Friday, April 24, 2009

IF: Theater

zdepski's sockpuppet hamlet in watercolor
zdepski's sockpuppet hamlet in pencil
Out of courtesy to the players and other audience members, I ask that you turn your cell phones off, or at least switch them to vibrate.

Hamlet: The ghostly voice of Hamlet's father speaks... or is that just the bag crinkling?

Hamlet seems speechless... at least until his next soliloquy.

watercolor, ink and gouache
click to make the larger

Monday, April 20, 2009


zdepski's sketch of canadian snow birds_5
zdepski's sketch of canadian snow birds_1
zdepski's sketch of canadian snow birds_2
zdepski's sketch of canadian snow birds_4
I live along the I-81 corridor - I use it daily, and in particular, during my trips north to New Jersey and Pennsylvania. One thing I notice about the spring season is the unusual volume of Canadians in gigantic RVs and F-350s pulling travel trailers the size of a minor third world country. The are coffing along a few mph below 65, towing a honda, mini or toyota behind them. The must be making BANK up there, or it's just that I only see those that can afford to travel like this. There are so many of them on the highway traveling, you'd think it was Ringling Brother's or a NASCAR infield procession.

Many of you along I-95 and other major corridors must also see them trudging back and forth to Florida. I can't be the only one to have noticed this...

So, I broke out my oversized sketchbook and knocked these out last night.

Sno Birds: pencil on strathmore, click to enlarge

dad's work

steven zdepski's fireplace in the baptistown baptist church
steven zdepski's woodworking detail on the fireplace in the baptistown baptist church
steven zdepski's woodworking detail on the fireplace in the baptistown baptist church
here are pictures of a fireplace my father had built in the Baptistown Baptist Church, in Baptistown NJ back in the late 70s, as a memorial to my eldest brother Greg. He merges his three passions here, a skill and deft eye for blue jingle stone masonry and his love of American Black Walnut and the lines of Colonial and Federal furniture. His carvings are heavily influenced by Chippendale, along with his own history of leather tooling. The subject of two of the carvings are Irises... the bane of my youth. rows and rows of iris beds... uhhhhggg.

It was a homecoming in a very real sense, since our family had sold the lovely stone house he had built for himself - I can rarely see that stone treatment.

He was in the shop for hours into the night on his furniture, after long days building as a mason... he was a driven fellow. constantly creating - a great role model.

did i mention he could paint?


Saturday, April 18, 2009

IF: Impossibility

paul zdepski's sketches of his uncle john in the casket
an impossibility - that this moment would come

an impossibility - that i could ever forget what he did for me

an impossibility - that i could forget his smile

an impossibility - that i wanted to say goodbye

pencil on moleskine pages - 4/18/2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Richmond Risks

Zdepski's two styles of painting, featuring Meth Text and Flawed Flotation
I've sunk a few bucks entering 10 pieces in the Richmond Virginia Illustrator's Club 3rd Annual Show. It's to be judged by Marshal Arisman, the creator of some very dark and moody imagery, and the chair of the the MFA in Illustration program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC.

Here's my thinking... I have two very different styles I'm pursuing. One dark and moody, dealing with addiction, vice and suffering... the other is zany children's work.

I split my entries into 5 Dark pieces:
Meth Text (shown above - click to make bigger)
Meth Mist
Harbinger of War (Death Angel)

The Light pieces are:
Flawed Flotation (shown above - click to make bigger)
A is for Ava
Pups Climbing on Ladder
Petey with Pox
Squirrel on Squirrel Action

Now, wait and see which, if any - get into the show. I can't draw any true conclusions from this, other than Marshal Arisman's tastes on that particular day. However, I think both ways of working have their merits, and I can't seem to leave either behind.

BTW, I just got my membership card for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Uncle John

- a short remembrance.

Uncle John passed away on Wednesday. He was a full 93 years old. Life long carpenter, builder, fisherman, hunter, deacon, ...pillar.

He was the oldest of my fathers siblings, two years older than dad. Born in Brooklyn, didn't speak English until the 3rd grade. Spent WW2 in training schools, gunnery, navigation, etc... seemed to never get off of a troop train and didn't leave the states.

Married Leona, grew a business along with friend Frank Dalrymple with the help of a mentor in the trades. Built schools, churches, government buildings and small county bridges. He gave 10% of his income to the church.

My eldest brother Greg drowned in Ohio 1976, while hosting my brother James and me for a month, Uncle John and Aunt Leona drove all night to be there with us, since our parents were touring the US and Canada and couldn't be located. He became very dear to me for helping me through that very hard time.

