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!

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

I find it easier to listen when my hands are busy drawing.

2011 Pen and Ink Project: Molière (11-30-11)

Brilliant actor Tim Mooney's portrayal of characters from Molière's plays.

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

A drawing that underlines how one can feel alone in a crowd.

2011 Pen and Ink Project: Fashion Statement on Hwy. 99 (11-30-11)

The people who walk along on Hwy. 99/McLoughlin Blvd. in Oak Grove are rarely what one would call sophisticated; it's more like poor and working class who cross the road to take the bus. So, as I made a turn onto McLoughlin with my car, I was a surprised to see a middle-aged woman, dressed in flowing linen New Age style clothes with tribal patterns, a woman like one would see in Southeast Portland, not out in the gritty suburbs.

2011 Pen and Ink Project: Old Witch at New Seasons (11-30-11)

I was sitting in the dining room at New Seasons when my attention was caught by an older woman who was talking to an adolescent girl. The scene was banal: two people sitting at a table, and yet, there was something very unpleasant about this woman, the contrast between her falsely benevolent attitude, the small bear in her pocket, and...

2011 Pen and Ink Project: A Little House in the Forest (11-30-11)

What is the little house hidden in the forest? Who will get to it first, the little girl, or the big bad wolf?

2011 Pen and Ink Project: A Bench for Daydreaming (11-30-11)

When it comes to drawing, there's only one way that comes naturally to me: Pen and Ink. I got to think about what I like to draw freehand from imagination, how I would represent something from memory, and how it would look different from observation...
I wondered if beyond a broad overview drawing, one could get a glimpse at something else, something deeper, more detailed... This was the start of a series of unrelated drawings, all tied by a common approach, a view from afar, then at close proximity.

So, one day in 2011, armed with a few pens, a 2H pencil, and a small Bristol pad, I just started drawing. This scene slowly took shape, first a bench, with a girl sitting, and then trees all around. Who is this girl, and what is she thinking?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Quick Caricatures (10-03-11)

I love doing sketches from television, because of the static nature of the poses. There's plenty of time to focus on facial expressions...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wedding Dress Fashions (09-11-11)

I have a nice collection of wedding dresses, but the most outrageous one is a 1980s Jessica McClintock dress that fits no definite style category: a close-to-the-body tight-fitting knee-length sheath with a high neck, mixed lavish embroidery, and at the back, a cascade of fabric flares reminiscent of a Belle Époque bustle!
There is in fact no bow at the back...
The other dress in my sketchbook is the one that my daughter Valérie has chosen as her wedding dress: a classy, elegant, 1950s (I think) pleated polyester knit dress with an embroidered lace bust and collar.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Fine Rat (09-02-11)

This drawing of a rat is from memory... (Thankfully, not from direct observation!)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Caricatures (09-02-11)

Some made-for-TV faces, as seen...on TV.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Favorite TV Show of the Moment (06-29-11)

Thanks to Netflix, I discovered a fun TV show called Pawn Stars. Based on a simple premise, - people sell things to get quick money -, the show give a fascinating insight into the workings of a pawn shop in Las Vegas. Expect the unexpected, and enjoy watching the store employees bicker constantly.

I did these character studies while watching reruns; they look like caricatures because the TV medium is static, allowing me to go over lines and keep the drawing "cleaner" than a sketch.

Well, that fantastical creature just appeared on the page...
The unfinished drawings show how this is done...

Monday, June 20, 2011

The World is a Strange Place (06-20-11)

Call me naïve, but I just found out that "Buffy Malone," the name I came up with years ago, the most outlandish made-up name I could think of as an example of an unlikely mix of Pop Culture and Italian ethnic, - a name I have extensively used in various humorous stories I've written, - is actually the name of a real woman on Facebook (...and she kinda looks the way I'd imagined my own Buffy Malone...)!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hairstyles (06-17-11)

...Quick sketches to alleviate my haircut anxieties.