Friday, December 18, 2009

The Gloop Pen

This is the pattern of stained glass on my back door. As I was sketching this painting yesterday, I had the idea to draw the house across the street looking through this door so I began to think about how to do this. This is a study where I used three layers (again in Artrage 3). The painting from yesterday on layer one, the transparent glass color on layer two, and the divisions on layer three. I used the ruler stencil and inking pen to make the divisions and then created the middle layer and used the gloop pen (great name, huh?) to make the transparent glass. I suppose I could have used another tool like the paintbucket and set the opacity level but I just wanted to use the gloop pen because it seemed like more fun.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Color Intensity Study

Artrage 3 is out now and this is a study I did while watching a Skip Lawrence video on color intensity - all on one layer except the quick tree sketch to the right which is just to see what I want to put on that side.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Dad's VW Bug (Detail)

It's hardly worth posting but I did work a bit on the chrome bumper today.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Dad's VW Bug (Part 1)

My dad had a light blue VW bug when I was a kid. I use to run down to the end of the street we lived on and wait for him to come home from work. Then he would let me stand on the sideboard and he'd drive me back home. I use to love that.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bottle Cap Art

This morning I had breakfast at the Sea Dog in Portland. On the way out I noticed this large - about 5 feet by 7 feet high  piece of art made entirely of bottle caps - 5220 to be exact. The artist who made it is Robert Cochran and the piece is called "Cap Dog". Pretty cool.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Toboggan Nationals Poster Contest

Every year right here in the little town of Camden, Maine, we host the Toboggan National Championships. Next year will be the 20th year that the Camden Snow Bowl will have put it on. A few weeks ago I saw an article in the paper that they were having a contest for the poster art that they would use to advertise the event. The artwork had to include a toboggan and the words "20th Annual". I thought it would be good to have a goal to actually finish something and practice learning how to use Sketchbook Pro so this is what I came up with. I still haven't heard who the winner is but I'll let you know when I find out...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Interior Layout

I always do these types of drawings by hand with pencils and markers on trace. I recently tried it on Sketchbook Pro - all computer work - not one piece of paper. I like it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Playing with Sketch Pad

Just a section of drawing I was working on. This morning I downloaded the trial version of Sketch Pad from Corel. Lots of fun. I think that is the nearly extinct Turkey Seagull at the top.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Playing with Artrage

Just messing around with my tablet and my favorite painting software. Looks like the new version of Artrage will be out sometime soon. I'm pretty excited about that.

My Sister sings Venice Beach

I'm almost famous. My sister wrote and sang the theme song for the new series "Venice". I'm real proud of her.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Virgin de El Panecillo

Another sketch from my trip to Ecuador. The statue on the left side of the page is the Virgin of the Panecillo in Quito, Ecuador. I wondered what Panecillo meant and came to learn it means small bread roll. It is also the name of the hill that the Virgin stands on top of which I suppose looks like a small bread roll from a distance. Anyway, we visited the statue on the third day we were in Quito. I also took a few photos of the construction of the statue which, in case you were wondering, is 148 feet high and is Number 42 of the Tallest Statues in the World.

The sketch on the right is near the Plaza de Independencia in Quito.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Something's Fishy

Here are 2 different drawings of the same fish. I did the bottom one a few weeks ago in my sketchbook. It took me about 20 or 30 minutes. I used a univision pen and doc martin's watercolors. It was a fun little sketch and at the time I was happy with it.

The top drawing was done on my tablet using Autodesk's Sketchbook Pro 2010 software. I have used this program occasionally in my architectural practice but am often frustrated at not being able to get a quick sketch out of it. I started out this drawing with the intention comparing how long it would take me to get a drawing I was happy with. Well, it took about 3 hours for me to "get happy". Why is that?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ecuadorian Ceramic

This sketch is from a few months ago when I was in Ecuador. A ceramic statue in the Cultural Museum. I sketched it in about 7 minutes as they were closing the museum. The guard came up to me and watched me sketch and seemed very sorry to interrupt the drawing. Cameras weren't allowed so it's kind of cool to get sketches of stuff that most people can only remember

