Sunday, March 30, 2008


Suddenly, in the middle of my shift yesterday, I got sick, a sore throat, congestion, chills, aches, shakes... Great! (Sarcasm, there.) ...Anyway, so I immediately got off the fast and got some nutrition and vitamins in me. ...Really bad timing. I have a LONG gig tomorrow, and then a stressful (in a fun way) butt sketch gig on the next day. I really need the money, so there ain't no way I'm calling in sick. ...Been in bed all day, drank lots of water, then did some more practice sketches, and now I gotta go sit at the Nick stand... Woo-hoo!
As far as these practice sketches go, I was looking at actual photos of people on the website, rather than looking at DRAWINGS of people. This should help me.
It seems to me that life drawing like this is all about gesture, which, to me, means the "feel" of the sweeping angles of objects. ...And I find myself exaggerating a bit on these...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Butt Sketches

Surprise, surprise! I somehow got a butt sketching gig. And only 4 days notice! ...So, what'd I do tonight? I drew some butt sketches, of course! Actually, they're really fun. I've only practiced these a couple of times in the past (like, a year ago!), and I've never used a marker (pencil only), but here I am, about to go to a gig next Tuesday. Whew! That email frightened me. ...I immediately got out a Pitt brush pen and used that, after carefully penciling it all in. Whole thing takes about 10 minutes. I need to cut that down to about 4 or 5 minutes, I think. Shouldn't be a problem. ... Now, most of these drawings (which I include here) are based on drawings in Keelan's website (K.Parham, that is). But that's only because it's really hard to get reference material for this sort of stuff. In real life, people don't STOP very often, and then online I simply can't find much, just hit and miss, here and there. So I just looked at Keelan's drawings and pretended they were real people. It's funny, because, at first, I tried to match the pics EXACTLY, but then I felt my own style coming on, and I just let it go. ...Not perfect, but I'm satisfied with these early attempts. I'm sure to be practicing these a lot more in the next 3 days. Whew!
(Note: That other one is of a Chinese girl painting... Just an image from the WWW.) ...Hmm, I need to get proper markers for shading...

Fast/Cleanse Days 4 and 5 of 25

Not much to report. So far so good. No problems, except... MUST TELL ROOMMATE NOT TO BRING FOOD HOME... Torture! ...
Actually, I've been off from work the last two days. I think it's easier if I must go to work and not think about food. Sitting here alone in the apartment is tough.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fast/Cleanse Day 3 of 25

So far, so good. Kinda sleepy today. Drank a couple of Diet Pepsi's to keep alert at work. Good night of drawing. No headaches. Slept well. Weird dreams. Lots of energy otherwise. ... And my shoulder stopped hurting! Unbelievable.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fast/Cleanse Day 2 of 25

Today was fine. Not hungry. Got grouchy at work tonight, shoulder hurting, people in weird mood, cold, or maybe it was just me. ...I'm allowing myself a little diet soda at work, to keep the headaches away, and I'm allowing myself a little red wine before bed, for health, but those are the only modifications to the Master Cleanse I'm making. And I planned this before I started the cleanse this time. I noticed last time that a little diet soda cured the detox headaches, and that a little wine didn't seem to change the daily "eliminations" or anything, so I've added these modifications to keep my mind at ease, or as comforts. I want to be able to live my life for the next month without worrying about "breaking" the cleanse by a slip-up with caffeine or wine, and to feel rather "normal," and I think keeping caffeine in my system will encourage me, psychologically, to keep up the fast. And a little wine to finish the day is a very nice comfort.... Maybe the cleanse won't work quite right, but I think it will. If it doesn't work, then I'll know. But if it does work fine, then I know I can more easily do the fasting a few times a year, without any kind of worry. And I hope to get completely off caffeine this year. I'm taking it slow, as far as that goes. It's tough, what with the headaches and craving. Caffeine is definitely a drug.

A Couple from Tonight at Disney

The soccer fella's legs look REALLY awkward, not that I see the pic. I know how to correct that. What I like about both pics is the painting on the faces. The photos don't show it so much, but I'm really moving toward more "impressionistic" effects, as opposed to flat color. I love the lively look of that kind of portraiture. Maybe one day I'll get the hang of it. !!!

