Monday, December 22, 2008

Tombow Time

This page I was just messing around with my new set of Tombow markers. I "won" them on ebay. I have been wanting to use my regular Prismacolor markers but they bleed through the page so I don't use them. These Tombows don't bleed. It's going to take me awhile to figure out how to work with them. The colors on the caps don't always tell the truth. But once I get it figured out, they just might work for me. Alex likes them a lot.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Boston Brass

Alex and I went to see the Boston Brass play a couple of weeks ago. We took our sketchbooks and tried to draw the musicians. It was hard to see because the auditorium was dark but it was fun. The four guys on the left were all I could do that night. The next morning I googled the band and found a photo that inspired the drawing on the right. You can see Alex's drawings here. (oh, and if you do check out his drawings, he'd love to get a comment) Hey, come to think of it, so would I!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nativity Scene

"It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Bathroom Scale

A few years ago I was skiing out in Colorado and rode up the chairlift with the head of the Center for Obesity Research and Education. I asked him if there was a secret to losing weight or controlling obesity. He said, in general, it can be summed up in five simple words. "Eat less and exercise more." So that's what I'm going to do to drop a few pounds gained in the past few months. 

I'm going to miss the ice cream...

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Majorette

This is my mom before I was born. She was a majorette in the Greenville High School Flaming Flashes. The thing next to her is her hat with a feathered plume. I did a little research on the Flaming Flashes (such a great name, isn't it?) and discovered a bit of trivia. The Greenville Flaming Flashes claim to be the oldest drill team in the world, founded in 1929 by Gussie Nell Davis, who would later go on to found the Kilgore College Rangerettes. 

Anyway, I sketched this from a photo my sister had in the room I stayed in when I visited her last week. As I was drawing this I was wondering what my mom was thinking about. I imagined she was thinking about the weekend and going on a date with my Dad. They were dating about this time. I've been thinking about her lately. Today is her birthday. She would have been 70.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Eating Alone

I like eating out alone. Of course I prefer to eat with friends and family but I am really happy eating alone. I take along a magazine or a book and enjoy the luxury of not having to cook or clean up. Lately I've been drawing instead of reading and this has become my favorite thing to do. I have to remind myself to eat - I get so immersed in the drawing. This little sketch didn't take much time. I like the looseness of it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Brick Buildings

On November 10, 1892, Camden was devastated by an enormous disaster that became known simply as "the Great Fire." It began at 1 a.m. in George Cleveland's building on the east side of Main street and by the time the alarm was given it was raging and growing fast. The fire department responded valiantly but their equipment wasn't up to the task and at some point the water pressure from their hydrants gave out. A stiff wind off the water drove the flames across the street and by the time the fire was knocked down at dawn it had destroyed a great portion of the downtown. If a snow squall hadn't dampened roofs in the west part of the village shortly after the fire began, the catastrophe may have been far worse. The exact cause of the fire was never definitively determined, but it was most likely a heater.

Fortunately most of the property owners downtown were insured, and they set about rebuilding as soon as possible. As a precaution the town prohibited permanent wood structures in the downtown area, which is why so many buildings there today are brick.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


A page from the journal where I was just messing around - usually 5 or 10 minutes here and there.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Princess the Super Dog

Alex and I started a new sketchbook called the Skitbook, aka, "The Little Book of mini many Cartoons!'.

Storyline: Buddha is at peace, malevolent balls from the dark corners of the universe come from above frightening the Buddha from his inner calm forcing him to cry for "HELP". Princess the Super Dog appears from nowhere and confidently announces, "No need to Fear, Super Dog is Here" whereupon she performs advanced Kung Fu moves to banish the attacking balls back to the dark corners of the universe. Super Dog (once again) saves the day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Morning After

I came down to the harbor the morning after the election and all was quiet. The windjammers are gone for the most part, the docks have been pulled and these schooners are ready for winter with their white blankets snugged tight. I sat on a bench and drew and listened to the music shuffling through my ipod and felt good about our country.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hanging Out

A couple of weeks ago Alex and I pretty much just hung out together at the lake. We sketched and hiked and cooked and ate and watched a movie or 2. I even helped him create his own sketching blog. There was this part of me that kept telling me that there are so many other things I should be doing but I kept pushing that voice away. I am aware that soon Alex will have his own circle of friends that he will want to be with and his own "to do" list that he'll want to attend to. That he wants to hang out with Papa right now and do these things is pretty cool and worth paying attention to.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mr. President

An amazing night - sketched as Obama won the election. There is new hope...

