Category Archives: techniques

Pressing metal

Pressing metal

Copper disks on which I drew a bathymetric map of the Great Pinnacle and Twin Peaks, scuba diving sites at Point Lobos State Park.  I etched the disks and then shaped the form in a hydraulic form press.  These are samples for my metal class.  We will  saw the forms and then we will learn to make knuckle hinges from tubes to join the two sides together.

Quick Sketch

Quick Sketch

AEReference sketch from the LOC on flickr; Amelia, ca 1915. Pen and ink on paper.

Quick Sketch

Quick Sketch

OnishikiReference sketch, from the LOC on flickr, Onishiki, sumo wrestler ca 1915.  Pen and ink, on paper.

Quick Sketch

Quick Sketch

ArabellaAnother TV sketch, Arabella. Pen and ink on paper.

Quick Sketch

Quick Sketch

I like his mustache; Captain Walter Crosley, ca 1915.  Old photographs fascinate me;  reference photograph from the Library of Congress (LOC) which has a wonderful flickr site.  Pen and ink on paper.


Quick Sketch

Quick Sketch : Young Gil

Young_GilInk on paper.  I call these TV sketches as I sketch them while I’m watching a show.  One doesn’t have time to be fussy, so the line work remains fresh.   I used scrap paper and you can see some of the text from the back side bleed through.  I have a sketch book, but where are they when you want one…

DIY Drawing Charcoal Holder

bamboo stalk with vine charcoalDIY Drawing Charcoal Holder

Another DIY, do it yourself, project using recycled materials.  Working with charcoal can be a messy affair.  There are times when using a charcoal holder not only keeps your hands cleaner but it can also give you more control.  This charcoal holder can be used with the slim  vine or compressed charcoal.

Materials & Supplies

  • Bamboo: Dried bamboo stalks can be found at decorator and florist shops.
  • Packing wire
  • glue
  • sharpie
  • tape
  • saw
  • vice


You will need a bamboo stalk with an opening the diameter of your charcoal.  I was able to use the bamboo from an orchid plant; the bamboo was used to hold up the flower stem.  Make sure your bamboo has nodes as divider segments

charcoal_holder_split_to_nodeFrom the divider node of the bamboo, measure an inch up, toward the top where the charcoal will be, and mark.  The node keeps the bamboo from splitting completely.

Put the bamboo in a vice with the bottom facing up.  The vice will hold the bamboo while you saw.     Make the first cut, saw down the shaft of the bamboo to the 1″ mark.  You can wrap tape around the shaft at the bottom end  to hold bamboo together while you saw down the shaft.  Remove the tape.

charcoal_holder_bindWind the wire around the shaft, not too tight as you will want to slide it up and down.  Make a wire stop to keep the wire from sliding off the bamboo. With the saw, gently score around the shaft of the bamboo, about a third of the way down the shaft from the bottom end.  Apply glue in the score and wrap the wire around the glued scored area and let it dry for a day.

To decorate the charcoal holder, wrap the shaft with yarn.



On the Road: Travel kit for watercolors

On the Road with a Travel Kit for Watercolors

Travel kit for watercolorsMy small Altoid tin houses a few pans of watercolors: hansa yellow, undersea green, burnt sienna, alizarin crimson, indigo, ultramarine blue, quinacrodon gold.  Also included are few fine tipped markers and a pentel water brush, and a Strathmore watercolor journal.  This is the first time for this kit with these tools and colors.  This kit is setup for tropical climates on the coast.  Artist Cathy Johnson has a wonderful YouTube video on all her travel kits, she has many.  She keeps a kit in the glove compartment of her car.  Such a good idea!  It’s a good thing, as Martha would say ;o)

Art podcasts & videos

The internet is a wonderful thing.  It is beginning to push conventional broadcasting out of top position for our attention.  Frequently, in the evening, instead of watching TV, I watch art videos or listen to art podcasts.  I find it relaxing to watch other people paint.  Or when I’m working online, I like to listen to people talk about art.  It’s amazing what you can find out there.


TEDx_1Not long ago, I stumbled across the TEDx talks on YouTube.  TEDx is an offshoot of the TED talks whose mission is, “ideas worth spreading.” Independently organized, TED like talks in local communities.  Recently I watched and enjoyed “The Woo Woo in Art: Marshall Arisman at TEDxChelsea“.  Marshall Arisman is an incredible artist and wonderful story teller.

National Gallery of Art

cover100x100The National Gallery has a collection of videos and podcasts that are freely available.  The podcasts are recordings of lectures given at the gallery.  Though the quality of some of the podcasts is not very good.  Audience questions and comments cannot be heard  Also if the artist is giving a slide presentation, as is frequently done, we, the listener have no idea about what they are speaking.  That being said, listening to the NGA podcasts, one can get a glimpse of the artist and the podcasts are numerous.

JCCSF Arts and Ideas

140522AI_AdletsSupport_v5dbA delightful podcast of Wayne Thiebaud from the JCCSF program, Arts & Ideas.  Wayne Thiebaud is a Bay Area artist, whose iconic pie paintings have become famous around the world.



Figure Drawing Challenge Day 18

I realize that I should have been posting these each day… sigh…  Today’s lesson anatomy.  Front today, back tomorrow.  Figure Drawing Challenge offered by PencilKings, an online drawing course.