Mar 17, 2017

Let's face it

Let's face it, unless you push yourself beyond your comfort zone you will never get beyond where you are today. I very seldom attempt a drawing of a girl, let alone go at it with watercolor like this. It's very frightening, because success is so rare. I'm sure there are zillions of mistakes in this piece, and some day I will abhor it, but I thought I'd post it anyway and let it speak for itself.

Mar 15, 2017

Rothenburg, Germany

Experimenting tonight with watercolor a bit, putting loads of water on, and then loads more. Not my normal style, but it's always good to venture out. The ink is only the sepia with the quill pen again. Rothenburg has some nice memories for me, one of our first weekend excursions when we lived there, then later with family; playing cards in the guesthouse and getting scolded for laughing too loudly at 7pm. Freezing cold nights, walking around the walled city and imagining all the medieval stories that occurred there. It would be good to visit again some day, but perhaps I have other places on my horizon; the world is so large.

Mar 11, 2017

Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City

The weather is really warming up now. As the man on the radio said, "We're scratching the underbelly of the 80s already." I stayed up late last night to draw the Palace of Fine Arts, using the sepia ink I have been enjoying so much. My wife joined another tennis tournament and I think it's my time to start signing up now. I just have to keep my ankles in good shape. No fun getting old. I thank God I'm still in halfway decent shape to get out and play as much as I do. These tournaments are good for meeting people too, and they're pretty cheap to join. I noticed there's a doubles tournament coming up this month, and the prize is $10,000 to the winners. I should've listened to my mother in high school and joined the tennis team.

Mar 9, 2017

A warm breeze blows

One of the greatest feelings is the first warm breeze after the chill of winter. We're starting to feel it here already, and it's glorious. I played my best match of tennis ever the other night, and I think I learned something outside of the sport with it. Focus on each point. Whether you're serving or receiving, forget the past and let go of the anxieties of the next plays. Just focus on where you are at the moment and make that moment the best you can. If you win it or lose it, you have no regrets; only things to learn from it. I didn't end up winning the match, but I learned more than I ever expected.

Mar 6, 2017

University Village

I find myself sketching almost every square inch of Barstow Avenue in Fresno, part of my daily commute home from teaching. These apartments are directly across from Bulldog Stadium at Fresno State, and hopefully you can see the first signs of spring there, pushing some pink into the world. The morning was freezing cold, but the skies perfectly clear, promising afternoon warmth and bright sunshine. I love that it's March, and the days will continue to get longer from now until the 20th of June. Longer days means more sketching, more tennis, more swimming, more leaves, and more colors.

Mar 5, 2017

La Granja

This is more of a practice piece than anything, using a quill pen with sepia ink on heavy watercolor paper. The nib doesn't seem overly happy to be dragged across such heavy texture, but I definitely like the soft edges that you don't get with black pends. There were some moments of dripping that didn't bother me too much. In fact, had I left the drips on there it probably would've contributed to the picture well. Instead, it's too finished. Always hard to know when to call it quits.

Mar 4, 2017

Lenk, Switzerland

I noticed this sketch came up this morning on Facebook, as I sketched it exactly 5 years ago, sitting at the base of the mountain. Thinking back, I realized how many turns my life has made in the past 5 years. Packing up our house and leaving Germany... moving to the Bay area and saying goodbye to our daughter as she headed off to college... taking in a foreign exchange student from Japan... then moving to the Central Valley... changing teaching jobs again... buying a house... selling our house in Germany... getting our daughter back... life has certainly taken many turns in these past 5 years, and I'm sure many turns in the road are ahead for the next 5 years. But God is always there to meet us at every turn. Nothing occurs apart from his knowledge. Only trust.

Feb 25, 2017

Urban Sketching on Wishon Avenue

My wife took part in a tennis tournament today, but had a couple hours between matches, so I went down the street to look for something to draw down on Wishon and found this place. The day was warm in the sun, but downright cold in the shade. After the tennis we headed over to Jack's Urban Eats to celebrate her accomplishment to keep up with those high school girls on the court.

Feb 22, 2017

Fresno Fire Department

Today the Fresno Fire Department visited our school and the kindergarten class got to jump into the fire truck and shoot water from the big fire hose. The kids loved the experience and it took me back many years to when my own kids visited the fire departments at that age.