Aug 27, 2007

Black and White All Over

Today I decided that I needed to keep to the consistent black and white elements in my studio, whipped out the white paint and went nuts.

I painted my bulletin board, a few frames, a mirror and my wooden paint drawers...white. Even my ratty pencil sharpener got the white paint treatment. But my bulletin board was calling for more than that, because it was staring at me like a blank canvas. I pulled out the acrylics and painted, well, something black.

Aug 20, 2007

Just Hangin' Out

Every so often I will post pictures of my dog, particularly when I think he acts out of character. My husband took this shot in my studio while I was sitting in this chair. Here, he's hanging out while I work. Notice the delicate way he rests his paw on the base of the chair, very cool and laid back. Okay, it's cute, it's my dog, so there.

Aug 18, 2007

Sparky's, The Frick & San Ambroeus

As usual, we had our first meal of the day at our extended kitchen, Sparky's. Sparky's is a true neighborhood place where everyone knows each other. If the waitresses are too busy, just serve yourself a cup of coffee or glass of water, and if you really have to, clean up your own table to make room for the next family. We manage to have a well-rounded meal at $10-15 a day for 2 people. So I've taken to doing more life drawing there since I've started freelancing. Since drawing on a subway commute is no longer an option, Sparky's is the next best thing. As I was drawing, I was struck by all the logos everywhere. 24/7 we're bombarded with product placement even in the most unsuspecting places. I didn't draw them all, but you'll see four of them here.

I was in a drawing mood and it couldn't be a more beautiful day. We decided to head to the city and visit the Frick. We weren't sure where it was exactly, but we headed to Museum Mile (which runs on the east side of Central Park), hoping we'd run into it. Instead we ran into a young English gentleman sitting in front of The Met. He was kind enough to let us borrow his copy of Time Out New York which told us that we were only 10 blocks away. Once we finally made it to the Frick we did a bit of drawing there. I don't know what it was, perhaps because it was literally a house full of accomplished masters, but my drawing was feeling a bit lifeless. I was drawing a few statues that came out stiff and mannered, as good as a student exercise.

A very mannered sketch

Not exactly the ego boost I was looking for. So I just decided to enjoy the paintings as accomplished works and draw the people looking at the paintings. Afterwards, we went to a snooty, Upper East Side brunch place called Sant Ambroeus, where I had a perfect salad of thinly sliced Parmesan on a bed of artichokes. I drew Dennis and cleaned my plate. Then we had some wonderful gelato and a strawberry and white chocolate dessert. The service was excellent, despite the upper crusty clientele. We managed to avoid most of it until, close to the end of our meal, two young women, maybe fresh out of college, were seated next to us.

A slightly disheveled Dennis (lovingly colored)

They spoke one decibel over earshot, which wasn't difficult since their table was less than a foot away. Each name-dropped designers and actors like they were going out of style. We learned that one of them, the louder of the two, has a family friend who designs jewelry for Gwyneth and several other famous women, and that her father made an enormous amount of money on side jobs editing music videos. In short, she was basking in the success that was her father. Actually, I was very impressed by her father, even though I've never met him, let alone his daughter. But really, I almost wanted to erase them from my memory (my husband's smarter technique) but the situation was in such poor taste, I had to pen it here. Well, suffice it to say, we left rather irritated, exchanged snide comments a few decibels above earshot, turned our noses up and walked out.

Aug 15, 2007

Simple Drawings and Photoshop

I love to draw. I always love to go to museums that explore the stages behind the finished painting, the energy of the artist's first ideas before she makes the commitment in oils. Photoshop allows me to explore that energy and realize it in color. Granted, it may not be as lush in color, texture or detail. You don't get that buttery quality that makes you want to reach past that velvet rope and touch it. But you can bring it to life in an instant using digital colors and textures of your own design. You can move the picture around until you get the result you want or at least close to what you want in a matter of minutes. If you build in more time, as with any painting, the result is a rich, lively image.

Above, I created simple drawings and brought them to life in Photoshop for a surface pattern that retains the original spontaneity of the original drawing.

