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.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Mushroom Monastery


It all started out to just draw a mushroom.
Things sort of got out of hand after that.


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?