Feb 28, 2011

Sketchbook Scans - 1998-1999

These sketches date back from 1998-1999 when I was living in New York, working at a camera store and having a great time being so close to New York City (the Metro North train station was right down the street from my apartment).

I can see the difference in my art skills today compared to these; another reason to keep your old sketchbooks, and date all of your sketches. You will be able to see the gradual increase in your skills.

 I usually sketch in pen, since I'm not at all worried about perfection; I'm just trying out ideas. Here I created a bunch of faces, not knowing what they would look like until I was done.

My favorite one is the first face in the third row. He has the most character.


Below: I used to go to Borders Books in White Plains, New York quite a bit and sketch the patrons there over a cup of coffee. People watching is a great time to stretch your sketching muscles.

 The Hudson River with Manhattan in the distance (note the Twin Towers which, sadly, are no longer there)

I sketched a couple of Pulitzer-prize winning photographs displayed at a gallery in Manhattan in 1998. These photos were taken during the Vietnam war.

Feb 27, 2011

Trooping For The Troops - Bay Pines VA Hospital

Trooping For The Troops is an event that honors veterans, to thank them for their service and sacrifices, and this is the third year the 501st Legion has done this event. The VA staff and patients look forward to it every year, and it is always a lot of fun, and rewarding as well.  This event was held at the Bay Pines VA in St. Petersburg during a VA barbecue dinner for vets. 

The VA always needs volunteers (I'm a licensed volunteer myself). If you are interested in donating your time or skills to the VA, you will find the payoff immensely rewarding and life changing. Click HERE to learn more.

(Note: signed releases have been obtained by the VA for all veterans and staff appearing in these pictures)

Click on each picture twice for a super-sized view

R2-D2 comes out of hibernation, and Imperial Stormtroopers take up position on the patio

 Below: members of the 501st and Rebel Legions emerge from the staging area

  Below Right: R2-D2 is such a flirt!


Below: this vet is a huge Star Wars fan, and has pictures and models of Star Wars and other comic book heroes in his hospital room. He had been waiting for us to come back to visit again.


RIGHT: This is Mr. Lindbloom, a decorated WW 2 veteran who has had an incredible life. During the war he flew B-17 bombers over Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. His plane was shot down, and he saved the lives of his plane crew by guiding his wounded plane away from a town, landing it in the countryside, thus allowing his crew to escape. Lindbloom was captured by the Nazis, however, and spent two years in a Nazi concentration camp as a POW, before the Alllies freed the camps.

After he was captured, a boy who watched the plane crash collected metal from the plane to keep as souvenirs, and years later, when Lindbloom visited Czechoslovakia to see the memorial erected in his honor, the boy (now a young man) gave Lindbloom a piece of the metal from the plane he was shot down in. It is mounted on a plaque beside his hospital bed, which also has models of B-17s hanging from the ceiling. Lindbloom won a Purple Heart and other medals for his distinguished service.

Not only that, but Lindbloom, after the war, suffered a stroke and lost the ability to speak complete sentences. Despite all that, he has an upbeat, positive attitude. You can see it in his smile and in his eyes. His wife visits him every single day at the VA. He also has a PH.D! This is truly an American hero and inspiration, and we were honored to see him yet again on this troop.


Below left: clowning around during a cool-down break


Above and Below left: This elderly veteran played the harmonica for us. He plays a lot better than me, that's for sure!

Below: After a rewarding and successful Trooping For The Troops, we went out to have lunch and celebrate another great troop. Being able to do these events makes life worth living.

Feb 21, 2011

Concert For Kaitlyn Fundraiser

The Tampa Bay Squad of the 501st Legion came out to help in a fundraiser for a 7 year old girl who has an inoperable brain tumor. The Concert For Kaitlyn troop is one of those special troops that the Legion lives for. There is nothing like the feeling of satisfaction you receive from helping someone.

As the event begins, an army of bikers descends on the field, showing solidarity with this brave little girl, more bikers than I've ever seen in one place!

 Darth Vader strides into the fray followed by Imperial Stormtroopers and clone troopers


The Galactic Empire soon begins taking prisoners!


Members of this troop take a moment to honor a fallen member, Marc Brugger, who passed away unexpectedly last year. It was a big loss for the 501st Legion in general, and the Florida Garrison in particular

The next day was the Tampa Bay ComicCon, a relaxing, fun event at which the 501st Legion had a table. A nice way to end the week-end.