Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Save Loomis

About 10 years ago, I was introduced to the world of computer animation. It is a skill I have not used in a long time, but have been working with the software once again to create some still images.

I found my skills a little rusty, so I broke out several training videos and books that have been sitting on the shelf for years. One of the videos is on how to build a human head in the 3d CGI world. In the video the host mentions Andrew Loomis and his how-to-draw books. He said that you could find Loomis’ work at

I looked up the site and found it had been taken down. After some searching, I read that “lawyers” had forced the site to shut down.

I remember reading Loomis’ books as a young man. Even then, some 30 years after they were first published, they were wonderful. They simplified the construction of the human figure and explained how to draw in a style that was very easy to understand. When I took formal art classes, the techniques were pretty much the same as the Loomis method.

Even now, as I work with technology Loomis would have considered something out of science fiction; his lessons still serve as a guide on how to draw.

Seems a shame to have Loomis work stay out-of-print.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Still Life

I remember standing in the National Museum of Art in Washington DC and looking at a still life painting by Willem Claesz Heda , “Banquet Piece with Mince Pie.”

I started to think about the great still life paintings and how they all seemed to have a couple of things in common. For instance they mostly have some fruit, a glass, metal plate maybe a candle and some type of meat; such as rabbit or bird.
I wondered to myself what would a still life painter use today for his model?

What I came up with is “Classico vita ancora con il pasto americano modern” or “Classic Still Life with Modern American Meal” a tribute to the Modern American Diet.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fire Good

I thought that not having heat would be a major problem; however we have a great fireplace. It’s actually warm in the house!

Cooler Weather

Well, it’s been a week since my last post. The weather has turned decidedly colder, and I’m sitting here waiting for the asbestos abatement crew to show up. They plan on taking all the ducting out of the attic, but the crew to put in the new vents doesn’t show until tomorrow. This means, it’s finally wintery and cold, and we get to go two days without heat. Thank God for fireplaces.


Nuff Said!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Good Run of Bad Luck

There was a time when I listened to a lot of country music. But I did not start out as a country fan.

As a teen, I was a true rocker and country and disco music were two things that made my skin crawl.

While in the Army, I crewed helicopters. The control of the radio was in the cockpit, so you either listened to what the pilot liked or you spent hours with just the hum of the aircraft. Most the pilots listened to country, and after several years, I began to actually enjoy it.

I became a fan of Randy Travis, Garth Brooks, Brooks and Dunn, among other country stars. What I liked about the music was that it told a story, one that was usually believable, and one that could happen to you.

The last few years, I’ve been listening more to Alternative music, but the last month has made me thinking about at least one country song.

Clint Black has a song “A Good Run of Bad Luck” which is a great description of the last couple of months.

So far, My wife got her car destroyed in an accident (she is fine), the washing machine broke (it cost more to fix than replace) the stove door won’t close (costs almost as much to fix as replace), my roto tiller finally gave up, my truck developed a coolant leak (had to replace the coolant tank), the jeep developed a “death shutter” ($1200 worth of front end work) and we found out we need the heating ducts replaced, but first we need to get the asbestos abated. All this and I haven’t had a paycheck since January.

Now to be perfectly honest, I’m starting to get a little bit down. But there is something inside me that keeps telling me that I’m going to catch a break soon, and this will be all behind me.

There is an old joke that goes; “what do you get when you play a country song backwards?” The answer is: “You get your dog, your truck and your wife back!”

Several of my friends have told me I should write a book about my life, I’m starting to wonder if a song is more in order.

Maybe I can write it backwards.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Compass Check

I’ve been looking back over the posts I’ve made on this blog and realized that I’m not really fulfilling the purpose of the blog.

On day one I said “I plan to write a little about my art, my travels and maybe a little about life.” Looking back, I notice that the only explanation of the art is for the “A Friend of the Family” a painting I did for a friend of mine.

So, I intend to correct that error. Over the next few entries, I’ll talk about what inspired me to create some of the art I have already finished. Maybe even share some stories of the places in the work, or the places where the inspiration began.
One of paintings currently on display at the Redlands Art Association is “il vecchio ponte nel Parco Centrale” or “the Old Bridge in Central Park.”

At this time last year, I was on my way home from a trip I took with my mom (if you want to read the whole story it’s the “Trippin with Mom” blog). We stopped in New York for a few days at the end of the two week adventure, and on the last day mom was feeling pretty sick. Unfortunately we had to check out of the hotel several hours before our flight, which meant we were going to be hanging around NYC with mom being ill. I went to the front desk and asked if we could get a late check out, and was told we could delay it about an hour. After speaking with the manager on duty and explaining to her what the problem was, she arraigned for mom to be able to stay in the room until we needed to leave for the airport (Courtyard by Marriott, I highly recommend the Marriott chain, they are the best).

While mom rested, I went for a walk from the hotel in Times Square to the Metropolitan Museum. It was a typical cloudy November day in NYC; it rained a little, and was moderately cold. I remember feeling pretty good, in spite of the dismal weather. As I entered Central Park, I saw the old bridge. I took several photographs and based the painting on one.

I’ve been to New York several times now, and I have really enjoyed each of my visits, however, this one will always stand out from the rest. When I look at the painting, I’m reminded of the good feelings I had that day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Getting Schooled

My daughter, her boyfriend and I went to the local high school today. We went to see her old ceramics teacher and get some pointers on how to construct a clay wheel, and find out a little about the kiln that has been sitting on the back porch for a couple of years.
He was great, showed us the wheels they have in the classroom and gave us some pointers on how to make ours.
Turns out the kiln is pretty good, we should be able to fire up to a 06 clay.
I can’t remember the last time I was on a school campus during the school day. I feel really old.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A New Look Part 2

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time redesigning the WEB site. I must say, there is a reason I don’t design sites for a living. Anyway, I’ve made some progress, and I’m pretty happy with the new look. Now I can concentrate on getting more content on the site.

Take a look at

Friday, November 5, 2010

A New Look

Just wanted to change the overall look of the blog. I like this better.