Gratitude for the Unannounced – The Future #2


This is yesterday’s future napkin.  


future 2


The Unannounced Life

My late father, Skeets Coleman, home from World War II, did not return to Iowa where he was raised but instead stayed in the San Diego area and operated the Del Mar Airport in the late 40s.  The secretary he hired? She, Dorothy Lee Powell, became his wife and my mother.  

My late ex-father-in-law from California, Dwight Johnson, was in military training in Vermont back in the Korean War era. He needed an ironing board and being the do-it-yourself type, he went to the local hardware/lumber yard to get a flat 1×6 piece of wood to use for that purpose.  The person who sold him the board?  She, Vivian Lambert, became his wife.  

In the 70s I transferred to UC Santa Barbara after having left a college on the East Coast. I got involved with a Student Christian group on campus.  At a Halloween party I met a girl dressed up as Pippie Longstockings.  She, Kathy Johnson, later became my wife.  

In 2000 my oldest daughter, Rebekah Coleman, left Oklahoma and went to St. John’s College in Maryland.  One of the first people she met, Patrick Evans, is now her husband.  

After my divorce in 2000 I started dating via online dating services.  Unbeknownst to me a woman, Linda Reynolds, divorced a few years before, also was dating online.  We had a date and 3 years later we were married. I gained a step-daughter, Caitlin Reynolds. 

In 2011 my 2nd youngest daughter, Chelsea Coleman, moved to Berkeley to escape the cold and dreary winter in Seattle while her then husband was deployed for 6 months.  She started playing music with various people.  One person she played with, Graham Patzner, became a friend, and after her marriage ended in divorce, they started to date.  

How the Future Arrives

My point in reciting this family history is simple. To remind myself that the future arrives unannounced every day. Whether it’s for good or bad, all our planning and organizing of life will never overcome that one inescapable truth.  When we understand and accept that, our lives become easier and happier.

The Result is Thanksgiving

One result of these unannounced futures is that I am now Papa Marty and Linda is MeeMee to Vivian Isabel Evans and Otis Martin Coleman-Patzner.  Another result is we are headed to Dallas for the Thanksgiving weekend to visit Caitlin and go to the Dallas Cowboys football game.

And for all those futures past, I am filled with gratitude and thanksgiving.




Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote by George Will, 1941-not dead yet, American writer and political pundit







The Belly Dancer and the Wolf – A Short Short Story



The Belly Dancer and the Wolf



The Belly Dancer was glad the final pose in her debut as a figure model for the art class was laying down.  She was also glad she could close her eyes because then she wouldn’t have to look at the hideously scary painting of a wolf that was on the wall behind her.

At the last minute she decided to get her scimitar and use it as a prop in the pose.  She knew it would create drama, adding an exotic and dangerous element to her character.  While she knew it was unlikely the artists drawing her would understand, when she danced she became Zaira, The Rose Princess of the Tribe.  She changed from being the dutiful daughter, the loyal office worker, and the meek sister into the strong and courageous Princess.

Chapter One

The room was warm and the pose was easy. Soon she had closed her eyes and fallen into a dreaming sleep.  She dreamt she was alone in the hot desert of North Africa. She was out searching for her little brother, who had not returned after a day in which he had supposedly gone out to catch lizards in the dunes with friends.  It was now night under a full moon and the family had spread out across the desert to find him.  She was given the direction due south, towards the small group of hills that made the southern border of their tribe’s land.  She was about a mile from their home when she heard the howls.

Chapter Two

Howling was not uncommon in her land but it was always far away.  This time it was very close.  She walked faster along a line of date trees that were fed by a small spring to the west.  She knew the trees would lead to the edge of the hills and that would likely be where her brother would go if he were stuck in the desert at night.  It was also where the howling had come from.  The moon had partially disappeared behind the hills by the time she reached their start.  She could see shadows cast by jagged rock outcroppings. It made for a disconcerting scene.

Chapter Three

Just as she was about to call her brother’s name she heard a rustling behind her. She turned to see another large shadow, also appearing to be of jagged rocks.  Then the shadow moved.  Then the shadow snarled.  She was able to see now that it was a large wolf, bristling hair high up on it’s neck and back. It’s head was lowered and it started pacing back and forth in front of her. Every turn it made it took a step closer as well.  She was able to see as it got closer that it’s mouth was dripping something. When it turned again and came another step closer she could see it was blood.

Chapter Four

She had been taught to hunt by her father, a rarity among the women of her tribe.  But he had told her that the hunted doesn’t care of you are a woman or a man. If they sense fear they will attack. He wanted everyone in his family to be able to protect themselves and anyone else in the family, no matter what they were born as.  She was thankful for her upbringing even when it meant she was teased by the boys and girls in her tribe.

