Where Did September Go?

Barrons, music, self portrait, US Catholic, WSJ

Blink, and you miss it. September has come and gone, and it seems we have gone right from late summer to leaves turning and chilly temperatures. I had a few short vacations this past month, and I’m also in the thick of a couple book projects, so the time has sort of gotten away from me. We had a nice time up at the Wheatland Music Festival early in the month, and then we had a beautiful week in Ireland during the middle weeks, but here it is the last day of September and we will be starting the fast downhill ride into the holiday season before long. In the meantime, I have a few projects to share. The illustration above was one that I did for Barrons last week, and below is an illustration for US Catholic that I finished around the same time. (both of these came in during the Ireland trip, so I was very grateful for the flexibility of both these clients in giving me a little extra time on the deadlines)

I’ve also jumped headfirst into the two aforementioned book projects and hope to have them squared away in a month or so (contractual obligations won’t let me share any of that work until publication). Last Friday afternoon, however, I got a quickie rush job for the Journal (I believe it was the quickest I’ve ever turned around a job of this size), and it was a shame I only had an hour or two from start to finish, as I would have liked to put a little more work into this one. Normally, I would have done this sort of thing in Scratchboard, but the time constraint forced me to work in a much more expedient style. (pictured below)

Also, in my last post, I promised I would share a photo of the ‘contraption’ that I help decorate this past summer for the kids hill ‘musical instrument activity’. Below is a photo of myself, and the two engineers who came up with this device (which takes a tin can and crimps it to be used as a washboard — the gears and mechanisms are all contained in the box in front of the handlebars, which is powered by the child sitting on the bike, and just for fun it is also covered with horns and bells and whistles to make the whole process a lot more fun for the kids).

Pro Bono Projects and Off to Wheatland

Keenan, music

Still maintaining a holding pattern on a couple of book projects, and with a couple vacations coming up this month, am starting to get a little anxious about deadlines. Over the labor day weekend, we headed to Chicago to check out my son’s new apartment, and rode downtown on rental bikes to check out some of the Jazz Festival. My son asked me if I’d consider doing some ‘fan art’ for his jazz/funk band (they use a quartet of owls in a lot of their promotional material), so when I got home I began working up an image for them, that might work as a cd cover, if they so wish. (click on the image to get a bigger view) A fun change of pace for me, in a year that has been mostly scratchboard/black and white line art.

Another refreshing pro bono project that I did a few weeks back, was painting and decorating a contraption for the ‘kids hill’ at the Wheatland Music Festival. My bandmate Craig organizes a ‘build a musical instrument’ activity for kids every year at this music festival, and this year the kids are constructing their own mini washboard (made from a tin can that has been ‘crimped’ using a contraption that he built using an old exercise bike). I’ll try and get a picture of the finished device when I’m up there this weekend, but here’s a photo of the stripped down skeleton that we painted in his front yard. Using stencils, spray paint and a piece of window screen, this was a fun experiment in ‘on the fly’ design and ‘happy accidents’ (none of the ideas that I planned on using to decorate it was working out the way I imagined, so I ended up doing a lot of ‘playing around’ until we stumbled upon the methods that eventually worked).

Last year was my first time attending this music festival (despite the fact that my Father owned a summer cabin not 15 minutes from this annual gathering for over a decade in the 90s, without my ever getting curious enough to check it out), and this year will be the first time that our entire band will be attending, so it should be a fun weekend of jamming late into the night, and then back to real life again on Monday.