Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Dear reader friends:

After almost 12 years in publication, I've decided to go on a winter interval of rest. I want to take this time to recover after creating the 60 + pages of content for "Virginia Under Vine" and  other various art projects. I don't have any specific date or time when I will return, but I hope I'll renew my creativity and blogification later on. I'll still be doing other art. There are still many sketches and photographs I can digitize and present to the world, and I also want to explore re-activating my graphic and sequential art. Even so, I may find that I want to return to blogging in a shorter time, I don't know, maybe I'll find blogging irresistible. I'll still be writing witty comments on Facebook, which is probably the best place to contact me.

Until then, as the seasons turn, thanks for your friendship and patience.


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Rockport Rocks 1997

Here is another image of those picturesque rocks in Rockport, Massachusetts. The boats are in another sketch. They are stranded in the low tide mud and will regain their position when the tide rises again. Note that the owners of the boats have flipped the outboard engines up out of the way of water and mud, so they can motor away when they can. In the distance a tiny sailboat cruises along the shore. Marine art is its own separate genre and though I've been tempted to depict boats and waves, I would have to have a lot more knowledge about the subject and actual boating experience. I remain an admirer of marine art but not a participant.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 8" x 5", June 30, 1997.

Monday, January 13, 2020

More Kitchen Bits

Though Still Life Time is officially over, there are still plenty of kitchen and domestic scenes to depict. Here is an arrangement of ceramic, glass, paper, wood, cloth, metal, and the plastic microwave oven. So many materials to create kitchen bits! This also shows the level of clutter in my home space. But...I use these things every day. Why not leave them where they are, once I have washed them. This place is not an ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST Celebrity Home. 

The conical ceramic cup was created by ceramics artist Carolyn Jelts, in my original home town, Natick, Massachusetts. It has an unusual bright purple glaze on its top half, and the lower half is "natural" white ceramic. I bought it from Carolyn at an arts fair in Natick. I needed to give her credit.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 5", January 13, 2020.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Gnarly Griffin

The Gnarly Griffin is covered with feathers and spines to give him protection and camouflage. his heavy wings are best in short bursts of escape speed or hunting. He is well-insulated against the winter cold and is an expert predator in cold weather and among winter creatures in the desert  and tundra. The wings have hooks at the apex of the wing panels which can serve as grabbing limbs. He is sometimes mistaken for an owl though he hunts and flies by day.

Black tech pen on sketchbook journal page, 3 1/2" x 3", January 11, 2020.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Rockport, Mass. 1997

Rockport, Massachusetts is a favorite vacation place among New Englanders, and during my youth I went there many times with family and friends. Not only is it a good place for shopping, fishing, and observing picturesque scenes, it is an artists' colony where you can enjoy looking at paintings on a street full of art galleries. The art is traditional, and depicts things like the one you see above: seaside cottages, landscapes, gardens and garden sheds, and antique woodwork. You'll also see more traditional subject matter such as flowers, still lifes of ceramics and fruit and fresh fish, and the sea in all conditions, from sunlit splashes to breakers crashing on rocks, and moody moonlit scenes of translucent waves. And of course, the perennial lighthouse, without which a coastal artist would never do.

I have never depicted a lighthouse but like other "iconic" subjects every New England artist eventually gets to paint or draw at least one. If I still lived in New England I would have already done it. I'll just imagine there's a lighthouse in the background of this little sketch and move on.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 8" x 5", June 30, 1997.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Somewhere in Philadelphia 1997

During the 1990s I had a lot of friends in the Philadelphia area due to my attending conventions there. This view is somewhere in Northeast Philadelphia, in the Cheltenham area. I didn't provide a lot of information in my journal, other than that I made a drawing that day. I wonder what that place looks like now. It wasn't so great even when I visited there. 

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 8", June 27, 1997.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Storm of Ashes - Australia Burns

The trouble with natural and some human-made disasters is that they are so damn beautiful. Flames erupt from volcanoes and wildfires against the dreadful day- dark sky. The media show me what will attract me, which will attract me further. Storm cells, tornadoes, hurricanes, all of them in their killing spirals ask to pose for me, and so I draw and paint. My memory scans the screen without paying the price that the disaster victims pay. They're standing in the dust weeping because they have just lost everything they own. Meanwhile I'm moving through my cluttered studio rooms full of the overload of thirty years of undisastered residence.

