Monday, January 31, 2011

Celestial Quilt

I have done a number of designs for master costumer and fabric artist Lisa Ashton. In 1990 I designed astronomically inspired images for her to quilt. She made some of them in small sizes and one in a large size (about 4 feet x 6 feet) which I still have. This design, which has been retrieved from a very poor photograph, was called "Aurora and Meteor Shower." Lisa made this as a moderately sized quilt and it is probably still in her collection. I've designed quilts for other people, too. These are not easy to make and they are definitely not something you throw over the bed. They hang on the wall like "conventional" paintings on canvas or board. I wouldn't mind designing more quilt work as long as I didn't have to do the quilting.

"Aurora and Meteor Shower" is gouache on illustration board, 6" x 9", spring 1990.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dancer of the Green Ray

In my little character paintings of the Seven Rays, Green was a dancer. I found an image of famous dancer Carmen de Lavallade to use as my model, and gave her green and copper swirly ribbons to play with. She's floating in the Green Ray dancing to a green rhythm.

I never did an image for the Orange, Yellow, or Light Blue Rays. Those would later become Zoroastrian Immortals. I love spectrum spirituality. There's a book that I read some time ago which envisioned a fairytale world ruled by TWELVE different color gods. People affiliated themselves with up to four different gods, so you had a signature color combination. The book was "The Temple of the Twelve" by an author who called herself "Esmerelda Little Flame." And well gosh, someone's done the art so I don't have to! Here's the "Temple of the Twelve" web site.

"Dancer of the Green Ray" is acrylic on illustration board, 6" x 9", March 1990.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Just Another Naked Woman

You judge a figure drawing by its anatomical accuracy, grace of movement, prettiness, and sense of standing balance. Also important is a feeling of looseness and relaxation, which give the picture a "living" quality rather than just a copy from a photo. This one is from "Art Models 3," and I might just be gaining a little bit of these qualities in my figure drawings. I left some of the original sketchy lines in the drawing to give it a bit of spontaneity, but my doing that when I am drawing from a photo betrays the notion of spontaneity. Also absent is her left arm (she has one, it is just hidden behind her.) And I haven't done much in the "hotness" department. This is an art model study, not a pin-up. Oh well. Only 9800 to go before I've reached the Ten Thousand Figure Drawings level of achievement. That was a made-up statistic, but those of you who know about the "ten thousand" practices thing know what I'm talking about. Maybe next time I'll turn up the babe-ulosity factor a little.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Iris of the Blue Ray

Before "Blu-ray" was an optical disc format delivering your entertainment, it was the Blue Ray of the spiritual Spectrum, radiating peace and order and shining stars. In the early 1990s, along with a continuing series of "New Age" themed small paintings, I did a lot of flower images. I am a garden fan, and though I couldn't have a real dirt garden in my urban apartment, I've always had container plants and an indoor garden under lights. And I will always visit gardens if I can. Virginia in the spring is filled with flowers, from simple dandelions to the majestic German bearded iris that bloom in the middle of May. I did a lot of iris portraits, often with New Age motifs. This is one of them. Irises bloom in blue but the blue is most often tinged with purple. I tried to paint the flowers realistically here, though they are also floating in the spiritual firmament.

"Iris of the Blue Ray" is watercolor on illustration board, 6" x 10", May 1990.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Here's another of my practice attempts at doing a character portrait. I'm also trying to get more familiar with Photoshop layers. Usually when working with these layers I get confused and put stuff on one that belongs on another. This began with a digital line drawing which you can still see in the drawing of the tunic. I'm still learning how to do faces, hair, and skin. I want all my characters to have fabulous hair and of course all the blondes and redheads (that is, most fantasy characters) are naturally that way, no one uses hair dye in fantasy except to disguise themselves. The model here is Pam Anderson of TV and tacky lifestyle fame. Photoshop as usual, January 2011.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ascended Master Couple

Ideal couples were a big part of the neo-Theosophical seven-ray mythos. Inspired by Greek (Platonic) esotericism, they envisioned souls as only half-complete, needing another soul to match with them to make them whole. This soul was called the "Twin Flame" and everyone was supposed to have one. It was, in the conservative notions of that community, only for males and females; they wouldn't dare think of two male or two female Twin Souls. In the UFO-inspired "Unarius" group, of which I've posted in the past, the various husbands of the leader Ruth "Uriel" Norman were twin souls, as were many of her astral partners. This little study depicts a pair of angelic Twin Flame Souls, ascended masters who come in benign, pale blonde pairs to serve as inspirations and escape fantasies for our broken and chaotic earthly relationships.

