Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I love Larry

The designer Christian Lacroix, who was born in Arles in the south of France, has an illustrated memoir which includes a photograph of an Arlesian woman in traditional costume. In the nineteenth century these women were considered unusually beautiful, and from what I understand their faces resembled Roman statuary. I suppose the American version of that kind of face would be the face of  Liberty (designed of course by a French guy, Auguste Bartholdi).

The photo in the Lacroix book was one inspiration for this drawing, as was Larry Rivers, an artist who used scratchy, scribbly techniques in his paintings that gave them an improvisatory feel more often associated with drawings.

I've re-worked this drawing a few times. At first the background was way too busy, so I applied some filters to make it recede, then added some of the colors from the background to the figure's skintone. Not sure how successful this is, but it was fun to reference one of Rivers' drawings and try to use the same kinds of elements. The exercise produced something I would never have come up with on my own.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Victorian Gentleman

A Victorian Gentleman, inspired by a portrait from the same era (the name of the subject wasn't given). Had a chance to use a wonderful brush in this one that produces teeny tiny hairs.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


This one was inspired by memories of some of my female relatives on my mother's side. They're all gone now - including my mother - and my uncle Herb, who died a few days ago at age 94, was the last person alive who knew them and their stories. I miss Herb a lot, and I miss those goofy older women who shaped my world view quite a bit.

I've been reading "how to finish your novel" books for a while now. Characterization and dialogue are no problem for me, but my plotting frankly sucks. I'm in the mushy middle portion of my manuscript and am unsure where the story should go. So I've been lapping up books on story arcs, story architecture, and the like.

One I've enjoyed recently is Larry Brooks' book, Story Physics. Lots of valuable content, but the author has one distracting tic that made things a bit weird for me - he pluralizes the word physics.

Here are two examples (from other writers) that feature collective nouns that take a singular verb:

"Genetics is complex, and anyone who tells you different is selling something." - Adam Rutherford at today.

"For the wages of sin is death..." - King James Bible

And now Larry Brooks:

"Physics are everywhere. They influence everything." Story Physics, page 1

"The swing may look the same to the casual observer, but it's not. The physics are different." Story Physics, page 7

"Story physics are true." Story Physics, page 13

Whereas the Encylopaedia Britannica, at, says: "Physics is the basic physical science."

That sounds right to me (if redundant), but maybe story physics is? Are? - different. What happened, though, was that I found myself unable to concentrate on the meaning of what the guy was saying after a while. I was all tensed up in anticipation of the next "physics are" taser treatment. Eventually I had to stop reading - and it was a shame, because it's a pretty good book.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Happy birthday, Mahler!

A younger Mahler. He was known as super intense, even troubled and a bit depressed. But I wanted to capture a lighter side of the composer.