Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Home Paramount

There's a small industrial area near my residence, and I have sketched there many times. There is a sheet metal shop, a car body shop, a garage for Falls Church utility vehicles, and this modernist blocky building, Falls Church Bauhaus you could call it. It houses an exterminator's offices and probably equipment, too. The exterminator's name is "Home Paramount," a high pompous name for bug-slayers. I don't have any undesirable bugs in my house, so my home is not paramount. I did see an earwig some days ago, but I didn't slay it, I just let it go.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 5" x 5", May 6, 2003.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Grapey Border Under Vine

I'm working on the texts and borders for "Under Vine," and you can see it here. The introductory text ("Why I Created This") kind of thing goes here. The next job to be done is the logo, the last winery page and its variant which will be on the cover. I'm gettin' there people, I really am. This typeface is from the previous Book 1 and I don't think anyone will mind if I repeat.

Photoshop, 8 1/2" x 11", April 29, 2019.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Kitchen Cylinder and Cone

Here's more exciting still life from the kitchen. They are the timeless basic shapes that the world is made of. The cylinder to left is a nearly empty roll of toilet paper, which I use for blotting spills, not its usual use. The cone, with handle and saucer, is a coffee dripper. You put the cone down on your cup, and pour hot water into a filter full of powdered coffee in the cone, which then tinkles into your cup...well maybe I did have that toilet paper in there for its original purpose.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 3" x 2 1/2", April 27, 2019.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Bronze Urn of Summerland 1975

Mount Auburn Cemetery is one of the most beautiful places in the United States, situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In the springtime just about now the  place is filled with flowering trees, specimen plants, famous landscape design, and a world of white marble monuments and bronze edifices. When I lived in the Boston area as a student I would reserve a day to visit every year. Once I was in the enclosure, I wandered about pretending I was in the heavenly spiritual world of "Summerland." The cemetery houses the tomb of Mary Baker Eddy, founder of "Christian Science," once a major religious force in upper-class Boston. It is also designed with "Spiritualism" in mind, a movement that concentrated on communicating with the blessed spirits of the dead, complete with detailed descriptions of what Heaven looks like. I took my art stuff into Summerland and did drawings of the landscape and monuments, and then returned to my profane dwelling at Brandeis University. 

Colored pencil with a lot of Photoshop editing, 4 1/2" x 7 1/2", May 1975.

Friday, April 26, 2019

"Under Vine" Title Page Background

This is what the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia look like, to the idealizing imagination. I originally created this landscape image from memory in acrylic paint, and for the Wine Book I have incorporated the image of my original painting into a digitally painted title page background. Some more work is necessary and then I'll layer the words and logo onto the page. This is where I sign and number the books when they're ready. The empty blue sky area is where the logo will appear. There are no vines in this picture but this could be the view from any Virginia vineyard in that area.

Photoshop composite, 8 1/2" x 11", April 2019.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Life Drawing Male 1972

When a male guy models for a (co-ed) life drawing group, he has the option of wearing a "Speedo" or short briefs for modesty. The lady model doesn't have that choice, she has to be nude. That is, back in 1972. I don't think it mattered that we didn't see, uh, all of the guys, and there weren't many male models anyway. The lightly drawn figure under the model's knee is a sketch of my mother, drawing as part of the art group.

Pencil on sketchbook page, 5" x 8", 1972.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Goodbye for the Winter Vineyard

This is the last of my pages for "Virginia Under Vine," that is, in the sequence I have planned. In my humble opinion it's the best iPad art I've ever done so far, even though my iPad is obsolete. I want to get a new iPad so I can do more "paintings" but that will have to wait until this project is over and published. It's the same vineyard I've been following for five years. Unlike the November of the image, this April brings out the fresh new buds and sprouts for the quick-growing vines, a time called "bud break."

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Virginia Wine Blurb

This is the most text I'm going to write on a "Virginia Under Vine" page. There are probably some typos in it. And I'm no wine professional so my verbal offerings in the oenophile department are no more than modest. But nevertheless I did interview wine professionals and I've assembled as much reasonable material as I could get, with enough ambiguous language so as not to annoy the experts. ("Our wines aren't like that, you're making it up!") I'd rather drink it up than make it up.

