Time Out for Art: Electrical Repair

I got up this morning to find my son eating breakfast by flashlight.  After a little exploration around the house, I discovered that some parts of the house had power while other parts did not.  I could make a cup of coffee, but I would have to drink it in the dark.  I could turn on the light in the bathroom, but not write an email since the modem didn’t have power.  I checked the breakers and they looked fine. So I called the power company and they sent out a technician.

Electrical Repair, pen and ink, 7" x 5"
Electrical Repair, pen and ink, 7″ x 5″

He first tested the power coming in to the junction box on the side of the house.  All looked well.  The power company is only responsible for the wires coming to the house; if I had a problem inside, he wouldn’t be able to help with it.  But before he concluded that for sure, he would check the other connections.  So he hopped into the bucket on the back of his truck and “flew up” to the top of the pole at the end of the driveway.  When that checked out okay, he got a ladder to check the connectors at the top of the house.  Bingo!  One of them was old and cracked and had shorted out.  It only took him a couple of minutes to replace, but it was long enough for me to capture a quick image of him up the ladder with all of his protective gear on.

Sailing on Cay of Sea: Friday at the Rendezvous

Most of the boat owners who participate in the annual rendezvous live in the Norfolk/Hampton Roads, Virginia, area and arrive at the host marina on Friday.  If the weather is nice, they sail in, or if the weather makes the trip difficult, or the boat has some problems, they may drive to the site.  But on Friday evening, we gathered at the wonderful porch at Dozier’s Marina, bringing chips and dip, finger foods, soft drinks, and wine to share while we catch up on each others’ lives for the past year.

Shakedown Cruise, 2015

Every year we do a shakedown cruise before going off on an extended trip.  It is a chance to make sure all the systems work and that we have everything on board that was taken off when the boat was put away for the winter.  For example, the past two years we discovered on the shakedown cruise that our bed pillows were still on the guest bed at home, disguised as a permanent fixture.  Other times we have forgotten such necessary items as matches for lighting the stove and a can opener.  And no one wants to discover in the middle of the Bay that the plumbing doesn’t work right!

Time Out for Art: Tree Surgeons

We had tree surgeons from Expert Tree Removal here this past week.  They were cleaning up the “widow makers” or “hangers” as they called the large limbs of trees that had broken off but not fallen due to a storm earlier in the summer.  I took time out to watch them and drew this picture.

Tree Limb Removal, pen and ink with watercolor, 9" x 12"
Tree Limb Removal, pen and ink with watercolor wash, 9″ x 12″

I don’t remember being fascinated with machinery as a child.  I think my interest started when my sons were young and they liked to look at all the trucks and machines that we passed while driving.  Now, in addition to being distracted by the noise of the chipper and the chain saws, I felt compelled to watch as they lopped off branches and large sections of the trunk, calculating and making them fall between pilings, without hitting the electric light fixtures that were there.

The men liked this drawing and insisted that I show it to their boss when he returned later in the day.

A Commission: Together, Again!

My friend has presented me with a challenging commission.  She gave me several pictures of some friends of hers, parents and two siblings, who are close, but now sundered by distance and death.  Could I put them all together in one picture?

After studying the photos and tentatively deciding on a composition, I started drawing.  This is the hardest part for me because it is the most crucial.  If the drawing is right, the picture will usually turn out well.  If the drawing is wrong, no amount of finessing with the paint will make it right.

I started drawing the figures on one sheet of paper, but I have had to correct so many times that the old lines are starting to confuse the images.  The spacing is also wrong, so I decided to “divide and conquer” by putting the individual people on tracing paper so that I can move them around before setting them into the composition.

I have several pictures of the brother, but wanted to have his legs crossed the other way, so that it appears he is interacting with the others more.  I can tell that I don’t have the arms of the chair right and the left leg is not convincing. The cropping of the photo doesn’t show his feet, nor the father’s.  I haven’t decided how to handle that yet!

The sister is the only one standing, so I want to place her a little behind the others, as if she has walked up and joined the discussion.  (My apologies for the crooked drawing; it is too tall for my scanner except on the diagonal and won’t straighten any more than this without loosing part of the drawing.)

I’m having some trouble with the father, because I want him to be smiling (at least a little) and enjoying time with his family!

The picture of the mother is the least distinct photo, being a photo of a photo in a glass frame.  I’ve taken her out of the car and had her join the group on the patio.  Adding the dog she is holding actually makes the drawing easier since he is just a white fluffy area with a few shadows.

Now to put them together on one piece of paper!  Drawing the people again (and again) will give me more practice until they look like who they are supposed to be.