Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

The first sketch in the 2011 Moleskine planner. This little Black-Capped Chickadee hopes you have a wonderful 2011...and so do I!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sketches a Go-Go

An overview of some of the sketches I've done over the past few days—vacation time is nice for sketching. That owl will be the last drawing in my 2010 Moleskine planner...**sniff**. On the upside, I've got a 2011 planner filled with blank pages.

Also from the Moleskine.

In my "Off the Edge" book.

A 5-minute sketch in a composition notebook.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Crane for Mom

Mom requested some bird art as a Christmas gift this year. Several years ago, I had done some pen and ink birds (a series of 6 or 7), and I have a few large prints of them on my office wall. She wasn't specific about which bird, so I did my favorite of the series. As you can see from the photos, the original photo appeared in a magazine ad.

After completing the contour sketch I started to sweat my pen technique (or relative lack thereof), so a scribbled up a rough in my sketchbook. I used a bit of pencil for the shading and decided to run with that on the final art as well—I LOVE my blending tool.
Why a box? Because in my head there was going to be a wonderful watercolor there with a lighting effect that bathed the bird in soft color. Didn't exactly turn out like what I had pictured in my head.
The rose was always part of the plan, but it blocked what I'd planned to be a burnished sunset. It looked a little anemic as just a yellow rose. Considering the final outcome, I should have stopped here...sigh.
Yeah, that's It's very blue, isn't it? Really blue, and overpowering the rose. So then the rose needed more color, and then the blue was wimpy. Watercolor out of control.
Finally I put down the paintbrush and stepped away from the paper. Overall, I'm very pleased with the bird. In comparison to the original pen and ink from about 4 years ago, my technique has developed nicely.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Evening Sketch

Can you say wonky? Meh. Still nice to put pencil to paper.

I have now despoiled my newest sketchbook. My old 5.5x8" sketchbook has disintegrated at the binding, so I found a lovely new replacement.

Nice to draw on a page without rules for a change too.

Sleepy...good night.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

While Listening to Angels Sing

I had the great good fortune to attend the Chicago Master Singers' Chistmas program at the Devine Word Chapel at Techny last night. The Singers were joined by members of the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra and all were under the direction of Alan Heatherington.

While listening to angels sing, I sketched the back of the head of the wife of the pastor who baptized me...didja follow that? Mom and I had meet Rev and Joanne for dinner (delicious!) at Deerfield Italian Kitchen before the performance. I couldn't tell from my angle whether Joanne was feeling the effects of a tasty, sleep-inducing dinner or just reading the program. I'll admit to doing a bit of both during the performance myself—one of the wonderful things about attending a concert is the ability to absorb the beauty of the performance while flitting through multiple states of consciousness.

Luckily, Alan incorporated a one-verse sing-along at the very end of Oh Come, All Ye Faithful (the last programmed song of the evening) to shake us all awake.

In about an hour, I'm going to enjoy my leftover Chicken and Truffle Risotto (no you can't have any, go get your own), but thought I'd share the sketch first.

I enjoyed the evening so much! Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Mrs. Duncan

Mrs. know, Arne's mom. Her friends call her Sue, and she is an inspiration to her son. At least, that's what the article on the front page of last Sunday's Chicago Tribune said.

I needed a quick something to sketch at the end of the day, and the newspaper was still loitering in my living room. It missed the big purge of last Friday...ha!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving, thanks. I hope you did too!

Then I had an avalanche weekend. You've probably experienced one, two or a few of these too.

The day after Thanksgiving is the day the Christmas decorations go up in my house. Holding true to the tradition, I started pulling some slipcased National Geographic magazines off a shelf that stands in the corner where the Christmas tree goes. The shelf is just too heavy to move to another corner when it's all loaded up.

There was dust on the slipcases and the shelves. The first avalanche had commenced...into a session of dusting. Which avalanched into mopping the wood floors with oil soap since I was going to be emptying that corner anyway...what better chance would I have to get at that bit of the floor??? Well, one corner of cleaning is just not right. I mean I had the mop out after all.

