Monday, December 17, 2007

The Happiest Place On Earth

It's funny how much screaming and crying and fits of utter despair take place at Disneyland, the so-called "happiest place on earth". I'd hate to see what the saddest place on earth is like. As I'm sure you've guessed, I took my family to Disneyland a few weeks ago. November turned out to be a great time of the year to go. The lines were short and the weather was beautiful! The top picture is a picture of me, my daughter, my screaming son, and my nephew in front of the Haunted Mansion. My son is screaming because he REALLY doesn't want to have his picture taken. I'm not sure why, but sometimes on this trip he would act shy and throw a fit if we tried to take his picture. At other times he would be really cute and ham it up for the camera. I guess it's a three-year-old thing. We spent three days at Disneyland and at about six o'clock on the first and second days, my son would stop, look up at me and announce, "I'm done walking, dad". So I'd carry him arround the park until it closed at 8:30 or so, and then carry him back to our hotel room. As soon as we got outside the park, he would fall asleep in my arms, or, as is the case in the above picture, while sitting on my shoulders. On the third day I decided my back, and arms, and neck, and pretty much the rest of my body, couldn't handle lugging my 45 pound son back to the hotel again, so we brought the stroller along. Anyway, it ended up being a great trip. We all had fun and the kids are already looking forward to next year.

As for an art update?... Well, for the past couple of months I've been in the process of finishing my basement. I've contracted most of the work out, but some of it my wife and I have been doing ourselves, and unfortunately, the parts that I've been doing have taken F O R E V E R. I've been spending every spare minute for the last few months hanging doors and putting up baseboard and crown moulding, so I haven't had a lot of time left over for working on any art for my blog. The good news is that I'm almost done with the basement. The really good news is that I'm putting an art studio in my basement where I'll be able to draw and paint to my hearts delight! The bad news is that I'm lazy and probably still won't update my blog very often. Ah well, at the very least I'll post some more life drawings soon.... if I ever remember to bring my camera to work.

Friday, September 28, 2007

More Drawrings...

I even threw in a gesture this time... just for kicks.

Friday, August 31, 2007

More Friday Life Drawings

The top drawing was done this morning and the bottom drawing was from last Friday. The drawing I did last week was turning out OK, but then I ran out of time. I always spend too much time trying to get the face right which never leaves me with enough time to get the rest of the figure to a more finished state. I really debated weather or not I should even post the one from today as it's a pretty terrible drawing, but I figure I might as well post my failures as well as my successes. Not that I consider everything else on here a success... far from it. But usually there is at least one part of my drawing that I'm pleased with; there's nothing in the drawing I did today that I'm really happy with. Oh well... better luck next time, I guess.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Life Drawing Dump 3

Well, I guess I had enough life drawings piled up already for this to qualify as a dump. Again, these are all from the Avalanche friday morning drawing sessions and they all took about an hour and a half to complete -- except for the very bottom one which is a two and a half hour drawing that I did today. I'm not sure if it actually looks any better than the one and a half hour drawings though. I've been trying something new lately, using black and brown and sometimes white nupastel and charcoal on toned paper. I think it looks kinda nice; the brown keeps the drawing warm but I can still get some deep blacks and cool shadows. It's a bit more work though. It's almost like I have to do the whole drawing twice. I haven't decide yet if it's worth the trouble... we'll see.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Life Drawing Dump 2

Here's another shload of drawings from the art sessions we have at work. These all took about an hour and a half, which these days, isn't enough time for me to do a decent finished drawing... gotta keep working on it. Hopefully, this will be my last big life drawing dump as in the future I'll post one or two drawings on a more regular basis.

Friday, August 03, 2007

New Avatar

Every once in a while I like to mess around with logo design, and since I needed a new avatar for my blogger profile I thought, why not design a new personal logo. So this is what I came up with.

This is my logo in it's most basic black and white form. I don't know if I'm in love with it, but I guess it works.

