Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring is here

Tulip Tree and Tulips - click for larger view
I had to take a few minutes this morning and shoot some of the things that are in bloom here at work in Wyoming, Rhode Island. The yard here, and at home, are just ablaze with color and everything smells so good. Today is one of those blue sky crisp spring mornings where it is good to take a walk outside, if only for a few minutes and be thankful for what you have.

Bradford Pear - These are only in bloom for a few days
The Bradford Pear trees are in full bloom here in the southern part of the state but have gone by already in East Providence where the line the streets. The past few days in East Providence have been amazing and now it is amazing in Richmond, Wyoming and Hope Valley.
Tulip Tree
This Tulip tree sits just outside the front door of Vibco and is in full glory right now, and the bees are having a good time here and in the tulips.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Barge crane on the Seekonk River

Crane on a barge in the Seekonk River
The other night we were having drinks with friends in the East Providence Yacht club when my friend Kathy said that I should draw the barge floating on the river. She said that it looked like something I would draw. Unfortunately time was short this weekend and I didn't do it justice - I need to come back with larger paper. My boat has taken up most of my free time this weekend - spring re-comissioning is always filled with little surprises. Once the day was almost done, Carol and I sat at the table in the back yard and I did this quick little sketch of the shadows creeping up the back of the house.

Backyard shadows

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring in Hope Valley and other things

Spring colors along Route 138

Spring colors are beginning to happen all around and Hope Valley is just bursting with color - and of course I have a brown page to work on. (excuses excuses) But even though it was a gray drizzly morning I had a great time sketching and just looking really hard at the color. Just beautiful. My sketches don't do it justice.

Click image to view panorama
I also shot this panorama in Karl's office today. It has been a while since I posted a panorama, or any photography for that point but I though this was full of enough clutter to satisfy the need for details. Karl has been challenged by a friend to 'clean up his act' so it looks like we will be sorting through things in the near future. This is a fairly high resolution panorama so it may take a moment to load.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Small sketches

A spread of small sketches
I sometimes sketch small when I do not have a lot of time. Here are several small sketches. The Mill sketch I think I posted before, but you can see here just how small it is on the page. I did that one last Friday on my way into work, the one below it I did Saturday afternoon as I was on my way over to pick up Benny (we did some lawn mower repair) and the three drawings on LLoyd Street in Providence I did last night as I was waiting for my friend Rob. It was movie night last night and we went to see Oblivion, which as it turns out was quite a good movie. It is springtime in New England and I need to get out more and sketch some of the great color as everything is blooming. I love the pinks, yellows and whites at this time of year. Now I just need to find the time to sketch it all.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Morning Sketches

A quick early morning sketch of Tapestry
Tapestry was launched late yesterday afternoon at Port Edgewood where she spent the winter up on jack stands. On my way home from work last night I stopped by and checked her out and recommissioned the engines and got the electrical system up and charging. During the night, of course, I thought of a thousand other things I should have checked so was up early and went down to the marina and checked everything out... she was perfectly fine, but as Captain of this fine ship, it is my job to worry. After I checked her out I did this quick sketch and headed out to work where I still had enough time in my morning to doodle a little more and sketched an old mill along th eWood River in Hope Valley.. I don't know the history of the building only that it says 1869 in a huge stone over the door in the tower.
Hope Valley Mill - 1869

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wyoming again

House in Wyoming, Near Wyoming Pond
A very quick sketch on my way into work this morning. I am not at all satisfied with the drawing - it is flat and unappealing..lacks composition. Need to spend more time and maybe layout the proportions in pencil first. . .  yuk

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Day off

The Welcome Center, Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown RI
I took the day off today to spend a bit of time with my Grandchildren and we had a wonderful hike through the Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown, down by Second Beach. Ben and Grace had a great time hiking and we saw all kinds a birds including a Red Tail Hawk which almost had lunch with us, and we saw deer and snakes too. Other things complicated the day though. . . I dropped my iPhone shattering the screen - yuk - and when we went to leave the sanctuary my car wouldn't start. I called AAA who were very prompt and gave me a jump and all was well. Apparently my battery is just old... so I asked the AAA guy, Danny, to install a new one and he had just sold the last one he had that would be appropriate for my car. Go figure. But the evening ended well at the Dari-Bee, our favorite ice cream place just down the road from our house.
Evening ice cream season has begun

