Thursday, December 11, 2008

An evening at the Winery . . .

So yesterday was a pretty good day. We had a chance to kick back a little and have an afternoon to chill out, and get out of the old routine for a few hours. In the mail the other day, we got a newsletter from a local winery called The Winery at Wolf Creek and they are having live music on Mondays and Wednesdays. It's been a long time since we've seen someone play out, so we decided to go.

Based on this sketchbook entry, you can see it wasn't as relaxing an evening as it could have been . . . but not horrible either. The girl who was performing was very talented and had a beautiful voice. It's hard to believe how rude some people can be. The two groups of people (obviously work friends) who were being so loud seemed like they were just getting louder every time the girl would play. It is a sad commentary on society, in a way.

I've seen a real tendency in the workplace these days for a lack of discipline and work ethic (the crabby old man in me talking here). But he whole "lack of respect for anyone else, just because they want what they want" thing . . . what the hell??? Go to any mall or movie or, well pretty much any place these days and it seems far too prevalent for my liking. OK, enough social commentary for tonight, but i think we need to start a movement to wipe out this behavior by challenging it when we see it . . . but will that make me the rude one who just wants what he wants ???

Sunday, December 7, 2008

December Sketch Crawl

This month's crawl was really interesting. A visit to the Greenbrier Suite in the Teminal Tower. This suite isn't open to the public, but Josh worked his magic and we got to spend two hours exploring this unique piece of Cleveland history. TheVan Sweringer Brothers, who built the tower complex, created this suite to rival the mansions on Euclid Avenue.

There was beautiful wood everywhere and must have been magnificent in it's day. Ornate carvings and mouldings that were incredible. It all seems a little sad now, with plaster coming off the walls and the wood painted a dark brown in most places with chips and bits missing. Beautiful lead glass windows, but with modern aluminum and glass on the outside, hiding them from the world.

The great hall was still an amazing space. The tapestry over the marble fireplace looked to be an original and the wood trims and mouldings were made to frame and compliment this piece. Truly a unique experience.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cleveland Sketchcrawl @ the Powerhouse in the Flats

So after a LONG hiatus the end of the summer, I got out and sketched on Saturday. Rachel got me some new Mircon pens in a bunch of colors and I had the perfect excuse to use them.

So I go down to the Flats and Josh is there with one other person. Not a big turn-out, but a gorgeous day and off we went.

We sketched on the West side of the river where I found this scene. Lots of busy lines, but I tried to simplify. I'll keep trying.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I.F. Topic . . . FOG!

OK, I know this isn't really a sketch . . . and this is a sketch blog. But the topic this week lends itself so nicely to this picture, I had to.

I did this last fall as a student project in an oil painting class I was taking. I liked it enough to hang it in the front bedroom. Getting the fog affect using slightly different tones of the same mixture was really easier than I ever imagined.

So there it is, my entry for fog. Hopefully, I'll have some real sketches in the next couple of weeks when I return from vacation in Maine.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sketch Crawl - Bridge Tour

Two firsts for me on Saturday. I made it to my first sketch crawl since first hearing about them last fall. It was a beautiful day and we had an interesting subject today. There were only six of us total, but we did the Veterans Memorial (once the Detroit Superior) Bridge tour ; my second first . . . if that makes sense. There were a lot of people there for this free tour of the old street car line under the main bridge above. It was a very cool historic look at this architectural/engineering marvel.

Over the center area, there is a section that is all a heavy mesh structure. It is strange looking down at your feet and see the girders and river below. They had a section of the center covered with plywood. Probably a good idea because I'm sure there were folks who were having a problem with the heights. You could see them staying directly in the center of the plywood and giving their family member who dragged them here dirty looks.

Anyway, I loved the tour and the space was way cooler than the sketch I came up with. So many angles and perspectives. It would be a great place for an architectural study if you had the time to set up for it. But it was fun experience anyway. My daughter had come along with her camera to do some black & white shots. Great venue for that. So we had a great time and wound up also touring St. Malachi church across the street and also the Hope Memorial bridge to get some images of the sandstone guardians. Great day!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Drawing Day '08

So I was going to head downtown for the Cleveland Sketchcrawl this morning, but the 2nd annual chalk art festival was happening on the Medina square. Much closer to home . . . gas prices . . . yeah, not a tough decision. It is Drawing Day '08, so I had to go somewhere to draw. You can get more details about that event at .

There was also a Farmer's Market that started today, so there were quite a few people. They also had a guitarist in the gazebo, and he was pretty good.

So I sat and listened while I sketched a bit. There was a nice breeze and I was even able to add watercolor on site. After sketching, I walk around the square and looked at the pastel/chalk artists working. Pam & I stopped back there in the evening to check out all the finished works and see who won.

