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Wednesday, October 21, 2015


 (General Rader/Pencil)

Most of my life I have been an artist.  from an early age my Grandmother Guldenschuh took time to sit me down and tutor me in the basics of art and how to view the world around me.  Very quickly I developed an obsession with detail. I had to make sure it was all there when I drew something.  That was both a blessing and curse.  A blessing in that I would not stop till I got a work right and a curse in that I sometimes would take too long.

I worked through that when I began drawing to have my art published and began dealing with deadlines.  I took up sketching to teach myself how to be quick and I forced myself to not linger too long any one piece.
(Museum exhibit at BSA event, Pen and Ink and Colored Pencil)

My formal training as an artist was as an art major at Asbury College.  That was 1981 - 85 so therefore back when computer graphics did not exist.  I learned it all by hand, old school.  That gave me a foundation not only in design and format, but also in the importance of relying on your own talent and training - not the tools.  I took that philosophy with me into the US Army.

(Article illustration,Buenas Noticias magazine,Pen and Ink)

Having that as my core belief has helped me develop a style all my own.  With the advent of digital graphics programs I have been forced to teach myself some of those tools, however I still begin ALL my work by hand.  Even the work that appears to be all hand work gets some work done in photoshop to clean it up.

(Vehicle Decal for 19th Cav Regiment, Pencil to Digital)

Each time I begin a new project with a style I have not worked in before I take the time to work out the details and the materials needed.  It is why I work in such a wide range of styles.  

(Xmas Cover/Buenas Noticias,Pencil to Digital)

                                                                                     (Easter Cover/Buenas Noticias,Pencil to Digital)

When asked to provide multiple illustrations for the same issue of the magazine Buenas Noticias I made a point of creating artwork that was completely different from one article to the next - trying to create a seperate "feel" for each article.

(Buenas Noticias, Pen and Ink to Digital)

(Buenas Noticias, Pen and Ink to Digital)

(Buenas Noticias, Pen and Ink to Digital)

 My clients have included the Salvation Army, the US Army the Boy Scouts, the Landmark Society of Western NY and many others.

(Buenas Noticias,Pen and Ink)

 (Buenas Noticias,Pen and Ink)

                                                        (Logo for Restaurant,Pen and Ink to Digital)

(Temple Building/Landmark Society,Pen and Ink)

 (19th Cav. Regimental Crest,Texas State Guard,Pen and Ink to Digital)

 (Camp Massawepie,Boy Scouts,Pen and Ink to Digital) 

(The Academy building,Rochester NY, Landmark Society, Colored Pencil and Water Color)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Snap Shots by Hand Day 13

Some people make more of an impression then others. Granted I have seen thousands of people in this city. After so many how can they make that impression.

It is exactly why I draw them. I look for something to strike me and I draw them. That way - even years later - I can tell something about them just by glancing at the drawing I did of them. The drawing itself becomes my memory trigger.

These drawings are a record of my own mind as well as my own skill. It is the apitome of what a journal is for. Check out these two below.

Now I travel at 6 am in the morning - when I go to the call center to work. Because of that I can recognize all the people that ride with me. This woman works in the IT dept for U of R hospital. She has the same hours as I. Every morning when I get on there she is in the back, sound asleep. One morning I couldn't resist and I drew her like this. Yes, I did tell her about this drawing and she had a good laugh.

The man with the unique tattoo's. I had seen him several times and was the kind of guy most stayed away from. He fidgetted and twitched. He mumbled with out opening his mouth. Some people were afraid of him. I felt he was the other way around - being afraid of us. But when he put on the earphones and turned on the music he stopped all of that. The volume was up high enough that I could hear classical music. One piece I recognized and hummed and bobbed my head to it as he was - he noticed and after a second of staring he smiled and went back to it

Friday, August 14, 2015

Snap Shots by Hand Day 12

I sometimes wanted to just draw the scene from the different bus stops I had to wait at. Spread out every where it is like a pin in a map. "YOU ARE HERE!" It is what I fell back on when I was tired of seeing the same people over and over again on the bus.

Several of the stops I have draw no longer exist what with the new Transit Center downtown so it is also a record of the city's history. here is a collection of the different "bus stops" I have drawn - check them out.

A very quick sketch drawn from inside the bus stop on Jefferson - east of 390 - looking east. I was a foggy rainy day and I was glad for the shelter to sit in. I tried to express the wetness of the scene with the reflections of the cars and pole on the road.

 Downtown at the bus stops on Broad St. This stop was eliminated after the Transit Center was built. Here the #17 bus to Nazareth College with a bike on the front rack.

