Sunday, November 28, 2010

Back in the French Quarter

I celebrated our return to New Orleans yesterday by taking the streetcar into the Quarter to do some sketching. This is the view of Jackson Square and Saint Louis Cathedral from Chartres street.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


My wife and I just got back from an amazing vacation in Belize. We stayed at the Blue Reef Resort, where we spent the better part of a week relaxing by the beach while being waited on hand and foot. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Around the House

We've decided to sell our house in New Orleans and move into a smaller, more manageable house in the same neighborhood. The best thing about this new place we'll be moving into? We're renting it. This means we will no longer have to deal with all the headaches that come with owning a charming old house that sits on a swamp and is subjected to punishing weather all year round while being attacked by insects the size of small dogs. Take that, American dream!

As we prepare to leave our humble abode, I've been running around trying to get in as many drawings as I can. I suspect the new owners might have mixed feelings about my spending the morning drawing the kitchen cabinets once we are no longer living here.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Orleans: Leading the World in Scary Clown Masks

I saw this carnival mask hanging on the wall in a cafe in the French Quarter. They had others that were even more disturbing, but I try to keep things family-friendly around here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Apartments in Shanghai

Has it really been three months since I've done anything with this blog? Yes, I suppose it has. I wish I could make solemn promises to post more regularly, but in truth I think it will always come in fits and starts. Let's call this a "start." Wait... it might be a "fit."

This is a pencil drawing of some very new and very old apartment buildings in Shanghai, drawn from a photo in the New York Times.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Back at the New Orleans Museum of Art

Here's an ink drawing from a trip to the New Orleans Museum of Art. This is an extremely ornate helmet (circa 1890-1900, according to the wall text) on display in the Faberge room on the second floor. This strikes me as a fairly impractical design for a helmet that one might actually wear in battle, but it does make for a fun drawing exercise.

I've been spending a lot of time at NOMA lately. Heck, I even went so far as to buy a membership, which means I get to haggle over my member's discount when I'm in the gift shop buying books that are already on sale and breaking the little magnetized puzzle toys that they have on the counter for impulse buys. Well, OK, I didn't really haggle and the toy could be put back together after the very friendly woman behind the counter helped me find all the pieces, but I like to make my life sound more exciting than it really is. In the movie version, the nice woman in the artsy sweater will be played by a giant man plucked from the ranks of the Ultimate Fighting Championships and I'll have to challenge him to a knife fight in order to avoid being charged for the broken puzzle toy. Then I'll make some sort of witty, ironic quip as I step over his still-twitching corpse and make my way out of the blood-soaked museum gift shop. It's still a little rough around the edges, but any Hollywood producers who may be reading this should think "Night at the Museum" meets "Rambo" meets "Leprechaun in the Hood." The money will roll right in.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sketching at the New Orleans Museum of Art

I spent a good chunk of my morning sketching at the New Orleans Museum of Art. They have tons of good stuff to draw and it's an excellent option for an indoor drawing destination during the summer months in New Orleans. I actually started out drawing outdoors on the front steps, but it was clearly time to move inside when the sweat dripping from my face began to spoil my drawing. Was it really necessary for me to reveal that in a blog post? Probably not, but what is the internet good for if not over-sharing.

As for the drawings, the top one is a statue from Papa New Guinea and the one on the bottom is a 16th century credenza that is sitting in the Baroque painting room.

Ink Portraits

In the immortal words of Nigel Tufnel: "There is none more black."

I've been doing a lot of portraits lately and I've been slowly gravitating away from pencil and towards ink. Ink tends to go faster and it's a lot less forgiving, but I think it helps do away with my tendency to get overly fussy with pencil. The one on top is another entry from the Flickr Portrait Party and the one on the bottom is a self portrait done with pen and ink wash. As a side note, I hope to someday do self portrait where the expression on my face doesn't make me look like I'm about to punch someone. I seem to have trouble drawing and smiling at the same time.

Friday, June 4, 2010

More Portait Party Entries

I know, I'm going crazy for the portrait party. But who doesn't like a party? Well, I guess it depends on the party. If it was the kind of party where you were obligated to eat olives and artichokes with Dick Cheney while watching every episode of "Who's the Boss" back-to-back, then I'd probably rather stay home and draw.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Before You Accept a Quick Check

Anyone who lives in New Orleans is likely to be familiar with Michael Hingle, a local attorney whose stern visage peers out from numerous billboards and urges his fellow citizens to call 1-800-USA-JURY "Before You Accept a Quick Check." He is usually tearing up a check (presumably one of the "quick" checks) to drive the point home.

I recently completed an oil painting course at Delgado taught by Walter Johnson, an enthusiastic and eccentric character who turned out to be a fantastic teacher. Our final project was to produce a cubist or surrealist painting of a subject of our choice. This painting gradually became a little less "cubist" over the course of its development, but I'm still pretty happy with how it came out. I wonder what Michael Hingle would think.

Portrait Party

One of the coolest things I've found on flickr lately is the Portrait Party, a collaborative group where people post photos of themselves and invite others to draw and paint them. It's a pretty active group that has produced a lot of interesting work. This is my first contribution.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sketching in City Park

Today was a really gorgeous spring day in New Orleans, so I went to City Park with a friend and spent a few hours drawing and enjoying the perfect weather. The one on top is a charcoal drawing of a some moss-covered trees in the middle of a pond, the other is a pencil drawing of a piece from the sculpture garden by Michael Sandle called "The Drummer."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Galapagos Tortoise, Tennessee Grass

Here's another drawing inspired by an entry in the amazing Flickr set run by the herpetologist from the Tennessee Aquarium. This is a Galapagos tortoise chowing down on some grass, presumably Tennessee grass. I wonder if Tennessee grass tastes different from grass in other states. I'll bet it does. I mean, Elvis is buried there for crying out loud, surely that must do something to the flavor of the grass in the good old Volunteer State. Me, I wouldn't know. When I went to Tennessee I subsisted almost entirely on dry-rub barbecue, like all sensible people do when they're in Tennessee.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Not to Be Messed With

Under most circumstances I prefer to draw from life rather than a photo, but in this case I think I'm happy to sit in the comfort of my living room with a magazine. This was drawn from an image in an old issue of National Geographic, the same issue from which I drew this frog. Thanks again to my stepmother for leaving it on our coffee table.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Darth Vader Attacks Whiteboard

The three recent Star Wars movies were horrendous, but there will always be a place in my heart for the classics. I saw "Empire Strikes Back" seven times in the theater during its initial run.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Yeah, It's That Same Truck Lot Again

Some of you may be thinking "Come on, you're not really going to do another drawing of that same truck lot, are you?" I'm afraid so. Trust me, this really is the most interesting thing to draw that I can get to easily on my lunch break. Harahan, Louisiana has plenty of strip malls and fried chicken restaurants, but they're a little short on architectural or natural beauty. This is one of the many reasons why I'm always happy to come back to New Orleans after a day at the office.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Little Rice

This watercolor painting of my rice cooker is dedicated to the good people at Beijing on Irving, one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in San Francisco. New Orleans is a city full of wonderful food but, at least in comparison to my former stomping grounds out west, we're kind of hurting when it comes to Chinese cuisine. This has led me to start cooking more at home, a culinary strategy that has pressed the rice cooker into frequent service. I've gotten pretty handy with a wok, but nothing from my own kitchen has ever come close to the Singapore noodles at Beijing on Irving. Don't feel too bad for me though - any time my longing for a plate of noodles threatens to send me into a state of total despair, I can walk up the street and drown my sorrows in a the immortal glory of the shrimp po' boy at Domilese's.