OK, I took Wayne's advice and grabbed my own name for my website. That's my whole name, and when I googled it, ZERO results came up. That means, if someone hears of me in the future (after I get my site up) I'll be the first and/or ONLY "Timothy Brent Gardner." Can't get more unique than that! ...Also, I had read that your own name makes for a more serious tone. If you're gonna command high prices for your portraits, let's say, (or whatever), then "Pretty Portraits" or "Portraits by Bob," or something like that, suggests a hobbyist, not a professional. ...Also, thanks to JIMMY (at CC) for suggesting Got the thing for $10. Network Solutions charges $35. What's up wit dat???
...This also means that I need to put "Timothy Brent Gardner" on EVERYTHING.
...OK, so that's kinda long. Hmm... My friends can just call me SIR. ....he-hee-he-hee

Day ONE of 25 Days of Fasting

That's right, I'm doing the fast/cleanse again, but now I'm planning on doing 25 days, not just 10. Wish me luck! ...The first thing that happened was, I was extremely hungry last night. But I remember that was what happened on the first day last time. Then day 2 was good, day 3 I felt exhausted, and then everything was fine after that. Wonder what will happen this time.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I REALLY enjoy drawing and painting faces, I'm realizing

In recent months, with my bum shoulder, I've been forced to slow down my caricaturing. I cut-back to only four days a week, and I'm just taking it easy while drawing, not trying to break any speed records. (Although sometimes I think I might be breaking a few SLOW records. lol.) It's been a financial disaster, of course, but I need to stop talking about that.
...I've been using the pencil more and more during this time, mainly for the outside contours of the face, but also for a lot of the bodies. But here's the thing: I am REALLY REALLY REALLY enjoying drawing the human face. I'm also coming to realize the wonderful possibilities in painting the face, as well. I keep thinking, "Man, if I could just be a painter of people for the rest of my life, I'd be happy." ...

All this makes me think of formal portraiture. Once upon a time, I thought portraits were uninteresting, since they seemed to be mere technical rendering of a static face. But NO! Portraits ARE caricature. The portrait artist uses his eye and experience to creatively determine the most important aspects of each face, and he then brings these aspects to the fore. Everyone has certain "telling" characteristics, but this is not just shape. A likeness may hinge on one or several things, from shape to color, or texture, from the dark values of the nostril, to the dull light glow of cerulean/gray eyes. When I look at the old masters portraits, I'm stunned. Look at those too-red cheeks! Look at that busted nose! Those full, craggy lips! ...But it's all beautiful (and probably great likeness).
This photo was from Saturday at Animal Kingdom, which was probably my best day of drawing in my LIFE. My shoulder was starting to bother me a lot, again, unfortunately, but maybe this forced slowing improved my drawing. ...Actually, the caricature in the photo isn't anything special, but it happens to be the only photo I took that day. The husband and wife didn't like to smile, but when they gave a little, I immediately noticed how WIDE their mouths became. And then there was the woman's nose, and rather short forehead. The guy had very short hair, almost shaved, and a dimple in the chin, and wonderfully shaped, prominent ears. I greatly enjoyed drawing them. Wish they'd got color.

Boat Delivery

(The photo here is of Tampa Bay off Apollo Beach, after we'd survived the heavy wind and waves of the lower bay.)...
I spent a few days down in Tampa last week, and during one of those days I helped my friend move a big sailboat from Cortez to Apollo Beach. Her name was Moon Song, an old 41' wooden ketch, with a bum diesel engine, suspect rigging, and virtually inoperable radio. Of course, we had a hellish wind right on the nose the whole way. We had steep 6-foot waves which had us believing we were riding a bronco rather than a sailboat. The first thing the diesel did, was to throw a hose as I was casting-off the lines. Nice. My buddy fixed that quickly, but all I could think was, "If the engine has ANY problem while we're underway in these channels, we'll be in real trouble because of the heavy wind... We'll be blown immediately into the shallow shoal water and lose the boat. Of course, it's so shallow we could just walk to shore from there, but I don't want to be on the evening TV news after losing a half-million dollar yacht!"
Once we got out the channel and into open water, we had more room for a busted engine, since we could simply throw over the anchor, let out the line, and go below and try to fix the thing. But there were WAVES, baby! And the engine didn't push us too well. We'd SLAM into wave after wave, almost coming to a stop every time, trying to simply HANG ON...
But we made it. An all day trip of some 30 miles. Man, we were sore.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Stuff of Dreams

