Torre del Veguer

In the Spring of 2016 Annyth and I spent a week with a group of 17 people at a villa (Can Pares) on the outskirts of Sitges in the Penedès wine and cava region in Catalonia, celebrating the 60th birthday of a friend. Located next door was a winery in a former castle, Torre del Veguer, which I featured in another post on this illustroblog.
Here’s a digital painting of Torre del Veguer, which I had printed on canvas as a gift of gratitude for our friend, Marjorie, the birthday girl.

click on image to enlarge

Procreate, iColorama, iPad Pro, Apple Pencil
Partial progress video:

Surfacing

Here’s a digital image for you, one I’m calling, “Surfacing.” It’s not a very Christmas-like image…at first glance; however, there is “divine birth” dimension. Where? How? WTF?

click on image to enlarge

As a beginner in the practice of meditation, mindfulness, and yoga, I’ve discovered something about the content of my own attention and the breadth of its span. Most of what I pay attention to has nothing to do with the actual spatial and temporal dimensions of the situations that I inhabit; and my five senses usually just go along for the ride throughout the day. That’s another way of saying that I’m rarely “in the moment.” Most of the time my mind is automatically wandering and dragging around clusters of feelings that reside in my muscles’ memories. I’m basically flying around and around in a bird cage whose little door is wide open but somehow hidden from my view.

I ruminate, therefore I am; and my rumination is my ruination. All of that highly-evolved cognitive activity that we call thinking, so necessary for our survival as a species, keeps us alive and incarcerated by decommissioning our senses. If we can’t see the open door, we won’t fly away. We’re taught to fear freedom by our own trauma. The curriculum for this self destruction is saturated in our flesh and bones; at the collective level it’s encoded in our enculturation and socialization processes to keep the entire flock from flying away.

Sometimes when I’m on my cushion, my mat, or my iPad Pro, I lean into an arbitrary assignment automatically delivered to me by this mostly destructive curriculum. I do so because I’ve learned that avoiding or denying them nourishes them. I’ve learned that leaning in requires an effort, takes practice, and yields dividends. I wonder if it’s a sin to vacate the Present Moment?

“Surfacing” is the result of one of these leaning into’s. Yesterday I managed to notice the compulsive appearance of one of these arbitrary assignments as it surfaced. Rather than repressing it and the scary feelings accompanying it, I entertained it momentarily before it disappeared. It grabbed the tissues of the moment I inhabited and the body I inhabit. It seemed real. With its sharp claws it tugged at and stretched the membrane of the living moment encapsulating me…until…poof!

By the time I noticed exhaling, it was gone, Merry Christmas, and another assignment had arrived.

Annual Christmas Letter: Q

As is our holiday custom, the staff at portfoliolongo.com puts out an Annual Christmas Letter, click here for previous letters. This year’s letter is Q. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

click on image to enlarge

Digital iPad art done mainly in SketchClub on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil

The CHAA Sketch

CHAA stands for the Contemporary Humanitarian Artists Association. It was formed in 1985 “in an effort to build creativity and community for artists living and working in the region around Merced, CA. While the members have changed over the years, the goals of the collective remain constant. We come together with a shared philosophy – that creativity, contemplation, and exploration are key to the human spirit.” I’ve only been associated with these fine people for the past 6 months, but I can already feel the philosophy in my bones. Visit CHAA’s FB page to keep up with the forthcoming shows.

So what does this have to do with illustroblogging at portfoliolongo.com? Here’s the story of this group caricature of CHAA:

Several months ago CHAA met at its regular monthly time on a Tuesday evening, and we posed for a group photo:

I thought it would be fun to do a cartoon-like caricature of the group. So I cranked this out in Sketch Club, an iPad drawing app:

Sketch Club provides a variety of backgrounds and frames, and I thought it would be fun to use the Etchasketch frame, since it’s digital art and all that; plus, there may even be a few people still alive who remember what an Etchasketch is.

On the night of the group photo, of course, we realized three people were missing. So I worked with Cheryl Barnett, who administers CHAA’s Facebook page to find photos of the three missing CHAA members and to add them to the group caricature. It was an iterative process to say the least, but a fun one. I could easily show a dozen iterations. If you look closely, you’ll see some changes here and there in addition to the three additional artists. I’ll skip to one of the final drafts before I dropped it into the Etchasketch frame:

This kept me out of trouble for a while, and as you can imagine, the effort allowed me to ponder and appreciate each and every person and the group as a whole.

Technically speaking, as I mentioned, I mainly used Sketch Club on my iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil on this free-hand drawing. I did some occasional tweaking in iColorama and a desktop application called ON1 Photo. Sketch Club, by the way, is a lot of fun, and it was a pleasure learning about and working in it rather than Procreate, my “go to” iPad drawing app.

As usual, let me know what you think.