Oct 15, 2017

Fresno Philharmonic

Today was the first performance of Rei Hotada as the new Music Director  of the Fresno Philharmonic, and we had front row seats for the event. It was fantastic. She was full of energy, spunky, and I think everyone was excited to have her. The "New Era Dance" was her first piece, and it was funky, but very loud and bold. The piano concerto by Natasha Paremski was outstanding and everyone jumped to their feet after her last note.

Oct 14, 2017

Dallas Willard

"You can live opposite of what you profess, but you cannot live opposite of what you believe." Whatever you believe about God or about yourself, or about life after death- your beliefs will determine how you live. And your beliefs are dependent on your knowledge, what you know to be true. Or at least, what you think is true. A person can think something is true and be completely wrong. His actions, then, being results of his beliefs, will be wrong actions because they are not based on reality, but on false thinking. The important thing, then, is to know reality, so that you can live in reality.

Oct 8, 2017

Bean Sprouts

I saw these guys working in Jakarta- it looked like they were working with bean sprouts, barrels and baskets of them, mixing by hand, vigorously, adding clean water, then more water, storing. I really have no idea of the process, but it looked like hard work. The area where they were working was in a dark, cool area, tucked away from the main road. The bean sprouts looked to be ready to add to a salad.

Oct 5, 2017


I would say I definitely have a different schedule these days. Both of our kids are out of the house, and although it is sad to not have them with us, we are happy with them for their independence. At the same time, my wife is in her busiest season of the year, traveling for her university, which means it's just me and the dog at home. This gives me extra time to work if I want, draw, play the piano, exercise, read, whatever- even cook, why not... Maybe that's something else I can learn. I put some water in a pot, added a potato, then a beet, some a couple cloves of garlic, some chunks of ginger, some leeks, and a few strips of bacon and squirts of hot sauce. Turned out fantastic. Maybe I've got cook in me after all.

Another Jakarta sketch

Here's a second installment of Jakarta, a view from the river side of the community.

Oct 3, 2017

Tangerang - Jakarta, Indonesia

On my last day in Jakarta, I visited this painted section of town, and was quickly enveloped by the people of this neighborhood. We happened upon it by accident, actually, but it turns out it is quite a famous little spot. I was given a tour of the area, introduced to a local artist, had a phone greeting from someone like the mayor, and escorted around to each of the houses and murals. From what I could understand, it sounds like a local mosque donated funds, along with a paint company, and this once very run down part of town was completely revitalized.

Sep 17, 2017

Vancouver Chinatown

Here's a little scene from a couple weeks ago in Vancouver, in the Chinatown section of town. I spent a little time wandering around, looking over the shops full of dried goods, and mulling through some of souvenir joints. This is the kind of thing I am attracted by- the little details with stories of intrigue. It reminds me of a few spots in Sicily that I would have liked to set up and sketch, had I time. The little balconies with a string of shirts drying and a satellite dish. Nothing fancy; just the signs of humanity that you find all over the world.

Sep 14, 2017

Packing for Jakarta

Getting ready to fly to Jakarta next week. Very happy for the opportunity.

Sep 10, 2017

Fort Langley, BC cottage

The village of Fort Langley is a stone's throw from Trinity Western, where our son has started his first year of college. The village sits aside the Fraser River, the same name as the dorm where my son resides. Going to school in Canada fits him well, and several times he remarked how similar it felt to Germany. We moved him into his dorm room, met his new roommate, shopped around for some necessities, hung out nearby for a few days, then eventually had to say goodbye. Returning home, we find ourselves empty-nesters. This will take some getting used to, but we made it a point throughout our marriage to do things together without our kids just for fun, so the habit will definitely help us out.

Sep 6, 2017

Vancouver, BC Chinatown

Here's a sketch of a spot in Chinatown, near a place where my son found a local skate park. There's a great hole in the wall there where we found some delicious pesto and pasta. My son started at college, so we are officially empty-nesters now.

