Saturday, October 31, 2020

More Early Spring Clouds 1998


I think there may be little or no difference between early spring scenes and late autumnal scenes. The leaves have either not sprouted yet or they have fallen off. This sketch was done outside in back of commercial buildings, which allowed me to sit on a bench near a convenience store and put my sketchbook on my lap. I had a lap back in 1998, but not a laptop.

Colored pencil and brown ink, 4 1/2" x 5", March 9, 1998. Retouched in Photoshop.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Late Winter Clouds 1998

It's out of time order, but it's still a nice little picture from 1998. It was drawn while I was sitting on a concrete stairway in front of a bank looking out at some commercial buildings. The clouds were lovely in the late afternoon, so I could draw after the bank had closed. I love making cloud studies but now it's too cold and wet to do them under the open sky.

Colored pencil and ink on sketchbook page, 4" x 5 1/2", February 18, 1998.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

The cluttered back room 1999


Look, another cluttered back room! Slovenly hippies! Where is this? No respectable person would stay here. You can just smell the pot, right!

Well, no. That's my room in the back of my parents' house. I never touched weed. The disheveled area in the center is my bed - a large air mattress covered with old fabric. I used the air mattress because the cot my folks placed here for me was so uncomfortable. Later on when we were dismantling the room in 2017 we found that the cot was completely infested with mouse nests. This room also contained larger artworks by my mother and debris from my father's electronic assemblies. You can see all sorts of stored stuff here: piles of towels, lots of duffel bags, stacks of books, small lamps, a space heater, art exhibit furniture from my mother's studio. I slept on the dust-covered floor.

I am so, so glad that I don't have to go here any more. It is 5 years since my mother passed away and there is no "here" left there.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", January 1, 1999.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Colin Bowness at home


Colin Bowness and his wife Una were British expatriates who had come to live in the affluent Boston suburb of Weston, near my folks' home. Colin was a physicist, engineer, and inventor who had worked at the famous tech firm Raytheon, where he designed and marketed lasers in their early days. He loved to play tennis which is how he met my father, at a local tennis club where they spent summers on the courts. Colin loved music (he built his own harpsichord from a kit) and art (he collected some of my mother's art as well as British modernists). His house in the forest had a big glassed-in living/dining room where we could see the woodsy wildlife without disturbing them. Colin and Una were great friends with my parents and I liked them too. It was our custom to visit the Bownesses at their beautiful home on New Year's Day, where we could watch deer and woodpeckers and other creatures.

I miss Colin and Una and their lovely lifestyle but I'm sure they are both gone now. You can see some of their elegant home interior on this page.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" , January 1, 1999.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Autumn Border 2020


Here, have an abstractified Photoshop-altered border depicting  yellow autumn leaves. I could expand it to a forest landscape if I wanted to use Photoshop texture "brushes." I see some of this out my window these days, until the blustery storms of November blow the leaves away, like ballots already counted. 

Markers and Photoshop, October 27, 2020.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Tot Lot Play Castle 1998


There are a lot of children of all ages in my apartment complex and they need a safe place to  play.  To this purpose there are at least two "tot lots" in the areas around the buildings. The playgrounds also feature play equipment such as the traditional swings and also two of these colorful "play castles." These colorful durable plastic constructions are designed for kids who are out of toddler stage but not yet big enough for other amusements such as two-wheeler bikes. The "castles" were installed sometime around 1998 and they are still there, though somewhat faded. When I was drawing this I considered that I rarely get to use the bright colors in my colored pencil set, unless I depict flowers or toys.

Colored pencils and ink on sketchbook page, 5" x 5", September 23, 1998.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Party Stuff End 1998


I usually go to friends for New Year and this is a glimpse of how we celebrated. An old carved wood table holds wine, liquor, soft drinks, kitchen stuff, cabinets, and anything else which would hold our party equipment. There's also a partially emptied box of chocolates. I say, I've never sketched so much in a year as 1998, and there are still some bloggable images from 1998 floating around in my studio. How did I do it? I must have never let go of my sketchbook! That is not far from the truth. I suppose I could do more of these cluttered indoor roomscapes and drawings of teapots, but I refuse to bore myself silly during this Historic Event. More Monsters!

