Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Spring at 50 West vineyard

"50 West" is a vineyard and winery situated near Route 50 in Northern Virginia. Believe it or not, from a coastal Maryland eastern start, this road originally went all the way across the country, finishing in San Francisco. There are numerous wineries on Virginia 50, so many that I like to call it the "Wine Line." These views were made in early spring just as buds were coming out on trees and vines. The top view was done from memory but it is a typical image of what a Virginia vineyard looks like.

Photoshop and drawing composite, 8 1/2" x 11", October 2018.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Welcome Home Delegate

I was still living in Cambridge, Mass. in 1984 and there was a lot of political action in my neighborhood. This house was down the block from me and it was one of many that I sat outside and drew in the summer of 1984. Many of these houses had been divided up, like mine, into apartments where students and aging hippies lived. This house was home to someone who was a delegate to the 1984 Democratic convention at which Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro were chosen to run. He had just come back from San Francisco where it was held. Ronald Reagan was the Republican incumbent. Someone in his household made a sign for the porch to welcome him home. For a brief moment in American history it seemed like politics made sense and could be practiced by real people who lived in ramshackle houses in the shadow of Harvard University.

Ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", July 20,1984.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Horton Vines and wine castle

Horton Vineyards is one of my favorite wine establishments. They have a delightful wine castle (see above) probably adapted from some old farm buildings and a silo. Horton serves more than fifty varieties in many different tasting programs. They grow exotic types of grapes as well as the usual ones. Horton also makes fruit and berry wines under the humorous rustic title of "Chateau Le Cabin." I've visited there a few times and always enjoyed it. 

The page you see here is a composite of photograph and drawing. I did the drawing last year sitting outside on a folding chair. That is a scan. The vines are a photograph which I took at the same session. I don't usually use photographs for my wine pages but this one looked so nice "as is" that I didn't want to waste my time copying it. These vines produce grapes whose variety originally came from Georgia - not the US state but the Central Asian country, which can truthfully claim to be the place where wine was first made.

Photoshop and drawing composite, 8 1/2" x 11", October 2018.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Fabbioli winery in winter

Winter wining is a nice experience in Northern Virginia. You bypass the outdoors and sit inside at the fire and get cozy. You can look out through the windows of the tasting room and sip your choice of Doug Fabbioli's Italian-styled red wines. The only thing to watch out for when wining in winter is to remember that it gets dark early and driving through the countryside at night should be avoided. You have to arrange wine, light, and road for safety. 

Photoshop composite, 8 1/2" x 11", 2015 and 2018.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Endless World Series Game

As some of you know, I am a baseball fanatic, and a lifetime supporter of the Boston Red Sox. This year, they are in the World Series again, that is, the championship series of American baseball (with an international roster). They used to never be in the World Series, losing in creative and sometimes spectacular ways. The legend was that the Boston team was cursed, and could never win it all. But in 2004 some power of light and rational magic finally released the Sox from the curse and they won the World Series in 2004. They went on to win again in 2007 and 2013, and now they are playing in 2018. The Series is 7 games long and whoever wins 4 of these games is the champion. Currently the Crimson Hose are leading in games 2 to 1. They are playing the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tonight and today's game was a World Series record-breaker. The game, usually 2 to 3 hours, went well over 7 hours and was only ended by a member of the Dodgers launching a baseball into low earth orbit. With both teams exhausted by the effort, the final outcome is uncertain.

I did this drawing while watching the game on my mid-90s vintage SONY TV set, a massive chunk of ancient electronics which still works fine. Behind the TV is a large round plate of pretty blue glass. The picture also contains images of my music tapes and records. The words are my notes on what was being advertised during the game. I don't know what "Jalisco" is, maybe a brand of tequila?  The ads are a portrait of middle-class Americana and I find it interesting that the types of people in the ads are much more diverse than the ads I knew during my youth. The next game is later today and I hope these young men have enough energy to play again.

Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 8", October 27, 2018.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Keswick late summer

This VuV page belongs in the "late summer" section, including the date I did that drawing. This year I missed a visit to Keswick due to the surgery and recovery but I'm hoping to get there at some point. I am recycling some design elements from Book 1 like this one, but I altered it with fading green leaves so no one will know the difference.

Photoshop composite with sepia ink drawing, 8 1/2" x 11", October 2018.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Aurelia Anicia 410 AD

Here she is, Aurelia of the prophetic mystery, hiding the text codex under her cloak as she runs away from social oppression. This is my "official" portrait of her in my collection of illustrations. I think I've gone through most of them now. 