The models for these were the famous singing couple Nelson Eddy and Jeannette MacDonald, who made many a song-filled movie in the 1930s.

"Ascended Master Twin Ray Couple" is acrylic on illustration board, 6" x 9", November 1987.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hairdresser Sketches

Getting my hair done is boring, especially when I'm waiting for the dye to sink in. As they used to say on "Saturday Night Live," it is better to look good than to feel good. I don't have much to read there, so I bring my sketchbook and draw, while the smell of hair dye is pungent in my nose. I draw the bustling hairdressers, the rolling carts with tools and chemicals and towels on them, and the storefront architecture of the place. Sometimes, as you see, I draw my neighbor in the waiting and drying area. She looked a lot better after they washed, dried, and combed out her hair. I don't know whether I could say the same thing for me.

One thing I noticed there were magazines devoted to showing hair styles, which the ladies could look through to get ideas for their own coiffures. I had not thought of these mags as a resource before, but I have been looking for pretty lady faces to draw, and these hair models, in various types of light, will be good practice for my digital portrait faces of beautiful girls. I promptly went to the nearby bookstore and bought a hair mag. So much visual inspiration for me, so little art production.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Priestess of the Purple Ray

Here's another figure from the Seven Rays of the later Theosophical tradition. The Purple Ray, known to inheritor groups as the "Violet Flame," was regarded as the most powerful, spiritually developed, and holy of the Seven Rays, because it was at the highest frequency of visible light and close to ultraviolet. Modern esotericism co-opts the language of science in a way that makes scientific types cringe. It is always talking about "frequencies," "vibrations," atoms, forces, and radiation, as well as using the ubiquitous term "quantum." This language is meant to give esotericism a "scientific" quality, whereas in reality, esotericism is a mythology. Some scientists are esotericists as well. I don't know how they do it.

Priestesses are also thought to be more powerful and spiritually developed than mere priests, who are considered sorry types lost in dogma and rules. There are schools of esotericism, though, which adopt an ultra-traditional Catholic expression, complete with elaborate priestly vestments, lines of ordination, and High Mass said in a dingy apartment living room with bemused cats looking on.

The "Priestess of the Purple Ray" is acrylic and mixed media on illustration board, 7" x 10", February 1990.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

More Winter Wining

The weather was clear and sunny and freezing cold, but the wine tasting rooms were warm. For this "Wine Saturday" I visited Fox Meadow Winery in Linden, VA. You have to drive up a mountain to get there, but the view is worth it. I am always happy to see the vine rows, though they are currently twiggy and leafless. They were offering not only tastings but a combo, a bowl of rich chili, a bread roll, and a glass of wine. I got this with their "Cabernet Franc Reserve" and drew while I sipped and ate. These blue hills are the view from the wine lodge. The wood stove kept all us wine sippers well-warmed.

Pen and colored pencil on sketchbook paper, about 8" x 10", January 22, 2011.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Seraph of Geburah

This colorful angel is a Seraph who represents the Kabbalistic sphere of Geburah. According to Western esoteric lore, Geburah is a warlike, fierce, but just character who is associated with bright red and gold against black. As always with the celestial images of A.C. Highfield, the body parts are colored according to their corresponding Hebrew letter, hence the almost uniform grey-green legs and olive colored feet which correspond to the final I.M. of an angel plural: "Seraphim."

I conceived of this vigorous angel as a superhero, complete with metallic lightning bolts on his costume. I think that both esotericism and orthodox religion would benefit from more super-heroes and fewer martyrs.

"The Seraph of Geburah" is cut paper and metallic foil (some of it re-created in Photoshop) glued onto an airbrushed illustration board. 7" x 10", January 1987.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Waiting for Triple A

My car battery failed, worn out over three years of continuous use. I could not start the car to move it out of the parking lot near my home. So I called AAA, the American Automobile Association, a service most American drivers know about. While I waited for the rescue truck to arrive, I did these vignette drawings of buildings in my apartment complex. I keep a sketchbook in my car just for occasions like this. The truck arrived on time. Not only was the hardworking driver able to provide a jump-start, but his truck was filled with replacement batteries. I made the decision that I would not want to risk my car in heavy traffic with just a jump-start (it could stall out) and took the option of having Mr. AAA replace my battery, right there in the parking lot. This was done for a price comparable (or probably lower) than what Honda would have charged. The new battery works fine and has a multi-year guarantee. See, some things still work well in this country.

