May, 2011 Archives

Monday, May 30th, I got up at 5:30 AM so that I could be downtown at the Palette & Chisel by 7 AM to partake in the Annual 12 hour life drawing marathon. The P & C holds 3 such events a year, Labor Day, New Year’s Day, and Memorial Day. I made it wire to wire and turned out 24 pages. Except for the far right drawing at the top, most of the drawings were done in 15-25 minutes.  I’ll spare you most of the quick warm-ups.

The last drawing is a relaxed portrait of the events’ organizer and longtime member of the P&C, Historian, Musicologist, Bloggerista, itinerant social commentator, keeper of the feral mane upon his head, and bon vivant…..Chris Miller. You can read transcription of his spontaneous ululations and bons mots on his blog, This Old Palette. A link to which is provided on my landing page.

The drawings were executed in a Utrecht toned sketchbook and a Veterinarian’s Ledger from 1959 with the same line up of tools that I’ve been hauling around with me for a spell. Pitt Artist Brush Pens, various fountain pens, and the ink for those pens, Platinum Carbon, and Iroshizuku.

The day yielded mixed results. I started off promising, foundered a bit and concluded with a few drawings I liked. I sure lost focus there on a number of poses. For certain, it wasn’t my day for likenesses. And true to form I went AWOL on the legs. I was trying to pay more attention to boxing the pelvic area and had a great view of the reclining pose, middle column fourth row down, but went ham handed and lost the grace and supple power of the model.

Just putting up a bigger presence on the landing page with an image from the previous post. This is a drawing I made in Portland at the home of Bill Sharp an artist who was a landscapist and put together quite a lush garden around his home over a couple decades.

Went out to Portland, a town I’m developing quite a fondness for, for a week, to take care of business and clown about town. For starters, as I was riding the light rail, the Max , in from the airport, a young woman in a green tee shirt, festooned with facial piercings, and hair piled high and gathered in a black paisley patterned bandana, sat right in front of me. You see her in the top left drawing. I would run into her a week later at the airport as I was drawing a view out a window by a coffee stand where she was getting off work. That drawing of the tarmac with highway and hills beyond is at the bottom of the middle column. She noticed me drawing, mentioned she’s an artist, her boyfriend a tattooist so I showed her the drawing I made of her the week before. She was very charming and I seriously wanted to do a portrait of her but figured she was tired having just finished an early morning shift.

Once in town, I shot over to the Chinese Garden, a reconstruction of a poet’s walled compound from the garden district in Suzhon. There I drew the Foo Dog you see above.

The next day, after a fine lunch with my Northwest Coast friend Doug at Jake’s Seafood Bar and Grill*, Doug and I headed to The Art of The Shave where we took turns under a straight razor deftly managed by the suave and engaging Elijah Mack, who transformed our grizzled jaws into smooth as polished baby butt profiles. Eli, with tattoos aplenty & perfectly comb-raked pompadour, is a first rate conversationalist, raconteur, and one sharp dressed muthafukka. (* You can see drawings that I did with artist Pete Scully one nite at Jakes during last summer’s Urban Sketcher’s Symposium on my earlier entries, “More Glimpses of USK in Portland” and “Post Partum Portland”)

I then went and joined up with Portland artist Bill Sharp, whose astute work you can view by linking to his website through my blogroll, for some life drawing at Hipbone studios. I wasn’t on my best game there and you can see I fell prey to some of my bad habits. My proportions were all out of whack, I shorten folks legs if I’m not alert and there is barely any suggestion of form and twist in the hips of the reclining poses. I was trying to whip it out and got some lazy scrawls instead.

The evening of the following day, after work, I went on a boat ride up the Willamette River during which I drew the 2 portraits in the 3rd row of fellow riders. I began the drawing titled Il Tom Siena by drawing the hairdo of Siena, our trade show sponsor at C2F. Then Tom O’Brien, an artist from Seattle, obligingly posed to complete the sketch.

Row 4 columns 1 & 2 were drawn at Linda & Fred Engstrom’s vineyard, Cloudrest, a plot of land straight out of Eden.  We had 2 hours to draw before the place took a soaking. The blue glazed pot was drawn from under their eaves where I took refuge from the rain.

As with most places, Portland has it’s cast of characters. And time spent on her streets, riding public trans, and in the libraries, book stores, bowling allies, and bars & cafes, will give you a very colorful assortment of the species. Cork, a distributer of art supplies, is seen wielding a 2 olive martini and set to sling his transparent bowling ball with skull encased. In addition to an abundance of piercings, labrets and the like, and vast acreage of tattooed skin, Portland relishes hirsute displays. The reading rooms of Portland’s main library offer choice examples from shaggy to shorn.  Check  the twin peaked pompadour on the intent reader, 2nd column, 5th row.

All the rain aside, and the Northwest being a part of the world that excels in precipitation, the lack of marrow congealing winters and blistering summers, the highest unemployment after Michigan, and years of the attrition of a deeply entrenched meth trade, means a sizable transient and homeless population. On the west facade of the library at 10th and Yamhill, up under the crown, is the well known phrase from Luke 6:31,”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Those who find themselves down on their luck, or wrestling with MH issues, who are on the street because of life choices or who struggle negotiating life’s often tough terms are fortunate that Portland’s weather is temperate and her citizens embrace the pathos of Luke’s words. Washington and Oregon have led the states in efforts to keep the pharmaceutical building blocks of meth behind the counter. No thanks to the foot dragging of Big Pharm.



After drawing in the larger ledger books I feel a bit cramped at times in books under 8 1/2″ x 11 but I have enjoyed this weird bird of a book, a Veterinarian’s Daily Record. The blue pages have their own set of peculiarities and the pages in general don’t really register the addition of a white grease pencil but I like the way it takes the FC Pitt Pens and the 2 fountain pen inks I’m making the most use of lately. Those inks, Noodler’s Kingfisher Blue and Platinum Carbon have great character on this stock. The Quo Vadis I just finished drawing in had a warm and beautiful ivory color and a creamier surface. The Vet’s ledger has more of an oatmeal tint and is coarser in texture but both ledgers prevent bled-thru nicely and the rougher tooth of the Vet. Daily Rec. gives a nice grainy effect when the ink is dragged across the page.

Ah Lord, HATS. Hats bedevil me. Getting the drawings to feel like the hat sits on a solid globe, that a noggin is really shoved into one. Like hairdos, that amount to more than spaghetti slapped up against the page. Most of the Prussian Blue colored drawings are done with a fountain pen using Noodler’s Kingfisher Blue, the black drawings on ledger paper are drawn with a Visconti fountain pen using Platinum Carbon Ink. The colored drawings are my old reliable Pitt Artist Pens. The top 6 rows were drawn in a Veterinarian’s Daily Record ledger book from 1959. The ivory colored paper in row 7, column 1 & 3 and the 3 drawings in row 8 were drawn in a Quo Vadis Note 27 daily planner which has the creamy smooth Clairefontaine paper that also has good blocking ability. Fairly important as I draw on both sides. The clay colored paper in the lower rows are from a Utrecht sketchbook with recycled acid free paper.

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