Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Beautiful But Tricksy

This video was created using still photos from the World Wildlife Fund..with the assistance of some Photoshop and After Effects.

Via Armin Vit at Quipsologies

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Clover

My Clover gift to myself is complete and framed. The drawing is temporarily residing on my mantelpiece. After Christmas I'll contemplate a permanent home.

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Thursday, December 06, 2012

Clover WIP 4

There is an intermediate WIP step (3) viewable in my Flickr photo stream. I was going to knock off drawing, and took a photo. Then I decided to keep going for a while longer, and had to take another.

The flash really reflects off the heavier graphite coverage...makes it look like I used something shiny for the shadows.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012


CloverWIP11-29-12 by nlemmel
CloverWIP11-29-12, a photo by nlemmel on Flickr.
I'm drawing myself a Christmas present...my not-much-of-a-puppy, Clover. She was particularly photogenic yesterday, so I have a nice photo from which to work.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Evening Walk

It wasn't easy to get Clover to pose for me. There were a few photos of her tail up in the air as she jumped down from the bench. And a few other photos with a Hollywood-worthy motion blur in place of her head. In case you're wondering, her ears do that naturally. They have a full an extraordinary range of motion...sometimes braiding themselves in a long plait down her back. Yeah, ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit.

This is the photo I selected for the 365 Days of Lake Michigan group on Flickr (a group of 2 at the moment...have a way to go). The moonrise was spectacular this evening. It was huge and dark orange on the horizon with whips of clouds across it.

The resolution is set as high as it will go on my cell phone's camera. Even so, on a full zoom, I get a lovely pixelization effect. What do I expect, right? I just had to try to capture the moonlight across the water. Oooooooo...Ahhhhhhhhh

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Anamorphics by Brusspup

Monday, November 26, 2012

365 Days of Lake Michigan

I've started a new set on Flickr for a new series of photos I'll be posting: 365 Days of Lake Michigan

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Weeks of Staring

This particular drawing has been works in the making—fussing with it now and then.

Looks better with a bit o' contrast added.

Sorry, I didn't make note of the photographer. However, if you have the 2011 World Wildlife Fund calendar hanging around your house, I'm pretty sure you'll find the photo inside.

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Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

L&L Concrete

Last week I had a bit of concrete work done, and here are a couple of slideshows from before to after...

I still have that wonderful Christmas feeling toward my new stairs and sidewalk.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Sunday's Ride 'N' Sketch

Every now and then I enjoy exchanging my cycling jersey for a t-shirt and bag with my Moleskine, a snack, a camera, whatever. I head out on the road with no solid plan as to where I'm going. There is no pressure to get in X number of miles, or ride for X amount of time. There is no pre-planning of anything.

Sunday I set out on one of those trips, and found myself sitting at a sunny picnic table in front of the Southport Beach House. Not the best sketch, and not the worst. But the sun was beating down on my back taking the chill out of the 60-something degree day, and I was happy.

My ride continued, and there were no more sketches, but several photos. Fall is falling, and my phone took at least one fairly decent photo. Should have had my regular camera along for the ride.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Evening Scribble

A very fine mugshot, no? In fact, it was the cover photo for the A&E section of last Sunday's Chicago Tribune. Article here (tried to find you a link, but in the world of news, last Sunday might as well be 2006. Of all the clickable options on the page, none had to do with the past). All I have is the torn out photo from that page, so it isn't much help. If you happen to have the section tucked in a corner of your living room couch (perhaps wrapped around that PB&JS you were meaning to eat for lunch), and you view the two side by side, you'll notice I did a fine job of turning Paul into a strung out version of himself. Didn't quite go far enough to qualify for magna status, but his eyes do occupy a larger territory than they rightly should.

I've discovered the problem I have with the human face...the broad expanses of shining (seemingly empty) flesh. The forehead and the cheeks are daunting and easy to misjudge. They look so very expansive to me, that I make them so. It takes a face with "character" for me to create a somewhat successful drawing. The airbrushed feline men and women of the fashion pages are a nightmare in this context. There are no reference points! Animals are wonderful...all that detail in the "in-between" space...the space between the features have features of their own.

