and this shall be the new portrait

today is monday january 21st. i know this date for a few reasons. reason number one is that i wanted to make delicious pancakes this morning, and noticed that my eggs were not fit to be consumed post the date of january 18th... i quickly consulted my cellular phone for its calendarage and noted the date had since 3 days priorly passed. though it was only in the 20 degrees zone outside... i put my favorite waterproof pants and jacket on over my pajamas and headed to the deli for fresher eggs.... i really wanted those pancakes. oh and also. i wore waterproof pants because i like them. it wasn't raining.... i just like them.

but secondly, i know the date because of the fella above. he and i are best friends. i really wish i could high five with him and john coltrane and albert einstein all at once. that would make me real happy. but for the time being, i will high five myself as i lay on my studio floor on the celebration of his birth and listen to his sermon A KNOCK AT MIDNIGHT. if you have nary heard martin luther king speak... that'd be silly... but if you have nary heard his sermons, i strongly suggest them. regardless of your religious beliefs or disbeliefs, the sermons are wonderful on a socio-political, moral/ethical standpoint. i really can't get enough of them. you combine that with listening to a coltrane song - and you have yourself a pretty happy situation if you ask me.  even john coltrane loved MLKjr and fashioned his playing in the ALABAMA tune he wrote after the phrasing from MLK's funeral speech post the Alabama incident... so yeah... we're all friends

and here are a few of my other friends below...

above you there, you get another glimpse of tugboat and mousetrap... mynew living companions. this shot was taken seconds after i brought them into myhome for the first time. i openned their cardboard traveling boxes up in the bathroom becuase that's where there litterbox was to be and i figured if there's one room to be comfortable in, that'd be a good one to start.  becuase of that, they hid in there for the first few days, but now seem to roam around the house without a care. and i like that.

above here you have fiamma... i tried to make her get into a cardboard box filled with newspaper, but i couldn't find one big enough. i mean... i found the cardboard box... but you wouldn't believe how hard it is to find gigantic newspapers. i needed like a reeeallly blind person to give me there superlarge print copy or something.

and yes, another friend david abbott... i recently traveled across'd the seas to seas him and seas his family. not seize. i had a really great trip with him. we made it a point to plan nothing and just relax, and it turned out to be my favorite way to travel by far. of course it helped that we had so many amazing things around us, that doing nothing usually incorporated something cool even without trying... but its a mindset i will try to take with me on future travels. another bit of traveling advice that i took (and gave) was to come home with a couple days to spare prior to returning to work. usually i like my trips to extend as far as they can... which usually involves red eye plane traveling early into the monday wee hours before returning to work. as a result, i usually get back to work from vacation time feeling more tired than when i left. this time 'round i came back on a friday afternoon and had a whole weekend of re-acclimation. which is especially nice.

here is proof positive that we spent days just relaxing. you can see david working on a jigsaw puzzle complete with mary poppins and lightening and tom (his younger, yet still quite tall brother) on the computer.... probably talking to his newfound feminina that he was going to travel and see just post my visit.

and here we have a glimpse of SNAP studio.  go ahead... click that link... i dare you. it will show you a super great artist space / gallery / studio run by david and his friends. i am sorry for the lack of pictures of SNAP. you see... i accidentally left my camera in fiamma's purse when she went off to mexico, and while my mom was gracious enough to let me borrow hers, i had a hard time without my favorite little DSC-T10 and took fewer pictures than i should've. but i did like this one. it was someones desk there... i don't think david's desk, but someones.

here is a photo from a fancy part of bristol. david and i were walking around one afternoon after visiting the town's gigantic bridge. we were looking for a pub and/or some ideas to make dinner with. we walked down this street during one of my favorite parts of the day... the oncoming of dusk. now luckily, england seems to rest in this state of day for a good portion longer than here in new york city... so i felt like i was constantly in a bluely-lit, cloud filled dusk setting. but i liked the way all of these buildings got their collective energy from this central pole. it doesn't happen here so much this way... but david seemed unphased by its coolness, so maybe its more a UK thing... or maybe he's just got a higher tolerance of cool than me.

this photo (we're moving reverse chronologically here for some reason) was taken just as i arrived into England. I was immediately wowed at the landscape. though this is not my first trip to England, it is my first time flying into the island. Because of this, I was able to get a great planes-eye-view of the lush landscape, and was wowed at the fact that even the homes right next to the airport seemed old and neat with farms and everything. in jersey or philadelphia, all the homes near the airport seem like bad places to live, here... not the case

i was trying to capture the face of this statuette as we had similar facial hairs. i tried this once priorly with a statuette in the Boboli Gardens in Florence, and would love to show a picture of that one as I feel I did more justice there... but alas it was before the time of the digital camera age... at least for me. this photo was from Oxford.  A quite beautiful town where you can see scenes from Harry Potter movies and eat dinner with bassists from Radiohead if you like.

