A digital sketchbook

Masters of Invention: Leonardo da Vinci and Dali

Though this exhibit featured many reproductions and prints it was inspirational none the less to see Dali paired with one of the masters of invention Leonardo da Vinci. 

Opt for the scenic staircase at the museum instead of the elevators whenever possible.

Had a fun time peering back through history and Da Vinci's sketches of waterwheels reproduced and enlarged as massive prints. This piece is a combo of contraptions such as; a balcony water lift for hand cranking and a wheel mounted atop a water well. Most likely unintentional but this looks like a face to me with the cords that run down to the counterweights. 

Da Vinci had the ability to write with both hands, upside down and backwards and amazingly, to paint and draw with both hands. Which is something for me to work on improving. That off-hand technique had to be used working on the mural to avoid falling off the ladder or scaffold. I'm only able to paint with control using my off hand but the left-handed drawings look very childlike.

Many of Dali and Da Vinci's inventions were faithfully recreated many to life-size scale like the flying machine. Though some Dali original sculptures were display.  The bust of a goddess turned into a cabinet with fuzzy ball appliqué. A rotary-style Lobster Telephone. There was a recreated, clear plastic mannequin, wearing a black beret, filled up to the shins with orange pebbles, plastic seaweed growing up the legs and down the arms like nerve-endings  Intertwined within are little fish and the middle section of seaweed spins around. 

On the left page are more of Da Vinci details numbered and lettered like a modern industrial design manual for toggles, gears and pullys, waterwheels, counter-weights and his invention for a diving bell linked to an oxygen mask. Aristotle first describes a diving bell in the 4th Century BCE. But Da Vinci's idea is remarkably similar to what salvage divers use to this day. 

Another Dali original was this illusionistic bust titled " Nieuw Amsterdam" which transforms the closer you get from simple to complex. What a first looks like a war-painted brave emerges two figures with hats and robes holding a cup that is the nose, sections of chairs jut from the cheeks, the lips turn into a basket of fruit, the forehead a map featuring the Iberian peninsula, north African and Mediterranean coastlines. I started this piece above as a pen sketch in the gallery stunned by its detail and worked it to finish at home with FW inks and dip pen.

A Celebration of Pride: Orlando United

In the wake of the most recent mass shooting to rock US shores, utter tragedy at the Orlando night club Pulse, communities around FL and the country are coming together overwhelming the derision, hate and lack of empathy through unity and love.  Below is my take on the MLS team Orlando City's crest in tribute to the fallen, the LGBT family and to those who have suffered loss. In St Pete there is a massive Pride Parade type of festival that goes on down Central Ave all weekend.

This event is embraced by the locals here as a celebration of diversity and is a big day out affair for families large and small, for folks of all backgrounds. Large crowds are expected and before the parade starts there will be a fitting tribute. 30 seconds of silence for the 107 wounded or killed will total up to 17 minutes of silence. Last years event was of a celebratory mood right after the Supreme Courts ruling on same-sex marriage. There will certainly be a contrast of mood but an unwavering sense of support as the pride flag flies high. After all the show must go on.

MCE at the Dali

Having the chance to behold M.C. Escher's prints and delve into his life story was certainly enlightening.  Had the pleasure of watching the hour long, Dutch-made, documentary that played in a side gallery repeating his life's journey as I sat drawing most of the day. The sketches below are from views Escher accessed via a favorite hobby of his, secluded hikes around Sienna and the Amalfi Coast.

Escher grew up a Dutchman but the inspiration for many of the buildings in his illusionistic cityscapes were developed and inspired by experiences in Italy.  Where he lived for many years, married and had three of four children there before fleeing the rise of Mussolini's fascism.  Many of his rarely seen color prints were there such as Metamorphosis I.  Even a couple of Escher's carved print blocks were on display and the meticulous, calculated, detail was breathtaking.

Picasso at the Dali

 Dali and Picasso had an odd and intriguing relationship that I learned a lot about during this show.  Pablo sent Dali a postcard every year, Salvador kept them all but never responded in kind.  Many of Pablo's pieces were re-interpreted by Dali, as a form of tribute that was my interpretation, and shown side by side in this exhibit.

One of my favorite pieces was a window shutter painted by Picasso, in a minimal fashion, of a girl wearing a necklace. Half of her face is done in a more abstracted style.

Sketches at the Dali Museum

Both the original painting was on display of this illusion and a larger than life recreation on the floor reflected in a 7 foot cylinder.

Dali poster design left and double imagery right. Hiding the statue and hair of a woman in the bones and main of the horse.

The right half portion of a large panoramic Dali landscape full of double images with a focal point on Gala holding grapes.

These are some drawings and master copies done at the Dali museum from various exhibits over the last two years. Picasso's abstraction, M.C. Escher's prints, and Da Vinci's inventions to name a few.

Jedi Master Claudio Ranieri

An Obi-wan Kenobi tribute in honor of the near unbelievable job done by the manager of Leicester City, Claudio Ranieri, on his club's way to winning English soccer's top division, the EPL.  Claudio is an older manager cut from a different cloth. Who's sage wisdom and calm under pressure of performance and scrutiny of media helped the Leicester City Foxes to a championship. They prevailed over teams with astronomically large budgets, laden with stars that underperformed in the type of underdog or cinderella story for the ages.

One of my favorite Star Wars characters was the Sir Alec Guinness version of Ben Kenobi. A humble, wise, teacher who modeled a form of stately grace. Underestimate him even in old age at your peril. Much as Kenobi was heralded for legendary deeds. Hopefully Claudio is soon knighted for his contribution to english football and for spreading the love of the world's favorite game. As for next season I hope that Claudio can hold on to his best players and continue to defy the odds. Certainly I won't be the only one tuning in on the Foxes fate.

Hand-Lettering work at Zaytoon Grill

If you are in St. Petersburg, FL and your looking for a place to eat, look no further than Zaytoon Grill. Zaytoon translates from arabic into the english word for 'olives'. This Mediterranean grill is located Just off 16th and Central Ave across from the famous, old, neon sign of World Liquors.  I have been working on their sidewalk sign and chalkboards with nu-pastels. And recently finished the menu boards next to the counter. Honestly, Wally's falafel is the best I've ever had.

Memorial Day Tribute

To honor the one year anniversary of my grandfathers passing this piece was painted, packaged and mailed to my grandmother in north Georgia.  Derived from a rarely seen photograph from the 1960s of him working as one of the original, seven, founding members of the then all volunteer, Boca Raton Fire Department.  Inspiration from Norman Rockwell's editorial watercolors. This is FW inks made to looks like watercolor layered on top of pencil shading on nice thick 300 pound watercolor paper

Layla Album Cover

As a mothers day gift I worked on this watercolor pencil and FW ink piece that is a stylized interpretation of the album art for Layla by Derek and the Dominos.  This was fun to draw and paint but more so to see the reaction as the gift was unwrapped.