Alice Moran Makes Port

Not-so-sticky greetings from the Tar Heel State! This past weekend, I delivered the finished painting of the Alice L. Moran to my great-uncle, framed it (in a frame he made), hung it, and rearranged the furniture in the room (so the Alice & the M. Moran are more viewable). My, is he pleased.

Again, as with the M. Moran, Uncle Joe (Joseph F. Hack) designed the Alice, and at the time (1966, I believe), she was the most powerful tug in the world. (The M. Moran is similar in that it was the most powerful in the Moran fleet when it was constructed.) The Alice was assembled in Japan, then sailed to England; she is still in service in South America but under a new name. Originally she had four engines (totalling 9600 bhp), but when she went south of the equator, two were cannibalized.

Uncle Joe shared that Admiral Moran (alias “the boss”) once confided that he did not know how he was going to crew the ship since she was so powerful; he thought perhaps a Dutch, Scandinavian, or German crew. Later, the Admiral’s son took over and hired a less-qualified Spanish crew for much less money. They took her on her maiden voyage from Japan to England. There, they tore up the dry dock because they didn’t know how to handle her. The lesson? Cheap isn’t always cheaper.


Although Alice has seen her share of toils, troubles, and disassembly, she still makes for a lovely painting.

August Advancements

And very distinguished ones, too.

Alice Moran:

She’s finished! No photo this time–I’ll wait until she’s framed.


Do You Have a Pebble in Your Pocket? (the goat book) is coming along slowly but surely. All the spreads are beyond the base layers of paint and, for the most part, unified in their color and value (light & dark) schemes. There are a few stowaways that I’ll bring into harmony with the rest. (What is that sea foam green doing in the middle of a tree?) Then I can think more about details as I brush up my rendering skills.

And because I’m sure you’re all curious about what the duodecimo happens at a haiku conference…

Haiku-coo for Cocoa Puffs:

First, let me say that last weekend was surprisingly successful! Hard to believe it was already a week ago. Made some contacts, sold a few books, wrote lots of haiku, discovered figgyhobbin… (We’ll see how many comments that garners.)

Friday was casual–registration, reception, a group reading of haiku by three poet-scholars they were honoring at the festival, followed by an open reading (for anyone to share). Let me say that when I stood up to share two poems I had penned that very evening, I did not expect 1) enthusiastic applause, 2) that I’d end up the rising star of the conference. I mean that in a very humble way. Throughout the weekend, several attendants (including some top-tier people) shared how much they enjoyed my haiku and that I had a very natural, intuitive sense. In fact, Sunday before I left, two ladies of the Haiku Society of American (HSA) conferred and said that to keep me writing, they would see about using the HSA scholarship fund to gift me a membership (and some HSA haiku journals) through 2015. This has been confirmed with the president of the HSA. I’m quite honored.

Back to the schedule. Saturday consisted of several workshops on different genres incorporating haiku (eg., haibun, which is short prose followed by haiku, and haiga, which pairs art and haiku), talks on the development and status of haiku, and more reading. Sunday, the group took a ginko (not to be confused with the Chinese ginkgo tree), which is a walk to gather inspiration for haiku, had lunch, and held a final reading.

Now that I’ve learned a few more things about haiku, I’ll expand upon my syllabic comments from last time (for your edification and enjoyment, if not my duty as a new HSA member). Haiku is, of course, brief, and it juxtaposes images, traditionally two concrete images, at least one of which pertains to nature or the seasons. Modern haiku and senryu often incorporate abstract or subjective images or ideas, too, such as an emotion. Both forms include incomplete grammar or syntax and a kire (“cut”), simply a pause or caesura, which aids juxtaposition (and may create an “aha!” moment).

Animal Art:

Since this post is getting quite long, I’ll keep this short. My panda project, Pandagrams, is well underway. Stay tuned to learn just what that includes. I also completed a portrait of a Norfolk terrier I dogsat about two weeks ago; scoot over to the Animal Art portfolio to see it.

