Monday, November 30, 2020

LA-Con 84 medieval costumer


Costumes have been a big part of conventions since the beginning of science fiction/fantasy fandom, back in the 1930s. And in Southern California so close to Hollywood, many fashion-oriented fans trek to the TV and movie sets and producers hoping to find work in a field that thrills them and the audiences as well. 

This medieval costumer's garb is fairly authentic in design, if you look at medieval sculptures or illuminated manuscripts. An elegant lady of noble or even royal status meets the streets of Los Angeles. 

Black tech pen, 4 1/2" x 7 1/2", August 31,1984.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Cargo Area, Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, 1984


I love infrastructure. You never see it working but it's always there, shipping your stuff to you and their stuff to them. They put it in the modules and there it is in California waiting for you, at least most of the time. If you look closely you can see some broken or empty boxes which could be someone else's disaster. Not mine, not today.

Black tech pen, 8" x5", August 30, 1984.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Logan Airport control tower 1984


And here's a futuristic view of planes and the control tower at Logan, built in "brutalist" concrete style in modernist 2007.

Black tech pen. These are all sketchbook pages. 8 1/2" x 5 1/2", August 30, 1984.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Logan Airport, California Worldcon 1984

Here I am at Logan Airport Boston, getting ready to board a flight to Southern California  for "LA-Con 2", the 1984 Worldcon. Despite the ominous year name, the convention was more playful than Orwellian. I did a lot of conventioneering in the 1980s and 1990s, showing original art I had painted, but  my successes were sporadic and I never got the big career as a fantasy and science fiction artist that I wanted. But I did make lifelong friends, some of whom would be at this convention.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 8" x 3 1/2", August 30, 1984.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

My View in Cambridge


I drew this streetscape from the front porch of my house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1984. The vintage sketches I will be showing you will be mostly from the mid and later '80s. Depicted here is the intersection of Hammond Street, where I lived, and Howland Street, perpendicular to Hammond. The car that you see parked there is actually a sports car, possibly a Dodge Charger. It was lemon yellow and belonged to the little old lady who lived across the street from me. She only used it to tool around the city doing errands or looking for yard sales on weekends. She never drove it fast and I often wondered how such a mild person came into such a prized possession. 

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 8", August 27, 1984. Click on image for larger view.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Eugene Walter Rome 1976


This somewhat demented Green Man was a literary celebrity named Eugene Walter. He was a devoted Southerner from Mobile, Alabama but at the time I met him he was living in Rome as an expatriate writer. According to what I've read about him, there wasn't anything cultural he couldn't do. He acted in Fellini films, wrote a gourmet Southern cookbook, wrote fiction and criticism, helped run famous literary bookstores, and was a songwriter and puppeteer. His life sounds wildly interesting. I was invited to his Roman home in the spring of 1976 and I must have tasted his cuisine there. I have no idea, 44 years later, who invited me. One thing I do remember is that he let his cats walk around on the dining table while we ate. 

He gave me one of those "signed celebrity memento photos" which is what this is. He signed it "For Cousin Hannah  Love from Cousin Eugene  Rome '76." This inscription is special and has a Southern meaning I don't quite get. Why does he call us "Cousins?" Is that good, bad, or both? I'll have to ask one of my Southern friends. 

Photograph, about 6 1/2" x 10", spring 1976). It was in my Roman sketchbook.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Most Holy Name of Mary


In my humble opinion this is one of the best architectural drawings I've ever done. Given the richness of the subject matter, all I had to do is sit and draw, and erase a bit. This is the dome of "Santissimo Nome di Maria," a Baroque masterpiece created in the 18th century. I'm not sure about the Most Holy Name but it is a Marian devotion and quintessentially Catholic. This church is not too far from the Vatican and is built over the ruins of the Forum of Trajan.

Pencil on sketchbook page, drawn on site, 6 1/2" x 10", 1975. Click on image for a bigger view.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Mid-Century Black Diamond Lobster


It isn't an advanced-skills ski track, it's another sketchbook date border which has been de-worded from the space in the center. Most of the design is mid-century modern, that spacey style that I witnessed as a young design fan. Some of this is inspired by my mother's art, which was itself inspired by the work of Kandinsky, if he had lived in New England and ate lobster, which my mom did not eat. But she did paint a picture of a pile of lobsters, which was painted and exhibited in the early nineteen forties and got much acclaim. We discovered this picture when we were cleaning out the old house. It has now been five years since my mother's passing. ""Lobsters" is in storage somewhere in the Boston area.

