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Monday, February 28, 2011

Snoozin' With The Times...(Forty Winks#4)

Obviously, a slow news day. But I'm the same way. Often, I can't get through one section of the newspaper before I doze off. That's why I always check the scores, read the funnies and move on to my daily horoscope first, just in case I don't get any further.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thanks Dad, Thanks Jack, Thanks Barron...

This is a portrait of someone who is not sleeping, but instead, is thoroughly entranced with what was on the tv. Steve is a totally deaf friend of my brother, and yet, he speaks pretty darn well. At least, well enough for a none sign language type guy like me to understand.

I learned, from two of my favorite teachers at Art Center, that you really don't need an art pencil to draw like an artist. Any tool that can make a mark will do just fine. One teacher used any tool available and it was incredible the things he created. The other teacher used, with pride, a No. 2 pencil and, I swear, the pink eraser on the end of those pencils seemed to be always perfectly intact. It's like he never made a mistake worth erasing. The preconceived ideas some people adopt are, for me nowadays, just plain silly. 

These two artists reminded me of my own preconceptions. As a little leaguer, my dad was always quick to remind me that it wasn't the glove that let me down. The bat didn't go out of its way to miss the pitch. Nowadays, the term that is used to describe an athlete's disgust with his equipment malfunciton is, "A professional never blames his tools!" But, when I was a kid and all through high school and college, my dad's admonishment was, "It's not the glove, Ben, it's the ballplayer behind it!"

I like this drawing not only because it reminds me of some of the beautifully delicate Albrecht Durer etchings in silver point, but also because this sketch was drawn with a standard, blue, Bic pen. Hopefully, Jack, Barron and especially, dear old Dad are proud.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Waiting For A Plane. (Forty Winks#2)

A sketch of a soldier waiting for a ride... any ride. A train, a bus, a plane, a beautiful babe driving a Cadillac convertible offering him a ride. Sweet dreams are made of this!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Catchin' it While You Can... (Forty Winks#3)

I don't know. Sometimes, all the pieces fall into place and you see things and record them with more confidence and clarity. You know what you wanna say and you just jump in, with pen in hand, and say it. I really like this one. It takes me somewhere else besides just the capturing of the pose. It's well drawn and well thought out. Can't remember if I felt that way while I was drawing him, though.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sleepy Models Make Great Subjects...(Forty Winks#1)

This is one of five sketches I did of various subjects catching forty winks. Some people can sleep just about anywhere and I should know. In 1979, after working late at GD/Pomona, I feel asleep on the #210 Freeway around Azusa. Luckily, for all involved, it was a freeway that was just opened, so there were not many cars using it when I flew off the road about 5 am.

Monday, February 21, 2011

More Sketches for the birds...

I have some interesting hawk shots and experiences since I moved to Folsom. Every late autumn, the goldfinch migrate from the north and many gather at my feeder until just about late April. I never get to see the males in their full golden splendor. Of course, migrating south with them are the sharp-shined hawks, goshawks and a host of other raptors.

I've been toying with a bunch of concepts in my head and thought since the Great Backyard Bird Count by Cornell ornithologists was completed, I would, once again, play with some ideas.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pre-Paid Legal Agent and Friend... Lisa J!

Just a sketch I did in blue pen in my Daily Reminder and then scanned it in black and white. It is a pretty good likeness of a friend and colleague, Lisa J. The portrait looks like it captures her in a pensive mood, but I have never seen Lisa in a pensive mood. She doesn't ever keep still long enough to have a pensive anything!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Breakfast cleanup...

 Six ten in the am, and Therese has gone to work. We try to have a decent breakfast and some conversation in the blue and gray of the the morning, but sometimes she has to leave before the dawn and today was one of those days.  I used to draw a lot of food still lifes for an agency client, Contadina and Nestle's. This one kind of reminds me of that genre. Maybe next time I'll do it in color... I'm like most artists... EASILY BORED!

Naturally, you can't tell by the drawing, but these are farm fresh eggs direct from the chickens to my friend and then to our table. When she goes to eat at the local breakfast hangout, she brings the cook three of her own farm eggs to prepare her Greek omelet. The real ones do taste different and the shells are harder to break. The omelet always comes out bright yellow. Yum!

More Waiting Room Sketches...

