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Road through West Virginia.jpg

I am back from the bosky hills and verdant dells of West Virginia and SE Ohio and I have a lot of new ideas and stories to share.  Thanks Mom and Dad for the lovely visit and all of your kindness. Also, I want to thank Dan Claymore who did a superb job in my absence.  Dan understood the purpose of Ferrebeekeeper and matched the tone beautifully (although that Japanese fishmarket made me anxious for the oceans and our flatfish friends). Because of his excellent work, I realize I should take more vacations.  Dan also confided in me that he found the project intimidating because of the perspicacity of the polymath readers…so, as always, thank YOU!

When I travel, I carry a little book and a tin of pens and colored pencils (my tin is shaped like a sarcophagus and is interesting in its own right, but more about that later).  I like to quickly draw little colored sketches of what pops into my head or what is in front of me. Sometimes there are realistic. Sometimes they are utterly fanciful.  They are sometimes silly and occasionally sad.  I have dozens of volumes of New York drawings, but I figured I should share all the little sketches I made on my trip (unfortunately nobody posed for me–so there are no portraits). Keep in mind that these are sketches–so they are quick and imperfect.  For example, I drew the one at the top in the car as my family and I went to a wedding in the central mountains of West Virginia, and half way through I realized I didn’t have a dark gray pencil.  Roads are hard for me too (as are straight lines in the moving car).  Maybe this says something about the unnatural yet astonishing nature of our highway infrastructure.

Nairopt Fribley.jpg

In the car, I also drew this humorous drawing of a gnome kingdom.  My mother was describing a nuclear weapons facility somewhere which she visited during her Pentagon career, and I apparently misheard the name.  This delightful misunderstanding engendered a whole didactic gnome world. Fribble Fribble!

Corner of the Yard.jpg

This drawing is the corner of the yard at home with autumn cornfields beyond.  Vinnie the barncat is sneaking onto the right corner, catty-corner from the old Amish farmstead.  I wish I could have captured Vinnie better, but Rory the obstreperous adolescent poodle chased him off, before I could catch a better likeness.

Desert Flounder Cave.jpg

No Ferrebeekeeper sketch collection would be complete without a magical flounder.  This one apparently has a direct connection to the underworld.  More about that in later posts.

Beneath the topsoil.jpg

Speaking of the underworld, here is a little drawing of the world beneath the topsoil.  There is a lungfish, a brumating turtle, a mole, a mummy, and an ant colony, but beneath these ordinary items is a whole gnome kingdom.  Don’t worry! I don’t believe in gnomes. Their tireless tiny civilization really represents bacteria to me…oh and humans civilization too (artistic allegory is more of an art than a science).  This macro/micro dichotomy is captured by the shoes of a full sized (albeit anachronistic) human at the top left.

Sunset from the farm.jpg

This is a quick impression of a sunset which was SO beautiful.  If only I could truly have captured more of its sublime luminescent color….

Farm in Ohio.jpg

This is my parents’ pond, which I love more than I can tell you.  Unfortunately a big drip came out of my dip pen and made the ducks look monstrous.  There is a hint of autumn orange in the trees.  This is another one that frustrates me, because reality was so pretty.

Abstract Circus.jpg

I watched the second half of a documentary about the circus on PBS.  It seems like the circus was more important and central to our nation than I knew (although I should have guessed based on current politics).  I represented the performers as abstract shapes, but the overall composition bears a debt to Cimabue and his Byzantine predecessors.

Columbus.jpg

Finally here is a picture from the tarmac of John Glenn airport in Columbus.  Naturally the plane moved away as soon as things began to get good. By the way I really enjoyed my flight and I am always surprised that people are so angry about flying.  For the price of a moderately fancy dinner, we can rocket across the continent above the clouds at hundred miles an hour.  We travel like the gods of Greek mythology except people serve us coffee and ginger cookies and, best of all we can truly see the earth from a towering perspective–which is the subject of my last picture which I scrawled as we looped back across Long island west to LaGuardia (I’m glad I am not an air traffic controller).  Sadly this picture did not capture the beauty and complexity of Long Island Sound, and Queens (nor even the lovely billowing cumulus clouds) but at least it made me stare raptly out the window at the ineffable but disturbing beauty of the strange concrete ecosystem we are building.

flying across Long Island.jpg

Let me know what you think of my little sketches and, now that summer vacation is out of the way, get ready for some October horror and Halloween fun! Oh! Also get ready for Dan Claymore’s book about a human gumshoe in the dark robot future.  It will be out before you know it, and it is going to be amazing!