Aug 24, 2017

Dolce Hayes Mansion in San Jose

Here's the Dolce Hayes Mansion in San Jose where we stayed last weekend. My wife got a great deal on a room there and we really had no idea of the beauty of the place until we drove up. A wedding reception was in progress when we got there, so we checked in and found an amazing place to eat in "Little Italy." In the morning we enjoyed the jacuzzi and pool before heading over to Davenport beach, where I fell asleep on the sand, listening to the pounding of the breakers. Stopped in Davenport for an ice cream, then headed home.

Aug 21, 2017

Henry's in San Jose

My wife and I are in that very emotional time of life when we send our kids out into the world. Our emotions are compounded in that both of our children leave the nest within two weeks of each other. My daughter heads to Long Beach where she will work and save money for grad school, and my son leaves for college in Canada. Our daughter left Saturday morning, so rather than walking back into our empty house, where we'd have to walk past her empty bedroom, we decided to get away for a night and a day. We ended up staying in San Jose, at the Dolce Hayes Mansion, a sketch I will post eventually here. We didn't actually eat at Henry's BBQ, but I just liked the look of the place.

Aug 15, 2017

Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary

It has been two months now since I began working at Fresno Pacific University. Here is a sketch of the seminary building on campus, which I see quite often. The seminary is part of the Mennonite Brethren Church. What I didn't know is that the church has three seminaries, one of which is at Trinity Western University, the school that employs my wife, and where my son will attend college.

Jul 16, 2017

Traditional Education

What worked in the past does not necessarily work today. Even if the content or the principles have not changed, the methodologies must be continually evaluated and adjusted. Kids today have many of the same questions about life and the world that they have always had; but there are new questions that need to be addressed that we never asked our teachers. To be effective in education we need to have our ears and eyes attuned to the cultures in which we live.

Jul 3, 2017

Captain Kidd the Concierge

There he is, Captain Kidd, had he been a concierge for Caribbean Cruises instead of a treasure seeking pirate. A kinder, gentler figure he is. Still the skull and crossbones topping his hat, but adept at customer service and always ready with clean towels and room service.

Jun 25, 2017

Hot Weather Suit

It's been so hot here in the Fresno area for so many days in a row that I decided to design my own hot weather suit. As you can see, it contains many useful features, including a global positioning tracking device if you happen to pass out from the heat in remote areas.

Jun 23, 2017

Crazy for Gelato

It's been a while since I've put out a drawing. I finished up a year of teaching, took a week vacation, and just finished my first week at a new job, working at a local university. This is the first time I've not been in a classroom in something like 25 years. The weather has been scorching hot, usually around 108 degrees, which makes our pool feel like bathwater and our grass feel like velcro. So, to get my mind on cooler things, I decided to draw a welcome sight on hot days in Italy- a gelato joint. How wonderful it sounds, even now.

Jun 15, 2017

Greeting Cards

Here is a sampling of some greeting cards I put together recently. They are good quality blank cards. These happen to feature the city of Fresno, but I also have cards featuring nice little spots in Europe as well. I think I'll get these organized and try to sell some around town and perhaps online if some interest is shown. If nothing else, I will enjoy using them myself for thank you cards!

May 14, 2017

More changes

Life is full of changes, and it seems like our family is on the brink of so many right now. You just feel like you are settling into normalcy, and then it happens again, and again. Being comfortable with change is a rare attribute, and maybe not even admirable much of the time. I am happy to see my kids moving on with their lives, taking up challenges, becoming independent. Things will never be as they once were, but new adventures lie in front of us, and I want to enjoy right where we're at now as long as I can, and feel the excitement that's coming in the lives of our kids right around the corner.

May 6, 2017

C. T. Studd

C. T. Studd left behind a huge inheritance, athletic fame, and a life of privilege for a life of hardship, persecution, and poor health while serving the people of China, India, and central Africa. Like Moses, who rejected the prestige of the Egyptian court, he rejected the short-lived pleasures of this world and saw ahead to a higher calling and reward with one who sits enthroned above all earthly kingdoms. My son asked me to compose a song, so here is one of my first attempts, based on the life of C.T. Studd. It's called "Come With Me."

Apr 29, 2017

Siberian Husky

I'm spending a week in northern Idaho with my family, sitting at the bedside of my dying grandmother. It's been a special week together, thanking God for her life, and for the gift of life itself. I took a break yesterday to do a sketch of Zoe, one of Mom's Siberian huskies.

