieved from my archives, year 1996. It's a neo-retro city in the blue reflected light of an enormous (or foreshortened) moon. Acrylic on blue paper, 10" x 7".

Monday, May 12, 2008

Porchy House

I am a professionally trained architectural artist. I worked in an architectural illustration studio for two years back when I first moved to the DC area. I have continued to do architectural renderings, especially for the luxury residential market, since then. I did this pen and ink rendering for a custom builder in 2003. I also did a much larger watercolor rendering of the house. I also do "house portraits" for home and business owners. This house has a wonderful wrap-around porch. The builders are friends of mine and I have spent many happy well-fed hours in and around this home. 

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Earthly Vegetation

I created this ideal spring scene last year when I was learning Photoshop as an artistic tool. Photoshop has all sorts of nice texture "brushes" which are good for rendering leaves and other scattered visual effects. It has been chilly and cloudy and rainy this May, but if it were sunny and warm, my environment would look like this.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

More Fashion Drawings

Here are some more of my practice fashion drawings. The "fashion" style allows me to draw human figures which don't suck, because they are not realistic. 

Friday, May 9, 2008

Alien Vegetation

Alien vegetation floats in a thick chlorine atmosphere. Somewhere in the vast range of universes, this is a lovely springtime scene. Doodled in Photoshop.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Familiar little stranger

This little fellow has been appearing in my imagination for a long time. He is from my imaginary world of the Noantri, but I don't know anything else about him. From his garb he looks somewhat rustic. For all I know, "he" could be a "she," but I haven't had any "communication" with him yet. Image created directly in Photoshop, quick sketch.

You can read more about my Noantri world at this place on my home Website.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Yale Frat House

I drew this fraternity house in New Haven while I was at an academic conference. The brick house was probably once quite an elegant single-family residence. Now it is the home of Zeta Psi Fraternity at Yale, and it is isolated, rather run-down and on the border of a deteriorated neighborhood. The drapery you see at the right is a French flag which was hanging in front of the building I was drawing from. The wind kept blowing it in front of the window I was looking through. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Futuristic improvisation

I improvised something in Photoshop late at night. It's sort of, y'know, futuristically architectural. Maybe it's a routing diagram at a spaceport. Flight 909, now boarding for Amshir 3.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Building.

All my people drawings look like buildings....but I keep trying. Photoshop all the way, from one of my art model book photos.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Tyson's Country Corner

This nice set of roof planes houses a well-known restaurant in Tysons Corner, Virginia called J.R's Stockyards Inn. This place has been serving steaks and other American goodies since 1978. It now has a real windmill on the property. Thirty years ago, Tysons Corner was not the big city it is now. I drew this while in their parking lot, but didn't eat there.  

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Specials at Mena's Bagel Shop

The Washington area's flowering trees appear on my latest sign for Mena's bagel and sandwich shop, where I do signs for food. Opaque chalk-like acrylic markers on coated Masonite blackboard, 24" x 36".

Friday, May 2, 2008

Invisible Cellphone

Another of my attempts to draw a model. She is in a convenient book of well-photographed art model poses. I drew this entirely in Photoshop with my Wacom drawing tablet. I'll keep trying, maybe someday I'll get a figure drawing that doesn't suck. 

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bow Lake Watercolor

From 1963 through 1965, I went to a summer camp for girls named "Camp Idlepines," on the shore of Bow Lake in southeastern New Hampshire. It was a traditional camp full of healthy outdoor activities like archery, sailing, and hiking. In July 1991, I returned to the campgrounds. The camp was no longer open, but one of the two sisters who ran it still lived on the grounds with her husband in a newly built vacation house. I painted this watercolor sketch of the boathouse, which had not changed much since I was there as a camper. The Idlepines girls are now finding each other online and exchanging nostalgia-filled postings.