A couple of hours later, the living room and dining room floors were dry, and the rugs were back in place, so I was back to moving the shelf and reshelving those magazines. Well, the 2010 National Geographics were all loose because I never received slipcases. I was balanced on the edge of a dilemma—poised for another avalanche, and then I took the plunge. I pulled the 2000 NGs out of their cases, and boxed up 2010. This part wasn't much of an avalanche...I'll give you that. But then I decided I couldn't just chuck the 2000s...oh no...that would be too easy. I mean, I'd only been distracted from my original intention for a couple of hours, and I had the whole weekend!

So I pulled a hoarded composition notebook off the shelf, and proceeded to cut random art from each issue for the left page of each spread and leaving the right-hand pages empty for sketching. Lo and behold, and entirely new sketchbook was created (I need another one of those like I need a hole in my head). In my defense, I interspersed Christmas tree decorating with snip and paste sessions (I was pacing myself).

Well, by the end of the day I'd only managed to get the Christmas tree decorated with lights. Pathetic.

I have it on good authority that this ability (or curse depending on how you view it) is genetic. My great grandmother was behind the wheel of the family car having a driving lesson from my great grandfather, and she drove off into a field when a butterfly caught her attention.

These random scribbles are from the new book.

To justify the existence of this notebook, I've decided that it's not going to be so precious, and unfinished stuff is perfectly fine. Yep, that's what I'm telling myself. Like that makes it OK. Sigh....

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Full and Pleasant Afternoon

This is a little doodle completed during lunch yesterday. I get a lot of address stickers from various parties, and they come with envelope closure labels—some of them really cute and thusly deemed, "Moleskine worthy." The whole sticker thing is a throwback to childhood...for better or worse, who can say? This was one such sticker and after months of languishing on a blank page, it received an accompanying doodle. I had a bit of time while I sipped my hot tea after a brisk walk along the lakefront to Ashling on the Lough Pub and Restaurant. I enjoyed their Wisconsin Reuben—very tasty. In between concentrated bites I got to enjoy a view of the now empty marina...kind of sad that all the boats are tucked away for winter.

After lunch it was back out into the brisk air for a walk back the way I'd come and a bit farther to the Anderson Arts Center for the opening of the Winter Juried Show. The place was packed and the artwork was wonderful. Kenosha is the home to talented artists working in just about every medium, and the selections in the show reflected the variety. It's well worth stopping by to see these works if you happen to be in Kenosha. I had time to stroll the entire show and listen to the awards presentations. It was standing room only, and packed, so i was on the staircase around the corner from the presenter. I left shortly thereafter because there was a concert I wanted to see at the United Methodist Church at 3 pm, and it was just a quarter to the hour.

The concert was an assortment of songs of praise and Thanksgiving sung by the Carthage College Lincoln Chamber Singers and the UW-Parkside Chamber Choir. The choirs sung some pieces individually and joined together for a few selections. This particular music is not usually music I'd kick back and listen to without wrapping it up in a church service, but this was part of the "Fine Arts at First" concert series, and was worthy of note. The music was very beautiful.

It was a full and pleasant afternoon—a pleasant substitute for another fall afternoon of raking. I'll get to the raking this evening...sigh.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Breakfast at Common Grounds

Yesterday I treated myself to a morning walk up to Common Grounds for a bagel and coffee. I sat in the slightly quieter reading room which was completely empty when I arrived. I read a little poetry while I ate, and people started coming into the room in ones and twos.

I was distracted from my reading as the ones or twos gelled into a group, specifically, a group of runners having a running club meeting. There were a couple of men engaged in introducing themselves to each other with their running CVs. They'd both been members of the club for some time but with staggered periods of active participation. Their conversation was slow, interrupted by sips of coffee and the relaxed atmosphere.

After I was finished eating, I started in on the sketch of the lamp, but just after I began there was an influx of other running club members, and their table grew, was pushed together with another table, and chairs started being shifted to accommodate the new arrivals. I offered up my spare chair, and was kindly thanked.

I purposely took my time with my sketch because I was enjoying the eavesdropping opportunity. There were three men just over my shoulder, in particular, whose conversation I enjoyed. I don't know if they noticed my smirks and low chuckles when they cracked a joke, but I was having a lovely time.