Apr 15, 2017

A Week in Hawaii

My wife and I just spent a week in Hawaii for her job. I tagged along and helped, but had the opportunity to get out about once a day to do a sketch, so these are the results. The top sketch was in Maui, near the beach where we saw some enormous sea turtles coming to shore to nibble the algae from the rocks. The next sketch shows a fishing boat near Nico's restaurant, where I had fantastic fish and chips- swordfish. The third sketch shows a surfboard rental place right there in Waikiki. The fourth sketch was retirement housing, the only thing I could find to sketch while waiting for one of my wife's short appointments. The last sketch was a quick sample of the view from our hotel, although it's just a small section of the grand view.

Apr 11, 2017

Honolulu, Hawaii

I'm in Hawaii this week, enjoying an amazing vacation, not doing tons of tourist stuff, but making sure to sketch when I can. Here's one I was working on over by the harbor where we enjoyed fresh beer-batter swordfish and chips. Unbelievable food wherever you go. I'm just happy to be kicking back as much as I can, reading, swimming, and hanging out with good friends. We're looking forward to heading over to Maui for a night, but for the most part just hanging out in Waikiki.

Apr 5, 2017

Fine Dining in Clovis

Clovis is a cowboy town, and every now and then you see the cowboy hats proudly worn by the locals. I'm excited, you see, because in just a few days my wife and I are taking a jet plane to Waikiki for a week. I'm ready for a break from teaching, just plain tuckered out, and she was heading to the islands for work, so I get to tag along. Good times. It's been 26 years since I was there, and that was our honeymoon. Although she'll be working, we'll be able to squeeze some dates in here and there, and I'm hoping to even get a few sketches in.

Apr 2, 2017

Fresno City Fest 2017

Yesterday we heard Andrew Palau speak and tonight we heard his father, Luis Palau. The good news of Jesus Christ was shared with thousands of people, and many came to believe. The concerts were good also, and the crowd seemed to like the music.

Mar 17, 2017

Let's face it

Let's face it, unless you push yourself beyond your comfort zone you will never get beyond where you are today. I very seldom attempt a drawing of a girl, let alone go at it with watercolor like this. It's very frightening, because success is so rare. I'm sure there are zillions of mistakes in this piece, and some day I will abhor it, but I thought I'd post it anyway and let it speak for itself.

Mar 15, 2017

Rothenburg, Germany

Experimenting tonight with watercolor a bit, putting loads of water on, and then loads more. Not my normal style, but it's always good to venture out. The ink is only the sepia with the quill pen again. Rothenburg has some nice memories for me, one of our first weekend excursions when we lived there, then later with family; playing cards in the guesthouse and getting scolded for laughing too loudly at 7pm. Freezing cold nights, walking around the walled city and imagining all the medieval stories that occurred there. It would be good to visit again some day, but perhaps I have other places on my horizon; the world is so large.

Mar 11, 2017

Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City

The weather is really warming up now. As the man on the radio said, "We're scratching the underbelly of the 80s already." I stayed up late last night to draw the Palace of Fine Arts, using the sepia ink I have been enjoying so much. My wife joined another tennis tournament and I think it's my time to start signing up now. I just have to keep my ankles in good shape. No fun getting old. I thank God I'm still in halfway decent shape to get out and play as much as I do. These tournaments are good for meeting people too, and they're pretty cheap to join. I noticed there's a doubles tournament coming up this month, and the prize is $10,000 to the winners. I should've listened to my mother in high school and joined the tennis team.

Mar 9, 2017

A warm breeze blows

One of the greatest feelings is the first warm breeze after the chill of winter. We're starting to feel it here already, and it's glorious. I played my best match of tennis ever the other night, and I think I learned something outside of the sport with it. Focus on each point. Whether you're serving or receiving, forget the past and let go of the anxieties of the next plays. Just focus on where you are at the moment and make that moment the best you can. If you win it or lose it, you have no regrets; only things to learn from it. I didn't end up winning the match, but I learned more than I ever expected.

