Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I went to Ash Wednesday services today. For those uninitiated, this is the day Catholics get dirt on their foreheads. It's been oh... twenty years since I last went to a service. I can't really say what actually had me going back after all this time- I guess it's a combination of things, events of the past year catching up, the comfort of ritual, and the sense of community, amongst others. The need to belong, in short. Those who've known me for a long time are no doubt scratching their heads at this, since I've hardly kept quiet my general disdain for religion. But, what can I say? Time has a way of changing you. Don't get me wrong- there's still plenty of things I don't like about religion (all religion, not just one), but I'm starting to see some of the, dare I say it, positive aspects of it. One of the things I've really noticed about church-going recently (since I've come back home, in fact) is my perspective on what's done and said in mass (en masse, also, as it were). Having been gone so long, I have a different point of view on it- I find myself listening more closely to the words, particularly during the sermon, and not just going through the motions (ironic, since I find some comfort in ritual and rote). This was the first time at the 'local' church. Not a bad place- lots of color. One thing going against it though- the Crucifix hanging above the altar? The nails are through the statue's palms, rather than the historically- and physically-accurate wrists. On the other, they rang a little bell during the part of mass when the priest blesses the Host- something the old church stopped years ago. An interesting hour.

So, I went to church, where they stuck dirt on my head, then came home and had fish for dinner. Mom would be so proud.

'Normal' posts will presumably resume on Friday. Or Monday.

Monday, February 23, 2009

From the Crypt, 4: The Closest I Got to High-School Sports

...and by "Monday", I meant "Tuesday". Sorry, folks.

Today's post is another piece of work (heh) done for Art class. This time, as part of our Senior year, we were all painting murals around the school. I'd already painted up one, based around the Gulf War (who knew I'd have to sneak back in 12 years later and paint a 'I' by it...)- unfortunately I don't have any of the layouts for that, though I remember it pretty well. This one was to go in the hallway leading to the gym, and represented, quite shockingly, our basketball teams. Funnily enough, I had no idea who played on our team (I assumed they were mostly the tall kids walking around), so I went with some nicely generic players (thank you Sports Illustrated). I put this together, sketched it on the wall, and got about exactly as far as this drawing, in terms of painting. I was never known for my ability to beat (or even meet) deadlines. Lucky for me, Mrs. Geier understood, and so I never got the big ol' 'F' I deserved on the project.
Proof that my niece Emily and I are too much alike:

ME: "No one likes a smart-ass... unless it's me."

EMILY: "No, they don't like you, either."
Another post down. Meet back here... Wednesday? Sure, sounds good. Or maybe Thursday. But soon.

Music: "Once" - Pearl Jam

Thursday, February 19, 2009

From the Crypt, 3: Sensitive Heavy Metal Artist

One of the first times I drew something not-comic-booky; and also one of the first times I drew something realistic for my own enjoyment, rather than an art class.

I admit it, back in the day I was a huge Queensryche fan. Of course it was because of 'Silent Lucidity'- you know, one of those counter-programming songs metal bands used to do back in the day to get lots of radio airplay, and make people think that was their typical sound (Extreme, I'm looking in your direction). Still, Empire was a great album of its day. In keeping with the 'seriousness' of the album, they had appropriately serious pictures in the liner notes. This one, of lead singer Geoff Tate, was particularly dynamic, and so I naturally wanted to steal the picture and draw it. I really enjoyed how it came out- 'stretching my wings', so to speak. But, I always remember this picture for my brother looking at it and complimenting me on it, then saying, 'You should've made all the lines going in the same direction.' Very true- it would've looked much better if I had. One of many head-smacking, 'duh' moments, in my artistic career.


My profuse apologies for the delay in posting. No, it has nothing to do with me secretly passing off current work as old work; instead, I blame the computer. Whether it's mortally wounded, or simply tempermental, it's been particularly difficult getting Photoshop and IE working. Today is a good day for it, so here you go. Come back Monday and we'll see if it continues to work.

Have a great weekend. I'll be working.

Music: "Empire" - Queensryche

Thursday, February 12, 2009

From the Crypt, 2

Second in a series, collect them all.

Well, looking back at this... um, well, it was the 90's. Crazy stuff like cyborgs and huge bladed weapons was all the rage back then. And, judging by looking at this pic, small feet were also apparently in. And body modifications (poor guy lost his whole right forearm on a whim!)

No real idea where this came from, other than like I said, it was the 90's. I don't recall any real backstory to him, but back then, I didn't often have need for it- as long as I had an idea of something to draw, I was pretty happy.


Sorry for the delay of game on getting this posted; believe me, there's no shortage of old crappy 90's-style drawings to post, but I've had a real problem with the computer of late. Hopefully it's back running for the time being, and I can continue to regale you with trips to the crypt.


Music: "Holding Out For A Hero" - Bonnie Tyler (80's, I know, but appropriately bad)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

From the Crypt, 1

It's possibly a good thing that I rarely throw stuff out.

Not long ago, while searching through boxes of books at my mom's place (yeah, sorry those of you who helped me move- I have more books at her place, too.), I unearthed a few sketchbooks of mine. Some of them go back to the mid-80's (but I don't think I'll be posting those- strangely enough, they seem to have disappeared...), but I thought you might be interested in some of the work I did when I first really started drawing in earnest, back in the early 90's. I have something like 6 or 7 sketchbooks, from February 10, 1992, up through the months leading up to the start of the blog... Wow, some of these things are 17 years old. As we go through these pictures, I'll probably talk a bit about what was going on at the time of drawing them, point out some details, or just make observations about my drawing style back then. If all else fails, I'll settle for smart-ass remarks.

This was the first thing I found in the first sketchbook, probably done around late February, 1992, and the third thing drawn in that book (if you think I'm not posting everything to avoid embarrassment, you'd be right- but don't worry, there's plenty of embarrassment that will make it's way to this site). This desperately unfinished sketch was done for Art III class- Mrs. Geier's class, and my favorite high school class- unsurprisingly. She asked us to design banners for some project or other to be displayed in downtown (dahntahn) Pittsburgh- maybe the Arts Festival? They would be made out of fabric, and I think they were to be 6 or 8 feet in height... or not, I'm just guessing. Anyway, my idea had been to make an angel and a demon as gargoyle statues on top of some appropriately Gothic building. As you can see, it didn't make it very far. As usual, my grasp exceeded my reach, and it didn't get any farther than this. It wasn't a horrible idea, but it wouldn't have worked for a number of reasons, the least of which being a banner done entirely in shades of gray is hardly visually appealing. As I recall, one student actually did make a banner- Lisa Vitalbo was her name, and she made a really wonderful face done in many different colors. But that's all I can remember. So, a little walk down memory lane here, and the recurring theme of my life- unfinished work.

(bonus to you observant folks- note the little drawing in the lower right corner- kudos to you if you know who/what that's supposed to be)

That's it for now, but I'll try to post again Wednesday, with more retro graphics. I'll be curious to see what your thoughts are on some of the stuff I'll be posting.


Music: "Angels and Devils" - Toby Lightman