The test of an adventure is that when you are in the middle of it, you say to yourself, "Oh, now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home." And the sign that something is wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure. -Thornton Wilder

The nice thing about being confused is you get a chance to notice things a lot better than if you knew where you were going.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Just One Little Spark

That is all it would take to set this all ablaze.  Or a cigarette.  It has been in the high 90's (35c) here this week.  I try to think that hikers and bicyclists don't smoke and my park will be safe from fire.

This is the view the painter from my Monday post had.  The polo field.  
Not that picturesque to be doing a painting of I don't think. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Always Learning

I've wanted to do a portrait of Sinbad for a long time but having never done fur before I didn't know how to go about it.  I looked through the few drawing books I have on animals to look for examples. Most were sort of vague on the fur part so I just went for it.  It came out better than I expected and I learned how to get the effect I was looking for.  I quit this drawing before actually finishing it for I feel I can improve upon it the next time I draw my little buddy.  This is from a photograph when he was younger and looked better.  Don't we all.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Where'd he go?

He just left us here!

He went into that little building over there.

Is he coming back?

I don't know!

Relax guys.  He just went to go pee.  He won't forget us, says Jock the black Scottie.

There were two more dogs, large setters tied up further to the left.  This dog walker brings dogs out for walks along the state park road everyday except weekends.  I've seen him with more than a dozen dogs at one time.  Can you imagine?  His wife also walks dogs and she always has the little ones.  I think all their clients are the old people where I live who cannot get out to walk their dogs like they should.  I don't know what dog walkers charge but this couple is doing pretty well for just a few hours every morning.  It is kind of funny too as the pace is pretty slow as there is always somebody who needs to stop to poop.  Yes, they clean up after the dogs.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What a Difference...

...a few months make.

The photo of this meadow was taken in February.

Here is how it looks today.

Here is a different meadow in March where the grasses are just starting to turn.
Notice the deer grazing in the green part remaining.

As it looks today.  
No deer, coyote, turkeys, nothing except for one lone old hiker taking a picture. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Chicago Alley

I was watching a video online and the cameraman panned down this alleyway in Chicago.  All of those criss-crossing power lines immediately caught my attention.  I had to draw this, or at least try.

The camera was panning up (or down, I don't remember) and at different focal lengths so I took several screenshots on the computer.  I printed out the screenshots then cut and taped them together to get one complete image to work from.  And since he used different lens lengths none of the images could be lined up to one and the other, plus the screenshots were blurry and grainy looking.
This all made it a bit of a challenge but I still enjoyed drawing the scene.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Bloom

Algae bloom that is.  This is a water catchment reservoir in another state park across the highway from where I live.  Yes, it is yucky looking and you certainly wouldn't want to go swimming in it (you couldn't anyway for it is chain link fenced off) but I think it is kind of pretty in its own way.

Where the water is clear from algae there is a fairly nice reflection of our clear blue sky.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Common House Sparrow

In the last ink drawing of the tree, cat and moon, I mentioned how one particular tedious process, all those lines in the sky and ground, was fun... "for me at least".  Here is why that emphasis on what I wrote.

There are several techniques that go into the various styles of pen and ink drawings.  One of those is referred to as pointillism or stippling.  This is the creating of an image with nothing more than the repeated process of placing countless little dots on the paper.  Nearly all of the drawings I have done is in this style.  When I first saw pointillism a long time ago I immediately was attracted to it and taught myself how to do it.

In this recent attempt to get back into my art I needed some inspiration and motivation to pick up my pens once again.  Before starting that first piece, the Indian pottery that was on the blog awhile back, I watched some YouTube videos of people doing pen and ink drawings in various styles.  More than once I heard an artist as he or she demonstrated the pointillism technique say how it isn't all that popular since it is takes so long and is very tedious in building up the image and values.  I have never thought of it being so.

That is why I wrote drawing all those little lines so close together in the tree, cat and moon drawing without crossing over its neighbor was fun...for me at least.  I guess it would drive most normal people bonkers but I found myself sort of falling into a meditative state while I do it.