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", December 31, 1998.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Squirrelly 1998


As 1998 ended, I was up in my old home Massachusetts with my folks and friends. My parents (and I, in my youth) lived in a woodsy area full of trees and wildlife. You could always see squirrels, many species of birds, and various woodland critters including bunnies, chipmunks, and skunks. The squirrels were always at our bird feeder, whose dome was designed to deter the bushy-tailed pests but never worked. I sketched the squirrels' antics from inside our sunroom. At upper left corner, a squirrel perched on a fence post. Lower half of page, athletic rodents grab the seeds from the feeder. A squirrel is hanging upside down by his little legs, getting the seeds away from the birds. Another squirrel clings to a feeder while raiding. Squirrels are rather easy to draw, because their tails are so big in proportion to their bodies.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 7 1/2", December 31, 1998.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Mall Walk 1998


I didn't do much color sketching in the mall. It was inconvenient to balance my sketchbook in my lap with a coffee cup by its side and my pencil case on the other side. This is a color sketch of the Tysons Corner Mall, which still exists just a couple of miles from me but is currently under restricted access due to plague.

I tried to depict the crowds back then although my people-drawing was mediocre. Also, the lady in blue and white at center page has noticed me - hard to tell, but she did, so I stopped drawing. The color scheme is pale, due to my light colored pencils, and grey ink, which I never quite liked. I hope they open the mall again. It's open now, but the plaguey germs are crowding in there too.

Grey ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 6 1/2", September 8, 1998.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Conglomeration Williams


Here we go, fresh (or maybe rotten) art by me so I can satisfy my personally chosen obligation to put new art up on the By-product frequently. This little view with the Tiny Monsters was inspired by the deranged pop art of Robert Williams, who calls his art "Feral Art." It's worth looking up, especially for my artistic friends who depict elegant dragons and mermaids. Williams receives my imaginary award for "Best In Show." I see his art and I wish I had painted it.

Ink and markers on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 5 1/2", October 22, 2020.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Cherry Hill and Milford Stops 1998


I went from DC Metro to Boston's suburbs countless times, though not as many as a professional trucker would do. Because the journey was long and difficult, I stopped for the night once or twice. There were many places available on the way but I preferred those motels which had a good chain restaurant. "Cracker Barrel" was my favorite. These two spots depicted here would do just fine, with one of the few remaining Howard Johnson's. This is what you see out a motel window in  Cherry Hill, New Jersey, or Milford, Connecticut, on a winter's journey north.

I don't have to do this journey any more, and I'm so glad.

Black tech pen, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", December 26-27, 1998.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Postal Mini-Portraits December 1998


1998 is finally drawing to a close (drawing, heh get it?) and what else would I do while waiting until the post service comes to me? I can't put much detail in these mini-portraits but I want them to be  true characters. Note the big now vintage clunky computer terminal at the counter. I bet some of the postal employees are still working there - though they must be near or at retirement by now. And nowadays the postal peril and politics send us away, driven by circumstances we could not have foreseen.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 8", December 21, 1998.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Portrait at Borders Books 1998


The coffee shop at Borders Books (as well as many other similar places) encouraged socializing and reading and buying books. Arty events also took place such as small concerts and readings by authors. There was also art and I was often there with my sketchbook. As usual I drew portraits of people there as long as they gave permission. Many times they asked for their portrait. This is one of them. The lady portraitee. who I will only name as "K," wanted a drawing. I did a more detailed rendering and promised her a copy. I don't give original sketch art away unless the person pays for it. "K" was a habitue' of the Borders coffee shop and by her own admission was struggling with mental illness of some kind. Maybe the coffee shop helped her. Now Borders is gone but I hope K found another friendly place to sit and be seen.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", November 16, 1998.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

More Colorful Glass 1998


You saw a similar image of my glass collection just a few postings ago, well here's another one. The sunlight was dyed by the glass color in a pretty way. Even the detergent sprayers on the lower level look good. The art frame holds a tiny pressed flower. You also see here an empty bottle of Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry. And the big blue cookie jar is still in the same place, since 1998. "Sunlight in the Kitchen" is one of my favorite sketches.

Colored pencils with a bit of ink and marker, 6" x 5 1/2", September 29, 1998.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

"Hockey Seen" 1972


This isn't my art but it's in my collection. It's a splendid example of mid-century modern commercial art, covering a reel-to-reel relic from the early days of electronic music. It was one of a stack of recordings that I was able to transport back to my Virginia home in 2017. The tape originally belonged to my father, the modern composer Harold Shapero. What's on the tape? It's a modernist electronic soundtrack to a multi-media presentation created by another composer, John Adams. The first performance, involving dance, words, and music was at Harvard in 1972. My father was a mentor and good friend to Adams. This tape came with a CD-based transcription which I haven't listened to yet. When I was saving my father's archival material I had this stack professionally transcribed but there is plenty more to listen to as long as my reel to reel tape recorder (also from 1972) keeps working. If you look closely you can see my father's scribble at upper center that says "Hockey Seen." That's the title and theme of the whole deal, an electronic soundtrack and dance performance inspired by a hockey game.

