coffee & pencils

18 MARCH 2015






A CROWD OF PEOPLE is the title of this piece. It's one of the five illustrations from my graphic-poem, FRANKENSTEIN MEETS SISTER MARY SHELLEY that were on display in the DVAA's WILSON'S WINTER SHOW. The title comes from a line in The Beatles' A DAY IN A LIFE. "...A crowd of people stood and stared..." The title should have come to me immediately as that's what I needed: a crowd of people. The crowd representing my parochial school classmates who had come to see what I had illustrated—a picture of our fifth and sixth grade nun in "a battle to the death" with Frankenstein's monster.

The image came to me immediately. I knew I wanted to pay homage or outright knick the design from the album art of "Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." The fact the song the title came from is from this album is coincidence. I knew I wanted that crowd. The section where Marilyn Monroe and Edgar Allan Poe are standing. I wanted those two characters. Now, I needed to come up with replacements for the surrounding people. Enter Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, Louisa May Alcott, Jack Kerouac, Bertrand Russell and Winston Churchill.

That's the story behind this piece titled, A CROWD OF PEOPLE, that was one of the five illustrations from my graphic-poem, FRANKENSTEIN MEETS SISTER MARY SHELLEY that were on display in the DVAA's WILSON'S WINTER SHOW, that I didn't take home as it's found a new one.

Thank you to whoever now owns A CROWD OF PEOPLE!


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16 MARCH 2015






RED NOT GREEN Ten years ago today, on the day before everybody would be wearing GREEN, some folks were seeing RED. Myself, in the choice of media and hue of my next illustration, "Not A Girl Who Misses Much." And the Steering Committee of Gallery 267 in their rejection of my application to become a member and the furor it caused among the artists.



"Red Em" is what I called this piece. My nickname for its lengthy title and the counterpart to "Blue Em" my previous Emily Dickinson portrait. For everything true blue and conservative in "Blue Em," there were equal parts of red hot and rebellious in "Red Em." It also was the follow-up to WHEN, and so I was purposely the pushing buttons of blasphemy and 'sell-out' in this piece, too, as I wanted acceptance in to this gallery, in what seemed, the worst way.



And that way wasn't going all that well. However, I did have an ally. A present member of the group. The woman who suggested I apply, in the first place. And she had sent an "open letter" to the Steering Committee and all the members and asked them to define art and determine what art they would not accept in their art gallery.



Yes, things had turned to RED.

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14 MARCH 2015






TODAY IS IT The last day of the WINTER SHOW at Wilson's Department Store. I don't imagine lots of folks will be rushing out to catch it if they already haven't. It's one of those stay inside kind of days. No major blizzard sort of stuff that makes it impossible to go out but rather the dreary, gray, if-I-don't-have-to-I-ain't-going-to kind of weather-traveling day.

The perfect weather to go up to your studio and work. And with no shows on the horizon to prepare for, I've got no excuse and better use every one of these kind of days that come my way for soon it's going to be nice-day-call-me-out-to-the-garden weather.



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13 MARCH 2015







FRIDAY THE 13th Does this day make you nervous? Do you feel unlucky? Or think that bad luck is coming your way? I checked through the archive to see the last time the 13th fell on a Friday in March and sure enough, it turned out to be a somewhat unlucky event for me.



I Googled Friday the 13th and found that it's Tuesday the 13th for some Hispanic cultures and Friday the 17th for Italians—their bad luck day. The 13 is probably because of the number who attended the Last Supper and the day because of the Good Friday (not a good day for Jesus from my perspective—but what do I know?). And no real evidence that this superstitious day occurred anytime before the 19th century.

So, watch out for black cats (don't come to my house, I got two), and don't walk under ladders (dumb thing to do, anyway, especially if it's sportin' open paint cans or a bag of hammers). Stay home and watch some movie about teens on a camping trip. And have a good Friday!



I did this illustration of my son, Brennon, and Jason of FRIDAY the 13th film fame, some time back in 2004 as a logo-masthead for a blog where Brennon reviewed horror films.
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11 MARCH 2015












SOMETIMES IT WORKS like this... Sketch is done in early November. It's a revision of an earlier idea with a new approach to the character and the gesture. Some other sketches are done. Same new direction. Scans are made. Sketches are placed in the layout. Plans are made "to get back into this project." Hopes are high.

But what is that saying about 'plans made?'

It's March of the following year. The sketches are reviewed. The layout reviewed. It is decided the plan was good. Work begins. Line. Details. Layout.

Good plan! We're back into this project.

Sometimes, it works like this.




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10 MARCH 2015







WHAT?
IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY!
Not DON DRAPER'S but JON HAMM'S.
Happy 44, Jon!

Being a huge fan of The Sixties, I love Jon's character, Don Draper, in MAD MEN. So, when I found a moment last Spring on a short vacation in Michigan that needed filling with something to do, like drawing, I lucked out finding a Jon Hamm interview in a magazine destined for the recycle bin.

I added suit and cigarette turned him into Don Draper.






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9 MARCH 2015






WHEN I posted this ten years ago, I asked the three-pronged question: Is this art? blasphemy? or sell-out?

What it was was my ticket into Gallery 267. There was a long heated debate about my joining that co-op gallery. The fine-artists didn't want any illustrators, especially cartoonists or caricature artists.

WHEN I entered this, they changed their minds. Yes, it had caricature but maybe because it had nudity and absurdity and was done all in blue pencil, it had enough fine art to make it OK.

WHEN is the nickname I gave this piece. Its official title is "Don't Let On That You Knew Me." Those fine artists who were not Dylan fans may have also liked this arty title. But some of us knew where the line came from and the next word in the phrase is WHEN, as in when it was your world... And it was their world and I wanted in.

I got in with WHEN. Joyce Carol Oates disrobed for me. Dylan looked on nervously. And Mark Twain—like all my fine art judges—scowled. And WHEN became the blasphemous, sell-out piece of art that opened the door ten years ago.

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8 MARCH 2015






LOOKING BACK MARCH 8th ten years ago is the day I began what became a drawing I would fondly call "WHEN" like an inside joke. And it was kind of a joke but I'll go into that in tomorrow's post on its anniversary.

MARCH 8th four years ago I shared the narrative, the 'poem,' that became my first art magazine, Ain't gonna hang no pixel—an artist stops painting with paint.

The drawing that was titled 'unofficially' WHEN was the beginning of my chapter as an artist-illustrator in the world of fine-art and gallery shows, framed art hanging on walls.

The story of my first magazine was really an autobiographical confession. I'm the artist in the story who tells his favorite framer that he's stopped painting with paint and he's not going to hang his pixel art in galleries only magazines.

I still show my art in galleries and art-shows (like the DVAA Winter Show) just not as often. Interestingly, four of the galleries I did show my art in years ago are now gone.

My focus these days is the art involved in creating my magazines—my graphic-poems as Recorder journalist, David Rainville, penned them. And that brings me to...

LOOKING FORWARD I am looking forward to spending some of this MARCH 8th at my drawing table working on my next graphic-poem, SAINT RINGO.

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