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Make a line, make some art

When I was a kid, my brother and I would play a game. It was fun with the two of us but you could easily do it with lots more. The first person make a line on paper, or a curve or a dot…whatever was your fancy, They pass it to the next person and he picks it up and adds to what you did and then passes it on to the next. By the time it passes a few hands it begins to look like something. This is a fun exercise I used to do with my students because it frees them up and they feel less self-concious about what they are doing. You can get some interesting results.

Lately I’ve been drawing like this a lot. It’s very relaxing and if you try it, remember the only point of reference is your brain and your imagination. Don’t use any references of any kind. It might be hard to do in the beginning but if you stick with it, it will get easier. Why do it? Because it let’s your self-conscious mind release the hidden images you walk around with every day and never release. When you draw from a photo, you rely on an external image to trigger creativity. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not.

This is the latest one I’ve done. It turned out to look like my white orange tabby cat Guero. Guero means very blonde in Spanish. He is almost white…a very fair haired fellow. HE is living here on a tee.

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Green Raven on the Moon

Mr. Raven just happens to be green. Mr. Raven likes to sit on the crescent moon and think about stuff. He likes companions…like his friend spider who tags along. I would venture to guess he’s thinking about how far away the earth is now. Flying home might be a challenge. Do you think he’ll make it?

This drawing is a scratchboard from a series of green raven fantasies I did a while ago. People loved this character and I’m bringing him back. He really does hang out with a spider. He protects the spider and the spider protects him by warning him if he hears any bullies around. Bullies are a menace and don’t do anybody any good. Least of all to themselves. I never had compassion for bullies. They are boring.

Here he is on a tee.

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Figuring out where my love of letters originated

scrapbook of hand lettered type, 2015

My love of writing and reading came from my sister Noel who was my second mother. She read to me often as a child. I did the same with my children. When I was little we had a huge library in our little cold water flat in Connecticut. We lived by the railroad tracks and I would hear the train whistles blow every day at regular times. You would never know we were poor. We had books and art everywhere. My sister loved to read me English romantic poems. We memorized a lot of them. It was the print on the funny paper, the sound of the words, the languages in our house were English and French. They told me I spoke French before I spoke English. I switched to mostly English because my mom wanted to soak up everything I learned at school.
This is handy now that I’m learning Spanish. The written letters back then for me were more than shapes….they were a way out of our little barrio. They led me to being an excellent student with excellent grades. I learned Latin, French and how to diagram sentences with great skill. I worked as a stenographer in the ’70s. I took dictation and was a speed typist. My high school shorthand teacher was also a professional calligrapher. He taught us a lot and my eyes were glued when he demonstrated how he executed some of his formal documents. I often wondered what he was doing in this small town. I still wonder. He was very educated and distinguished. He would make us memorize sentences in our dictation exercises, beginning with short ones and progressing as the term went on to longer, complex ones. Believe it or not, it really helped train our teenage brains to learn to memorize and translate very quickly. Nobody teaches that way anymore.
When I was learning digital, I was working as a children’s librarian. I would do the html and thank God himself when I could put little pictures together with letters, words and sentences. Nothing has changed. It still fascinates me.

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I just wanna hang with my dog

I TOOK a picture of this amazing dog when I first moved to Mexico. He was sitting in front of a blacksmith shop; sort of halfway in and halfway out of the doorway. He was pretty darned big and he had an certain look on his face that told me he was a love bug. I’ve been wanting to draw him for more than a year and today I just decided the time was now.
Usually I start to tablet draw on a transparent background but today I chose white and when I put the floor tile color in, I accidentally colored the whole sheet so rather than fixing the error, I went with it. I discovered that I love painting this way as it’s a little like oil painting in that you can easily put lights over darks. what fun. I used a spatter brush, and ultimate chunky pastel brush. Laying the text was a little different too because the style of the font is casual and lining it all up to the left worked out great. Because of the short and similar length of the words it was appropriate and I chose the blue to connect to the shadows of the dog. All in all, I’m happy with this guy. I know that black line art is very dark but I still really enjoy its boldness. See the tee shirt here.

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