but speaking of the digital age, as i was leaving england I got to the airport a few hours early, and before I could even find a meat filled sandwhich or a cappuccino, i stumbled across'd an advertisement i worked on for Raymond Meier Studio. This one was particularly interesting to see so large and at head height because this was a shot that was composed of many many different shots. I dont believe the actual bottle existed at the time of the shoot, so I had to make a good amount of the glass, and rework a lot of the imagery to look real. Also, the background was completely reworked from some other shoot so it was fun to see hours and hours of my work up close.

but now its time to look at some bad artwork. i put these sketches up here for a few reasons. (1) they would normally just go into the FOCUS page, but unfortunately, as sigfrido has been getting the easelweb software ready for public use, it has been down for quite sometime. that page is supposed to tell all you readers of the newest in new things and be updated almost daily. but i think the last change was early june. since then i have done a lot of stuff, but have been unable to really post it in a temporary way. i have finished some webdesign work for enrique olvera,  i finished some album design work for stephane wrembel, i've done some drawings for a mural that never went up, and a bunch of other things. the two most recent bits of art news were that I am officially enrolled back in school. I will be taking a woodcutting class at Brooklyn College starting this January 28th in order to keep up my teaching license. But secondly, my boss offered to pay for figure drawing classes for me. Now I believe he offered this to me for annoying reasons i'd rather not get into... but i am going to thankfully accept free classes that would otherwise cost me a lot of money. this past week i went to my first class and felt rusty for sure. i normally wouldn't put any poor art such as this up on the site, but i figured it would be a lesson in humility and making myself show some drawings at least.... so here are a few croquis. those are short sketches that are anywhere from 30 second drawings to 2 minute, 5 minute or up to 20 minute studies.

focussing too much on the linear elements and i really want to focus more on the light on the character. this was a 2 minute drawing i believe.

here was a five minute pose. his butt was hoisted funnily up in the air. and i always find it hard to draw muscular men because the drawings usually turn out to look like my drawings when i was 7 and I was drawing He-Man and Rambo characters. overly muscular and such... though He-Man and Rambo were not ever fully naked... so its a little different. i always find the best people to draw are reeeally heavyset women. so many curves within curves to work with. thats really the trick to line drawing the figure i believe, focussing on the nuances of curves within curves.

i zoomed in on this one. i forget if it was a 2 or 5 minute pose. i also have trouble drawing african american faces because its easy to fall into making the drawing looking stereotypically african american.... i don't want to insinuate any racism in drawings thats for gosh darn sure.

and here we have a 20 minute pose that i didn't quite get to the legs when the timer rang. all in all, while i don't like the drawings, i liked stretching my drawing hands and will hopefully be going back on a regular basis... assuming my boss will keep paying for it. though it did remind me of a book i would love to make. this book would consist in two sections. the first being all unfinished works by artists. i really love seeing an unfinished piece of art... i don't know if its the raw-ness of it, or just the fact that the process becomes so evident... but sheesh you can't find a book that puts a bunch of unfinished works together and i think you should be able to.

this is an unfinished work by da vinci, st jerome something-or-nother...

a benjamin west painting.

a picasso of a harlequin - i think the sitter was a painter friend of his named salvado.

i'm not sure who did this one but i like it.

this is one of my favorite paintings of all time. i don't like the artist so much - laurence alma tadema. but this unfinished painting was at the van gogh museum when my brother and i went to amsterdam. and out of all the great van gogh's there, this one might've been my favorite piece there. you don't get a sense of the beauty of it online... but let me tell you...

ok - i think that's enough examples -you get the point. the second half of the book would all be bad paintings by the masters. i think it would be a great resource for artists to have a giant book that had some paintings by... say... jacques louise david, or ingres where they really just messed up or did a poor job. because all we ever see when we look in museums or books are the great works, but there has to be hundreds of bad works in private collections or in basements of museums that don't get shown... but i think should be compiled somewhere. so that's my book idea. i hope someday i can find the resources and time to do the study needed to put it together.

ok - and lastly. i thought this would be a good ending to my musing. here is the best cappuccino i have ever had in my life. for a while it was one i shared with some friends in florence along with some delicious peanuts.... and i always thought peanuts were the trick to delicious cappuccino's.  but now i think its lots of cocoa on top.

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