Friday, December 6, 2013

Pantone K 2013 Exhibit

As announced on Facebook the other day, I have a couple paintings in a group show here in Geneva. One, entitled "The First Red Rose", is based on the story of how the first red rose was created by a nightingale singing through the night, staying awake by leaning against a thorn. The other is a variation from my carousel studies, and I entitled it "The Second Red Rose". Today I was showing a friend around the exhibit, and I took some shots to give you all a visual of what it's like.

The First Red Rose. In the center of a wall, facing the entry to the room.

The Second Red Rose, upstairs, near the entrance.

The First Red Rose. This is a stage before the finish. I added a thorn and a drop more painting. But, this is basically finished.

The Second Red Rose. A carousel 'horse' design, but with a Swiss cow. This is a drop before I finished it, too. The tiny wing became an American flag. The Rose has a little more white. But, this is very much what the finish looks like.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

iPhone Drawings

I recently became a member of Urban Sketchers in Switzerland. Urban Sketchers is a community of people who, like myself, enjoy drawing on location. This morning I shared a few of my iPhone drawings with them, and I'd like to repost what I shared there, here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Back where it all began

This blog started with an iphone, and my Q train commute to work. The iphone was my brother's old phone, and wasn't connected to a network. It was there only for drawing. On days I didn't bike to work, I'd stand or sit, and surreptitiously draw my fellow commuters. I was briefly back in the states last week, and again spent some time on the subways, drawing on my iphone. This time, it was my father's old iphone, and it's been unlocked so it actually now is used as my European network phone, too. 
NYC is notorious for not feeling sacred or sentimental about structures. I'd say that in the picture of NYC, the structures are the frame, and the people are the content. Here are a few faces from the NYC subways, the people that are the brick and mortar of NYC, drawn with thumb and iphone.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I recently was in Dresden for a few 'partly sunny' September days. It seems that means 5-10 minutes of sun breaking through moody shrouded skies. Maybe I'm overstating things a little bit. One day did have an hour of sun. Maybe this was all appropriate, though. Dresden has a rich history, known for many years as the "jewel box" along the Elbe, rich in cultural and economic life, adorned with rococo joy underneath heavy wide skies. More recently, it's known for the Allied bombing in the final part of WW2 that destroyed the city and its mostly civilian inhabitants in a firestorm of destruction. Most Americans became familiar with it through Kurt Vonnegut's book 'Slaughterhouse Five'. After the war, this city became part of Eastern Germany, and had its old town reconstructed to look mostly like it was before. So, what's old is new, and what's new is old. Often one old block next to a new one, upon dirt that includes the incinerated bones of former inhabitants. So, for them to say a brooding day is 'partly sunny' is quite optimistic of Dresden. That Germany is now again the strongest economy in Europe also helps the sun shine on this quiet city.
Here are some drawings I did while there. To see more, please visit my Viewbook album.

Dresden Frauenkirche and its hushed open plaza.

Dresden Frauenkirche, from the other side. The sky always felt like it had a gravity, pressing against the darkened stone.

But then go inside the church, and this is what you see. A joyful rococo celebration!

See that light patch in the sky? That's called 'partly sunny'.
The memory of the past, and it's inclusion into every day life is cemented into the structures, where old dark blocks are pressed against new, lighter ones. 
But then go back out, and you are reminded of the past. Here, in what was a Jewish part of town, they record the past before reconstructing a new building in the old style.
Beer. Small dogs. Rectangular glasses. Outdoor festivals. Welcome to Germany.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Carousel of Transformation

For the first time in my life, I have a real studio, separate from my home. In a converted factory in the Jonction neighborhood of Geneva, surrounded by public transport bus storage, gypsies under a bridge, fellow artists and and the converging waters of the Rhone and Arve, I paint and draw and think (and occasionally hunt for jobs online with wifi). After joining the Atelier Act-Art and getting the space, I then had to think about a project to fill the space and time.
Carousels.They are like time machines to me, spinning to the past, to the possible, to the now. I remember the carousels of my childhood. There was one in this little mall on Old Georgetown Road in downtown Bethesda, a country fair style carousel. The Dentzel in Glen Echo Park. And then, when I was in college and began studying with David Passalacqua, a rekindled enjoyment began. I then also understood its rich history, how it was a war machine that became a child's plaything. How immigrants from Italy and Germany and other parts of Europe, mostly former cabinet makers, came to America and then carved carousels. How the first carousel is dated back to Babylonian times. And then, years later, I encountered the Alka in Croatia, a living history tournament of knights, a real, true carousel.
I want to create something that is both personal and reaches out to others, sparking enjoyment and fascination. What better vehicle than a carousel. These low-res iphone pics below show the first steps of my ideas for a carousel. Whether it will ever be actually built does not matter to me. Right now, I just want to play, to enjoy, and hope that others enjoy the fantasy of what I'm creating, a carousel of transformation.