I had a selection of possible endings for the story.
1. She gets captured and brought back to Rome where she is forced to marry the older man her parents set for her.
2. She makes it to Jerusalem where she becomes a member of Saint Jerome's group of scholarly women translating the Greek Bible into Latin.
3. She throws the mystical manuscript overboard and discovers that its prophetic powers have transferred to her own person.
4. She trades the mystical manuscript to Heliodorus and in return lives as a scholarly hermit under his protection on one of his land holdings.

I could have chosen any one of these, or written another one, but I ran out of time and interest and had to go to graduate school, which was a bad choice and a whole other line of misery in 1976-1979.

A close-up of Aurelia. She is wearing a rosary but that is anachronistic, rosaries weren't part of Catholic Christianity until the later Middle Ages.

Watercolor and ink on sketchbook page, 4" x 12", 1975.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Autumn Rain Vineyard

This is the Autumn seasonal image page for "Under Vine." I created it from an earlier image which I used to depict an autumn storm. I enjoy evoking not just bright sunny days but darker twilights and weather effects. Each seasonal page also has a reference to a vineyard. This one is from "Winding Road Cellars," which has been my "base of operation" as the years of winery visiting and drawing go by. It has a special mention which my Winding Road friends will get. One of the white blends produced and cellared at Winding Road is named "Twilight." I would make a decorative "Night" page but it would be all dark and you couldn't see anything.

All digital using Photoshop, 8 1/2" x 11", October 2018.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

More Coffeehouse People

I made myself get out of my apartment to have coffee at Starbucks. I always take my sketchbook with me so I can draw these little figures. I like to draw them in this "clear line" style and I want to capture the most accurate personality and attitude with the least amount of messy drawing debris. The bottom figure was drawn not at Starbucks but at Caffe Amouri, a college-style independent coffeehouse in Vienna not Austria but Virginia.

I've picked my theme and color for 2019, if all goes well. The theme is (surprise, not) Coffee. And the color is "Espresso Brown" which translates to pigments like Burnt Umber or Warm Sepia. I order my art materials decaffeinated.

Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 7", October 22, 2018.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Hardscrabble Vineyard at Linden

"Hardscrabble" is basically lousy farmland, dry dirt with rocks and thin soil. Crops don't grow well there, but it's perfect for grapevines. As winter edged into spring I visited Hardscrabble Vineyard and made these drawings, except for the fruit and grape press which I drew from a photograph in the studio. 

Photoshop composite, October 22, 2018. For "Virginia Under Vine."

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Delaplane Cellars fresh air

The concept on this one is a bit different. Nothing prevents me from exploring a bit of design in "Under Vine," and I love the light sky blue. Delaplane's wine is some of the best Virginian I've ever tasted. Some people might wonder what that dark blue triangle to left is, well, it's an umbrella. I added that into the inscription to reduce confusion.

Photoshop composite of 2014 drawing, 8 1/2" x 11".

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Corelli's Nymph

Taking a short break from Virginia vineyards: here's an illustration I did in my 1975 sketchbook journal, shortly before I left for my year in Europe. The scene is from "Ardath," Corelli's moralizing fantasy tale of a modern young man magically transported into an ancient decadent city of dreams. He makes friends with the Poet Laureate and goes to a party at the royal palace. As the two friends wander through the grounds of the palace our main character spots what he thinks is a beautiful naked nymph standing in the water waiting for him. The Poet pulls his friend back from the water, telling him that the girl is not real but a sculpture of tinted marble with some light-emitting diodes or something like that. He could have figured that out by simply waiting to see if she moved, but he was never that bright, just bamboozled by the fantasy world he has suddenly dropped into.

Watercolor and colored pencil on sketchbook page, 8" x 5 1/2", spring 1975.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Summer Storm Approaching

This one needs a bit more work but that can happen later. This is not an exact portrait of a weather event or vineyard. I created it from memory of a real storm that happened in 2016. A few minutes after observing, the storm poured forth drenching torrents and I had to take refuge in a gas station convenience store. Vine growers don't like these sudden outbursts as hail can damage the grapes and deluge will overflow the roots. Still, summer is my precious favorite season.

Original drawing is made in markers on sketchbook page, page composed in Facebook.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Doukenie page assembled

This complex page evokes the height of summer at Doukenie Winery, which is actually in Hillsboro rather than "Purcellville" as I have it on the draft. I made an extra large multi-featured page in my original drawing and sent the original to a concert pianist friend of mine who traded me music CD's of her performances. I'm glad I found the rather antique-looking main typeface. I could letter it myself but then it is not adjustable. Green colors in this piece were carefully worked.

