Sunday, December 21, 2014

Me Vs. Rubens

Rubens carries a lot of weight around our house, mainly because I am married to an art historian who has spent a sizable portion of her life studying his work. He also happens to be an immortal genius that anyone who has ever picked up a pencil should look at very closely. This was my attempt to copy one of his drawings, creatively entitled "Young Woman Holding a Tray." I should note that the right hand that seems to be fading off the side of the page was not, as usually happens, an artifact of me placing the drawing improperly on the page but was actually there in the original. It makes me feel a lot better to know that Rubens had some of the same problems with composition that I do.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Me vs. Tiepolo

I will admit that I knew very little about Tiepolo before my recent trip to Italy. I saw this painting - "Neptune Offering Gifts to Venice" - in the doge's palace in Venice and was absolutely floored. I then went on to see a whole lot of Tiepolo's work at various museums around Italy, including an amazing exhibit of his drawings in Rome. That man definitely earned his place among the masters.

This drawing is a detail just showing Neptune offering up his gifts (maybe I'll draw Venice another time). I did this in the Moleskine sketchbook with compressed charcoal.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

In-Flight Entertainment

The only downside of my recent trip to Italy was the length of the flight from Seattle. I don't remember exactly how long it was - 9 hours? 10 hours? A billion years? At a certain point, time just stopped and I was trapped in an endless void of mediocre movies and small children kicking the back of my seat. In an effort to keep myself entertained, I started flipping through the in-flight magazine for interesting photos to use as drawing material. I really hit a winner on this one. The subject's name is Avi Bitter and, according to "High Life" magazine, he is a former Turkish pop star who now runs a kebab restaurant in Tel Aviv. If I'm ever in Tel Aviv, I will definitely pay him a visit.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Two From Venice

I recently spent two amazing weeks in Italy with my wife, during which I had grand plans of strolling around with my sketchbook to capture the amazing architecture and the vibrant street life all around us. The problem is, there are only so many hours in the day, and we had immortal masterworks to look at, pizza to eat, wine to drink while lounging in the piazza, and, well... we were on vacation for crying out loud. So the sketchbook mostly stayed in my suitcase as I stared with slack-jawed amazement at the work of the great masters.

I did manage a couple of quick ones in Venice. The drawing on top is an ink sketch of a statue in front of Santa Maria Del Rosario. The pencil sketch on the bottom is a very abbreviated attempt at the domes of Santa Maria del Salute from the balcony of our hotel. I would have worked in more detail, but I felt that it was more important to run out to the bar for wine and fried seafood. So much for suffering for my art.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Me Vs. the Sotheby's Catalog

Being married to an art historian has numerous advantages, one of which is the constant presence of numerous books of old master drawings just lying around the house. In this case I happened upon a Sotheby's catalog full of some really amazing images, so I felt inclined to pick up my pens and try my hand at them. Close examination of the originals would reveal numerous errors in both of these, but such is the way with an ink drawing.

The one on top is "A Man Seated Smoking at Table" by Jan Josef Hormans the Elder (note that I hope to someday live long enough to be referred to as "the elder," although I'm more likely to be referred to as "that odd man who lives across the street and shouts at the pigeons. Don't make eye contact."). The one below it is taken from "The Prophet Isaiah Reading From a Scroll" by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Not Extinct

Yes, I am still here. I had every intention of continuing to draw and post over the past few months but, well, sometimes life interrupts. For my triumphant return, I have taken pencil and sketchbook to a photo from the New York Times of a carrier pigeon. Sadly, the pigeon in this photo is of the taxidermied variety, because we humans decided that the planet would be better off without this particular species. We seem to do a lot of that.

Friday, February 28, 2014

How They Roll in Zagreb

This is an ink drawing done in the always-beloved oatmeal sketchbook from a photo a friend of mine took during his travels in Croatia. I like images of crusty old guys. I have high hopes that I might live long enough to one day join their ranks.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Another Portrait Party Entry

And the portrait party just keeps going. The original thread with the photo I drew this from is available here. Thanks, as always, to the mighty Julia Kay for putting together one of my favorite things on the internet.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Leaf Frog is Watching You

Behold, the mighty leaf frog. This was done in charcoal pencil from a photo on the National Geographic web site. I should note, with apologies to any batrachiologists who might be reading this, that "leaf frog" seems like kind of a lazy thing to name such a peculiar creature. How about "High Priest of All Things Frog-Like"? "Bug-Eyed Harbinger of Doom"? Come on people, we can do better than this.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve Self Portrait

We've come to the end of another year, and what better way to mark the occasion than with a self portrait? OK, there probably are better ways, but not too many that can be accomplished using only my bathroom mirror and a set of pencils. If you're reading this, I hope 2014 is good to you.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Please Do Not Eat the Butterflies

This is an ink drawing of a crocodile with a mouth full of butterflies, taken from a photo in the Nature Conservancy calendar. Why the crocodile isn't just chowing down on the butterflies is a mystery to me. They eat pretty much anything, right? I certainly would if I were a crocodile. I suppose it's a good thing for the butterflies of this world that I was born to a species that prefers beer and nachos.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Coal Sifting Plant

This is an ink drawing of an abandoned coal sifting plant from a great set of photos I found on Flickr of old machine shops. The original photo is still up at http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewjbacha/6535484845/in/faves-32535921@N08/ if anyone is interested in doing a comparison and pointing out all of the inaccuracies. I've been doing a lot of figure drawing lately and it was interesting to step away for that and draw something with straight lines.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Me vs. Michelangelo

This is a detail from a panel in the Sistine Chapel called "The Sacrifice of Noah." I did this with charcoal pencil in the trusty oatmeal sketchbook. Yeah, Michelangelo was pretty good.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Bill Nye the Science Guy

This is Bill Nye, drawn in charcoal pencil from a photo in Seattle Met magazine. I have a warm spot in my heart for people who bring science into popular culture. I think our country could use a lot more of that to stave off the superstition and ignorance that makes me want to hang my head and weep every time I hear someone on Fox News talking about global warming. This image is also dedicated to Congressman Paul "Lies Straight From The Pit Of Hell" Broun. Man, I'm really on my soapbox today. It's getting slippery up here with all this soap and outrage, so I'll step down now and get back to drawing, coffee-drinking, and voting for people who don't want to shut down the government.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Short poses at Art Not Terminal

I went back to the life drawing session at Art Not Terminal yesterday and, as usual, the model was great and there was a room full of people who were doing really amazing work. These were shorter poses, starting with five minutes and going up to 20. I think it did me a lot of good to try to work more quickly and focus on gesture. The images above were from a 12 minute pose and a 20 minute pose, done with charcoal pencil on newsprint.