The apartment buildings in these pictures are identical to the one I live in. I have lived in this building for 21 years and I want to leave. I don't want to live in a cramped, cluttered apartment for the rest of my life. But I don't know how I will get out given my limited work and earning options. What I really want for my life is impossible.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pentecost Abstraction

This image is heavily restored, for the same reasons that the others were: the foil that I used would not register in the camera so it came out black rather than shiny. I tried to simulate the shiny foil in the colors I think it might have been. The photograph is poor no matter what and I've done my best with it. Somewhere buried in my cluttery art archives in a closet, I believe this collage creation still exists. But it is beyond my energy level these days to unearth it. Maybe someday I'll find it.

I meant it to be an abstract concept of Pentecost, the Christian event where, so the sacred narrative goes, tongues of fire descended on the Apostles, endowing them with the ability to speak any language they needed to preach the Gospel. I also did this concept as a felt banner, 3 feet by 6 feet, where I glued the shapes and shiny fabric on a black base. I donated that banner to a Jesuit residence house chapel, but since the Jesuits are long gone from that house, I doubt that the banner still exists, unless some Jesuit salvaged it, but they move too much to keep anything. I didn't get a photograph of the banner, unfortunately.

I apologize for posting too much vintage art, but tiring duty at the day job and freezing temperatures have made it difficult for me to create something original and new during the week.

"Pentecost" is 9" x 12", coated paper and foil collage on painted illustration board, October 1987.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dhyan Chohan of the First Ray

This painting and collage depicts a figure from Theosophical mythology, one of the "Dhyan Chohans" ("Lords of Meditation") which correspond to the seven Archangels of Western esotericism. There are seven colored Rays in the spectrum, and a Chohan for each Ray. This is from the First, or the Red ray. The Chohan is a dark East Indian figure dressed in red skirts with jewels all over his body and a gleaming copper-foil turban. Red light streams from his body and he holds a red flame in his left hand. I had to re-create the red foil flame in Photoshop, as with the others in this series, because the foil reflected only as black and didn't show the red shiny texture.

I was originally going to do all seven Dhyan Chohans but I lost interest in the project, as well as not having enough time to do it. Eventually I did do a series of the Lords of the Spectrum, as the Persian Amesha Spentas, which I featured on this Weblog last year.

1987 and 1988 were probably the high point years of my esoteric interest. Not only did I work in a New Age bookstore, but I attended esoteric conventions and met with many professing occultists. I moved to the Washington, DC area in the fall of 1988 and continued somewhat with esotericism, until 1993 when I found a more "orthodox" spiritual path among Eastern Catholics and eventually, Zoroastrians.

The "Dhyan Chohan of the First Ray" is painted and collaged onto airbrushed illustration board. 7" x 10", January 1987.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Green Arcs of Infinity

Here's another of my esoteric collage abstractions that had to be reconstructed in Photoshop. The shiny colored foil that I used did not show in the photograph. Most probably the whole thing has long since deteriorated and fallen apart, if the person who owns it even knows where it is. A lot of my art buyers back in the older days lived chaotic lives, moved constantly and were always on the brink of financial destitution. So after four or five moves, many of the small art pieces I sold them got lost in the perpetual shuffle. This one sold for a whopping $10 at a Pagan/esoteric convention in 1987. I know the guy who bought it, I see him at conventions occasionally. I might ask if I see him again, does he still have the art he bought from me and has it disintegrated.

"Green Arcs of Infinity" is collaged adhesive foil, foil paper, and Color-aid paper on a sprayed acrylic background, 7" x 10", January 1987.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Crows

I witnessed this rather Hitchcock-esque scene right in the urban center of Tysons Corner, Virginia. It was twilight at the Container Store, and crows were roosting in one of the trees on the store site. I didn't have my camera, but I had the virtual bio-visual memory recorder built into my brain, so I was able to remember the colors and details until I could reproduce it in a Photoshop sketch. No birds attacked me or anyone else. Every so often I find these bits of nature and the countryside, even in the middle of the city.

Photoshop, 7" x 10", January 17, 2011.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ascended Master King

One of my best sources for visionary material was the texts channeled from the Otherworld and the Masters by the various seers of the "Saint Germain" tradition. This American sect, based in California and centering its devotions around Mount Shasta, was started in the 1930s as an inheritor or branch of the Alice Bailey teaching community, which itself depended ultimately on Madame Blavatsky's Theosophy. Many texts have been created in this mythos, filled with well-described esoteric adventures. The latest inheritor of this tradition was the notorious "Elizabeth Clare Prophet," who with her various husbands led the "Church Universal and Triumphant." The Ascended Masters still guide their devotees, perhaps through new channelers.