I'm torn, I admit it. My recent "self-improvement" obsession has me thinking more clearly, and my shoulder hurting less. (Yes, my shoulder is MUCH improved since doing the lemonade detox. Apparently the inflammation in your body is reduced due to the detoxification process. A true miracle.) But I'm torn. I mean, I'm making all these plans for a mural business, but is that my real dream? And how did I get into all this? ...What really IS my "dream life"? ....
Well, last September, I was VERY close to moving onto my sailboat and "sailing away." I postponed this, however, for "one last apartment contract" with my roommate, which meant I'd need to wait until June 2008 to "sail away." If I were to leave last September, my roommate would be left in a tough situation, plus I was worried about other things, so I delayed. And I immediately fell into depression. I had a LONG dark winter to wait-out until the next June, and my shoulder was killing me, so I didn't know how much longer I could do caricatures. I was depressed deeply. Could I survive the winter? I had to do something. So, I thought of murals. I can do that, I thought. It can get me through the winter, and then I'll sail away next June. ...But it didn't work out that way. My depression deepened. I didn't do murals, but I did continue to work on learning more about painting in acrylics.
But look what happened! It's suddenly March 13! I made it through the winter, my shoulder pain is almost completely gone, and one more thing has happened: I've started to really ENJOY drawing caricatures again. That's a surprise.
So, what do I do now? I mean, in order to "sail away," I had planned to depend on caricaturing to make money. It is a completely mobile enterprise. For instance, I know of three places which cater to this sort of stuff: Clearwater Pier 60, Fort Myers Beach "Times Square," and Key West's Mallory Square. You come in, maybe pay a small fee, and set-up, more or less.
But there's another way, and this is part of my "Big Secret Plan" in a sense, which I've been formulating for a long time now. You see, it is legal in most places in the world to "busk." That is, you perform or give-away services or small items for FREE, and then get donations/tips. Now, you won't get rich do this, but a lot of people with wanderlust depend on busking, and do fine, and some do better than fine. Living on my sailboat is a cheap life, and busking really is perfect. The thing is, almost nobody busks with caricatures. Maybe because so many people are willing to PAY upfront for 'em. They're very popular. But some guys DO busk with caricatures.
My concern is this: I don't want to throw-out crappy caricatures just to "get volume" in a busy location. No, I want to create masterpieces every time, and THEN give 'em away. ...And would this WORK? Well, of course it would, to a point. Almost everyone would give me a little money, but a lot of people would give me more. I figure I can average $5 to $10 per piece. ...Or I can charge up front, if I'm in a location which allows it.

But that's not exactly my dream. Here's my dream. Everybody ready? Hold on tight, 'cause it's pretty crazy and beautiful and frightening and will give inspiration to all those "Dream Crushers" out there who enjoy telling people why they can't do this or that. Ready? Here's my dream:
I'm in my sailboat. I have my passport. I've had all the "shots" you need to travel the Tropics. I sail across the Caribbean, and the South Pacific, and Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean, and Europe... ...visiting little islands here and there, and various ports of call... ...and I'm seeing the world... But I'm doing something else this whole time: I am DRAWING everyone I see. Rich, poor, in-between... Healthy, sick, happy, sad... EVERYONE. And I simply give away EVERY SINGLE DRAWING. ...

And that's it. That's my dream. I travel the planet and draw everyone I see. (Of course, I'll have a website or blog, telling of my experiences, and the site will have a "DONATE" button, lol.) ...It's all a rush. I really do get a rush from the joy I see in people when I show them their pictures. They're all strangers to me, but somehow I've connected to them, and my soul is filled with something when this happens. I don't know what it's filled with, but whatever it is, I like it. Of course, most people give me money, too, and that's fine, and necessary, but my mind is swimming in the heavens, not in brutal necessity.
And there's another consideration. MOST people in the world will never be able to afford a portrait, or even a simple caricature, for that matter. With me, they get a little treasure to put in their homes, whether they can afford to tip me or not. ...Ah, I AM a dreamer, eh? And you all thought I was just a bum. ...

I have this image... I anchor in a remote cove. There are palm trees everywhere. The water is clear, the fish curious, a dolphin surfaces in the distance, and I know there's a small village nearby in the jungle. I get out my dinghy, and row to shore. I bring a small easel and a backpack of art supplies. I find the village. I tell them I want to set-up my easel and draw EVERYONE, one at a time. It's morning, so I have all day. "No, no, it's all FREE," I tell them. And I do it. I draw ALL day. My old shoulder injury hints that it's not happy, but it understands and approves reluctantly. Children (and adults) gather around me. They're all grinning and laughing and speaking their local dialect (which I don't understand). But they can't afford to give me any donations. That's fine. I already assumed that. That's not why I'm here. ...In fact, I'm not sure why I AM here, but it must be done, and I greatly DESIRE to do it. I don't know why. ...In the evening I pack-up and go back to my boat, happy, happy, happy, because boy-oh-boy I was drawing well today, and using that new technique, and I suddenly remembered an old little thing that Esly or Duron or Kenny or Keelan or Michele or Brian or Wayne (or whoever) used to do in their drawings WAY BACK in the days of wine and roses in Florida, and I was able to use that old little thing in my current drawings, today. ...And maybe I'm invited for dinner in someone's home/shack in the jungle, and we try to communicate as best as possible (since we don't speak a common language), and it's all pure joy, and good food. ...