 

Earth Spirit

Earth Spirit (Wayne Ferrebee, 2016, color pencil and ink)

Here are some more little sketches from my little moleskine sketchbook.  The first one is probably my favorite–it shows an angry Tibetan protective spirit surging up from the fecund Earth.  Various actinomycetes and spores dance within the rainbow between his hands.  The worms, slime mold, and fungi cavort on the ground he springs from.

Art

Art (Wayne Ferrebee, 2016, color pencil and ink)

Industry

Industry (Wayne Ferrebee, 2016, color pencil and ink)

Art and Industry are self explanatory–though I wish I had drawn “Art” more beautifully and I wish i had worked harder on “Industry” (particularly that unhappy pig).

NJ

NJ Freeway (Wayne Ferrebee, 2016, color pencil and ink)

This is a quick pencil sketch of the freeway in New Jersey which leads to the Lincoln Tunnel.  I went out to visit friends in Montclair and had a million problems with the buses.  On the way back, I was sitting right behind the driver and looking out the huge picture window he looks through. I could see a whole constellation of cars rushing along ahead of us into the city.  I wish this sketch gave a full impression of the scene–but there are a lot of things going on on New Jersey’s highways and they happen pretty fast.

space blob

Characters in Space (Wayne Ferrebee, 2016, color pencil and ink)

This is a study for a giant Sumerian space flounder I am drawing in my studio. There is not enough space art, so I am trying to draw more in 2016 (more space art and more in general).  Ironically I like the simplified flounder the least of all in this picture, but the simplified mammalian dolphin is ok.  As always, thanks for looking and let me know what you think!

 

Watermelon Slices (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, colored pencil and ink)

Watermelon Slices (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, colored pencil and ink)

It’s another August day that ineluctably slipped away–so here are some illustrations/doodles from the little book I carry around with me.  I drew the garden (?) image above today during lunch (half) hour and then illustrated it on the train and at my desk.I think the little toy ghost is cutting watermelons and peaches held aloft by a penguin, but the real nature of what is going on is uncertain. That many-legged larva is probably not as innocent as it is pretending to be.

Sundry (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, colored pencil and ink)

Sundry (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, colored pencil and ink)

Here is some detritus from our culture (and beyond) with sea creatures mixed in to prevent our junk from being boring.   The three-eyed being peaks in from the future and the ice cream is the promise of sweetness.

Barnyard Characters (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, colored pencil and ink)

Barnyard Characters (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, colored pencil and ink)

Finally here is a goofy scene of barnyard follies with Mother Goose, a handy goblin man, and a clownish ghost.  As happens on the farm, they are all surrounded by geese, ducks, and sundry birds, while a cat looks on with incredulity.  Enjoy the drawings and let me know if you have any ideas for tomorrow’s blog.  it is officially the silly season of journalism and even our twenty-four-hour news cycle is not kicking up much new material.  We’ll have to make our own bucolic summer fun!

The Demon and the Sylphs (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, color pencil and ink)

The Demon and the Sylphs (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, color pencil and ink)

Yet another summer day has ineluctably slipped through my fingers.  What with work, friends, art, and the great human endeavor there was no time to find out about crab-eating seals or exoplanets for today’s post.  Fortunately I have my little book of fun sketches for such occasions (for those of you who just walked in, this is the small sketchbook I carry around and sketch in during downtime like the subway or lunch).  Above is my favorite of the three selected sketches for today.  I imagine it as being the dramatic climax of an unknown ballet where a tribe of sylphs confront the underworld demon-god and wage a tremendous dance battle with him on behalf of their upstanding moral principles (actually I think that might be an actual ballet).  In the real world, the pink and blue and yellow all blend together more seamlessly, but I guess I am stuck with what my camera can manage under halogen light.

