Monday, August 31, 2009

Vermilion Sands

Some of my readers will remember the surrealistic, eerie science fiction stories written by the late author J.G. Ballard, before he became a "mainstream" writer. He wrote a whole series of stories set in a place he called "Vermilion Sands," a kind of extraterrestrial Hollywood of exotic decadence. I thought that it might be set on a terraformed Mars (the vermilion redness of its sands). When I painted this tiny picture in 1983, I was inspired by the Ballard stories.

I was still using gouache (opaque watercolor) at the time. I loved its flatness and bright colors. I used my airbrush for the background. The trouble with gouache, though, is that it is fragile and, of course, water-soluble unless you use a clear-coat spray. But clear coat sprays dull the flat finish and change the colors. So I sometimes left the paintings unsprayed, as I did with this one. In order to photograph the painting, I needed sunlight. But it was the dead of winter and there were a couple of feet of snow on the ground. I went out into the feeble Massachusetts winter sunlight and balanced this painting on a snowbank. Then the wind blew, and particles of ice landed on the painting, melted in the sunlight, and put water marks all over my fresh surface! I was horrified, feeling very stupid that I had placed a water-soluble painting on a structure made of, uh, water.

I took it inside and decided to paint over the marks with little golden clouds. This is why there are clouds in the Martian sky. The two moons are Phobos and Deimos, the moons of Mars, though in reality they are not round, just two irregular oblong asteroids. In 1983 I'm not sure we knew that. Then I sprayed the painting with clear-coat.

"Vermilion Sands" is 7" x 5", gouache on illustration board, February 1983.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

August Porch, Maryland

This house is in Thurmont, Maryland and I photographed it on one of my rural vacation trips in 2006. I only did this drawing last night. By the pure standards of Urban Sketchers or illustrator James Gurney and his school of thought, this is inauthentic non-art. But I have had to compromise. I love the old houses, but I don't have the time to sit and sketch them. So I photograph them for later use in a drawing. Even that is somewhat dodgy, because technically it is illegal for me to photograph a private house without the owner's permission. I am not sure what the legal status of an artistic sketch is. I would love to have the time to just sit and sketch these old houses in Maryland and Virginia villages, and maybe someday I'll buy me some by staying a few days nearby in a bed and breakfast or something. But for now this is the result.

I assure you that if I were really sitting on the site drawing this house, and I had enough time, my drawing would look just about the same. I have done countless studies like this. I do the drawing in brown or black ink with a Pitt technical pen (I used to use an inefficient and gloppy Rapidograph). Then I indicate colors, or color it in, with watercolor pencil. Later, I bring it into the studio and activate the watercolor pencil with water and finish it off with touches of watercolor. I intend to do a whole lot of these small pictures because I just discovered a cache of small pieces of good watercolor board that I didn't want to go to waste. This picture is about 6" x 8", ink and watercolor on illustration board.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Early Abstract Space Scene

I retrieved this out of my archives just recently. I had thought that I did not do geometric space abstractions in a non-miniature size until a few years ago, but here's one in a smallish but still visible size from 1982. In those days I painted many pictures, including this one, in gouache, a bright but fragile opaque watercolor. This seems to suggest a spaceport with two ships taking off together. The space and galaxy background was done by hand, not using my airbrush. I hardly recall why I painted this, in February of '82, but my records say I gave it, or traded it, to a friend, with no price mentioned. Kind of mysterious I guess; I suppose I could ask her whether she still has it or even remembers it, after 27 years.

Abstract space scene, 12" x 9", gouache on paper glued to yellow matboard, February 1982.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Night in the Forest Doodle

Photoshop is so much fun to play with. It would be even better if it were somehow made of wood and smelled good. I can do a doodle in a few minutes, making shapes and just seeing where they take my pen. Then I can scan it and color it with magical Photoshop. I think it would be cool if there were a computer made with an aromatic wooden case, like the one I have for my Faber-Castell colored pencils. You could have it carved with an owl, just like this doodle of an owl in a tree. The tree is supposed to be kind of a rocket, too, with wooden fins.

