Blizzard of 2010's Biggest Fan

The car is snowed in, folks were trapped on the A Train for 11 hours, but Whiskey and I made the best of it at the Rockaway dog run. Enjoy the winter revelry!

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Taughannock Falls

Here is a shot of Taughannock Falls near Ithaca in NY. Not far from the highway and only a half mile or so into the woods, this very surprising spectacle awaits. Enjoy...


Have Sketchpad Will Travel

I'm in the habit of keep multiple sketch pads going all the time. Here is a quick one of a park where I walk the mighty Whiskey. I try not to get too involved, media-wise, just using gray scale markers to document what I see, or a charcoal pencil. Trouble is, these days if I head out to sketch, my hands get numb with the cold.

The drawings are of the quickest sort--almost gestural, but I like to work that way. Who knows, maybe at some point, I'll venture out with a canvas and paint. If you look closely you'll see Whiskey ambling across the page. She's not much larger than a pinky nail on the page,but fun to draw just the same. Enjoy!


Rockaway Beach: Two Days of Sunsets...

Today's sunset, without commentary...

Here was the sunset from Yesterday...

Republican Wave

Being the perpetual news junkie, I stayed up to watch the midterm elections and do a drawing for INX. Early on, it looked like a near rout of the democrats at even Obama's senate seat went to the GOP. So I thought to make the image kind of a direct representation--symbolically--of the news. I did a couple of other sketches, one having a democrat donkey wiped out in the water and another with the congress visible in the distance, but they just seemed to distract. Living on the beach now afforded me a little more direct experience with drawing the waves and the surfing pachyderm. I do like to draw elephants, they're wonderful massive things, full of character and texture. As 2011 ushers in the new congress, I'm sure the opportunity to draw more of these guys will occur, with--perhaps--a democrat donkey or two to boot too.

Halloween at the Dog Run

Got to the Arf-Arf Rockaway Dog Run Halloween pet event. Whiskey was, for a little while, batdog, but running and wrestling with the other hounds soon took care of that. While I'm trying not to have the blog go to the dogs, I do have a couple of links for anyone interested in seeing, downloading and uploading images of the event go to this link. If, on the other hand, you're into video, watch the goings on at YouTube.

Oct. Moon Over Rockaway

Just out this evening and got this shot of the Moon over Rockaway. I know its always up there, but I love to get a good shot of it. I guess it’s the amateur astronomer coming out in me. Enjoy!


Mother Nature Rocks The Rockaways

Crazy lighting storm opened up tonight. There was a ton of rain too, but strikes everywhere. I got the HD cam out and aimed it at the broadest area of sky and mother nature obliged with a bolt!

Here is a little addendum to the story of the strike. I got the image of the lighting bolt, but thought it a shame to have it all to myself. Thinking that Rockaway residents might find the lightning photo interesting too, I fired off an e-mail to the editor of our local paper, the venerable Wave. The Wave is New York’s oldest weekly paper and the third longest in print overall. Imagine my surprise when it ended up on the Cover of this week’s edition. Seems to have come out bluer in print, but you can still make the bolt out. The caption reads, “A fast-moving but intense storm moved through the region on Monday night, dropping large hailstones on some parts of Brooklyn and Queens, and lighting up the city like a fireworks display. Wave cartoonist Tom Kerr got this shot at Beach 105 Street from his Dayton Towers apartment."


This Week's Editorial Art

Here’s a quickie done for a small paper in the Rockaways. I had a bit of fun with it, but It would have been nice to have a pinch more time. The story was about how the Department of Education cut funding for busing. I’m looking forward to doing more of these local stories, perhaps featuring locations near to where I live. As it turns out, this spot is--with license--behind my co-op. There is even a bus that turns there! The proportions are way off though. The elevated tracks are no where near as high as that, but the picture does need a working composition.


Moon Over Rockaways

Got out to the balcony and did some lazy-man's astronomy. With the camera handheld I took this shot of the Moon over the Atlantic. It is a pretty clear night, but the subject is getting close to the horizon.

Here is a image made a day later. Still no tripod, but I was able to rest the lens on a object prior to making the shot. Much better--I think.



Here is a zoomify viewer of the Rockaway Artists Alliance’s 2010 Artsplash, an annual juried exhibition of Rockaway artists. I’ve a piece in there, but it is hidden behind an installation. Enjoy…


A Pan from the Rock

Here is a pan of Jamaica Bay from Rockaway Beach’s Wharf Restaurant.


Big Waves in Rockaway

As promised--no dog. Here is a snapshot of the waves at our beachfront in Rockaway Beach. I took this footage at the point where hurricane Earl was closest to us. The waves where pretty big, maybe 15 foot. If you look closer, you can see a couple of surfers trying to capitalize on the storm.


Diggy Diggerson

Whiskey goes crazy digging a hole. What for--who knows. Why did she stop? Your guess is as good as mine, but she was pretty “on task” as she was working her way to China. At this point, my blog has gone to the dog, so I’ll keep Whiskey’s shenanigans on the down low until October.


Crazy Whiskey and Friends

Here is a little video of Whiskey running. She is fast-fast-fast! Taken this Labor Day at the Rockaway Dog Run in NYC, NY.


The Dawg Knight

Julia will be at University come October, so we opted to give her a sneak preview of Whiskey’s costume. So here she is, looking out over Gotham, making the city safe from those who’d do pooches harm.