Chapter  Five

She slowly put her left hand over her head and reached behind to her back. She drew out her scimitar from its sheath and brought it to the front. With her right hand she drew out the knife she had in her belt.  The wolf sensed his prey getting ready to defend itself and attacked swiftly. He ran directly at her, a distance of about 20 feet.  It took no more than 3 leaps before he was airborne with his teeth bared, aiming for her neck.  She was able to fall to her left as he passed over. As he went by she thrust upward with her knife, piercing his chest on the right side.  He collapsed as he hit the ground. A second later he was back up.  He turned, exhaling and coughing. She knew she had hit his lungs.  She knew she had but a moment to do what she knew was next.  Instead of waiting for him to attack she ran towards his wounded right side. He was not able to turn quickly in that direction and before he could get around to face her she had struck a blow on his neck with her sword.  He fell to the ground, his spinal cord cut.

Chapter Six

She didn’t have to take a second look at her foe. She knew he was dead. She turned back to her task, calling her brother’s name while running around the nearest rocky rise to see if he was behind it. She was worried that the blood on the wolf’s mouth had been that of her brother. She was prepared to see her brother dead and mangled somewhere close by.  When she came around the rocks she did indeed see a mangled and bloody body. But it was not of her brother but of a young lamb.  She called again as she walked deeper among the rocks.  A few moments later she heard his faint voice responding. The voice was above her. She looked up and saw her brother standing on a single pillar of rock, no wider than he was.

Chapter Seven

Zaira returned to her family’s home with her brother about 3 hours after she had left.  They were welcomed back with love and tears.  She told the story of her search, the fight with the wolf and how her brother was smart enough to escape the wolf by climbing up a high and precarious set of rocks that the wolf could not climb.  The family was proud of Zaira and told the story for many generations thereafter.


Zaira woke with a start when the drawing monitor called ‘time’s up, pose is over.’ When she opened her eyes the first thing she saw was the painting of the wolf on the wall.  She laughed at the wolf and told the assembled artists, “I just killed that wolf in my dream!”  They all applauded and thanked her for her heroic deed.




Drawing and story by Marty Coleman



Avoiding Your Destiny – The Future #1


My Morning Destiny

I woke up at 4:30am this morning.  That actually not that odd of a time for me, maybe about a 1/2 an hour earlier that my usual early start.  I could have stayed in bed another 1/2 an hour but my mind had decided on ‘The Future’ as being my next series and I needed to go write it down and start researching.  It’s now 11:30 and, in between checking posts from friends and families,  I’ve been working on preparing the series and on this drawing for about 6 hours already. 

When I found this quote today I realized I had just seen it within a day or so on Facebook. I thought it was something my friend Kimberley Blaine had posted but I couldn’t find it on her timeline so it probably was someone else.


Avoiding Destiny - The Future #1


Final Destination

Have you ever seen the movie ‘Final Destination’? It’s about a group of friends who do not get on an airplane because of a dream one of the group has while napping at the airport right before boarding that the airplane is going to explode and crash and they will all die.  The airplane does in deed explode right in front of them and they are thus saved from death.

However, it now seems they have cheated death. They were suppose to die and didn’t, thus the grim reaper has to go find them and kill them.  The movie is filled with crazy and convoluted ways people die. It’s gruesome and scary and funny and shocking all at the same time.

Your Destiny

Have you had this experience?  It’s not uncommon in both fact and fiction. There have been many stories over the centuries of people doing everything they can to avoid their destiny when it comes knocking, only to find it where they land in their escape. It’s not just about escaping death, but many other things as well; success, failure, family, aging, disease, fame, disaster, you name it and we can be adamant about trying to avoid it and it still finds us.




Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote by Jean de La Fontaine, 1621-1695,  French Poet



“A person often meets their destiny on the road they took to avoid it”

Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School – November, 2014


Figure Drawing

Ever since I was 17 and still in High School I have been figure drawing (yes, that means naked people).  I also taught it for quite some time during the 80s and 90s.

Often times artists don’t really want to take a class in figure drawing, they just want to draw the figure.  To fill that need around the country at art centers and museums and schools they have open figure drawing sessions. You pay a certain amount to cover the cost of paying the model, and then you just draw.  They have someone in charge of hiring the models and keeping time, but that is about it.


Zaira Amar 5

Zaira Amar – 3 minute pose


It’s Not What You Think

Most of the time these sessions are very staid and mundane. I don’t mean there aren’t great models and drawings being done but, opposite of the popular imagination, they aren’t lascivious bastions of libertine men and scarlet women indulging in pornographic excess.  They are models, male and female, with bodies of all sorts posing in academic poses that aren’t presented as sexual or titillating.


