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

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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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