Go Bruins – Go Mike!

Uncategorized | October 31, 2005 | By

If you missed the UCLA-Stanford game Saturday you missed another incredible white-knuckler.
Note to Bruins: yes, we like drama, but waiting until last 9 minutes of the fourth quarter to score 21 points and tie it up at 24-24 is just a little too much excitement for the likes of me. (The score was Stanford 21, UCLA 3 up until the last nine.)

Our Bruin junior, Michael, was on the sidelines to capture all of the action for the Daily Bruin.

MIKE WINTERS/daily bruin senior staff photographer
Sophomore wide receiver Brandon Breazell makes the game-winning touchdown in overtime over Stanford’s T.J. Rushing, finishing off the most unlikely of comebacks.

More of Mike’s game pictures at these links:

Cover story
Bruin QB Drew Olson
Stanford QB gets sacked

I need more RAM

I need more RAM
Not the computer kind. Not Random Access memory.
That kind of RAM I’ve got plenty of.
I need this kind. The kind with hooves and horns. The kind you catch a glimpse of on a mountainside.
I need more days outside before the chill of winter comes.
More trips to the zoo, more walks in the park.
More ruddy sunsets at the beach, more paths strewn with leaves.
I need more outdoors and fresh air, more forest brooks and smooth round rocks.
More Saturdays at the arboretum, more mornings in the hills.
Less widgets and more wallabies
And lots more ram.

Brush pen in a Moleskine

Today’s sketch – 10/18/05

Moleskine, Pen and Ink, Portraits, sketch | October 18, 2005 | By

Encountering the Inner Aphrodite

Moleskine, Pen and Ink, Photoshop, sketch | October 18, 2005 | By

After posting my contour drawing of Perseus a few days ago, an art buddy wrote me a very nice note and suggested that maybe sometime in the future I could draw something a little less scary, like Aphrodite, for example. So here it is, based on the statue of Venus de Milo. Again, this was about a 3 minute drawing while keeping the penpoint on the paper. It wasn’t blind. I did look at the paper frequently.

If we take a trip back to junior high history and English, we’ll remember that Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty and one of the many Olympian deities who took pleasure in meddling in the affairs of humans. In spite of her captivating appearance and charms she was not particularly a nice goddess, unless you were a devoted follower. Aphrodite, after all, was responsible for starting the Trojan War when she promised Paris the hand of Helen (a married woman) in exchange for Aphrodite being chosen the most beautiful goddess of all. Paris fell for this bribe, stole Helen’s heart, enraged Helen’s husband and the rest is history, not to mention more than a few bad movies.

The very embodiment of passion, Aphrodite is generous to her followers. But to those who deny her and her cause (love), she can be wrathful and punishing. She caused prideful women to grow cow’s horns on their heads, and made Poseidon’s sons to go mad. All sweetness and light? Not by a long shot.

So what can we learn from her, creatively? Aphrodite reminds us to be passionate about our lives and to embrace each day as a lover. A promiscuous creature, the goddess encourages dalliances and amorous liaisons. So if you always draw with a pen – have a fling with a pencil. Above all, let art become more than an idle flirtation. It’s time to turn up the heat.

First mums

Gardening, Nature | October 17, 2005 | By

We’ll go back to drawings tomorrow. In the meantime, I am reveling in the blooming of the first of my chrysanthemums. I took these pictures yesterday after a a bit of light rain. Today, unfortunately, we had a cloudburst and most of the blooms are looking rather bedraggled. I think I have about 30 different varieties of mums this year. I haven’t counted them, but that’s a pretty good estimate. Due to my ongoing gopher problem all of these are grown in 3 to 5 gallon pots. If I didn’t do this, they would all be underground and fattening up some rodent long ago.

Click to enlarge

Prom King – Anemone style

Red Wing – is actually a spoon variety but doesn’t look like it here.


