Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Gives Way to 2008

Made any resolutions? I've resolved not to make any resolutions. This is a pretty standard practice in my world, and I'm happy to report I didn't let myself down in 2007. As I recall, I didn't disappoint in 2006 either, and I'm very hopeful for 2008.

Please don't think that I'm above reproach in every aspect of my life. No, indeed. There is plenty of room for improvement. Since I'm a work in progress (and will be 'til the bitter end), I choose not to set myself up for failure or to place undue pressure on myself. There are plenty of deadlines to be met over the course of the next year, and I will put my nose to the grindstone in order to meet everyone's expectations of where I should be, doing what they think I should be doing. I'll toe the line. I'll be a team player. I'll meet and attempt to exceed expectations. I'll pay the bills, and put in my time. I'll earn my existence. I'll weather the changes. I'll cope with the unexpected. I'll do what I can to help others do the same.

And then I will let myself have time, enjoyment, experience, relaxation, good company and fun. I will take a step back to regain perspective. I will reevaluate and reconsider the reasons I toe the line the rest of the time, and I will check to make sure I am where I want to be: doing what I want to be doing; spending my time where I want to spend it. That's about all I can promise.

When I reach 2009, I should then be able to look back at 2008 with satisfaction (or at least without disappointment). That's about all I can hope to do, and it is plenty to keep me occupied.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Datebook Highlights

It's been such a long time since I posted datebook that the prospect of having to scan them all was just too overwhelming. I chose just a couple of the better spreads instead.

The quote: "It's alright to have butterflies in your stomach. Just get them to fly in formation." —Dr. Rob Gilbert

The quote: "Life has to end, love doesn't." —Mitch Albom

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sketchcrawl 16 Results

Sunday, November 4th was the appointed date of Sketchcrawl 16. In my normal fashion, I hoped to bite off more than I could chew by sketchcrawling on Saturday as well as Sunday. In point of fact, I only managed to get out and sketch on Saturday. The moleskine spread shows a map of Kenosha, and I've numbered the stops. If you would actually like to be able to read the map, just click on it to enlarge it.

At the first stop, I broke out the watercolors and painted the beach. My apologies for the wrinkles—the sketchbook paper is a little thin for watercolor.

The second stop was a bit farther north. I plopped into a park bench and pulled out a pencil. I'd fully intended to sketch the whole skyline, but I didn't measure properly. I'll just have to do the rest another time.

Of the three, I'm most pleased with the sketch of the Civil War Museum.

It was a beautiful (if cool) few hours outside doing something so wonderfully relaxing. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Into October...Finally

Yep, I know we've been in the month for a bit. Some of us more intensely in the month than others. And for a particular set of someones who are experiencing it a bit too keenly: comfort, hope, peace and love.

The quote: "God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages." —Jacques Deval

The quote: "Sometimes creativity is a compulsion, not an ambition." —Ed Norton

The quote: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible." —Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

The quote: "Hard work never killed anybody, but why take the chance?" —Edgar Bergen (1930-1978)

Ah levity...what would we do without it? Weep all the time? Maintain the constant flat? Those are no ways to exist.

The quote: "Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood." —H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

Deary me.

An observation: We learn things in the course of time, and the things we've put on paper up to that point sometimes gain new meaning the light of the things we've learned. Sometimes too, we can go into the past (on paper) and imbue the things we find there with additional meaning in light of the new information. It adds a new dimension, but for the very life of me, I wish the new information had not come into existence.

Peace and love. A whole lot of love.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Pages!?! We Don't Need No Stinkin' Pages!

I beg to differ.

The quote: "We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us." —Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

This is a quote that, it could be argued, has outlived its time. Skepticism and cynicism are my usual first reactions these days. Of course, I still get suckered every now and again by a certain parent who shall remain Dad, so I haven't lost all the naiveté just yet.

The quote: "Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one." —Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990), in Forbes magazine

The quote: "The creation of art is not the fulfillment of a need but the creation of a need. The world never needed Beethoven's Fifth Symphony until he created it. Now we could not live without it." —Luis I. Kahn

The quote: "Last night somebody broke into my apartment and replaced everything with exact duplicates...." —Steven Wright

I hate it when that happens.

The quote: "I dwell in possibility..." —Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

The quote: "Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water." —W.C. Fields (1880-1946)

I wonder if the hairs on the back of his neck tickled as I sketched my fellow commuter...nah.

The quote: "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies." —Moshe Dayan (1915-1981)

The church steeple is loosely based on one you'd find in my new hometown. Easily visible from the train platform, I drew this in October. I've been a little behind in my doodles, so I did several all in one day.

The quote: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." —Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

I can't believe you didn't know that...duh! :-D

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

As If My Plate Isn't Full Enough Already

Notice the new icon toward the bottom of the sidebar? Yep, I'm going to write a book in a month. Not a good book, probably not even a bad book (that would even be too much to aspire to inside of a month), but it will be 50,000 words. Good thing I have a nice long train ride, eh what?

So...I'm looking for a topic/subject/idea/inspiration, and I need it by November 1.