A transformation mask for the head of the carousel: the horses heads open to reveal a human head.

The rider is the element that completes the carousel animal, that brings it to life.

A cube, symbol of the modern age, around the horses head. 

A horse with birds heads, opens to reveal a human head.

A horses head opens to reveal two birds and a human.

A birds head wrapped around a human head.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Dalmacija, called "Dalmatia" to those who speak English, is at the Southern extent of Croatia, and is filled with sun bleached islands and rocky beaches that line the salty Adriatic Sea. When my wife and I were spending time with her family there this summer, we wandered for a few days to the town of Komiza on the distant island of Vis. Each day we spent hours swimming in the calm salty waters. At night, while most people promenaded through the small town, we returned to the beach and swam at night, when all colors saturated into each other and the waves sound deeper as they rolled up and down the smooth rocky beach.

A Spanish tourist and her playful companion

A woman has a very gestural method of rinsing the salt from her body.
The mid-day sun bleaches a couple.

And later, they worship the suns pigment.

The Hajduk football team symbol is never far when traveling in Dalmacija.

Night on a Komiza beach, when all is moonlight abstraction.

A family dissolves into the salty night sea.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bisko notes

I'm back in Geneva, and finally installed the blogger app on the iPad, from which I'm now speaking to you. Today, I'd like to share a fewf iPad drawings I did while vacationing in my father-in-laws home village of Bisko, Croatia. These were all done using the zen brush app.

This is Ana's father, on the right, talking to his best friend from childhood.

Underneath the shade of a chestnut tree, family gathers and talks every day. And late into the night.

Behind a couple cars waiting to be repaired, the fields and baked hills and mountains. 
The textures of the fields that Bisko rings.

Monday, August 5, 2013


The final, climactic day has arrived. The knights are clothed in historical uniforms, the horses draped in finery, stepping high and proud through an admiring crowd. The band plays. The trumpet blares. The crowd holds their breath as the knight thunders toward the alka. A roar through the crowd, a cannon blast— u sridu! — 3 points!

I was again standing toward the start of their run, this time because we would have needed tickets for the bleachers. That said, I really do prefer it there. I don't catch the dignitaries and the moment of pierced alka, but I do witness other aspects that are wonderful, such as those moments of tremendous potential energy before the horse sprints down the dirt path, or the knights in repose. It's the cheap seats, but rich in liveliness and earthy joy.

And, when it's all over, we then sprint down the path and into town, to sit at a cafė and toast the knights one last time.

The cannon blasts up above, on top of the hill, and in the distance the procession begins

With historical guns, swords and knives, the 'boys' - knights helpers - soldier past

The knights parade

His name called, the knight mounts his steed and confidently tests his skill

In between rounds, the knights relax and gossip while a young boy holds a horse
Through the crowd, a blast of speed and power

He is like a heartbeat, running through the crowd

"u sridu!!!" a cannon blast, the crowd thunders applause - 3 points!

Through the town center, the winner is celebrated one last time.  Bok Alka sijnska!

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Yesterday was day 2 of the 3 day Sinjska alka festival, called Čoja. It followed the same structure as the prior day - the same pageantry, processions, and colors except for a slightly larger monetary prize and 3.11 meter bolt of fine red cloth, rather than the shorter bolt of green cloth given to the prior days winner.
I stood in a different place as well, closer to the start of the run, rather than in the stands near the alka that is lanced. Where I stood today had revealed a different chapter of the story. There, I saw the knights as the waited for the trumpet to blare and their name announced. Children would hold the waiting horses, and then when the time approached for their run, some knights would ride in circles around the Sinjska alka statue at the head of the path, while others would sit and relax, only getting up at the last moment. There was no rhyme or reason as to which was the better method. The man who won was one of the guys relaxing, cool as a cucumber, until the last moment. It worked wonders for him - of three runs, twice hit lanced the alka right in the center.
In less than an hour I leave for the final final day of the festival, when the knights dress in the fanciest clothes, replicating the uniforms of the soldiers 298 years ago. It's 37 degrees celsius outside right now. I think it's a good guess that tonight a lot of beer will be drunk by the glorius Alka sinjska knights.

I shot these drawings on my ipad, so the quality is a bit weak. When I'm back in Geneva, I'll make some higher quality scans and create an album on my viewbook site. I have to go now - time to prepare  for Sinjska alka!

The knights assistants - called 'boys' -  parade
No parade is complete without a band

A boy holds a waiting horse

A horse bursts with expectant energy, ready to bold down the lane

2 knights pace around the statue while one begins his run

The horses quickly bolt past

Another knight begins his run toward glory

And the winner receives 3.11 meters of fine red cloth (and some money)

Afterwards, in Sijn, people relax and mingle into the evening