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday restaurant sketches

Country Kitchen -- Seekonk, MA
If you are an astute observer and have been here before you will indeed notice a glaring omission - but if you haven't been here before - it's perfect! Had a good Tuesday morning chat with Christopher today as always although he may be feeling as though I was ignoring him because I spent the last ten minutes sketching.  The Country Kitchen is likely the best tribute restaurant to Ted Williams around... great memorabilia, and great food too.
Home of the best burrito
This evening after work Carol and Ben and I went to Cilantro, a great mexican place here in East Providence on Newport Ave. -- It is highly recommended if you like burritos, and we do. Although my sketch doesn't show it, there was quite a crowd in the this evening.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Belgium Chapel

Belgium Chapel 
I was looking through some pictures I had taken last summer and came across this one which I shot in Belgium. I had never developed it, so I worked on it a bit and liked the result and thought I would share. Now of course I wish I had my sketch pads with me as well. . .

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Atomic Salon

The Atomic Salon - East Providence
I was determined to get out for an hour or so today to do some sketching. I have just finished the sketchbook in the post below and while it was drying I figured I would drive into Providence to sketch. I needed to stop at the bank for some cash and as I drove past his place on Taunton Avenue it just struck me as perfect. Being the lazy dog that I am, after I stopped at the bank the car was still pointed toward Providence, I continued on into the city. It was windy and cold and I could not find a decent place to park (this is an admission of  making excuses) so I found a parking lot and did a drawing of the church "Our Lady of the Rosary" from the car (on real watercolor paper in a Moleskin sketchbook) and the sketch turned out awful. Realizing that I should have stopped in East Providence in the first place, I drove back and did the sketch posted above... still not my best work but I found the subject much more satisfying, and I like the fact that the guy was installing flags on the roof.
thats a BIG car!
So this is what happens when you just star drawing and not worry about proportion - the towers run off the top and the car is way too stinking big, and quite frankly some of it is just made up. Not my best work.

How to make a sketchbook

I thought I would give a quick run through on how I make a sketchbook.. excellent photography here with my iPhone because I was too lazy to go get my regular camera.
First I bought two sheets of 22"X30" Arches 140lb Cold Pressed watercolor paper. I think it was about $3.50 - $4.00 a sheet at Utrecht in Providence. I then cut it into 5" strips so I ended up with 5 usable strips from each sheet.

Cut watercolor paper into strips.

Fold each sheet in half - accuracy counts here
After I folded them in half I put two sheets together in a signature and marked them for stitching. Then using a pointy thing I poked holes through each signature to facilitate sewing.
Yes, Eddie can sew!
Using a blunt tapestry needle (6 for $1.50 at the fabric store as opposed to about ten bucks for 3  bookbinding needles at the art store) I got these while shopping with Carol - she has started making quilts again. I did use bookbinding thread as I had purchased some a while back.
All the tools you need
In the picture are the tools you need to make about any book -- apart from glue and a brush. I also made a book press from a couple of boards and bolts with wing nuts. In the picture are the tapestry needle, a pointy hole maker, an xacto knife and a bone fold. Not much of an investment for such a rewarding endeavor.
Good Old Elmers glue
After stitching up the book, I stuck it in my book clamp, and gave the binding edge several coats of Elmer's glue which is just the same as just about any other PVA glue, although if you want to pay more you can certainly go to the art store and do so.
Putting cool looking paper on the cover
If you are gonna make a book the you gotta get some really cool paper for the cover - otherwise no one would know how cool you really are. I found this sheet at Utrecht for about three dollars and they had a great selection.  This paper looks nice but It doesn't seem too rugged. Time will tell. Just brush on the Elmer's (watered down just a tad) and position your chipboard. The chipboard should be cut about a quarter of an inch larger than the page size and leave a gap of double the thickness of the board on either side of the spine.
Cloth on the spine
Carol gave me a piece of cloth (from the quilt she is making) to use to reinforce the spine of the book. This is the first time I have done this but it looks right and the cloth complements the paper. Thanks Carol, she has such good taste.
Mull, or Super - to help hole everything together
Next up, while the cover was drying, I added some mull to the spine to help reinforce the book. Mull is really just cheesecloth -- but if you want, you can pay more for bookbinding mull - do you see a theme developing here?
OK I forgot to take pictures of a few steps. . .
Jumping ahead. . . After gluing the endpapers to the inside of the cover (I used brown wrapping paper because it was what I had that was long enough - 5 x 22 inches) I finished wrapping the mull around the book and glued it securely to the front and back pages of the book. Then glued the book into the cover. Lots of brushing of glue here, and working fast. Sorry I didn't take pictures of this process but was working fast, had glue on my fingers and just plain forgot to take pictures. I then put the whole thing back into my home made book press so it can dry. The entire book making process took about two hours (an hour yesterday and an hour today) of working time - drying time is another thing, and I will keep the sketchbook in my press overnight so it can all cure completely. I took it out of the press for the pictures below.
Damn what a fine looking book!

