I Sketched a Portrait of Maine

I follow a number of blogs and interests here on WordPress.  Photographers, Artist, Writers…all of them are talented individuals that are putting their work out into the world for others to enjoy and perhaps gain some inspiration from.

One of those fellow bloggers is photographer John Ames.  I follow John’s blog Frog Pond Journal,  the blog focuses mainly on street photography and John shares some great images.

Recently, one of those images caught my eye and I knew I would create a sketch of his subject.  Check out John’s post “A Portrait of Maine” to see the photo that inspired this sketch.

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This sketch was created in my sketchbook/journal and may appear a little rough as I was trying to capture his likeness while keeping the sketch fairly loose.  Personally, I’m pleased with the outcome.

In case any of you guys are wondering.  I reached out to John to ask his permission before writing this post.  He immediately gave his permission allowing me to use his photo as a reference.

Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful day!

Mike

Random Photo & Thoughts

As I mentioned in my previous post, we are now living downtown.  Our dog, Katie, is an older lady of 13 years.  She stays indoors with us and we walk her about a block and a half a few times a day so she can fertilizer the vacant lot (turned city park) down the street.

As mentioned, she is older, so her pace is not exactly swift and like most mature beings she prefers to take her time and not be rushed as she sniffs out the ideal spot to make her contribution to soil enrichment.

The other day while patiently waiting for her to determine the epicenter for her next event I noticed the evidence of a former doorway in the building adjacent to the park.  I wondered about what had been there in the past, what use or contribution to society the building may have served in a past life.  I noticed the contrast of the old facade next to a wooden post that now served as a power distribution point for park events.  I decided to pull out my phone for a bit of #iPhoneography.

img_0099 If you look closely, you can still make out the oak timbers that framed the opening.

Have a great day…perhaps I will notice more on a future outing with Katie.

Mike

New Year, New Digs, Less Distraction

Hello, remember me?

I’m still here…I know I’ve been silent for a while.  Life was chaotic towards the end of 2019.  We sold our home and moved into a new place, in a new setting, with more to offer.

We are now living a more relaxed lifestyle.  We purchased and moved into a historic building in the downtown area of our small hometown.  It was constructed in 1925 and we live in the second-floor apartment.  Our building includes a street-level shop that we intend to offer for lease later this year.

For now, we are busy making our new digs a home and things are coming together.  Jennifer (my wife) and I share a small room that we use as an office and studio space.  My drawing desk occupies a corner of the room.  I have a window adjacent to me that allows for natural light and a limited view of the town.

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This year, I plan to focus more on drawing and further developing my artistic interest.  I’m thankful for all who read my blog and encourage me along life’s journey.  I’m looking forward to this new year, the opportunities that it holds, & new life experiences.

Thanks for hanging out with me.

Mike

A purely joyful expression

Pure, adjective:
        not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material
Joy, noun:

a feeling of great pleasure and happiness

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Pure Joy…That’s how I would describe this man’s expression.  It is what drew me to him as a sketch subject.  Just looking at his expression puts a smile on my face.

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The reference photo for this sketch was found online.  I apologize but, I do not know who the photographer was who captured this wonderful moment.

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This is the first sketch that I have completed recently and it felt really good to lay down some graphite again.  I have relocated my studio to our basement until the house sells.  There’s not much natural light but I have at least three times the space!  Plenty of room to spread out.

I am thinking of branching out and trying some new subject matter.  I am also thinking of seriously increasing the scale of my work.  We’ll have to wait and see where the muse points me next.

Thanks for visiting, I hope you guys have a great day!

 

Snarling Wolf

Hello everyone,  Work around the house has slowed a bit, so I now have a little more free time.

I wanted to share this drawing with you that I created back in August.  This is a graphite drawing of a snarling wolf.  My intention was to leave a significant amount of negative space around the subject and only concentrate on the main features necessary to bring out the wolf’s face.

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This drawing is significantly larger than most of my sketches.  Typically I create sketches in either a small 5.5″ x 8″ sketchbook or occasionally I may draw in an 8.5″ x 11″ sketchbook.  This drawing was created on an 18″ x 24″ (45.7 x 61 cm) piece of newsprint.  I realize newsprint is typically reserved for practice but, I wanted to try something a little larger and it was the largest paper I had available at the time.