Conquering the Inner Gorgon

Pen and Ink, Photoshop | October 15, 2005 | By

I’ve been doing a lot of blind contour drawings, prompted mainly by the wonderful group activity instigated by Niff and Sutter over at Inkfinger … and that led naturally to doing some contour drawings with eyes wide open – looking at both the picture and the paper. This one was done in 2-3 minutes in the conventional way, trying to keep the penpoint on the paper at all times. The picture was chosen at random from a book – it’s Cellini’s sculpture of Perseus displaying the head of the gorgon Medusa. Medusa had the nasty habit of turning people to stone just with a look.

Only after I drew this did the underlying message and the synchronicity of my image choice become apparent. What is the Medusa but the Inner Critic who can turn creative enthusiasm to stone in the blink of an eye?

The inner critic sees the tentative pencil scratches on the paper. “You drew that? Better keep your day job.” Stone.

“Why are you wasting your time with this? Don’t you have something better to do?” Stone.

“You know, you’re really too old to try to learn anything new.” Stone, stone, stone.

The myth gives a very apt metaphor for dealing with such enemies, whether they are outer gorgons or those that lie within. With help of wisdom (Athena) and a magical mirror-like shield Perseus tracks down the Medusa in its den and catches it off guard. He never looks at it directly but uses a bit of subterfuge as he dispatches it. Me, I have my own style. My sword is a pen and it’s name is Practice. Like Perseus, I don’t argue with my medusa-critic or try to stare it down because I know such encounters can be fatal to the creative spirit. Instead, when I hear its snakes come hissing words of discouragement and defeat, I turn my attention back to the blank page and get busy. It can threaten all it wants but it can’t touch me. And one of these days I may finally have the strength to give it a mortal blow.

More drawings from the Simpsons Scoring Session

The contrabassoon player. I really liked your Hawaiian shirt. I’m not sure that it had palm fronds and hibiscus but I think most of them do, so I hope you won’t mind that I took liberties with your attire.

A trumpet player, sitting fairly far from me. I’m sorry it doesn’t look like you. About all I could see was that you had a beard. Your horn sounded very good, however.

Trombone artist. Same apologies. The bell of the bone was covering your face a lot of the time.

More inking, scanning and coloring of Moleskine drawings from the Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror music recording session.
I know they don’t look like Moleskines now, but that’s where they started.

If you didn’t see the previous drawings, scroll down to October 10 …

LOST – Illo Friday

I had been thinking about the quake in Pakistan and made an attempt to suggest the size and scale of the recovery process with this experimental imaginary sketch painted in Photoshop. So I just finished posting it here and turned my thoughts to Illustration Friday. I was wondering what to do on the theme of “Lost.”

Then it hit me.

I am always amazed at how my unconscious mind is sometimes a step or two ahead of my dopey conscious mind.

Drawing at the Simpsons’ Scoring Session

Yesterday we had the opportunity to be guests at the orchestral scoring session for the annual Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween show with composer Alf Clausen, orchestrator Dell Hake and a roomful of tremendously gifted performers. We stayed for the entire morning session and loved every eerie, spine-tingling, rip-roaring moment. We were in the booth half of the time, which is a good distance from the orchestra, but we could still see through the glass.

I had looked forward to drawing the musicians but somehow portraying them ‘realistically’ just didn’t seem appropriate, given the subject matter. So I did it this way, instead. They were drawn in pencil first in my Moleskine … then inked onto tracing paper which was scanned and colorized in Photoshop. Getting likenesses was just about impossible considering that their faces were about as big as a thumbnail held at arms’ length, so I did what I could and ‘winged it’ for the rest. After one of the breaks we were allowed to go inside the recording stage with the musicians provided we didn’t make a sound (no dropping of pencils on the floor.) Since we have always been fans of the long-running series this was a real thrill for us. There’s something magical about being close to a large professional orchestra playing outstanding music to another very, very funny show. Set your TIVOS – don’t miss this one hour special.

I have some more drawings which I’ll post tomorrow or the next day – from the brass and woodwind sections.

Illo Friday – Float

Sometimes life takes mysterious twists and turns and it’s a challenge just to stay afloat.
But what a ride.