Here it is:

Encaustic on hardboard, c. 2 ft x 3 ft, 1939, Esther Geller

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Rome Dome San Rocco


Rome is full of churches, most of them built during the old days of the imperial Papacy, when churches and parishes competed in the 17th and 18th centuries for the most elaborate domes, art, stonework, and architecture. This edifice is the dome of the Church of St. Rocco. St. Rocco was a healer saint and his shrine was built next to a hospital and maternity ward, which is no longer standing. Many of these domes were painted in the interior with scenes of heaven and floating angels.

This drawing was done on site and later glued into my Roman sketchbook. Now 45 years later the glue has dried up and the drawing has an antique look to it.

Pencil on sketchbook leaf, 10" x 8", 1975.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Saint Saba Church in Rome


This church interior is the medieval structure of Saint Saba, located in a rather unpopulated part of Rome. The church's location in an old noble estate was settled by Eastern monks fleeing the Islamic conquest in the 7th century A.D. In those days there was much less distinction between "Eastern" and "Western" Christianity. You can still see columns and lanterns and archways in contemporary Orthodox churches though the Western ritual is 1000 years away from the Eastern nowadays.

Pencil on sketchbook page, 7 1/2" x 7", 1975.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Seen on Roman Streets


I started street drawing (also known as "urban sketching") as soon as I got to Rome. One of the first and most obvious places to start was the famous "Spanish Steps," a spectacular stone stairway at the Spanish Embassy. People from all the world came to see this, and they sat on stone benches around the fountain at the bottom of the stairway. In those days you could see "Hare Krishna" devotees in every major city, Rome included. There's one now, dressed in his cotton rumpled pajamas, passing out Hare Krishna literature. Just another figure in the sculptural environment of the Eternal City.

Pencil on sketchbook page, 7 1/2" x 9", 1975.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Roman Atlas Telamon


As I have said before, when I was living in Rome in 1975-76 I used to sketch on the sidewalks. Rome was so full of interesting architecture I could never get tired of it. Buildings were full of details that you might only see if you walked close to them. This is an ancient Roman sculpture known as a "Telamon." It is a mythical fantasy figure: a brawny guy holding up the building at its cornerstone. "Telamon" means "bearer." He's like Atlas but he's not holding the whole Earth, just a building. You can't see his face because thousands of years have worn it away. This was incorporated into a more recent structure. I got a chance to draw it despite the traffic on the busy street.

Pencil on sketchbook page, 6 1/2" x 9", 1975.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Pimmit Garden


"Pimmit Hills" is the name of the general area I live in. The "Pimmits" were a family of white settlers who owned this land including the stream, "Pimmit Run" where I live. The neighborhood is thickly settled with small houses, built originally in 1950 for GI's and their families returning from the war. Most of these have been rebuilt or built onto and these re-worked houses have lots of gardens around them such as this one. It must have taken a lot of work to create this. I had a garden when I lived in Cambridge, Mass. many years ago but once I moved to Pimmitland I couldn't have a real dirt garden and had to settle for potting soil in containers. This image was done on site with no resistance from the inhabitants. Nowadays it's harder to do that, because they think I am trying to rob their house.

Brown ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 6 1/2", June 3rd, 1998.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Old Swimming Pool 1998


This is what I see out my bedroom window on a lovely summer day. The season and the pool are only in action for two months (July - September) but they keep busy. They also are noisy, screaming and splashing until it gets too dark to stay in the pool. But they are having a good time and that's what counts.

This year, the accursed 2020, made this impossible. By June the pandemic had hit hard and most public or domestic swimming pools, gyms, and restaurants were closed. My apartment management had already started to renovate the pool, so they just never opened the pool and kept on renovating. This renovation was noisier than the kids had ever been, as the workmen chipped off the entire inner concrete surface with tiny jackhammers no larger than a vacuum cleaner. In my dim opinion this may have been a scheme to keep the workmen on site earning money rather than being unemployed.

