Saturday, August 16, 2014

SKETCHBOOK: "Sketch a bit...FLY a bit"

What a SPECTACULAR FUN DAY I just had!!  It was one of the most excellent and unexpected good times I've had in a LONG while!!  I traded some sketches for two plane rides at the Excelsior Springs, MO Airport "Fly In" event.  Artist Cathy Johnson, author and leader of the "Urban Sketchers Midwest" group, organized a sketch-crawl at the airport again this year.

I couldn't wait to get out there and start drawing, so I arrived about 3 hours earlier than our scheduled time.  This allowed me to enjoy the pancake breakfast they had at one of the hangers.  The sketch below was done where everyone was eating.  I bought some new gray markers to try a tonal study.  As happens with using ink pens, you can't correct mistakes.  My proportions were off a bit on the people in the center area, and they look like giants.  The lighting was really bright at the hanger doors, so all the dark shapes worked great for the gray tones.
 Next up, a sketch of the hangers, and a few planes.
Before I get into the story about my plane rides, I'll keep going with showing you the sketches I did.  Below is a PIPER SUPER CUB.
 And here is the linework for a PT STEARMAN bi-plane.
 This is after adding my watercolor washes on top.

Now I'll fill you in on my double-whammy adventure!  While I was sketching the airplane hangers, there was a group in front of me that was having fun flying one of the new "DRONE-Cams".  Several times during the drawing, I could hear that 4-prop aircraft hovering above me.  I thought it was hilarious that I was being spied upon!  After awhile, the owner of the drone came over to talk, and to see what I was sketching.  His name is Steve Johnson, and is the Director of the "Recreational Aviation Foundation".  Then he asked me if I would be interested in trading a sketch of his plane for a RIDE in that plane.  I said, "ABSOLUTELY!!!  I would LOVE to do that!!" (or something to that effect).
So here are a few photos of that excursion, flying over Excelsior Springs, and above the airport.  It was a BLAST!
Once we landed, I went to work on drawing Steve's plane. Here he is below with the final sketch.  I had a terrific time, and really enjoyed chatting a bit with his family and some of his friends who also flew in for the event.
So as I am drawing, putting the finishing touches on Steve's CUB sketch, another pilot arrived and was kind enough to loan me his pocket knife so I could cut out the page from my sketchbook without ripping it up.  This gentleman was Dan Kirkpatrick who owns the Blue and Orange Bi-plane (plus a couple of others).  It turns out that he is also the manager of the airport, too!!  Dan and I had spoken last year for a bit, and he had left some nice comments on my blog about the drawings I did of his planes.  In short order, we began a little bartering...and I agreed to draw a sketch of Dan's airplane in exchange for a ride in his bi-plane!!!!  Below is a pic of Dan, and the sketch.

So "Off we go, into the wild blue yonder"...again!!  This time in an open cockpit!  I was grinning so much that my teeth were drying out the whole flight.  Dan said you can tell who is a happy aviator by counting the bugs on his teeth. Believe me...I was HAPPY!!
I think both pilots felt like they got a square deal with an original piece of artwork of their airplane.  I, for one, think I got the BEST deal of all!  A HUGE "Thanks" to Steve and Dan...I'll never forget this!!

UPDATE 8-17-14!  Here are a few more pics that were posted on Facebook today.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

SKETCHBOOK: "YES Concert, People and Veggies"

On Thursday night, I got to go see my all-time favorite band, YES , in concert.  Since I had about 3 hours to wait before it started, I took the time to do some sketching outside and inside of the historic Midland Theatre in downtown Kansas City.

While scanning the YES drawings, I ran across a few "people" sketches I had forgotten to scan. These are from some of my smaller sketchbooks that I keep in my car (4"x6", 4"x8" sizes). I use the little books for when I'm waiting around for visits, at the airport, waiting for exhibits to open, etc.

UPDATE 8-10-14
Drew this at church today...some of the bountiful summer harvest from the community garden our church has.  Hundreds of pounds of fresh veggies are given to local food banks to help folks who need it.  I just could not resist sketching and painting all the wonderful flowers and colors at the donation table this morning!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Last night, I decided to visit a place that a couple of my writer/editor friends recommended.  Since I seem to be overly verbose, I thought I'd explore a bit about what to do with that.  So I went to the "Open Mic Night" at THE WRITERS PLACE, in Kansas City, Mo.  I got there a couple of hours before the event began, so I could draw the historic building where the writers meet.  As often happens, people wander over to see what I'm drawing.  I had a nice chat with one of the neighbors who told me she had been trying to make herself get back to drawing since she was now "post kids".  That's always fun to encourage others to rediscover "the artist" inside...sketchbooks are a non-threatening place to "play".

Once the writers arrived, they went around the circle, reading poetry (either their own, or some of their favorite writers) .  I did not come prepared to do that, so I just drew the people as they read or listened while others read.  An interesting evening...but I don't think writing poetry is "my thing".  Drawing that's more like it.