Saturday, April 29, 2006

Illustration Friday: Under the Sea

The Pacific gray whales pass through Monterey Bay twice a year; once on their way to Baja for the winter, and again as they head back to the Alaskan waters for the summer. Whale watching trips are a great way to see these cetaceans up close. I'll limit my watching experience to the deck of the boat... not from under the sea, thank you very much.

Peace, all.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Illustration Friday: Robot

Don't know where the heck this idea came from (somewhere out in left field?), but it sprang to mind almost immediately upon reading the topic, and it wouldn't shake loose til I put it down on paper... and then into Photoshop to finish. Peace to all, humanoid and android alike.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Illustration Friday: Spotted

Okay, I want everyone to know I really, really, really intended on not getting all heavy and PC with this week's topic. Just like last week when I really hadn't meant to get up on any soapbox. Believe me, it's really atypical of me to get all outspoken and preachy. I'm a pretty laid-back person. Really I am. (So how many 'really's' in this paragraph, and what does that say about one's writing ability?)

So, I see the topic for this week is 'spotted.' "Oh, great," say I, "I used up the perfect spotted topic with that dead cheetah last week." So, I'm thinking abstract ... maybe a super close-up of a leopard's spots. But I think on it throughout the day at work, and I think 'spotted owl.'

"Whoa," you say, "let's not get all Sierra Club again." Believe me, not my intention. I did an image search on Google and found this cool shot of a spotted owl by Jared Hobbs (on which this illustration is loosely based), and that was going to be that.

But then (and here's where I get into trouble), I look for a quote to go with the pic, and I find this:

"Read this Article if You Want to Hunt the Spotted Owl By Lance Winslow

"Recently I was in a coffee shop and I was discussing with a friend the abusive lawsuits and junk court filings of the spotted owl. He asked me if I knew what those spots were for?

"I told him know (sic), that I assumed it was like a Zebra or any other species which had such markings, it may have had some evolutionary reason for attracting a mate or possibly to blend into the scenery like camouflage to aid in hunting or to keep from being hunted. He said no silly. The real reason that those owls have spots is so you line up your rifle sights on them. They are like targets he explained.

"Well we both had a laugh, but then he said well we are going to have to kill them anyway. I asked why? He said they are very prone to be carriers of Bird Flu. Not sure if that is true but it kind of makes sense. Think on it."

I won't comment on this, except to say if someone wants to hunt a spotted owl, please print out this illustration and shoot it full of holes. Print as many as you like... or just shoot your computer monitor.

Peace to all.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Illustration Friday: Speed

"Yeah, the cheetah's pretty fast, but not faster than a bullet."

How fast can man prove his dominance over Mother Nature by utterly destroying her?

PLEASE NOTE: Lengthy comment on the next post below, if you're so inclined to read it.

Otherwise, peace to our planet and everything on it.

Comment on 'Speed' illustration

When I started searching for 'speed' resource photos through Google Images, I hadn't intended the above Illustration Friday post to be any more than a nice action shot of a cheetah running. I found some beautiful pictures, any one of which I could sketch and be done with the topic for the week. But one photograph on the fourth page of the search grabbed me and wouldn't let go of me. It showed two dudes kneeling behind their trophy of the day. The image linked back to an African safari company; one that promises to give you a "complete African experience." The company shall remain nameless here; I'm not out to persecute anyone for how they make their living. I just want us to take some time to think this hunting thing through.

Now I realize that if you've come to this blog, you probably got here through Illustration Friday. This being the case, I'm probably preaching to the choir. We artsy-fartsy folks tend to be on the socially conscious side of things. But lest you think that I'm striving toward the politically correct angle, please know that I'm not totally against hunting. I was raised on a ranch, the fourth generation of a family that hunted the hills and fields of central California (though I shelved my shotgun some 30 years ago).

That said, however, we never hunted anything that didn't end up on the dinner table. We plucked, cleaned, and ate every duck, pheasant, or quail we hunted. Hunting purely for the sport of letting blood, though, is something with which I'm hard-pressed to identify. What is it about our species that makes us the only animal to kill purely for the sake of killing?

When the news hit recently about our Vice President's unfortunate hunting accident what shocked me wasn't the reckless hunting practice that put stray pellets in his friend's face and torso. No, it was a related story that disclosed on another day he had single-handedly killed 70 pheasants! How does one man pluck and clean and eat that many birds? How much lust for killing is healthy in one red-blooded American male?

Let's assume he has people who do the plucking and cleaning. Because, yeah, he's a busy guy. He's got a country to run... uh, I mean, help run. But how much room can he have in his freezer? Let's say he takes ten... no, let's give him the benefit of the doubt and say he takes 20 birds back to Lynn to cook (or to have the help cook). That still leaves 50 dead birds back at the "we-raise-'em, you-shoot-'em" compound. We can only hope that they went to a food bank or a soup kitchen and weren't tossed in a landfill.

Let's leave the VP alone and get back to the big-game hunter. Who eats cheetah? Or zebra? Or giraffe? These are all animals on the price list for that particular safari site. I suggest that if someone wants "the complete African experience," they work on getting potable water to the millions on that continent who don't have it.

The aforementioned hunting company has a code of ethics, mind you:

The company holds to the belief that the primary Ethic of the Professional Hunter is to ensure that each hunt is concluded with minimal suffering and distress to the hunted animal.

Hmm... since when is death considered "minimal distress?"

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Illustration Friday: Spring

California may have its faults (no pun intended... or maybe it was), but one of the beautiful things about Spring in Central California is the appearance of the wildflowers on the green hillsides.

This Spring the poppies have started to show, now only in small groupings. If the weather conditions are right, some magic combination of wet and sunny days, the hills and pastures veritably explode in carpets of golden poppies and velvety blue sky lupine.

It was a very wet March, colder than usual, and we will probably have to settle for spots of color here and there. We'll take what we can get.

Peace to all.