Their chip work filled my apartment with coarse white dust, which I am now attempting to clean off from the surfaces inside here. They finished their job in September so even though the pool was ready it was too cold and too plague-risky to open. So they filled the renovated pool with water and installed a tightly fastened plastic tarp over the whole area of the pool, to keep leaves and debris out. Why didn't they do that in other years past? A profound philosophical question left unanswered.

You can wake up now.

Brown ink and colored pencils, 6" x 5", May 25, 1998.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Chaotic Pup


It is possible to be cute and horrific at the same time. This little fellow, whose configurations are constantly changing, proves the chaotic point. How many legs? How many eyeballs? I don't know, and neither do you, but he was adorable at first sight when you found him at the Alternate Reality  Shelter.

Ink on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 2", November 15, 2020.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Hemerocallis Lilies


You know it's summer when these flowers bloom. They are Daylilies, or hemerocallis as the biological name would have it. Hemerocallis means "beautiful by day," since each flower only blooms for one day. Every so often I do some botanical art and this is one of my better pieces, though it is small. This is from actual specimens as the flowers grew directly in front of my old home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Brown ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 5 1/2", June 20, 1998.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Unusual Mall Interior Design


Tysons Corner Mall, my favorite indoor commercial drawing spot, once had a secluded area with a water fountain element and this unusual serpentine-form bench. This area was welcome to customers on hot summer days, and kids often dipped their hands in the water. I sat here and drew the scene on a not-summer day but I had to record this place in my book. Some time later the whole area was re-done and the water and bench was removed. It was replaced by a sushi bar in which little plates of sushi were delivered to you on a conveyor belt.

Brown ink, colored pencils, and markers on sketchbook page, 6 1/2" x 3 1/2", March 2, 1998.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Retreat House Lobby


And here is the small lobby of the retreat house, where we could sit and talk and have snacks and coffee. Out the picture window you can see a monument with sacred words inscribed on it, and a red-leafed Japanese maple tree with new spring foliage. One for the nicest things about retreat houses is that they offer a relatively safe place to walk and observe nature and wildlife. The birdwatching here was excellent, a welcome relief from staring at the screen all day.

Colored pencils and brown ink on sketchbook page, 5" x 6", May 8, 1998.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Retreat House Labyrinth Room

I belong to a small religious group oriented toward mystical Christian prayer and philosophy. Every year we gather together at a retreat house in a natural setting, where we share our prayers and experiences. In 1998 our Retreat was at a beautiful venue in central Maryland. I was able to wander and birdwatch and have great discussions with my friends. As always I brought my sketchbook with me and drew views of our house interior and surrounding nature. This is the main function room for ceremonies and events. On the floor is a Labyrinth done in paint on canvas which can be easily rolled up and transported. Walking the path of the Labyrinth is a spiritual discipline that many of my fellow retreatants want to do. I am not a such a fan of the Labyrinth; all those twists and turns make me dizzy.

Colored pencils with some brown ink on sketchbook page, 5" x 6", May 8, 1998.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Golden Autumn Border


I did countless pictorial borders in years past for Trader Joe's and I still like to do them in my sketchbook journal. My vast hoard of markers contains an entire autumn forest of warm colors for pumpkins, leaves, chrysanthemums, or squash. The colors here won't fade since they are stored between the pages of the journal. The empty places on this page are "de-worded" areas for the date cited here.

Markers on sketchbook page, 7 1/2 x 6 1/2", November 11, 2020.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Tysons mall hall April 1998


I thought I didn't do a lot of mall art in color but it turns out I did and here's a nice one. I like it especially because it depicts the complexity of two floors and the metalwork over the skylight. My people sketches in mall art are, uh, sketchy but I managed to crowd quite a few in. Tysons is open during the time of plague and they don't require masks but you take your risks if you spend time in a crowded pre-holiday environment.

Brown ink on sketchbook page with colored pencils, 4" x 9", April 25, 1998. Click for larger view.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Garden Sunflowers 1998


If you give me flowers, what of course would I do? Either photograph them or draw a picture of them. These cheery yellow flowers are a variety of sunflower, perhaps more wild than the huge heads commercially used for seeds and oil. A friend gave me a handful from her garden and I brought them to my studio. I had just gotten back from Kansas and recall seeing these by the side of the road, planted to keep Kansas the "Sunflower State." I miss my friend in Kansas. I'll never see her again, at least in this world.