Let's hear the ideas, people.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Figure Drawing 9-25-07

The results of last night's figure drawing session are below. There are elements of each that I'm please with, and elements I of each I don't like. Ah well, it's why we practice.

I arrived at the session late (because I wasn't able to hop an early train out of the city), so this pose was already under way when I sat down. Normally, figure drawing sessions start with a couple of short (1 or 2 minute poses) so you can loosen up an toss lines down on the page to warm up a bit. I walked in on a 10 minute pose. You can see I was dissatisfied with the way the hand turned out. I started to rework it in the corner, but the timer went off.

A decision has been made—I'm going to own up to the flubs. When I started this pose, I'd determined I would jump in at the deep end (hands are always a challenge). This is as far as I got before it felt wrong, and I realized the scale was going to take me right off the edges of the page. One of the other artists in the group makes a ritual out of telling me I should work bigger (on bigger paper). This hand would have worked better on larger paper, and I might have persisted.

This is the same pose, and you can see which hand I started with (and didn't finish in this one). I'm quite pleased with his left arm and his right leg here, but the right arm and left leg got a little wonky. The proportions of the torso aren't too bad, but the actual shape is not quite right.

Look! He's got Abe Lincoln's chin! Argh!

The last sketch of the evening, and I let loose with the charcoal. It was a short pose—just 10 minutes—so I got messy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Only Three Photos

While in Conover, WI last week, I took only three photos, and they were all of this eagle. And they were all the same poor quality...sigh.

We were driving down the road when we saw him/her, and I had a bit of a jog back to take the pictures. He/she had found the perfect spot by a lake.

About two miles down the road we saw the other contender for our national bird. The turkey hopped out of the way of the car in the nick of time. I really think the founding fathers made the right choice because there really isn't a lot of meat on a Bald Eagle. Of course, I suppose they might have been farm raised if they'd become our traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

However, I think it would have been a tough sell to make the turkey seem noble and aloof.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sketches from Vacation and an Open Figure Drawing Class

I'm going to start by posting the sketches from vacation in Conover, WI so they will appear at the top of the post. The sketches from open figure drawing are probably not suitable for work or for children, so don't scroll to the end of the post if either applies.

In point of fact, I attended the figure drawing class on September 11th, and the Conover sketches were done on the 19th.

The Conover sketches were done in pencil, and the figure drawing sketches were done in charcoal.

From open figure drawing which is held on Tuesdays from 6-8:30 at Artworks in Kenosha, WI.

Our model's clavical did not look that strange, nor were his hands so strange. These are all things I must work on, I know.

The benefit of posing the sketches electronically is that I can selectively edit out the miserable failures that did happen during the session. The hands behind the head sketch was a second attempt at one pose. The flippy-toe foot was a third doodle. His toe really did flip up like that, and I just had to have it on paper.

Best of the Evening, but NSFW/C
Ok, I wimped out. Feel free to click on the link above to see my best drawing of the evening. Let me say it again, IT IS NOT SUITABLE FOR WORK OR CHILDREN.

The 3rd drawing was certainly my best of the evening. I was tapped out after doing it, and the light was wishy washy for the last pose (this would be the reason for the amorphous blob reference), so I ended up sketching one of the other artists.

Datebook Dump

And it still won't get us up-to-date.

The quote: "If you take the letters of the word 'coat' and rearrange them, and replace the 'c' with a 'g,' you get the word 'ogat.' If you rearrange that you get the word 'goat.' Amazing!" —Kevin Cornell (

The quote: "While the fates permit, live happily; life speeds on with hurried step, and with winged days the wheel of the headlong year is turned." —Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

The quote: "The world is not yet exhausted: let me see something tomorrow which I never saw before." —Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

I didn't do any of the things listed on the 19th. The concert turned into dinner because the weather was bad.

The quote: "Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art." —From Artist Descending a Staircase by Tom Stoppard

The quote: "Hold on cause the world will turn if you're ready or not." —K.T. Tunstall

There was far more going on than these pages would indicate. Really, there was.

The quote: "An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered." —G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

I did make it to the Port Clinton Art Festival. I didn't do any drawing for the Sketchcrawl, but I gave myself credit for doing something "artsy."

The quote: "I might repeat to myself slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound—if I can remember any of the damn things." —Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

Sorry, no time for quotes!

Still no time...

Finally found time for a bike ride and a BBQ! But not enough time to farm a quote.

The quote: "You're only given a little spark of madness. you mustn't lose it." —Robin Williams

No problemo, I think I have more than one little spark. ;-D

The quotes: "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society." —Mark Twain (1835-1910)

"Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for—in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it." —Ellen Goodman

The quote: "Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort." —Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945)

I believe I was feeling some relief and optimism at this point.

The quotes: "Let not the sands of time get in your lunch." —National Lampoon

"The whole life of man is but a point of time; let us enjoy it." —Plutarch (46-120 AD)

The poem: "To see a world in a Grain of Sand,/ And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,/ Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,/ And eternity in an hour." —William Blake (1757-1827)

There will be more datebook posts...have no fear. Isn't this enough for one post?!?