The New Age bookstore where I worked in 1987-1988 carried a good selection of the Saint Germain books. They were little volumes as well as full-sized books, printed all in purple. I bought some of the most image-rich books to use as visual inspiration. This glowing figure was one of my illustrations of the mythology. The spirit world was populated by Ascended Masters, some of whom had been "real" people in this world, others who were purely otherworldly, like this King. I envisioned the Ascended Master King in Byzantine imperial attire. I used iridescent paint for the highlights in the painting, which are now brought back to brightness by the ascended mastery of Photoshop.

"Ascended Master King" is acrylic and mixed media on illustration board, 6" x 9", November 1987.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Meeting of the Waters

I do album covers for my ambient composer friends. This one, "The Meeting of the Waters," will be released later this year. The composer, who uses the artist name "Tange" (from his fondness for electronic band Tangerine Dream) is from Scotland and has an internet radio show on I've done a similar cover for his "Chasing Rain Drops." Rainy Scotland must inspire watery music.

In the online world of ambient music, these "album covers" are almost never professionally printed. No physical CD changes hands, only downloadable files containing the music and the graphics for the CD package. If the listener cares, he or she can print out all the graphics and put the CD together themselves. Sometimes the "album cover" makes it into the display of an iPod along with the music, though I've not figured out why my iPod accepts and shows some of these and not others. This is the new world of recorded music, where plastic discs or tapes gather dust in cluttered apartments while the listener enjoys sounds on computers or player devices.

"The Meeting of the Waters" cover image is 4.75" x 4.75", the size of a CD "jewel case." Photoshop, January 15, 2011.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cosmic Ruins

This Photoshop sketch is inspired by the wildly complex environments done in digital media by professional SF illustrators. Specifically the work of this artist, Alex Ruiz, who really takes advantage of all the neat stuff Photoshop lets you do. I am not anywhere near the skill level of Ruiz, but I can hope to be at some point in the future.

In this scene, a techno-mage drifts through a place of vast ruins, sustained by his telekinetic bubble platform. I would like one of these bubble platforms for myself. They don't go very fast but they are super for touring above ground or in difficult environments.

Photoshop, 10" x 7", January 14, 2011, about five hours of work.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cambridge Twigs

When I lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I had a lot of time to draw. It's hard to imagine now what it was like to just drift along and somehow get work done without a schedule. Nowadays I'd just sleep all day and browse the web all night, but back then I didn't have the web to browse, because it didn't exist. A different world, indeed. So I could go out and draw scenes in my neighborhood, with real pens, because I didn't have a Wacom tablet.

This drawing probably dates from the mid-80s. It is the backyard and back porch of a house in my neighborhood. I believe I drew this with something called an "ArtPen" which was a hybrid of bendable dip pen and portable inkwell pen. I did at least the initial drawing outside, on site, and then I brought it back to the studio and finished it with the lines and details and a bit of color. You can see from this scan that the original paper has yellowed. There's some Photoshop retouching in this image, just in the sky where the original light blue has faded, and some whitening around the yellowed edges.

Nowadays with my day job taking up a lot of my time I wonder whether I could ever go back to that slower, more free-wheeling lifestyle I had in Cambridge. Of course back then I complained that I wasn't making enough money and was out of it socially and professionally. I guess you can't win. As for the ArtPen, it had some bad design flaws (it leaked and spattered) and I gave up using it, preferring the Rapidograph for architectural and on-site drawing.

Drawing of twiggy Cambridge back porch is 8 1/2" x 10 1/2", ink and watercolor on Bristol board.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Enlil Techno-mage frame

Yesterday you saw Enlil the techno-mage in his seaside studio. Here's another Enlil-in-studio image, this one from my graphic novel. It's from a rather dark-colored page where spy stuff is going on. This is my first attempt at coloring an ink drawing from THE FLAMING RAMPARTS, in Photoshop. It's hard to keep the layers separate and maintain the integrity of the drawing. When I started RAMPARTS in 1999, I didn't have the capability to color the graphics digitally. I will still color with watercolor at least until Chapter 2 is done. I'm only going to show this one frame because I have not decided whether to release RAMPARTS as a webcomic. I would like to actually publish it on paper with real graphic novel production values.

