Tagged: transit riders

Well, it’s Butt Nekkid Time again. New Year’s Day finds me once more at The Palette and Chisel for their 12 hour life drawing marathon. Jumped on the Red Line at 7 AM and made it to the Palette and chisel a bit before 8 AM to a good and growing crowd. Threw in some end of the year studies about town for good measure.


It’d been a wile since I’d ventured into the Palette and Chisel. Didn’t get any stellar results thou I like the one of Brittany and the seated drawing of Melissa. The ledger book I’m currently drawing in was given to me by Stuart Balclomb. The preexisting ballpoint writing was done with such pressure that the pages feel not unlike seersucker fabric and are fun to draw on. At first the surface seemed a little waxy to me and I thought the pages were resisting some inks. But I’ve been using the Pitt Artist Pen, ballpoints, gel pens, and fountain pen and ink. The inks have been, Iroshizuku, Platinum Carbon, Noodler’s, and Levenger’s. I can’t tell if the sheets have been inconsistently sized or if all the handling has made parts of some pages respond to the inks differently, but there has been a touch of resistance and feathering. The paper was made for ballpoint and that stuff goes down like a champ.


These recent pages were drawn in a ledger book given to me by Stuart Balcomb. The book was used to enter recording session info from Universal Studio sound tracks for mid ’60’s T.V. shows. Look close and you can see which ones.



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 TrygveOlson.com


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.





Toiling away at the old mill. Fall’s upon us and once again I rise early to make the life drawing marathon at The Palette & Chisel. Nearing completion of the current ledger book I’m drawing in. I’ve really enjoyed this one: a 500 page 1959 Veterinarian’s Daily Record published by the Kersten Publishing Co. A real beauty that takes a serious soaking with fountain pen ink without bleeding. Try this in your Moleskines.





OK, here’s a new development. As a 57 year old citizen I am entitled to register for Seniors Life Drawing sessions at the Chicago Cultural Center, a beautiful old former central library in downtown Chicago. Located in “The Loop” at the northeast corner of Millenium Park, I have often gone there to work catering events, see exhibits, and to just hang about and draw folks in the first floor reading room. So….the two drawings above to the right, the page of several quicker poses and the half hour study on toned paper done with Pitt Artist Pens and a white China marker were executed at my first “seniors” event. I’ve acted like an old geezer for years so I guess I just made it official.


      I’m making use of a Prussian type blue in my sketchbooks these days. I like it’s dark slightly dirty nature. By combining it with lighter value and more distinctly cleaner blues I get a range that makes otherwise monochromatic drawings richer. And by having varied hues of blue it’s not just a matter of darkening the tone but of changing the character or temperature of the color. When using fountain pens the 2 blue inks I like which have this Prussian sort of hue are Noodler’s Bad Blue Heron and Iroshizuku tsukio-yo. I make the choice depending on which fountain pens I’m using. The Bad Blue Heron is from Noodler’s “Warden” Series and is water resistant when used on cellulose paper and I have found that it can and will create build up on the nibs and in the feed if not flushed out quite frequently. Therefore, even thought I dig it’s color and coverage, I don’t use it in pens that cost more than $65 – $75. For those pens I switch to Iroshizuku inks. The principle fountain pens that see a lot of Noodler’s are my Pelicano Juniors. Less than $15 they are a scream. Just love ’em. Stainless steel nibs that have a slight give when pressed, they use ink cartridges ( which I refill using a hypodermic) that hold more ink than converters. I even find their clunky bodies comfortable. The only drawback is that the plastic caps split and crack quite easily. Everything else seems pretty durable to me. I intend to have a toymaker friend of mine cast a couple caps in a more durable material.

A drawing done from a photo of a wind mill in Illinois that I intend to visit, the clouds were drawn one morning by watching formations out my front window. I’m no Clive Powsey when it comes to clouds and luminous skies. That’s some work for this coming year.





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.


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