Tagged: Nudes

Well, it’s been, hmmmmmm, weeks and weeks and weeks since I ventured into a life drawing session. Usually, when out on the road, I find some venue, somewhere, that has open life drawing sessions. Didn’t do that this last trek of 2 months. So last night, took the Pitt Pens, fountain pens, grease pencil, and a ledger book from who knows where that was gifted to me by Louisville’s Ed Nelson, and looked toknock off the rust. The opening nude in this post is a drawing from almost 4 years ago.




The above 2 are from 2009. I think it’s good to keep looking to see if you’re gaining or loosing ground on yourself.



What a month it’s been. Working out in the Bay area, wedding in Texas, lost a book project, banged my heels up on a granite dance floor, and the heat from Texas followed me home to Illinois. Ducked into the First Slice Pie Cafe on Ashland to escape the heat and grab some chow before skirting over to Rosehill Cemetery to draw trees & tombs. Banged this drawing in with a Visconti fountain pen juiced up with Platinum Carbon and took the Pitt Pens to it later ala coloring book.


Sat under the trees for a 4 1/2 hours.                          Managed to fend of a colony of ants.

One day in particular was just beyond the predictable. Early in the morning I dropped my girlfriend off at the airport Midway in south west Chicago. Due to congestion on US 55 I chose to head back north up Cicero Ave. I recalled on a previous trip some interesting sites in a part of Chicago that has not been tarted up with gentrification and luxo lofts. In the 3000 block of north Cicero, just above Wellington, is Chicago Meat. A tidy mart with a trinity of life sized bovines on the roof, just above the entrance. I pulled the car over, pushed the seat back, and produced the drawing below.


When I returned home I couldn’t recall the location, address, or name of the business, so I went on line to Google Maps and searched block by block with their function that allows one to virtually drive down the street. When I saw the store with the animals on top, I wanted to see if I could get close to the location I had drawn from. But, I was headed south and on the wrong side of the street. Seeing a double arrow on the screen that pointed directly across the street towards the store’s front entrance and drive way, I clicked on the arrows and zoomed right up to the entrance where one door was open. Wild…I thought. I could see right into the first aisle of the store. And oddly enough, I had another arrow on the screen pointing towards the beckoning door and aisles of food beyond. I clicked on the arrow. In to the store I was swept. This wasn’t just the magnifying function that I had used numerous times to get a better take on hard to read addresses. I was actually in the store. I mean virtually. I spun the camera around and looked right back out through the doors. As the view rotated 180 degrees, I could read all the brands on the cans and boxes of food. There she was with red bandanna on, a familiar face looking back at me from bottles of syrup and boxes of pancake mix as witness to my virtual slip through the mirror. I could also see that someone was at the check out counter. I turned the camera around and followed the arrows on the floor as they steered me throughout the store. Horns and stuffed animal heads displayed throughout the store, along with rows of metal racks hung from the ceiling in testimony to the routine slaughter that was/is the nutritional legacy of Chicago Meat.  In short order, I wound up back at the front doors through which I had entered. (If you want to see this for yourself here’s what you do: Go to google maps, search for 41.935732,-87.746561 – that’s the latitude and longitude of the front door of the store. Zoom all the way in. That will  put you in street view. When you get to street view you’ll see a set of double chevrons pointing at the front door of the store. You’re on your way, enjoy the trip.)

That afternoon I headed over to Rose Hill cemetery to work on a drawing of the grounds before I hustled downtown to make a life drawing session at the Palette & Chisel. First I stopped in to a pie store on Ashland to have a quick lunch where I drew the younger man working on his computer.  

After drawing for a couple hours in Rose Hill I hiked over to the Red Line. Took that to the Palette & Chisel where I squandered the talents of model Melissa and only managed a couple of passable drawings. After that I boarded the #22 bus on which, with her fidgeting and the bus hurky-jerkin’ along, I managed a better likeness of the passenger seen in the lower left hand corner on the page following Melissa’s seated pose than 3 previous hours of intense scrutiny. At some point a young woman with an intense pink dreaded hairdo got on the bus and sat next to me. We exchanged hellos and to my surprise it was the same woman I had drawn a week earlier, on the page above sitting in front of the gentleman with the woven skimpy brim. I told her she was in the book and showed the drawing of her. She was quite amused. ( This also happened to me in Portland. See post “In Portlandia I Were” )I found out that she ( let’s call her Lady K ) designed costumes for the theater and other events. About this time a fellow across the aisle from Lady K, who was both smitten and a few sheets to the wind, started muttering sugary nothings in her direction. The spunky pink toped gal was having none of it and snapped out, “That’s enuff!” and “You really need to stop!” I whipped out a quick likeness of the transit Lothario to Lady K’s amusement. You can see the sketch above. Fairly soon after that, as the bus neared my neighborhood, Lady K said goodbye and went to the front of the bus to disembark. Our little friend held back a bit then got up and followed., whereby I noticed a bottle of beer in each of his 2 front pockets. As she got off, he swept off the bus and immediately I could hear Lady K’s voice telling him to return to the bus. The bus driver left the door open and was making inquiries as to the situation. I got up and hopped off the bus to see what was developing. Our friend seemed to decide it was best to walk off his evenings enthusiasm and up Clark Ave he set. LK thanked me, said she was cool, and into the night she stood. I gave thumbs up to the waiting bus driver who closed the doors, waived and drove on up Clark. I walked on up Clark the remaining 3 blocks and as I turned to head down my street I saw the dejected romantic trudging a block further up Clark probably wishing he was still on the bus. At least he was getting the benefit of stretching his legs.