4th (update) of July

What an occasion–my fourth post this month! (Normally I update 3 times a month).This weekend I’ll attend a little haiku conference/festival and hopefully sell a few books & network with writers and publishers (not exclusively haikuists).

“Haiku?” you say, “I thought you wrote children’s books!” Yes, those, and many other things. I dabble in crafting haiku, senryu, and other short poetry. Haiku and senryu, as you may know, are genres of Japanese poetry. Subject-wise, haiku generally deal with nature and senryu with people. Both are comprised of 17 syllables (3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables in English, although Japanese poets generally write each poem in a single vertical line). There are freer forms that do not hold to the 17 syllables, such as this cheesy little one by me:

rule of law

parallel parking

before the courthouse

As for ongoing projects, the little farm boy and his goats are coming along–met with the author yesterday to deliver a progress report. I am pleased to say she’s pleased with the illustrations. Finishing Alice is on hold ’til I return next week. Thumbnails for Cartage are in the works, John Churchmouse methinks will soon resume, and some new ideas beg for attention.

Matane! (That’s a Japanese equivalent to “See you later!”)

Almost There, Alice!

Look, Alice, you’re almost out of “I-wonder-when-I’ll-get-home” land. More directly, the Alice Moran painting is almost finished. I added the final missing details (rails, name, and a few other little things) yesterday. I’ll post a photo here of her current appearance and won’t look at it or the real thing–which has been flipped over so I don’t peek. Once I’ve had sufficient time away from it, I’ll flip the painting back over and see how finished it really is. There are already things I want to tweak, but it’s better to do it with fresh eyes.


The next time you see a new photo of this painting, it may very well be in a frame at its home port!

Alice aside, things are coming along slowly but surely with my illustration commission (the goats & pebbles book). The last images I posted from that project were sketches, so next I’ll show part of the next stage: washes. Soon enough, you’ll see a sample of a completed full-color spread.

GP_washes-8med GP_washes-7med

Other projects are moving along, too, such as Cartage. Bit by bit, the idea blooms and grows. I also have some “getting started ideas” and have begun a new little art series of caricatured/cartoon pandas. Or pundas, since wordplay is involved in these pandagrams. More on that another time.

Alice’s Advancements in Painterland

Hello, everyone, especially the recent subscribers–thanks for your interest and support!

The Alice Moran painting is starting to come together. There is still quite a bit to do, of course–adding details, repainting parts of the sky & water, unifying some of the colors and values–but at least it feels like it is moving towards completion (rather than an amorphous “What do I do next?” state). Here are a couple photos showing some of the changes since the last major Alice update. The first two are close-ups of the stack; the third is a more developed version of the whole painting (as of a few days ago). Since then I have crisped up some edging, smoothed out some surfaces, and added more details.


I liked the texture and coloration of the wash (think of that as a wet, loosely applied base layer of color that you paint over to achieve different effects) of the stack enough that for a little while I did not want to paint over it at all. But on its own, it did not match the rest of the painting, so I rolled up my sleeves and slathered more paint on top, leaving a little showing through.

A few other notes before I draw this entry to a close:

Just as I used peach colors in the sky of the M. Moran painting to match the walls in the room where it hangs, I am trying to use similar blues to the big armchair that this painting will hang near.

And if you ever want to compare the M. Moran painting (or read a bit about it), it’s still viewable here:

Alternatively you can go to the Captain’s Log (accessible from the sidebar) and scroll down.

Also, I’ve been updating things around Draws the Eventide. As you explore, you may notice a few differences, for instance, that the “Pet Portraits” portfolio is now “Animal Art.” It’s still quite small but now includes a couple more pieces that are also in other sections of the website. But there will be more in it one day!

If you would ever like a drawing or painting done of one of your pets (or people friends and family), do let me know! I would be glad to create something for you!