I enjoyed doing this sparrow more so than the fox or the tree, cat and moon drawing since I was doing it in all those little dots which I enjoy.  Perhaps I just need to do other styles more often and develop a fondness for them too.

This 3 minute video in real time gives you an idea of the process of stippling.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Yay For High Taxes!

I was reading a history article about my Annadel State Park I always enjoy hiking around in.  Before it became a state park the owner of the land had a vision to build a country-style golf course here surrounded by 5,000 pricey homes!  Engineering drawings for Annadel Country Club Estates were completed in 1957.  Fortunately the owner suffered business setbacks in his other holdings and taxes on his California holdings rose by 700 percent and he began to sell off his Annadel Farms investment. Whew!  I think this is the only time I have ever been thankful for high taxes.  The state eventually acquired 5000 acres of the land and in 1971 opened it up as a state park.

Can you see a golf course here with the surrounding hills covered with homes? 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

When Pigs Can Fly

These metal sculptures were at a bar-b-que place in Sonoma I went to last week.  The saying When pigs can fly must have meaning behind why the owner chose this image to represent his bar-b-que joint.  The pigs stood on top of trailers used to cater food around the area.

The meaning behind that saying is "it will never happen".  
Maybe he knows his bar-b-que isn't all that great.  I've had better.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Evolution of a Drawing

When I started out on this drawing I was just going to draw a tree.  Nothing else, just a tree.  As you can see things kind of took off from there.  There was no plan.

Typically when doing darkness in pen and ink such as the night time sky here, it is done in a crosshatch method.  One makes a series of short vertical lines then goes back and crosses over those lines with short diagonal lines in one direction, then repeat in the other diagonal direction and you may even add short horizontal lines to make the effect even darker.  This is a quick method of creating black, although it may not seem so, but you can rapidly make those short lines repeatedly.

I started out on the night sky with the intent on trying crosshatching for the first time even though I am not a fan of it.  I got in the second row of vertical lines, and knew I would not be able to bring myself into crosshatching them since I don't care for that technique.  I tried something different - vertical lines only throughout.  It was a tedious and laborious process placing lines within lines without crossing any and if I like the end result or not, I am not so sure but the journey to get there was fun...for me at least.  (that last bit I'll enhance upon on the next drawing I post)

The foreground was an entirely different process which was even more enjoyable to do and I think would have worked better for the sky than what I had already done.  It was all one big experiment just to see how things would turn out.  Now I know, good or not so good though, that I do not know.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Cactus and the Heat

Its been warm here lately, some may say HOT!  Not I.  I love this weather.  Next Wednesday we may hit 100 (37.8c)  here  (the next day they backed that prediction down a few degrees, "sigh").  Ah but nothing like Borrego Springs (where I'd like to live, in the desert of California close to the Mexican border) which will be anywheres from 111 (43.8c) to 115 (46c) for the next 10 days.  Yeah, that is a bit much.  And then there's Death Valley ranging from 115 to 122 (50c) for the next 10 days.  Yikes!

One of my more colorful cactus is loving this weather though.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

United States Highway Map

I've had this map for a long time, nicely folded up and put away.  I had forgotten about it and came upon it while looking for something.  I spend a lot of my time looking for things but that's not what this is about.  I thought I ought to display the map so I could enjoy it more.  What is unique about this map is that it was printed in 1957.  It was only just the year before that President Dwight D. Eisenhower had authorized the Federal Aid Highway Act which set into motion the construction of our interstate highway system.

What this boils down to is that all of those red lines criss-crossing our country back then were for the most part just simple two-lane highways.  Maybe they widen out to four lane boulevards in major cities for a brief distance, but two lanes everywhere else.  Click on the maps to see them better.

Here is the same section of our country today displaying all the major multi-lane highways of our interstate highway system.  Many of them were built upon existing two-lane highways from above.  Some bypassed towns on established two-lane roads and the town eventually ceased to exist.  A lot of service stations (where you got maps like mine for 25 cents), cafes and motels were put out of business with the interstate construction process.  Imagine the politics at play back then.