The above 4 pages are drawn from the incredible show of WW II posters at the Art Institute of Chicago titled “Windows on the War” which features Soviet TASS posters. I purchased the book and drew from the reproductions therein because the policy at the AIC was No Sketching in the gallery. Having walked in without noticing the sign I managed to get in a few drawings before the guard came over and stopped me.

I rarely draw plants but after an illustration assignment this summer and some visits to the exquisite Chicago Botanic Gardens I’m looking to knock out some more of these. I’ll see if I can sneak a nude into a secluded part of the gardens for some plein aire cheesecake. The botanicals are draw with Pitt Artist Pens and try as I might I managed only to kill the dazzling sense of luminescence and glare. This post has quite a jump in imagery going from a peaceful intimate scene with my girlfriend, to the savage images from WWII TASS posters to cafe dwellers combing thru their computer screens, an infant, a commuter with focus wedged between the pages of a book, and drawings of models and plants with a glimpse of their reproductive organs.


OK, there’s a few repeats, lazy editing on my part. Just trying to catch up with the backlog of studies over the winter. The drawings in the 3rd row across are from a new sketchbook, A Veterinarians Daily Record. The blue pages are in fact that color. The book alternates blue and oat colored sheets every several pages. Odd thing about the blue pages, they barely register a white grease pencil. I thought they had enuff tone for me to pop a highlight but the effect is dismal. The fountain inks look good on the paper and are easy to smudge before they set up.

Getting caught up on posting drawings from the last 4 months. Most of these were drawn at the Palette & Chisel in Chicago, however, the drawings on toned paper of Amanda were drawn at Trapeze studios in Seattle. All drawn with the usual suspects, India ink, Pitt Artist Brush Pens, fountain pens, China Marker for the white highlights. The pink drawing of Jessie is done in Iroshizuku Yama Budo fountain ink. The toned paper is from a recycled, acid free sketch book by Utrecht. And the drawings in the date book are Clairefontain paper in a Quo Vadis planner.

I renewed an interest in fountain pens perhaps a year and a half ago and have been drawing with them about 50% of the time. My first flirtation with them some 25 years ago was discouraging because I didn’t understand their mechanics, and improper care, combined with the wrong ink, bollocksed up a few pens. After trashing a semi-expensive Pelikan I moved on. But I always thought they had an elegance to them and had seen fountain pen script that produced an interesting line. Capable of lines both thicker and thinner than ballpoint, they also produced a wetter, thinner flow that could vary in tonal density from the start to the finish of a line or flourish. There was a noticeable “pooling” of pigment when the speed of the pen stroke slowed significantly or as the nib would come to a full stop. And while they seldom had the flexibility of the tines in a dip pen such as a Copperplate nib, some of the stub nibs had directional variance in line width and by virtue of an ink reservoir called a cartridge or a converter, the fountain pen had the distinct advantage of not being tethered to a bottle of ink. As you may have gathered at this website, I like to draw on buses.

Since it is also evident that I like to draw in previously used ledger books, I was always encountering numbers and script done in various medium. After looking at what was evidently fountain pen ink, I decided to give it another go. One frequent visitor to BND, who had been complimentary in past viewings expressed unvarnished disdain for my use of the fountain pen. Apparently tormented as a youth in school by the required tool, they had no love for the boring line produced by this writing instrument. I’ll note here that I got similar responses 35 years ago when I traded in my pencils and charcoal for a ballpoint. And having tried all the beasts on the shelves in art & craft & writing stores I often found myself struggling with an instrument I hadn’t mastered or by it’s very nature was ill suited to sketchbooks and ledger books. Often, that was the point. To see what would come of a new tool and to take some of the control and predictable flourish away from my hand. So just as I contend there are no bad poses, I don’t like blame coming to exclusive rest with the materials. Attributes can be found in unsuspecting places if you’re alert, no? A ballpoint that bled like a stuck pig and would most likely find itself in a waste basket, gave me a wide and juicy line as distinct from the brittle line produced by the well behaved accountants’ Bic fine point.

The very watery nature that is integral with fountain ink allows me to dab it while still wet and stamp ambient marks and smear the ink to get swaths and hazes that expand the vocabulary of the tool’s signature.


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