Friday, May 31, 2013

Mail Truck

The Mail Trick - Click image for larger view
I got out a little bit early this morning before work and decided to draw this Postal truck. I was inspired by Nina Johansson's recent drawings. She has been finding some older cars to draw and this is the only thing around that I could find that had any character. It seems like all of our cars have the same styling... gonna have to go on a hunt for some older cars to draw.

Last night I drew this picture of the grill for Gracie, she asked me to draw it. So I did the drawing and told stories at the same time.
The Grill - Click image for larger view

Monday, May 27, 2013

Catching Up

Pawtuxet Cove - Click image for larger view
I will try to catch up a bit here in this post. It has been almost a week and lots of things have been going on. It is now Memorial Day evening and I have just returned from the boat, where we have been for the weekend.. and without internet connection!
In the past few days (this weekend) I had every intention to spend a sizable amount of time sketching and filling my little 5 X 5 sketchbook. There are about 30 pages left in the book to be filled with my scratches and I had set the goal of filling that book by June 1st - looks real iffy right now. Instead the weekend was filled with boat chores, a video project and rain, lots of rain. Last week I did several experimental drawings that didn't make it here in the blog (they can be found at Flickr- check the icon on the right hand side of this page) partly out of lack of time and partly because I don't think they are so good.
Another house in Hope Valley or Hopkington - Click image for larger view
The picture above is the house that sits just to the left of my last HopeValley/Hopkington house. They are mirrored images of each other, although the other house has more ornate architectural detailing, This one is painted on my Stillman & Birn sketchbook and I really like the paper in that book. It is the Beta Series - nice paper. Below is a pix of fire hydrant that was one of those experiments. No ink lines. Just color on paper, also the Stillman & Birn book. I was inspired by an article by Brenda Swenson on her blog about negative painting..I didn't do it too successfully but will continue to try as it is a technique I would like to use.
Fire plug - Click image for larger view
I am still toying with the idea of creating a sketchbook that is just filled with all the utility thing you might find in an urban environment, such as fire hydrants, and parking meters and such.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Morning Fog - Mill Housing

Mill housing in the fog - Click image for larger view
Another morning without enough time to sketch... getting a bit anxious. . . . but I did have just enough time to walk around in the fog for a moment and get this shot of some mill housing that I want to spend some time drawing.  This is an HDR version of the shot and again I likely carried it too far. I hate what the HDR process does to the subtle sky around the wires. I think this will make a good watercolor study as I really like the variety of colors in the houses.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dinner Party panorama

The Dinner Party - Click Image to View Interactive Panorama
Saturday night we went to my friend Bob's house for a fantastic dinner with several friends and made a few new friends along the way. It was a fantastic dinner and a beautiful setting. Thanks Bob.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Merchants Bank Building

Merchants Bank Building - Click image for larger view
After I got the chores done today I spent about an hour and 15 minutes on this sketch...and I think I lost my perspective. This is a grand old building in Providence near the river, I think it was built in the 1850's. The first floor looks to be under construction. I tried to capture the view down the alley between it and the building on the right hand side and all the fire escapes along side of the building.. should have paid more attention to my verticals. I did have a good time drawing. A lot of people passed by while I was sitting on the bench sketching, but no one stopped to talk although from time to time I could feel eyes peering down over my shoulder. 5" X 11" on Arches watercolor paper in handmade book, Sharpie Fine Line Pen, Winsor & Newton Watercolors - one hour 15 minutes