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Newsprint isn’t really that difficult to work with you just have to be careful.  It is more delicate than other papers so you need to go lightly with the eraser.  The paper also has a tendency to get a little wavy in areas of heavy graphite.

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Below is a photo of the completed sketch.  This was completed using a range of graphite pencils.  There are also a few strategically placed lines of white gelly pen for highlights.

Wolf Sketch

Thanks for viewing my work.  I hope everyone has a great week – Mike

 

Life has been getting in the way (of art)

Hello followers and fellow blog stars!

I wanted to share with you the reason for the unpredictable and seldom frequency of my post of late. We have been preparing our home to be placed for sale. We have finally made it to the point where we have listed our home with a real estate agent in hopes of a quick sale.

These preparations have temporarily knocked art of the priority list. Most days, after arriving home from work, I am met with a list of tasks that need to be completed, or at least started that evening. By the time that list has been addressed, I am simply too tired to create. Not to mention that my mind is functioning somewhere south of half capacity.

Anyway, I wanted to reach out to you guys, let you know that I truly value your likes & comments and to let you know that I hope to get back up to speed on this blog soon.

Thank you for your patience.

Mike

Gorilla Portrait

Another primate portrait.  I really enjoy drawing primates, it seems there is so much thought and emotion behind their eyes.  I also find the wrinkles and patterns of their faces interesting to draw.

This portrait was finished just a few days ago.  It was created in my sketchbook using a 0.9mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead.  The black background was created using charcoal powder applied with a brush.

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The look of determination

Another older gentleman with an expression that I could pass up.

I do enjoy sketching the older faces.  There’s just so much life written into their skin.  This man’s expression seems to convey concentration and pure determination.

Based, on his expression I don’t believe I would want to get in his way.

 

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5.5″ x 8″, 0.9mm mechanical pencil, 2B lead

 

Thanks for visiting, I hope everyone has a great day. – Mike

Come again?

Greetings,  today I am sharing another portrait from my sketchbook.  This was created in July of this year.  I came across a photo of an older gentleman cupping his hand to his ear in an apparent effort to increase his ability to hear.  I found the act and his facial expression to be so characteristic of an elderly gentleman.  I can imagine that this is a scene that plays out over and over in his daily life.

I fully expect to one day be in the same situation, as a matter of fact, I am already guilty of this exact maneuver.  Too much loud music in my youth… I imagine.

Progress shot with the outlined sketch and beginning stages of flushing out the face and form.  This sketch was created using a 0.9mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead.

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and now the completed sketch.

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Recently, a spider constructed a magnificent site,
just outside of my studio window.

It undulates in the cool breeze,
it shimmers in the morning light.

It brings a smile to my face,
and a feeling of delight. – MDL

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I hope everyone has a wonderful week!  Cheers

Silent Peaceful Solitude

Good morning all.

I am the only one stirring so far this morning.  I enjoy the peaceful reassuring silence of the house on these early weekend mornings.

I do, however, share the silence with our loyal 4 legged girl, Katie.  She is old, quiet, and all so content, to simply be.  Laying on the floor of my study blissfully sleeping away the hours.

This morning I thought I would share a sketch I created back in July.  This was created using a 0.9mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead.  I enjoy the simplicity of using a single pencil, never having to break concentration or rhythm to pick up a different pencil to vary the tones.

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I would like to thank all of you for following along with me on this blog.  I know that my posting frequency has been sporadic and there really hasn’t been any set schedule for regular post.

Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking of ways to improve the value of this blog for my followers.  I would like to begin introducing content that goes beyond the sharing of my art.  I am still trying to sort things out, so please be patient.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  Cheers – Mike

Portrait on Toned Paper

I created this sketch portrait back in April, but, I never posted it here.  So…I thought, why not share it here as well!

It’s Friday night in my little corner of the world.  I’m looking forward to a great weekend.  I hope everyone else is as well.

Cheers, Mike

 

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Happy Monday

Hello everyone,  It’s a new week, full of opportunity.

Below is a sketch that I created back in June.  This was created using a reference photo, unfortunately, I do not know the name of the photographer in order to give proper credit.