Mar 6, 2017

University Village

I find myself sketching almost every square inch of Barstow Avenue in Fresno, part of my daily commute home from teaching. These apartments are directly across from Bulldog Stadium at Fresno State, and hopefully you can see the first signs of spring there, pushing some pink into the world. The morning was freezing cold, but the skies perfectly clear, promising afternoon warmth and bright sunshine. I love that it's March, and the days will continue to get longer from now until the 20th of June. Longer days means more sketching, more tennis, more swimming, more leaves, and more colors.

Mar 5, 2017

La Granja

This is more of a practice piece than anything, using a quill pen with sepia ink on heavy watercolor paper. The nib doesn't seem overly happy to be dragged across such heavy texture, but I definitely like the soft edges that you don't get with black pends. There were some moments of dripping that didn't bother me too much. In fact, had I left the drips on there it probably would've contributed to the picture well. Instead, it's too finished. Always hard to know when to call it quits.

Mar 4, 2017

Lenk, Switzerland

I noticed this sketch came up this morning on Facebook, as I sketched it exactly 5 years ago, sitting at the base of the mountain. Thinking back, I realized how many turns my life has made in the past 5 years. Packing up our house and leaving Germany... moving to the Bay area and saying goodbye to our daughter as she headed off to college... taking in a foreign exchange student from Japan... then moving to the Central Valley... changing teaching jobs again... buying a house... selling our house in Germany... getting our daughter back... life has certainly taken many turns in these past 5 years, and I'm sure many turns in the road are ahead for the next 5 years. But God is always there to meet us at every turn. Nothing occurs apart from his knowledge. Only trust.

Feb 25, 2017

Urban Sketching on Wishon Avenue

My wife took part in a tennis tournament today, but had a couple hours between matches, so I went down the street to look for something to draw down on Wishon and found this place. The day was warm in the sun, but downright cold in the shade. After the tennis we headed over to Jack's Urban Eats to celebrate her accomplishment to keep up with those high school girls on the court.

Feb 22, 2017

Fresno Fire Department

Today the Fresno Fire Department visited our school and the kindergarten class got to jump into the fire truck and shoot water from the big fire hose. The kids loved the experience and it took me back many years to when my own kids visited the fire departments at that age.

Feb 20, 2017

Oroville Dam Report

We live in an interesting time when everyone can be a reporter. Today while I was looking for information about the Oroville Dam, I found this guy named Juan Browne, an American Airlines pilot who just went down to the Grass Valley Union and got himself a press pass so that he could drive up the dam and interview the folks up there. He then did his own news show with his cell phone, talking about the condition of the dam and the likelihood of it overflowing and causing major damage.

Feb 19, 2017

Italia late afternoon

A three day weekend, again. It can't be any better. Working with the sepia lines with some subdued color today, dreaming of days gone by, traveling, lingering in places like this. Those days seem far away now, but you just never, never know. In the meantime, there are adventures to be had right where we are; and if you dare imagine, the adventures may even exceed the past.

Feb 18, 2017

India Ink High

I'm exhausted again, like so many Fridays. I can barely keep my eyes open. All I can think about is going to bed. And then I remember the bottle of Bombay India ink and the dip pen. Before I know it, it's one o'clock in the morning. I love this sepia ink, and it washes on, mixed up with some watercolor. Too much fun. This has been a hard year for me in many ways, but drawing and sketching have been a enormous gift, giving me a break from the stress and allowing me to just enjoy what's in front of me. I'm looking forward to more of this medium.

Feb 14, 2017

Bombay India ink

On the way home from work I picked up some Bombay India ink (sepia) and a couple fountain dip pens. I wasn't sure if the India ink would smear with the watercolor I added later, and it seemed to have no trouble at all. Part of the reason could be the paper I use. I like using the dip pen very much, as the nib makes very fine lines if I want, and I love the scratching on the paper. Nice experience all the way.

Feb 12, 2017

The Bridge Fresno

I woke up sick today, so my family went to church without me. I stayed home and sketched our church from a photo I had taken when the trees still had color. Here is where we were married 26 years ago, and here we call home, being with those we call family.