Photoshop, 7" x 10", January 9, 2020. Here is a cropped version of the preceding image:

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

More Mall Folk, June 1997

On a snowy day and a freezing night this January I review a drawing from summer 23 years ago. The mall is the best place to draw people and what architects might call the "built environment." Here is a family having a soft drink and a snack as they wander or sit. They never knew they were being fixed in time and space in a two-dimensional sketch world. Coffee houses are good people-drawing places but malls are more complex and the participants are in more configurations and positions. I don't think my current sketches are any better than these older ones.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 4" x 3 1/2", June 21, 1997.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Mall folk June 1997

It's the Summer Solstice in 1997, and people are sitting by the water pond and fountain in the Tysons Corner Mall. This water element contained a sweeping curved slab of grey marble as a bench. There were also palm trees, which could not be made to survive in the indoor environment. Later the faux-tropical water spot was removed and replaced with a sushi bar where the pieces of sushi, under little clear plastic domes, ride about on a conveyer belt.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 7 1/2", June 21,1997.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Winter Tree-o-metrics

Twilight on a rainy winter's evening, just as it was for the last two days, but now the weather has cleared. This drawing is done from memory though I had a photograph for inspiration. It has taken me more than 30 years (of art-making time) to realize that a close-up of these winter twigs can be interpreted as a pattern of intersecting geometric (or "tree-o-metric") lines, much as I do for the Geometrika images. That means that every winter deciduous tree has the potential for a near-infinite number of linear compositions. 

Marker and tech pen on sketchbook page, 4" x 2 1/2", January 6, 2020.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Washington Metro 1997

I used to ride the Washington Metro a lot. The Orange Line, pictured here at a stop, brought me right into DC (with one transfer) so I could go into the museums, Smithsonian, and other attractions of the central Capital City. Nowadays, 23 years later, it is harder to do this because of crowding, difficult street layouts, and the decrepitude of the Metro train system. A taxi ride from my suburb to DC is quite expensive and I reserve my taxi budget for important events. I haven't tried "Uber" or "Lyft," recent happenings with these companies make me nervous. Maybe I should try drawing the urban sites again, but all I get is cars and parking lots where interesting old buildings used to exist. Falls Church advertised itself as "The Little City" but wow, new buildings are going up everywhere and cranes tower overhead. It isn't "little" any more! I love drawing construction sites but these current ones, on a big heavy-traffic road, are way too dangerous to stay and sketch. This town is quickly becoming unrecognizable since the relatively peaceful 1990s.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 8", May-June 1997.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

2020 Journal Front Page

2020 may be a monstrous year for me, after the relative quiet of 2019. So I decided that the image theme for 2020 would be monsters and fantasy creatures. I've cleared the coffee cups away and put weird living entities in their place. You will be meeting living things of all variety, adapted to any number of environments, not just animaloids but plants and fungi as well. There will be chimeras and larvae and protozoa. Some of them may be sentient. Some of them may be dismembered. Some of them may actually be cute but most of them will be horrific or eerie. 2020 will crawl through beds of slime. Mushrooms will speak to you in a reasonless voice. Expect crustaceans. And bizarre chickens. As for media, I now have a much more opaque paper to work on so there will be color on the page. I refuse to be transparent.
Happy New year's, readers.

Markers and black ink on journal page, 6" x 5", January 4, 2020.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Law Offices 1997

Law offices are never fun places. They are quiet torture chambers where clients and lawyers work out the details of pain and misery and ultimately, death. Most of us who have anything to protect or give away must visit here at least a few times. I did this drawing in a law office 23 years ago and it's time for an update. (reasons withheld) By the elaborate detail in this sketch I must have been waiting a long time.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 8", June 11, 1997.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Geometrikon Dark Ambient New Year

"Dark Ambient" could be defined as "droney electronic music using minor or dissonant harmonies and industrial sounds." I think it is appropriate for our times and I hardly ever get tired of listening to it while other music lovers might run away complaining bitterly. I am not optimistic about 2020 and Dark Ambient is one of my consolations. On the first night of 2020 I was listening to a familiar dark piece (yes, you can get "familiar" with this music) and was inspired to put together a dark ambient geometric digital composition. Perhaps it is too smooth in color and texture but the mood is right.

Photoshop, 5" x 6". Thanks to my viewers and the composer, John. Best regards and luck in 2020.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Zoroastrian Sacred Fire and Priest 1997

As with many ancient religions, Zoroastrianism relies on ceremonial and prescribed actions rather than complex or contemplative inner states. Here is another image from the jashan ceremony I attended in 1997. The priest is clad in all white ritual garb and the fire, fueled by aromatic wood, burns brightly. The priest is wearing a face mask so that the ritually impure exhalations of his breath will not sully the purity of the fire. 

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 6" x 6", March 22, 1997.