Photoshop, 8 1/2" x 11", April 2019.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Teeming Critters in Color

Back on April 16 you saw the original black wire-frame drawing for this doodle, "Teeming Critters." Here it is in color. I had to sharpen up my colored pencils real fine because the drawing is very small. It's just another of my experiments in design to keep myself from being bored by coffee cups and piles of laundry. The purple and orange critter at the right edge is a nudibranch, also known as a "sea slug."

Black tech pen, colored pencils, and markers on sketchbook page, 8" x 2", April 21, 2019.

And a happy, healthy, colorful Easter to my friendly blog readers!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Water Towers Jersey 2003

Here's another infrastructure sketch, done somewhere on the New Jersey Turnpike on my way back to Virginia from the Garden State. I don't miss the Turnpike, which I used to call the "Highway to Hell," but I enjoyed the roadside extras: little parks full of migrating birds, stores selling candy and souvenirs, and chain restaurants like the "iconic" Cracker Barrel which I always visited on my journey. These elegant structures are water towers serving the local region. The trees have not yet leafed out in NJ but in Virginia they were already green.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 4 1/2", April 17, 2003.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Pastry Xpo interior

My area is well-stocked with coffee and pastry shops and I frequent them with my friends. This drawing is of the interior of "Pastry Xpo," which presents a dazzling array of sweets in their glass cabinets. On April 19 I consumed a chocolate caramel buttercream frosted cupcake. Then I made this drawing, trying successfully to avoid sticky crumbs on my sketchbook page. Everybody's gotta have success somewhere.

Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 6 1/2" x 4 1/2", April 19, 2019.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Cochituate Corner 2003

"Cochituate" is a good old Native American place name which means something like "Place of Running Water." It is close to the location of my parents' house where I grew up. The center of this small town is a crossroads where this drawing was created. The sign points west to the outer suburbs of Boston, that is Framingham and Worcester (pronounced "Wusta"). The building in front houses a car dealership and a bank. There is a Starbucks in this area and I drew this sketch while sitting there, during one of my countless visits back to Massachusetts in the decades since I moved away.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 4 1/2", April 13, 2003.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

K23: Homage to the Sky

This piece in my "K" modernist Photoshop series is inspired by the 20th century artist Joseph Albers, who spent most of his artistic life painting abstractions of overlapping squares and exploring the effects of color and shape with them. I'm not setting them the same way as Albers and I've added cloud effects to one section so I'm not trying to be an imitator. These are some of my favorite colors and have a serene mood, at least I think so.

Photoshop, 5" x 5", April 18, 2019.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Shadow and Light Art Model 1972

It's back to my art school days with a model shaded with ink wash. I did a number of studies with the same model. For this pose she is leaning against the wall. I really like brown ink and I am working with it now only in pen not brush. I am not confident enough to use water media outside my own studio with a sketchbook tilted on my lap. There are art apps for the iPad which can simulate this....stay tuned.

Pencil, pen, ink wash with brush, 9" x 8", 1972.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Teeming Critters

Rather than burning cathedrals or oppressed masses behind razor wire coils, I offer up this protozoic space-filler inspired by the countless creatures that live in the water. They, and us, may be the only living things in this universe. I hope that's not true but we haven't seen their cathedrals or ruins yet. I will color this bit of visual improvisation when I need something simple to do.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 8" x 2", April 15, 2019.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Spring Background

This is the "spring colors" background for one of my text pages. Never mind that there won't be grapes on the vines until August, it's the color I want. The text for this page is "What is so special about Virginia wine?" It's the texture, and the fruitiness. The piece is mostly imaginary as unless you are a wine professional you couldn't tell the difference between Virginia wine and, say, Oregon wine. I wouldn't be able to distinguish it but I did ask the question to more than one wine maker with reasonable answers.

Photoshop, April 2019.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Exotic Tree at Aspen Dale Winery

Spring colors are splendid everywhere in my area and also at Aspen Dale Winery. The leaves are just coming out in this photograph from April 26, 2014. In the left of center is a redbud in bloom, and directly in the center is a Japanese specimen maple with unusually colored leaf sprouts. The grapevines are leafing up as well and we are off to the growing season.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

From Policeman to Wine-maker

I chose an early-20th-century look for my text page on the origin of Winding Road Cellars. I didn't want to put too much text in because "Under Vine" is intended to be a picture book mostly. Putting text into a non-rectangular area is a difficult job and needs a lot of fiddling. But now the hardest ones are done. Next is my little essay on "What Makes Virginia Wine Special."