A view from the bus stop on Jefferson rd on the west side of 390 looking back east. The pidgeon's have a colony under this bridge and during the day they line up on top of the street light arms.

View form the bus stop on Jefferson rd, east of 390 looking west. This time I was looking through the glass walls of the shelter with the yellow dots to warn people that there was glass there (makes me laugh).

 Inside the bus stop at liberty pole. Across the street is the Triangle building at the intersection of Main and East ave.

 Back to the Broad st station that had 7 shelters there. I remember it was another rainy day(hint-lady in the scene with umbrella)

 The Temporary bus stops on Main street. Between the 2 poles in view were the bus's lined up in front of the Chase tower

Late night view of the Shelter at Liberty pole downtown

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Snap Shots by Hand Day 11

While line defines an image - color explains it. I am not talking about full on black and white images that involve shading and such I am talking about the type of line drawings that I do.

The line will tell you what you are looking at most of the time. every once in a while I do achieve the explanation through line but it is harder. To our mind it is unnatural and so it is abstract. Our left side of the brain takes over and tries to assign meaning to it. Tell us what we are looking at.

On the other hand we have seen color since our first sight. When we are young our right side rules and we assign emotions to them - Red(hot), Blue(cool), White(soft) and so on. It becomes a big jumble in us even when the left side of the brain takes over. Color still defines how we feel.

I know, I know there is SOOOO much more to all of this, but, I wanted to simplify for the sake of this post. Check out the picture below and what I say about them.

When I took the number 5 bus from work to downtown late at night I had to walk(very fast) 45 minutes to get to the bus. So usually I would get there minutes before it left. It had a 15 minute layover there. I got there with 2 to 3 minutes left. On this night I got a ride to the stop. So I was there before it even got there. Having 15 minutes to wait I decided to draw this. Dark on and off the bus, it was a bit moody. Nobody else on the bus talked we just sat there waiting and relaxing. Out the window the street lights threw yellow spots on the empty parking lot - inside the driver was quietly reading her paper.

This is an example of just a little color makes the image POP. most of the colors during winter are bleak. We bundle up like mummy's to stay warm as we go about. This guy was humming a happy tune. Don't remember it now but his attitude was infectious. The line drawing did not do him justice so I added the tiny splash of color to his face. A stark contrast in the dark grey hood and color of his face.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Snap Shots by Hand Day 10

Both ends of the spectrum can be very hard. That is, the very young and the very old. Each has its own problems and approaches to over come. But, the results, if done right are spectacular.

With the young it is two things that I have to deal with. being fidgety and their facial features are extremely soft. Most of the time I get past the fidgety by drawing them as the sleep. The hardest part is by far the proportions and facial features. The same rules for where to put the eyes and ears and such are no different then another person. There are just too few wrinkles. They do make a difference - especially in black and white drawing.

Seniors, on the other hand, are overflowing with "character lines". And by their very nature don't move too much. So they make great models. They also are sharp. Most of the ones I have drawn have asked to see the drawing even when I thought they had not noticed me drawing them. They are also very gracious about my work - even when I have not been flattering. Check out the two below for more comments.

I was reminded of the little brother in the movie " Christmas Story" when I saw him. So heavily bundled up he could barely move. He fussed for a bit, but the moving bus rocked him to sleep quickly

 This is Abraham. One of the regular riders late night. I tend to like drawing men with beards and mustaches. It is a cheat for me. It means I don't have to tackle the lips. But in this case it is what drew me to him - along with his long pony tail that was still his original reddish color. When I was finished he made a point of coming over and commenting on the work (he liked it)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Snap Shots by Hand Day 9

Early Morning or late evening I get the same kind of people - the dead to the world (sleeping). At first I felt apprehensive drawing them, but over time that wore off.

Generally speaking, they are my best models since they don't move, that often. I see a person like this now I take a moment to decide if I want to draw them or not. They can be comical at times and other times I worry that they may miss their stop. It has happened a few times while I was on the bus.

Still they have given me some of my best sketches so I will continue to draw them. Check out the two below for more details.

5 pm during a hot summer day. That was this guy. I imagined it was the end of a day of work and he was tired. Within minutes of getting on the bus he was like this. And he stayed like this all the way downtown. I felt this way too but this pose was too good not to draw - so I did.

