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The blog serves as a collection space for a variety of musings and observations of the world around us...through the use of sketches, drawings, photos, images and videos...intended to be shared and to stimulate thoughts, ideas and inspirations...douglas wittnebel

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Lost and Re-Found Art of Blacksmithing, a post from GenslerOn

The first time I put on the heavy leather apron and thick, fireproof insulated gloves worn as protection by all blacksmiths, I felt invincible from heat. The sheer amount of wide, cushiony layers these items contain made me feel like I could walk through fire and not feel a thing. It was like becoming a puffy but updated version of a Ghostbuster. I felt more than ready to partake in my very first blacksmithing class.
Much to my surprise all the protective gear I was wearing was not enough to guard against burns. I learned this the hard way when I let one of my glove encased forearms linger near the heat. In a matter of nanoseconds, the heat singed my forearm hair, and the smell of burnt hair hung in the air.
A blacksmith's tools. Image © Douglas Wittnebel
The sheer amount of heat it takes to mold and shape metal is one of the most incredible things about blacksmithing. I recently took my first blacksmithing class with the Crucible team in West Oakland, Calif. As someone who paints, builds furniture, and even tinkers with robots, I consider myself to have a strong understanding of both the challenges and wonders intrinsic to DIY activities. But blacksmithing left me with a more profound appreciation of the sheer amount of energy it takes to transform raw steel into something useable. The intense heat and look of the massive and heavy gas powered forge, that glowing reddish orange light reminiscent of the sun, imbues a sense of respect into the novice student. Part of this respect stems from fear of getting burned, while the rest arises from the awe you feel standing so close to the source of energy that makes working with steel possible.
Blacksmithing challenged me by forcing me to think and design what it is I wanted to make while I was simultaneously heating the metal and hammering into shape. It’s akin to drawing or sculpting in space, except rather than working with relatively benign brushes and pencils you’re relying on the heat from a 2,000F + degree forge to turn one of the hardest substances on earth into a malleable, shapeable material...

Friday, April 3, 2015

...a Post about the illustrations and the book by Art Gensler

...a page from the digital file drawings from the process of book illustrations...
Here is a set of the developed color versions for the illustrations created for the chapter headings and section headers of the newly released book by Art Gensler. [ Art's Principles ]

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cityscape 9

Another version of the cityscape series, a set of paintings that explore the landscape of cities and urban environments ...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A corner of the wall drawing at Gensler Oakland

Another view of the inside corner from the drawing wall at Gensler Oakland, hand-drawn by the talented staff in moments of true inspiration...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Drawing on the wall at Gensler Oakland

Some additional drawings of buildings and landscapes have been added by the staff and myself to the temporary drawing wall in the Gensler Oakland office. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Creating and Blacksmithing and drawing at The Crucible

End state of the creative process of Blacksmithing session at the Crucible in Oakland, I found the need for sketching and drawing the ideas while hammering and flattening and twisting the heated state of the metal ...

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Gensler Oakland and new friends

Created a cartoon graphic for part of the welcoming package for staff coming to the new office for Gensler in Oakland...

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

First look at 2015, one of the shortest pencils in the world...

My first sketch for the year 2015, year of the sheep, a short, a very short pencil.

Cleaning out my old office and workstation in San Ramon in preparation for moving the business to downtown Oakland.  Exciting times ahead.  I found several short stubs of pencils and colored pencils tucked away in a drawer, each one bearing signs of long use and hints of history.  Oh if this pencil could talk, I keep thinking, and know that I will keep drawing everyday until my fingers wear out...

Grand Canyon Sketches 2009

Grand Canyon Sketches 2009
a selection of sketches from the Grand Canyon