Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bird on the Wire

The Bird on the Wire [right] and The Telephone Pole [below] are large pen and ink drawings using Rapidograph drafting pens. The Bird on the Wire was drawn from a photograph that I took and the Telephone Pole was drawn from life. The drawings were then made into full size limited edition numbered prints of 100 each in 1984. I rediscovered these prints recently during a move. Of those not sold before they were stored, a few were damaged. So, the total number of salable prints is less than a hundred. I've offered these for sale on Ebay. They were designed to be a set but they can be purchased separately. Each is signed and numbered by the artist. The unframed black and white prints are presented on 17.5" X 22.5" heavy textured paper and are faithful to the original drawings. The Bird on the Wire is $35.00 and the Telephone Pole is $20.00. The set can be purchased for $50.00. Shipping is extra.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Elf with Flute

Since Mr Zzyzx encourages us to post doodles, here is one of my favorites.

The beauty of doodles is that they are not drawn with the idea that anyone else will see them, so they have an unexpected freshness that even surprises the artist.

Such is the case here. This particular doodle was first drawn with a ball point pen, so all of the sketch lines show through the watercolor. Turning it into a watercolor illustration was an afterthought.

In the early-mid eighties when I drew the Elf, I had purchased my first set of Dr Martin's concentrated watercolors and looked for every opportunity to use them and found existing sketches to paint for practice. One convenient aspect of painting over ball point sketches is that ball point ink is greasy and repels water making it possible to see the lines through the paint. Of course, that is also the problem with using ball point: nothing is hidden. Painting with watercolor over pencil covers the lines better but the graphite softens the color of the watercolors because the graphite is somewhat soluble. That too can have positive effects depending on whether the composition favors a milder or bolder result. In my experience, the ball point does not interact with the watercolor and so maintains the intensity of the color.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Chimera Crusade - Prologue

Here is a draft of the first page of the novel that I am working on:


"Zingot, one of the sleepers is wondering about us . . . thinking beyond a dream. He is curious as a cat and I suppose that he may visit us tonight. Let us prepare to greet him, shall we?"

The voice that spoke was deep and threatening, which betrayed the hospitable verbiage. However, all of the proper grammar was lost on Zingot, who did as little thinking as possible. But Zingot did get the gist of the message and rolled away ringing his hand bell and dripping ice cream in the corridor as he went. As he did so, rats in crisp red tunics came out of tiny doors in the baseboard and cleaned the ice cream off of the floor and then just as swiftly disappeared again - leaving no trace.

The Head took no notice of the ice cream, the bell ringing, or the rats. He was pensive. With eyes closed, his massive and distorted head and tiny body shuffled slowly back to his chambers.

The Head was just that, an immense head with little legs and arms that extended beneath him. His body was completely hidden by his chin and jaw. The Head always wore a suit - either black or pinstripe gray - with black patent leather shoes. His shirts were always plain white but all you could see were the cuffs. Presumably, he wore a black tie but that was hidden deep beneath the fleshy recesses of his neck. His skin was normally a pallid gray-green. However, he had a chameleon-like ability to change his flesh color. The Head was bald, with the exception of an odd stub of hair now and then, as though a mostly bald man had been caught in a fire and had his few remaining hairs seared off. His eyebrows were a little fuller but still mangy.

At the top of his head was a prominent and disconcerting fissure, which ran across the center from front to back. The fissure appeared old and weathered, as did the whole head, with many lines, cracks and scars - like an ancient whale that had won numerous battles with whaling ships. The shape of the skull under the skin was easily recognizable and were it not for the fleshy eyelids, lips and bulbous nose, his head might easily be mistaken for a skull. Particularly since The Head had only holes where his ears should have been. Oddly, his hearing was quite acute.

* * *

Zingot rolled around a corner into another older corridor, the ice cream cone was gone but the evidence still could be seen on his hands and face. Zingot did not mind the stickiness or the pink, for it had been strawberry - his favorite - and it just made him appear sillier than normal, if that were possible.

Zingot's head was cone shaped with the pointed end up. He had two tufts of bright orange hair sticking up above each ear. His ears were large and pointy. His eyes were black and beady, and were always crossed, so that you could never be sure where he was looking or whether or not he was focused on anything at all. He never stopped grinning but he did not exactly look happy. He wore a one-piece purple suit with a puffy yellow collar that went around his neck like a donut. Down the front of his suit were three large yellow buttons. Where his feet should have been, there were smooth red rubber tires with bright yellow hubs. In his left hand, he frequently carried a brass hand bell, which he rang incessantly as he rolled madly through the corridors of The Head's Governor Mansion.

With sticky pink face and hands, Zingot reached the scriptorium in the deepest level beneath the mansion, crashing and ringing through its chamber doors.

Seething with anger from the dark shadows, the hooded scribe gnashed his teeth, "Quiet, you noisy fool!"

Zingot took no notice of the vicious tones but rather was distracted from his bell ringing by the flickering candles, incense and general air of mystery in those austere and dank rooms. Even the red-tuniced rats did not enter there.

"Why are you here, you idiot?" Kreen, a Skolex scribe, spit the words at Zingot as he spoke.

Barely remembering The Head's orders, Zingot began babbling in his squeaky voice about preparations, papers and solemn contracts. At least that was what Kreen unscrambled from Zingot's ramblings.

“Yes. This is what we have been waiting for.” Skolex hissed. “We will be ready.”

Zingot nodded his head vigorously. Though without the least understanding – he was simply caught up in the drama of something new.

More to come . . .

Monday, May 4, 2009

Teddy Roosevelt

Recently I was looking through some very old sketch books and most of what I saw made me cringe - why was I storing so much of this junk? But I found a few drawings that I had forgotten about and was pleased to see again. This is one of them. It is a small pencil drawing made more dramatic by an inked background. The actual sketch is surrounded by several pen & ink doodles, which I edited out after I scanned it.

I remember at the time I was reading an outstanding biography of Roosevelt by Edmund Morris.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Obelisk and Angel

I failed trigonometry in college. But while I was taking notes I made a doodle in the margins that later became this painting. (Just for the record: I missed the first class session where the students were told that they could not use a calculator. Besides, I had just spent $75 on an advanced calculator and I was determined to use it! I could not imagine a scenario where anyone would not take advantage of a calculator if they could. However, my professor did not see it that way. He was about 70 years old in 1977 and he could not imagine anyone using a calculator. His opinion won out on the registrar's report.)

While I was interested in algorithms to a point, I was more interested in the experiment of combining abstract concepts with surrealism. The "Obelisk and the Angel" was one of those experiments. The obelisk and the face of the angel were rendered in an abstract form, while the remainder was rendered in a surrealistic form. The doodle was originally drawn with a blue ball point pen, the look of which is retained in the image of the obelisk. The hand is threatening to keep the angel from ascending beyond the height of the obelisk. The profundity of which escapes me for the moment. Any Freudian suggestions?

The "Obelisk and Angel" was painted on canvas with oils.