As the name suggests, a view of opposing bleachers from below inspired this design. You can see the posts holding up the diagonal beams and the horizontal rows of bleacher steps. The railing at the top center marks a boundary with the opening at the top.

Probably the dominant form is the x-shaped cross brace in the lower 1/3 and horizontal center. Its much darker value calls attention to itself. The circle surrounding the cross is an extension of the small white hub in the middle of the cross.

The two other elliptical shapes on the left and right emanate from the hubs on the less dominant cross braces on the left and right. They provide a gradient in value from dark to light, similar to the central circle.

Van Gogh's Mulberry Tree painting provided the basis of the color scheme, although I did use some of the inverted colors in the color wheel.

The extreme symmetry provides a sense of balance and stability, which is what you would want with bleachers at a public ballpark, but the color choices add asymmetry with complimentary reds and greens changing places from the left third and right third of the composition. Think of these colors as competing teams in a ball game. This pulls the center of interest away from dead center, perhaps in an arc from vertical center in the left and right thirds, to horizontal center in the bottom third.

A few delicate lines emphasize the radiating energy from the hubs on the left and right cross braces, suggesting ripples spreading outward. Other lines tie the central cross to the upright posts on either side.

The multiple overlays and gradients, with different levels of transparency, provide color mixing and intensity shifts. They add a sort of "atmospheric" perspective that contributes to a sense of depth.

Also, the radial gradient on the central circle at the bottom suggests a solid sphere resting on a trapezoidal base. You could interpret this shape as an orb or crystal ball from Lord of the Rings.
This image uses a tetradic color scheme with cyan and blue, magenta, and green as the main hues, with touches of orange for accents. The dominant hue might be the cyan / blue family, as the cyan bag stripes and blue box occupy a lot of the area and the blue box is most intense. Also, the starburst in the lower left corner attracts attention and uses the blue hue.

I intended to evoke a party atmosphere with the discarded trimmings and give them a somewhat sinister feel with the magenta eyes in the doll faces. Those attract the most attention due to our innate facial recognition gestalt capabilities. Also, the upright panels leading from the middle foreground to the box at middle right direct the eye into that area. They look like jewels with the faceted light and belt-like attachment.

The starburst in the lower left corner sits next to and overlaps an elliptical sink, with a darkening center. The magenta ellipse sucks the light from the blue-white radiant source to its left. This resembles a black hole next to a supernova. The green tablet on which they rest may be our flat platform on Earth for observing such cosmic wonders. It floats in an ethereal sky filled with dimly lit clouds.

This design element sets up tension within itself via the starburst / sink ellipses. It also pulls the viewer's eye away from the dolls' eyes. The radiating lines of light from the starburst propel the eye back into the design of the bag. This also creates a mysterious inversion of up and down, as if we are seeing through the Earth to the Universe that exists all around us.

The three negative spaces moving diagonally from middle left to lower right represent the void before time and space came into being. They may also represent the nothingness from which we sprang and which awaits us after death, if you don't believe in creation and heaven.

The textured orange cord on the edge of the bag emphasizes that shape, which may be the most interesting abstract form with its tight loop in the center foreground. The bag handle and orange jewel also frame the center of interest in the box with the elliptical medallion.

Inside the medallion the low chroma / intensity emphasizes the glaring magenta eyes of the dolls. The deliberate zero chroma / intensity of the faces also challenges our preoccupation with skin color. The top doll is looking at the one to her left, while the one on the bottom stares straight at the viewer. The third doll on the far right casts a mind spell on us and you can see the emanating thought waves.
This image combines some elements of the reference photo with drawn shapes that mask and intersect with each other. The still life consists of eggs, tin cans with pop top lids, and an architectural model cut from illustration board.

My process started by constructing outlines of the forms that overlap and intersect with each other. I wanted ambiguity in some shapes, as if they were slicing into adjacent forms, such as the circular shape in the left third vertical midpoint, and the elliptical shape of the pop top in the right third of the foreground, which modifies the value of the hue in the tin cans behind it, revealing it as a low intensity red.