Sulawesi Shipwreck (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, color pencil and ink)

Sulawesi Shipwreck (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, color pencil and ink)

In the second picture a shipwreck at the bottom of the Indian Ocean is the scene for wayang theater, written edicts, and ghostly machinations.  It seems like the picture might be about the Dutch East India Company or some other Indonesian colonial enterprise.  At any rate, the great flesh colored sawfish who appeared from nowhere steals the scene from the human agencies (although the brain coral seems to also be in the know).

Cityscape (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, Colored pencil and ink)

Cityscape (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, Colored pencil and ink)

Finally I included a geometric doodle of a colorful cityscape.  I sketched this on the train after a frustrating day of work.  My colleague was out that day, so I spent the entire workday trying to answer two to six confusing phone calls every minute for hours on end.  I was thoroughly frustrated with New York and cursing the entire beastly expensive overrated mess when I got on a train car which had a foul smelling beggar in it.  Because of the smell, the train car was unusually empty at rush hour and I opted to remain on it so I could I could sit down and draw.  I sketched away furiously as the car stopped underground and lingered forever in a tunnel beneath the East River.  The beggar got off in Brooklyn Heights and I kept sketching, but I was still angry at everything.  When I was almost home (which is near the end of the 2 line) the woman who had been silently riding next to me the whole time quietly said ‘you are a great artist” which really turned around the bad day.  I am not sure the picture merits such a statement, but the comment made me feel great and stood as a powerful reminder of what a large effect small actions and statements can have.  I hope that kindly stranger is reading my blog so I can thank her properly for her words.  They meant a lot to me.

Landscape with Monsters (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, ink and colored pencil)

Landscape with Monsters (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, ink and colored pencil)

Today was another day which rushed by! Here are three more sketches from my little book.  I doodle these during lunchtime, my commute, and other spare moments so they are not very polished, yet they sometimes attain a robust charm with their spontaneous verve.  I particularly like the mysterious haunted landscape above with the sphinx, the red spider, and the vampire (to say nothing of the absurd tragicomic ghost).  I keep putting mummies in my pictures:  these ancient human remains are a very tangible and fascinating link with our ancient past (but they also are a solemn reminder of mortality).  I think of all the characters in the drawing, the worm rising from the pit may have the most personality.

Fireworks over the East River (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, colored pencil and ink)

Fireworks over the East River (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, colored pencil and ink)

Here is a picture of fireworks drawn from a Williamsburg rooftop as my friends and I watched the East River Fourth of July show (you can see the towers of Midtown there at the bottom).   Below is another enigmatic allegorical donut.  The snack sits atop a stone crab while a gorgon glowers between two dancing pink shrimp. The entire piece has an elusive votive quality, but its religious overtones are greatly eclipsed by the outright miracles of the last picture.

Donut with Arthropods and Gorgon's Head (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, ink and colored pencil on paper)

Donut with Arthropods and Gorgon’s Head (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, ink and colored pencil on paper)

This final selection shows a flying saint soaring the sky with a large heron.  The holy man (an angel with a bowl of broth?) is soaring up to a castle surrounded by a fearsome carnivorous garden.  More benign flowers also bloom in the castle garden as the first pink tinges of sunset stain the sky.  I imagine he is bringing nourishment to the castle-dwellers, but it is hard to tell exactly.  As always, I welcome your comments!  Thanks for looking at my little pictures.

Carnivorous Plant and Angel (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, colored pencil and ink)

Carnivorous Plant and Angel (Wayne Ferrebee, 2015, colored pencil and ink)