I am much relieved that a medical test I dreaded came out with "no significant finding," so I am free of that anxiety and can get on with my life and my important work of watering plants and reading comic books.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Luna Park on the Moon

Transcribing these old pictures of mine brings back so many memories. This one is especially evocative, because it was inspired by one of the most vivid characters I was ever friends with. I will just call her R. I met R. through the science fiction fan community as well as Libertarian fandom. During the late 70s and early 80s I was on the fringes of the Libertarian community in Boston, which had strong connections with science fiction and Ayn Rand fans. This was due to the influence of the Russian expert and her husband and their friends. There is a "movement" of libertarianism in science fiction, especially that of Robert A. Heinlein, Jerry Pournelle, and L. Neil Smith. Even Ayn Rand can be considered a science fiction author of sorts. The movement isn't as popular now as it was then, with Reagan coming to power with a pseudo-libertarian message.

R., who was a professional jazz bass player and played in a swing band, was involved in all of these things. She was also wild about old-time amusement parks and roller coasters. And like my Russian expert friend with the Russian world, R. had built herself an imaginary world based on Robert Heinlein's lunar colonies in his book THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS. The lunar colony was a libertarian haven which made most of its money through tourism and entertainment. As she shared this world with me, I illustrated it. The picture you see above is a scene from her amusement park on the moon's surface, called simply "Luna Park." The corridors, game rooms, pneumatic coaster monorail, and other attractions are all pressurized with breathable atmosphere, and spacesuit-clad taggers have left graffiti on the outer surfaces of the structures.

R. and I visited amusement parks where I drew lots of sketches and she rode the roller coaster. I took notes on her Luna Park world and drew illustrations. She enjoyed role-playing in this world though the era of real role-playing games had only just begun. But R. was a musician and not a writer, so most of the verbal notes for this virtual place were mine and are somewhere in my archives.

In the mid-80s, R. decided to leave Boston and move to Southern California, where she hoped to break into the music business as a studio musician. After her move, I lost contact with her, though I heard through mutual acquaintances that she had not been successful as a musician and had to take other jobs. Many years later, I searched for her and found her phone number. There was some very brief contact, but no more. It turned out that R., who was Jewish though libertarian in religion as well, had "converted" to Orthodox Judaism, repudiated her old life as a science fiction fan, and was living in an ultra-orthodox community somewhere in Southern California.

This picture did not go to California with R. It was sold to some family patrons in New York City, and it may still be just where it was on the wall twenty years ago, in their Fifth Avenue apartment. No one there knows what inspired the picture and its setting.

"Luna Park" was painted in 1980, gouache on illustration board, 13" x 9".

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Geometric Cornfield

In 2006 I took a vacation in south-central Pennsylvania and Maryland, and as always I took a lot of rural reference photos. I painted a few scenes from these photos and this is one of them. It was harvest time when I was traveling and the corn was being harvested. When the corn was cut it left sharp distinctions between remaining corn and stubble in the rest of the field. I found the geometric patterns of field and farm buildings satisfying. Pennsylvania especially was a land of neat, precise farm setups, where every stalk of hay seemed to be in place. Perhaps it was the result of the industrious, methodical German farm folk who ran these places. This scene particularly appealed to me for its geometric linearity. Painting is 14" x 11", acrylic on board, August-September 2006.

I copied this rather literally from the photo I took, and in later paintings I made sure not to do that. I don't intend to be a "photo-realist," though I want to be somewhat precise in my renderings. I also wanted to convey the peacefulness of farmland in late August afternoon haze.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Russian Magical Worlds

Before I came to the Washington, DC area, I was friends with a Russian-language expert I had met at graduate school, along with her husband who was a "defense consultant." She had developed a fantasy world based on traditional Russian culture. In a galaxy far, far away was a pair of planets orbiting each other, in their voyage around a pale white sun. Each supported life, including an intelligent civilization. The larger planet was named "Volshebda," and the people living there were eight-foot-tall, slender blue humanoids with an elaborate social hierarchy. This is an image of one of Volshebda's cities, with the other planet, "Maizhutok," floating in the sky. I gave my friend the painting as a Christmas gift. It is the very first piece I ever did with my airbrush, done in winter of 1978. Size is 12" x 9", acrylic on Masonite.

Planetary-physics-minded people looking at this picture have told me that the tidal forces stirred up by a massive object like a near-twin planet would make the existence of higher life on the planets unlikely. There would be much too much elemental tumult of tidal waves, earthquakes, or storms. But here I have ignored that and depicted this world as a serene Russian faeryland of sparkling snow, dark evergreens, and crystal buildings.