Here then, is my new avatar. I hope y'all like it!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Life and Death

I hope the readers of my blog (all three of you) will forgive me if I depart from my usual (though too infrequent) art posting this time around. Life has doused me with some pretty heavy doses of reality this last month that have made it difficult to concentrate on any sort of creative endeavor. The picture above is a photograph of my nephew’s heart that was taken last week when he underwent open heart surgery. My nephew was born with some severe heart defects for which he has had to undergo several major heart surgeries. His last surgery took place when he was about three years old, at which time they put in a pulmonary valve and artery from a donor to replace his own defective valve and artery. He is now fifteen years old and the valve and artery are too small to accommodate the blood-flow needs of a young adult. In the bottom half of the picture you can see where they have put in a new pulmonary artery which is made of a combination of bovine (cow) tissue and goretex. What can’t be seen is the new pig valve that they put in to replace the old one. Apparently a pig valve will last longer than a human valve… which is a good thing. The medical miracles that can be worked these days are all pretty amazing. In the twelve years since his last surgery my nephew has been able to live a relatively normal and healthy life (if you can call being active in drama and local theater groups normal ;) ). But in recent years, as he’s gotten older and bigger, his energy levels and his oxygen saturation levels have been steadily declining until this last spring when the doctors finally said, that’s enough, it’s time to fix you. It’s unheard of for this type of repair to last twelve years, but somehow that’s how long it’s been. I haven’t heard how long the doctors expect this latest repair to last, but naturally the family is hoping it will last as long as possible. Obviously, everyone in the family is concerned about my nephew and interested in his recovery, but my wife and I, perhaps, have a more profound interest in the outcome of my nephew’s surgery because we too have a son that was born with severe heart defects. My son is three years old now, and in terrific health, but he’s had to endure three major heart surgeries – two of them open heart surgeries – all by the time he was a year and a half old. Like I said, he’s doing great now, but we know that as he gets older and bigger, the parts that were used to repair his heart will start to stretch, and his valve will start to leak, and my son will start to feel more lethargic and tired. So as we watch my sister and her husband worry and stress over the health of their son, my wife and I can’t help but feel a little apprehensive about not only my nephew’s health, but also the health of my own son. Fortunately, my nephew’s surgery went perfectly and he’s recovering remarkably well. He had his surgery last Thursday morning and was released from the hospital on Sunday morning, which to me is just amazing.
Unfortunately, the stress surrounding my nephew’s heart surgery comes on the heels of another family tragedy of nightmarish proportions. Some of you may have seen the news stories last month about Samuel Ives, who was killed by a bear while he was camping with his family. Well, Sam was my nephew. Sam’s mom is my wife’s sister. Needless to say, the family has been pretty devastated by this whole event and we’re all struggling to try to wrap our brains around what happened. It’s difficult not to constantly think about Sam and the terrible way he died. Unfortunately, but understandably, Sam’s parents are having a very difficult time coping with their grief and will be in need of the support and prayers of family and friends for a long time to come. I guess if there’s any lesson to be learned from all of this it’s the old cliché that you shouldn’t take the ones you love for granted because you never know what life might decide to throw at you. I know I’ve been giving my own kids a lot more hugs lately. I can’t imagine what I would do if I lost one of them. Hopefully, that day will never come.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Young Bride

Sorry about all the dust that's been building up in here over the last couple of months, but I've been trying to work my way through an artistic slump that's driven me to the brink of insanity. Fortunately, I've had some good music to listen to while losing my mind, and I've been able to draw on the genius of others to help get me through. For instance, here's a painting I did that was inspired by my new favorite song by my new favorite band, Midlake. I highly recomend checking them out. You can listen to the song "Young Bride" on their website... which you should go do... RIGHT NOW!!! They came to town a few weeks ago and put on an great show. I only wish my art could be half so brilliant as Midlake's music. Once again the painting took longer than I wanted it to, and didn't turn out quite the way I had hoped, but I'm pleased with the way parts of it turned out. Of course there are parts that I'm less than pleased with, and maybe someday I'll go back and try to re-work them, but for now, I'm satisfied to call this done. It was done primarily in Painter with a little smoke and mirror help from Photoshop.