From Healesville, Melbourne, Australia

Pastels – 12×16

With my limited soft-pastel experience I made bold to capture a shy teen emu at the Healesville Sanctuary near Melbourne.

This curious citizen of the Australian outback was undeterred in its attempt to take a peck at my camera lens – I tried to keep my distance lest fingers or face be maimed by such self-inflicted intimacy. I heard teen visitors calling this bird “ugly” but I found my subject to be both a beautiful and obedient model. Worked this through the weekend Chicago snowstorm – Soft pastel on paper, 12 x 16.emu

Check out my new travel/art book Rambles into Sacred Realms out in April 2015

From Sedona, Arizona

Pastels, Conte Crayons & Charcoal on Pastelbord – 11×14

 

Of course, there are no wild lions in Sedona, but here’s a portrait of a lone majesty that was perched upon a rock in the Out of Africa theme park.

I was there on a chilly and windy morning during Christmas. With time to kill before the safari into the Park, I ended up walking around the securely fenced enclosures which made for very poor viewing and pictures.

Given the vacation season I had decided to drop my zoom lens and ended up photographing its entire body with a 18-105mm lens and blew it up , later recreating this work on pastels over the long holidays.

Much after the work was completed, I had to recover from a horrific fixative disaster – I sprayed Lascaux fixative  on my work when it was originally completed – (never again!) which pretty much destroyed the colors completely. Cost me 7 additional hours of fur labor to bring it back to life again.

Check out my new travel/art book Rambles into Sacred Realms out in April 2015

The Queen of Sedona

Knight with a Sword – Akko, Israel

Watercolor, 9 x 12

The Ottoman-era streets of Old Akko with their teeming souks looked truly charming as sunlight dappled upon shop awnings.

A fantastic world lay underneath these cobblestones – an enormous underground city that had been built by the Crusaders. The Knights of St. John had originally been established here in the eleventh century C.E. to care for the sick of Jerusalem. I explored this seemingly endless subterranean world of dining rooms and pillared hallways, dungeons and an elaborate sewage system that crisscrossed under the entire city.

I could also imagine knights clad in mail and armor, exiting the city in a swift march through an escape tunnel that connected the seaport to the ancient fortress, even as invading forces were penetrating the main defenses.

_DCS0954

At one point, my son’s movements caught my eye. With only his little plastic shark for protection, he looked awed, even overwhelmed by the enormity of the vaulted ceilings and the somberness of the place. Yet behind him, the morning sun had found expression through the arched entrance, lightening up the mood of the moment.

– Check out the link to my book Rambles into Sacred Realms: Exploring Divinity through Pen and Paint, where I invite readers to experience such adventure, humor and imagery illustrating my travels.

From Giza, Egypt

Scratchboard, 9 x 12

 

I haven’t had much luck with camels. Laden with cameras and film, I had agreed to this “exotic, rarely conducted camel tour around the pyramids in Giza.” Of course, I figured out much later that the tour was indeed “around” the pyramids — because my guide did not want to pay the entrance fee to the Giza complex.

So there I was in the midst of the Libyan Sahara, far from both monuments and humanity. Gesticulating wildly, he was heatedly haggling with me, threatening to walk the camel —with me on top — further into the desert should I not agree to his “new rate”.

Egyptian Camel-SMALLEST

“Fifty pounds extra,” he persisted, lowering his bid. Previously I had stuck to a stubborn 30, but now, out of unashamed fear, I capitulated.

Much later I disembarked with relief. I took a final look at the beast, now absolutely nonchalant, who stood relaxed in the blazing sun. Her demeanor was so comically calm, given the threatening transaction that had earlier taken place, that I had to take some pictures.

Scratchboard was the inevitable medium to convey these distinctive textures. I used a scalpel to evoke the woolly fluff of her face and neck.

– Check out the link to my book Rambles into Sacred Realms: Exploring Divinity through Pen and Paint, where I invite readers to experience such adventure, humor and imagery illustrating my travels.

From Varanasi, India

Acrylic on board, 12 x 16, circa 1986

It was late afternoon in the holy city of Varanasi in India.

I had blundered from one spot to the other till I had wandered hopelessly far away from my destination. It had become ominously cloudy and a downpour seemed inevitable. For a fleeting impressionist moment the sun straggled through a cloud bank, lighting up the water and a distant bridge ahead. The mottle of boats and cattle added a strange vibrancy to the scene.

A washerman was hurriedly pulling clothes from a makeshift clothesline. An obdurate goat wouldn’t budge from its sunbathing moment much to the chagrin of its masters trying to hurry it home.

In this land of contrasts, a distant mosque loomed in the sweep of this ancient temple town.

Varanasi - Light and Clouds-2

I captured the conflict of moods with an ink drawing on a paper, later recreating the scene on hardboard painted white, using acrylic with a dry-brush technique I found effective.

– Check out the link to my book Rambles into Sacred Realms: Exploring Divinity through Pen and Paint, where I invite readers to experience such adventure, humor and imagery illustrating my travels.