Saturday, April 30, 2016

Computer Angel

I designed this image for a communications-themed card for a prayer group I belong to. Most of my fellows in this group are tech professionals of one sort or another. So I created a computer angel. Gabriel, one of the Four Archangels, is the patron of communications, so I depicted him/her as working with a computer, with small pen and stylus tools in his/her pocket. I imitated an old-fashioned woodcut style to illustrate what was the state of the art back in the 1990s. They didn't have flat screens or tablets or smartphones then. 

Original drawing is ink on illustration board, 5" x 7", November 1996.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Promotional Pirate Fantasy

This is a bit of a mishmosh, but they published it anyway in one of the "progress reports" for members of the upcoming 1998 Baltimore World Science Fiction Convention, BucConeer. The image was also used as a holiday card sent to people who were working on the convention staff. There's a castle, a spaceship, otherworldly moons, and an old pirate ship because the convention had a pirate theme. The name "BucCONeer " is a typical bit of science fiction fan wordplay though I have never figured out just how to spell it. I did a lot of volunteer promotional art for them and one elaborate heraldic design for a T-shirt. I think I had fun at that convention but as I remember I also had a cold which cut into my fun-having energy. I suppose I could look at my 1998 journal for memories. I haven't been to a Worldcon since 2004, for various reasons, and I don't miss going.

Pirate card image is black ink on illustration board, 6" x 9", November 1996.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Wine Logo Again

I worked with this wine logo earlier, experimenting with Photoshop coloring of different transparencies. This version of the drawing uses mostly transparent color, like digital watercolor, and a bit of green overlay in the leaves. It's just a sketch and doesn't have the graphic precision I aspire to, but I like the "clear-line" style. I'd like to use it on a greeting card or a wine bottle label, but if done commercially I'd re-draw it.

Tech pen ink drawing colored in Photoshop, 3 1/2" x 3 1/2", March-April 2016.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sacred Space Phoenix

Here's another of the designs I made for the Pagan/New Age convention "Sacred Space." Each year the convention had a different theme which had something to do with a season, a holiday, or some basic Pagan topic. This one seems appropriate for flowery Spring as we are enjoying the robins singing and April sunlight. The Phoenix is a traditional motif for resurrection. I used a style inspired by alchemical woodcuts to create the design, which went on the program book cover and the commemorative T-shirt. The Sacred Space convention disappeared in the mid-2000s but there is a date set for another one next year, just in case you want to participate.

Ink on illustration board, 11” x  7 ½ “, December 1996.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lady Vampires

I did a lot of fan art for privately printed 'zines, illustrating the work of well-known authors like Marion Zimmer Bradley or Katherine Kurtz. But I also did illustrations for stories written by my fellow fans about their original characters and worlds. Most of these original settings weren't too far away from "known worlds" or gaming scenarios. The illustration here is from a vampire storyline where two rival vampire queens flirt with each other at a fancy dress ball. I'm not a vampire fan although I did enjoy a couple of Anne Rice's famous "Vampire Lestat" books. Now there are more vampires than you can count, but I don't do fan art any more.

Black ink on illustration board, 8 1/2" x 11", March 1994. Click on image for larger view.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Winding Road in Monocolor

With the coming of warmer weather I am back outside drawing pictures of wineries and their buildings and landscapes. Today on "Wine Sunday" instead of the usual Saturday, I went back to "Winding Road Cellars," my winery "base of operations," where I drank new as well as familiar vintages. With a glass of their "Tribute" red blend I took myself to a picnic table behind the wine lodge, a view I had not drawn yet. It was just a little chilly but very clear. This is my drawing from Sunday, done in a nice sepia monocolor. This is drawn in colored pencil, right? Nope, it's iPaddery.  

