Saturday, October 5, 2013

Conference speaker (10-05-13)

I really enjoy working on caricatures and to draw out the odd elements in a plain face (in this case, the rigid pose, the small eyes and the felt-like hair).

Monday, September 16, 2013

A not-so-good portrait (09-16-13)

This is what happens when I draw with my arm outstretched, rather than bring the sketchbook closer to me: the results are distorted and look almost caricatural.

Friday, September 13, 2013

What shoes to choose? (09-13-13)

Since the store group I belong to has had a 180 days' safety record, we get to choose a pair of Keen shoes. A difficult decision to make!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

And now, for something different... (07-24-13)

Here is an image that I created, reworked in Photoshop CS4. To not get too specific in details, this image was part of a large event board, with text underneath. I erased the text, copied the upper border, reversed it, reduced its size and added it to the bottom of the image, carefully erasing the text underneath.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hawthorne Bridge and the Blues Festival (07-04-13)

We went to the Waterfront Blues Festival planning to end the 4th of July with a concert by MarchFourth Marching Band followed by fireworks.

Major chaos! The crowd at the waterfront was so dense we barely were able to find a place to sit; Valérie and Patrick were forced to go someplace far from us. Not to be picky here, but although we were relatively close to the stage, it was difficult to hear the concert, to the point that I felt distanced and inattentive, When it was time for the fireworks, we realized the stage was blocking our view of most fireworks save those that were high up in the air...

There was no room to move or do anything, so I pulled my sketchbook out and worked on this watercolor of the Hawthorne Bridge.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Stained Glass Window (04-21-13)

Valérie came up to Portland to sing in a fundraiser concert for the Oregon State Choir at First Presbyterian Church downtown. We sat upstairs at the balcony level and I had a close view of the beautiful workmanship in the interior woodwork (how different from the stone interiors of cathedrals in Europe!). Rather than draw the singers during the concert, this time I painted the south rosetta window.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Self-Portrait in Watercolors (07-10-12)

I struggle every time I use my watercolors, but I like the results this time...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

New Sketchbook (07-08-12)

I started a new sketchbook, and decided to introduce some other colors than the usual black pen, and work on patterns for the signatures.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Random Designs (07-03-12)

I was trying to work on some forms and shapes that would suggest fabric patterns; I used a black brush pen and a silver and a gold gel pen.

Cruise to Alaska: Tracy Arm Fjord (07-03-12)

The Inside Passage and Tracy Arm Fjord were the most beautiful part of the cruise... At the risk of sounding cliché, -and I am not one to start posting vacation photos-, but really... WHALES! We saw whales!

 The water was an exquisite opaque green, and looked like Jade-ite.

So I spent the day inside one of the ship's restaurants, trying to paint what I saw.
Tracy Arm Fjord in early afternoon

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cruise to Alaska: Skagway (07-02-12)

The cruise ship's second stop was in Skagway, a spectacularly beautiful natural area.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cruise to Alaska: Juneau (07-01-12)

I used my old watercolor pencils to record my first impressions of Juneau as the cruise ship entered the city...(there isn't much).

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Finishing my sketchbook (06-27-12)

When I complete a sketchbook, I sometimes add some finishing touches, such as color, collages, whatever strikes me as interesting. Since we are leaving on a cruise very shortly (this, despite my absolute fears of ending at the bottom of the ocean), I decided to do something that would indicate a them of voyage, without tipping over into scrapbooking.

This is the title page of the sketchbook.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A house, in the style of Flemish architecture (06-26-12)

During the first session of the Cartooning class I teach at the Milwaukie Center, I gave the kids the assignment to draw something without letting the pen leave the page. While they were busy, I decided to work along on the whiteboard.
It's funny, but as I started drawing a house, the style that immediately came to mind was that of Flemish architecture, tall houses with crenellated gables and small windows, as one commonly sees in Belgium in such cities as Brussels, Bruges, or Ghent...
Left: As drawn from memory           Right: A random example of the real thing

Saturday, June 16, 2012

OSU Commencement (06-16-12)

What a long and exciting day!