Cardboard reel to reel tape box, 7 1/2 x 7 1/2",  c. 1972.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Colorforms 21: Desert Garden Oasis


This started as a Colorforms and got more elaborate as I went on. The main yellow squares figure is supposed to be a cactus  in bloom. When I start a Photoshop Sketch I presume that I will be my usual lazy self and do a couple of shapes on a black square. But Photoshop isn't really made for artistic sketching. Every color and form needs to be found and designed, with all the pieces and sizes designed using tiny type on the screen. I thought I had found my solution with the Cintiq (remember that?) but no, Photoshop defeated me even then. I have been using the same Wacom tablet and stylus for over 10 years. It's like doing my art with chopsticks. I'd rather eat sushi than use a Wacom tablet so someday I'll finally buy the Apple tablet, fancy stylus and all.

Photoshop, 5" x 5", October 16, 2020.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Fairfax Back Yard 1998


This drawing is from another business/social party with builders and decorators. The drawing was done outdoors as was the "still life" of beverage containers. I'm not sure I got any art gigs from this gathering but at least I got to draw and make contacts. This was 22 years ago so my memory isn't too sharp, unless I refer to my journal. Let's see: Sunday afternoon, boring get-together after church (I went to church back then) and socializing. I'd like another Coke please.

Black tech pen in back yard, sketchbook drawing 5 1/2" x 8 1/2". Click for larger view. I could do dozens of these, but it's getting cold outside.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Business Party with Guitars 1998


Still in Year 1998, I brought my sketchbook to a party my employers invited me to. They were luxury home builders and interior decorators in the era of "McMansions." I did preliminary studies and finished renderings of their big houses. The married couple of mansion builders are in the center here: the gentleman with a bouquet of flowers, the lady with a garden pot and beautiful black smooth hair. Two other friends are playing guitar and singing. I am drawing, including their dog. The dog's name was "Chloe" and she was a mix of Husky and other breeds. This sketch is unusual because I signed it, at the request of someone at the party who wanted a copy. The time  of luxurious big house piles is over and the builder and designer couple retired to a modest home in North Carolina.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", October 22, 1998.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Space Horizon K - 24


This is my next design in my Photoshop sketch "K" series of geometrika. If you look at a circle in perspective, you see two parabolas facing each other. This is what is going on here, more or less. It's not a planet or a space station, just another abstractification done in one of my favorite colors, cobalt blue. There's also one circle in greenish grey, another color I like. If you look closely you'll see that I really wasn't striving for space realism. I mean, I could strive for it if I weren't too lazy to strive. This image is no bigger than a postcard, if it were printed.

Photoshop, 6" x 4". October 13, 2020.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Colorful Glass 1998


I have a colorful collection of glass. Most of them are blue but I try to get them in as many other colors as possible. It is a New England custom to put your colorful glass pieces on a sunny windowsill so that you see the light shining through. This is what I did with some of my best pieces and the rest are in other sunlit places. I still have all the pieces shown here though I switch the order around for more display variety. None of these are valuable except for their cheerful color.

Colored pencils and ink, 8" x 3 1/2", September 5, 1998.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Surreal Doodle


Does this look like I ran out of things to draw? Well, the Tiny Monster for this week is shown escaping to the right. The rest of this is a "de-worded" border. I love that bit I came up with, "de-worded." It stops me from excessive wordiness. Or is it "de-wormed?" Do I have excessive worminess? This is a Surreal Doodle and it signifies the dorky moments all us creative types experience. The inspiration for all these surreal doodles is the late David Ratner, who was one of my teachers at the Boston University art school.

Dorky ink on sketchbook page, 5" x 5", October 11, 2020.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Kansas Farmhouse

While Regina and Ron and their families were preparing for the wedding, I had time to spare so I did more drawing. This is a farmhouse from the late 19th or early 20th century. Most of Lawrence's historical and vernacular architecture has been replaced with "ranch" housing but this is a good example of how things were built back then.

Regina Townsend and Ron Krause were married on October 17, 1998, on a thundery, tempestuous night. They loved each other all their time, for almost 20 years, until Regina passed away from an immune system disorder in 2017.

Image is ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, some Photoshop, 5" x 5 1/2", October 15, 1998.

Friday, October 9, 2020

4000 posts!

The By-Product has reached a milestone. This is my 4000th posting on the Blog. I started in March 2008 with the format I still use today. That is 12 years of doing the same process every time I enter a post. And I don't mean a vineyard post, either. Every effort involves procuring the source (my art archives or an original new art by me), adjusting the size and color, placing it on the page, and writing some chirpy and occasionally profound caption text. 

