Thursday, June 23, 2005

Gone fishin'

Dusty at the beach in 2004.

I'm taking the ol' hound dog and the family to the beach early tomorrow morning. Much packing to be done tonight, so this may be my last post for a while. I don't know if I'll have internet access while we're gone, but I am taking my water colors and lots of paper. Here's hoping I have lots of new work to post upon my return.

Happy Summer to all!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I'm baaaack!

Is it already Wednesday? Man, I haven't posted since Sunday. We had family in and out for Father's day and it's been very busy at work. More excuses for not painting....

Today I was in an all day 'team-building' meeting at the office. If any of you work in 'corporate' America you may have done one of these. They do personality tests on everyone and then mix up people into different teams. I shouldn't have doodled, but I couldn't help myself. I got this one in. His name is Lou and he really suprised me. I thought this man, who works in I.T., was a real to-do-list kind of guy. But he turned out to be a very conceptual thinker and I have to say I got to know a side of him that I wasn't familiar with. Just goes to show you how at work it's easy to assume things about people based on their jobs. And that ain't such a good thing.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Dusty in my Moleskine

Click here for larger image
Back to the Moleskine. Well, I can't say I'm happy with the way the paint goes onto these pages, but I will keep trying. I love the book, but I wish the pages were more receptive to watercolor.
But beyond that, here's my sweet boy in all his glory. He's such a great dog. My best bud....

Oh yea, happy father's day to those of you that can participate. Mine was grand. We had a cookout and I got tools for presents. It doesn't get any better than that!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Illustration Friday, Black and White

Don't ask me to explain it. I have no idea what it means. But I thought it fit this week's topic.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

My First Moleskine!

Click for larger image

Today was like Christmas. I came home and my wife said there was a package waiting for me on the kitchen counter. She was curious but not trying to pry. ( I hadn't mantioned that I had ordered this). My youngest son was dying to know what was in the box. I had checked my USPS tracking number earlier in the day and didn't expect the package for another 48 hours. But there it was. Waiting for me to open it. My first Moleskine sketchbook.

Since I started blogging, about a month ago, I kept running across sites or comments that talked about the wonderful sketch books used by artists, writers and all around brilliant people to record their thoughts and images--Solitary blogs of the last century if you will. The quality of paper and binding seemed to be why these little books seemed so attractive. Along with the eleastic page holder and the bookmark ribbon.

So, I tried mine for the first time tonight. The paper didn't take the water color pigment the way I thought it would, but that's OK. It's just something I have to get use to. But I certainly felt the attraction to the book, to the pages. Maybe that's why my first sketch in this book is of a boy with a big smile on his face. Maybe it's me. (even though I really know it's the friend of my 13-year-old twins) But that's OK too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I don't know about this one...

Middle School cellist, 5.5" x 8.5"Click for larger image

I did this watercolor sketch tonight of a middle school cellist in my kids' school orchestra. I just loved the look of concentration as he played at the Spring concert. I was doing this as a study for a larger, more detailed painting. However, I would say this one was not so successful. He looks more ticked off than focused. I was trying to stay loose with it, but it felt like it got away from me.

I will be doing some follow up studies of just the hands. Those who play cello put there hands in some very awkward positions. They require a closer, more detailed look.

So, I'll be back to this one. Hey, it's all about the struggle...

Monday, June 13, 2005

Back to the bird feeder...

Click for larger image

I was pretty busy this weekend. My family and I did a charity walk for cancer research Friday night, and I pretty much finished installing a new wood floor in the first floor of our home Saturday and Sunday. I wrapped up at dinner time and had just enough energy left to do one more watercolor sketch from the bird feeder. I love this feeder. It makes the birds hang upside down to feed. Torture on our part? I don't think the little guys care.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

An oldie but a goodie

This is an old sketch book entry from the last century, 1999. It is a portrait of Cantance Adams. She is the architect of the first inflatable space habitat that we, one day, may see orbiting our planet. If I recall, I found here picture in National Geographic or Popular Science or like magazine. There was something in her face that I really liked. Something about this very "normal" looking woman with hip glasses designing space habitats was really cool.

So the next step was to do a water color sketch:

Now here's the funny thing (and why I chose to post this) My fifteen-year-old was looking at it and noticed two things:

1) He thought she looked like a "sexy librarian" in the pencil sketch, but an "old jewish lady" in water color. (please, no offense to anyone, we all have our ethnic traits)

2) He compared it to the watercolor I did last night of the bird and said, in his own words, that I have gotten better since then. I'm very curious to hear what any of you think about that.