"Autodesk Sketch Pro" on iPad, finished with Photoshop "ruler" and "eraser" in the studio, about 8" x 5". April 24, 2016.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Large Cactus Story

When I acquired this cactus from my local garden store, Merrifield Garden Center, it was the size of a hen's egg. Over the years it grew and grew and grew, since my apartment and balcony has a desert climate, even the indoors winter period. I moved it dutifully from winter to summer quarters and back, and it grew more. From an egg it had become, in about 15 years, a baseball bat covered with fierce spines. Just a few weeks ago I noticed that the now three-foot-tall plant was leaning over, being unbalanced in its little clay pot. A few days later I was awoken by a huge crash as the plant fell over onto my glass collection which was displayed around it. By luck no glass was broken though some fell onto the rug. The cactus got a dent in it where it hit something, but it didn't break.

In the subsequent days I wrapped the cactus in a towel so I could hold it, and removed it from the table. I transferred it to a plastic garden tray and then carefully carried it out of my house and drove it to Merrifield Garden Center where I planned to donate it to their greenhouse and cactus collection. Unfortunately, they couldn't take it because they worry about donated plants carrying infections or bugs. But one kindly lady from their staff said she would adopt it and bring it to her home. If it survives maybe I'll hear about it someday. Meanwhile, some egg-sized cacti in the Merrifield collection are looking attractive...

Cactus drawing from memory, black tech ink on sketchbook page, 2 1/2" x 5", April 23, 2016.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Spring Trees

The colors of Nature, whether open or landscaped, are brilliant this time of year, especially lit up by evening sunlight in front of dark rain clouds. These shades of chartreuse and radiant yellow-green don't appear often, and the season for them is only about a week or two long. By mid-May the full rich green leaves will be mostly decked out for the summer, with warblers in their yellow and black markings filling the air with their call signals. 

I did most of this sketch from memory on the Cintiq while at a crafters' get-together. I haven't yet brought it outdoors to do on-site work. The smaller, lighter iPad does quite well on-site as long as the very reflective screen is in shadow. But the Cintiq is far more capable in picture power.

Photoshop on Cintiq and some more at home studio, about 7" x 8", April 23, 2016.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Blue Blaze Cats Logo Tryout

My friends Elektra and Michael have been very much involved in the world of prize cats and cat shows for many years. They raise and show Maine Coon cats as well as other breeds. They are also internationally active cat judges. I have visited their cat shows and had many good times with them and their furry feline family. Early on in their cat career they commissioned me to do a logo for their business. I was just entering the world of digital art so I decided to do their logo on CorelDraw (at that point, just CorelDraw 2). I wanted something that would reduce in size well and have a "spacy" look to it as Elektra and Michael were dedicated science fiction and fantasy fans.

I was surprised that they rejected this concept. I liked the abstract seated cat with its flamelike tail. They wanted something completely different and instead chose an ink drawing that I made of two of their champion Maine Coons, which you can see on their web page.
Nowadays my friends are still active in the cat world but are moving into fantasy and science fiction writing and publishing.

CorelDraw 2 digital design, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", printed on an HP PaintJet printer, 1991.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Kallitechnia Complex Spaces

Kallitechnia's villages, set in mildly mountainous territory around their garden domes, provided a multitude of levels and interesting spaces to inhabit. The architecture was based on Mediterranean hill and coastal towns, with their many rooftop areas and elevated gardens and interlocking domestic and public spaces. None of the residences were exclusively private, though. Ownership was in common and all residential and commercial properties were distributed through negotiation and sharing, rather than private holdings and rentals. I am not sure whether Kallitechnians had a money economy. It's possible that they used a debit system rather like the early days of "Club Mediterranee" where you exchanged your money for beads that you wore as decoration, which were only worth something within the locale of the club. I'm also unsure whether people were allowed to amass fortunes in this system, as village capitalists. I never thought to ask the client about the economics of his Utopia.

Depicted here is a small square on the hilly built-up slope of a Kallitechnian village, complete with restaurant, residences, and the dome higher up the hill. The dome is based on the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.

