November, 2011 Archives

Damn. I love Chicago but couldn’t we have at least one of these things within easy driving range? Drawn from top of the water tower in Seattle’s Volunteer Park in a Rhodia sketchbook with Pitt Pens.

Jennifer flippin’ thru a book in the top floor reading room of Seattle’s spectacular Main Library designed by Rem Koolhaus. Gray day or sunny, the light’s fantastic in this structure. I needed to spend all day on 2-3 drawings to really capture the airy grandeur of this building.


S P E D    D O W N   T O   P O R T L A N D



Shot down to Astoria where I demoed to a lively crowd at Dots and Doodles. Things got to moving rather hurriedly  at that point. Quick glimpse of a tanker on the Columbia drawn from the backseat of Doug’s car as we raced to make an afternoon demo in Portland. The next day I got shaved smooth as a baby’s butt by surfer/blade smith Elijah Mack.



Pulled into Spokane after a 10 hour bus ride from Bozeman. I left at 3 AM which meant I got to see western Montana as the sun came up a bit before we neared Missoula. Awe inspiring countryside. The Tamarack or Western Larch trees were super dramatic as their needles had turned golden yellow shortly before they were to fall off. They only grow west of the Continental Divide which made for a glorious welcome to crossing the Great Divide.

Hit Spokane and found my way to a sweet little cafe, The Alpine Bistro and Bakery Company, where I recharged with a rustic soup and sandwich. They make huge sweet rolls and I tore into a mammoth cinnamon bun with cream cheese icing the following morning before giving a demo at Spokane Art Supply that afternoon.


Right next to my hotel was a Whole Foods-esque Co-op grocery store with a second story juice bar and dinning room that sported a jaw dropping view of the mountain range to the north of Bozeman.

Love the trees out west and set about to draw a few on the MSU campus when this gorgeous largish bird  went flitting about. Black head and neck, white under belly, tail feathers longer than it’s body length, iridescent blue black back and wings with white scattered throughout it’s wings. Magnificent. And BOLD! Saw it hold it’s ground by the base of a pine tree while a dachsund trotted up to sniff around. I though folks would be equally excited when I described it to them but nope. “It’s one of them damn Magpies”. “They’re worse than pigeons and they kill cats”. What? They kill cats?? Next I thought I’d hear they carted off small children. However, several folks, including a couple birders spoke of their tenacity. Part of the Corvid family, which includes Jays, Crows, and Ravens,  Magpies are described in Wikipedia as one of the smartest animals. One of the very few who have shown self-recognition in mirror tests. Big vocal range and good mimics. I became an immediate fan.


The above drawing was whipped out in the early morn before heading off to a number of demos and the veg was actually a turnip not a beet. I used some ballpoint on these pages but mostly turned to the Pitt Brush Pens, And with the exception of the tan page with the turnip drawing, these drawings were done in a sweet little leatherette covered Rhodia sketchbook.





16 hours via bus to Big Sky country. Not big on comfort so sleep didn’t happen but very entertaining. Hit Theodore National Monument about daybreak when our handlebar moustachioed driver, Richard, a colorful man in gray stetson, cowboy boots, smart looking vest and hand crafted utility belt, started giving us a thorough spiel about the park’s history, the area geography, the distinctions of the Bison and Buffalo, area tribes and the lowdown on the Yellowstone river. “Undammed and untamed, the Yellowstone is the longest undammed river in America”. North Dakota’s Badlands were quite the early morning beauty also.




Before heading off to Fargo I stopped by the Occupy Chicago demonstration near the Federal Reserve and the Chicago Board of Trade as I made my way to Union Station. There I managed a quick sketch of a bandanna clad dude workin’ up a fever on a makeshift drum kit. I spoke briefly to a few people without being able to locate any organizers or as referred to, supervisors. One fellow was a machinist who had difficulty keeping employed so was heading back to college in pursuit of the next phase in his evolving work life. He couldn’t find anyone at O.C. who had much info about the movement or it’s intentions. Another fellow, who seemed a bit street worn, wouldn’t answer any questions, kept standing in my way and telling me to draw him until I told him to scram. At that point he seemed to decide to actually engage me and said he had lost his job as a security personnel and was frustrated with the leadership at OC because they never wanted to hear anything he had to say. He said it had been his opinion that trying to occupy Grant Park overnight was a bad idea because they would be in clear violation of an easily enforceable curfew. Something the mayor acted on. I had a train to catch and strode off as the police were telling the demonstrators that they had to move.


Kim Bromley whipped out this doodle of me on his business card. At Kim’s invitation I gave a presentation to his drawing class at NDSU.    While I was demonstrating before Minnesota State Univ. Morehead art students by drawing professor Trygve Olson, Trygve was busy drawing me. T.O. possesses an agile and camera quick gestural style. I wasn’t making things easy on him by constantly hopping off the stool to point out features about him that drew my eye. Check out his work, political cartoons, sketches and super fresh watercolors at


Had to catch a 1:45 AM bus out of town to Bozeman and having already checked out that morning, I looked to find places to hang  after my last demo that afternoon at MSUM, all the while dragging around a portfolio of drawings and a 50 lb suitcase stuffed with clothes, sketchbooks and drawing supplies. Ate a leisurely meal at a Mexican restaurant downtown. Closed the joint. Went to a coffee shop a couple doors down where I ran into one of the students who had attended my demo at MSUM earlier that day. Had a swell time talking and looking over his drawings. Closed that joint. Hauled my ass and gear over to The Side Street Grille and Pub. Enjoyed a beer and the goings on there. Lively Metal and Rig Rock atmosphere.

Fargo looked to be thrivin’. 3.5% unemployment in North Dakota! Word was the pay in the oil fields was $100 K and Mikey D’s was paying $16-$18/hr at stores servicing the man-camps up in the oil fields.





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