Monthly Archives: December 2018

I had a second cup of coffee this morning. Then I put on a pair of dirty jeans that need to be thrown away due to a rip near the inseam, gathered a load of laundry and got a wash cycle going, and found a public-domain photo of Chloë Grace Morentz, whom I had just seen in the DVD of THE EQUALIZER, starring Denzel Washington.

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This is proving to be a good way to ease into a productive first-day-off. Washing takes about half an hour; drying, 45 minutes. The breaks are just right for stretching the legs, going out and coming back, and having a fresh look at the work in progress. I paid enough mind to this portrait to deem it “finished sketch” so I signed it and scanned it. The scan revealed a few flaws that I tweaked.

Time to go back out to the laundry room . . .



This was done in a frenzy this morning. No decks of cards were consulted. I took the pressure to perform away by committing to a series of card studies, so that this would be merely one, then imagined a scenario where I had to draw well or not get my Ice Cream Cone. (Some parts of us never grow up.) Gave myself twenty minutes but went over a little. The imposition of a really tight deadline sometimes generates good, nervous energy.

Today I did two quite different drawings.


Loosely inspired by the novel/fable FLATLAND and by classes in analytical geometry, this was done freehand, first in pencil, then ink.


This is a portrait of my Facebook friend Niccolea M Nance, using her current profile picture as an image source. I drew her because today in my “Facebook Memories” the portrait I posted of her exactly nine years ago came up. I was curious about how a new portrait would be done, and I satisfied my curiosity by doing it.


Diane Householder Norrbom is my aunt, my mother’s half-sister, but spiritually no “half-” about it. My mother trusts her more than anyone, including me, and so she should.

Ever since my brother Brian, who was Mom’s caregiver, died, Diane has risen to the enormous challenge of seeing to it that Mom is taken care of. That task is compounded by the fact that Diane lives in Lakewood, California. Several times Diane has driven across the Mojave desert to come put out fires, jump through bureaucratic hoops, hire and fire caregivers, and address a slew of troubles. The proper disposition of my late brother’s unusable vehicle alone was a nightmare, since the title was collateralized by one of those horrible loanshark outfits. She had to punch through a couple of brick walls for that one, even with my inept “help.”

So I’m grateful to her. So when she came to town last Thursday, I told her we’d go out and have some fun, and the budget would be $200.

Wouldn’t you know it–time and opportunity slid away, and we never had that fun. But I had made a commitment, one very specific as to funding. And she was.leaving this morning.


This morning I gave her a shipping envelope that contained a hundred dollar bill, a fifty, a twenty, a ten, and four fives. “I don’t know what this is about,” she said. I told her a classmate of mine had posted on Facebook that we are not what we say we’re going to do, but what we actually do, and that the money needed to be spent on having fun, and that my target time for a California visit is February, but don’t wait for then to spend it, just spend it on fun, and please don’t give any of it away to needy relatives, including me. She agreed, and we have tentative plans to have February fun at the Redondo Beach pier, which I have visited before with great gusto.


But there was more in the envelope:  three original drawings of mine, temporary-mounted on two pieces of posterboard. One is my double-take on Greta Garbo, part of my November “Finishline” series; one is not only a Finishline drawing but the latest in my Utensil series; and one is a recent post-Inktober ink drawing. I am currently charging either $20.00 an hour or $100 apiece, whichever is less, for drawings on this scale, so on that basis Diane got an envelope with contents valued at $500.00. But she deserves much much more, and not merely material things. She has been an incredible, strong matriarch for our family.


Speaking of family, here is Misty, Diane’s niece and Mom’s current live-in caregiver. (Here she shows her surfergirl/hippiechick California roots by flashing us a peace sign.) Bless her heart. She has made a world of difference in Mom’s quality of life.

And it was Diane who brought Mom and Misty together. Just another of Diane’s wise miracles.

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Often when I go out and about on public transportation I take index cards and drawing utensils with me. Until this week, though, whatever I drew doing that that found its way to a blog post was first photographed by my smartphone, then photoedited with the smartphone software.

Now I have more freedom. A week ago I took advantage of a going-out-of-business sale to buy a color laser printer. Like all such printers nowadays, this one has scan capability. I’ve hooked it up to my laptop and am now able to scan what I draw on its scanning bed. So today I took a few of my drawings made on my jaunts and montaged them.

Once scanned, I am able to use Microsoft Photo Editor, the photoediting software that came with the operating system that came with my laptop, to crop, rotate, adjust color levels, and–by far the tool I use most of all–adjust brightness and contrast. “Adjust midtone levels only” is my bread and butter for helping my little drawings pack the punch they do.

I will still be using my smartphone. It enables me to capture images on the fly, anywhere, and post them in real time. But the ‘flavor’ of my images will be different with this new capability, and I’m hoping 2019 will see better presentation of images and the content behind them.


When I pulled up my phone to take a photo of this card I found that the warm shadows of my fingers made a pleasing enhancement of the image, so I did without flash, took the shot, and then used the photo editor to strike the best bargain between image and shadow. I like the implicit demonstration of the Heisenberg principle that the act of observation changes what is being observed.

Along that line of thought, I at first gave the image the title “-esque,” because it has become a bit different from what it was (or is–we’re playing with Reality here). But my next thought was “‘-esque’ or ‘-ish’?” (There’s Differences in them thar Differences, said the Meaning Prospector.) And THAT brought You Say Tomato, I Say Tomahto to mind, and THAT yielded the title it now has.