Photoshop Composite, 8 1/2" x 11", April 2019.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Honda Waiting Room Cafe

I took my Honda Civic, nicknamed the "Electron," for regular maintenance on April 11. Honda is good to their customers. They have a pleasant waiting room for both parents and kids, including a glassed-in playpen and a snack bar selling sandwiches, chips, beverages, and as you see here, ice cream treats in a refrigerated bin. I didn't partake of any of these but I did draw them, as sketching always beats boredom. There are two images on this page, one being the table and chairs and the other is the ice cream bin. A large flat screen TV beams lurid politics from CNN. A Honda service person took a toy from the playpen and put it on one of the cafe chairs for me to draw. It took them two hours to refresh the Electron but now it's in fine shape after a year of city driving. 

Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 8", April 11, 2019.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Stately Gloria 1972

This is one of those things you do in art school. Instead of lines and shading, you are assigned to draw the model with solid areas of light and dark or in-between color. I used ink and brush to do this study of a model named "Gloria." I nicknamed her "Stately Gloria" (you can see it lightly scribbled in the lower left) possibly because of her well-built figure. The original drawing was in pencil and the inks went over it. Nowadays you could do this drawing with color brush markers which didn't exist back then.

Pencil and inks on sketchbook page, 8" x 5", 1972.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Coffee House Character

Springtime is warm enough here that you can sit outside at the cafe tables, and this gent was out there gabbing away with another gent. He looked Greek or Eastern European to me and was nicely dressed. My drawing is somewhat twisted about because he kept moving and squirming. This was at Peet's Coffee which attracts an interesting crowd. It is a great place to people-watch. I suppose someone else was watching me as well.

Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page with a bit of Photoshop touch-up, 3" x 5", April 9, 2019.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

California Palms 1996

I have visited Southern California about four times, usually for a convention. This drawing is from my trip to Anaheim for the World Science Fiction in1996. In those days I was still very active in promoting and selling my art and I went to Worldcons regularly. These palms are in front of the Anaheim Convention Center where we had our show. I have friends in the area so I was able to stay a little longer to have fun after the convention. I visited Laguna Beach, UCLA, and some Zoroastrian and Persian folks. I haven't been to Southern California in a long time and no longer go to Worldcons, life is different now.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 7" x 5", August 29, 1996.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Another Drawing of Art Model 1972

Back to 1972 and here's another art school drawing of the live model. I'm not sure where this session took place but it was probably among the members of my mother's life drawing group. A life drawing session starts with the model taking a series of quick poses for a minute or so, then longer ones of 10-15 minutes. The last hour of drawing is all one pose and this one was probably one of these because I could get a lot of detail and shading. Art modeling is an art unto itself and even back in 1972 models were paid well.

Pencil on sketchbook page, 5" x 8", 1972.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Be Proud, Little Lamp

"Draw what you see," goes the "creative" wisdom. This lamp is on a cabinet top in my digital studio. I've had it, and two others just like it, for a long, long time and they continue to serve me well. They are a bit faded and dusty, but they work fine. I have no reason to replace them or throw them out. 

But then you see this little lamp in a famous IKEA commercial, which just breaks my heart. A young lady removes the lamp from her table and replaces it with a slick, glamorous, modern-looking IKEA light. And on a dark, rainy night, she goes outside with the now-discarded old lamp and tosses it onto a bag of trash. You see the Little Lamp in the rain, as it wilts with sadness, thrown out into uselessness, cold, wet, and alone. I just want to cry when I see this, which is the intention of the ad people. 

And next, someone shows up, a shadowy man in a raincoat. You think he is maybe going to save Little Lamp. But no...he stares at the viewer and says in a gruff Swedish accent something like this: "Vot you feel sorry for a lamp Dumskull?" Returning us to a reality where a lamp is only a lamp and ordinary objects have no souls.

This won't happen here! My lamps will illuminate as long as there are bulbs for them and they still work. I keep my enlightenment with me. I am not giving out the YouTube address for this. Here we are in my digital studio. Be proud, little lamp! Keep on shining!

Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 5", April 6, 2019.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Down with Saddam 2003

For some reason, I think my mother's illness and old age, I needed to go up to my old Massachusetts home. This was 16 years ago in April, and the Iraqi War was raging. Night after night we were shown scenes of bombings and battles and flaring lights and, by day, the Iraqi's looting and destroying their country. We Americans watched as a mob of Iraqi's (with our help) pulled down the bronze statue of the tyrant Saddam Hussein. They would welcome us with open arms and dances of joy, said our leaders. The Iraqi's kept on looting and vandalizing, and the officials said they were just "letting off some steam." Saddam himself was on the run and we would find him and bring him to justice. There was justice in the world in those days, and we were thrilled as the jets flew and the fires burned.

The TV with the statue removal is in the rear, the endlessly blatting flickering TV that was on all the time and which I couldn't turn away from. "Goodbye Saddam" it says. In front is a large round table which was in the center of the living room and was completely covered with dusty knick-knacks. No house cleaning had gone on for years and there was at least one mouse in the house, actually a lot more than one.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 7 1/2" x 4 1/2", April 9, 2003.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Owl Witch

This little character portrait is somewhat inspired by the Harry Potter mythos. If humans can transform into animals, why not into owls? The owls must do more than deliver magical mail. She would be an "Animagus," able to transform into any living creature, or even a combination of human and other. She has wings and wand together as a magic user. This is also inspired by the many real owls which inhabit my neighborhood, and who I hear hooting and calling almost every night.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 2 1/2", April 4, 2019.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Spring Geometrikon

Here's a bit of experimental Photoshoppage, thankfully fresh off the pixels rather than from a dusty previous year. The curved lines were done with templates. I didn't bother with layering, what you see is what I put there. The colors are all Photoshop with added texture. The colors are meant to evoke Spring as it is the season for an avalanche of pink flower petals. 

Marker drawing colored in Photoshop, 4 1/2" x 1 3/4", April 3, 2019.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Another Life Model View

Here's another art school sketch of the model you saw a few postings ago. She really does have a left leg but it is hidden behind her as she is posing against a wall. I wish I could do life drawing again, even though it is kind of scary when you are there and wondering if your drawing will suck. My mother spent the last 30 years of her artistic life making chalk and pencil drawings of life models of all shapes and sizes, mostly women but a few males too. I was not as interested in it as my mother was, I prefer to draw buildings. They don't move when you draw them. The controversy about whether you can learn figure drawing from photographs never ends. I have countless books of figure photographs and studies and still haven't done enough figure drawing.

Pencil on sketchbook page, 3" x 7 1/2", 1972.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Dental Cityscape 1998

I did this drawing under unusual circumstances. I was undergoing dental work at the time. The dentist did his job and then had to wait for some important ingredient to solidify. While this was happening I asked for my glasses and sketchbook, and looked out to our view in the upper floors of an office high-rise. I drew this view of the heavily built-up cityscape while the dentist and his assistants looked on, expressing amazement. Well it was no big deal, I don't draw with my mouth after all. I still work with the same dentist after more than twenty years and he would remember this.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 8" x 4", December 21, 1998. Click for a larger view.

Monday, April 1, 2019

The Feast of Fools 1998

I've designed dozens of commemorative T-shirts in my career and this was one of the most elaborate. It was for a New Age/Pagan convention called "Ecumenicon," which I attended most years as a "token Christian" and sometime esotericist. I did the shirt for many consecutive years before Ecumenicon faded out. The T-shirt, stored among my other convention garb, is still bright - it was printed on a tie-dye pattern Kelly Green. Ecumenicon was themed on various holidays and times of year, whether or not they matched the shirt or not. This time, it matched the shirt: Ecumenicon was held in March around St. Patrick's day. And we included April Fools' Day, too. 

I loaded the design with symbolism: The figure is from the Tarot's "Fool" card, the Tarot being another theme for Ecumenicon. He is about to walk blithely off the cliff. In the sky at the top are angels playing basketball ("March Madness," you know.) and a smiley sun. In the center, sheep turn away from following the Fool off the cliff in a moment of wisdom. Under the cliff are drunken leprechauns and a Ferengi with a pot of gold. The "Ecumenicon" typeface was part of CorelDraw's excellent store of decorative type.

Ink on illustration board, 8 1/2" x 11", spring 1998.