....Yes, I dream. Now I must DO. ...Yes?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Here's what I do...

Here's what I do when I don't have anyone to draw at the stands (like tonight). As I've said in earlier post, I sketch. Tonight, I worked on some fairy designs for a mural, and I tried to come-up with a better surfer caricature body...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

OK, so that's my new domain name. I just grabbed it off Network Solutions. Also, since I've never built a website before, I "practiced" by building a free site on Homestead. I don't have much in the way of mural samples, so I just threw-in random art from my files. Check-out

Anyway, I'm pretty excited about this. I REALLY like this domain name. I've been searching for one, and *voila* I found this one just sitting there. Sweet. ...What y'all think? It should be easy to remember. Nice and simple.
Now I just need to find a host, and build a REAL site. Any suggestions?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Master Cleanse... Fasting without hunger

I'm FASTING! That's right, just call me Gandhi from now on. I'm on Day 8, and I feel great. Some of my friends have asked, out of sincere worry, "WTF?!!!" Well, I'll explain it.

{ Word of warning: this will be gross! }

You see, for a LONG time I have been feeling listless. I mean, YEARS. Now, I know some of that is from "hard living," and, believe me, I've sown many wild oats over the years, all across the freakin' United States (and one province of Canada). But even after "calming down" in recent times, it has seemed impossible to lose weight and feel better, without some sort of god-like exercise regimen. And, even then, I was wondering if I needed more than just exercise. ( And, besides, I've tried to exercise, and it HURTS. It didn't hurt when I was younger. WTF, indeed.) ... I mean, what really IS the best set of FOODS to eat? Low carb? Vegan? Simple "balance"? What?
Well, a couple of weeks ago I came across an idea on the WWW: Over the years, our bodies deal with toxins in foods and beverages by producing fats and placing the toxins in the fats, as a way for the body to protect itself. Also, a LOT of undigested "material"/toxins are left in the digestive tract. ...And apparently this leads to a host of other problems, as well as premature aging. You feel a lack of energy, and even emotionally dispirited.
Now, I'm a skeptic, first and foremost. So when I heard about Master Cleanse, and the whole idea of "cleansing" your body, from the inside-out, I thought it sounded a lot like voodoo/new age stuff. But when I read how people said they "felt great" after AND DURING the fast, I researched further.
I've always had the impression that fasting itself, in general, is a very healthy thing. But, when I read that most people don't really experience hunger during their Master Cleanse fast, I REALLY became fascinated. I bought a book on the subject, and looked some more on the Web, and then, last Monday, I started.
As warned, on Days 2 and 3, I had some problems, but not with hunger. No, it was HEADACHES. Freakin' mind-warping headaches. I also had a day in which I just wanted to sleep all day. The thing is, these are DETOX symptoms. I was getting off a life-long caffeine habit. A couple of times I broke down and had a diet soda and aspirin, just to SURVIVE. ...
But then, everything was fine. Days 4 through 8 have been fantastic. I dare say I feel better than I have in all my adult years. But, to be honest, I did have a break-down of sorts, besides the caffeine: on Saturday night I had two glasses of wine with my friends at Kitty O'Shea's. Now, when I had started the fast, I was aware I was "going out" Saturday night, and I had decided I'd go ahead and do the fast and yet have a couple of glasses of wine in the middle of it. As it turns out, I don't think it affected the detox process much. My morning "eliminations" continued unabated. I'll explain:
You see, a key part of Master Cleanse is the "saltwater flush." (If you're squeamish, don't read further!) And what is the saltwater flush? Hmm, well, let me put it this way. What's happening is, the "lemonade" concoction that I make every morning provides about 1000 calories a day, AND it "loosens" the undigested material in your digestive tract. This "material" is apparently full of toxins. So, you gotta get rid of that SHIT, literally! That's where the saltwater flush comes in. The first thing, every morning, you MUST (quickly) drink 32 ounces (a quart!) of purified water mixed with 2 level teaspoons of non-iodized sea salt. And here's the freaky part. Your body won't absorb that stuff. It "flushes" right through you in 30 minutes, or less, and boy o boy you better be near the bathroom!