Black ink on illustration board, 9" x 11", September 1996. Click for larger view.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Passing Storm over Vineyard

I have wanted to do this picture for years. Many years ago I visited Pearmund Cellars, yet another excellent winery in Northern Virginia, and during my visit a thunderstorm gathered with dark clouds over the hills, and then instead of raining on me, it moved away and dissipated. I took some reference photos of the natural event and put them into my files, hoping that if I ever had the time I would paint that passing moment from memory. As you know summer is the only season I like and thunderstorms are one of my favorite moments during summer. I wanted to paint a picture where you could see patches of sunlight on the intense green of vines and lawns, and hear rumbles of thunder in the distance.

Well I finally got the time, and created the painting this month. I just finished it. The little brick-textured garden shed appealed to me as if it were a tiny cabin I might be able to use as a studio or retreat refuge. Pearmund Cellars has lots of these interesting places which I would like to see again. The title, "Passing Storm, Pearmund Cellars" or perhaps "Distant Storm, Pearmund Vineyard" is meant to echo the atmospheric quality of the "Luminist" painters of the 19th century, who also wanted to paint momentary weather and natural light events. 

Watercolor and ink on thick watercolor paper, 14" x 10", April 2016. Click for larger view.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Benevolent Government Online

Warning: This posting contains political and social commentary.

In 1993, at the dawning of the Internet era, the makers of the Net and the "Cloud" were well aware that this invention would change the world, the way people related to government and authorities, and the way people related to each other. No longer would you have to wait days or even months to hear from your relatives and friends. Communication was faster than even a phone call or fax because data could be transmitted instantaneously. Now that bandwidth technology has evolved to handle high-speed high-volume transmissions, that vision of the early 90s has come true. 

I did this illustration for "Internet World" magazine in 1993. It was for an article about U.S. Government resources online. "Uncle Sam" is using the state of the art now 23 year old big clunky computer and monitor. He looks like a benevolent person, who actually wants to help you. And in 1993, you might be OK with that.

The idea of a government that helps rather than plunders and which is honest rather than corrupt is actually a modern idea, no more than a few centuries old. In the past, governments ruthlessly exploited their subjects and waged war or perpetrated atrocities without the people's consent, and often on the people themselves. A government that collects resources from a consenting populace and then uses them to help that populace rather than enrich corrupt and brutal leaders is rare even now.

One government catastrophe after another in those last 23 years (let alone the almost-forgotten "Watergate" scandal and impeachment trial 42 years ago) has lowered our trust in government to such an extent that we don't trust anything the government offers us (except tax refunds, how about that check in the U.S. Postal Service?) or anything the government can do for us. Everything about government nowadays seems to be flawed, wrong, corrupt, incompetent, and sometimes just evil. Really? Our mistrust and anger is multiplied by the very Internet that had such promise 23-odd years ago. Government now can do no right. If government as a social service to help people is gone, and government can do no right, then taxation is theft and society becomes a collection of tribal groups and techno-warlords, which sounds cool if you can shoot straight and stay healthy. 

I am old fashioned in the social services way. I am willing to pay some of my precious dollars to maintain a civilized society that organizes activities that benefit people, including myself. I am a consenting person. I know that for many of the people I encounter, they have been so mistreated by government incompetency or bigotry that they have no faith in government help. What is their alternative, if they have no church or private charity association that will help them? Well, they can always go online and find help, from a government they declare they hate, and which used its resources to develop the Internet information in the first place. 

"Uncle Sam" is ink and watercolor on illustration board, original size 5" x 7", August 1993.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Kallitechnia Ornamentation

I'm only doing what Mr. Client asked for. Kallitechnia has literally an "over-the-top" attitude when it comes to ornamentation. This corner features a carved angel with wings outstretched, as well as borders and friezes in Spanish-Mayan style. I never got to do any of these in color but I imagine the sculptural details would be brightly painted as well. 