Original drawing was colored pencils on illustration board. Assembled in Photoshop 8 1/2" x 11", October 18, 2018.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Crushed Cellars VuV page

"Crushed Cellars" is tiny as wineries go around here. It has only one active vineyard so they buy or raise grapes off site. They have a tasting lodge and an area in the back where they keep a flock of chickens and sell the eggs. When you sit outside on their little front deck, chickens come up to you and expect to be fed crumbs from your snack. I think "Crushed Cellars" is one of the funniest winery names I've visited. Crushed grapes, but why "Cellars?" From what I've heard from wine people, and even they are not quite sure, the "Cellars" in a winery name means that the wine is kept there but originates from a winemaking facility at another location.

The original color drawing in this page was done on August 8th, 2015. Ink and colored pencils.
"VuV" stands for "Virginia Under Vine."

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Casanel Vineyards Summertime

This summery green page is from the upcoming "Virginia Under Vine" project. The story of Brazilian immigrant Nelson DeSouza could fill the whole page but I want to keep concentrating on art. Casanel is a great place to enjoy wine and the winery people including Nelson treat you as family. Nelson's daughter Katie runs the winemaking now as it is a multi-generational enterprise. Visit a virtual Casanel at 

Original drawing is ink and colored pencil, August 2017, assembled in Photoshop 2018. Size, 8 1/2" x 11".

Monday, October 15, 2018

Folkstyle Design

If I have all these hundreds of markers I might as well use them, right? This colorful doodle comes mainly from one set which is full of bright saturated colors, appealing to kids but not so much for the pro's. My latest set of markers which I got earlier this year has lots of delicate and misty colors so I'm pleased there. Meanwhile I'll take the saturated colors from the kiddie set and make pseudo-folk-art here.

Markers on sketchbook page, 4" x 3 1/2", October 14, 2018.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Barren Ridge Draft

Barren Ridge Vineyards is one of the most beautiful Virginia wine destinations I've ever visited. In good weather you can sit out on the deck and enjoy the wine with an outside fireplace to add autumn warmth. In the distance is the intense atmospheric blue of the Blue Ridge. Here is the "Virginia Under Vine" page for Barren Ridge.

Ink and colored pencil drawing, assembled with type in Photoshop, October 2018.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Aurelia in action

Aurelia, in a gesture of monastic asceticism, had her long aristocratic hair cut off. Thenceforth she wore a hood and a Sister's robe. The haircut was a shocking and defiant act in ancient society. Here are four trial sketches of Aurelia in motion and in her religious garb. I have been reading a fascinating book about ancient Rome and early Byzantine society and politics. This book, "428 AD," by Italian scholar Giusto Traina, would have been a great help to me back when I was trying to write Aurelia's story. I am fascinated by the early Byzantine period (350-600 AD) a time a lot like ours of constant ethnic and religious conflict under a decaying Empire.

Sepia ink Graphos pen on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", 1974.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Winter Vines

I'm organizing Book 2 of my wine book by the seasons again. I did two Fox Meadow pages last time but I liked this image so I kept it along with the attribution to Fox Meadow. I don't know how many more wineries I can visit before I have to finalize it for publication but I have enough for seasonal pages as well as individual wineries. There's plenty of fall color ahead and "Winding Road's" official portrait is filled with autumn leaves. I can't  believe it has been FIVE YEARS since I created and published "The Earthly Paradise."

Original image is watercolor with ink and some pencil, processed and text added in Photoshop. Page is 8 1/2" x 11", October 2018.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Aspen Dale Winery Page

It's Aspen Dale winery. Here's another page draft from "Virginia Under Vine." I will be previewing my pages here as they are finished. These pages are a combination of colored pencil drawings, some watercolors, and some iPad sketches. I use less digital imaging on this volume 2, for some reason. All the type is Photoshop though. You get to see it first. 

Ink and colored pencil with Photoshop, 8 1/2" x 11", assembled October 2018. The drawing was done in 2016. As always, click on the image for a closer view.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Fall Expressionism

This picture is a homage to my artist mother, who died three years ago in October. Her work could be called by the standard "abstract expressionism" and I see no need to change the name. Some of my artist friends have been experimenting with this type of non-representational art on their blogs and posts, so why not me. My mother's favorite things to draw were nude women and trees. She would draw a forest scene like this and then add in some female human figures hiding in the branches. Maybe she was possessed by Dryads.

Markers on sketchbook page, 3" x 4", October 9, 2018.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Venetian Arsenal of Rhodes

As part of my explorations of the eastern Mediterranean I took a cruise tour of the Greek islands. I visited Crete, Mykonos, and Rhodes, where I drew this picture of the Venetian Arsenal. You can see a stone cannonball at lower center. The tour schedule gave me enough time to draw and paint. This place was peaceful and sunny and you would have no idea that this had once been a place of fire, explosives, and war.