He wants me to post some paintings I did back in art school. (1983-85) He recognizes I have taken 20 years off from serious painting, and still he thinks I've improved some how. And he understands my desire to get back into it. As long as he still has food to eat, cable TV and a fast internet connection. :-)

Jeez, I love my kids.

And Constance, if you're out there.... You go girl!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Watch the birdie!

Click here for larger image

This is actually a response to the every day matters challenge #18, "Draw the view from a window of your house, apartment, office, etc."

So to start, I have to admit this is a view from my in-law's home. They have many bird feeders and many birds that take advantage of them.

I also must admit I drew this from a photo my 13-year-old took. (Yes, he's the one with the sketches in the earlier post.)

It was just such a strong image I thought it would be a nice entry into this category.

My watercolor is rusty, but this felt really good to do.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Another Meeting Doodle...of the BOSS!

Here's the next meeting doodle. This is my boss's boss. It was actually this guy that got me blogging to begin with. Here's the original doodle from one of our project meetings: ( I swear I was paying attention. I just can't remember what the meeting was about.)

And here's a water color based on it. Same technique as before. I scanned the original doodle and printed it our on WC paper. Then went to town on it with some simple watercolor pigments.

By The Way: I could get fired for this! :-)

Doodling is hereditary

You've seen my post on my office doodles before. If not,click here. Well, I was delighted to see that my thirteen-year-old son has the doodle gene as well. He finished his French final a little early and created these while he was waiting for class to end. I couldn't be more proud. And I think he was beaming when his brother and sister asked if I had done them.

Go getem' tiger...

BTW, he tells me the one in the bottom left is me in the morning. Ain't I beautiful. :-)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Sponging off my famous friends

I guess I had to do ot sometime. This is a sketch of a friend of ours whose face you may not recognize, but who has produced some work which you probably have seen. This is Alan Ball. He won an Oscar for Original screenplay in 2000 for the film American Beauty. He is also the Executive producer of the popular HBO series Six Feet Under.

I wish we saw more of Alan. He's out in LA living the successful Hollywood life, but when we do see him, it's just like it was 25 years ago when we were all poor creative people living in Florida.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Dusty step-by-step

OK. The word is out. I let it slip that my last two postings of my dog were not completely done by hand. I did use Photoshop for the final stages of the drawing. A few folks have expressed interest in how it was done, so here we go...

The drawing.
I did this the traditional way, just me, a pencil and my sketchbook.

STEP TWO: The background
I found a piece of craft paper and crumpled it into a ball. Then I smoothed it back out (kind of) and scanned it into Photoshop.

STEP THREE: Opacity change
Once I scanned the paper, I put it on a separate layer. I changed the opacity of the crumpled paper layer to 30% so it would be very light.

Scan the drawing
I scanned it at 150 dpi and brought it into Photoshop. I did a select all, copied and pasted it into the document with the crumpled paper.

STEP FIVE: Changing the layer mode
So now the sketch of dusty is sitting on a layer above the crumpled paper. But I want to be able to see through it to the paper below. One way to do this is to change the proporties of the layer. Click on the pulldown menu in the layers pallet and you'll see all kinds of good stuff in there. Selecting Multiply makes all the "white" pixels transparent but keeps the dark pixels visible.

STEP SIX: Now it's transparent

STEP SEVEN: Adding white
The first thing to do is add a layer so that we have a place to put the white we're about to add. Go to the layers pallet and click on the little icon at the bottom that looks like a page.

Next, click on the Polygon selection tool from the tool box.

Then It's just a matter of making selections with this tool where we want to add white. To make additional selections just hold down the shift key.

Now the fun part...feathering. In Photoshop once a selection has been made, you can give it a soft edge by feathering it. This command is found under the selection menu. In this case I feathered the selection by 20 pixels. The greater the number, the softer the edge you will get.

Here you can see how the selection has become much rounder:

Now that the selection has been made we need to fill it with white. The firs thing to do is make sure the foreground color in the toolbox is set to white. To do so, click on it and it will open the color picker. Click on white and then click OK.

Then go to the Edit menu, come down to fill and you will see this dialog box:

And viola! We now have highlights on the puppy.

I hope this was useful. If you have any question please feel free to leave a comment.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Dusty, Grrrrrrr........

Click for larger image

Don't worry. This is the same sweet, docile dog you saw in my earlier post. He hasn't a mean bone in his body. This is just a game we play. Tug of war. He knows how to retrieve, he just doesn't know how to let go. Especially when it comes to sticks.He growls and sounds ferocious when we do this but he is totally playing. I sketched this from a photo. He would never hold still long enough for a sitting while playing this game.

Pancil on paper 6" x 8"