Brown ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, 4" x 6", October 23, 1998.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Tysons Corner Office Block 1998


This is a pair of office blocks in my urban neighborhood, "Tysons Corner." 50 years ago this was rural farmland with a gas station at a crossroads, which is the "corner." Now it is constantly under construction. These buildings are probably from the 70s or 80s. Once the Metro had a stop in this place new buildings linking to it are popping up like mushrooms, though at the moment things are going slower than usual due to the Recent Unpleasantness. A couple of posts back I noted that it's hard to find a parking space to do a drawing; this one's a good example. I thought posting it was worthwhile anyway. A lot of secret government stuff goes on in Tysons Corner but I have never been stopped for trespassing.

Brown ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 5 1/2". Sky and foreground re-created in Photoshop. March 4, 1998.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Recent Date Stamps and Logos

I use my sketchbook journal (at least this year's) to experiment and play with typefaces, logo design, and mini-stamps. This image has been painstakingly edited and de-worded out of the page it was on. Isn't Photoshop great? Is art fun? Is work fun? The thing is, I keep doing it no matter how un-fun it is. But wait! I plan to color some of these in. That should be fun. Even if I'm not really doing professional work (art for $) these days. Wasn't that fun? I think I finished what I was working on. 4 AM here, time to publish blog and do something else.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 9" x 3 1/2", November 2020. Click on image for a larger view. 

Friday, November 6, 2020

McLean Evening Nov 6 1998


Every so often in early evening in the fall, the sun dips low and shines through the clouds with a brilliant orange light. This illuminates the leaves with enhanced color rather like some of the photo apps that intensify the subject, but no artificial enhancement was used in this sketch. That's what's happening here, on the same day as today. The church steeple you see here is really white. The location depicted here is in McLean, Virginia, one of the most affluent in our whole country, and they build with good taste.

Colored pencils and brown ink on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 4 1/2", November 6, 1998.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

CVS Construction Site 1998


I love to draw construction sites. The complexity of the patterns of metal frameworks and horizontal floors satisfies me. At one point many years ago I considered becoming an architect but I heard that architects don't get jobs easily. This site is a CVS pharmacy and general store near me, which was under construction in winter when there was no snow or ice. I sat in my car doing the drawing, something I found that many artists do who want to work on-site in winter. There's construction all over my town but no place to park safely to do a drawing. This building is still going strong; I shop there often at "West Falls Plaza."

Colored pencils on sketchbook page, 4" x 5", January 31, 1998. Some of the left side has been cut off because I couldn't get the image to fit.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Bright Autumn 1998

Looking through my image files on this Blog I've found countless studies of autumn leaves but not this one from my Lavishly Illustrated 1998 Sketchbook. I remember doing this while I sat at a picnic table next to the library nearby. These trees are at a park where I spent many a restful hour. I don't do as many of these sketches of foliage as I used to, it all seems the same to me. But the leaves were especially bright that year, and also this one.

Colored pencils on sketchbook page, 8" x 4 1/2", October 29, 1998.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

"Miss Congeniality"


This creature has aspects of many different living things: crustacean, arthropod, insect, avian. I'm not sure of the size, but it's big enough to support sentience and even wear ornaments. Again I don't know whether these beings have different genders but "Miss Congeniality" here doesn't look glad to see you. I suspect she's sick of the election.

Brown ink and markers on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 5 1/2'', November 3, 2020.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Loblolly Pine 1998

I drew this handsome  Loblolly Pine at a campsite where I was stopping for a short rest on my way back from Florida in January of 1998. These trees grow widely in the southeastern USA and are used by the timber industry. They are also grown for wood in greenhouses. I haven't identified any Loblollies where I live, but I'll keep a watch out for them.

Colored pencils and brown ink on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 7 1/2", January 29, 1998.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Black and Orange Clutter Composition


Halloween is over thank the gods and I tossed the black and orange roomscape back into autumnal mode. I made a suitable display of the flaming headdress (upper left center) which makes a showing every Halloween. Rugs and appropriately fall-ish textiles are everywhere along with the sky blues of a quilt designed by me and created by a friend some 20 years ago.The black and white cats are not real; they are plush and cloth toys. If you have as much clutter as I do, you might as well throw it around and sit on it. And this is not 1998; it was yesterday. 

Photograph, Canon S-90 "point-and-shoot."