Sure, I've put it on hold a few times, for health or family reasons, but most of the By-Product has continued through the years. Am I the Cal Ripken of blogging? He played straight through over 2600 games. In fact, I've played blogger ever since my ELECTRON BLUE, a wordy trail through my study of mathematics and physics. That one ended in 2008 and started up again with this one. I'm not so devoted to math now, but art goes on virtually forever.

Photoshoppe, 6" x 5", October 9, 2020.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Cubistic Red Border


Here's something a bit different from Kansas. I just piled those shapes together and used red instead of the usual black. An important blogiversary is coming up and I wanted to be bright. You may recognize this one as a remix of my October 2 posting "Red Angles." At least I'm not doing the Fancy Fine Arts thing and leaving all my pictures "Untitled." No matter what style I play with, I want to stay with the mixture of new original posts and vintage sketch posts. Are we there yet? Hope for tomorrow.

Markers and ink on sketchbook page, about 8 1/2" x 6", October 2020.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Old City Hall, Lawrence, Kansas


This Victorian-Gothic civic building was finished in 1880 and is still used for legal and social needs. While Regina was getting her marriage license confirmed, I sat outside and did this drawing. As I said before, builders and craftsmen from America's East took their inspiration and created their Eastern college town here. They wanted Lawrence to look like the old home with its own European  -style buildings. Even the colors of Kansas U, as Regina explained to me, were meant to recall college life back home. KU colors are dark red and blue, signifying Harvard Crimson and Yale Blue.

Ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 5", October 13, 1998.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Kansas Mini-Landscape and Cats


Kansas is rated one of the flattest places in the world. I got to see some of that later in my stay in the state. But surprisingly there is a bit of higher ground in Lawrence, in the environs of Kansas University. This tiny drawing shows a bit of slanted land as well as a swampy area behind Regina and Ron's house.

Another cat image. This is the portly puss, "Puddin" who you saw in the previous posting.

Ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, 12-13 October 1998.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Kansas People and Cats 1998


Naturally I had my art equipment with me but for this nothing more than the usual tech pen. We did a lot of sitting around and talking which gave me plenty of time to draw. I noticed in fact that people from the Midwest and West liked to talk, whereas New Englanders like me are instructed not to be excessively gabby. But I like to talk, both to humans and to cats. The guy at upper left is Byron, Regina's brother. He worked in the oil industry and I enjoyed talking with him about it and the flaming torches of refineries. The overweight cat is "Puddin" who Regina and her new husband were fostering. Another guest cat at lower right is "Gremlin," long-haired with a sweet disposition. In the center was "Analog," a tiny but fierce rescue cat who made life miserable for the other cats in the house. Missing from this group is "Digital," a charming, humorous long haired grey stripey cat who just ran away one day, because he couldn't stand living with Analog.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5 2/3" x 7 1/2", October 18, 1998.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Cleveland Airport Tower 1998


In October 1998 I was on the road again to attend my friend Regina's wedding in Lawrence, Kansas. The first stop was Cleveland Airport where I made this drawing. Regina is gone now so this series of drawings mean a lot to me. Here you see the control towers of the airport as well as a little sketch of traffic. Next stop was Kansas City and then drive a rental car to Lawrence.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 8", October 12, 1998.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Roman Blue Sky 1975

When I used to walk around Rome doing drawings, I would marvel at the bright colors so many buildings displayed. A common color among older buildings was a brilliant but slightly tawny orange. Almost any building from the 19th century earlier would be this flowery color, even a church. The sky was intensely clear and blue. I tried to reproduce this orange-and-blue combination here in a 1975 study of a corner of "Santa Maria Sopra Minerva." The title translates to "Saint Mary's built on top of a temple of Minerva." 

Pencil and colored pencils on sketchbook page, 5" x 10", Rome 1975.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Red Angles


Here's a bright Geometrikon for you, in plenty of color. When I was first learning digital art in 1991, blending one color to another was the spiffiest thing I had ever seen, and it still is. This is not a final version by any means. There is plenty more for this. The original design, though, will remain the same. There is no biocomposition or creature in this image. The red spherical gradation in the center would have taken me hours to create in paint.

Markers and Photoshop, 8" x 5", October 2, 2020.

October the First is Too Late

 What? No picture for October 1? I guess it's finally time to review my posting policy, or obsession as it were. The title of this entry comes from a famous science fiction novel written by the great British astronomer Fred Hoyle. I read it once but I have long since forgotten it and perhaps I should read it again. Anyway I didn't get my October 1 posting in on time and as I have blathered some times earlier, I am under pressure from within and from the world, trying to keep from losing my wits and sense of purpose during this prolonged plague scenario. I have other projects which are not as time-sensitive but still need to be done. I should keep posting but if necessary not every day.