Sunday, May 27, 2007

Kandern Marktplatz

This is a pen and ink drawing from Kandern, Germany where I have lived for 20 years.

Obviously, a drawing this large takes a long time to do. I have never actually counted the hours, I usually work at it a little here and there until it is done. It might take me several weeks to finish. I really enjoy working with pen and ink, but it does take a while to make all of those pens strokes. In spite of that, somehow it relaxes me. This was done in 2005, and actually this drawing is the most recent pen and ink drawing I have done. Wow. It's time to do one again. What should I draw this time? Any ideas? Just click on the "comments" link below to leave your thoughts.

Pen: Rotring Rapidograph - various sizes
Paper: heavy, smooth watercolor paper
Original size (approx.): 27x20cm, 11x8in.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Rothenburg o.d. Tauber

Rothenburg is a famous tourist town in Germany. It is truly beautiful. People from around the world visit here. It was the setting for the OLD movie, "The Wonderful World of Brothers Grimm".

I did this watercolor way back in '99. I first used a technical pen to draw this picture and then added the watercolor. You can see our young family in this picture. The way I do these drawings is first, I take a picture, then I draw it at home. In the original picture Sandee and Luke and Tyler were in it. I had to paint myself in. To see us more closely just double click the picture for a larger view.

Friday, May 25, 2007


I did this watercolor in 2005 and when it was done I thought, "Maybe I CAN do watercolors."

I really like the coloring on the tower. I also like the people walking by.
Rothenburg is a very famous tourist destination in Germany about 4 hours from where we live.
Original size: 16x14cm, 6.5x5.5in.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Illustrating a Sermon

I really like these particular sermon notes. This message was given back in 2000 by Jerry Derenzo, a teacher at BFA. He's a great preacher and his messages are always full of great verbal illustrations that can be turned into visual illustrations. You can double click on this picture to see a close up.

Yes, I drew all this during the message - you gotta be quick! Now that you have read it, can't you see how this kind of note-taking makes remembering sermons and "getting the message" more effective? I recommend "church doodling" to you!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Lorica of St. Patrick

I was reminded of this prayer of St. Patrick today at church during the sermon. Christ is THERE for me. 24/7, 365. He is ever present. Psalm 139:7-10, Romans 8:35-37. I have only included a portion of Patrick's Lorica. I put it here because it is instructive in "unstringing the bow." Letting God be God in my life. The language is beautiful, artistic even. I wish I could write like this...

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Kandern Watercolor

Ok, I did the watercolor. I'm ok with this, but I think really need some lessons.

Now, here is a little history...the painting below was done by the famous artist August Macke (1887-1914). Macke lived in Kandern for a short while and painted some of the scenes that he found here. You can tell from my little painting that this town has not changed much since Macke lived here and painted the same scene that I just did. Kandern honors Macke several ways: the high school here is named after him, there is a street named "August Macke", and now there is a walking tour of Kandern that features his work around the village.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Pencil sketch

This is a pencil drawing from a scene in Kandern, Germany.

I drew and scanned this drawing today. I will watercolor it next. I will let you know how it turns out.

I did this drawing today as a way to "unstring the bow". I needed to do something different today. I needed to use the the creative side of my brain today after sitting through three days of stressful Board business. I found drawing today to be a source of healing. Some friends of mine like to ride motorcycles, some like to lift weights, some like to read a good book, I like to draw.

Original size: 4x6 inches, 10x15.5 cm.
Paper: 300g watercolor paper
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Saturday, May 12, 2007

A pen and ink drawing

I did this pen and ink drawing back in 2000. This is a store front in the village of Staufen, Germany.

This drawing was done during the time when I slaved over my drawings attempting to get total accuracy of every detail. This included things like individual paving stones, hinges on the doors, and the curves in the handrail. Today I am more relaxed in my drawings and allow myself a bit more creative freedom.

I like most parts of this drawing. The parts I don't like are the items on the inside wall of this pharmacy. I don't know - just looks kinda amateur.

Original size is quite small: 8x4 inches.
Number of pen strokes: 754,032

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Early watercolor

This is one of my early watercolors.

This is a scene from the tiny village of Riquewihr, in the region of Alsace, France. Amazing. If you notice I drew our family into the foreground. Sandee and me with our two little boys - who are no longer little.
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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

On sermon notes and doodles

Here's a set of notes - a blast from the past - 2002. Some of my readers will remember Pastor Walt Barrett. This was one of Walt's good messages. Rereading these notes brings it all back. You can double click on this (the same applies to all the pictures on this blog) to see a bigger version.

