Mom Heading to Isaly’s

Here’s my rendition of one of my favorite family photos. My dad took this extraordinary photo of my mom several months before they got married in 1943, probably just before he enlisted in the army. My mom worked at this Isaly’s in Canonsburg, PA at the time. There she is crossing Pike St. and walking over the trolly tracks on what looks like a sunny Sunday afternoon. One way or another, my dad probably ordered a White House ice cream cone, his favorite.



Old Main, Wash, PA

A rough, very free-hand, sketch of W&J’s Old Main on a beautiful October day in Paper 53 with an iColorama tweak and an Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro using a personal photo reference and accompanied by 1802 Cream Ale on nitro right here at the Rusty Gold Brewing in my hometown, Canonsburg, PA.  The bartender asked me if I had any prints on me for sale. I did; a little paper print of this image from this post. She bought one and put in on a shelf; see below. Awesome, eh? Down below, check out my painting in the Procreate app of the Washington Trust Building as seen from W&J’s campus in Washington, PA. (See related post related to Jefferson College and Washington & Jefferson College.)

Check out their logo. Maybe this is why they selected one of my truck images.

Washington Trust Building done in Procreate (click on image to enlarge)


50 Some Odd Years

There’s been a guitar – or two – in my life for a half a century.

On a weekend visit from college in the late sixties my big brother brought home the first guitar I had ever handled. He could tell I really liked it. A couple of years later he gave me that guitar!

These kinds of drawings are so weird. I started it with a left hand on a fretboard and no idea of how it would unfold or where it would go. It’s done now, waiting in my camera roll for me to insert it into this post; and now my heart is overflowing with emotional memories.

My brother was a central, nearly heroic figure for me throughout the first ten years of my life; actually, that hasn’t changed. Back then, by the time my periscope was up high enough for me to appreciate him as my brother, he was already making plans to go off to college; oh, and this devastated me. I remember an exchange we had one evening in the nearby church parking lot while shooting hoops. As he outlined some of the highlights of this plan, the football scholarship, the name and location of the university, and so on, I burst in tears and tried my best to put into words why this was all so unacceptable. Looking back, I knew he understood because he found a way to help me understand how I could manage without him between visits home and why it was the right move for him to make at that time in his life.

So when he gave me that guitar, he gave me a part of his heart that has been a part of my heart for fifty some odd years…and counting.

Made with Paper by Firth Three on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil

Retro-Hydrant: Murdock & Hutchinson

Neo-retro Hydrant

The fire hydrant, i.e., fire plug, is a recurring theme here at portfoliolongo, as illustrated by several posts – 7 or so? – tagged as such right here on this illustroblog.

Thanks to Google Maps and my iPad’s screenshot capability, I was able to travel across the continent – and back in time a little – to the very first fire hydrant in my life on the corner of Murdock St. and Hutchinson Ave. in Canonsburg, PA.

(click on image to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Here you see a modern representation of my native fire plug so that you can better picture me, not long after Alaska and Hawaii achieved statehood, small enough to sit with my butt on the main outlet cap, my legs straddling the secondary outlet caps, while holding onto the head of the hydrant. I would be facing the building on the corner, which at that time was Marcantonio’s market. A large mail box used to be right in front of the fire hydrant against the building. The bigger kids used to sit on top of it. We were all assuming our positions in a tradition that seemed to have neither a beginning nor an ending.

Sketch Club, Procreate, iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, Memory Lane

The Award-Winning New Years Eve City Chicken Video

City Chicken ArtRage
This year Annyth and I were invited for the second year in a row to the Mendenhall Farm New Years Eve Celebration, and the challenge this time was to bring an appetizer – and an accompanying video – that represented our “roots and heritage.” We went with CITY CHICKEN and walked away with this year’s Best Short Video Award!
Annyth and I both have familial roots and heritage in Southwest Pennsylvania in City Chicken country. Not familiar with City Chicken? Then the following video will help you out:

Eighty Four, PA

There was an old monk whom I’d see on a daily basis back, oh, thirty some odd years ago. We’d have a similar encounter each and every day. For me it was repetitive; for him each exchange was brand new. He was familiar with Western Pennsylvania, my home region, and he somehow knew about Eighty Four, PA, which was not far at all from my hometown, Canonsburg, PA. Not surprisingly, the headquarters of 84 Lumbar is located right there in Eighty Four, PA.

At any rate, every time I’d see this old buck, the conversation went one of two ways. Half the time it went as illustrated below. When it didn’t go that way, he’d ask me if I was from Canonsburg. I’d say yes. Then he’d say: “I was just talking to a guy from Canonsburg.”

The “Tiny Store” Post Went “Canonsburg Viral”!

Many thanks to my Canonsburg Friends who visited yesterday to view the Tiny Store post. The guy in the stats department had to borrow a step ladder just to keep up. Memory Lane is being widened and renamed to Memory Boulevard.


What’s the big statistical deal?
The Tiny Store post registered 396 views on Jan. 20, 2015, something very unusual for this illustroblog! That’s well over ten times the average number of daily views. Incidentally, the previous daily high was 143 views on Sept. 14, 2014 for this post; but, who’s counting?

The Tiny Store in Canonsburg, PA

Except for Marcantonio’s on the corner of Murdock St. and Hutchinson Ave., run by Guiseppe “Chipazeek” Marcantonio, and the little store on Iron St. run by Sam “Shy” Benowitz, the Tiny Store on Pike St. in my hometown of Canonsburg, PA, was my introduction to commerce…and candy. The folks who worked there were like family; in fact, one of the butchers, Mario DiSalle was my cousin through his wife, Lena! Sadly, the Tiny Store closed its doors in 2013.

Thanks for visiting. Check out other posts tagged CANONSBURG, PA. Use the comment box below to make related suggestions.


As usual, I used a photo as a reference to do a quick, rough, free-hand, side by side rendering in Procreate. Check out the progress video (short time lapse) done in Procreate.


The Log Cabin We Grew Up With in Canonsburg, PA

John McMillan’s Log School, a frontier latin school established in the 1780s, once stood about a mile south of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.  In 1895 it was moved to its current location in front the Canonsburg Middle School at the corner of Central Ave. and, of course, College St. The Middle School used to be the Canon-McMillan Junior High School, when I was a student and when I did my student teaching at the 9th-grade level in Spanish. Before the Junior High School it was Canonsburg High School, before that it was Jefferson College, and before that, Canonsburg Academy.  In 1865 Jefferson College merged with Washington College in Washington, PA to form Washington & Jefferson College, and because of the ties to Canonsburg Academy and Jefferson College, W&J can rightfully claim to have been established in 1781.

See a related post featuring digital paintings of Old Main on W&J’s campus and downtown Washington, PA, as seen from campus.  Click here.

I indicated that I had done my student teaching at Canon-McMillan Junior High School, but what I didn’t mention was that, when I was in the 9th grade taking my first Spanish class, my teacher was Mr. James Podboy, a native of Canonsburg and a W&J graduate. I eventually attended W&J, studied Spanish language and literature, and my one and only Spanish professor was Dr. Antonio Moreno, who had been Jim Podboy’s Spanish professor as well.  So, right there in the shadow of John McMillan’s log cabin on College St. in Canonsburg, PA, where Jefferson College once stood, Professor Moreno and Mr. James Podboy ushered me into the teaching profession as a W&J graduate in a pretty darn hometown sort of way.

John McMillan's Log Cabin

Technical: I used a reference photo but sketched this freehand in Procreate followed by some photo-editing tweaks in iPhoto.