I'm no longer in contact with that couple, and I may be the only person other than my old friend herself who remembers the worlds of Volshebda and Maizhutok and their ethereal inhabitants.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Blue Lanterns

I collect blue glass. I have for many, many years. I collect both the turquoise type sometimes known as "electric blue" and this deep blue, which is "cobalt blue." I also love hanging lanterns and have some of them, done in brass. These are some of my treasures which combine the two: cobalt blue and metalwork. The two hanging lanterns in this drawing are in my studio. They are made in India. The other thing is a perfume bottle whose provenance I don't know, but it's a really cool design. This is an ink drawing with the blue added in Photoshop. The metalwork on the globe lantern at right is brass-colored but I decided to only do a 2-color rendering here. If the round lantern looks familiar, it is because you may have seen it in the "Design Toscano" catalog, a temptation for people like me who collect unusual stuff. I am still thinking of how to put a light in it that is not a real flame candle, which would be difficult to manage. Something with a futuristic LED perhaps.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Home Sweet Home 2010

This picture is titled "Somerville in Space." Somerville is a large, working-class city next to Cambridge, Mass. and it is often the subject of jokes comparing its grunginess to the snootiness of Harvard's Cambridge. But there are many large, architecturally interesting houses in Somerville and when I lived in Cambridge, one block from the Somerville border, I used to draw them constantly. This is a portrait of a real house in Somerville, which I did in acrylic on masonite in 1980; painting is 14" x 18". Well, the house is real. That it's built on an Earthlike moon of a giant planet, perhaps that is not so real. I was inspired by the work of Ray Bradbury here. He used to juxtapose traditional Americana town scenes with weird settings on other planets. This picture was used in 1984 as the cover art for a book called HOME SWEET HOME 2010 A.D. by Dean Ing and Mack Reynolds.

Wait a minute. Home Sweet Home 2010? That's NEXT YEAR, people!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


They're going to start digging on Route 7 soon, and the machines are already in place. This is part of the huge construction project which is intended to turn Tysons Corner, my "edge city" urban environment, from a sprawling line of shopping centers and malls into an even more heavily built-up city with high-rise buildings and a Metro line which goes, uh, all over the place so we don't have to use cars. At least this is the plan. It sounds dreadful and once the digging starts even my five-minute car trip to work is going to get difficult.

I love earth moving machines and heavy equipment though, and love to draw them and construction sites, so at least visually this will be interesting. Here's a drawing of one of the machines, ("Nothing runs like a Deere") waiting for its user to smash the earth in the name of progress.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Quiet Place In Virginia

Here is another version of the Blue Ridge scene I posted on August 8. This one is also acrylic on masonite, but slightly larger than the earlier one at 14" x 11". It's called "A Quiet Place." I hope to do a number of these Virginia country scenes, some with buildings and cattle and some without, and market them in upscale country and resort restaurants. Another possibility is small town tourist galleries, though there is a lot of this kind of art out there and I would have to choose carefully. I like painting these scenes because it is peaceful. I may keep a few of them for myself so that I can remember summer as it should be, not as it is for me in the city.

This is actually an "Art Product" and shortly you will find a more technical discussion of this piece on my official Art Blog, "Quality Art Product."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jupiter Fly-by

In early 1979, the first of the Voyager space probes arrived at the planet Jupiter. That year, even before its closest approach, I created this Jupiter space scene inspired by Voyager's visit. The spacecraft in the picture is not Voyager but a design of my own. The artwork was displayed and bought at Boskone, the annual Boston science fiction convention in February. The piece is 8" x 10", watercolor and gouache on illustration board. It is also one of the first pieces where I used an airbrush, which I had recently acquired. The airbrush work is only in the blue glow trailing off the spacecraft. That airbrush, as you will see, was used in countless space pictures. I still have it and it still works after 30 years.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More Foliage

I added some new "brushes" to my Photoshop and played around with them. Also I re-visited some of the "brushes" I already have and added some more characteristics to them. I saved one of them and named it "More Foliage." In my tree studies I am always seeking to get just the right level of randomness that tree leaves have, while remaining true to the shape of the whole tree. I'm also trying to reproduce the exact color of leaves, which changes from moment to moment as light hits them different ways. In my art studio, I'm doing this with acrylic paint and messing around a lot of chrome green on my palette tray. You, the viewer, will be the judge as to which does a better job of rendering trees: Photoshop or real gooey paint on a real surface.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The RKO Girl

The time: Late August, 1986. The place: "ConFederation," the World Science Fiction Convention, held in Atlanta, Georgia. I was there, sketchbook in hand. There was plenty to draw, though I didn't have the time or the ability to render the incredible architecture of John Portman, who designed the Marriott Marquis which hosted the convention. My favorite people to draw were the costumers, who brought their best get-ups to Worldcon and loved to pose.