Frame is 3 1/2" x 4 1/2", second frame on the top row.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Enlil Techno-mage in his studio

NoantriWorld again. Enlil, the great techno-mage, historian, academic, and media figure, spent his weekends in a seaside mansion on the Mediterranean coast. Even though Enlil was a monastic type, he seemed to gravitate to luxurious surroundings, all of which were made possible by admiring patrons. This is his studio in an upper room of the Mediterranean mansion. You can see some of the scenery out the windows, as well as a panoramic view out the turreted bay to the left. There are bookshelves filled with recorded media and texts, as well as memorabilia and collectibles. The long-haired mage himself sits at his computer table, perhaps pondering philosophical thoughts. Some of the things in that studio come from my own studio, for instance the three-drawer IKEA rolling cabinet directly to Enlil's right. So Enlil shopped at IKEA too.

Drawing from my "Noantri" notebook, ink and colored pencil, about 9" x 7", 2000.
Click on the picture for a somewhat larger view.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Western Master

You saw the "Tibetan Master" earlier on the By-Product, so here's another idealized portrait of a Master, this time of the Western Esoteric sort, dressed in a white suit with a little ankh watch fob. He stands between the black and white pillars of the Golden Dawn temple.The name of the character is "Count Roberto deGerome Garcia, " a variation on the Grateful Dead's musical Master, Jerry Garcia.

In those days I was much taken by the concept of a Master, especially a Master Adept. What would he (a Master would always be a "he," it seems) be like? Most of the "real" people who claimed, or were thought to be occult Masters, were at best strange types and usually nutjobs who did all sorts of unpleasant things to their disciples. But what would a real Master be like? And what would the occult and spiritual practices of such a person consist of? I used to ask the question, do the Masters of an Art still practice and do maintenance exercises, or are they beyond the usual day-by-day toiling? Since I never met a real Master, I never found out. But I have an idea now, twenty-three years later; if I ever met a real Master, he would practice more than I would ever do. Dismaying thought that, and also, it's still a "he."

"The Western Master" is 9" x 12", ink and watercolor on illustration board, January 1988.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Winter Wining

For "Wine Saturday" I visited Unicorn Winery in Amissville, VA., about an hour's drive from my home. I've encountered Unicorn's wines at wine festivals but this was the first time I visited their winery. As usual it's in a place that's beautiful even in the winter. The wine lodge is near a pond (now frozen over) and the vineyard rows, twiggy and leafless in winter, come right up to the winery grounds, as you can see in this drawing. In my Virginia wine experience, I have found Unicorn's line of wines to be some of the best I've tasted. Especially nice was their "Table Rock" white blend, of which I bought a bottle. You can see a bit of "Table Rock" in the lower left part of this sketch I did of their grounds, through the window of the wine tasting lodge. While I was sipping wine, there was a snow flurry, which I added to the sky.

The original of this sketch is ink with colored pencil shading, but my intent was to color the drawing in Photoshop once I got home. So what you see here is a mix of ink, colored pencil, and Photoshop transparent colors and textures, with white sparkles of snow added in digitally as well. Size is about 8" x 11".

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Another photoshop doodle on ice

Just another Photoshop doodle, playing around with the "scatter" tool. The general theme is "ice," something I will see more of in the next days. I am told it may snow. Somehow no matter how modern and technological a place I live in, winter can still have its effect. I forgot the pointy icicles though.

Photoshop, 7" x 7", January 2011.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Beni Elohim of Hod

This image from my Kabbalistic Angels series had to be restored. The photo was poor and the metallic decorations did not show up. They turned black in the photo, reflecting light in the wrong direction. And even back then I could see that the coated paper I used for the figure was fraying. But Photoshop came to the rescue, or rather I came to my own rescue using something which hardly even existed in that era. I cleaned up the frayed areas, removed dust and specks, and then re-created the gold foil stars and swooshes as if they were shiny metal again. Now, even though the original probably doesn't exist any more, (or is buried in my own collection), Beni Elohim can look better than he did when I created him from A. C. Highfield's Kabbalistic visualizations.

