Wednesday, November 28, 2007

sketch crawl 16: oaxaca

I was in Oaxaca Mexico on sketchcrawl day. This is the church of Nuestra Senora de la Soledad.

A couple of boys who came to see what I was doing as I was drawing the church.

Ancient artifacts from the cultural museum

Waiting at the airport for our (delayed) flight home.


I took a trip to Oaxaca Mexico recently to witness the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. I was on the go most of the time, but I did manage to record a few sights in my sketchbook.

These sketches (above) are mostly from Oaxaca City. The Zapotec woman at the bottom was selling pan de muerto which is good for eating or leaving on an ofrenda or altar for the dead and which looks like a regular round loaf with a little angel head sticking out to one side. She carried them in a basket on her head covered with an embroidered cloth. At the top right is a street view looking toward the church of Santo Domingo, along the middle are some chickens and cilantro from a comida counter in the public market, and at the bottom is the inside of the bus heading up to Monte Alban.

A few very quick views around the ancient ruins of Monte Alban and some items on display at the visitor center including a drinking vessel decorated with images crossed bones and a severed hand, and human skulls showing signs of trepanation - holes drilled into the cranium to relieve pressure on the brain. The little girl at the bottom was with a family selling peanits in a market in the town of Ocatlan.

The woman here is Rocio, part of a community of mostly American expats in the town of St. Augustin Etla. I drew her in the dark. On Nov. 1st, Etla holds a comparse or masquerade in which the residents wear costumes made of mirrors and bells that they've spent all year putting together and which can weigh up to 60 lbs. They dance all night with a marching band accompanying them as they go from house to house through the town. Dressed as demons on this night, they are free to speak their minds about anything including the government. They put on little dramas. You can see quick impressions of some of the costumes at the bottom, drawn as we made our way through the crowd looking for a late ride back to Oaxaca. Also here are drawings of statues from an antique shop in the city.

Monday, August 27, 2007

sketchcrawl 15: golden gate park, sf

I met with the sketchcrawlers outside the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, S.F. There was a jugband festival at the bandstand. I recognized some Mississippi John Hurt numbers as I drew this.

Three views from the observation tower of the museum, overlooking the park and the city.

Some of the other sketchers outside the Tea Garden at mid day.

At the fountain, just before we met to pass sketchbooks around. That's the museum tower in the distance.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007


A couple of old comics pages of mine are in a group gallery show in Redwood City.
From the Books of Magic Annual no. 3 (Vertigo/DC). Script by Peter Gross

Click to view large.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

stereo view

I recently acquired a turn of the century stereoscope and have been collecting stereoview cards. This little image, however is something I put together myself. About a year ago I was digging through old photos in an antique store and found a snapshot taken of an auto race from sometime in the late twenties or early thirties (If anyone has a closer idea of when, let me know). Earlier this month I was in the same shop and I found an almost identical photo. It seems that the photographer was interested in the white car and taking pictures of it as it passed. These two shots are from different laps (notice the dark car does not appear in one of them), and they are also taken from slightly different angles - angles just different enough to create an almost perfect - if quite accidental- 3D view of the race!

I've composited the pictures into a standard stereoview format. Click on the above image to view it larger, and then gently cross your eyes until the two images align over each other. You should see the rail, blurry in the foreground, the two trees and the sapling beyond that, the race in the midground ,and the the spectators and trees in the distance. The cars will seem to flicker since their positions do not match.


From the bridge over the creek behind the willow tree. The woman is dangling a beestung and mud-caked foot over the edge of the bridge. That's a flower on her belly. As it happens, the cat is also dangling an injured paw over the other side of the bridge.

Friday, June 08, 2007

figure drawing

From the past couple of weeks

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

sketchcrawl 14: chinatown, sf

Last saturday was worldwide sketchcrawl 14. I met with the San Francisco contingent at the Ferry building in SF. We made our way from there to the Filbert Steps and on up to coit tower, and then down through Little Italy to Chinatown.