Yearbook Sketches

The idea for this came from another blogger, John Martz, who actually did his mother's entire class of 1968. There were about 500 in my class so no way was I going to do that. I tried it with a few of the characters from my own yearbook (yes, there is a self portrait in there as well). I thought it would be fun to show the photos right next to them so you could see if I came close.

Check out these other links too - John Ralston painted an entire senior class here. And Nina Johannsen did these fine drawings here.

Drawing Ugly

I wrote in my journal here that I thought this was kind of sad. I stopped by a cafe in Rockland before a meeting this morning to have a coffee and a bagel and had some extra time so I sketched the scene out the window. It's about as ugly as a building can get so I wondered how could I ever really make it look nice or interesting. It's not my favorite sketch and it was kind of quick but it reminded me that it doesn't take a nice building or scene to make a good drawing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Camden Library

This is a really great Library. From outside, it looks like a nice quaint small public library but go inside and it has these incredible views over Camden Harbor. Go downstairs and there is an entire underground library with meeting rooms, the Camden History Center, a children’s library and more views out to the harbor. This drawing was coming along just fine until I got to the cars. They turned out OK for this sketch but it's funny how some new element comes along and I end up tripping all over the place trying to get it right.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In Rockland

At the DMV - a couple of quick sketches of people waiting and then later at Second Read Books looking out the window toward the Strand theater. I was dreaming about taking Wednesdays off from work so that I could sketch more, or bike, or whatever.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fish Decoys

It took drawing these things for me to finally find out what they were. This is part of a collection of fish decoys my mother owned and passed on to me. These decoys are used in ice fishing. A large hole is cut in the ice and these decoys are lowered into the water and moved about in a fish-like manner (or turtle-like, or dragonfly-like manner depending on the decoy being used) to attract fish near the surface where they are then speared with a really big 10 prong spear. Pretty wild, eh?

Sketching is an education.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lance and Kerry

I'm a big fan of cycling. I like to do it more than I like the professional side of the sport but I do love to watch the Tour de France every July. When Lance Armstrong recently announced he was going to ride professionally again, I have to admit I was, and still am, pretty excited about it. He is an amazing athlete and interesting character. And he has done more for raising funds and awareness of cancer than any other individual I am aware of.

Kerry Hardy is the guy on the opposite page. He's a friend and cyclist. He cycles not only for sport but it is his main mode of transportation. I don't think he owns a car. I met Kerry on one of my first group rides. He stood out as he was the only one there NOT wearing Lycra shorts and a colorful cyling jersey. I think he was wearing wool knickers, tennis shoes, and a t-shirt and riding an old beat-up 1985 Raleigh Grand Prix. Oh yeah, and he's almost 60 and he was having no trouble taking his turn on the front, while I was just struggling to hang on to the group. I was 38 at the time and training for triathlons. I have come to learn that Kerry is a wealth of information on plants and trees and local history. And he is always on the lookout for mushrooms. I like him.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cookie and a Buddha

Been away from blogging for awhile - I suppose it's good to take a break now and then. I've been drawing but not really wanting to put it out there - lots of portrait stuff.

The Buddha is something I've been wanting to draw for awhile. This is a wooden statue I've had for many years. I remember coming across it in a store in Austin, Texas and connecting with the peacefulness of the face and the solidity of his posture. He's seated in the lotus position with his right hand touching the ground and his left hand resting in his lap, palm up. A present and focused look in his eyes and an "I will not be moved" posture. He is a comforting fixture in an ever changing world.