Friday, May 17, 2013


Warwick City Hall - Click images for larger view
I have been considering just why I do this. I have always loved to draw and make images. My photography fulfills that need as well. Trying to do at least one drawing each day put a bit of pressure on. There are days when I feel like I haven been faithful to myself because I made the opportunity to get out and sketch. . . and sketching things around the house seem like such a cheat. I think my neurosis is beginning to show. I think the on the spot sketching takes away all of the everyday distractions and allows me to focus on just the one thing in front of me - whether it is a simple thing or a complex thing - that is where my focus is. And surprisingly I seldom get it right, even then. The sketch above was a 10 minute sketch before a meeting this morning and the one below I did in the backyard last night waiting for Ben to come over - but they both took me away from the everyday worries and and allowed me the opportunity to really take a look at my surroundings. The picture of the city hall is not architecturally accurate, I am missing windows and the chimney placement is a bit random but for the most part it is as I remember it. The backyard scene below seems clumsy, as too many things are intersecting and the line weight is way too even, but while I was sketching the rest of the world was far away and my worries had evaporated. So I guess I will keep scratching black marks on paper for a while longer and post them up here for all to see...
Out in the back yard - click image for larger view
Yes, that's a mermaid sitting on top of the tree.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Out early today

Another stop along RT 138 in Hopkinton/Hope Valley - click image for larger view
I got out of the house early this morning ands drove down to exit 3 and hunted around for a minute and found this church steeple in the morning light. This was an interesting exercise as it was completely backlit--it is a white steeple. Oh well.  I also got a few good photos of the  morning as well.
The Junction of Rt 3 and 138 - Click image for larger view
I got a good shot of this field as the fog was lifting. This is such a pretty part of the state, I am glad I get to come here every day.

A field in the fog along Rt 3 - Click image for larger view

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The printer

The printer at work - click image for larger view
So I never got out sketching this morning but had a few minutes when I was drinking my coffee before the day actually started and drew the printer that sits next to me. These color printers have always been problematic. This one is relatively new so the issues seem less. I was trying out a different style and a different sketchbook, a Stillman & Birn Beta Series. I like the paper and the way it handles the color. 5.5" X 8.5" - this is my first sketch in this book - I did some color tests on the back page. This will be a great book to sketch  in.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hope Valley Morning

House along Route 138 in Hope Valley - Click image for larger view
As you may have figured our by now, if you follow this blog, is that I spend a lot of time in the Wyoming, Hope Valley part of the state. I work down here and I sometimes get down here a few minutes early before work and sketch something out. This morning I got here about 25 minutes early and found this house sitting there all pretty in the sunlight. There are just so many great old homes down here. I think pretty soon I may be able to do a 'Google Maps' street view sort of thing for Hope Valley

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mill housing

Mill housing, Wyoming RI - Click image for larger view
I stopped for a few minutes before work this morning and go in a quick sketch of this old house in Wyoming, across from the police station. There is a row of these houses along route 138, many are for sale and in need a repairs. I would guess that date from the 1850's - 1860's

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I must be hungry

Nick-A-Nee's, Providence - Click image for larger view
This has been the gathering place since it opened in about 1994 - I think - sometime around then and we have a gang that goes there still. It used to be every Friday night and we were the 'Friday Night Group' - now just the occasional group. This is a very comfortable little watering hole with the best juke box in the the state
O Dinis Portuguese Restaurant - Click image for larger view
We went here the other night, the night they caught the terrorists, with some friends. What a wonderful place to eat. The food was fantastic and the service was very very good. This restaurant is about a 5 minute walk from my house and that night was our first time, but it won't be our last. They have a very complete menu of Portuguese fair and the prices are good too, a good family place, -- I give it a high recommendation.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Buy Direct and Save

Waterman Avenue, East Providence
As I sketched this today It was raining off and on so I ended up sketching from inside my car. It wasn't until I was about halfway done with this that I realized that next to the Hot Wiener place was a casket company - Buy Direct and Save - I just found that amusing and am hoping that not a lot of customers of the hot weeny place have to go next door. East Providence has a lot of interesting corners like this one. I love scouting around and finding these little vignettes of everyday life in East Prov.
A page/spread in my small book
Yesterday I had to drive up to Holyoke Ma for work and do some consulting on a construction job, and of course take a lot of pix and video. On the way back I stopped in Enfield, Ct to get a bottle of water to have with my lunch and started this sketch of the stores across the street, I drank the water and drove away without eating.. had my lunch at my desk when I got back. The ink work only took about ten minutes and I did some quick color washes and finished it when I got home. I think I overworked it a bit. As Ben mowed the lawn last night I did a thumbnail sketch and this morning I spent ten minutes in the waiting room to get some blood work done, not too exciting but it passed the time.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bliss Coffeehouse and Providence Memorials