Zaira Amar - 3 minute pose

Zaira Amar – 3 minute pose


Dr. Sketchy

About 10 years ago a burlesque dancer in San Francisco, Molly Crabapple, decided to try something different to shake up this way of figure drawing.  She founded the Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. It really isn’t a school at all, it’s just a fun, recurring event that combines performance, modeling, drinking and drawing.


Zaira Amar 3

Zaira Amar – 10 minute pose


Lot6 Art Bar

Last night (11/15/14) was the first Dr. Sketchy event in Tulsa in many years.  I had wanted to go to it back when it was last active, in 2010, but never got around to it.  But I had an opportunity last night to go.  These are the drawings that resulted.  Nothing fancy or profound, just some fun drawings.  It took place at a very cool Art Bar close to downtown Tulsa called Lot6.


Zaira Amar 2

Zaira Amar – 5 minute pose


The Belly Dancer 

The model you see here, Zaira Amar, first did a belly dance, then sat for a total of 5 drawings, ranging in time from 3 to 20 minutes in length.  I can tell you, it’s not a lot of time when a model is nude, but put her or him in a costume with textures and baubles and jewelry and yards of fabric and it’s really not a lot of time! 



Zaira Amar 1

Zaira Amar – 20 minute pose



She had a giant scimitar sword that she held for a few of her poses.  I was worried she would drop it or cut herself somehow, but she obviously knew what she was doing with it having danced with it many time I think.




Comedy Included


In between the dancing and modeling there also was a stand up comedian, Drew Welcher. She was pretty funny, mostly self-deprecating about her sexuality and her body.  She got a bit raunchy, but I was busy drawing her and was actually only paying so much attention to her routine.   


Drew Welcher 1

Drew Welcher – Stand-up Comedian




The Burlesque Dancer


The other model for the night was Afsana Rose, a burlesque dancer.  She did a very cool feathered fan dance, then modeled for times ranging from 3 to 20 minutes just as Zaira did.


Afsana Rose 2

Afsana Rose – 3 minute pose


Draw What It Is Doing, Not What It Is

I got a drawing lesson many decades ago from a great professor of mine, Michael Mazur.  He said, “make your hand do what the thing you are drawing is doing.”  In other words, if the thing is solid and rectalinear, then make your drawing hand make those solid and rectilinear movements.  And if your subject is a feather fan, then make your hand make the movement a feather makes.  That’s easier said than done of course, but that is what I kept in mind as I drew her feather fan in these two drawings.


Afsana Rose 3

Afsana Rose – 5 minute pose



Afsana had a many tattoos, most of which I was not able to capture in the short time I had. One tattoo I had noticed and was glad I was able to capture was a spider web in her underarm.  All I could think about was how much it had to hurt to get it done!



Afsana Rose 4

Afsana Rose – 10 minute pose



Afsana changed costumes a few times. She wore a frilly sheer polka dotted light covering over a 50s style white push up bra in the pose above. Once again, trying to capture the action of that frilly outer garment was the key to the drawing.


Afsana Rose 1

Afsana Rose – 20 minute pose



In her final pose she was in what seemed like a pretty classic burlesque outfit. The preeminent feature was the very big feather boa.  But it wasn’t feathery in the same way as the fan. The feathers were blocky and squared off at the end, so I made that sort of movement with my hand as I drew it.  She also had long gloves on that weren’t too different in color from the boa so I had to make sure their texture and lines were sufficiently different enough to stand out.



At the end of the session the artists can submit drawings to be judged by the models. Each model, and the comedian, decide which drawing they like best and that artist gets a small prize. In my case I received a little sketchbook, something you all know I will use!  I also got free admittance to the next Dr. Sketchy, so that’s cool as well.

It was a cool and different figure drawing experience.  I made a number of new friends and had a great time drawing.

I might work on some of the drawings a little bit more. I am tempted to finish some, add color to others. We shall see and I will let you know!



Linda on our Eighth Anniversary – Sketchbook History Tour


My wife of 8 years, Linda, and I spent our 8th anniversary at the hospital.  We were married on 11/11/06 at 11am.


linda in the hospital


She had already been sick for 9 days at this point so I already knew we weren’t going to be doing a big night out. I was expecting to cook something up, something easy. But instead the xray from the day before came back and her bronchitis had turned into Pneumonia. Her Dr. requested we go get a ‘breathing treatment’ at whatever ER we wanted to go to.  That trip turned into a 2 day stay at the hospital and that is a good thing. She was able to get breathing treatments and IV antibiotics. 

We had Pei Wei take out for our anniversary dinner while watching TV.  That is what she is doing in this drawing, though she says it looks like she is calling to heaven to be taken away!  I told her not quite yet.  She said ok.


Drawing by Marty Coleman