The drawing on the left started as a drawing of the cookie on the plate but as you can see I lost interest in that and focused on the tile table the plate was sitting on. It's hard to tell what the image is because it is partial and sideways but it's a side view of a chef running out with a tray of coffee and food - the logo at Boynton McKay.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Last Days of Summer

The first pages of a new journal - exciting! Now, if I can just find the time to draw again.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quick Sketches

Just practicing drawing people. I rediscovered a great sketching book in my library called On-The-Spot Drawing by Nick Meglin featuring several illustrators sketching styles - sort of the 1969 version of Danny Gregory's soon to be released book, An Illustrated Life.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Last Pages

This is the last page in my journal that I started back in April. It is the first sketchbook in my life that is filled with drawings and writings. I usually lose interest in the book or the format and move on to something else. As I've looked back through this book and through all of my postings on the blog, I see a huge improvement. And what is even more exciting is that there is so much more I can improve on. My vision for what I can do continues to expand. It feels like the beginning of a journey and I can't wait to start the next journal to see what fantastic adventures await.

Monday, September 1, 2008

New Journal

This is the first page of a new journal I'm starting that will just be for faces. I drew this from a photograph by Adam Bacher, a photographer in Rwanda. This boy reminds me of Alex. A mixture of happiness with strong defenses. This drawing is filled with accidents and experimentations starting with using a pen that I learned was not waterproof. I couldn't achieve the depth of field look in watercolor so I cheated with my photo editing program to get the right hand/arm a little blurrier than drawn.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back in Maine

These were done on the long plane ride home. Some sketches while waiting in the airport and others done from the magazines on the plane.

I arrived on Tuesday, brother and sister on Wednesday, and Alex came home on Saturday. School starts on Wednesday. I'm looking for time to sketch. I'm sure I'll find it soon enough...

Guess the vacation is officially over!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Mapping the Rides

I love maps. I like looking down on them and imagining what it's like to be there or go from this place to that place. One of the first things I did when I arrived in Girona was to find a good map that showed all the roads and the elevations of places. The scale is important too. Every night before the next days ride we would study the map and chart our course. And most evenings after a good days ride I would map out the actual ride in my sketchbook. I'm glad I did. I look at these maps now and I remember so much about the rides - the weather, the people, mountains and valleys. I can easily go there in my mind. I love maps.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Last days in Girona

The trip to Spain gave me the opportunity to take a closer look at the work of 3 famous artists - Pablo Picasso, Antoni Gaudi, and Salvador Dali. I got to see not only their work, but the places they lived in and the environment that nurtured their creativity. I have no idea why the work of these 3 artists strikes such a chord with so many people but I think a part of it is that all of these artist were passionate about their work and followed their creative muse. They all seemed to be willing to experiment with new mediums, techniques and expressions. They didn't find an endpoint and stand on it. They kept searching, exploring, and creating.

That is inspiring to me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Houses of Onyar

Back in the middle ages these houses presented a much different facade to the river. Then, this was a solid and impenetrable containing wall to defend against invaders. Over time, with the disappearance of external enemies, windows, balconies, porches and other openings began to appear. Somehow it has managed to achieve a colorful harmony and is a big part of the charm of Girona .

This was a fun sketch to do. I made two buildings a story taller than they actually were by mistake but I like how it all turned out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


These are a couple of fairly quick sketches done while we were in Tossa del Mar on the coast. I was pretty tired when I did these so they are pretty loose and not at all quite right. Today is a rest day - no riding but I did do some sketches - also went to the farmers market.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

In Girona

On Thursday we went on our first ride.There is a good 5 mile climb in the middle of the ride up to Sant Marti Sacalm. This is a ride that some of the the pros do when they are training. Among the American pros, I think Tom Danielson currently holds the record and Tyler Hamilton held it before him. It is not really steep - just consistently uphill with no relief. I felt great and the weather was perfect - cool and overcast. Near the top though, my quads were screaming "stop! stop!" . The ride home was a struggle.

On Friday we rode toward the coast. A cyclist at a bike shop in town recommended this ride. It was beautiful and the coast was spectacular. Unfortunately, I was suffering because of my effort the day before, the heat, and not being used to the length of the rides. Nancy and her mom, Adela, picked us up near Tossa, our meeting point. We had a nice afternoon on the beach and I walked up to Vila Vella and did some sketching. The video above was taken along the road to Calonge.