The best part of the day for me was in Chinatown. My buddy and I sketched scenes through the shop windows and attracted some attention from the passers by and the shopkeepers who kept taking turns to come out and watch us, smiling and expressing approval. These fish were actually kind of late in the day - makes me wonder what took me so long to pull out the watercolors. Next time: more color

View from along the Filbert Steps of this beautiful garden with roses growing around this tree. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees, there were some spectacular views of the city to be seen from the Steps, which I didn't draw and so you don't get to see. Next time: better reportage

Coit tower, and then off to lunch in Little Italy. Then back around to China Town where I drew some hanging smoked chickens and the shopkeeper as he studied my partner drawing the same scene.

Embarcadero Bart station on the way back.

More to be found in the forums at

And here is Justin Chin's sketch of the same fish and of me painting them.

figure drawing

the past couple of weeks

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


These are some face studies of the singer Bjork along with some doodles out of my head meant to evoke nonspecific but vaguely European folk art motifs. Imeem was sponsoring a Bjork poster design contest for tickets to an upcoming show, and I got as far as this preliminary study which gave me some ideas for an actual poster design, but, alas, time was too short and it fell by the wayside. You can check out the design that won and some of the other entries at imeem

Thursday, April 26, 2007

figure drawing

quick studies from this week's life drawing session

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


This is a piece I collaborated on with Claire B. Cotts for the museum of modern art artist gallery warehouse sale.

The name, bosphorus, derives from classical mythology. Io, one of Zeus’ lovers, was disguised by him as a white heifer to avoid the attentions of his wife, Hera. Hera wasn't fooled by this ploy, and sent a gadfly to pursue the little white cow, who was forced to swim the strait to escape.
from the greek ‘the cow’s ford’ (like "oxford").

More on the event at sfmoma annual artists warehouse sale

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


C. in her meditation

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

figure drawing

From last night's session

Monday, April 09, 2007


House-sitting Easter morning in Sebastopol. The willow tree seen from the porch. There's a creek behind the wire fence there, and off to the right you can make out the gate which leads across toward the garden and the chickens.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

figure drawing

A couple of highlights from last night's figure drawing session. One minute poses. I thought these had some good movement to them.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


More from my sketchbook. The other night my cousin Mike was in town playing at a cafe in the city. He and his girlfriend are a band called Tell the Truth.

red rocking chair

Ain't got no use for your red rocking chair. Ain't got no sugarbaby now...

Sunday was another bbq in Vineeta's fairytale garden and turtlepond backyard. These musicians were playing some beautiful arrangements of old traditional appalachian songs. The woman sitting next to me had never heard this kind of music and was gleaning a lot about the American psyche, she put it, as she sat enraptured by these murder ballads and tales of woe. She also insists that the guitarist in particular is much sexier in person than here, and I have to agree. The fellow at the bottom is playing an instument of his own creation, made from the body of a ukelele and strung like a bazouki with classical guitar strings. Some other time I'll have to do studies of the yard itself.

Friday, March 23, 2007

a few more in color

watercolor and pencil on paper
click to see large

Thursday, March 22, 2007

figure drawing

Here is another quick study from the evening figure drawing sessions.

Click to see large

Monday, March 19, 2007

sketchcrawl 13: berkeley

On saturday I met with the east bay contingent of world wide sketchcrawl 13. We drew on and around my old stomping ground, the UC Berkeley campus. I started in the life sciences building with the t. rex.

This little guy was circling overhead. I drew him twice

We all met up again at the campanile at 2:00. This bust of Abe on the side of the tower is by Gutson Borglum who carved Mt. Rushmore. In person this has a beautiful streaked green patina. On the right are the photographers taking the group photo, a shoe from the museum of anthropology, and some jottings from Cafe Strada.

The urn is outside the Hearst Womens Gymnasium which is a Bernard Maybeck/Julia Morgan design. More artifacts from the museum of anthropology

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Friday, March 16, 2007

figure drawing

Nothing beats figure drawing practice. This is a study from a figure drawing session that's offered occasionally where I work. The topic this night was the costumed figure. I'll be posting more from these sessions in the future

black diamond mines

This is a painting of my sweetie and me I did as a birthday present, a little while ago actually. From a photo taken at Black Diamond Mines regional Park.

Acrylic on paper
Click to see large