I would have liked to do some sequential art (comic book style) about the Kallitechnia world, but the client had no plans to assign (or pay for) anything like that.

Black ink on illustration board, about 6" x 9", September 1996.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Aspen Dale in Springtime

It's finally Springtime and the golden-green new leaves are emerging. I made another "Wine Saturday" visit to Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn, one of my all-time favorites in Northern Virginia. I sampled their fare and bought myself a treat: a bottle of their delicious red blend colorfully titled "Rockawalkin'", and one of their summer sausages made with pheasant meat. The weather was just right and I was able to draw outdoors. Like most wineries in Virginia, Aspen Dale is family-run and I always enjoy their warm hospitality. 

Brown tech pen ink and colored pencil on sketchbook page, 8" x 8", April 16, 2016. Finished in the studio due to time limits at the site.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Kallitechnia Ogre Doorway

My "Kallitechnia" client encouraged me to adorn the buildings with not only florid Art Nouveau stylings but with grotesque molded ornament and carvings reminiscent of native Mexican colonial art. This doorway, an "Ogre Doorway," is a good example of the grotesqueries. Not only does it have "eyes" and a "mouth" (in which a girl is standing) but over the doorway is a carving of a grinning brute humanoid monster. As you will see, these "ogres" are a part of Kallitechnian customs, one of the more bizarre features of that world that Mr. Client created.

Those who know my own imaginary world may ask why the Noantri don't build their buildings like this. My answer is simple: they have better taste and a more minimalist aesthetic.

Black ink on illustration board, 6" x 9", September 1996.

Friday, April 15, 2016


The process of merged digital and hand-done graphics continues. I find inspiration in an industrial cable transport vehicle where the thick cables are bound onto a wheel train platform. It looks like a centipede, no, it's a wheel-i-pede. I design and draw with real ink the front end and run out of space in my sketchbook. I scan the unfinished drawing, save it, and place it on a memory stick to be transferred to the Cintiq. I suppose I could just send it to myself by e-mail, which would re-direct my little drawing from Metro DC to Sydney to Tokyo to planet Mars and then back through Halifax, Nova Scotia. This done, I add the drawing to a larger blank panel thus giving it room to complete in digital inking. I complete the drawing, save it, place the finished item back on the memory and re-import it to my main system hoping that it won't seize up again when I use Photoshop. A lot of the hardware in my studio (not the brand-new Cintiq) is either failing or has already failed. I hate it when the red light goes on. I don't know if any of what I just wrote makes sense. 

Black tech pen inking and digital inking on sketchbook and virtual page, about 3 3/4" x 4", April 15, 2016. Taxes are done and e-filed to planet Mars.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Golden Memories

In the early 2000s I inherited the editorship of a magazine called "Golden-APA" from its previous editor. Golden-APA was a privately published writer-participant publication once known as an "Amateur Press Association," hence the acronym APA. These private magazines, usually printing no more than 10 or 15 copies, originated long before the modern internet era. Everyone who wanted a copy would contribute their own sheaf of writing or art, photocopied to as many copies as the group had members. The editor's job was not really to edit or change anything in the texts but to put the sheafs together in order so that there would be identical copies. Then the editor would put a cover on it, staple them together with heavy-duty staples, put the copies in envelopes and mail them out. The APA members were supposed to send in some money to cover the copying process and the postal fees. 

The APA was, therefore, a do-it-yourself magazine and one fun thing about it was that you could publish your comments on whatever you read in the previous issue. Something that takes a second now on Facebook took a month or two back in the era of paper and print. I remember waiting eagerly for my copy so that I could see what my print-friends had to say about my deathless prose. I always put art into my entry, too, so the friends could see what I was working on.