Show me an airbrushed model and the face flutters over the surface of my mind leaving no lasting visual impression...just the suggestion of a cool breeze. But show me a face with detail—a face that has walked under the sun, squinted and smiled—and I can see it.

Just Paul's beard was a festival for the pencil—wonderful salt and peppered areas with dense patches of solid brown. The indentations on a whale's fluke have nothing on the unique character of this man's beard. If you had nothing but a photo of the beard, and you showed it to his family, friends and associates, they would exclaim, "What are you doing with a photo of Paul's beard?!?"

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Mere Meerkat

It was a fairly productive weekend, but there was a good amount of sitting around on my duff too. This meerkat was sketched during some quality duff time.

More than you ever wanted to know about the meerkat brought to you via Wordnik.com.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Martian Calla

NASA's projects never fail to fascinate me. I'd hazard a guess I'm not the only one who was sad to see the era of the Shuttle come to a close. But now we have the Curiosity! Sweet! The pictures sent back by Curiosity are wonderful, and for some reason I keep going back to take another peek and the panoramic shot of Mount Sharp.

I was in the garden (again) taking a close up look at some of the blooms around the yard, and the seed pods from the fading bloom of the calla plant looked like they would be right at home in the foreground of that picture.

It wouldn't do too bad in the possible 70 degrees (F) at noon in summer, but the -225 degrees (F) might be a small issue. Pesky reality...keeps getting in the way.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Semi-Finished Ink Lizard

My work day is split up into short bits of intense concentration when we are at the height of production. It is simply the nature of the beast...not a good thing and not a bad thing...just the way it is. There is a bleed-over into my off hours that I find a little exasperating—particularly because of all the resulting semi-finished drawings, projects and chores.

This guy is one kinda cute example. I didn't even take the time to find a pencil (my preferred drawing tool) and went with the pen in hand. I could already feel my attention wandering...sneaky little thoughts of the mail box that hadn't been checked yet, the load of laundry that needed shifting to the drier...the list is endless and ever-morphing.

Can't tell from this, but his tongue is blue...really.

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Friday, September 07, 2012

Clover Bits

While we're on the topic of sitting in the garden for five minutes...sometimes the dog comes with me. Who am I kidding, Clover always comes with me. Sleeping, she's a very fine model, but awake...not so much.

I was particularly pleased with the elbow and the shoulder (see arrows), but overall the session was a bust.—except for the fact that we got a little fresh air and sunshine, that is.

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Thursday, September 06, 2012


This is what happens when you plunk an extremely stressed out, overworked woman in a garden for five minutes to "chill out." Dunno...success or failure? Who can tell?

Don't be sucked in by the date in the corner. My summer has been so busy at work that I've torn pages out of my Moleskine rather than face their blank surfaces. I'm randomly scribbling on the remainders and contemplating a weekly planner instead of a daily planner next year.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Music From Nan's Porch

In 2009 I had a summer concert series on my front porch. Heather Broadbent organized the music, and Andrea Knott joined her on the cello.

This particular piece is a favorite of my father's. He first discovered it featured in the Aubrey/Maturin novel series by Patrick O'Brian. In the movie "Master and Commander," inspired by the O'Brian series, there is a lovely scene of the Surprise sailing away, and I'm sure this is the image evoked every time Dad hears it. I know it springs instantly to mind for me, but now it's become hopelessly muddled with a lovely evening on my front porch spent with family and friends listening to wonderfully talented musicians. Trust me, I'm not complaining.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Saturday's Sketches on Thursday

It's been a busy week at work, so it's taken me a good portion of the week to get around to posting these. We're all on the cusp of enjoying a long weekend, and I'm still reveling in the last one a bit.

Saturday was one of those ideal days when you just float from one relaxing bit of the day to the next, and only the idea popping into your head tells you what comes next.

Obviously, I spent some time in the garden, and I was not alone  :-)

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Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Eye of a Very Brave Woman

"'I knew how much Qaddafi armed himself, what he could do to people,' says Asma Gargoum, who spied on government troop movements for the rebels in Misrata." In "Women: The Libyan Rebellion's Secret Weapon" by Joshua Hammer, April 20012 Smithsonian magazine. Photos by Michael Christopher Brown

Just one instance amongst many of brave men and women stepping forward/up/above and beyond. I'm awed by her strength.