It couldn't last forever, though, and new members arrived. One young lady was offered a seat but declined in favor of standing a bit longer—almost the entire group had, you guessed it, run to the meeting. But my sketch was finished, and it was inevitable that she would eventually want to sit down.

This is the natural ebb and flow of humanity. We are in a constant dance of arrival and departure, accompanied by intended and unintended interactions.

For my part, it was a lovely way to spend a part of my morning.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You Veterans!

Thank you very much for your service to our country! It is deeply appreciated.

Towards the end of the day I popped onto a couple of my favorite news sites and read that Dino de Laurentiis had passed away. The producer of Dune (one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies), the Hannibal series of films and Flash Gordon (a bit before my time) was 91.

The BBC news story had an accompanying photo (couldn't find a credit anywhere, just the "AFP" in the corner). His face was so full of character, that I sat down with my moleskine and pencil and discovered that I am seriously rusty! Yikes.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Wings by Coudal

Wings: Making the Field Notes 2010 Fall Edition from Coudal Partners on Vimeo.

This is a great little film. It's also a 6 degrees of separation thing for me, since I work with the talented folks at Envision Graphics (in Bloomington, IL) through my work at CRM.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Sketched from a photo by Alan Williams ( appearing in the latest issue of Smithsonian Magazine.

'Bout 8-10 minutes worth of sketching...end of the day wind-down. It's been a while since I took a pencil to the Moleskine—felt good.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Door County Scribbles

I enjoyed a lovely trip to Door County last week. It was a last-minute trip, and I joined my father and step-mom in their already-in-progress vacation. The timing just worked out perfectly for work and family (a very unusual happenstance these days).

My first full day we drove to Sturgeon Bay to see the Maritime Museum. They had a special exhibit on Ghosts...there's a surprisingly large number of haunted lighthouses out there! The rest of the first day was spent popping into shops in several towns. I even managed to get a short ride in along Old Stage Road. I could still see the pavement markings for the Door County Century. The ride built up my appetite for the delicious dinner we had at The Mission Grille in Sister Bay. If you ever make it up that there! You'll be doing your taste buds a favor.

The second day was a work day in the orchard trimming trees and splitting logs. Now you might think that these projects would not be welcome in the midst of a vacation, but I find them very relaxing and satisfying. I attribute this to the fact that I sit on my butt in front of a computer all day, so it's a marvelous change of pace.

There was a goodly amount of sitting around chilling out, and I took one of those moments to scribble a doodle of the back of the sexy bear clock. This was a little tongue-in-cheek purchase added to the cottage. I consider it the sexy bear clock because he's wrapped around his honey pot...can't help it, my mind just goes there. He had his batteries changed while I was there...heh heh...his batteries changed. Ok, I need a nap.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sketchcrawl 29 Results

Saturday was Worldwide Sketchcrawl 29, and the Kenosha group (of 5) met up at Hawthorn Hollow for a bit o' sketching.

I decided to add a bit more work to my Red, White, Black and Crinkly All Over homemade sketchbook. The craft paper packaging makes a tough surface fro pencil sketching (as you can tell from these scans), but I really like the effect of pen and limited color. So, the building and tree stump drawings are works in progress.

Here are a few photos from the day (much easier on the eyes):

This one is, essentially, the photo reference for the drawing above, although the pencil sketch was done on location.

Same fungus as drawing, but a different view.

The other big events of the weekend included attending the Stained Glass Coffeehouse in Deerfield with Mom and a couple of her friends.

Sunday I met up with some good friends of my own to take a tour and have a tasting at Valentino Vineyards. Enjoyable tour, tasty wine and great friends...does it get any better?

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Bit of Global Perspective

Immappancy by Kai Krause

Found this on Quipsologies this morning. Click on the image to see the larger version.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Ghostly Visitors from Another Time

I received a phone call from my father at 7:30 am, and thought it was going to be some kind of bad news. In fact, it was very good news. He'd spied these tall ships out on Lake Michigan on his commute, and was kindly telling me to get my fanny out there if I wanted to see the spectacle.