"Golden-APA" got its name from "Golden Apple," a theme which was featured in the satirical "Illuminatus Trilogy" (first published in 1975) by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. This somewhat forgotten text  inspired a movement in science fiction fan circles in which chaos, fetishistic sex, drug use, and uproar were cultivated as virtues. (Easier said than done!) The original Golden-APAns were closer to this movement and kept the Shea and Wilson text as the prime topic, but by the time I inherited it, Golden had lost much of its uproarious quality and had become an intellectual journal of diaries and literary criticism. As I recall, I edited it from 2000 to 2003 at which point I was no longer willing to persuade people to participate in the paper process. All of the participants migrated to the Internet and newsgroups and forums. There may still be one or two of these APAs still in operation, but why would anyone want to go through the old-fashioned process when you can post a rant on Facebook and have it read by your friends in a minute.

I did this cover for a Golden in the early 2000s. It shows a literary lady picking printed apples from a mystic tree. Behind her is the Pyramid which was one of the favorite symbols of the "Illuminatus" fans. The lady is loosely based on Nancy Lebovitz, famous for her aphoristic and humorous badges, who had been at one time the editor of Golden-APA.

Black ink on illustration board, 8 1/2" x 11", early 2000s. Click for a larger view.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Happy Pirate and Cat

Around the middle of the 1990s I did a lot of fan art for the Baltimore World Science Fiction Convention, scheduled for 1998. The theme of the Worldcon was "Pirates of Baltimore," and so all the promotional art I did for them had some sort of fantasy pirate in it. This one above was for a holiday card that was sent out to the development and executive staff. The model for the pirate was a real guy who posed for me in the costume. The cat is not a model, but the hat on the cat was one of my collectibles at the time. I know this is for the holidays so the pirate guy is cheerful and smiling but you think that someone whose job is to attack, pillage, and kill would be more serious about it all. But then, pirates in the movies, stage, and screen are seen singing and dancing to "Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum," which was made up by adventure author and literary hero Robert Louis Stephenson.

Black ink on illustration board, about 5" x 7", November 1995.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Storm over a Vineyard

There's hardly anything I like to look at more than a vineyard in summer. Add storm clouds and it's my favorite Earthly Paradise thing. This is a small watercolor study for a somewhat larger painting in progress in my studio. Stay tuned, landscape lovers.

Watercolor and a bit of colored pencil on thick paper, about 7" x 5", April 12, 2016.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Vashti, Rejected Queen of Persia

The story of Vashti, the rejected (and rejecting) Queen of Persia is told in the Biblical book of Esther. (My mother was named Esther, so I have some connection to her, sort of.) In the tale, Vashti's husband King Xerxes of Persia demands her presence at a week-long royal court party. She refuses to come to it, for reasons the book doesn't explain, but it is likely that she would be shown off and humiliated in front of a crowd of drunken lewd men. Because of her refusal, she was removed as Queen and replaced, after a beauty contest, by the Jewish heroine Esther. Queen Esther eventually persuades the King to call off persecutions of Jews. The story, and a Jewish analysis of it, can be found at this helpful Jewish cultural website. Esther's story and success is celebrated in the joyful feast of Purim, which happens in early spring.

What you see here is an illustration for a “midrash” poem by a friend of mine who writes stories about the lives and feelings of Biblical characters. He has created a musical show from his Bible tales. Vashti is one of the characters in the song cycle and he commissioned me to depict her in a Persian costume and setting.

The piece was featured on the cover of  STRANGERS AT THE GATE, a collection of these Biblical “midrash” poems privately published in 1997.

Original art is ink on illustration board, 11" x 14", February 1996.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Dominion of the Ghosts

This image of an overwrought Victorian mansion was a wraparound cover for a book of spooky stories edited by one of the story writers, S.G. Johnson who was later known as "Gary Bowen." The publishing entity was "Obelesk" Books (yes, spelled that way) and I did a few covers for them in the mid-90s. The house depicted does not exist, I made it up using historical mansion designs that weren't so different. I just added more stuff to the design. The white area to the left is where the blurb, description, and commercial graphics were. I still have my copy, somewhere on the dusty shelves.