Gradients in pure grey on some of the cans in the left and on the eggs add some three dimensional solidity to those forms. Other more planar forms such as the trapezoidal elements in the architectural model use flat applications of grey, but these deliberately distort the values in the still life setup to make the form appear to project and recede at the same time, giving it a dynamic instability.

The eggs suggest reflected light from their containers, and seem to glow with an inner light as well. To me they represent the potential of biological life to reproduce once liberated from a protective shell. They also exhibit primal ellipsoids characteristic of Plato's Ideal Forms, from which our perceived reality springs.

The colors remind me of Rembrandt's last self portrait, with its rich reddish browns and pale ochres. The green of the background and foreground remind me of the awakening ground during the first appearance of spring, in contrast to Rembrandt's depiction of his worn out human incarnation near the end of its life.

The intense red-orange on the Pearl's Olives can label in the upper third and horizontal center peeks out from behind the circular can lid and the architectural model. The ghostly hand shape on the label acts as a secondary focal point, due to its human element. It occupies the apex of a triangle, with the dark shapes in the foreground forming the base.

The eggs and pop tops in the lower third of the picture circulate in an elliptical path that captures the eye, almost as if in orbit around the Earth. The circular inner annulus on the intersecting disk allows the eye to escape that orbit and travel on a tangent to other parts of the image, via the pull of the intense red-orange with recognizable letters in negative space. The rings in this annulus echo the face-on rings circling the planet Saturn, and the swirling colors in the inner disk could be the yellow-gold clouds the gas giant's atmosphere.

Areas of grey contrast with the colored haze and suggest a screen on which the image has been projected, as shadows on the wall in Plato's Cave, especially with the cans on the upper left third of the picture. By contrast, the reddish-brown forms of the interior and exterior surfaces of the cans in the foreground punch through the flat plane of the picture and into the fiery center of the Earth, deeper in the cave, as if we were explorers in Jules Vern's story.

The elliptical shapes in the upright can in the middle background pierce the cylindrical form and reveal the void behind, which could be the amorphous backdrop of a rainy day sky. Indistinct blobs of color float in those voids, providing the impression of a telescope eyepiece that tunnels through the clouds and into the Galaxy, showing the luminescent gas clouds that eventually form stars and planets.
Library display wall

Sometimes you just need a little push to get started drawing.  In this case it was two books at the Story Library that got me going, both with the title How to Draw Cool Stuff, by Catherine V. Holmes.   These books feature step-by-step illustrations that show how to develop drawings of various objects using simple shapes, such as ellipses.  It also encourages the budding artist to experiment with line weight and shading.

The Story Library staff used my drawings to create a wall display with the goal to get people to try sketching from the books.  They provided pencils and the books for sketching in the library activity room, and a signup list  for those who would like to take the books home once the display is finished.

The "Climbing Tiger" is the most ambitious drawing of the bunch, and involves multiple ellipses in its construction, as well as varied line weight and shading.  It looks kinda scary, which is cool.

The title piece, or "Piece of Cake", combines pencil with hard pastel.  This is an easy way to experiment with color.  It uses just think butcher paper as the support, but a light mist with acrylic paint using my airbrush was able to fix the pastel without buckling the paper, or changing the quality of the color.

home made perspective frame

Just as my hero Vincent Van Gogh used a custom made device to help him master drawing scenes from real life, my latest aid for outdoor drawing is my home-made perspective frame.  It features a 4:3 aspect ratio with grid lines that can help the artist orient angles and objects in the scene with similarly gridded paper on the easel. 

Looking through the viewing aperture guarantees the same point of view each time you check the scene, which saves lots of time versus trying to find the same view with a handheld frame.  This makes it easy to transfer lines from the frame to the drawing via the grid lines overlaid on the scene in the viewfinder, and drawn lightly on the paper or painting support on the easel.

The angle of view can be widened or narrowed by moving the viewfinder aperture closer or farther from the grid mask.  This is easy to do by twisting the large knob on the top, which racks the grid mask in or out.

The rubber bands can hold straight line objects such as wooden dowels or even plastic zip ties.  This allows you to precisely measure and transfer angles of important edges in the scene to your drawing.

Can you guess what this device served as in its previous life?  Answer: the focusing standard on an old photographic enlarger.