A messy desk but worth it
Hopefully this will satisfy my need for a rectangle.  The little square sketchbook I have been working in has been wearing on me. So my book is drying and I need to go get some lunch and go for a bike ride and maybe even do some sketching.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Birthday Cake and more

Birthday Cake - Lemon with Chocolate frosting
I am now as old as the Beatles song says. . . . Carol made a cake and the grandkids helped me eat some, with ice cream. The tradition is to drink out of the 'Birthday Cup' -- I had Orange Crush, mmmmmmmm So after we ate cake, and we had pizza, I did this little sketch to commemorate the day.

At lunch hour today I went out and got in a quick sketch of one of the local places where people at work order lunch. From what I understand the food here is quite good and the portions ample. And of course I misspelled the name on the drawing...
Ernie T's - RT 138, Wyoming RI

Monday, April 8, 2013

Nana's Car

Nana's RAV4

It was our first really warm evening of the year, warm enough that we could all sit outside and chat after supper. While we were chatting I drew Carol's car. I figure it doesn't really matter what I draw as long as I keep the ink and paint flowing. I think this little RAV looks more like a red school bus, but it was a fun thing to draw.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Sketches

The Providence Skyline from East Providence 
After painting the bottom of the boat, changing zincs and taking the shrink wrap off (hopefully we will get launched this week) I had time to sit and do a couple of sketches in my little book. The picture above was an experiment without using my pens, just light pencil for layout and watercolor.  I sometimes feel like my drawings must look like a coloring book, and I gotta admit this is a much harder way for me to create a scene, and I don't think is as successful as I had wanted or imagined. However we must be intrepid in our quest, so I will definitely continue to try this technique from time to time.
The Morning Star Bakery
This is a great little bakery about a half mile from our house. I say it is great for three reasons, the prices are reasonable, the pastries are very good and, as I said - it is about a half mile from the house. I was driving back from doing the skyline sketch and as I turned onto Bliss, I just had to stop and sketch it. . .(No really it is on the corner of Bliss St and Broadway) And by the way this sketch and St Francis Xavier Church were drawn with my new Lamy sketch pen.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Saint Francis Xavier Church, East Providence

Saint Francis Xavier Church, East Providence, RI 
Today I spent about half an hour or so sitting in the parking lot sketching this wonderful old church right here in East Providence. The problem was that I started the drawing about 3:30 and had forgotten all about 4:00 Mass - so of course several cars parked ring in my view adding some new level of frustration, but it all worked out

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Amy's Jeep

Amy's Jeep and my new pen

So for the past couple of days I have had almost no time to sketch - soooo many social engagements... hahaha. This morning I got into work 5 minutes early and knocked this out real quick. (not the way I like to do it) I was trying to capture the sunlight and the three white birches behind the car. It is only a half page drawing so it is quite small. Need to get out more. Then this afternoon at the very end of the day my new Lamy Safari pen arrived so I had to sketch it. . . .

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Todays sketch and some oldies

Bell School 1826
Tuesday morning drawing before work.  I had an extra few minutes, very few, and found a simple subject and a straight on angle. I had never noticed this historic schoolhouse before and was delighted to find it only minutes from the office. A simple sketch for a simple man. . .

Kayaking with John B in 1992
I found some old sketchbooks and here is a page from almost exactly 21 years ago. My friend John and I did a day-trip in our kayaks from Warwick out around some islands and back finding all sorts of treasures. The directors chair lasted a few years as I remember it. . .

The start of a trans-Atlantic crossing - in Bermuda, June, 1998
In another sketchbook I had started a journal for our transatlantic crossing aboard our friends schooner, Sheba Moon. I only got a few pages in when I abandoned it for a smaller format.If I remember correctly this sketchbook, which I bought in Bermuda was a bit large and a bit flimsy to cary around. I settled for a small hardbound book. It is fun looking back and seeing how much the drawing style has changed and how much it has stayed the same. . . .