As of this writing Hurricane Irma is pummeling the U.S. (especially in Florida) and the Caribbean. And this hurricane comes on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, which has pummeled Texas and Louisiana. Click here for a list of ways that you can help the victims of these two storms. I will update the list as needed.

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Recently some local artists decided to get together to fight urban blight by painting art murals on the abandoned buildings that dot Route 1 in Hyattsville, Maryland. Here are a few photos I took during my most recent trip to Hyattsville.

While I was driving around Hyattsville I found another one of those Little Free Library boxes.

One particular feature of this Little Free Library is that there is a small box that has tiny erasers that anyone can take.

As for the new Hyattsville murals, they can all be found on Route 1. As the sign in the next photo states, this was a project that was undertaken by a local design firm known as Green Owl Design.

As you can see, the murals are definitely eye-catching and awesome to see in person. I would recommend parking your car long a side street and look at all the murals while you’re walking around.

This next photo shows a bush that was planted in what looks like a recycled bathtub.

Located at the intersection of Route 1 and Hamilton Street is Polka Dot Park, which is a brand-new urban park.

When I was there that day, some of the animators who worked on the new animated film Loving Vincent, which is based on the life of Vincent Van Gogh, were there doing a special painting. By the time I arrived the painters had just finished and they were on the verge of leaving. They did their own version of Van Gogh’s classic Starry Night painting.

I made a brief stop at the Renaissance Square Artists Housing, which offers affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments to low-income artists.

One interesting feature is that this places offers its own version of the Little Free Library, with this one focusing exclusively on art.

Today I went back to the official Inktober prompt list where I saw that today’s prompt was the word “fat.” I started to think about this scandal that has recently hit the media. I usually don’t like to make fat jokes but I’m willing to make the exception in this case.

In case you’ve been sleeping in a cave, Harvey Weinstein, the founder of Miramax and The Weinstein Company has pretty much lost his career after both The New York Times and The New Yorker published exposes documenting accusations of sexual harassment and rape of numerous women—some of them famous. It’s a tale of ejaculating into a hotel lobby’s potted plant and asking women to watch him shower his massive overweight body. Reading the details of those allegations can be stomach-churning at times. Try to imagine Jabba the Hutt performing oral sex on Prince’s Leia against her will and you’d get the idea.

I’ll admit that studio heads preying on young would-be stars isn’t new. I’ve long heard jokes about the legendary “casting couch.” This link has an anecdote about how both child star Shirley Temple and her mother were both subjected to this kind of harassment.  What’s new is that the media and the general public are starting to take this kind of thing seriously. (Although there has been criticism as to why didn’t the media expose Harvey Weinstein as a sexual predator years ago since some of the allegations date as far back as 30 years ago.)

Over the years my then-husband and I have gone to many Miramax and Weinstein Company films including The King’s Speech, The Crying Game, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Madonna: Truth or Dare, Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, and many others. I even have a Miramax film, Clerks, on DVD. I’ve enjoyed the majority of those films but if I had known what kind of a person he really was, I would’ve been more reluctant to see them.

Getting back to today’s fat prompt, I had to do a Harvey Weinstein-influenced drawing since he is physically overweight and he’s not exactly the the kind of person I would ever be physically attracted to. Like I wrote earlier, I don’t like to make fat jokes but I’m willing to make an exception in this case.

During Labor Day holiday weekend, I spent the bulk of my time at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival where I purchased this songbook for $2 from the used books tables.

First Day of the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Using MuseScore, I rendered the first song listed in that book, “Elsie From Chelsea.” As I was looking through that book, I saw that there were songs that I definitely recognized, such as “Give My Regards to Broadway” and “Meet Me in St. Louis.” There was even one song printed in that book that I had already rendered in MuseScore, “Just A-Wearyin’ For You,” because I bought the sheet music for 25 cents at that vintage yard sale the previous summer.

So I decided that I would only use MuseScore for songs that seemed to be more obscure to me since most people know what “Give My Regards to Broadway” sounds like because there have been so many different recordings of that song. And anyone who has ever seen the Judy Garland film Meet Me in St. Louis would have heard the song of the same name.

I looked at the second song in that book, “Streets of Cairo (The Poor Little Country Maid)” and I didn’t recognize the title or the lyrics so I decided to copy the notes into MuseScore. When I heard the tune, I recognized it as a song my mother used to sing from time to time that went “All the girls in France wear tissue paper pants.” On top of it, I’ve heard the melody in numerous cartoons whenever there was a desert scene or a scene involving a belly dancer or a sexy exotic dancer. But the chorus to the “Streets of Cairo” song was unfamiliar to me because it suddenly changes to a slower tempo only to revert back to the familiar faster tempo when the next lyrics begin.

