Suzy

Our twins had their 1st birthday last Saturday, and we had a houseful for the occasion.  Both of our mothers came up, and we had a small party for them.  It was a good time.  I must say that I absolutely am in love with my little girls.  OK, here’s a recent photo…

Our beautiful twin girls, Michaela and Madeline.

Our beautiful twin girls, Michaela and Madeline.

How could you NOT be in love with that?  We have three other children, too, and it blows me away how much love us humans are capable of because of how deeply I love them all!

Right, back to the story.  Ahem…

Saturday was the party, and Sunday, around 2 pm, our mothers were to leave.  There was some “dead” time between breakfast and then, so I grabbed my mini sketchbook and the brush pen and sketched the scene: our dachshund, Suzy, asleep on the floor.

Suzy, asleep on the floor (brush pen & watercolor in the mini sketchbook)

Suzy, asleep on the floor (brush pen & watercolor in the mini sketchbook)

 See the blue bit behind her?  That’s a body pillow we’ve got set up against the bricks on the hearth of the fireplace so the young’ns don’t knock their noggins.  All the bricks are covered up with pillows, matter of fact.  We’ve got the bumper cushions, but they don’t stick worth a flip.  A play phone, a neckerchief, and some other toy are there in the foreground.  How’s that for composition?  :)

That’ll do for now.  I’ll post up more when I have the time (and urge… need sleeeeep).

Dude

A moment presented itself in my hectic schedule in which to sketch.  I knew it was coming, too, so I packed my stuff up and toted our oldest son along to the auto shop.  Nothing major, just having some fluids changed, so I knew I’d have an hour or so to kill.  I only spent a few minutes sketching, however, because some dude walked in and turned the dang TV on in the waiting room.  Well, it wasn’t because he turned it on.  It was because of what he decided to watch… Tombstone!  That is my all-time favorite movie!  I can quote the dialogue along side the actors, almost verbatim.  It’s sad, I know.  Needless to say I watched more than I sketched.  Because my dad and I both loved this movie, and knew everything there is to know about the cast of characters, my dad made me promise to name my first son Wyatt.  Dad passed away before I could have a son, but I honored the promise.  Wyatt James Ayers.

At the end of the visit, this is what I had – after a dude out of a Time magazine laying on the coffee table.

Some dude.  Pentel pocket brush pen in the sketchbook. Notice Kurt Russel as Wyatt Earp from Tombstone in the background.

Some dude. Pentel pocket brush pen in the sketchbook. Notice Kurt Russel as Wyatt Earp from Tombstone in the background.

When I got home I spent five minutes (literally) to throw on some watercolor.

Dude... now with color.

Dude… now with color.

I hope I can have some more moments to doodle again sometime.  I do love it so.

Alpha Tire

I was off work all last week, and can you believe it, I only had one artistic moment.  You know, we’ve got 26 kids – well 5, but still – so even when I’m off work there’s not much time for relaxation and creative genius (aherm).  I thoroughly enjoyed the week off.  I’m a big-time family dude, so any time I can spend surrounded by my beautiful wife and amazing children is a huge blessing to me.  My only regret is that some day this will all end.

Anyway, so as not to go off on a philosophical exposition, I’ll show you the one thing I managed to do.  I took the boys with me to get the oil and transmission fluids changed on my ride on Saturday.  Knowing it would be a little bit of a wait, I brought my new, favorite sketchbook: a 3×5 leather-bound  book, with paper that almost feels homemade, which I dig… alot.  I’ll snap a picture of it someday.  Anyway, here’s the finished product (pen and watercolor added after we got home, later that night after all 26 (or so) kids went to bed).

Watercolor & pen in 3x5 sketchbook

Watercolor & pen in 3×5 sketchbook

The Road

My Mom came up for a visit this past weekend.  She is also artistically oriented, so whenever we’re together we seem to manage to talk about art and end up doing something creative.  However, the goings on in our home, and the demands associated with those goings on – five children, two of those being 9 month old twins – dictate the amount of time available for such artistic endeavors.  And so it was about 10 o’clock on Saturday evening when we finally settled in our studio (the dining room table).

“What are you gonna do?”, Mom asked.

“I’m not sure”, I replied.

“Me either”, she said, and we both looked at our materials for a while.

Thumbing through the camera roll on my cell phone, I came across this photo I took on the way home one afternoon.  I liked the sky, which is why I took the photo in the first place.

