On the Road

Here are a few souvenirs from my  whirlwind tour to San Francisco. I spent some time at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

clock

Waiting to see Christian Marclay’s “The Clock”. I watched this piece from 2:32 until 3:27. I could have stayed much longer but the film gave me an incredible sense of how much time I was wasting by watching it. The seats were incredibly comfortable. So of course I napped briefly. I think it was from 2:44 until 2:49

 I really love Jenny Saville's work. This painting is about 10 feet tall. It's super raw but also almost photographically rendered in places. Super fleshy . She's a disciple of Lucien Freud. And I'm a disciple of a disciple of a disciple of Lucien Freud.   I love to take photographs in museums but I almost always get in trouble when I do. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has a crazy rule that you cannot wear a backpack with both straps on. It has to hang off one shoulder or else a guard will come over and correct you. Mysterious and strange. like so much Modern Art 2 days ago

I really love Jenny Saville’s work. This painting is about 10 feet tall. It’s super raw but also almost photographically rendered in places. Super fleshy . She’s a disciple of Lucien Freud. And I’m a disciple of a disciple of a disciple of Lucien Freud.
I love to take photographs in museums but I almost always get in trouble when I do. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has a crazy rule that you cannot wear a backpack with both straps on. It has to hang off one shoulder or else a guard will come over and correct you. Mysterious and strange. like so much Modern Art.

These pages were drawn in idle and potentially bored moments and turned out to be the best things I got from the trip.

IMG_0283

Watercolor, PITT artist pen, gold ink.

IMG_0284

Watercolor, PIT Pen, waterbrush

IMG_0285

Left: Watercolor, PITT Pen, waterbrush. Right: India ink, dip pen.

Baltimore!

Jenny & I and Tommy Kane & Yun drove down to Baltimore for the weekend. Our main objective was to eat crabs. And we certainly did that. crab a1c1921ab44d11e2950722000a1fc86f_7 We also stumbled into a half-dozen divey bars around town. This was one of our faves: bad decisions Baltimore also turned out to have some amazing art on virtually every corner: atomicman

We saw this Amish version of the Scream propped in someone’s window. scream

The art highlight of the trip was  a visit to The American Visionary Art Museum. AVAM They don’t allow cameras inside, so check out their site for more.AVAM pig It’s  a museum devoted to untrained artists and it is so moving, inspiring and awesome.  AVAM car I’ll be thinking about what I saw for months to come.  It is well worth a return trip just to reexamine everything again. black and white We also went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and drew critters and ate funnel cakes. sheep sheep2 sheep3 dog in nest

The weather was amazing. jENNY James

And it was a fantastic time with some of my favorite peeps.

tom and yun

An Illustrated Journey continues down the road.

While copies of A KIss Before You Go are being loaded into warehouses, work continues on my next book, An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers, the sequel to An Illustrated Life.

I just did the lettering for the cover (you’ll notice on Amazon that they uploaded the art for the cover before including my handlettering — that’ll be fixed soon) and the design for the interior continues. It’ll be a lavish book with work from forty of my favorite artists and will be out at the end of February, next year.

I’ll talk about it more in the months ahead but meanwhile you can see some of the art work from the book on my Pinterest page.

A new drawing film: Red Hook

(This film was shot, and is best viewed, in full-screen HD. If there’s  a problem, you can go to it directly on Vimeo here.)

A few months ago I decided I wanted to make a series of films about illustrated journaling. Not a how-to, step-by-step sort of thing but films that capture the adventure of drawing, the discovery, the spirit, the fun. I hope they will inspire you to make drawings (and films, if you want) and to keep an illustrated journal as a regular part of your everyday lives.

My son, Jack Tea, has joined me in this project and together we have worked through lots of technical obstacles to make films that look as good as we can make them on no budget. Our inspiration comes from the Cooking Channel, from Etsy’s vlog, and from too many decades of loving movies.

We shoot on our Canon 7D, rent different lenses each weekend (in this case we relied heavily on the 100/2.8 L IS Macro), use Jack’s skateboard as a dolly, and rope our friends in for help and opinions.

Here’s the newest film in the series, a portrait of my great friend, Tommy Kane, as he rides around his neighborhood in search of something new to draw. Tom is a great traveller — he regularly posts sumptuous journal pages made on his vacations and business trips. His favorite home-away-from-home is Korea and he has made many amazing drawings on its streets and in its markets.

This time, we decided he should travel through his own neck of the woods, see it anew like a visiting stranger and capture a mundane little corner and fill it with his particular brand of magic. Normally Tom works mainly on site, dragging out all of his materials onto the pavement around his little folding stool but instead we decided to expand the scene and show you some of Tom’s home and studio and incidentally some of the wonderful big paintings he’s done on canvas. (He took the unusual step of using a reference photo he shot of the scene to jog his memory once back at his studio).

When journaling, he works in Uniball, watercolor and pencil, sometime in books, sometimes on loose sheets of bond or watercolor paper. He is a meticulous crosshatcher and spend hours on some of his drawings.  When we draw together, I invariably start to chafe at the bit and beg him to finish at home as I am tired of sitting in his shadow, my own drawing long finished and yellowing on the page, glazing over as he crosshatches more and more details.

We shot the film in two days — on the streets of Brooklyn and in Tom’s home where his lovely wife, Yun, made us lunch and watched our obsessiveness with a bemused smile.  It was the height of a baking summer and storm crowds rolled in and out, marring our continuity.

We shot an extravagant amount and it took a month to wade through it all and pare it down. The first cut was twice as long as what you’ll see today, but we resharpened our blades and ruthlessly trimmed back to the bare essentials. We tried to retain the essence of how Tom works, the way he layers media and adds detail. It’s fascinating to see how his drawing builds and builds — when you see the final result, it’s often hard to figure out how he got there. With this film, please share in how the journey unfolds.

Paris and Rome

Louvre courtyard

My boy Jack and I had a fantastic time in Paris and Rome. We saw every inch of both towns and took a night train in between. Eight days of croissants, pasta, art, sunshine, laughter, and lots of drawings:


I didn’t really think before I left and just took my book and a fountain pen. Fortunately, Jack remembered to pack my old Windsor Newton watercolor set. I haven’t used these paints in ages and seeing them on the page made me feel like I had stepped back a decade. My colors look faded and dull after a couple of years under the care of Dr. Martin and his wee bottles of transparent technicolor magic. I pushed them and the Niji waterbrushes as hard as I could but they don’t have that gem-like pizzazz I yearn for.

Anyway, it  was still loads of fun and Jack was an awesome travel companion and even more fervent a devotee of the travel sketchbook than his old man. You can read all of my ramblings on the pages below — just click the thumbnails and they’ll spring into big images.

I’ll post some scans of Jack’s pages soon.

Welcome to Paris 
Notre Dame in the rain
Touristas Eiffel
Parisian critters
Aphrodite
Blind Contours
Louvre courtyard
Sleeping boy
Last day in Paris
Mes Pieds
Train to Rome
Piazza Navona
Domes of Rome

A hearty recommendation

I am very proud to be included in Cathy Johnson’s newest book, “Artist’s Journal Workshop: Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures” I have to say it is the most lovely and inspiring book I’ve contributed to — I have spend an awful lot of time going back and forth through it. It’s chock-a-block with great pages and tips from old friends and new discoveries. I urge you to learn more about the book and grab a copy of your own.