The Wikipedia has an interesting entry on that song and confirms that it has been known by other titles but “Streets of Cairo (The Poor Little Country Maid)” was the original title. Had I known that this song was something I actually recognized, I’m not sure I would have taken the time to render it in MuseScore. But I did and I even made a video where I threw up the original lyrics. Enjoy!

Later today I’m going to head over to the Bier Baron in Washington, DC to check out the DC chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. The DC chapter is emceed by a burlesque performer known as Reverend Valentine. She is mad about dinosaurs so I decided to do today’s drawing where she’s cuddling a dinosaur from Build-A-Bear Workshop while dreaming about the stuffed animal becoming a real dinosaur.

I based my drawing of Reverend Valentine from sketches I made of her back in 2015 when she was the model for the Baltimore chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s. (Link is NSFW.) As for the Build-A-Bear Workshop blue dinosaur in that drawing, he really does exist. In fact, Build-A-Bear Workshop has a whole line of dinosaurs and dragons that a person could have stuffed instead of a teddy bear.

For today’s Inktober drawing I went back to the official Inktober prompt list for inspiration. Today’s prompt on that list was “fierce.” Once again I went through the Figurosity site until I found this virtual model that I thought best illustrated the word fierce.

It wasn’t too bad drawing her. The hardest part was trying to replicate her psychedelic tye-dyed outfit. You can view the original model that I drew right here.

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Friday the 13th

Since today is Friday the 13th (with Halloween just a two weeks away) and since today I would like to catch up on some projects around the house that I have fallen behind on due to my recent cold, I decided to do a simple drawing of a black cat. Enjoy!

Friday the 13th

Benjamin Franklin

A house without woman and firelight, is like a body without soul or sprite.

Today my coughing fits are fewer and they have gotten less intense than in previous days. I started taking Mucinex last night so I think my new medication is working. Maybe I’ll get rid of the last vestiges of this cold by the weekend.

Yeah, I did another Donald Trump parody drawing for today’s Inktober piece. I’ve been feeling so worn down by the latest Trump drama coming out of the White House on a daily basis since January that I did this pretty cynical drawing.

A few months ago there was this story where Donald Trump had planned on visiting the UK sometime in the future and he insisted on riding in a gold-plated carriage procession once he arrives in London. Yesterday there were new reports that if and when Trump travels to the UK, his trip will be downgraded to a “working trip” where he would not meet as a guest of the Queen and it’s even iffy whether he would address Parliament.

I hit upon an idea as to how Trump could still get the royal treatment. I ended up shifting the location to France since it was the French who tended to execute people with the guillotine (I’ve never heard of the British using this) and Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette had ruled France.

I think I’m going to lay off the Trump caricatures for the rest of Inktober unless some new outrageous story warrants a new drawing.

There are times when I can’t believe that I’m actually sticking with Inktober when I tried something similar starting January of last year and I wasn’t able to keep up so I quit. So far I’ve done 11 drawings. I have 20 more drawings to go before I can say that I mastered Inktober 2017.

For today’s drawing I was stumped for an idea so I went back to the official Inktober 2017 prompt list for inspiration and I saw that today’s prompt is “run.” That prompt gave me an idea to try something that I had been meaning to try for a while.

For a while I’ve been seeing these ads in my Facebook newsfeed for a site called Figurosity. This site is a tool for artists which provides 3D virtual people to serve as models. The idea is for an artist to pick a model then pick such things as what poses the model should strike, what angle to view the model from, even whether the model should be clothed or naked. The artist then picks up a sketch pad and draw the model as a way of practice figure drawing.

So I looked through that site until I found a model who’s in a running pose. Here is what I drew.

This drawing was based on this model. I modified the colors of her clothes a little bit because she was originally clothed in all-black and I would’ve had a hard time differentiating between her different clothes since I only have one black ink color and I really don’t have the money to buy different shades of black ink at an art supply store.

I have to admit that I like Figurosity because it gives me a chance to practice drawing human beings. My area is so loaded with different figure drawing events using live models that I could easily go to such an event several times a month. The only reason why I don’t go more often is due to both time and money. At least Figurosity provides a cheaper alternative to continue improving my drawing skills.

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