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I bought a book a few weeks ago at Borders in Portland called "Facial Expressions - A Visual Reference for Artists". Its filled with men and women's facial expressions. Models from 18 - 90 are asked to expess all sorts of emotions like furious, or sly, or evil, or surprised, well, you get the idea. I think this guy was concentrating in an exagerrated way. It's a great reference book for drawing the face in a different way than I usually do.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

At Boynton McKay

I walked into Boynton McKay with the intention to get a chicken fajita wrap to go but as I made my way to the counter I saw a man sketching. I so wanted to stop and see his drawing and other sketches but I suppose I was embarrassed or didn't want to disturb him. Anyway, it inspired me to start sketching right then and there so I ordered my wrap and sat in one of the booths and sketched the booth opposite from me. Normally Boynton's is packed but since it's late in the season and it was the middle of a beautiful crisp fall afternoon, it was the perfect little sketch spot for me. It was a fast sketch relatively speaking and not at all accurate but I loved doing it.
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Friday, July 31, 2009

Portrait of Maimonides

This is a reworking of a drawing I found by Ben Shahn in an old book I found on figure drawing. His original drawing was done around 1954 and the book was published in 1960. After I completed my drawing I did a little research on Ben Shahn and learned that 5 years later, in 1965, he reworked the drawings again. Here are his versions:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Plaza Independencia

Wow it's been awhile since I've posted anything. I sketched this in my Handbook Journal. I sat by a column next to a shoeshine stand and sketched this on a sunny and busy day in Independence Plaza. It was hot and it was the only shady spot I could find to sit down. Several people stopped to watch me draw and I spent about 15 minutes talking to a man in broken spanish and english. It is one of the nice things about sketching that people feel they can stop and watch and sometimes strike up a conversation.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

New Journal

Always exciting to start a new Journal. The past few weeks I've been busy working on my website and a few other projects so the blogging has been pretty light (sketching too I'm afraid). Oh well, that's the way it goes...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rafting the Toachi

The first time I went whitewater rafting I think I was 14 and at the Telluride Mountaineering School in Colorado. About 20 of us kids did a week long trip down the Green and Yampa Rivers in western Colorado. I happened to be with Dave, a short, fit man with a handlebar mustache. He was one of the more experienced rafting guides on the trip so when we came to a particularly difficult section of river, we were the first ones to go through so that others could follow our lead. On July 4 we got to a section of river that required us to stop, get out of our rafts and walk the banks of the river to survey the best way to navigate downstream. This part of the river had a "hole" in it that we were told had claimed 15 lives. For those unfamiliar with whitewater jargon, a hole in a river is where the water rushes over a large boulder , creating a depression, or "hole" on the downriver side and then recirculates back toward the boulder. Fast moving water over a large boulder makes for a deep hole, and therefore, a very strong, forceful current of water that can trap a person under the surface indefinitely - not good.

With the rest of the group watching from the shores we set off to show the group how to do it. With Dave yelling commands above the roar of the river we seemed to be on course but as we neared the hole the current seemed to suck us in its direction and as hard as we tried to paddle to avoid it, the river would not let us go. We went sideways over the top of the hole and the raft flipped over throwing everyone in. I was hit hard in the head - I think it was the oar. I remember the feeling of panic - of wanting to breathe but then realizing I was under water and that would mean drowning. So I held my breath and swam hard, fighting an unbelievable current of water. Somehow I popped up and caught a breath of air. A bit dazed from the hit, I opened my eyes to find 2 or 3 others on the flipped over raft reaching for me. I grabbed on to the raft hoping to be pulled up. From the shores I could see the others yelling frantically to look downstream. We were headed for another hole. All of a sudden I was sucked beneath the surface and and was forced to fight the river again. When I popped up this time the raft was further downstream with most of the group on top. I faced downstream and rode the rest of the rapids out until we were able to regroup on the shore.

