November 27, 2008

An inexpensive trip to NYC

What's my favorite part of Thanksgiving?

The Macy's parade, of course! I realize it sounds tacky... and most people wouldn't spend 2 minutes watching it. But I find it's fascinating in every way.

For some unknown reason I find this annual TV event to be mesmerizing. It's largely nostalgia, no doubt, for my years in Manhattan. I used to live just down the street from the where the parade begins, up by the Museum of Natural History. So every year when I watch the parade, it's like a trip back. Only luckily, it's a trip back where I don't have to stand in a freezing wind for hours on end (like in real life).

I suppose the New Yorker in me luvs every snapshot of a real-time broadcast live from Manhattan. I relish each location shot... thinking back: "I know just where that street corner is... I used to walk past that building... I see they've torn that building down and put up a new one". It brings it all back in a way that just thinking about the past doesn't.

And it's inexpensive... which is crucial when you're on an illustrator's budget. It's my freebie 2 hour trip back to my old home town... the highlight of my illustrator's life past. So I can't help myself if I indulge a little now and then.

I also think the parade itself is fascinating somehow. The TV version is worlds better than real life, in that you get broadway hit tunes, the Rockettes, dancing, parades and live pictures from half a dozen locations. In real life you're just stuck in one spot for 3 freezing hours. The sight of all those amazing Manhattan buildings as the backdrop to the amazing balloons is a sight I rarely tire of. Odd, I know.

New York, New York... there's nothing quite like it, especially in the warm reminiscence of a new Thanksgiving morning with the gravy, cranberry & stuffing yet to come.

November 22, 2008

Clearing skies & basking birds

The sky had been foggy, but as it burned off, an odd shadow was left behind.

The sky cleared and transformed the lake to a dazzling blue.

Imagine my surprise to capture a basking eagle. I've never seen an eagle sunbathing like this before.

Even the blue heron was out taking advantage of the views. That's Mt. Rainier in the distance.

November 21, 2008

Brush Pens

I bought a Pentel brush pen to try out the other day. It's fun to use. It has a squeezable soft body, to squeeze the ink out when it gets dry.

My only complaint is that I wish it was smaller, since it seems like one can only do
large illustrations. It's very difficult to get smaller details without messing things up.

But I can see it'd be great for adding bold strokes to smaller inklines. And it's ideal for doing computery things with... (as in my sample).

I still haven't got quite the hang of it though.

November 18, 2008

The Magic Lantern...

As a child, perhaps my favorite toy ever was a magic glow in the dark lantern that was for viewing pictures.

What Proustian transports of joy were mine as I'd close off all the hallway doors to create the darkest space in the house, and then gaze for hours into the glowing magic of this toy! I can't recall any of the actual slides... I think they were cartoons of some sort. But I do recall the colors. The glowing blues that shimmered beside the golden yellows and the deep rich reds.

It was sheer magic, looking into this plastic toy. I see now why I turned out an artist instead of an investment banker.

There was a depth to the colors that was enchanting... it took me to a place I never knew existed. Just looking was like being a traveler invited over the bridge to another world.

Of course I had other favorite places to hide. The snuggest and most comforting was beside the kitchen oven, tucked like a little kitty down in between the stove and the kitchen wall, where a heat vent warmed me from the other side. I imagine cookies might have been baking there too in the perfection of memories past.

The other secret hideaway was the attic. It was full of that same mystery. Timeless and secret. Only the attic was always hot and insanely dark and treacherous to get to... but I'd go there because it seemed so far away and mysterious. I'd carry along a little battery operated fan to cool my face. It didn't work at all, of course.

Ah... the the mysteries of childhood. As a child I always believed that at the zoo there must surely be magic too behind the polar bear's and lion's enclosures. There was a sort of castle built up out of a rockery. It was only up to me to get beyond the fence to unlock the secret details for getting inside... none of which were ever revealed by real life.

November 13, 2008

Polar Bear Art

This public artwork made for a very fun discovery last weekend in a nearby park.

It certainly captured my imagination.

I thought the artist's use of exterior form played against the interior detailing was fascinating. It gave me some ideas for paintings and books done in a new format.

I wondered who the artist might be, so I could see some more of their work. A starving artist, no doubt. And since it's 15 feet up a building, they had to do some climbing to apply the artwork... (which is completely removable).

November 11, 2008

A Foggy Halloween Farm

I was so carried away by all the political dramas that I forgot all about Halloween.

Halloween arrived exactly on schedule... at first it was foggy. But it soon became a brilliant day.

The usual suspects all lined up as always...

This pathway stretched on to forever... with no one else in sight.

It's hard to decide which leaf is the most perfect. They all qualify.