Aug 15, 2017

Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary

It has been two months now since I began working at Fresno Pacific University. Here is a sketch of the seminary building on campus, which I see quite often. The seminary is part of the Mennonite Brethren Church. What I didn't know is that the church has three seminaries, one of which is at Trinity Western University, the school that employs my wife, and where my son will attend college.

Jul 16, 2017

Traditional Education

What worked in the past does not necessarily work today. Even if the content or the principles have not changed, the methodologies must be continually evaluated and adjusted. Kids today have many of the same questions about life and the world that they have always had; but there are new questions that need to be addressed that we never asked our teachers. To be effective in education we need to have our ears and eyes attuned to the cultures in which we live.

Jul 3, 2017

Captain Kidd the Concierge

There he is, Captain Kidd, had he been a concierge for Caribbean Cruises instead of a treasure seeking pirate. A kinder, gentler figure he is. Still the skull and crossbones topping his hat, but adept at customer service and always ready with clean towels and room service.

Jun 25, 2017

Hot Weather Suit

It's been so hot here in the Fresno area for so many days in a row that I decided to design my own hot weather suit. As you can see, it contains many useful features, including a global positioning tracking device if you happen to pass out from the heat in remote areas.

Jun 23, 2017

Crazy for Gelato

It's been a while since I've put out a drawing. I finished up a year of teaching, took a week vacation, and just finished my first week at a new job, working at a local university. This is the first time I've not been in a classroom in something like 25 years. The weather has been scorching hot, usually around 108 degrees, which makes our pool feel like bathwater and our grass feel like velcro. So, to get my mind on cooler things, I decided to draw a welcome sight on hot days in Italy- a gelato joint. How wonderful it sounds, even now.

Jun 15, 2017

Greeting Cards

Here is a sampling of some greeting cards I put together recently. They are good quality blank cards. These happen to feature the city of Fresno, but I also have cards featuring nice little spots in Europe as well. I think I'll get these organized and try to sell some around town and perhaps online if some interest is shown. If nothing else, I will enjoy using them myself for thank you cards!

May 14, 2017

More changes

Life is full of changes, and it seems like our family is on the brink of so many right now. You just feel like you are settling into normalcy, and then it happens again, and again. Being comfortable with change is a rare attribute, and maybe not even admirable much of the time. I am happy to see my kids moving on with their lives, taking up challenges, becoming independent. Things will never be as they once were, but new adventures lie in front of us, and I want to enjoy right where we're at now as long as I can, and feel the excitement that's coming in the lives of our kids right around the corner.

May 6, 2017

C. T. Studd

C. T. Studd left behind a huge inheritance, athletic fame, and a life of privilege for a life of hardship, persecution, and poor health while serving the people of China, India, and central Africa. Like Moses, who rejected the prestige of the Egyptian court, he rejected the short-lived pleasures of this world and saw ahead to a higher calling and reward with one who sits enthroned above all earthly kingdoms. My son asked me to compose a song, so here is one of my first attempts, based on the life of C.T. Studd. It's called "Come With Me."

Apr 29, 2017

Siberian Husky

I'm spending a week in northern Idaho with my family, sitting at the bedside of my dying grandmother. It's been a special week together, thanking God for her life, and for the gift of life itself. I took a break yesterday to do a sketch of Zoe, one of Mom's Siberian huskies.

Apr 15, 2017

A Week in Hawaii

My wife and I just spent a week in Hawaii for her job. I tagged along and helped, but had the opportunity to get out about once a day to do a sketch, so these are the results. The top sketch was in Maui, near the beach where we saw some enormous sea turtles coming to shore to nibble the algae from the rocks. The next sketch shows a fishing boat near Nico's restaurant, where I had fantastic fish and chips- swordfish. The third sketch shows a surfboard rental place right there in Waikiki. The fourth sketch was retirement housing, the only thing I could find to sketch while waiting for one of my wife's short appointments. The last sketch was a quick sample of the view from our hotel, although it's just a small section of the grand view.

Apr 11, 2017

Honolulu, Hawaii

I'm in Hawaii this week, enjoying an amazing vacation, not doing tons of tourist stuff, but making sure to sketch when I can. Here's one I was working on over by the harbor where we enjoyed fresh beer-batter swordfish and chips. Unbelievable food wherever you go. I'm just happy to be kicking back as much as I can, reading, swimming, and hanging out with good friends. We're looking forward to heading over to Maui for a night, but for the most part just hanging out in Waikiki.

Apr 5, 2017

Fine Dining in Clovis

Clovis is a cowboy town, and every now and then you see the cowboy hats proudly worn by the locals. I'm excited, you see, because in just a few days my wife and I are taking a jet plane to Waikiki for a week. I'm ready for a break from teaching, just plain tuckered out, and she was heading to the islands for work, so I get to tag along. Good times. It's been 26 years since I was there, and that was our honeymoon. Although she'll be working, we'll be able to squeeze some dates in here and there, and I'm hoping to even get a few sketches in.

Apr 2, 2017

Fresno City Fest 2017

Yesterday we heard Andrew Palau speak and tonight we heard his father, Luis Palau. The good news of Jesus Christ was shared with thousands of people, and many came to believe. The concerts were good also, and the crowd seemed to like the music.

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.

Feb 20, 2017

Oroville Dam Report

We live in an interesting time when everyone can be a reporter. Today while I was looking for information about the Oroville Dam, I found this guy named Juan Browne, an American Airlines pilot who just went down to the Grass Valley Union and got himself a press pass so that he could drive up the dam and interview the folks up there. He then did his own news show with his cell phone, talking about the condition of the dam and the likelihood of it overflowing and causing major damage.