Bliss Coffeehouse Revisited - click image for larger view
After breakfast with Chistopher this morning I stopped at the Bliss Coffeehouse once again to finish this sketch that I began last week. I would advise everyone who is traveling through southern RI on route 95 to get off at exit three and visit this coffee stop. It is in the same plaza with the Ocean State Job Lot. It is an unexpected surprise when you walk through the door. One moment you are in a plaza in Wyoming RI and the next you are in Soho, or the Village, with wonderfully comfortable surroundings and always great music. You half expect Audrey Hepburn in black tights snapping her fingers to jazz and dancing in the shadows. And above all the Dixie and Chuck offer you great service and wonderful coffee. I suggest that you try the cold brewed iced coffee.  This sketch is the first in a new sketchbook and I finally have my long rectangle to paint on. I am not too happy with this little sketch but as always, I am hoping to improve.
The World War I Memorial, Providence
After work I drove into Providence and ended up here at the Memorial Park along side of the river to wait for my friend Edrex. I sketched this WWI Memorial and while it was drying I started the sketch below of the Korean War Memorial. While I was sketching the Korean War Memorial a Korean family came by and took may pictures of the memorial and had some questions, which, fortunately I knew the answers to. They were very grateful to the Rhode Islanders who lost their lives in that war and expressed their gratitude to me. It was a touching moment. I am afraid my sketched don't do them justice as Edrex called just after I started the Korean War statue - I was rushed --- and never got to finish the WWI memorial either.  Maybe I will continue some work on these in the studio.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A day trip to Cape Cod

A couple of quick sketches - Click image for larger view
Today Carol and I just took a drive..since we can't play with the boat. We drove out to the cape, stopping in Onset (I think) for a great breakfast at a place called the Breakfast Nook. Good food and good service at a good price. It was a leisurely morning drive and we stopped here and there checking things out.  I tried to get some sketching in as well. While I was sketching the dunes in the picture above a gentleman from Germany stopped and chatted for a while and then retrieved his sketchbook from his car. His wife then came by and we had a good chat about sketching. The apparently travel quite a lot and he had sketches from many countries.

The Christmas Tree Shop - Carol's favorite - Click image for larger view
Of course when you are traveling with carol it is a physical impossibility to pass a Christmas Tree Shop and the one in Sagamore is like honey to a bee. So while Carol went to find treasures I sat in the parking lot and came up with this sketch. It was interesting to do a spread across two different colors of paper. Originally I was just going to do an ink drawing but decided to add the color - undecided if it helped. . .
Mmmm Ice Cream - Click image for larger view
We then stopped at a clam shack along the Cape Cod Canal and had ice cream. I had  chocolate in a cone and carol had a hot fudge sundae with nuts and coffee ice cream. Their signs, and there were many, were all home made, and as a former sign painter I found them quite amusing.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Gathered in 1643

Newman Congregational Church, Rumford - Click image for larger view
The sign above the entrance says "Gathered in 1643" here on the Newman Congregational church. And of course I started it just a bit too large and lost the top of the spire. I should set down some guidelines or something before I put ink to paper.

Follow up on the boat. The repair has been made and I was told today that they are going to relaunch her Monday on the first tide. Hope she floats. . .

Friday, May 3, 2013

She didn't sink. . .