On the ride into to town this woman got on a few stops after me. Her walker was overflowing with grocery bags. Within a minute of sitting down she was out. But her walker had other ideas. Every time we turned a corner the bags would swing and the whole walker would tip over. Me and one other rider kept throwing out our hand to stop the walker from falling over on us. She on the other hand never seemed to notice

Monday, August 10, 2015

Snap Shots by Hand Day 8

Family Groups. They present a different dilema to overcome. Well two of them. First of all the ever present time crunch and secondly getting all an the page.
My first sketchbook was 8.5 inches by 11. Plenty of space to draw on but when your standing and holding the book flat to draw on your arms get tired quick. When I finished that book I vowed never to work with one that big again out in the filed. Right now I work with a Moleskine which is 5x7 or maybe a bit larger but still much smaller and light weight.
Having to fit the entire group of people on the page can sometimes be a challenge. So I have to be careful. Of course, drawing parents AND their children you want to make sure of two things. One you don't make them look too horrible(in case the parent gets offended) and two you make sure they understand that you are JUST drawing them and not stocking them (parents will get very protective-as well as others around them) because they are children.
When I have drawn children I have made a point of showing the work to them and letting them know I am just drawing for the sake of drawing. Check out the two below.

 This woman I rode with to work quite often with her two kids. She worked at Buffalo Wild Wings and would cart them kids to the bus stop downtown and some family member would pick up the kids and she continued on to work. They rode so often with me on the same route - same seats that I had a chance to get to know them before I drew them. The older son only had half his left arm but that did not slow him down. He looked after his little sister who always slept on his lap.

 This woman was very tired. One toddler, one infant in the carry seat and one on the way. I could tell she was greatful that all the two with her wanted to do was sleep. I felt sorry for her having to deal with all these kids and get them around on the bus.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Snap Shots by Hand Day 5

Person, place or thing. It as sometimes a bit difficult to decide what to draw. Granted, I did draw a lot more people the anything else, but I was also drawn to places or objects.
People always, by assumption, reflect emotion or story. But, so did places. Objects, on the other hand, to me were mostly just excersizes. Now, if a place spoke to me I did my best to recreate the story or emotion of it. It did not always come across so that others could see it, but it was a record of what I felt. If I looked back at a drawing I could remember it and it would touch me again.
Below are three examples - go to them to read about what got me interested.

By the time I got close to home it was almost 10pm. Everyone on the bus just wanted to get home. this guy took advantage of the lack of people on the bus and streched out all the way - in the back row of the bus. I felt like doing the same but feared falling asleep so I drew him

 Early on in my work for Frontier I worked till about 7pm. At that time of night I had to walk 45 minutes to the Monroe Community College to catch my bus home. That late at night there where maybe 1 or 2 other people waiting with me there. This scene no longer exists since the college remodeled the front entrance, but from here in the Lobby I would sit and wait for the bus. It was lonely and quite often read the time away. The only light outside was from the street lights that cast the shadow of the railings above. It was very lonely

 The front seats of the bus are designed to fold up in case a handicapped passenger came on. One evening while riding I was intrigued by the intricacies of the nuts and bolts and hinges on those chairs and had to draw it

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Snap Shots By Hand Day 4

Line versus color, which one wins. Each approach has it own rules and results, but which one is better. I have been asked that a lot

With line, or black and white, you are limited to expressing the scene in two maybe three or at the most four values. Add to that the time I have to draw the subject and I quite often limit myself to the persons face to work on. And even then I sometimes eliminate some features to concentrate on the emotion of the scene.

With color I sometimes have to do the opposite, show more. Still with the time constraints I often stick to the face. But, now I have to contend with a myriad of values. With Black and white some things are implied with color it is "LIVE". You do someones skin tone wrong and all you can think about is "There's something wrong". I have gotten better with the color work - still often the color is applied at a later time. It forces me to look hard at the subject and commit to memory what I see(or take a real snap shot to reference later).

Either way, B&W or color, I have to really think through the drawings. Check out the drawings below.

 A brother and sister riding the bus late at night. These two got on and as soon as they sat he began to nod off. When she reached over and guided his head to her shoulder I was hooked. The scene touched me and I tried to get the emotion of it

The original of this is about an inch and a half tall. I did her to fill a spot on the page. In her case it was her bizarre hair style that had me drawing her. Seeing it blown up this way reminds me that some of my best work is done tiny.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Snap Shots by Hand Day 3

Drawing these people and places brought me closer. What I mean is, On the bus we travelers tend to make a point of throwing up invisible walls around us if we are alone or stick to talking to the people we know. Now my wife Juli would be the first one to say I don't know a stranger. I can talk to anyone. However, there are people that don't want to reach out beyond themselves.
That is more so on the bus. But, what I have found out on the bus, drawing, is I can open them up, get them out of their shell. Sitting down and just start talking to someone and they may think you are nuts. Sitting down and drawing them, well, that catch's their interest.
I have have more people just start talking to me because I am drawing. Yeah it usually starts out with "WOW" then leads into talking about them and their interests - their lives. I enjoy that. Check out the two below.