When Sinbad and I travel we stay off the interstates as much as possible.  You see so much more when not whizzing along at 70 miles per hour.  I'll drive the old highways that still exist and think back to how times were so much better back in 1957 when gas was under 50 cents a gallon and about the only thing we ever worried about was if the Russians would drop a nuclear ICBM missile on us.
Those were the good old days.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

I See Colors

A long time ago, longer than I care to fess up to, my wife gave me a set of colored pencils thinking I might want to incorporate some color into my pen and ink drawings.  Gee, the last time I used color was with crayons in my coloring book when I was a little guy.

The pencils sat for years, untouched and hardly ever looked at and they were pretty to look at too.

Recently I mustered up the courage to venture into uncharted territory for me and try out the colored pencil set my wife gave to me as a gift.

I'll have to admit, it came out better than I thought it would, not knowing what I was doing.  I'll confess that I was going off an image from a cocktail napkin.  The black portions are ink, not pencil.
Will I do color again?   Maybe...probably, but I won't wait 30 years to do so the next time.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Getting the Ink Flowing...yet again.

I dug out my ink pens and thought I would try to get back into drawing again.  I decided to practice some treating it as an exercise just to see if I still "had it".  As I progressed I realized it is much like riding a bicycle; you never forget.  I started this on regular old sketch pad paper, not the ideal paper for inkwork, and eventually reached the point where I didn't want to waste any more time on it because of the quality of paper.  So this technically is unfinished and will remain so.

This was also an experiment in filming the process of the pen and ink drawing.  After numerous attempts with different cameras and different settings in various positions I kind of got it right towards the end.  So that is why the drawing is well along to completion in the video.  The video is only 2 minutes long but is kind of neat seeing the progress in time lapse.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Last of the Car Show

I've always like the black and yellow plates of California.  I see now one can special order them from the DMV much like vanity plates.  I think it would look rather silly on my VW Golf or the motorhome.  

This early 50's Buick proudly displays that it has an eight cyclinder engine.  Only thing is that it is not a V-8 but rather an inline 8.  My love for automobile engines has always been with inline motors. 

Too bad the owner didn't have the hood up.  I read once that General Motors styled these ports on the side of the Buicks after a WW2 fighter plane, I believe the Mustang.

Pure class.  All we see on automobile glass these days are decals placed there by their owner like stick figures of the dad, mom, a bunch of kids, plus the dog and cat.
This was rather difficult to get a picture of what with all the reflections. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Wood and Iron

There is nothing like the wood they use to use on cars in the 40's and 50's.

This was a Pontiac or Oldsmobile (I forget) and I had never seen one with wood before.

I have only one engine shot so I'll include it here.  Not many had the hoods up except for the late model muscle cars which held no interest for me.  The only thing worse is taking a 30's, 40's or early 50's car and dropping in a big V-8 motor into it.  To me that's an abomination and I just walk on by.
I love the simplicity here.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Tail Lights

Notice the step on the bumper and top of fender for climbing into and out of the rumble seat.

Yeah, these are so cool.  Its my favorite too.

Yesterday, June 9, was the date in 1909 that 22-year-old Alice Huyler Ramsey finished her cross country drive in a 1909 Maxwell (30 horsepower) thus becoming the first woman to do so.  Three female companions accompanied her but she did all the driving.  She left her home in Hackensack New Jersey and arrived in San Francisco 59 days later.  There are some wonderful accounts of this remarkable young lady's adventure online.  Well, all four of the women's adventure.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

More Hood Ornaments

Another influenced by the jet age

The winged God of automobiles.  
I don't recall this God in my Greek or Roman mythology, but here it is. 

I tried all types of angles to capture the Mayflower ship without a lot of background interference.
This was the best that could be had and its not that good.

Notice the Mayflower once again.

I think the designer got carried away with this one.