The past few months have been productive in the studio. I have a new workshop up and running at Radiant Hall Studios in McKees Rocks. More space to work has inspired me to bring back some projects that I had set aside.
One of those is Sarver’s Bait & Tackle. I’ve decided to bring back the project in the form of a retail business to sell painted wooden fish and decorative fishing lures. I’ll be trying out artist markets in the coming year and will have an online shop opening soon.
As part of my Pittsburgh Drawing Project, I occasionally meet with fellow artists for outings. Like the Early Modernists long ago, we often meet at coffee shops and bars to talk and sketch the scene. Here are some results from a recent night in Lawrenceville. Nightlife in the usually bustling neighborhood is still a bit slow (as the pandemic wanes), but we found people enjoying a rooftop breeze on a warm evening.
With a break from the pandemic and life starting to return to normal, I’ve returned to my Pittsburgh Drawing Project. Here are two from a day spent Downtown. The weather was hot and humid, so I tried to find some relief in mist from the fountain at Point State Park.
I’m happy to present the culminating event for my second Virtual Puppetry Residency project. Thirty-one participants from thirteen countries will be showing work in three online events on Saturday, December 12, 2020. For more information, please see the VPR Page of this website.
The first season of VPR was a big success! Check out the page on this site for documentation. Here is the call for participants for season 2:
INTERESTED IN A FREE, AT-HOME PUPPETRY CLASS? The second season of Virtual Puppetry Residency will run October 1st through November 15th, 2020. The program is designed for adults to explore the craft of puppetry and share developments with a supportive team of participants over the internet. The project will explore: 1. Creating puppet shows that can be shared in a virtual format. 2. Crafting puppet characters focusing on voice, movement, and form. 3. Exploring a variety of puppetry styles. The project will be run through a combination of scheduled Zoom sessions, YouTube instruction and Email. Participants are asked to commit to a minimum of ten one-hour sessions. Puppets and skits created during the project will be shown in an online exhibition on the project website and might be shown by the project supporters (Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts). If you are interested, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org by September 15th.
INTERESTED IN A FREE, AT-HOME PUPPETRY CLASS? I’m developing a residency project exploring the craft of puppetry that participants can do at home. The project would explore: 1. Creating toy theater for home entertainment. 2. Crafting a puppet character focusing on voice, movement and form. 3. Developing skits that explore empathy and conflict resolution. The project would be run through a combination of scheduled Zoom sessions, Youtube instruction and Email. Children and adults are welcome, but there will be separate Zoom sessions for the two groups. The residency would be free for those who can commit to the minimum of ten one-hour sessions. It will take place during the month of June. Puppets and skits created during the project will be shown in an online exhibition on my website and might be shown by the project supporters (Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media and PA Council on the Arts). If you are interested, please contact me at email@example.com by May 15th. This is just an inquiry for now. Photo credit: Larry Rippel.
After several months of engaging in a process that involved sketching out my drawings on site, I have begun working from photographs. Photography has been part of the process all along. I’m continuously taking pictures as I research new sites. I also take photos while drawing to document people or things that move quickly through my field of view. The change will allow me to try some larger studio pieces.
East Ohio Street is a busy commercial thoroughfare in the Deutschtown (East Allegheny) neighborhood on the North Side of Pittsburgh. Aging shops are interspersed with a few new boutiques and ethnic grocery/restaurants. The neighborhood has been home to the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival and the annual Deutschtown Music Festival
Isaly’s was a popular deli and food brand from the early 1900’s. A handful of their locations still exist, as does their Pittsburgh-famous chipped-chopped ham.
Here are more works from my pen & ink Pittsburgh drawing series. I’ve now completed drawings in forty-three Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Like many artists, the Coronavirus pandemic has forced me to make some changes. In pre-pandemic works, like the Pittsburgh Zoo penguin piece, I was sketching in the middle of a crowd. I now draw in my car or in an isolated park area. In some cases I work from photographs. I’m hoping that a return to public interactions will come soon!
Penguins on parade at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. February 2020.
The last farmer’s market of the 2019 season, Market Square. October 2019.
In the summer and early fall at Market Square, especially during a farmer’s market day, the area is filled with people. Point Park University students, business people and tourists gather at public tables. On this day I ran into a local self-taught artist who introduced me to a homeless artist making large-scale abstract expressionist work. They had set up a makeshift exhibit of work for sale. The homeless artist told me that he was living under a nearby bridge. On another occasion I saw the pair from a distance, being dragged in the wind across and empty square while handling a large painting. October 2019.
An iconic intersection in Oakland featuring The Original Hot Dog Shop (established 1960). Once a convenient stop for Pirates fans visiting Forbes Field, “The O” has long been a favorite for college students looking for cheap beer and grease-laden sustenance. The castle-like building on the left was once a post office, later The Oakland Beehive, a coffee shop with a movie theater and bar that was popular with the bohemian crowd . Today it is a mobile phone shop. February 2020.
Twenty-fifth and Butler Street, Lawrenceville featuring the former Pittsburgh Wash House Public Baths. The structure was built in 1903, providing working class people with a place to wash clothes and bathe. February, 2020.
Sketching while waiting to get my hair cut at The Humble Barber, Brighton Heights, Pittsburgh, late 2019.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. February, 2020.
My latest project is a series of pen & ink sketches of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. I’ve made about forty-five sketches and drawings in thirty-three neighborhoods since September of 2019. The pieces range from quick six by six inch sketchbook doodles to eighteen by twenty-four inch drawings. Here are a few examples of the smaller ones. A planned exhibition of these works in Downtown Pittsburgh has been postponed until summer 2021.