Pelicans, Briefly

I’m not sure if they are regular visitors to the mid-New Jersey coastline, but I have rarely seen a pelican there, much less three at once. They flew over us, heading north. Later, while on a walk, we saw six of them floating among the breakers. They may have been resting, enjoying the fine weather, or perhaps bickering over their dinner choices.

Watercolors on Arches paper.

This Old Building

Right after college, I was employed by a brick maker located in the suburbs of Reading, Pa., but their headquarters was in a fine old building in a downtown historic district.  That was several decades ago, and when I last checked, it had fallen into disrepair. The adaptive re-use of old buildings vs demolition for more modern ones is a peeve of mine. In Europe, old architecture in cities is prime real estate, and in most cases, is a lot more interesting and fun to look at and live in. It’s value as art is incalculable.

Watercolors over a Staedtler pen.

Heroes

Six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US territory of Midway found itself threatened by a powerful Japanese naval force. The marines garrisoned on the island were ill-equipped to fend off this challenge. Among their weapons was the outdated Brewster F2A Buffalo, an overweight, underpowered Navy cast-off fighter plane, derisively nicknamed the “Flying Coffin” by the pilots that flew them. Nevertheless, on June 4th, 1942, the pilots of VMF-221, warriors to the core, took to the skies to repel the invaders, knowing full well they were flying inferior planes. Vectored out by radar to a distance of 72 miles, well beyond the horizon, the pilots immediately found and engaged the enemy. Their planes were no match for the more modern Zero. Many of these men had no eyewitnesses to their courage as they took on a superior enemy. They gave everything they had in a fight to the finish, and then disappeared.

Watercolors on Arches paper.

Guardians of the Beach

It’s not hard to get possessive of a stretch of beach when you are on a mini-vacation and just want a break from a work schedule for a couple of days. So it was on a chilly day in September that we took possession of a narrow, windswept and mostly empty stretch of beach. Loki helped run security while we relaxed and let the waves mesmerize us.

Watercolor and pencil on Arches paper. To leave a comment, click on the post date or title and scroll down.

Figure Friday

Our group doesn’t get to see this lovely model too often, but we like the poses she throws at us. This one ranks up there with the child’s pose as one of the most challenging to draw in the span of ten minutes. Closed up studies like this are always great fun to draw. Much of her figure is hidden from view, but the anatomy is still there, and needs to be described in a way that looks believable on paper. Indeed, that’s the challenge for all visual artists – making our 3-D world look believable in 2-D.

Pencil and watercolor wash on rough paper.

To leave a comment, click on the post date or title and scroll down.

Mirror Monday

This is the second installment of my mirror series. I use workshop time to draw the pose, then, in my studio,  I modify it, transfer it to a good piece of paper and finish it. This is yet another of our talented models with the ability to lock-in and stay still for long poses.

Watercolors on Arches paper.

Figure Friday

This lovely lady was (if memory serves me) a writer by day, but she also had a short-lived career as a figure model. She posed for us a few times, and even wrote about her experience as a live model in a blog called The Yellow Robe. She was talented, and I managed to get a few good drawings from her poses. This is one, a ten minute drawing, using watercolor pencil and wash on Bristol board. We were disappointed when she retired.

hanging moon

This is one of my sisters-in-law, contemplating the sea and the moon and whatever nature put on display one afternoon at the shore. It’s drawn from a photo, and is currently part of her collection.

Watercolor on Stonehenge paper.

Scheherazade

Here’s a portrait of the same lovely model that readers of this blog are getting to recognize. It’s drawn from a smartphone picture of her that was taken while she was on her break. Her exotic looks are the inspiration for the title of this piece, named after the legendary queen and storyteller of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, who tricked a murderous sultan into keeping her alive by spinning cliff hangers, then refusing to finish the story until the following evening, after which  she would begin a new one. Wikipedia explains that after one thousand and one nights, the sultan was so impressed that he allowed her to live. Nice guy.

Watercolors on Arches paper

Snow!

This is a quick sketch of a few guys engaging in some snow throwing fun. We finally had a snow-fall accumulation last week, and it hung around long enough to inspire some quick figure studies in preparation for a larger painting on the subject. I still need to work out a few details, like layout, figure poses, etc. I’ll be updating this subject in a future post.

Watercolor wash on Bristol board.

February 13th happens to be the one year anniversary of this blog, so whoooopie!