Friday, July 31, 2009

Heard Museum, Phoenix AZ

A tree I sketched in the courtyard outside of the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. By this time I was getting a little burned out on Southwest-themed museums, adobe, pots, etc. This museum took me completely by surprise! It had an incredible Native-American collection, including all of Barry Goldwater's Kachina Dolls, and many of his photographs. The show that really caught me off-guard was "Mothers and Daughters, Stories in Clay". On the surface, not a title that beckons to me, personally, but I was truly blown away by both the concept and the work.

It involves several women artists all from the Santa Clara Pueblo, all in turn have artist daughters and everyone is drop-dead brilliant. The works of Roxanne Swentzell and her daughter Rose B Simpson, particularly affected me. A true highlight of the trip.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Long Drive, Short Temper

We're back from California. I believe I was able to post once from the road, and that was really more than I thought I'd do. To see the landscape change from Missouri to San Diego was unforgettable. What was forgetable was sharing a small space with 5 other "humans" for 2 weeks. Oh well, one day we'll all look back and laugh .... yes we will ....
Above, a navigator and below, a relief driver from the first day.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Earlier this year, I bought the latest book on JC Leyendecker .... this is a sketch I pulled off of one of his earlier advertisements. His lush color and command of the brush taught me to put my own brushes away and watch more tv.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Robe

We're leaving for California tomorrow, so I thought I'd leave off with an image from an earlier California vacation. Around 10-12 years ago, we took in the sights around Santa Monica/Venice Beach. Along the sidewalk parallel to the beach, we notice Rodney Dangerfield coming square in front of us wearing shorts, slippers and bathrobe opened to reveal his bare breasts. He was flanked by 2 scary, but patient women and he seemed completely out of his mind. Excited and disturbed, I sketched it from memory at the hotel that night. I always shake the dust off my sandals when leaving California.
Stay tuned, I'll be posting from the road!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Home of the Brave, 4

A month ago outside of Target, I think. Again a major disappointment, as I'm not truly getting the "Decline of Civilization" subjects I'm looking for/hiding from. The woman at the top wearing lime pants was so happy and full of life, that she actually put me in a better mood. Her positive attitude made me pity the hideously swollen calves of the woman to the right of her. I'm heading out to California later this week, (driving) , I hope to post fresh sketches from the road.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Timid Warrior

Drawing improves painting and painting improves drawing. It's a beautiful, spiritual thing. Not to suggest that any of my drawings ever improved any of my paintings or vice-versa, but I believe it to be a true statement, never the less. After years and years of observation, I have also discovered that using water-based media in a sketchbook, creates waffled pages.
I've also realized that I'm just not a goatee type of guy anymore. I used to have a friend who believed that any sculpting or shaping of facial hair was the utmost in shameless vanity. Either go clean-shaven or have a full beard. I tend to agree with that now, although I think his reasoning was influenced by his inability to grow any facial hair. Ironically, my facial hair is almost pure white now, so it's vanity which keeps me clean-shaven. Perhaps in a few years when I develop neck wattles, I'll opt for a "Gabby Hayes"-style beard. Ahh the circle of life!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


An unusual one for me. I'm more of a slog-with-the-point-of-the-pencil-till-you-get-it-right type of guy. Shoot straight and take the hits with the misses. Mind you, that's a drawing philosophy, not an endorsement for any kind of personal responsibility. That's really more my wife's type of thing. She also has lovely hands, and the above is how one of her's looked around the turn of the millennium.
I must have been inspired at the time by a documentary or magazine article on how real artists draw.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Air Travel

Sketching at the airport; probably Newark, 10 years or so ago. I was an animator then and the blue Color-erase pencil was never out of my hand. Without giving it much thought, I was all about outlines and lines that define shape. Any shading was an after thought. I must've been much cockier too, making a hideous wreck out of strangers in public. "Back off! I'm a cartoonist!"

Saturday, July 4, 2009


A smart-ass self portrait from around 2001. It was the most patriotic themed thing I could find for today. I was using a steel pen I'd found while cleaning out my grandmother's things. I used them for a long time, but I always felt I was chasing Barry Windsor-Smith's tail with them. I would note that I'm appearing with a spatula before the popularity of Spongebob Squarepants.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Last night. I finally got a chance to watch a documentary on Stanley Kubrick I'd saved on Tivo. It struck me how wonderful it must be to be a recognized talent, allowed to work at your own pace, on whatever project you choose, to your personal satisfaction. Actually that sounds like a lot of work, I'm probably more envious of Kubrick's ability to live in a sprawling English manor while he puttered around with his ideas.

Here is a good time to point out my complete inability to draw identical eyes. Or a light source. Or textures ....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Home of the Brave, 3

Saturday swim lessons for my son. 40 minutes of sketching pleasure for me; 40 minutes of humiliation for the poor wretches doomed to be captured by that miserable smart-aleck sketching by the towel rack.