I exclaimed, “Found it!  I’m gonna paint this.”

Mom thumbed through her phone and found her inspiration as well… her father, who passed away last April.  She misses him immensely.  Grandpa was always there for us.  He came over and fixed the plumbing, mowed the grass, and other, innumerable around-the-house kinds of things.  He helped us financially when Mom, struggling to provide for two boys alone on one income, couldn’t quite make ends meet.  He took care of us.

He was living in an assisted living facility in Jacksonville when he died, surrounded by his family.  Mom went to see him every day without fail.  It was her turn to take care of him.  She took care of him like I would want to be taken care of by my children when I’m old and can’t take care of myself.  She was a saint and an angel for him, and I admire and respect her greatly for that.  After my brother died, Grandpa was all the family she had left in Jacksonville (I am in Atlanta, and her sister is in Birmingham), so you can imagine how much it must have hurt to lose him, even though he lived a full life of 96 years.  She sure did love her Daddy.

I should have taken a photo of the portrait she drew.  She wasn’t happy with it.  I mentioned that I was rarely ever happy with anything I’ve ever done (artistically speaking, of course), and that she shouldn’t beat herself up about it.  Heck, if a perfect representation is what’s needed, then why not simply look at the photo?  Right?  Anyway, since I don’t have a photo of the drawing, I’ll substitute with a photo.  Here’s Grandpa:

Grandpa - Jacksonville, Fl 2011

Grandpa – Jacksonville, Fl 2011

I miss him, too.  The older I get, the more people around me pass away, and the more I’m reminded of my own mortality.  It’s a gentle reminder, you know.  Live… live well.  And LOVE!  I am blessed to be surrounded by family, and believe me, these lessons aren’t lost on me in the least.

Oh, so here’s what I painted:

Road Scene:  Watercolor on 4"x6" paper

Road Scene: Watercolor on 4″x6″ paper

Funny, now that I look back on it.  The road could represent life.  This could be a snapshot of where I currently am on this particular road I’m traveling.  I can just see what’s ahead until it curves off.  What lies beyond, I cannot know.  I can only know that I am on a road, and moving forward.  Huh.  How ’bout that?

Mr. Mayor

I got an email from the folks at sketchbookproject.com about a new project for the week: Challenge Accepted! – This week we ask you to share a little piece of home and draw a portrait of your town’s mayor.”

I didn’t even know who our Mayor was.  Isn’t that sad?  Well, I didn’t want to do a drawing of some boring looking politician, so I scoured his (turns out his name is Billy Copeland) Facebook page and found a photo of him in these wonderful shades.  The likeness isn’t all that great, but it was fun.  Thanks, and it was nice getting to “know” you, Mr. Mayor!

Billy Copeland, Mayor of McDonough, Georgia. Watercolor on 4"x6", 140 lb cold-pressed watercolor paper.

Billy Copeland, Mayor of McDonough, Georgia. Watercolor on 4″x6″, 140 lb cold-pressed watercolor paper.

Blessings Thrift Store

Thank God for sketchbooks, or I might not create at all.  I did this in the parking lot of a thrift store my wife and mother-in-law were browsing, while sitting in the van with the kids.  I didn’t have a lot of time – turns out there wasn’t much worth looking at in the store.

Anyway, I’ve been bouncing around an idea of adding a shopping cart to the page to allow folks to purchase some of my drawings/paintings, but just haven’t committed to it.  One, I have no idea how to set up an e-commerce function.  And two, I’m a bit frightened at the potential rejection (although, that isn’t really that much of a concern… I wouldn’t post if I cared deeply what others thought… OK, nevermind, but I’m leaving “two” there JIC).  If anyone who reads this has had luck with that, I’d love to chew the fat with you.

Blessings Thrift Shop. Watercolor & ink in Moleskine sketchbook.

Blessings Thrift Shop. Watercolor & ink in Moleskine sketchbook.

Funny Face

I wanted an interesting face to draw/paint, so I Googled “funny face”, and I was drawn to a certain black and white photo of a man contorting his face just so.  I thought, “That’ll do”, broke out a piece of ACEO and a brush pen, and went at it.  Of course black and white won’t do, so I added a touch of color.  Here he is:

Brush pen and watercolor on ACEO

Brush pen and watercolor on ACEO