He bought me my first fishing pole, since I was always borrowing ones from my older brothers. He took me hunting for rabbits, squirrel, pheasant and deer. Every beagle he owned was named "Sam" or "Susie".

Leona died in the early 80s, and he missed her every day since. The years of grinding Terrazzo floors and cement dust caught up to him in these last 10 years, eventually forcing him to have oxygen and inhalers nearby. His quote to me was; "I dunno, Paul, don't get old..."

Well, he did, I hope to while living as committed and surely as he did.

A pillar and patriarch has passed from my life.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Big Daddy Roth

just an appreciation of the creative spirit - Ed "Big Daddy" Roth @ the Petersen Museum. This guy took "folk art" to the level of "high art"... look at those rolling sculptures!

200th Post: Painter 11

zdepski's digital painting of Marta TB, junkie
zdepski's drawing of Marta - Junkie
I bought Painter 11 from the Academic SuperStore at a tasty discount. I noodled around with it's basic settings last night, spending a few hours on a piece after dinner. The pencil drawing is older, from 2006. I felt it needed some "content", so i made two lungs out of the the letters, T and B - giving it a little theme. It is originally from the Junkie series, but thought a few deKooning colors would spark it up and give it some life. I worked with a pencil setting on the Wacom tablet, you can tell by some of the broader fades.

Will probably be entering it into the Richmond show... just because it's an entire group of Junkie pieces going in...

or NOT! hahahahahaha

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wolf Loves Pork

A very cool Stop-Motion animation by Takeuchi Taijin - I can't figure out if he actually printed all those photos out, or if they're pulled from a digital file and overlaid on blank white/bluescreen sheets.

Very clever - i love the swimming sequence across the kitchen sink.

Monday, April 13, 2009


no painting, no sketching, no brainstorms.

arrgh... i hate mowing my lawn. all hill, all long and always a chore. it makes me loose creative hours, but i have found that ideas have developed in my head while doing that mindless chore.

perhaps the worst of it is the neighbors are very house-proud and lawn-lovers.. hands and knees weeding dandelions. i've always hated gardening, and consider this an extension of that painful part of my childhood. summers were 6 days in the gardens... with the promise of a milkshake at the end of the year ($1 back then)... sounds a bit like Dickens, no?

i was able to move my SF paper forward a few paragraphs, but still need to get more background info on my subject. research is everything... tying results together is the easy part.

next weekend will be more focused.

I need to learn this on my guitar... My son and I sing the AHHHaaAHHHaah ahhh aaaaaahhhh! WAHH WHHAAA WHAAAA! around the house all the time, and this weekend was FULL of it. He's so funny when his voice cracks trying to hit those high notes. I bust out!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Junkies: Meth Mist

zdepski's painting of meth mist
To the many hundreds of monthly visitors searching my blog for Meth and recipes for how to make "Shake 'n' Bake Meth", I'm adding to the search results.

Mr. Shakey has just vaporized his last bit of brown sludge, sucked it in through a straw and held it as long as he could...


the last of the vapor escapes over his swollen gums. One more breath closer to the end.

-ink, pencil, acrylic on cardboard - click to enlarge.

Friday, April 3, 2009

IF: Talisman

zdepski's moleskine sketch of chinatown SF dragon celebration
zdepski's digital illustration of Puapualenalena stealing the talisman conch
The Lucky Dragon... Celebration in the streets of San Francisco. I witnessed a business changing hands with bunch of local dignitaries exchanging handshakes as children and young people were drumming and clashing cymbals dressed as dragons. They just piled into the street, closing off traffic. This sketch is reflecting that, with the SF cable car stalled as the dragon dance winds around. This is headed to be a painting, but I did it today, so I thought IF would be a good launch of this idea.

Secondarily, the illustration of the Hawaiian legend of Puapualenalena, Wizard Dog of the Waipi'o Valley stealing the Sacred Conch Talisman back from the evil, lazy U'hane demons while they sleep.

Top is graphite in my MOMA Moleskine sketchbook
Bottom is digital, coming out this autumn in book form.
Click them to enlarge

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Number 1

Niki Zdepski's winning poster design for recycling
zdepski's whiteboard sketch
Niki, son of mine and budding illustrator, has brought home the county-wide prize for the Recycling Awareness Poster design for the 2nd grade age group. He's proud as a peacock (not to mention his old man) but he wishes they would give him a trophy instead of a ribbon. I found a prominent place in our dining room to hang the poster and ribbon, but in the morning, we found an addition to the kitchen whiteboard. It seems the shoe-cobbler elves had drawn a picture of Niki in first place, Tilly in second and your truly in a disgruntled third.

The shoe elves will pay!

Congratulations Niki!

click to view them larger