This character is the "RKO Girl," modeled after the Art-Deco stylings of the RKO Radio Pictures logo of the 1930s. The radio tower and zigzag electric waves became a superheroine costume in sparkling pewter-grey, black, and silver. Her helmet had a mirror visor. The RKO Girl was played by Canadian costumer Patty Mercier.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cosmic Runner

The athletic practice of "jogging" or slow street running became popular in America in the late 70s. I got a commission from my dentist, who was then a dedicated jogger, to do a picture of him running. This was the result, done in watercolor and acrylic, 14" x 10", in the spring of 1978. (Click on the image for a somewhat larger view.) It is an early manifestation of what has become my "abstract astronomical geometric" style, complete with space, planets, and clouds. My dentist is in the blue jogging suit, and he is pursued by an angel in a red jogging suit, wearing a "Number 1" blue ribbon.

Looking back at this image, it looks more than a little threatening, and perhaps I meant it to be back then. Angels aren't always sweet friendly little things. And running has always seemed to me something more out of compulsion and rat-racing than fun.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Philomont Portico

I spent Saturday traveling through mythic Virginia. I visited beautiful little towns in the northwest part of the state, at the foothills of the Appalachians. These towns are just a crossroads, a church, a general store, and some houses, but they are well-kept and visited by tourists. This sketch, drawn on site except for the chain link fence which I added later, is of the portico of the general store in Philomont, located on the beautiful "Snickersville Turnpike."

The people who frequented the store all knew each other and the young lady who minded the store grew up right there in that town, though she is now a college student in North Carolina. It seemed to me that even though the people were familiar, they were still friendly and helpful to each other. I have heard all sorts of bad things about living in the intimacy of a small town, but as a visitor I didn't have to hear about it right there. Instead I wondered at a place that seemed to be living nostalgia, quiet and slow-paced in the August sunlight. Where I live, there is no sense of that kind of community.

But this wasn't a re-creation of "Mayberry." The general store had gourmet foods, local crafts, and Virginia wine. There was a bed-and-breakfast place right in the center of town, and Philomont was well aware of the tourist trade, that is, people like me. That area of Virginia is filled with extremely affluent people who own large estates, including movie stars and chief executives. It isn't even remote; it is about an hour's drive from where I live. Philomont's endearing rural quality has been maintained despite the urban pressures which have turned other parts of that county into wastelands of huge ugly housing developments. I hope it stays that way so I can go back.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Inauthentic Roof

This roof belongs to a shopping center near me. The whole shopping center was re-done some years ago in this "Americana" style. This is the kind of shopping center architecture you find in the Mid-Atlantic States, where "historic" houses as well as zillions of new houses and mini-mansions have features like this. Dormer windows are meant to let light into attic rooms, but in many of the new houses, they are fake and their windows lead nowhere. These shopping center dormers are also fake. Seems obvious to point it out, I guess. But what if there really were a living space in this imitation attic? Is it un-American to live above a store? I wonder if the white pointy thing at the top has any function. It would be kind of cool to see the space created and inhabited, so that even when the stores were closed, you could see light behind the dormers above them and know that someone is there.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Modernist Cover

It's still cool after all these years. But now you can design it in Photoshop! Are you a beatnik? Is there such a thing as art jamming? You can see it on National Educational Television, along with David Susskind's talk show, Brian O'Dougherty on art, and yes, Julia Child on "The French Chef." You watched the flickering grey tube, no dark black and no white, thin angled interference lines through it and the horizontal hold jittering. And then you turned it off, and the image dwindled to a little bright spot in the center of a grey screen, lasting for minutes before it finally faded out.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

August Green

I didn't start doing digital art with Photoshop. My first digital art program was Painter 7, which did some amazing things when it was not crashing and taking my hours of work with it. (It had a way of making your art totally disappear when you tried to save a large file.) I did this study of the trees out my window in August of 1999. Painter had all these art-like, almost-natural "brushes" that you could use, but its interface and tool controls were time-consuming and often confusing. I later upgraded to Painter 9, and found that although it was more stable, the tool controls were still hard to work with. I ended up using Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator for my digital art, even though Photoshop is even less "spontaneous" than Painter. Now I wonder whether I should give Painter a chance again, with its newest incarnation number 11. It would involve a lot of attention to learn it, just as I pored through the manual learning Photoshop. Do I have the energy, and is it worth it? I'm not sure. I don't even use Painter 9 all that much. It is too "arty" for my taste, and doesn't support geometric abstractions. Or if it does, I haven't found the geometric toolbox there yet.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Alien Encounter