Tapestry under tow, 5:30 AM
The good news is that Tapestry didn't sink. When I arrived at 5:00 this morning the rate that water was entering the hull was frightening. Last night we installed pumps. The pump was running every three minutes. When I left last night the pump was cycling every 15 minutes. The mechanic that did the repair says that he was onboard and in the hold at 4:00 yesterday afternoon, and that she was dry. I was onboard at 5:00 (an hour later) and she had 18 inches of water in her hold. Picture a space 20 inches deep by 30 inches wide by 16 feet long filling with water in less than an hour.  Needless to say I did not sleep well last night. We could have lost her completely. I am concerned about the wiring and all the stuff that is under that deck. Boating is such fun. Thanks to my friend Carl for jumping in so quickly and the folks that came down to the boat last night.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A busy day

Coffee and the Doctor
My day started earlier than normal as I was having difficulty sleeping.  I headed down to Wyoming about a half an hour earlier than I normally do with the plan on getting a coffee at the newly found 'Bliss Coffeehouse' which is only about a half mile from work. They serve great coffee and the folks there are great and are always playing a good selection on Pandora. The upper little drawing is the inside of the coffeehouse and doesn't do it justice as is is a very comfortable and cozy spot. This afternoon I had my annual checkup with my Doctor and all is well. I got there about 10 minutes and kicked out the little sketch on the bottom of the page. I also got off the highway and drove down Allen's Ave as I have been watching the demolition of an old 1940's fishing boat in the scrap yard. I stopped and chatted with the guard and had to shoot through the fence.  The picture below is a 3 exposure HDR shot which I think speaks volumes about how everything comes to the end of its usefulness.
on the heap - click image for larger view
After my Doctors appointment I drove down to the boat which was hauled yesterday for some repairs to find her filling with water fast. I probably had over 500 gallons in the hold and had I not gotten down there when I did, she would have gone down for sure. The marina had installed a thru-hull transducer which they had damaged when they hauled her out for the winter. We had a minor leak from that - about 6 gallons a day. Now it is was coming in at about 300 gallons an hour. I know the rate because the marina told me that they had checked it at 4:00 and she was dry -- I got there at 5:00 to find the hold full. As soon as I arrived I started bailing with a 3 gallon bucket and was barely able to keep up with the flow. I suspect that they did not let the caulking dry and it blew out. After a few phone calls I got some help down to the boat.  We installed 2 pumps to keep her afloat through the night and I am meeting the crew at the marina at 5:00 AM tomorrow to haul her out once again. Let's hope they don't have a power failure. . .or she may be on the heap.  Yikes!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

. . .and after work. . .

Brightridge Avenue, East Providence, RI - Click image for larger view
After supper, and a bit of story telling in the hammock, and a walk around the block,  my grand daughter Gracie and I sat out front. I sketched while Grace groomed  'Cow Cat' - our big black and white Holstein of a cat. Grace groomed a bushel of hair off of her and Cow Cat loved every minute of it. We also told stories and Grace kept track f my sketching progress, and pointed out that the sky is NOT that color! She knows very little about artistic license.  There is also a flagpole missing from this picture, but don't tell anyone.

Things I do before work. . .

Steppingstone Falls once again - click image to view panorama
I got up early this morning to catch the sunrise at Steppingstone falls, and got there a few minutes after the actual sunrise. Still too early in this hidden valley. And it was cold too. After about 20 minutes of scouting and shooting I realized just how poorly dress for this weather I was.  When I left the house it was a balmy 45 degrees but down here in the great western woods of Rhode Island it was 33 degrees by the thermometer in the car. Bloody cold! I shot several stills and did some HDR panoramas and had planned to do some sketching but after a while my fingers just said no, so like the chilled coward I am, I headed back to the warmth of the car and searched for a place to sketch. I drove down through Wyoming and Hope Valley and retreated to the Bell School House once more. And sketched it from the other side - not as successful as I would like but I feel good that I added another page to my book. My goal is to fill the 120 pages of the sketchbook by the first of June.. I started it in early March and now it is the first of May and I am only half way through. . . gotta hustle.
Bell School House, Richmond, RI - Click image for larger view
A view from the river bank looking down stream. - Click image for larger view