This man’s face spoke of joy, experience, and even though he obviously has lived a long life, his face and expression still has a sense of child-like innocence.

I truly enjoy drawing portraits of the more “experienced” people of the world.  Their faces possess endless amounts of character and wear, each wrinkle earned.

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I hope each of you have a wonderful week.  There will be more posts on the way soon.

– Mike

Reflection and Inspiration

Bales of hay lay in a foggy field near Union Grove, NC

Good morning to you all.

It’s Saturday morning and I have spent this morning easing into weekend mode.  This is a weekly transition for me.  I use Saturday and Sunday mornings as a chance to restock my “creativity shelf” (so to speak).

I spend a couple of hours just browsing the web looking at art, photography, & often quotes.  I find that I can take small glimpses of inspiration from doing this.  The medium need not be anything that I practice, inspiration comes in many forms.

Today’s inspiration came largely from a quote that I stumbled upon.  The quote is from Lauren Kate, a successful fiction writer.  The truth of her words, though short, spoke to me.

“I cannot be other than what I am, and I am the choices of all my days.”  – Lauren Kate

There is much truth in her words.  Even though we may aspire to be a better person, or perhaps, just a different version of who we are today, in the end, we are the sum of our daily choices.  The decisions we make each day shape and become our lives.  That singular sentence provides the spark for an abundance of reflection and introspection.  I realize that we are still vulnerable to our circumstances but we are 100% in charge of our reaction to those circumstances.  In the end, the way we choose to react to our circumstance shape our lives and who we are.

I hope everyone finds themselves in good health and spirits.  Best wishes, for a great weekend and for the week ahead.

Until the next post. – Mike

 

Back at it

Hello all,  I’m have returned from my self-imposed leave.  After the passing of my father I just needed to take some time to regroup and recenter.  I’m truly grateful for your patience as I transitioned through this season in my life.

I’m currently sitting in my home office/studio space.  The house is quiet as my beautiful bride and son are still in bed.  I cherish my morning solitude as it gives me the opportunity to collect my thoughts and provides time for much-needed retrospection.  I believe that everyone can benefit from such time spent alone without distraction.

I have made a few minor tweaks to this blog, an updated about page, & a new minimal theme with full-width image display.  I have made the decision to remove the photographer focus from this blog and focus solely on my art.  Art is something that I truly enjoy,  it removes me from my environment for a while as I focus solely on the work in front of me.  It brings me inner peace and is an activity that can be practiced virtually anywhere I go.

Even though I have been absent from this blog for a few weeks I have been posting somewhat regularly on Instagram.  I have decided that IG is where I will post my day to day activities and works in progress.

I will leave you with a portrait that was created during my break from the blog.  For this particular sketch, I was able to reach out to the photographer of the reference photo I was working from and was able to obtain permission to use his image as a reference.  The photographer is Thorbjorn Fessel, a talented photographer to say the least.

This sketch was created with a 2b mechanical pencil and a 6b pencil for the darker areas.  The sketch lives in my current ‘go-to’ sketchbook.

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An Honored Request

Recently, one of the readers of this blog requested a portrait from me.  The subject was his late father who past away earlier this year.

The individual who made the request is a fellow blogger.  We originally started following one another due to our common interest in woodworking.  We quickly became good acquaintances via WordPress and now, even though we have never met in person, I consider Ron one of my friends.

So when he asked if I would consider creating a portrait of his father I was extremely honored that he thought enough of my art to make this request of me.  I gladly accepted the challenge.

With Ron’s permission, I am sharing his father’s portrait in this post.

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Now, I’ll admit I was a touch nervous about drawing this portrait.  I have never created a portrait by request before.  The fact that it was Ron’s father made it all the more important that I did my best.  So, I began making marks, hesitantly at first, but, I gained confidence as I continued to develop the drawing.   I had to remind myself a few times to just relax and draw as I normally would.  Eventually the apprehension fell away and I found my groove.

Ron is a knowledgeable and skilled craftsman who creates his wooden wares with nothing more than human-powered tools in his “unplugged” workshop.  His creations are adorned with intricately carved patterns.  Please visit his blog at  An Unplugged Woodworker to see his skill and craftsmanship for yourself.

Thank you for visiting, I hope you have a great day! – Mike