The Toachi River in Ecuador presented us with a similar sized hole that we had to navigate around. This time we made it without flipping. The sketch was done where we put out and had lunch. 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Church and a Hut

This magnificent tiled dome roofed chuch is on the NE corner of San Francisco Plaza in Old Quito and the hut is on the slopes of the volcano Cotopaxi.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Travelling Again

I went to Ecuador with my girlfriend Valerie a couple of weeks ago. One of the upsides to this lousy economy is that things are slower in the office so I have more time to travel. I love to travel - seeing new cultures, art, architecture and slowing down enough to sketch things and really observe life - that really turns me on. So the next series of sketches will be from my trip to Ecuador. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Watercolor Class

I'm taking a watercolor class right now with a really good teacher. His name is Michael Vermette and the class is through the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. The color plaid thingy on top was inspired by something he did with his palette of colors. The colors are straight from my Windsor & Newton Watercolor set - 16 colors vertically and then the same 16 colors horizontally so I could see what new colors could be created just by painting with pure color over another pure color. Look at all the different yellows, reds and greens. The beauty of watercolors really comes through in the layering of color.

The little drawing of the house is a study for a larger piece I want to do. More on that hopefully soon. And Princesss is, well, just Princess.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Place of Tears

This is the bell tower of the St. Feliu - a cathedral I visited in Girona last Summer. I visited three cathedrals while I was in Spain. The first one I visited was in the Barri Gotic of Barcelona - the Cathedral de Barcelona, which is undergoing a major renovation. I walked in and was instantly brought to tears. It was very unexpected and a bit embarassing. The second was the Sagrada Familia - again tears welled up as I began to take in the space. It is a surprising thing when tears just well up for apparently no reason. But it was my experience in all three of the cathedrals I walked into that this welling up of tears took place. It must have been the intention of the people that built these cathedrals. There are several natural places that do this to me - grand and epic places, or even simple sunsets and sunrises. But there are very few man-made places that do this. Outside of cathedrals, the only one that comes to mind is a turkish carpet shop I once visited in Austin, TX. I'm not sure what it is exactly that evokes this feeling but I believe it has something to do with being in a place where the intention of the people who made it was to strengthen others in their feeling, or specifically in the case of these three cathedrals, to make a gift, or an offering, to God.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


This is pretty cool. I put a camera on a tripod out at the lake last week and set it up to take a picture every 30 minutes to record the melting ice. Then I deleted all the night scenes and created a time lapse movie in Picasa. Now it's here on my blog for all to view. That's just cool.

I did this sketch on December 15th. I remember it was cold and I was seeing the ice beginning to form on the lake. I was sitting on a bench in front of the tree that is to the far left in the video. It's been a long winter. I'm glad the ice is finally gone.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Polly and the Newspapers

This newspaper stand was fun to draw - definitely a puzzle. I could have spent another hour or two with this drawing.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Flying Chairs

I'm taking a drawing class and this was one of our assignments. "Draw a chair floating in the sky". The top one is my first sketch in my little sketchbook (the actual drawing is about 5"x8"). The bottom drawing is about 18"x24" and started as a charcoal pencil drawing but ended up in pastel. I just can't seem to do a drawing these days without color. I took a photo of the bottom drawing and the white edges and bottoms of the feet were actually dark graphite pencil over the pastel but because of the flashes reflection, they show up white. It's pretty cool this way. I think I like the photo better than the actual drawing. Isn't art fun?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Snow Bowl

Alex has been skiing a lot lately. We are so lucky to live in Camden where we are right on the ocean but also have a place to ski just 2 miles from our house. The lodge at the Snow Bowl is an A frame building with a wall of glass facing the ski slopes. These are the only windows in the building so it makes for a very dark interior and a very bright exterior which is what I was trying to capture in the top sketch. Today was he last day of skiing for the year.

Random sketches

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Krabi to Bangkok

OK, I don't know if anyone's noticed but I changed the heading on my blog. It was a lot of fun to make it. I used a couple of computer programs to do it - Sketchup for the 3D lettering, Xara for the image making and Artrage to put it all together. Alex and I did all the little doodles together which was a ton of fun. So if you like it, let us know!

Getting toward the end of the Thailand sketches - finally! It was a great trip and I hope you enjoyed the sketches...