With me taking my mom from one doc to another for some observation, I have been bringing a sketch book to pass the time of waiting, but this time I had to use my appointment book. This guy was either really under the weather or was afraid to hear his diagnosis. The drawing was done in a ball point pen.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day from Ben

These are sketches of kids hanging around waiting to go to the health club day care center. Later on I embellished it for Valentine's Day. The little boy never kept still enough for me to sketch, but I think I captured his "attitude" about wearing hats with bouncing hearts on it! The little girl with the corn rows was fun to draw and her mom had some time for me to do so!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Page Three from the Health Club...

Here's the last of the health club sketches. I like both of these for their graphic design and simple lines. I am always amazed how some poses are captured easily with a few well placed lines. Often, I draw emotionally and quickly when at the scene, but sometimes I see the subject a bit differently and I am not in a hurry to capture anything. I have to think before I draw instead.

Friday, February 11, 2011

More Quickies from the Health Club Lobby...

Here's the second page of three that I did waiting for a phone call that finally came during these sketches. I was on a roll and didn't want to stop to go workout. Truth is that I really didn't want to go workout at all, so I did another page. It was around noon and I had already blown an hour.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sketches from Health Club Lobby...

Just some quick studies at my local health club. This is the first of three pages I drew while waiting for a phone call. It was drawn with a razor point pen. I like the man with the glasses because I was able to capture the pose with just a few well placed line. There's more thought involved in those kind of simple drawings. I really have to look before I place a line!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Westful Wetweet at PJ's...

 Saturday, after satisfying my blood thirsting lil' brother's need for more blood samples, I went to a local coffee house to check my messages, have some coffee, an orange/cranberry muffin, and attempt to upload this second of two sketches I drew at the blood center. I took the pic, but didn't have the usb attachment to load it to the computer until I got home.

It was drawn in ball point pen, like the other sketch I did that day, and was drawn in about five minutes. The woman was one of five people watching Rachel Ray cook up something "breakfassy" on tv. It would have made a great picture, to capture all five staring at the television, but no one sat for very long.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Checking Her Messages...

This is one of two sketches I did today, the 5th of February, while awaiting my turn to have blood drawn for tests. I did it in ball point pen and took about five minutes to complete because it wasn't as crowded as it normally is and people only sat in the waiting room for no more than ten minutes. I like this one enough to turn it into a painting.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Merle Haggard "Inspired" Sketch...

Okay, the truth is that it is supposed to actually be Merle Haggard, but as so often happens, portraits can suddenly and very unexpectedly become something else, like, um, "A Man With A Hat." I am quite satisfied with this drawing and I guess I could really get crazy and render it even more, but then, it would be an illustration and not a sketch... I guess.

I can't really decide when it was that I lost control, but somehow I just kept on going and going hoping it would come around and then, Voila, Merle! If you look close, you'll find a faint pencil line to start and maybe that is all that has to be said about it.

Did I say that I am really satisfied with this sketch?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Feeding the Birds for a Cold Louisiana Night...

I have always been a bird watcher since I was a kid. Mom tried to steer me away from all of those big, metal and military flying things by purchasing a model bird kit. The assembly, even for a 8 or 9 year old, was pretty simple, which made it all the more fun to paint once the glue dried. One year later, I had built all of the models that company sold including a squirrel. The squirrel was cool because once you finished building and painting the animal, you applied some grey, fuzzy substance all over the top of the model and some fuzzy, white hair on the underside. Many of my friends loved it and wanted one for themselves, so I ended up making the squirrel three more times. I loved it.

 I eventually hung the flying model birds from one of our pine trees with fishing line and nailed the woodpecker and squirrel to the trunk of the tree about nine or ten feet up. There they stayed until 1965 when Hurricane Betsy blew them away.

This time of year our visiting goldfinch, cowbirds, and assorted sparrows feed on black oil sunflower seeds along with our native, titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, and cardinals. The jays and woodpeckers, most especially the red-breasted woodpecker, prefer peanuts and will throw out some of the sunflower seeds to get at the peanuts to the delight of the towhees and doves and squirrels.

 I found this nuthatch adroitly working around the red-breasted woodpecker showing little respect for the big bird and his big beak. It's gonna be real cold tonight and it is every bird for themselves!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Coffee Shop Conference Call?

I spent three hours yesterday at a PJ's coffee house in Madisonville waiting for a bunch of phone calls from banks, mortgage institutions and one friend... who never showed up but apologized with a phone call.

 These guys had their domes strapped into their laptops for the longest time, talking corporate stuff on one of those "Go To Meeting" sites while Hall and Oates's,"Man Eater" was playing on the coffee shop system.

I drew this with a fresh Sharpie Fine Point which I hate because they have a tendency to be too wet and kinda bleed. I tend to like them more on the used side than brand new!