"Beni Elohim of Hod" is cut Color-Aid paper and gold foil paper on an acrylic airbrushed background, 7" x 10", January 1987.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Virtual Life Drawing

In a recent post I lamented that the photo CD for "Art Models 5" didn't work. When I went to their site, I found that they were well aware of the problem and were ready to send me another copy that was functional. I asked for it, giving proof that I had indeed bought the book (serial number) and they sent me the new CD. It works fine now. "Art Models 5" is the best of the lot so far. The female and male models take interesting poses, the CD pictures are clear and nicely photographed, and it's easy to put the images up on the screen for "virtual life drawing." Yes, I know that nothing beats having a live model in front of you but I just can't get there right now. So I depend on these photos and pretend I am drawing a live model, giving myself a time limit and keeping the drawing sketchy. It's done on the Wacom tablet which does not have the resistance of a pencil on paper, so it is a different feel. But you can erase instantaneously, no eraser leavings all over your paper. I am not sure whether you are supposed to erase a life drawing anyway, so I left some of my initial placement lines in. I hope to continue doing these sketches in my virtual art studio which is just a 2-D screen and Photoshop and the plastic tablet.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Lady of the Khemaru

The Khemaru are one of the ethnicities in my Noantri world. They are a socially conservative group, suspicious of innovation and resistant to change. They are technologically sophisticated, but sometimes they will reject a technology that they consider "disruptive." Their society is stratified into a caste system that divides them into academicians, warriors, artisans, businesspeople, laborers, and agriculturalists. Culturally they tend to puritanism, especially among the higher castes. Interestingly, the Khemaru have one of the most gender-egalitarian societies among the Noantri of New Earth, with women holding positions of influence and power in all sectors of their society. This portrait is of a young lady of rank, whose future will certainly be among the elite.

Photoshop, 4 hours, January 5, 2011.
The model for this face was (believe it or not) socialite and fashion model Kim Kardashian.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Great Interdimensional Lens

I love visionary narratives. The occult and New Age world is filled with them. Human creativity is limitless, and it doesn't take much to visit other worlds and bring back wonderful stories of life in Heaven or Hell. People have been doing this as long as there has been consciousness. I collect these stories and love to illustrate them. The more detail the seer recounts, the better it is for me the illustrator. This one is from the California UFO-contact sect, "Unarius." Unlike many of these groups, it continues, though on a modest level, after the passing of its founder. Ruth Norman, also called "Uriel," was the inspired lady who was the source of most of the material I illustrated. Her visions are collected in books published by the Unarius group and were the source of many of my New Age illustrations in 1987 and 1988. During those years I also worked in a New Age bookstore where I came into contact with lots of rainbow diamond visions. If you have enough imagination, you don't need drugs to visit other worlds. It's interesting though, how similar much of the New Age art from the late 20th century is, including mine.

"The Great Interdimensional Lens" is acrylic on illustration board, 8" x 10", June 1988. My records show that it was bought at "Ecumenicon," a New Age convention, for the visionary price of $10.

Monday, January 3, 2011

From Elf-land To Your Table

I did this for Trader Joe's in November 2003, when I had been working there for only one month. In those days I was encouraged to do fanciful and amusing signs advertising various products, including vegetables, since TJ was expanding its offering of fresh produce. I did these in markers, laminated them, and mounted them near the item it was advertising. Some of them lasted quite a while. But in later years the style changed and our signs are less "illustrative" and more in the conventional "headline and text" format. Fortunately I was able to scan and save all the signs I did, since the originals faded or got destroyed in the store environment. Trader Joe's still sells plenty of Portobello mushrooms.

"Portobello Mushrooms" was markers on Bristol board, about 9" x 6", November 2003.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Annunciation

This picture took a lot of rescuing and restoring to get it to a presentable quality. It's yet another of my "religious" abstractions, representing Catholic concepts in symbolic form. This one is my version of the "Annunciation," where the Archangel Gabriel visits the Virgin Mary to announce to her that she will bear the Christ Child. I represented the message of Gabriel as flames coming down to Earth, the light blue circle. After all, Christian doctrine says that Christ would redeem the whole world, so it was a planetary event. Many imaginative Christians have wondered whether Christ was incarnated on other worlds, too.

This was done the same way as the other abstractions, color-coated paper cut and glued together on a piece of illustration board. The shiny copper flame shape did not come out on the photograph, it just looked black. So I did a bit of photoshop simulation to make it appear as shiny metallic foil.
"The Annunciation" is colored paper collage on illustration board, 12" x 9", March 1987.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pour a Happy New Year

This image describes what I intend to do this year, which is continue my visits to wineries, drawing scenery and tasting wine. I am also continuing my graphic novel, which I referred to in a recent posting. 2010 wasn't so bad, but I'm hoping for more notable work and achievements this year. My daily journal is once more in a sketchbook format, and this is the first drawing in it.

Thanks to all my regular readers, such as Tristan and Mary and Sally and Amanda and Mike and "Meowhair," and new readers too. May the By-Product not disappoint!