I did a little more work on this sketch...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Last Days in Barcelona

Could be works in progress but probably I won't go further - too much to draw here! The bottom drawing is La Pedrera, another building by Gaudi. I drew this a couple of nights ago. It was a fun drawing because it had such a large field of view -and it was Gaudi! I'm in Girona now to do some cycling but hopefully I'll get some sketching in as well.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Arc del Triunf

On the way to the Picasso Museum I stopped and drew the Arc del Triunf. I love drawing because it forces me to really look at something and understand proportion and scale and color. I take away so much more with me as a result of drawing it. And although I seek a wonderful drawing or image as a result of my effort, it is not always the result.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Gaudi Portrait

Done on a tablet with Artrage. The idea to do this drawing comes from the colorful mosaic tiles Gaudi used and the organic serpentine shapes from Parc Guell. Artrage is a really neat software and it has a "glitter" tool, which I hardly ever use, except to play around with Alex but I thought it might be an interesting tool to do this drawing. Maybe if I worked at it I could get closer to the effect I was going for. The background comes from the main doors to Sagrada Familia.

Sagrada Familia

Yesterday, I walked up to the Sagrada Familia. Nothing really prepared me for its impact. It is an amazing building - monumental in vision, effort, imagination, and inspiration. My understanding of Gaudi has grown and my respect has deepened as a result of being here. Before I came I believed his work to be modern, fantastic and lunatic but now I see how much effort he made to integrate natural organic forms and geometry to create functional and inspirational architecture that people would use and love. I made this sketch from where I had lunch (the waiter was quite interested in my sketches). It is but a small portion of the lower east facade. The whole building is a work in progress with scaffolding and machinery all around it.

The sketches above were done while touring the interior of the church. The photo below is of the main entrance.

Friday, August 1, 2008

La Rambla and Parc Guell

La Rambla is an amazing street in Barcelona. Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca said "it is the only street in the world which I wish would never end". It is lined with trees, shops, restaurants, kiosks, street performers and throngs of tourists. The police car drawing was done while taking a rest in a courtyard just off la Rambla . The other drawing is a fairly quick sketch of an industrial looking building turned into a marketplace. I did this one on the walk back from Parc Guell.

I an finding that where I draw is more important than what I draw. In Spain, at this time of year, I'm looking for a cool spot with a breeze and a place to sit down. This is drawn looking out toward the city from the Hall of Columns. The colorful serpentine tile benches are above this hall. The difference in temperature between above and below is about 15° (F). Again, the crowds of people are missing. I need them here to add scale to the drawing. the base of these columns is about 5' tall.

The scene I was drawing from above.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Barri Gotic

In the Barri Gotic neighborhood of Barcelona.

I did this drawing at about 22:00 sitting under a lamp post at the Placa de Catalunya .

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In Barcelona

Went walking in the L'Eixample area of Barcelona yesterday and stopped here at this inner courtyard known as Pati de les Aigues . It is a popular local swimming area - lots of children playing and swimming and splashing around. There is this huge brick water tower in the middle of the south side of the courtyard and the swimming pool next to it. I didn't have a container for my water so I poured water from my water bottle into the cap. It worked fine. Today I think I'll walk down to Barri Gotic and see what I can draw there...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Relaxing with Alex in Halifax

I visited Alex this past weekend in Halifax. I drove up on Friday and returned Sunday. I knew I wouldn't have much time to sketch but I managed to do these 2 "unfinished" sketches (I don't know why I said unfinished here - it seems like all my sketches are unfinished these days). The top one is of Annies Place, a cafe in downtown Halifax. The other is of Citadel Hill. After I drew it I thought it would be cool to have these army guys overlay the sketch. The execution is not good but the idea is there if I ever want to try it again and do it better.

I like these photos that come from the photo booths you see in malls. Most of them turn out really good - maybe because they catch people at a relaxed and happy time - when they are out with friends/family shopping and having fun. This is Alex and I and Princess.