Friday, June 6, 2008

. . . not "Forgotten"

The Trumpeter Swan was gone from Ohio for hundreds of years. Gone, but not forgotten. In the 1990's Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and other organizations worked together to re-introduce this species back to Ohio wetlands in a program that continues today.

It is a neat story about how this program was conceived, is funded and managed. You can learn more at this site:

When I saw this pair nesting, I remembered the work and care that went into bringing this species back to Ohio wetlands and skies. Thought I'd share it with you.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Wee Tree . . . .

It's been so long, I almost forgot how to do this. Such a busy time of year.

So this installment is for I.F. topic . . . "Baby" this week. Not planned, but this is what worked out.

I have certainly killed my share of Bonsai in my day. I quit buying them because they just never made it. My longest lasting was a ficus that lasted a few years. The conifers never made it through a winter, no matter what I tried.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

. . . Fail - the I. F. topic of the week

Been a couple of weeks since I drew. Times goes by so fast. So this week's topic could have taken me to many places. While I try not to be too political in my daily life, it was unavoidable with this topic.

We could focus on the "George W" years to illustrate, but there are so many places to go on that one, I wouldn't know where to start. . . so I'll leave that alone. Or perhaps the sub-prime lending, stock market sliding, Ben Bernanke mis-handling recession causing mess. Not a pretty picture either.

But instead, my mind was focused on what I remember growing up as the first big failure of our country to do the right thing. I'm not talking about "losing" the Vietnam War being the failure. The fact that we were dragged in at all was the failure. The way the country treated the soldiers returning was the failure. The way the American public was lied to during the course of the war (hmmmm, sounding familiar) was the failure. The senseless loss of human lives was the biggest failure, and for what? It still saddens me to this day.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pet Peeves . . .

So last Friday's topic on Illustration Friday was pet peeves. It took me a while to decide on my approach, and then I still didn't get it right, because I missed a big one with me.
People who take little kids to nice restaurants and do not monitor their behavior . . . letting them run around and scream, etc.
Chalk that one up to me being a crabby old man.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Illustration Friday Topic . . . "Heavy"

So, I haven't had much time to blog this week. I did start this sketch on Thursday, and was happy the topic this week seemed the fit right in.

So here is my entry for "Heavy".

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Illustration Friday's Topic . . . Garden

So if you haven't been to Illustration Friday's site yet, you are in for a treat. This week's topic was Garden, so I thought I would give it a try.

As the blizzard rages outside here in Medina, Ohio (and most of the East from Atlanta to New York, it seems), I was struggling to focus on the garden theme. Now we only recently moved into this house and it was built new, so needs landscaping. And we have been looking into gardens, but that isn't what struck me today.

I received my latest copy of Audubon magazine today (my reward for trudging through the snow to the mailbox this morning). There is an interesting article about carnivorous plants with simply fabulous pictures. So there you have it, my entry for today. And remember, as the frog said to the Venus Flytrap . . . "Times fun when you're having flies."

Friday, March 7, 2008

. . . a slow start

So I have been asking myself, why did I decide to finally start this blog? Heard about them for years and had never visited a blog site . . . on purpose.

But I have always had a fascination for art. I suppose at times more the idea of creating art, than the actual making of it. I'd like to say I'm passionate about it, but that isn't true. I have tons of supplies in various media. I love buying new supplies, but never seem to make the time to sit down and do a project, let alone feel I am driven to do it.

Well, last fall I finally got going into an oils class I had been trying to get into. And I have enjoyed that. I kept going long enough to produce four paintings, all of which have found homes on my family member's walls. None of them great, but decent efforts; or at least not embarrassing.

But since Christmas, I hadn't started any new ones, and I needed a kick start. I went to this demonstration/workshop at a local art supply store. Karen Sandstrom was doing a workshop on the sketchbook journal. What she was creating, and the reasons she gave for starting a few years ago really clicked for me. She has a great blog called Pen In Hand that is one of my favorites to visit. Anyway, after attending, I got hooked on the idea of doing something like that.

I have often kept journals, and have fantasized about creating these awesome vacation travel journals like some I have seen through the years. I guess this is a way for me to "have time" to create these little snippets of art that won't take too long to create. I think posting them here gives me a way to feel they are "finished", if that makes any sense.

Anyway, today's sketch is one I did a couple of days before I went to Karen's workshop. I hadn't added the watercolor until after, and I like the way it turned out. As I look at trying to write regularly, I know it will be a challenge and I am off to . . . a slow start. Stay Tuned.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Day Was A Gift

Today has been so vile, weather-wise. And after yesterday was in the 60's here; such a cruel trick. Ah well, life in the Greater Cleveland area.