Pen & Ink: Italian Landscapes

Now I paint things like this.

I hesitate to say "I paint" when I really have no idea what I'm doing. Guys like Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Caravaggio painted. I scribble and dab watercolor onto expensive Canson watercolor paper and get frustrated when I ruin it. I believe it shows very clearly that I don't know what I'm doing, but in an effort to be more...transparent? I am putting this stuff out there. Go ahead and criticize, laugh, or hide your eyes...i'm doing all of those things right now too.

Watercolor & Pen

Watercolor & Pen

I guess that is supposed to be some imaginary place in Italy. I want to visit this place someday. I'm sure there is a barrel of delicious virgin olive oil and a loaf of hot ciabatta in the cucina of that farmhouse just waiting for me. As a side note, apparently it is horribly American and bordering on offensive [to Italians] to dip bread into olive oil. I'll make a note of that.

Central Coast California...or Italy. - Watercolor & Pen

Central Coast California...or Italy. - Watercolor & Pen

This one was for my wife. She was missing home and I wanted to paint something that would remind her of the place she was born. Central California. Home to some of the best food, landscape, beaches and weather in the world. San Luis Obispo is easily one of my favorite places on the planet, so I can see why she misses it from time to time.

Just a barn - Pen & Ink

Just a barn - Pen & Ink

I painted this one last Saturday morning as my oldest little girl sat beside me at the dining room table creating her own colorful watercolor masterpiece. I think hers turned out more interesting. 

Gemma's Watercolor 

Gemma's Watercolor 

So there they are. Some of my doodles. I won't be commissioned by anybody in the near future but hey,  I enjoy splashing ink on a piece of paper, shaking it around and seeing what comes out. It's strangely therapeutic. 

Pen & Ink: Demented Portraits

I used to paint strange things...

...then I got married.

My heart turned from a solid block of marble to a very pliable and mushy, tender, supple, sensitive, fun-loving organ. (that last little bit...like the last five or six adjectives, may have been a stretch.) The point is, while I was taking Drawing 121 at community college, I had a weird bent toward drawing disturbing "self-portraits." I don't mean that these pictures looked anything like me. I just mean that I used my face as reference for these pen & ink paintings. I was usually the last one out of the classroom as I toiled over these strange pictures - jazz from the local Public Radio station filling the studio with inspirational refrains. For some reason the instructor trusted me enough to lock up the classroom when I was done. This usually meant that I was one of the few people left at the school when I finally packed up my drawing board and stumbled, bleary-eyed, out to the parking lot.

My instructor was a young guy, fresh out of college at VCU and eager to show us newbies a thing or two. Looking back, he reminds me a lot of the actor Adam Scott, but with darker, straighter hair. Anyway. Rabbit trail. He would walk up behind me and lean in really close and appreciate some minuscule element of what I had just scribbled. I was constantly surprised at the things he would point out, like, "oh, that's a really nice line" or "I like the way the light is falling over his cheekbone." 

One of my first "self-portraits." - Pen & Ink

One of my first "self-portraits." - Pen & Ink

Yoda's half-human brother? - Pen & Ink

Yoda's half-human brother? - Pen & Ink

Detail

Detail

Disclaimer: This was not intended to represent Satan in any way. Unfortunately...I think that's sort of how it could be interpreted. Hmm.  - Pen & Ink

Disclaimer: This was not intended to represent Satan in any way. Unfortunately...I think that's sort of how it could be interpreted. Hmm.  - Pen & Ink

I took a brief departure from the real and into the imaginary. Maybe it was the jazz. Maybe it was the Red Bull. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation. Whatever the case, I thought real was sort of boring...or maybe real was sort of depressing. I'm not sure. 

Eye Detail

Eye Detail

I think my face actually got cramped the night I painted this.

I think my face actually got cramped the night I painted this.

As it turns out, the reason I stayed so much later than the other students was not because I had diligence beyond that of the others - it was almost certainly because I was too self-conscious to make these gruesome faces in the presence of my peers. 

The Great Mystic - Pen & Ink

The Great Mystic - Pen & Ink

After this first drawing class, I took a long hiatus from drawing or making art of any kind at all. When I returned, the presence of a wife in my life had dusted out the gloomy corners of my soul and replaced them with sunshine throughout. I became more interested in making more generally pleasing pictures. Maybe this was because my wife staunchly [politely] refused to let me hang any of my demented portraits on the walls. No matter how many fits I threw, no matter how many times I lay kicking and screaming on the living room floor threatening to shave my head if I didn't get my way. (None of that previous sentence ever actually happened..except for the head shaving. But that wasn't the result of a threat. It was the result of a really unexpected surprise. Hint: she was very surprised...)

Next time..."Now I Paint Things Like This..."

And Now We Are Four...

I don't usually write about my family/personal life much in this space. However, I have some pretty awesome people who live in my house that you should meet.

Firstly, our newest addition came May 2, 2014. Amélie Virginia saw the light of day an uncomfortable 10 minutes after we arrived at the hospital. Laurie did what she was supposed to do (namely, kept from having the baby in the elevator) and I masterfully piloted the wheelchair at very high speeds through the lobby and waiting room before bringing it in for landing in the first open room we found. Ami was in a hurry to meet us and we couldn't have been more delighted to meet her. She weighed 6lbs 12oz at birth and came with the standard blue eyes (which are still blue) and a full crop of beautiful brown fuzz.

Amélie just a few hours after she was born.

Amélie just a few hours after she was born.

Ami at almost 2 months.

Ami at almost 2 months.

Photo credit to my wife. 

Photo credit to my wife. 

Brag.

Brag.

Amélie is an adorable cuddly little ball of baby fat and drool. She seriously drools buckets. I think her molars are coming in. But who cares, she loves to snuggle and thats all a dad could want.


Gemma, is a feisty, hilarious, unusually smart (no bias) and extraordinarily cute (again, no bias) two year old who loves reading books, being a "princess," and making her parents pull out their hair and laugh simultaneously. 

Gemma, at her finest, is one of the most fun experiences of being a dad. She constantly cracks me up with the things she says and the faces she makes. I feel so lucky to have this little girl.

This look...quickly becomes

This look...quickly becomes

...this look.

...this look.

Finally resulting in this. A real Gemma smile. These are rare.

Finally resulting in this. A real Gemma smile. These are rare.


None of the above would have been possible without my wife, Laurie. She is an amazing, beautiful woman who continues to surprise me with how much she is willing to put up with from me. I will be the first to admit that I am probably not the easiest person to live with. If you take into consideration the [self-diagnosed] attention deficit disorder-ish tendencies that I have, my obsession with (insert latest tech gadget, flying machine, etc) and finally the...........oh look at that, its a squirrel....right outside my office! How cool!

Laurie is focused when I am not. Which, unfortunately is 98% of the time. 

Laurie_Ami2.jpg

She is a great mommy to our two beautiful daughters and is my best friend. Even when I don't act like it.

Laurie is a huge help to me on the business side of things as well. Answering almost all of the emails, taking care of the accounting, basically being the backbone. I just push the trigger. 

I feel extremely blessed to have this family that I have. God is the only reason I have the people around me that I do and He is the one who gets all the praise for anything good that comes out of my life.


Then there's me. 

David_weird.jpg

No explanation needed.