Black ink on illustration board,  with computer-printed lettering, 11" x 8 1/2", fall 1994.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Cocoa Vienna Roofline

This is the roof of an old building in Vienna, Virginia which now houses a luxury chocolatier, "Cocoa Vienna," strategically located across the street from the artsy Cafe Amouri. This area provides plenty of ways for people to indulge their tastes. You can go elsewhere for your kale and quinoa vegan raw salad. Vienna, an affluent suburb of Washington, DC, still has a number of old buildings interspersed with the usual strip malls and commercial chains. 

I drew this sketch on a bench outside while waiting for my coffee companions. I would have drawn the lower part of the building with its nice porch windows and lanterns, but people kept parking their giant vehicles in front of it in the tiny parking lot. An interesting fact about this drawing is that I drew it while wearing gloves. I have a nice soft pair of yellow leather work gloves that are flexible enough to wear in the chill while drawing. I always wondered whether I could do that. It's still cold for outdoor art.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, about 5" x 3 1/2", April 8, 2016.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Newbie at Wheel

In early 1994, when the larger world's Internet was just getting started, I did a number of illustrations for a long-gone magazine called "Internet World." These pictures are now full of recent nostalgia for the dawning age of what we now can't live without. This one is a kind of "anticipated nostalgia" for an era which in those days wasn't that far away. A '55 Chevy loaded with newbie and friends, driving on the southeast expressway in Boston at twilight. Signs advertising new-fangled internet things like IRC and Usenet. The billboard says: Information indigestion? Try DIGEX for fast relief. Digital Express Access, Internet public access: Digex was my internet provider. My first Internet address was, from 1993.

Ink and watercolor with computer-printed type, original size 9" x 12", January 1994.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Kallitechnia Bedroom Bubble

Eroticism and public sex were a big part of the Kallitechnian ethos, according to my client. It was pretty obvious that he enjoyed embodying his own fantasies in his imaginary world. I was thankfully excused from drawing anything X-rated but the element could easily be suggested. This all-glass "bubble bedroom," designed by the client, was on top of a residence building, connected with the dome but equipped with an outdoor terrace. The big bed was installed under the air-conditioned or heated dome so the users could be there in any kind of weather. There were also bathroom and shower facilities, enclosed within translucent egg-like modules. The sexual activity of the residents on the bed could easily be seen from the middle levels of the houses. In Kallitechnia, "privacy" as we know it was expressed quite differently from our lifestyles and customs. The Bubble Bedroom was quite a sight at night, lit up by colored lights and showing off many variations of Kallitechnian erotic behavior.

Black ink on illustration board, 11" x 9", June 1996. Click for a closer view.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Not a Dumpster

One of the rules of my "Drawing of the Day" is: No dumpsters. I won't draw them, despite my claim that anything can be given an artistic treatment. I may have drawn one or two in the past but not now. They are unsightly, chaotic, and they attract pests. They are not picturesque enough to be part of an "ashcan school" drawing. So what do you see in my April 5 drawing? Is it a dumpster? It's full of heavy trash, renovation remains it looks like, and some blue plastic wrap. But it is not a dumpster. It is NEXT to a dumpster. Which I didn't depict. Whatever this was, I liked the wood textures and the fallen plastic column, which gives it a sort of "classical ruin" look. Also, as you see in the text, it is the first outdoor drawing of 2016. I did it standing by my car, balancing the sketchbook on the fender next to the hood. Car with opened door and natural sunlight counts as "outdoors." Above is a light fixture at Starbucks, an interior drawing I didn't get to finish due to people needing my space for a meeting.

Tech pen black ink on sketchbook page, 5" x 8", April 5, 2016.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tiny Art

Some years ago there was a short-lived fad for making miniature art pieces on paper cards no bigger than a credit card. They were called "artist trading cards" and artists could exchange them as originals, with an address and contact information on the back. The cards were available at the art materials store in packs. Seeing the work of my fellow artists on the cards, I bought a pack of them.