Last year you may remember that I drew my way through a series of design exercises called "Dodson Doodles," after the author of the book "Drawing with Imagination." I found my crayon-markers from that set in my cluttered studio and was glad that most of them had not dried up. So I drew a new Dodson Doodle in the doodlebook. This one is "Alien Encounter," where two designer aliens meet with an abrupt small black void in between them. Size is about 8 inches square.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cloud Doodle

Summer is so brief, I keep wanting to bottle it or somehow keep it so that I can always feel the warmth and the humidity. Where is the Holodeck when I want it? And I always feel as though I should be doing something more summery this August, somehow taking advantage of this short month of heat before the cold and the dryness or the freezing rain returns. What should I be doing? Sitting on a porch with a cool drink, just watching the clouds go by? Splashing at the beach? Barbecuing something? I am just doing the same things I always do, no matter what the season is: going to work, dragging through the Web, babbling to my friends. The truth is that on that porch I would be sketching or reading something useful or instructive, because I cannot stand to be idle. And my ideal of a fragrant summer spent under billowy clouds in some quiet place is an illusion. I always want to get more done. Even if it's only a Photoshop doodle featuring billowy cartoon clouds and "virtual rubber-stamp" trees.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Infra-Red Sorceress

Throughout the 1990s I did dozens of small fantasy pictures for convention art shows. These were mostly quick sketches of characters, costumes, or figures, which could be priced low for sure sales. Most of these weren't any good, but this one, a stylish sorceress, had a bit of quality. This is a mixture of colored pencil, watercolor, and gouache on grey paper, 7" x 10", created in fall 1995.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

ArtSpace Falls Church

I was on "guard" duty at the new "ArtSpace" gallery of Falls Church Arts, downtown. The only people who visited were three of the arts association members, and two of my friends whom I had invited to have dinner with me after the sitting shift was over. I drew this while sitting in the empty gallery.

The planners of the rebuilding of Falls Church center have the buildings, but they don't yet have the people. The gallery is unfinished, too, but the association has gone ahead and put art on the walls anyway, and there's an improvised performance space for small plays or concerts. The chairs for the audience are piled up near the rectangular column and elsewhere in the room. It'll get more together in the future, I'm sure. Two of my paintings were on the wall here, but they were astronomical abstractions and much out of place in a show filled with images of flowers and landscapes. I need to figure out where to put what, when it comes to my art.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Blue Ridge Vista

I just finished the first of my new set of Virginia countryside paintings. This month I plan to do a series of them based on my travels in the Shenandoah valley. This piece is acrylic on Masonite, 10" x 8". It is small because it is a test of my color matching and sky painting strategies. The others will be larger. I want to convey a feeling of summer serenity with these images.

When I exhibit them, I need an "artist's statement." This is what I composed as explanatory text for this series:

"I think of the Virginia countryside as a landscape in perfect proportion. There are the distant hills in the blue of atmospheric perspective, then the closer hills in dark green, and then the radiant green of fields and vegetation closer to the viewer. I also love the endlessly changing light, color shades, and forms of clouds, in fair or stormy weather. This landscape is beautiful in all four seasons. I also like to include traditional architecture in my country scenes, because I love the geometry and textures of farm buildings. In these paintings and sketches, I try to convey the colors and feeling of a moment in time. In nature, the scene will change in the next minute but by the power of art, it will be captured, saved, and preserved in the viewer’s memory."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Pyramids and Pylons

These commercial buildings appear to have been designed by a Noantri architect or at least someone with memories of a techno-Atlantis. I sat in the "Seattle's Best" coffeeshop of my local Borders Books and drew what I saw out the window. If I had time and energy, I'd draw at least one of these types of sketches every day. Original drawing is about 5 1/2" x 8".

I've gotten no comments for weeks. Tristan is still at Pennsic but where are the others? Perhaps off on August hiatus of some kind? Someone might be looking at this somewhere, I hope.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Unreal Watercolor

Here's yet another experiment in Photoshop, as I attempt to render trees and clouds. I'm using a "simulated watercolor" technique and it actually does look something like watercolor, without the drips. You can even blur Photoshop colors in an artsy sort of way. The marvels of digital imaging can generate cloudlike shapes complete with vaporous wispy edges. And, unlike real watercolor, you can erase or re-do parts you don't like. I never get tired of doing studies like this.