According to posts of other photos from pals on Facebook, yesterday was their main stopover day in Kenosha on the way down to Chicago. For some lovely, sunny, close-ups of these beauties, check out The Best Western Harborside Inn's photo album on Facebook.

And here's a link to the Kenosha Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau Facebook photo album.

It would have been wonderful to see them under full sail, but as you can tell from the fog, there wasn't much more than an occasional whisper of wind.

The fog created just the right mood of haunting beauty from another age.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Made Me Chuckle

Have nothing of my own to share today, but this David Schwen illo made me chuckle:

"...if a woodchuck could wear chucks!"


Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In My Wayback Machine

We get to go way back to July 4th to see the sum total sketching I did that month. It's kinda sweet though—quality father and son time. They were actually watching the parade go by.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

As Promised

I finally had a chance to upload some pictures, including my model for the roots sketch. Said model was added to the compost bin shortly after the sketch was completed, so this is also a memorial photo...gack.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Too Early to Breakfast

Some mornings my bed won't let me go, and other mornings it kicks me out early. This morning my bed had an ejector spring in it, and I hit the ground running...rather breakfast at a favorite coffee joint. I got there slightly before they opened, so I loitered on a bench out front and drew a tree across the street.

This was a particularly delightful way to start the day, so I might have to make it a habit. I know you're sitting on pins and needles to find out whether or not I do...HA!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Created a Little Over the Weekend

It's been a while...again. Honestly, my interests are many and varied, and they sometimes take me far away from a computer. This is a good thing because during the summer my work chains me to my computer for many long hours, so time away from it is welcome.

I was gardening on Saturday and the resulting sore muscles kept me off my bicycle, so I ended up going for a couple of strolls and doing a bit of drawing.

While thumbing through the latest issue of Midwest Living (Sep./Oct. 2010) I came across a photo of a moose by Jason Lindsey. Seemed like a good model, so I scribbled out this Micron sketch in my Moleskine:

Then I felt like adding color, but not in the Moleskine. Started as a pencil sketch, painted a yellow wash, panted in rough background (which according to my scanner stayed very rough...picks up lots of details and adds shadows wherever the page bends...sigh), penned in the details and did a couple more layers of paint here there and where-have-you:

Sunday afternoon, after mowing the lawn, I took a glass of iced tea into the backyard and sketched some greenery from real life. Green things make good models too since they don't fidget much.

I was captivated by the bulbous joint of that weed's roots. Took a photo of the plant with the drawing, and I'll post it later. The pod on the right came off of some plants growing along the north side of my house. My uncle wants some of them (he's much better with plant names than I am or I'd tell you just what they are). I've got extras coming up all over, so I threw a few in pots on Saturday. I was giving them a drink and noticed these pods hanging off of the plant. The pod is about an inch in length, and when I opened it, there were about 20 black seeds inside with some white grains too.

Regarding other garden matters, did you know:

Well, have a great day, and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Don't Love It..

Don't even like it much...probably why it's still unfinished. But this is some of the only drawing I've done lately...meh. Workin' for a livin' ya know. Who came up with that brilliant idea?!?! Sheesh.

Anyhoo, now you get to dislike it too...don't say I don't share...

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Society for Creative Anachronism...

...was at play on Simmons Island today. I rode my bike over to take a look around and hopped on a tour. The Kingdom of Northshield—a realm stretching from Wisconsin to the northwest into Canada was meeting up with The Incipient Barony of Ayreton—a realm centered on the Chicagoland area to knock each other over their helmed noggins, trade, break oat cakes, and tell outrageous lies.

There was a large group battle:

Smaller demonstrations of swordplay:

Which inspired an evening pen sketch:

And from another angle:

Presentations about the way life was back of homes...common household implements:

Meanwhile, on the other side of the river, the Civil War reenactors were set up outside the Civil War Museum (so we enjoyed a little sporadic cannon fire throughout the day).

And it was Second Saturday, so there were many things to see/do/enjoy downtown this evening. Honestly, I didn't make it down there to see/do/enjoy it because I'm pooped!

Tomorrow is the BCLC Ramble ride, and I'll be up bright and early for it.

Enjoy your weekend and...

Thanks for stopping by!