Thursday, August 27, 2009

Falafel, Shawarma, and Other Three-Syllabled Mediterranean Words

On Saturdays I often go to Davie, Florida, a bastion of Southern Pride, complete with cowboys, good ole' boys, horses, and rodeos. But when I go there, I eat at Fala Falafel, a Mediterranean fast food place. Why is it there? Who knows? There are no camels in Davie as far as I know.

The walls there are bright orange on one side and lime green on the other, and somehow it is all good - fashionable and comfortable. This is probably due in large part to how delicious and fresh the food is and how enormously friendly the staff and the owner. When I go, I eat the shawarmas. Why have anything else? But they serve other Mediterranean stuff too. And for the Rhinestone Cowboys, they serve Smoothies.

Because many are not familiar with all those Mediterranean words, a sign is posted on the wall entitled "How to Order". I love this. Ordering is a bit of a challenge for some but the staff is very helpful and friendly about the whole thing, and I can attest that it is well worth the effort. This worked for me once too on an entirely different level because one day I was able to sketch a girl brooding over the menu; it took her quite a while to decide. I could have told her had she asked..the shawarma, the shawarma.

So hello to Brandon and Brandon's girlfriend (darned if I haven't forgotten your name), both of whom work there! Brandon has shown quite a bit of interest in my sketches and has even visited this blog - one of the select few. So Brandon, this post is for you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

On the Road

Well, Raena, I too hit the road! We took two days to drive from Miami, Florida to Richmond, Virginia. As we drove through Central Florida, I was able to sit back and sketch what I saw and then apply the watercolors. I tried out some new paper, Fabriano 140 lb. rough, which had a really nice texture and feel.

I was attracted to the shape of the electric posts and I thought, that's great, I will keep having new examples to draw. But after I drew the first one, the posts changed to an entirely different shape. Now, why on earth would that be? So I can complain all I want about people moving when I want to draw them, but this time it was me that was moving! Serves me right, I guess.

We stayed overnight the first evening in the beautiful city of Savannah, Georgia and had dinner at the Cotton Exchange Tavern & Restaurant. I had grouper stuffed with crabmeat; a baked potato; some vegetable or other; and a beer called Fat Tire Amber Ale, smooth and flavorful. So wonderful..

Satiated, I pulled out my Lamy and my Moleskine, and sketched an unsuspecting target in a booth at the end of the room. The waitress loved the fact that I was sketching this poor gent and she approved the likeness. As a result, she got a big tip.

A few days later, we visited Monticello in Virginia, Thomas Jefferson's stately home. I had planned on sketching a few of the flowers that he had grown in his garden but it started to pour, and that was that. I only had time for a quick sketch of one. My wife took photos of some of the other flowers though, so I may complete this yet, though not in the way I had intended.

And this is the as yet uncolored view from my hotel room in Savannah. Because of time constraints, this was also a pretty quick sketch. I think it kind of looks like the sort of drawing you would find in a coloring book - with good reason. Eventually I will apply the watercolors, and share the result with you. I took a photo so I could see the colors. Though not as good as painting from life, it will do as a handy substitute.

So now I'm home. Work has begun. School has begun. But it's not the end of the road, even if I do live at the beginning of I-95. Not by a mile.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Strangers and Yet Connected

The first drawing I made in my watercolor Moleskine (which is almost full now) was of people lined up at Chipotle Grill. I only just got around to coloring it. I did this at Chipotle looking at another group of people. That way I could observe the light source which made the final project better, I think, than if I had colored it at home using my imagination.

Strangers all, but somehow I can relate to each and every one of them.

My son Ian showed me a video on YouTube of a famous father and son in Afro-Cuban Jazz, a wonderful genre of music that we know very well in South Florida. If you haven't heard this form of music, and are curious, one of our public radio stations, WDNA, plays a lot of it. You can listen to the station here.

Anyway, the father is Bebo Valdes (I am a fan), and the son is Chucho Valdes. Both are pianists. The video is here The pair was estranged for 18 years according to the video, and they still see very little of each other. Even so, the father-son connection when they play together is very strong, and in this video the way they interact with one another through their music is quite moving.

The video was filmed employing very strong lighting, with the two pianists (and pianos) facing one another. So I had to draw them, right?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Subject to Talk About

Remarks about this picture:

By the Subject: [Groan.]

By the Subject's mom: "Well, there's a likeness sure, but he's much better looking than that. [Pause.] Don't tell anyone who it is."

By the Subject's aunt: "Don't you ever draw me, y'hear?"

I thought their comments were hilarious.

In truth, I think that the three of them would be much happier with the picture if it looked something like this:

And maybe they're right.

It's something to talk about anyway.

The pictures in this post were both drawn from life in a Moleskine with a Lamy Safari fountain pen using Noodlers ink, and colored with watercolors.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What Has One Body, Three Heads and No Feet? Answer: This Post!

The gal on the left walked away from Einstein's Bagels before I could draw her feet. There's some irony in that, isn't there?

The two floating heads on the right (from Chipotle Grill) are in my other Moleskine. The paper in that other Moleskine doesn't accept watercolors which is fine with me, since occasionally I just want to be free! Trying to find the ideal balance between detail in the ink drawing and the watercolor can be tiring, and this gives me a break from that struggle. (Not to mention the fact that I am still acquiring my watercolor chops.) At this point I am leaning towards more detail in the drawing - it doesn't seem to hurt the result.

Anyway, I carry both Moleskines around with me, often wearing my Lamy Safari (fountain pen) in my front pocket. I've become quite the art nerd, don't you think?

I have several small Moleskine works in process - none are finished yet. One I am particularly excited about (fingers are crossed). These will be posted in the weeks to come.

But today I leave you with these few small sketches and, as an art nerd, I feel I must provide a challenging word problem as well. Here it is:

Two floating heads plus one figure minus two feet, equals what exactly?

Er, you are good at math, aren't you?