My project for August is to make summer last forever. I will paint as many images of summer foliage and landscape and light as I can, capturing as much of the warm sun and clouds and thundery weather as possible, before the horrible cold and dryness return.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Space Industry 1977

I am now entering into another phase of my slide and art archiving program. This will involve the digitization of all my slides of my space art. I have been doing space art of one kind or another since the late 1970s. I have hundreds of space art pieces in my archives, so this will take a long time.

In those days, I was very much a member of the Boston science fiction fan community. I partied with them, sold art to them, went to conventions with them, and listened to all sorts of wonderful ideas about how humanity would go into space and create space colonies orbiting the Earth. The future seemed bright and exciting, especially for young male libertarians, who couldn't wait to blast off to freedom. Space would become a capitalist utopia where the best, the brightest, and the bravest would mine asteroids and gas giant planets for mineral resources. Energy would be limitless, with no worries about pollution, because you were in space, not in someone's atmosphere.

It was this notion that inspired this picture of a space-based refinery, which I did in the summer of 1977, in ink and watercolor, 10" x 8". The typeface for the caption was stenciled in, the only time I have ever done that. A fan friend bought the picture. I wonder where she is today. My Boston fan friends are mostly still around, and there is still a science fiction community in Boston. They are old and often infirm, and their heroic dreams of off-planet ventures have faded like my old slides from that era.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Landscape Frame

I don't usually do "plein air" art, which I suppose makes me less of a "true" artist in the 19th and 20th century academic style. "Plein air" or outdoor art on site is a lot more difficult logistically than you might think. The artists who swear by it don't mention bugs which gather around your wet paint, or get in your face. They don't mention that there is usually no safe place to set up your portable art studio even in a rural area. And they seem to be able to endure blazing sun and heat, or chilly rain and cold.

I am a wimpy artist and will not go outside unless the weather is ideal. But the weather is always ideal in my memory and I can generate scenes from memory (or even more deceptively, from photographs) which have the appearance of being drawn or painted from on-site observation. This "frame" is a tiny ink drawing (about 4 1/2" x 2") I did in a sketchbook, completely from memory. I then colored it with Photoshop, colors retrieved from my Photoshop color sample files. So there you have it: not done on site, not colored on site, and it's just like what I saw in my idyllic travels through the Appalachians.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Green Man Rules

I did this rendering of the famous "Green Man" face for the program art and T-shirt of a Pagan/New Age convention. This convention, "Sacred Space," is held in the Baltimore suburbs. I did the Green Man for the 1998 conference. Each conference has a theme and the 1998 theme was the fullness of summer. The man made of plants rules in the summer. If you go to the "program book memories" section you can see ten years' worth of Sacred Space cover art, all done by me. The only one I didn't do was the 2008 one, since I am no longer affiliated with "Sacred Space." They still use my square-circle-monolith-sun logo for their general organization. I still have a library of T-shirts from more than ten years of Sacred Spaces.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Summer Evening at Starbucks

Today was the day to do my seasonal decoration of the drink advertising board at Starbucks. I do this for two different Starbuckses. This new one is in McLean, Va. As always, the sign is done in acrylic "chalk ink" markers on a coated board. I stayed with a cool blue and green nocturnal theme to advertise cold drinks. At the top are storm clouds with lightning. The empty center is for the current drink promotion, and I later added the standardized Starbucks ad for their "Vivanno" fruit smoothie. This design will stay up until the fall, when I will provide another seasonal treatment. I don't want to think about fall.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Iconic Stratford Motor Lodge, Falls Church

I drew this while sipping a white mocha at the iconic Starbucks next door. The iconic Stratford Motor Lodge has been hosting guests in the center of Falls Church since the 60s. The renovators of Falls Church keep wanting to get rid of it. A fancy new chain brand hotel is supposed to be built right across the street, but other than the removal of the iconic Two Sisters coffee booth and the move of the U.S. Post Office from its iconic dreary civic building, where the new hotel is supposed to go, nothing has happened. They (town planners and commercial interests) intend Falls Church to be a slick place like the iconic Reston Town Center. Progress is mixed, however.

I will draw anything if it's iconic. I'm an icon. You're an icon. Had enough? No one else in the word media has, either. Iconic's in every article, just look for it. The icons just keep being conic.

And happy birthday Regina! You're an icon too.