My good friend and blogging buddy Tristan had some too and suggested we exchange a pair of trading cards. He came forth with two images of what he did best, fantasy male humanoid spirits, and I set to work...and failed badly. Tristan had recommended that I do architectural details, especially Gothic or medieval. My attempt at a Gothic window was a mess. I wasn't used to working in a tiny size. I couldn't give that to Tristan! So I never did my part of the trade...until now. Instead of using the pre-made cards I cut my own set out of art paper with a smooth texture. My first attempt is a farmhouse carved wood porch scroll with a Virginia landscape in the background, just what I like to do best.

Here's my "Gothic" window. It isn't "realistic" but it sort of fits the idea. It actually looks a bit like Tristan's more decorative work, I think, but there's no vampire in it anywhere. 
Tristan even framed the pair he gave me but I didn't frame mine, I hope he doesn't mind.

Both pictures are ink, watercolor and acrylic bits on watercolor paper, 2 1/2" x 3 1/2", March 2016.

Monday, April 4, 2016


The Gasbird, a winged creature of refinement, sits in its bottle nest until it is time for the vapors to rise at which it flies into the air on a cloud of volatile hydrocarbons. It eats debris and sometimes other birds but lately it has been enhancing its diet by snatching drones from the air, crunching and eating them in one gulp.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 3" x 5", April 4, 2016.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Kallitechnia Town Square

You can't take a vacation in Kallitechnia. It is a closed community running an elaborate social experiment. The people who live there are of varied racial and ethnic backgrounds, and they have to learn to live together. I suspect that a stay in Kallitechnia was time-limited and you would have to go home to the "real world" and apply what you learned in the domed utopia. I never knew what kind of politics these people practiced, though the author was a libertarian. Here in the village you see a scene that I derived from my years in Italy, with a town square, a central fountain, shops, restaurants, and vendors. In the lower right hand corner you can see the author-client, looking through prints at a stand on the street. 

Original art was black ink on illustration board, 11" x 14", February 1996.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Markers in the Circular Case

As most of you know, I have more markers than any reasonable person, even an artist, should have. When I see a selection in an enticing case, I just have to have it, even if the colors are already in my collection. Some years ago I bought a big marker collection which was kept in an interesting circular plastic case which folded at its diameter, thus providing space for more than 100 water-based markers. I used it a lot when I was doing experimental doodles back in the earlier years of this Blog. I still have the marker set but some of them have dried up. I perform my "Marker Funeral" on them and bid them goodbye. But many of them are still good and I was able to make this modest effort with my circular case markers. 

There are a lot of new marker products around now because of the popularity of "adult coloring books." Most of them, including my circular case set, are saturated bright colors, which is not really what I want. I collect markers in earth, sky, and landscape tones. For these you have to pay more because they are for the professional market though I'm sure the coloring crowd enjoys them too. Some markers last a surprisingly long time if you don't open them too much. Others, like light blue, disappear fast because I use it for sky colors. And all these markers fade, unless they are specifically marked as "pigment ink." I can go on for hours about markers, which may suggest that I don't have a life. I do have a life, but it is a shelf-life.

Markers on sketchbook page, blue background added in Photoshop, 6 1/2" x 5 1/2", April 2, 2016.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Kallitechnia archways

My Kallitechnia client wanted to show that his utopian community was a fun place with plenty of complex architecture to wander about in. He wanted it furnished with stores, restaurants, roof gardens, and other pleasant features. The main design style was Art Nouveau, and he gave me a picture book of Art Nouveau architecture to use as a style model. I based the alleyways and spaces on Mediterranean hill villages, especially those which have been restored as resorts for tourists.To the upper left in this picture is the glassed-in dome that is the communal space, warm and protected even in the winter.

Original illustration is ink on illustration board, 11" x 14", February 1996. Click for larger view.