Sketching from the Neck Up #16

Wagons, Ho!

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When I did this drawing of a very old covered wagon (minus the cover), I was reminded of an old TV western series called “Wagon Train” (1957-1965). Anybody remember that black & white series? Well, I was watching it back in the 1960s. Phew, I am old! I used to fantasize going on a wagon train fighting ‘renegade injuns’ and outlaws. What is funny is that in every episode, the lead characters, the gritty eyed John McIntire and Robert Fuller would drive a long train of covered wagons from Missouri to California. Imagine that! Every 48 minute episode, our trail blazing heroes would lead an intrepid group of pioneers through grassy plains, deserts, and then over the Rocky Mountains. In reality, a wagon drawn by either 2 horses or oxens filled with all their earthly belongings and supplies can travel about a mile per hour. Keep in mind that family members usually walked, not ride most of the time. So, a wagon train of about a hundred would take 5-8 months for them to traverse 5 states.

Believe it or not, I actually found a number of episodes in Youtube. Of course, my drawing is probably one of those wagons that didn’t make it to the west. Like I said before, I like drawing this kind of stuffs. The photo was a little pixelated but I played with it on Photoshop and brought the clarity up enough for me to sketch it out.

Well, as the wagon train leader would say to get going, “Wagons, ho!”

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Sketching from the Neck Up #15

Bled… Bled… Bled…

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Have you ever watched the animated movie, Hotel Transylvania, starring the voice of Adam Sadler as Dracula? Do you recall how humans would tease Dracula on how he talked? “I’m Count Dracula… Bled… Bled… Bled.” Well, okay… it’s actually ‘blah, blah, blah.’ But I really needed a lead off. You see, my next sketch subject is a very old church built on an island on Lake Bled. It’s a pristine lake in the Julian Alps of the Upper Carniolan region of northwestern Slovenia near the border of the Austrian Alps.

The Church of the Assumption of Maria has a 171 ft tower and leading up to it from the shoreline is a Baroque stairway dating from 1655 with 99 stone steps.

The Photoshop I always use is the old 7.0 version. The tools are not as fancy as newer versions but I make do. For this project, I played more around with the smudge tool especially when I worked on the reflection.

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Sketching from the Neck Up #14

Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso

(Eremo di Santa Caterina del Sasso)

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According to Wikipedia the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso is a Roman Catholic monastery located in the municipality of Leggiuno, in the Province of Varese and the region of Lombardy, Italy. It is perched on a rocky ridge on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore.

The monastery can be reached on foot by descending down a long winding stairway or by taking an elevator or by a number of ferry services or boats that dock at the pier.

The construction of the monastery dates from the 14th century, although the more recent frescos are from the 19th century. It consists of three buildings: the southern convent, the convent and the main church. In 1914 it was declared a national monument.

Check out the Google Earth or Google Map coordinates: 45.877411°N, 8.596887°E

http://www.santacaterinadelsasso.com

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Sketching from the Neck Up #13

More Tree Sketches and a Poem

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Here is the rest of the poem…

TREES by Joyce Kilmer [1886 – 1918]

I think that I shall never see…      A poem lovely as a tree. 

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A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast; 

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
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Sketching from the Neck Up #12

The Good Ol’ Oak Tree

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Joyce Kilmer penned in her poem, “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.” In my virtual tour of Google Earth, I was exploring the State of South Carolina just near Charleston when I came upon a grand father of an oak tree known as the Angel Oak. A massive oak that is estimated to be 400-500 years old. Wikipedia says that it stands 66.5 ft (20 m) tall, measures 28 ft (8.5 m) in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet (1,600 m2). Its longest branch distance is 187 ft in length.

I think way back in the early 70s, I have a vague recollection that my family (while cross-countrying) stopped over once to check it out. I was a kid then. The Angel Oak as I understand is a favorite subject of many artists. With their easyls propped under the heavy branches of the tree, they would sketch and paint away blissfully. I may not have the pleasure of actually be there to sketch my heart away but I do have a slew of pictures.

For my drawing, I really wanted to emphasize the age of this tree. I did the usual practice of outlining the the gnarled ol’ trunk and its many twisted branches. Then I applied Photoshop’s filter function which gave my drawing a basic charcoal look. But the results of the auto-render of the trunk and branches hardly showed any distinguishable features and I was not satisfied. So, I painstakingly erased only the auto-render of the trunk and branches. Then, I redid the trunk and branches using different Photoshop brushes and smudge tools.

I hope you like the results.

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Sketching from the Neck Up #11

Beauty in Dilapidation

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When I used to cross country the United States in my hay days, we would encounter all form of dilapidation like ghost towns, abandoned structures, rusty vehicles, etc. In my artist eye, seeing decay and things in disrepair was not depressing to me. I see beauty. I love them. Of course, I’m referring to natural dilapidation. I find that I still appreciate things like that. When I found a photograph of an old abandoned overgrown village house at the end of a dirt road, I had to sketch it.

In this drawing, I really wanted to show details like the rotting tiles of the roof and brush growths around it. I took my sweet time on this one. After I sketched out the lines, I applied the Photoshop function which gave it a charcoal look. But what Photoshop usually produce is always lacking. So, I had to clean it up and add more shadow.

I hope you like the results.

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Sketching from the Neck Up #10

Farewell to a Loved One

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To live close to a hundred is to me wondrous and a gift. I am privileged to relate quite well with the mother of my wife who… I am sad to say… had just recently passed away at the age of 96 years.

Here is to her… my second Mom who I was blessed to know for 33 years. Thank you Mom.

Love from (according to her) her favorite son in law.

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