Saturday, August 30, 2014

SKETCHBOOK: "Cicadas and Spudnuts"

About two hours ago, I just got home after driving 9 hours from my home town, El Dorado, Arkansas.  I spent the week with my mom, "Miz Dee" and visited with my brother Kris and his wife Debra.  I had no real plans other than to spend a lot of time sketching.  Mission accomplished!

The sketches above are my first attempts at drawing some bugs from actual specimens.  It was very enjoyable and I will do more.  The larger Cicada was already just a shell when I found it on my Mom's deck.  The little brown ones had already been discarded by molting cicadas and were clinging to the tool shed in the backyard.  Fortunately, Mom had an old magnifying glass I could use...tri-focals are NOT good for sketching bugs!!!
Below is the "Tool Room" where my brother Kris is co-owner, and works with his buddies David and Phillip.  My Mom and I just hung around and drew for a couple of was hilarious.  Reminds me of Floyd's Barber Shop in Mayberry (the old Andy Griffith Show)...the guys and customers say all kinds of ridiculous and funny things.  I told Kris he needs to just put up a microphone and record the goofy things said.  Would be a hit radio show!
Below is my sketch from our time there.  I had wanted to catch the sunlight that shines in through the front door on all the rows of tools and supplies.
Staying with the theme of "sunlight", I was attracted to the early morning sun shining into my Mom's front living room.
Next up...a few shells from Mom's collection at home.
One of the mornings, Mom and I went sketching at the downtown "Square" in El Dorado.  They are currently working on some improvements, and I drew this little CAT while the work crews were getting ready for the day.
We had some time to waste while waiting for my brother and his wife to meet up with us for lunch.  Below is a sketch of "The Black Cat" where we ate.  The tree on the left was actually this flat on the top...I'm not sure why, since there were no power lines to keep the tree away from.
Most of our sketching out doors was done in the was pretty hot this week.  One of the places we go to often is "Rusty Acres" salvage yard.  I've drawn stuff from there before and posted it.  The piles of junk just go on and on and on!  This sketch was of a rusted out old dirt-mover and an abandoned truck bed.  We only lasted a couple of hours before the heat got to us, so I only have one sketch.
Below, Miz Dee is showing a curious customer some of her sketches.
On my last day at my Mom's house, we just decided to stay home and draw and looked at some of her collection of art books.  Mom found this old set of guache paints that had not been used for 30 years.  I gave them a try, and they still were "good".  I have not painted much with guache...not sure I like them.  I was trying to see if I could build my colors with layers, like I do when I paint with oils.  It will take a lot more time messing with the paints before I feel like using them over water colors.  But I had fun anyway.
I had taped off the brown-toned paper with masking tape first.  The little shed was done in the late evening as the sun was going down behind the shed.  Mom was a very cooperative model, and let me paint her while she took a nap in her festive muumuu.
And last but not least...a SPUDNUT!  Can't make a trip home without eating some of those!
That's it for this post.  Thanks, Mom, Kris & Debra for a fun time!!

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!