9

What a long week!  What with mad bombers and North Korea and taxes and sexy exes and goodness knows what else, I am totally ready to phone in today’s blog post.  Fortunately I have the ideal solution for a quick but fun post!  This year I forgot to celebrate Ferrebeekeeper’s 3rd anniversary.  For our first year celebration I published a group of doodles.  These are little drawings which I do at the Monday morning staff meeting at the beginning of every work week. This might sound well…sketchy, but I assure you doodling keeps me alert and allows me to remember what was said at each meeting. As you can see from the strange eclectic subjects, I think the whimsy and freedom of the weekend hasn’t quite worn off when I draw these.  Sometimes, during my lunch break I color my little doodles in with highlighters or crayons.  So here are 21 weeks’ worth of Monday morning staff meeting doodles.  These little throw-away doodles open up a world into the subconscious where our true feelings about the universe can be found.  Strangely these doodles reveal that I really like melting Middle Eastern cities of arabesques and angels (?).  Less surprisingly I love fantasy beasts, gardens, fish, and mammals.  I’m not sure why I love paisleys so much—maybe the sixties had a greater influence on me than I know (though I certainly wasn’t around back then).

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My favorite is the little purple pleasure garden where a flamingo watches a phoenix fly away from the ruins of an alien robot (below), but I also like the bat and the geometric widget beast relaxing by a tree at sunset, as well as the underwater city of sharks and biomechanical walking buildings.  Which ones do you like?  Please leave a comment–I promise I’ll respond next week!

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Root Doodle (Wayne Ferrebee, ink and colored pencil)

I’m going to steer clear of April Fool’s hijinks because today marks Ferrebeekeeper’s one year anniversary! Happy anniversary to all readers!  To celebrate, I am posting doodles which I drew during business meetings during the previous year.  Hopefully their silly nature will satisfy your funnybone and provide an adequate anniversary celebration.

Doodle of Dynastic Egypt (Wayne Ferrebee, pen and colored pencil)

This one year anniversary also provides an excellent occasion for the announcement of exciting future plans and for some remarks concerning the overarching structure and themes of this blog.  First, the announcement: I am going to launch my online gallery of my own artworks by the beginning of May.  I always intended this blog as an interdisciplinary means to provide context and meaning to my visual art—and yet I have never even shown any of my paintings or drawings to you!  For shame! So it’s time to grasp the chimera by the horns and post digital images of the finished paintings and drawings I currently have on hand. I hope to smoothly integrate the gallery of images with the daily blog:  ideally the two will combine to form a powerful and unique synthesis.  However,  the project is liable to be chaotic–and so I apologize in advance for disruptions and confusion.  On the plus side, I have been growing and improving as an artist so I am excited to share my works with you.  As always I am eagerly looking forward to your remarks and comments.  As proof of my earnestness I am publishing some scans of doodles I made during office meetings—but be assured these are only scribbles I made to pass the time.  I don’t have digital images of my real work yet, but my real oeuvre is coming soon to this space.

Blue urban caprice (Wayne Ferrebee, Colored pencil and pen)

OK…onward to some remarks about this blog itself:

The categories I have chosen for Ferrebeekeeper are the symbols I cling to in my quest for meaning. I’m going to explain better how they relate to one another. In the era before computers, people writing research papers or other large nonfiction works would keep relevant facts on notecards indexed by subject.  The daily posts which I put here are rather like such collected notecards.  I truly hope that each one is intriguing in its own right and provides you a daily moment of wonder at the beauty and strangeness of Greek monsters or wombats or the planet Mercury. But the interdisciplinary subjects serve a larger purpose.  There is a relationship between serpents, gothic art, and chthonic gods.  There are commonalities underpinning the lives of mollusks, turkeys, catfish, and mammals as they compete for resources and strive to reproduce themselves. As I put up my art gallery I will try to explain why I post about crowns (the short answer is I think they are funny) and how these jeweled hats actually represent certain important aspects of history and politics.  I will attempt to underline the relationships between these disparate subjects and explain how they provide meaningful frames of reference about the larger world.

Whimsical Doodle of City and Sweets (Wayne Ferrebee, pen and colored pencil)

I will leave you with the funniest of my doodles.  It portrays a handsome young mollusk cyclops wondering through a world of possibilities and enticements.  Things might not be perfect, but it still looks like he/she/it is having fun! I certainly am as I write this and I hope you are enjoying reading. Happy Bloggiversary and Happy April Fool’s Day! Here’s looking forward to another good year!

Casual sketch of a One-eyed Mollusk on Holiday (Wayne Ferrebee, pen and ink with crayon)

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