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Detail The art direction asked to include a specific piece of architecture, a weathervane that hinted at the name of the winery, and a landscape of California hills and vineyards. This was my first go at it. First attempt Okay, the designer liked it, the client liked it, but it wasn't quite right for the label. They wanted less texture, less brush strokes, less saturated colors, made to look a little old, more atmosphere in the distance...and while you're at it, loose the weathervane. I started from scratch and painted this.... I am honored that Bridlewood Estate Winery has my work represent their Central Coast Syrah and Central Coast Chardonnay. A shipment of a case of Sarah 2006...(to answer Bill's question from yesterday: I paid for it.) Cool that they have an engraved version of my illustration on the box. How cool is that? Ask your local wine shop to order some fo ...

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Last night the Democratic party kicked off its four day convention to nominate Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden to lead the party in this falls election and become the next president and vice president of our nation. The delegates were treated to a speech by Caroline Kennedy; a Ken Burns tribute film to the Lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy; a speech by the 76 year old senator, who recently suffered from a malignant brain tumor but made the journey to Denver to endorse Barack Obama; what I thought was a great speech by Michelle Obama; and capped off by Michelle and Barack's adorable girls teleconferencing with their daddy from Kansas City..... but I couldn't help notice that there was a subtext to the proceedings... especially if you were watching CNN....Get over it already! ...

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Ball point pen on the morning newsprint Growing up, I had a Great Uncle Nick who would captivate us with the tales of how he and his family escaped from Russia as a boy; Alexander Solzhenitsyn wasn't as fortunate. Having survived eight years in a Russian gulag, his Nobel Prize winning books chronicle the horrors of Stalin's slave labor camps. Solzhenitsyn died yesterday. He was 89. ...

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Ball point pen on the morning newsprint Some bloggers, armed with strong hit counts, have an over inflated view of their contribution to the public discourse and have developed an adversarial relationship with traditional media. I'm not in that camp. I'm a full time illustrator. I don't have the time, nor the budget to track down a story. I have never filed a freedom of information request. I rely on traditional media to stay informed, not just as a blogger, but as a responsible citizen. Some may have noticed the Star-Ledger's bylines peaking out from behind my daily doodles. The Ledger is New Jersey's largest daily paper. My brother and I had a Star-Ledger paper route as boys. and I've been a subscriber and reader ever since. In recent years the Ledger has won two Pulitzer Prizes and numerous other national awards, but like many in the news industry it's suffered financially of la ...

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Ball point pen on the morning newsprint Yesterday, US District Judge William Martini, sentenced former mayor of Newark Sharp James to a slap on the wrist, proving that in New Jersey, crime does pay. The corrupt pol was tried for illegally steering public land to his mistress and cronies and was convicted of fraud and conspiracy. Martini ordering Sharp to serve 27 months and pay $100,000 fine. ...

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Ball point pen on the morning newsprint Rich (Goose) Gossage was inducted into Baseballs Hall of Fame yesterday. Goose was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1970. After five seasons with Chicago and a cup of coffee with the Pirates, the hard throwing reliever came to the Yankees in 1978. As a relief pitcher, he helped define the modern day closer, pitching the final out to clinch a Division, League or World Series title seven times. The Yankees, with the help of Goose, pioneered the set-up/closer configuration that every major league team has used since. He was named an All-Star eight times, played for nine major league teams, but I thought it was fitting he entered the Hall of Fame wearing a Yankee cap. ...

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Ball point pen on the morning newsprint I seem to be referencing Andrew Keen's book alot lately, The Cult of the Amateur, How The Internet Is Killing Our Culture. As I've stated before, Mr Keen makes a lot of very interesting points about Web 2.0 and how bloggers are filling the web with unprofessional content. I have to concede, there is a lot to be said for having an editor. Take this story about a mayor of a New Jersey shore town and a blog he writes detailing his frustrations with out of town, undesirable renters. You would think that a public official would know better, but he wrote a few derogatory ethnic slurs about Staten Island renters on his blog and now he finds himself in the middle of a very big controversy. Surely an editor would have stopped him from writing said slurs, not just because they were hurtful but in his own self interest. Now, the voters of Belmar, New Jersey ...

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