Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Books and New Canvases

As I work on a couple of new books with Robin, I'm also finalizing some digital images to be printed on canvas and sold for really high prices. 
Bwahahahaha!




Thursday, October 14, 2010

DesignThink: the blog

DesignThink is a blog for Peachpit Press, written by designer/author/teacher/speaker Robin Williams and myself. It includes observations of design around us that we see in our daily lives, discussions of design projects we're involved in, and impression of designers we admire. DesignThink seeks to explore various kinds of design with a sense of creative curiosity about the thinking behind design solutions and techniques.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New paintings for the Shakespeare Collection

Robin's studies of Shakespeare in England are inspiring new canvases here at the Mermaid Tavern. Click images to show an enlargement.

Sad Hours Seem Long 
(40 x 30)


Hamlet Undecided 
(30 x36)


One of 16 images from the next issue of The Shakespeare Papers, on the press now and scheduled to be delivered to subscribers this month. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sweet Swan of Avon: The Masters Program in London on Shakespeare Autho...

From Robin's blog:

Sweet Swan of Avon: The Masters Program in London on Shakespeare Autho...: "This is a report on my experience, from Robin Williams Professor William Leahy made history in 2007 when he developed and inaugurated the f..."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Testing a new Safari extension: ScribeFire

The new version of the Safari browser enables you to download "extensions" that add features to the browser. I'm testing ScribeFire, a blogging extension that automatically uploads posts to a blog site from within Safari.

If you have Safari 5.0.1 or higher, you'll find in the Safari menu a link to Safari Extensions Gallery, a page on the Apple site that lists and describes extensions. Also in the Safari menu, choose Preferences and you'll see a new category, "Extensions," where you can manage installed extensions by turning them on or off, or click the "Uninstall" button to remove any extension.

Installing ScribeFire puts a ScribeFire button in the Safari toolbar (a black speech balloon). Click the button to open, in Safari, a window that enables you to add or remove blogs, create new blog articles, and publish to your blog.

You can also schedule when you want the blog to be published, or save it as a draft.

Looks pretty convenient  so far. Except that adding images looks awkward. Click the "Add image" button and a dialog opens asking for the image URL. No images for this test.

When finished, click the "Publish Post" button. Testing, one two three.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dinner before La Bête

Still catching up on some blog notes and photos:


We picked up our tickets to La Bête with an hour to spare before curtain time. Scarlett and JohnD had spotted a sushi restaurant nearby they wanted to try. Robin and I went to a nice little Italian restaurant across the street from the theater that had a pre-theater menu designed for those of us in a hurry, going to a play. 

While waiting for our spaghetti I pulled out the small sketch book Robin gave me and did a quick sketch of Mark Rylance, using an iPhone photo I had just taken of the play's poster across the street. Robin wrote a note on the sketch (she knows him), tore it out of the sketchbook, and took it to the backstage door of the theater to have it delivered to Mark.



Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gobsmacked!

One of the highlights of this trip was to learn exactly what gobsmacked means. This comes straight from Lynn, our friend and Oxford scholar, and verified by her husband Neil who knows a thing or two about gobsmackedness.

When something is so brilliant that you involuntarily get wide-eyed and smack your hand over your gob (your mouth), you're "gobsmacked."

I assumed it was just a goofy, meaningless expression, but nooooo, the British have put a lot of thought into this one. Refer to the attached scientific illustration.

Playing with IPad ArtStudio

The nine hour flight from Heathrow to Houston is the first chance I've had to play with ArtStudio, an app for iPad. The lack of control drawing with a finger on the touchscreen, plus the bumpy motion of the plane, makes for a more primitive and crude sketch, but that's often better than laboring over a more finished one.

Not a great likeness, but you probably guessed who it is, even without reading the caption. And some of you probably guessed Kiki or Louise Brooks.

Drawing session at the Tate Modern

Now that I'm on the flight from Heathrow to Houston I finally have a chance to write some blogs I didn't have time for before. Sometimes we were too busy, sometimes too tired, but most of the time just low quality WiFi service (yes, you Starbucks) or none at all.

I don't have WiFi on this flight (what is this? The dark ages?), but I'll post a few entries as soon as I get a chance, perhaps in Houston.

The drawing session at The Tate was run by two people from something called "drawing London." Just my luck, they decide to get artsy and experimental on the night I attend. Like having the models move continuously, or hold a pose for 30 seconds or so. Or 10 seconds. And no chairs or stools, just sit or kneel on the floor. For two hours. The art materials supplied are a hodgepodge of crayons, dried up markers, pencil and chalks ready for their last strokes.

But hey, it's The Tate, it's after hours, there's a naked model standing in the middle of the room. So I started drawing as fast as I could. Which wasn't anywhere near fast enough. I moved to the other side of the gallery where another model was holding her poses a little longer. But still, by the time I'd drawn an angle of the leg or arm, or two eyebrows for gawd's sake, the model would turn and completely change the pose.