Feb 19, 2017

Italia late afternoon

A three day weekend, again. It can't be any better. Working with the sepia lines with some subdued color today, dreaming of days gone by, traveling, lingering in places like this. Those days seem far away now, but you just never, never know. In the meantime, there are adventures to be had right where we are; and if you dare imagine, the adventures may even exceed the past.

Feb 18, 2017

India Ink High

I'm exhausted again, like so many Fridays. I can barely keep my eyes open. All I can think about is going to bed. And then I remember the bottle of Bombay India ink and the dip pen. Before I know it, it's one o'clock in the morning. I love this sepia ink, and it washes on, mixed up with some watercolor. Too much fun. This has been a hard year for me in many ways, but drawing and sketching have been a enormous gift, giving me a break from the stress and allowing me to just enjoy what's in front of me. I'm looking forward to more of this medium.

Feb 14, 2017

Bombay India ink

On the way home from work I picked up some Bombay India ink (sepia) and a couple fountain dip pens. I wasn't sure if the India ink would smear with the watercolor I added later, and it seemed to have no trouble at all. Part of the reason could be the paper I use. I like using the dip pen very much, as the nib makes very fine lines if I want, and I love the scratching on the paper. Nice experience all the way.

Feb 12, 2017

The Bridge Fresno

I woke up sick today, so my family went to church without me. I stayed home and sketched our church from a photo I had taken when the trees still had color. Here is where we were married 26 years ago, and here we call home, being with those we call family.

Feb 7, 2017

Carrie working

The problem with being married to a sketcher is that you never know when your spouse is going to attempt to draw you. My poor wife happened to be sitting upstairs on her laptop, which gave me time to sketch her before supper. She often sits here and works, so this is a typical sight for me at home.

Feb 6, 2017

Sketch Video #36

I haven't made a sketch video in quite a while, so I thought I'd put something together yesterday. This was a real quickie, but it was fun to get back out there and do my thing. This time I grabbed an Arches hot press pad and just tried to put off my perfectionistic tendencies and have fun. The weather is great for urban sketching right now, and downtown Fresno has quite a few interesting things to draw if you look around.

Urban Sketching in Fresno

I finally worked on a new sketch video today, and this is the sketch.  Hopefully the video will work out, but I'm hitting some snags this time around.

Feb 3, 2017

Monet on his way

The rain just keeps coming and today's sky was out of this world. They say most of the water is flowing out to sea, but I don't see any reason to be pessimistic. Politics are on everyone's mind and everyone seems to have a strong opinion. I think everyone needs to just chill out. What's done is done and God's on the big throne anyway. In between the rains, my wife and I got out and had a couple rounds of tennis. My daughter is taking her third art class and her talent is remarkable. She's looking into masters programs. My son is getting excited about heading off to college. Change is afoot. A good time to lean into God and take time to enjoy all that is going on.

Jan 21, 2017

President Trump

Someone asked me to draw the new president, so here's my go at it. As you can see, he's pretty happy there in the Oval Office. I remember eight years ago drawing President Obama, and I suppose I will keep up the habit next time around. No commentary regarding America's choice, at least not yet. He's a very entertaining character, I will say that.

Jan 20, 2017

industrial corner

It was a big day in the United States today. A new president stands at the helm, promising productivity, success, opportunity. The world watches. Yesterday my son and I, along with about 20 other merit scholars, had the opportunity to meet the man who led the team of scientists that landed the latest rover on Mars. He gave a lecture downtown and I took off the morning off to join. The arena was packed with people wanting to hear the details of the accomplishment, and the scientist shared his experiences and the importance of having and fostering curiosity.

Jan 19, 2017

winter at Fresno State

And another storm system moves into Fresno this week! Last year we enjoyed El Niño as it brought lots of water to the valley, but I don't know if anyone expected to get as much rain as we've had this year. This is a scene I pass every day on my way home from work. The sky was great, with pockets of blue poking between enormous billowy masses of white and gray.

Jan 16, 2017

Martin Luther King Jr.

"When you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it." -MLK Jr.

Jan 14, 2017

broken awning

We're getting tons of rain in California, and here in the valley that's a good thing, as long as we can keep some of it for later. They say a lot of it runs into the ocean. The local mountains got a huge dump of snow. Very happy to have a 3-day weekend, thanks to Martin Luther King Jr.

Jan 7, 2017

Another Vincent

I just keep drawing Vincent for some reason. I think it's because he inspires so many of us in our pursuits of art. Who knows. He definitely had a part in my returning to drawing a few years ago. I would wander around in museums, aimlessly gawking here and there, until suddenly I'd find myself in a room with some of his paintings. I didn't want to leave. I could just stare at those paintings forever. There was something behind each one, a passion you just didn't see in so many other paintings. Every now and then I find another artist who captivates in a similar way. It's what drives us all, I think, to keep at it.

Jan 5, 2017

Grocery Outlet

Down the street we have a Grocery Outlet, and I love to shop there. You can't always find what you're looking for, but there's always more than you'd expect. The best part is at the checkout. The checker always says something like, "You paid $42, and you saved $62." I guess they keep track of what every other store is selling their products for, because somehow they always know. You leave the store feeling like you've saved all this money, so I usually say, "That's great! I think I'll go out to eat with all the money I saved." They don't usually think that's very funny, but I say it anyway.

Jan 4, 2017

American Individualism

Just my reaction to hyper consumerism today...where the customer experiences frustration from having too many choices and ends up just going home and making his own coffee. When we lived in Germany, we would fly back to the States for visits and I remember standing in the cereal aisle, which seemed to go on for miles, paralyzed because there were just too many options. Of course, it was the same response I had encountering the yoghurt aisle or cheese aisle in a French grocery store. Americans love having options. Somehow it makes us feel like we are unique, when in fact we all just want some caffeine to wake us up.