Monday, July 28, 2008

A Brief Interlude

Last Friday Kenosha hosted a criterium very close to home sweet home. It was wonderful to beat feet out of work and come home to professional cycling!

My camera really isn't up to the task, but here are a few snaps anyway.

Above: Early into the race there were a few attempts off the front, but nothing really materialized until....

The group right up ^ got off the front and eventually lapped the peloton. That was a first for me.

Saturday night I went to Ravinia to hear the CSO play Mahler's "Symphony of a Thousand". It was wonderful! And just to prove that I don't prey on strangers alone for my sketching fodder, the sleeping man is a close friend. He was a good sport about it when he woke up and caught me staring at his ear. But then the magic was gone, and the light was going, so he remains unfinished.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Unsuspecting Fellow Commuter

The rain just started falling. It's a very soft shower, with a northerly breeze. Nothing like a frantic storm—we've had plenty of those lately.

I drew this gentleman this morning on the way to work. He was reading the paper, and intent on an article so he was relatively still. I would guess he could have sensed I was drawing him. The guy sitting between us certainly knew, and I caught him trying to sneak a peek now and then. I left the sketchpad pretty flat on my lap so he could peek while I looked at something outside the train.

I've only been called out a few times, and usually in a nice way. Once I was nabbed by the friend of the guy I was drawing. And I quote, "Hey, I think she's drawing you." And to me, "Do we get to see?" I showed them, they were not bowled over, and the magic was gone. As it turns out, he was a better model when he had no idea—not too surprising really.

I need to get out of the office at lunchtime again—I miss those lunch sketch sessions.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Backyard Sketches

Apparently, rainy days and Mondays aren't the only reason to sketch! Who knew? There was a perfectly good sun in the sky this afternoon, and I sat directly in its rays and exercised the pencil.

There was an art fair in Library Square in Kenosha today, so I was inspired after having a stroll around the place.

My little Japanese Maple holds onto its seeds for a very long time. All the other maples have thrown theirs down (and there are many maples trees growing in unexpected places as a result). Not this guy...oh no, he's going to wave them around in my face for a while. He might even try a play fake, but I'm ready for him. I won't be jumping for the rake until I see the seed hit the ground.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays...

The lady is not based on any model. It was a doodle I did last night. She looks terrible, but she's got some awesome retro threads.

Now for this plug I did use a model. She was very difficult to work with—kept demanding smoke breaks and different lighting. Sheesh...models.

Salt and pepper shakers. I don't actually own a set. I have one of those all-in-one pepper mill/salt shakers. I've had it since college, but a long relationship does not make for loyalty in this instance. I do remember a set of shakers that had the holes arranged in a "P" and an "S", and I loved the efficiency of this—no more test shakes.

Really like how these turned out, but I must confess—I cheated. I traced the actual article and just drew in the details. My first drawing was SOOOOOO bad. I really can't stand to think of it—the pain is still too fresh.

Now this is soap. Soap in my bathroom. Soap in my bathroom viewed from the commode. Special, no?

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Market Day

Saturday is the first of two very critical days in the calendar week—two days of decompression. The rest of the week contorts and, yes, compresses us into any shape it pleases. Those five days demand, and we must obey. Those five days suck away our individuality and spirit, and superimpose their own on us so we conform to the ideal and are "part of the team". But we take two days for ourselves (if we are a few of the truly fortunate ones), and define time by our own standards. We pursue our own goals in those 48 hours and gird ourselves for the next round of supplication.

I shared an office in the newborn days of my career with a man teetering on the brink of retirement. He would chain smoke cigarettes from the desk at the other end of the office, and every morning he would ask me, "What's it all about, Nan?"

"It's all about the money, Frank."

"You got it kid, and don't ever forget it."

And so would begin another day of torture for my lungs, but a day that would shape my future. Turns out, a lot of it is about the money. Let's be frank..pardon the...oh never mind. A lot of it really is about the money, but there's a layer over the top of that. A much thicker and richer layer filled with the chaos of friends, relatives, neighbors, and other assorted entertainment that is REALLY what drives us. It's the difference between working to live, and living to work.

The Harbor Market is one place where the chaos comes together to buy vegetables, and consider the possibility of soy soap and candles. These might not seem like the actions of the powerful magnates of the future, but really we all need our five servings of vegetables. So there they are contemplating the over-inflation of vegetable prices based on location, location, location. They find themselves doing the calculations of the time spent planting the seed, watering it, hand picking the pests off the organics, reaping the crop, and trucking it to the market, and wondering why it costs more than what you can buy at the local grocery. Well, genius, welcome to the world you've built with the other five days of your week—the world where money is the bottom line and none of it goes to the people doing production, but to the suits in the top floor offices. However, you can stand on this street every Saturday and consider a soy candle, so you shouldn't begrudge another man his living. Welcome to the world. Enjoy your visit.

In the meantime, consider the importance of your family, and their everyday needs. Now consider the possibility that you might some day need to grow the vegetables that go on the table. Could you do it? There you will find the true value of your life. If you come up a bit short, at least you can be comforted by the thought that they share the same concerns, and are taking your well-being into account. They are aren't they?

So Sandy (my new acquaintance from the market) looks at the drawing above, and tells me, "You're making it look so much better than it is."

In our conversation, she reveals that she's been a resident of Kenosha since the 60s, and when she looks at that condo in the background, all she can see is the slums of tomorrow. I told her that I'd move to the area for a better quality of life, and she asks, "Is this really a better quality of life?"

She answered her own question in the next 10 minutes or so as she assumed the role of teacher to student, and filled me in on all the great opportunities for entertainment and culture within the city limits.

As she left to finish her bike ride she told me, "I hope to see your art on display some time."

I chuckled at the thought, but said, "I hope so too." Thinking that it would be an opportunity to draw my family and friends close to me, enjoy their company and share a day of comfort and the enjoyment of a soy candle, a loaf of crusty, rye sourdough bread and fresh kohlrabi. These are the small pleasures of life that facilitate decompression—embrace them.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


The moment you've all been waiting for! Well, maybe one or two of you...maybe.

Argh! It's too long! Well, here are the sections. If you'd actually like to be able to read the text, click on the image for a larger version.

Alright... the big moment is ruined by the limitations of technology. I'd arranged the above segments into one rather long presentation because, you see, they meet up end to end. Of course, Blogger is not up to the task of displaying a 44 inch piece of art! Ha! Wimp!

Well, if you've a mind to see it in all it's glory, go here: and there's a button above the main image for "all sizes."

Have to own up to a bit of wimpishness of my own—it's messy because I ran our of the desire and energy to clean up all the little Moleskine lines. Should have done this in a plain paper notebook. Live and learn, I tell ya, live and learn.

Thanks for stopping by!