Watercolor over pencil drawing on Fabriano paper, 9" x 13", summer 1975.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Nun on the Run

I've shown you most of the characters in my Byzantine epic tale, but not the girl herself. I made plenty of pictures of her and here she is in monastic habit, visiting a sisterhood in Egypt. In her day, the early 400s AD, Christian monasticism was proliferating but unregulated, without rules such as the later Rule of St. Benedict. There were sisters as well as brothers, usually cloistered and prayerful similar to nuns. Aurelia hides in a convent in Egypt while trying out their way of life.

You'd think I'd base Aurelia on myself but I really didn't look like her. Instead I modeled her on my college chum Jan Sandberg, whose portrait you recently saw on this Blog. Aurelia doesn't stay at the convent very long as her parents and relatives are sending private militiamen to find and capture her so that she can be forced into the marriage she is trying to escape.

Ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 5" x 5", 1974.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Bluemont Vineyard page draft

"Virginia Under Vine" is in progress. Here's a draft of one of the pages of my second winery art book. The type needs some adjustment but this is basically what the page will look like. Usually when I visit Bluemont I get rained on but I have had a clear moment or two as well as a "winebow" or rainbow over a vineyard. I decided to depict the cloudy weather with the blue rainy light.

Ink and colored pencils with Photoshop landscape with clouds background, 8 1/2" x 11", fall 2018.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Red October

I have a tiny kit of colored pencils in a plastic holder. They are made by Crayola for kids and these pencils are not more than 4 inches long. I have had this set for years but have only rarely used it because it doesn't have enough landscape colors of blue, gray, or green. It has a lot of bright colors of pink and purple and orange to attract kids. I decided to take this set out with me to a favorite coffeeshop for sketching. Fall leaves was my theme so I could take advantage of all these bright colors. It isn't bright leaf time here yet but I like using autumn red as the main color. The star-shaped leaf in the center is from a yellow poplar. I think I can borrow some pencils from my other collections and use the less fancy ones by cutting them in half to fit the spaces in the kit box. This plastic box of mini pencils is no longer available but you can get the same pencil set full size from Crayola, 100 colors for children or yourself.

"Red October" is colored pencil on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 4", October 5, 2018.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Colorforms 10 Autumn

Back in the simple world of Colorforms I'm expressing Autumn. You have the three primary color shapes on the black square background, and my unique color add-in is a Photoshop jumble toss of oak leaves. I did not add a pumpkin nor any spice.

Photoshop, 5" x 5", October 5, 2018. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

American Academy Window 1976

The American Academy in Rome is located high up on the Janiculum Hill above the city. The Academy is a cultural embassy designed to bring American scholars and artists to Rome for study and inspiration. There are other national academies as well, though not nearby. The American Academy is placed among Church properties hosting priests and religious orders from other countries. My parents stayed at the American Academy in 1950 and I stayed there in 1976. I drew this view through one of the Academy's windows.

Rapidograph technical pen and colored pencil, 4 1/2" x 7", 1976.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Install Software

Inspired by memories of software installations of olden days here is a Photoshop doodle. I'm sure users of a "certain age" remember the blue-to-black gradient initial screen and the yellow on black writing of PC software. Press Enter to continue. Do you want to install? Press Enter to continue. Install entire program or custom selection? Yes/no. No internet connection required. Because it didn't exist back then for us mouse pokers. Do you miss 1992? Yes/no.

Photoshop, 5" x 5", October 3, 2018.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Roman Barrel Fountain

Rome has countless fountains, from the imperial and theatrical to the quiet, trickling and humble. In the past, this is where you got fresh water. The fountain depicted here was near a restaurant. It shows a wine barrel and the water is coming out of a wine sampling hole. The letters "SPQR" stand for "Senatus Populus que Romanus" which is the motto of the city of Rome and means "The Senate and the People of Rome." 

I did a number of colored pencil sketches of Rome but decided that I preferred ink and watercolor instead.

Colored pencil on smooth Fabriano Italian paper, 4" x 7 1/2", 1975. Click for closer view.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Philip Carter Winery in color

I would have colored this in with pencils while it was still in the sketchbook, but that sketchbook is consistently drawn in sepia tech pen and I wanted the drawings to be all one style. So I scanned it, processed it, and added color in Photoshop. I confess it looks rather like all of my winery art of this kind. I didn't have the opportunity to go outside and draw, since I was enjoying my wine, cheese, and charcuterie. "Charcuterie", that's "summer sausage" for the uninitiated and I sure wish I could have some more summer.

Sepia tech pen and Photoshop, 5" x 7", September 30, 2018.