The whole deal is bizarre. After the first 24 hours of starting the fast, all the food you have eaten the day before has been digested and eliminated, right? So, theoretically, there's nothing left in your digestive tract, right? And, sure enough, on the second and third days, the saltwater flush was just a clean "flush" of sorts, more or less. But then the bizarre/gross part happened. On every day since then, more and more of this "blackish brown material" has been coming out. Bizarre! Gross! Yet fascinating! Or so it seems to me. Where is all this CRAP coming from? Well, my friends, all this crap is apparently just sitting there in our bodies, rotting. Everyone's bodies. Wow! By, getting rid of it, you are getting rid of a lot of weight, for one thing, and volume in your gut, for another. But also you're getting rid of toxins.
With the toxins removed from your digestive track, your body no longer is required to "go through shit" to get to the food you eat, and your body is no longer picking-up toxins from this shit as it tries to get to the nutrients in your diet. That's the idea. Lose the crap, feel better. Or something like that.
The best judge is through personal experience, sometimes. And my experience is, I feel great. That's a practical, solid observation. Man, I am pleased.
And here's another thing. My shoulder isn't hurting as much. In fact, I had forgot about it until last night at work. I was setting-up the easel, and I remembered, "Oh, yeah, I have a bad shoulder. Hey wait a sec...." Then today I read that people had reported the reduction or even elimination of joint pain. What the heck?
Man, it's like a miracle. I mean, I don't want to try and convince anyone of anything, and I don't know what the future holds, but, damn, I think I've discovered something "real" in the midst of all those weight-loss programs and fad diets and exercise machines. Fasting and cleansing. I'm very impressed.
Now, I'm not a nutritionist. (Although, come to think of it, one of my nieces IS a nutritionist, and is working on her PhD at John Hopkins in Baltimore.) But I do know how I feel. The feeling is this: my legs are light, my arms are strong, a gallon jug of water feels like a feather, and *get this* my MOOD is improved. I'm sleeping like a baby, and I'm dreaming great dreams. Wow, I really need to continue this.
But to continue, how? This is what I'm hearing: a diet of fresh veges and fruit and nuts and seeds. That's your basic diet. It will continue to detox your entire body, and keep you feeling great. In fact, to be clear about this, one week before I started Master Cleanse, I started eating only (almost) fresh/raw fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and granola and whatnot. I immediately felt better. But my digestion went crazy, and I was feeling groggy and "foggy" on some days. Apparently, these were early detox symptoms. So, I guess, I had given myself a little head start on detoxification and improvement.
And so, what now? I'll finish this in a couple of days, and ease my stomach back into solid foods with orange juice and a little vegetable soup. And then I'll try and maintain the right foods, and probably a little wine each week, which supposedly has enormous medicinal benefits too. I'm not completely off caffeine, so I'll keep reducing its intake while avoiding migraines. (Quick cut to All-Star Music Hotel last Wednesday: "Kid, I'm not weeping because you're ugly, I'm weeping because of a freaking headache! Now hold still so I can draw your ugly mug!") (Just kidding... kinda.)
Also I should note that this cleanse is something which can be done several times a year, and it can be done for a longer period, say, 20 or 30 days. That's why I'm not too worried about cheating a little with a couple of diet sodas and wine. Not perfect, but close. Man, I feel great.
A number of celebrities apparently swear by Master Cleanse, or so I hear. Beyonce was the latest one to sing its praises, I think. And, of course, celebrities know best, right? That's why they're on TV!
Here's the references I used:
Master Cleanse, by Stanley Burroughs
Lose Weight, Have More Energy, and Be Happier in 10 Days, by Peter Glickman

Anyway, that's it. If you read all of this, then you must really be interested, lol. So, if you have any questions just let me know. I, actually, haven't read all the information in those books, but I got the gist. Fast, cleanse, feel great. Simple.
By the way, WILL POWER is indeed a part of this. Most people do not get hungry, and I haven't either, but, man, I miss the PLEASURE of food. ...Just a couple more days, Tim! .
..And some people experience CRAVINGS, as opposed to hunger.
...In the end, you must WANT to do it. Good luck!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A baby and a man

A couple more from this last week.... I enjoy the challenge of getting a good likeness in babies, although in this one I screwed-up the ears a bit. Some caricaturists tell me they refuse to draw babies altogether.