Storks are a protected bird in Portugal and Spain. They build their huge nests now on towers of high power lines, telephone poles, and free standing platforms erected by the state. Biking past these structures we paused to marvel at the engineering that has gone into the homes of this creature - some weighing over a ton. Storks mate for life. They don't migrate anymore; simply add more material to the nest year after year. This time of year we had the opportunity to see the adult tending to chicks while the mate was searching for food from fields and streams.
This picture is one of the last from my sketchbook record of our Iberian vacation, about 12 sketches in all.
In Spain, we're absorbing the history, culture, and contributions this small part of Europe has made to our world. I don't know if I didn't pay attention in history classes or if it really was just treated as an appendage to the rest of European history. But the influence ancient Phoenicians, Jews and Moors made upon "Christian" Europe and the world is remarkable, especially when viewed through the lens of a tourist, on site.
Here's one sketch-book view from the corner window/balcony of our renaissance palace/hotel, a couple days ago - but it would also have been a couple hundred years ago!
A hidden gem tucked away in the woods of Kennesaw National Battlefield, the perfect "field trip" getaway for school children called The Youth Museum. The title is really a gross understatement. This is a place where grade school youth supplement their "book-learning" with an opportunity to live out episodes of our nation's history by play-acting
I was privileged to be asked to contribute a drawing of the building as it is today, anticipating a major changes in the near future. This picture will hopefully add to a successful fundraiser planned for next weekend. If you attend (and hopefully you will) take a look to compare the drawing to the actual building and it's setting. Did I nail it?
After a long time away from making any entries onto my website, I'm finally trying to get back into the game. The past few months, I've been teaching a course about the protestant reformation. This began from a task I put upon myself to prepare some sketches inspired by our trip to the Czech Republic nearly 2 years ago. This, and other daily living challenges, took me away from this wonderful world of web site maintenance. More about that later.
Currently in California to celebrate March Birthdays with inlaws, I had opportunity to sketch scenes found in Borrego Springs. Here's one from my sketchbook.
I always find myself awestruck by fine architecture, the minds that design it and the hands that create it. This may be partly due, I guess, to early observation of my Grandfather, a carpenter, and noticing the respect he gave to accurate woodcuts and joinery.
He sharpened his tools each night after returning home from work to prepare for the next day. And his work each day was performed in concert with a number of other builders, a choir if you will, of craftsmen (masons, plumbers, electricians) whose individual talents merged to create a harmonic structural presence.
So, I think of these things while trying to sketch on a piece of paper a semblance of 'sheet music', from which this choir of Moravian craftsmen harmonized during the early 1700s in Bethlehem.
Christmas eve and Easter morning the Moravian Church has a tradition of serenading the community with a "brass choir". This orchestral announcement of the birth of our Lord and also of His resurrection is carried out from the belfry of the Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem.
It occurred to me that I should share this tradition, although I began the drawing late this afternoon. I'll share elements of this drawing as I progress over the coming days. I'll add silhouettes of the trombone choir as I approach a finish.
Merry Christmas to All.
We made a trip to Boston to celebrate Thanksgiving with Sara's family. Anyone who watches this year's weather map knows the N.E. is being slammed with one "nor'easter" after another, a term unfamiliar to most of us living below the Mason-Dixon line. So, no surprise my computer froze-up with 11 degree weather Thanksgiving morn. Also, no surprise my blood is now thinned to that of a "southerner".
So I guess my computer and I both hibernated while in New England, then New York, then Pennsylvania and Ohio before returning to the sunny south.
I did carry my sketchbook, however, and here is the view from the office/bedroom of my brother-in-law looking out at his frozen landscape. Now after numerous trips to the Apple store and successfully awakening from early hibernation, I'll start posting a few new blogs to tell you how our year is ending.
Here's the last 3 panels of my cartoon - illustrating a real life experience. In case my illustrations need explanation, let me add some details:
From the debris of the fire we salvaged remnants of framing timber, baling twine, and 4 empty fifty-five gallon drums that had once held DDT. My neighborhood buddy, Dick, belonged to the scouts and recently learned lashing and knots. So we both set to work lashing together a framework (we called super-structure) which would sit on top of the barrels. We would hopefully, climb aboard to blissfully float down the creek.
This contraption proved to be not responsive to the navigators, a little tippy at best, which upset our passengers, the dogs. We were all afloat, but not well controlled when my dog decided to jump off when we bumped into the bank. Without his weight for balance, one side popped up and one barrel floated out of position and away.
Trying to reposition ourselves, Dick's dog saw the opportunity and jumped off causing the other side of the raft to pop up and the second barrel floated away from the framework. Without the tension of the barrels, the lashings loosened and framework started to twist apart under our feet. We both fell in laughing and swam to shore while "Super-Structure Raft" floated off, in pieces, without us. Great Fun!
Hope you enjoy the story and my memory of the scenes. Tell me what you think.
This story is supposed to tell itself with pictures, and only a few additional written comments if needed.
Here, after we built a raft out of debris from the fire, the next step was to take it for a test-drive (or "test-float"). Of course, our pet dogs were to go along on the adventure. They weren't quite so eager for the adventure as we were.