Then there's the other end of the spectrum...went to lunch and while I was waiting for my food, I scribbled. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, the hair is the window dressing...ha! Just one instance amongst many of hungry men and women sitting down to a tasty lunch. I'm feeling a little full myself.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

His Name Is Tatanka

And this is his eye. He's from South Dakota, or so the ad tells me.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

When Interests Collide

And create something so very beautiful...

The Ride Journal site

Art and cycling all in one...I think I've died and gone to heaven!

My thanks to Coudal Partners for making the introductions!

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Now I'm Just Nutty

The squirrels leave all kinds of goodies in my yard, and this walnut shell was a find from the fall.

My neighbor had planted quite a few flowers last summer—something he hadn't done for a few years. There was a particularly lovely sunflower in a protected corner right up against his house and conveniently outside my kitchen window. I congratulated Bill on the lovely blooms, and he credited the neighborhood squirrel planting committee. They really are very talented landscape architects. Of course they're dirty, rotten thieves as well, but I suppose it all balances out.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

He's Grounded

Sometimes I fall into old patterns of trying to arrange my moleskine so several pages reflect a theme. As hard as I try to be more spontaneous and carefree, it falls back to organization. Since I'm sometimes a success at spontaneity and sometime a failure, my moleskine actually possesses a signature...the blend of spontaneity and structure.

This year I took to heart some feedback I received from my former college roommate that my sketches would be ever so much more pleasant if not on ruled paper. I taped plain paper into the weekends. This particular page is on the weekend before Groundhog Day (yep, I'm a bit behind).

I have the urge to watch Caddyshack...hmmmm.

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Winter Wonderland

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Woolf Leaf

A little sketchiness started in front of TV last night. Page needed a little something more...thankfully, The Quotations Page was a few clicks away.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lazy Eyes

Made me sleepy lookin' into those eyes, but I focused on keeping the pencil moving between naps and it all worked out ok.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

E.B. White

One of my frequent surfs in the morning is Letters of Note and yesterday there was a letter from E.B. White that was charming, well-considered and written, and full of hope...just the kind of thing worth taking a repeated peek at throughout the year. Spent a collective 15 minutes here and there during the day doing a little sketch of the photo that accompanied it.

My moleskine also serves as one of three cycling journals I keep...they all have slightly different records, and one of them is online, so it's not as OCD as it sounds. Today I was able to log another outside ride (2nd of the year), and tomorrow I plan to do the same...unusual weather we're having. But I'll get up and wind the clock no matter how unusual things get.

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Sunday, January 08, 2012

Bothersome Rosebud

It's a lovely little thing, but bothersome because it grew in November. Roses aren't supposed to bloom in Wisconsin in November. Just cut the roses back yesterday, so this little fella came inside, got chewed on a bit by the puppy, and then sat very patiently for me.

This was drawn in my Moleskine...I've put a few unruled pieces of paper in there.

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Year of the Dragon

Year of the Dragon by nlemmel
Year of the Dragon, a photo by nlemmel on Flickr.

So 2012 is the year of the dragon, and it looks like this one has Olympic aspirations. I'm guessing the longest/highest in the Fetching competition.

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Sunny Sunday

Sunny Sunday by nlemmel
Sunny Sunday, a photo by nlemmel on Flickr.

Clover and I took a break on our morning walk. We sat on a park bench listening to the birds. Ahhhh....

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

That's It...

...animals are easier than people. People never look like themselves in my sketches...uuurrrrrgh! What's up with that?!?!

This is supposed to be a sketch of Jeremy Renner, but you can't tell from looking...sigh. Got the overall shape of his face wrong (his lower face is too long and far forward), and I reworked the individual features several times (you can see the ghosts of old noses and chins). I'll have to revisit this one in my spare time.

Anyhoo, saw Mission Impossible over the holidays, and enjoyed it very much.

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Monday, January 02, 2012


Hope it's a good 'un for you and yours!

"If you believe everything you read, better not read."  —Japanese Proverb, plus a bit of doodling. As much as I love the slender, solid feel of a new Moleskine in my hands, I can't stand the empty pages.

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