Valérie just graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with options in Choral Music Education and Piano Performance. And so, she participated in that necessary rite of passage, the Commencement ceremony...along with 3,500 to 4,000 other graduates from Oregon State University

What made the day a unique and especially challenging one was that Michelle Obama gave a speech at Commencement. Consequently, in addition to long wait times, access to OSU's Reser Stadium was subject to all the expected extra security measures, such as airport metal detector gates, unsmiling people rummaging through bags and purses, even sharpshooters on the stadium roof! 

The speeches were good, the graduates were happy, and the 30,000-strong audience consisting proud parents, relatives and friends was supportive. All in all, it was a nice day.

We sat on a sunny side of the side of the stadium closest to the College of Liberal Arts (and could see Valérie from afar), but as the afternoon wore on, shade came on our side while the other side of the stadium was still sunny, and there was a nasty little breeze that made everyone wish they'd brought a warm jacket...

Watching the ceremony
 To distract myself from the chilly weather, I pulled out my color pencils and worked on painstakingly trying to match the colors I saw; but I didn't quite finish my drawing...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Meeting of the Dreamers' Club (05-06-12)

I got an intriguing invitation via email for a meeting of the Dreamers' Club...

This took place at TaborSpace on SE Belmont, but I wasn't in the best frame of mind... In fact, I was right in a such deeply depressed state of mind that made it impossible to even think of any project in my life that would be of any worth to even think about.

So I wrote down other people's dreams for the group.
Members of the Dreamers Club, with miserable me, on the right

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Crystal Springs (05-02-12)

I have driven through Eastmoreland for years, always wondering about Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens. I finally decided that since this was a day when the entry was free after 4 PM, I might as well put my inner questions about the place to rest.

Yeah, it is pretty, but kinda boring. There were lots of people, actually too many, some of whom were jerks, like the guy who was showing his kid how to pester a duck, and the couples who blocked the way with bulky strollers.

I can see color variations, shadows, etc., in a photo, but I struggle with real scenery. So I made a valiant effort, even though the result looks static...


Saturday, April 21, 2012

PDX Urban Sketchers at the Chinese Garden (04-21-21)

The Portland Urban Sketchers met at the Lan Su Chinese Garden as a group, to sketch or paint. As usual, I got there so late that I might as well have not bothered going (and that's exactly why I make myself go, even if late...). I was so late, that it was almost closing time, and a nice man at the gate let me in for free; he probably felt sorry for me...

I don't feel very confident with color, but made a valiant effort to paint with my small portable watercolor kit.
Entrance Gate 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tablecloth Sketch (02-23-12)

I went to Romano's Macaroni Grill with my friends Suzanne, and we had a nice time talking... 

Doing so, I drew this face; it's a bit distorted because I wasn't drawing it close to me, but almost at arm's length...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Food Cart on 82nd (02-16-12)

I was driving by the Cartlandia food cart lot on 82nd Ave. in the rain, when I stopped on an impulse, thinking it might be fun to draw a food cart. I parked the car and decided to try my hand at watercolor pencils for a change from the usual black pen.
Cute little food cart

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Akwarius (ca. 01-04)

This is some of my older work, originally done in my 2004 sketchbook. I decided to post it here because I like it and I still find it pertinent and meaningful.
The Akwarius
Sketchbook layout

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Speaker at Church (12-11-11)

A caricature is done by exaggerating facial features to a point that, although still recognizable, they look out of the norm.

Not to make fun of people...but I couldn't help extrapolating on this person's solemn attitude, long face, and dour facial expression.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I was a vendor at the DaVinci Arts Fair (12-04-11)

Here is what my table looked like at the Da Vinci Arts Fair. I was selling blank cards of my pen and ink drawings and some knitted scarves (too bad I don't make jewelry, because I'd have made a killing...Sigh...)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2011 Pen and Ink Project: The Wedding (11-30-11)

Our daughter Valérie got married in October. I decided to draw the lovely memory I have of that day, the guest tables with my daughter Julia in the right foreground, and a close-up of the young couple lost in their own enjoyment of the moment.