At the end of the class, everyone put their drawings on the floor to show. I took some low- quality, bad-lighting iPhone photos of my favorite ones, including one of the only two of mine that I bothered to keep, titled "Brown paper with masking tape."

Even though I didn't get a lot of good drawings out of it, it was a unique and memorable experience, and a super cool gift from Robin.

Boat House furniture design at Cameron House in Scotland

Monday in London

Monday had more than it's share of tube rides and Underground stair-climbing. We tubes into London, visited The Monument, a 202 ft tall column with stairs to an observation platform at the top. 202 feet away is where the Kings Bakery was located on Pudding Lane, where the London Fire started and burned down a large section of London (late 1600s?).

We crossed over to the south bank of the Thames and found The Golden Hinde, a replica of the ship that Sir Francis Drake used to circumnavigate the globe between 1577 and 1580. A golden hinde is a golden deer. The harbor where it's docked was a free harbor for people associated with the nearby church.


From there we tubed to the National History Museum, an amazingly beautiful building with some amazing exhibits, and then, a block away to the Science Museum. We didn't have too long at either museum because we were on our way to London's West End to see La Bête, a play starring Mark Rylance (creative director and actor at the Globe theater for its first ten years), David Hyde Pierce, and Joanna Lumely.

Scottish Tartan hat

In the Cameron House gift shop.

La Bête (The Beast)

Another unforgettable night of theater, this time at The Comedy Theatre, located in London's West End (legendary theater district), near Piccadilly Circus (the Times Square of London).
The play starred Mark Rylance and co-starred David Hyde Pierce ("Nigel" on the TV show "Frazier.")
Originally written in 1992, its revival has been selling out, mainly due to the Rylance performance, which is remarkable. The story is set somewhere around the 1700s (I think). David Hyde Pierce plays a playwright and his acting troupe who are sponsored by a wealthy princess. The leader of the troupe has been ordered to add Rylance, another actor/writer, to the group, to the horror of the current leader (Pierce), because he detests the Rylance character with a passion, knowing him to be an arrogant egomaniac who never shuts up and never stops praising himself.
When Rylance makes his entrance on the stage (after Pierce has ranted about how insufferable the Rylance character is), Rylance launches into a fast paced non-stop rhyming monologue of self praise that lasts at least 20 or 25 minutes without a pause, while the other two actors on stage just stand there with their mouths agape. Rylance's portrayal of the buck-toothed, offensive, bombastic egomaniac is hilarious, brilliant, and pretty darn mind-boggling.
it's a relatively short play, about an hour and a half, with no intermission. The set design, costume design, and lighting were fabulous. Three curtain calls and a standing ovation.
Above, a sketch of Mark Rylance, in character, using the ArtStudio for iPad app.

Theater patrons on the tube late at night after a play

Gotta get home before the tube stops running.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Merton College

Scarlett and JohnD wait for Robin to come out of Merton College.

The Bear

Heading to some refreshment before we catch the bus out of Oxford.

University Park

Punting on the river that flows through the gigantic park.

Our picnic group enjoyed a lovely afternoon in Oxford while the rest of England watched the World Cup game between England and Germany. When we left the park later that afternoon we passed a couple of sullen, slightly drunk blokes. Robin said "Who won?" One of them grumbled back "Don't ask!"

Punting

Return to Oxford

Today we navigated our way to Oxford (walk to Uxbridge, take the Tube
one stop to Hillingdon, catch a bus to Oxford).
We met our Oxford friends, Lynn, Neil, their son James and daughter
Louise, for a picnic in Oxford University Park, a huge park on a
scenic river with punting boats floating by (punting is standing at
the back of a flat bottom boat and using a long pole to push yourself
along).
After spending the afternoon in thr park, we went to The Bear pub for
cider and beer, then caught the Oxford Tube bus back to Hillingdon
where we'll catch the Tube back to Uxbridge.
I'm blogging from the bus now, using the onboard WiFi.
The photo is of a statue of William Herbert, son of Mary Sidney, in
the courtyard of Oxford's Bodleian Library.

Return to The Malt Shovel, Uxbridge

Last night we had a very nice meal in the outdoor garden of the Malt
Shovel. Dogs are welcome here. The regular customers pictured here
bring sheepskin beds so their dogs can be comfortable while the humans eat dinner.
Everyone agreed that The Malt Shovel is superior to the pub a little
further down the canal, Water's Edge. Much. In every way.

The Bonnie Bonnie Butts of Loch Lomond

This painting at the Cameron House reception desk illustrates how we
Americans have always misunderstood the title of this popular song.
When you're here in person and realize what a common site this is, the
song's title starts to make sense.

Search YouTube or iTunes for great versions of the song "Loch Lomond" by the great Scottish band Runrig.

Fairy Trail, Carrick golf course, Loch Lomond

A nice little wooded trail next to one of the fairways.