Child’s Play

child's playTo say this is child’s play speaks only to the content. This is one of my rare attempts to draw children, and it is modestly successful. It is a sketch in markers and color pencils from earlier in the month. A bit overworked, but I like it.



Rustin Cohle: Flat Circle

Rustin Cohle--Flat Circle

Cohle is my favorite character from True Detective (Season 1), so I couldn’t resist drawing him again. Just at this moment, crazy Reggie Ledoux is telling him that all life is a flat circle, which can’t mean much to him–unless he’s a fan of Nietzsche already and he may be. Considering his attention is on Marty’s whereabouts, possible assailants and covering their nutso suspect, it’s amazing that 17 years later, he remembers this. But that’s Cohle for you–he misses nothing.

People Watch

2016-03-29 woman with phone 2016-04 sketches sm 2016-04 sketch sm 2016-04-13 man sm2016-04-04 sketch 2016-05-16 girl sm  2016-05-17 sm 2016-06-06 man sm  2016-06-10 striped 2016-06-06 shade sm

Time to catch up on my daily people watch and the sketches it produces. These ten drawings, the best of my lunch break efforts, cover several months. I like them because of their character and mood–several of these people aren’t even involved with their phones!–rather than because of their poses. It’s an ongoing challenge to see how much I can capture in just a minute or two while keeping a certain elegance or energy of line. I don’t succeed often, but there are moments…


Drawing Attention

2016-04 lady with glasses

It’s been a little while since my last post, but I’ve still been drawing, mainly the people I see on my lunch break, the ones paying more attention to their phones than the world around them. An artist’s dream. One of the frustrations of my daily drawings is that I only see people at a distance and can’t make very detailed studies, added to the fact that my subjects shift pose constantly and don’t stay very long. I really need a posed model, but until I can arrange for that, I make do without what is available. This lady was kind enough to be sufficiently engaged with her cell phone that she didn’t move and didn’t notice me looking at her. Thank you!

Cell Phones and Other Princely Domains

2016-02-29 2016-03-23 bald man 2016-03-23 studies 2016-03-08 09 2016-03-22 power play

I believe it may be my calling in life to draw people sitting alone in public places interacting only with their cell phones. At least, if not my calling, it’s what I do with my lunch hour. To each his own. Although, admittedly, there are a few laid back guys whose main occupation seems to be surveying their princely domains. My posture is better, but I guess I fall in with their lot…a watcher.

Speed Drawing: Moving Faster than Thought

2015-11-12 man 2015-12-24 WmA 2015-12-27 Luke

I think too much.

This isn’t news. Anyone who knows me, knows it’s true. You’d think when it comes to exercising any skill, including drawing, that a thoughtful approach is the best. Sometimes it is. Sometimes, the best way is to study the proportions, carefully mark the features, follow the contours with patient care. It’s what I try for when I really want my drawing to come out right.

The problem for me is that I get so wrapped up in the problem-solving aspect of the work that the soul goes out of it. Or never got into it to begin with. Maybe the issue is with what I mean by right.The finished product may be well-made, but it feels dead. I look at it and have no idea what I thought or felt about the subject based on what’s on the page, which makes me wonder why I bothered. Well, I bothered because I actually did see something I wanted to capture: something I loved, something I wanted to understand, something that called to me. Why isn’t it in the drawing then?

It’s my theory that my brain gets in the way; I’m thinking more than drawing. So my solution has been to shake my practice up a little with speed drawing: getting the line down as fast as I can, scribbling the forms and emotions, sweeping through the movement, exaggerating. I’ve done it before–here and here–but I first began doing it consciously when I was drawing the flamenco dancers in motion and was confronted by a pose that excited me, but I didn’t know how to render. If I did nothing, it was gone. So I made a few big marks, fast, fast, trying to grab whatever I could, hoping that I had captured something of what I’d seen, maybe found a clue to the truth of the pose. And more times than not, I really liked the result.

The same has proved true when sketching from a photo. My line quality is more varied and interesting, there’s more emotion and energy, and the result is more vivid than if I’d taken more care. If I’d thought about it…instead, I drew. Let my hand and my eye do what I’ve spent all these years training them to do. The work I show here won’t always be in this manner–there’s still so much training I want to do–but eventually I’d like to venture beyond the safety of pencil to try this style in markers and maybe, one day, in pen and ink.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on speed drawing or any other methods to draw with less brain in the equation.

Family drawings for the holidays

1969 Family

1982 Liz wins art prize

I gave drawings for all my Christmas gifts this year. Most of my effort went into one particular gift: about a dozen old photos I used to make a family drawings coloring book / album for my parents and my sisters. (Crayons included, of course.) I hope they all enjoy it. We always got coloring books and big boxes of crayons each year, pictures to enjoy and add to, sometimes paper dolls to color and cut out, plus the wonderfully heady smell of fresh wax crayons…Ah! And so this idea was born.

These are two of my favorites, all of us together, c.1969, and a few of us celebrating one of Liz’s art wins c.1982. Not all of the likenesses are perfect, but I like them as a drawings, and the process of studying the faces as they changed with time was super interesting. I wanted to do so many more, but ran out of time. Too bad I don’t get my good ideas in July…

Lunch Hour Drawing

2015-07-29 to 10-29 figure studies

Here are the results of several months of drawing, mostly at lunch time (and once on the bus). They were drawn quickly, almost all in under five minutes, and some were little better than doodles, based on someone who moved by fast. As bad weather comes on, I should have a greater variety of people to draw–at least that’s something to look forward to about winter.

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

mks006  Napping 2015-09-09

My sister Elizabeth and I spent a week at the beach, and since both of us are artists, we packed for plenty of drawing time. We brought watercolor, acrylics, colored pencils, a variety of markers and pens, drawing pencils… and used almost none of it.

Maybe if we had a few more days…a few more weeks…We did take one day to do some sketching, but mainly we just relaxed and had a good time, which more needed than I realized. Beautiful times, if not abundant work