2011 Pen and Ink Project: The Victorian House (11-30-11)

I like our former neighbors, Judy and Louis H., and thinking about them, their 109-year-old Queen Anne style house in Southeast Portland, originally built by Oregon painter Eliza Barchus comes to mind.

These drawing are closer to sketches because I wanted to be as accurate as possible. While we were chatting one day, I took a few photographs of Judy on the front porch and of Louis standing inside the ornate front door. I then made light landmark points on the paper with a pencil, and carefully worked with my pen inlude lines where I wanted them. When the drawing was finished, I erased all the pencil marks.

2011 Pen and Ink Project: The Circus (11-30-11)

I like clowns at the circus, but thinking of the most stereotypical thing about clowns, the ironic image of the Sad Clown, I decided to work on two scenes that would incorporate such a clown.
So here is a shabby circus tent, and a close-up of my poor clown having a Bad Day, where, -rather than being the funny one-, he is the one in dire need of entertainment. Next to him, there is a cage with a small monkey (I just couldn't resist the bad pun...).

2011 Pen and Ink Project: The Conversation (11-30-11)

A drawing lazily done during a meeting with some friends one evening. Mary M., our hostess showed us her studio space in her fairy-tale house, then served us a delicate cake decorated with a pink rose made of frosting. We then spent the next few hours enjoying each others' company talking about what mattered to us on a personal level. For the second drawing, I tried to draw Mary G.
Looking at these images reminds me of this evening with friends.

2011 Pen and Ink Project: The Instructor (11-30-11)

Sandra S.'s smile suggests that she has a sense of humor and will not put up with nonsense... To draw her, I tried to be sparse with details, and do a linear portrait.

2011 Pen and Ink Project: A Castle in Belgium (11-30-11)

One day in February 2005, my brother Sébastien took me for a drive along the valley of the Meuse  in Belgium. High up, near the top of the forested cliffs bordering one side of the majestic river, one could see the ruins of a castle. In answer to my question, Seb said this castle was called Poilvache (a funny name in French), and offered to drive up to it.
After crossing the Meuse and driving uphill on windy roads, we arrived to a wide clearing covered with snow. A path off the side led to the old castle. Unprepared for a hike, I had put on a pair of Converse high tops that morning; they promptly got soaked as we got out of the car and started walking through the thick snow. After a short hike, we got to a high wall and a locked gate: access to the fortress was closed for another couple of months.
With Seb's help, I climbed over the wall, and we set off to explore the grounds. We were alone, with only the sounds of our feet disturbing the leaden silence. It was dusk. The entire valley was open below us, with the sinewy silver path of the large river down below. The sun was a dull pink through the filter of the fog coming in with the night. It was blood-chillingly cold. The ruins of the roofless dungeon stood three floor high, huge open walls punctured with window openings.
In my mind, I could see how it must have been, some 500 years before, when men huddled around fire camps or tended to their horses. The unimaginable torture they must have endured, wet clothes, frostbitten limbs, dark nights, the forest where dangers lurked.
And we, visitors from another time, in the silence all around, could hear horses neighing and the sounds of a garrison settling down for a night long gone, but the biting cold was ever-present, eternal.

2011 Pen and Ink Project: My Little Studio (11-30-11)

My studio had humble beginnings as a workshop or storage space for one or another previous owner. When I first saw it on the day of the real estate open house, the late morning light reflected in the colorful glass pebbles mixed in the gravel gave the building a magical look.
I eagerly climbed up the steps, expecting to find a wonderful art workspace. My fantasy came to a crashing stop when I opened the door: boxes and old furniture piled up everywhere, water dripping from the ceiling.
One of the first projects we undertook after we moved in was to clean this outbuilding. It was a dark, unwelcoming place, dirty, home to hideous spiders and carpenter ants. It took quite a while, but it eventually got cleaned up, painted inside, redecorated, with new floors installed and sealed.
The studio is now a great work space to share with students and friends, with enough space to store art supplies, visual journaling books, large tables and chairs, and many objects, even vintage items for resale... It is a magical space!