Aug 14, 2007

Aug 13, 2007


Click on image for larger view.

My husband's wallet was stolen at Chicago's O'Hare Airport last night. Right away we canceled his card. This morning we headed over to the DMV to replace his license. One would think it to be a lousy day, but we had a fine time sketching all the personalities that were waiting around for their number to be called. We waited so long we decided to take a quick lunch break in between, gambling our number wouldn't be called in the time we were gone. We headed over to Sparky's, our favorite diner, grabbed a couple burgers and headed back in time for my husband to file for a duplicate driver's license. When all was said and done, it was a 3 hour wait. That's about as long as one of my old college studio illustration classes. Then we headed over to the police station to file a report in case of stolen identity. We found out his credit card was used at a local Chicago gas station after it was canceled. We smiled knowing that the thief didn't get what he wanted, plus I got some precious life drawing time.

Aug 9, 2007

IF theme: Missing

I want to call this "Something Missing." I needed to play around and have some sort of creative release and then I came up with this creepy background and took a figure I had already illustrated and plopped her down. She seemed to fit...sort of. So she looks like a ghost, a person that will be missing or missed. Or it can be interpreted as, something is missing about this piece. Can you tell my brain is fried? Another something missing. The theme is like a plague.

Aug 4, 2007

Just Great.

Please excuse this short lapse of non-illustration-related material and allow me to share my greatest concert experience to date.

Our handy but not so dandy cameraphone captured enough of our 2nd row view of The Police Concert for someone to almost believe that those bright, ghostly images are the actual members of the band (objects in cameraphone are closer than they appear--really!). Oh well, thank goodness for WireImage. Please note the prettier, much clearer photo of The Police, as seen through a professional's lense. That's about what we saw.

OK, so now that you get the idea of our proximity, I will say it was the most memorable and definitely the greatest concert experience I've had so far. How can it not be? We had an amazing time singing and dancing to all of their hits, jumping up and down like it was the eighties all over again, especially when they played Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, but without the big shoulder pads, rolled-up pants and awkward haircuts. One song, forgive me for not remembering which one it was, but after Sting sang a line, the audience reverberated with "eyo weyo weyo yo" pitch perfect. Sting's look of surprise was wonderfully genuine. Did I say 2nd row was amazing?

If you've seen Sting on TV recently, the cameras don't lie. He really looks AMAZING in person. When he sang, he SOUNDED terrific. His star presence on stage was a force. Stewart Copeland played powerful drums, booming in Driven To Tears, and Andy Summers played guitar like he invented it (no pun intended--yes, he is the oldest of the 3, but it was clear he was having fun). They played effortlessly in sync, and as cliche as it sounds...ROCKED the house to the end. The magic lasted a little over 90 minutes ending with Roxanne and two encores. The entire performance was just under 2 hours which, for Sting, is long. I wish it could have lasted another 2. We knew it finally ended when the three of them took their final bows and Andy Summers proceeded to photograph the screaming crowd. If you want to read more about it, a reviewer pretty much sums it up here: Newsday: The Police as Fresh as Ever

Now back to the board. Ho hum.

Aug 3, 2007

Don't Stand So Close to Me

Today is one of those really hot days when you can crack an egg on the sidewalk and watch it fry. It's one of those days where you start sweating with one foot out of an air-conditioned room. It'll be one of those days I'll reminisce about and say, "I remember when we saw The Police in concert. It was a really hot day."

Thankfully, we'll be inside most of the night watching The Police in concert. We'll be going to Madison Square Garden, sitting second row, to witness a long-awaited comeback tour. I was always a fan, but my husband is the biggest fan I know. I actually knew a girl in junior high school who I thought was their biggest fan, until I met my husband. He paid a pretty penny to be up close and personal. And though I am still trying to recover from sticker shock, I must admit, I've never been this close in any concert and I'm really looking forward to seeing the sweat on Sting's face while we dance in the air-conditioned stadium.

It's one of those really hot days, just don't stand so close to me. Sticky.