 It was her cap that caught my attention and I had to draw her. she was from Africa and had not been in the U.S. that long. It was taking her a long time to get use to the cold winters here. I haven't even yet. She had explained the cold to her family back home and they had made the cap for her to wear. She was very pleased with the drawing and took a picture of it and had immediately sent it to her family from her phone

Late night riding home meant an over crowded bus. I got lucky to get a seat all the way in the back right in the center spot. I could look down the isle. Up at the front people were sitting on each other and craming the isle all the way to the back door. It was so crowded the isle did not even exist. Thank God I got off at the very end of the route. By then I was the last one on the bus. But we all did out best to stand the conditions so we could get home.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Snap Shots by hand - day 2

Day two of the Snap Shots by hand and I wanted to touch on two early pieces. I had mentioned that I started sketching to get better at drawing quicker. And that is very true on the bus. Most of the people I drew were done in 10 minutes or less. Quite often 5 minutes.
It forced me to fall back on one of my oldest art lessons from my art teacher in high school. She had us excercise with "minute drills" as she called them. We would start with an object or person to draw. We were given 15 minutes to draw it. Then on a new piece of paper we had 7 minutes to draw then 3 then 1 we ended up with the same object in 10 seconds.
It was an excercise to teach us to bore in on the "essence" of what we drew and not on the person or object. I have had to apply this to my sketching. Of course that is now over 30 years ago I started that and I did get out of practice for a while, but 5 years of sketching has fine tuned my Minute Drills.

Check out the two below

 This gentleman did notice me drawing him, but chose to do his best to ignore me. To me, he was the epitomy of the generation just before me. No smartphone or tablet, this man was taking the time to get his news or entertainment from a newspaper.

 Inside the Sibleys building, when I first moved here, you could still talk to a clerk and buy you passes from them. This booth has long since been replaced buy the sleek new Transit Center with push button bus pass ATM's and touch screen info screens. I am glad, though, that they still have Customer Service reps in the center to help direct people.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Start of the Solo Art Show

Starting today I had opened my first ever solo art show I Titled "Seeing the City One Drawing at a Time - Snap Shots by Hand." It is 5 years worth of sketches of me riding the Rochester buses.
Each day I will try to touch on one or two of the drawings and what they are - or why I drew them. Below are 4 to start. I challenge anyone going to the Transit Center to go by the Show and find one they want to know more about, take a picture and post it here - asking me to talk about that one. I will do my best to explain the piece.
These started out as just an excercise tool for me but grew into much more. Check out each below for it's description

My self portrait, Early on here in Rochester I rode the bus late at night. That made the bus windows into mirrors. On one occasion I looked over my shoulder and saw this. It intriqued me and I knew that all arist's try to do at least one self portrait in their life times so I jumped in and sketched this one out.

Drawing during the winter time gave me some of my most memorable people to draw. Very often their clothes covered up much of their faces. But it was an opportunity to find the spirit of that person without using the most obvious clues. This man fit that bill to a tee.

By far my most unforgetful person to date. Even though the drawing seems to be very rough(bouncing bus), I did my best to depict this man with the dignity he was trying so hard to express. He got on the bus barely able to walk due to a partially paralized leg and right arm. He was wearing new shorts(tag still on) but the zipper was down. He struggled into his seat and got himself situated. By his look I guessed that he may have had a stroke sometime in the past. His eyes fought a battle with his own brain to maintain that air of dignity and I wanted to show him in that struggle to be normal.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Snap Shots by Hand

Like a Man carrying a hidden camera I have worked for the past five years to get quick snap shots of the people and places around me and it has payed off for me.

Drawing someone can be less conspicuous and very obvious at the same time.  However, it is more acceptable than walking around with a camera.  It can also be much more personal in its' results.  LOL - sometimes I feel like the tiny animal inside the stone cameras from the Flinstones cartoon.  Furiously chiseling a picture on a flat piece of stone.
Most of the time I have an average of five to ten minutes to get the drawings done since the person will get off the bus.  So I concentrate on the emotion of the scene.  That too is often easy - what with it being early morning or late evening - most of the people I draw are sleeping or off in their own world.

For this entire next month of August those five years of sketches will be on display at the Transit Center, downtown Rochester NY.  I will be taking the 3rd off to go down there and set up the display and to meet with several people about the show.  Please take some time to come to the Transit Center and check it out.  I will however be talking about the show from time to time over the next month.