I'm telling you, the "doodle" in the middle really helps me to remember this message. Yes, I drew that during the message. Someone recently asked, "Do you really do that (draw) in church?!?" What the person really seemed to be asking was, "Is that allowed in church?" Yes, I do and it better be allowed. It helps me to concentrate. For the same reason, I never had a problem if one of my students "doodled" in class. It always helped me to concentrate when I was in school. You should have seen my college notes with all of the little cartoony pictures in the sidebars of my notebooks.
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Saturday, May 5, 2007

My fruit phase

I will go ahead and admit that I did these watercolors as imitations of the watercolors you see on the back of "Cook's Illustrated" magazine. I love that artwork. It is very intriguing to me. I finally decided I wanted to try and see if I could achieve the same effect - so here is my try.

Peaches. I like this well enough. I was surprised that it turned out as good as it did. I actually looked at the peaches on the magazine and tried to reproduce them.

Bananas. This bunch of bananas I did completely on my own without an example from Cook's Illustrated. I set some bananas in front of me and drew them. When I finished I was surprised to see that the shadow that I drew for the bananas looks just like an upside down chicken that's sitting down.

Pears. These pears were "ok". I need to practice more. My sister wrote and said, "These must be potato pears!" Yeah, maybe they do look more like potatoes. All of these watercolors are a combination pen & ink and watercolor.

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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Apple on Journal

I drew this while on a personal retreat back in Fall '03. I was sitting alone in my little room and did not know what to draw. The apple and journal were in front of me so that was it. After sketching it out, I added the watercolor.

I still struggle to get watercolor to work for me. I really need to take a class one of these days. In spite of that it does bring some relaxation.

The journal is black leather with a long strap. I bought it in a store on the Realto Bridge in Venice, Italy. The apple...well, it's gone.
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Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."

I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. Psalm 121

Color and stillness

I love this picture. We all need moments to be still and notice color - God's paintbrush, in action around us. No man made that shade of blue, those greens.

My wife, Sandee, took this picture. I took one of the very same scene, but somehow hers came out much better. This was taken in Vernazza, Italy, a small town in the Cinque Terra.
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A little corner of Kandern, Germany

I liked drawing this one a lot. I drew this way back in 1999, one of my earliest pen and ink drawings. I would actually like to redo this one - maybe I will one of these days. Or better yet, maybe I will draw the view looking the opposite direction. It's good too.

I like the manhole cover in the road. Have you ever noticed how many manhole covers there are in Germany? Think about it.

Like most of my pen and ink pictures, I used a rotring rapidograph technical pen. I drew this on heavy, smooth, watercolor paper. Original size of the drawing is: 5 1/2" x 8".

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Sermon "Notes"

I have taken sermon notes for years. Often I add quick sketches from the message. You would be amazed at how this "doodling" (sp?) helps me to remember the message and "get into it". If I can "see it", I can understand it.

I started drawing pictures like this to illustrate messages years ago when our boys were small. There was a time when our church was not able to offer Sunday School classes so the little kids had to stay in the main service. I drew pictures from the message for them. Luke and Tyler would lean in and watch me draw. I enjoyed it as much as they did. I liked it so much I kept doing it. I will share more sermon notes on this blog from time to time.

This particular message (below) was given last Sunday at Crossroads Church in Basel, Switzerland by visiting speaker, my friend, Howard Dueck. It was good. I am not sure that I captured all of his message all that well - but I got the parts that spoke the most to me.
As far as the actual sketch goes I am not pleased with the sharpness of the lines in this one. The pen I happened to use that morning did not produce as sharp a line as I normally like. The ink "bled" too much for me.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

First Watercolors

I did this way back in 1997. This is a little watercolor of my grandma's hometown Frutigen, Switzerland. I LOVE that town. I have been there many times now. As far as a watercolor goes - I like the vivid colors, but otherwise, it looks quite amateur to me. But this was a first try. Size: 8"x 6" (20x15cm)

This is a watercolor of the main square in the Swiss mountain village of Bergun. We used to go there with the staff of Black Forest Academy for winter retreats. Wonderful place. I like the colors in this drawing. I was quite pleased with this watercolor and thought maybe I should try and figure this medium out. This is quite small, 6x4 inches (15x10 cm).
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My leafy phase

This drawing was done in 2001. I really like the contrast in value - dark to light. I enjoyed drawing this one a lot. This one has the names Sandee, Luke, Tyler, and Tim hidden in it. Original size: 7x6 in. (18x15 cm.)

This one was also done in 2001. I am not as happy with this one, but I like the way the leaves come through the square opening. No hidden names in this one. Both of these were drawn using Rotring Rapidograph pens. My favorites. Original size of drawing: 7x6 in. (18x15 cm.)
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