Say, "Hello" To My Little Friend…

So Val, Julia and a couple of her pals got out to see the Merchant of Venice at Shakespeare in the Park. After the show, the gang got a snap with the fellow who played Shylock. What did dad get to do? Look after Whiskey. Such is the life of a dad.

Al with Julia and Val

Doggone Tired

As is ever the case at the Kerr household, to sleep is to be drawn. In this post, I’ve included my sketch of the mighty Whiskey, snoozing up a storm. Is she dreaming of chasing a cat, a rabbit or simply eating up her weight in beef? Inquiring minds don’t have to know, but she makes a nice sketch just the same. It was made over a 20 minute stretch with conte´ chalk on a regular 2 ply sketch paper with darker values quickly sketched in with charcoal pencil. Enjoy…


Many of shots of Whiskey

Here is Whiskey. The beagley new addition to the household. Only 11 months old, she is still a pup, but is almost full size. We know she is a mix of dogs, but we’re not 100% just what the two are. Our guess is Spaniel and Beagle with a strong emphasis on the Beagle. While I didn’t know it when we got her, beagles are quite a breed of their own and while they’re a hound’s hound, they do require more attention than most. Here are a few photos of our little red friend. Enjoy!


A Courtesy Note...

Hi All. Just a quick courtesy note to let you know that Haloscan (my commenting service) has switched hands. My comments and rating features will not be available until I find a commenting service to incorporate into my pages. I like the third party commenting model as it frees me up to add content and not worry much about the technical end of managing a database. I'm looking for a new one and will put the comments--back where they were--after settling the hash on this. Sorry for the inconvenience, the problem will only be temporary.

Edit: Got the comments back, but my new service does not provide for ratings--only comments--so, write away.

Gotta Love Elephants

Here is a sketch I made about the Republicans blocking progress in Washington. May be a little heavy handed, but I sure like drawing them thar pachyderms. You can always find fun stuff to do with their trunks and bulk. I did put color on the finish for INX, but the line work stands out a little better this way--I think.

Scary Snowman

Made this scary Snowman in the back yard today. I started out making him convivial and happy, but he soon evolved a NY attitude. He's about 6 feet tall to boot. Just the same, I like the photo as it has lots of snowflakes lighting up in the flash of the camera. Perhaps the falling snow will soften his Frankenstein like appearance. I'll take a look at him tomorrow, perhaps the daylight will help.

Day two: I think Mr. Snowman looks far less intimidating in the light of day. I sent the image into a reader's photo slideshow at the NY Post and they put Mr. Scary snowman in with the comment, "A snow man fades into darkness." Today, his eyes got bigger, due to melting and the snow fall has seemed to fill him out a bit. I still like the falling snow.

The intimidating snowman & the friendly snowman.


Dust of Snow

Seeing it is winter, I thought I'd share this two stanza poem by Robert Frost. It might alleviate the blues.

Dust of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Robert Frost

St. John's at the Temple of Dendur

Busy during intersession imparting the cultural wealth that NY has to offer the students of "Art in NY," a class I instruct at St. John's. This shot was taken outside the temple of Dendur, a Egyptian style temple built by Petronius, a Roman governor. Dedicated to Isis & Osiris and local princes, it became a gift to the Met in 1978 when the Aswan dam was built. To get the full size image, click on the one posted here.


Julia as Paparazzi

One of our Christmas gifts for Julia was tickets to Arthur Miller's "A View From A Bridge" presently in previews at the Cort Theater. By way of second hand report, the play was terrific. Afterward Val and Julia exited the venue and got a photo of Liev Schreiber exiting for the evening. I'm glad she likes plays like this, I'm not too sure an outing to one of Miller's plays would have made the top of my to-do lists at her age.


Holiday Party Inx Style

Here are the intrepid INX members noshing Ukrainian food at their annual holiday party. Normally camera shy, the crew was caught as the camera was stealthily brought in by yours truly to document the merry making. Enjoy, but don't expect too much--Ken Burns this is not.

Public Service: A Chili Recipe and First Blog Post for 2010

If you like chili as much as I do, you have--no doubt--a recipe you like and use. My main instructor in the recipe is Valerie, who has, over the years brought many books with differing takes on the venerable stew and has taught me just what hot flavor can bring to a dish. What follows is the recipe I've evolved and use. It will serve 8-10 hungry people or about 14-16 less capacious eaters.


3 pounds cubed sirloin with fat trimmed off.
1 medium Spanish onion, peeled and finely chopped (I halve it, then use a mandoline to slice.)
2 pickled jalapeño, minced--depending on just how many alarms you want to set off add more.
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with a garlic press. lop the tips off if they're dry.
1/4 cup chili powder-Sounds like a lot, but needed.
2 table spoons of tabasco sauce--add to taste.
2 cups crushed tomatoes.
1 cup of minced fresh tomato.
1/2 cup tomato paste.
1/4 cup of minced fresh cilantro.
1 (15-ounce) can of kidney beans--rinsed.
2 (15-ounce) cans of black beans--also rinsed.
1 can of the Jolly Green Giant's nibblets corn--I've tried others, this is the best.
1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.
8 ounces of Strong brewed coffee--The "secret" in this and many other chili recipes. Use good coffee--arabica mocha java spins my wheels.
2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar.
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar.
1 tablespoon of salt.
3 fresh bay leaves.
1 teaspoon black pepper.


1. In a large, heavy pan (I use cast iron) set over medium-low heat, brown the beef (dry first with paper towel-helps the browning), stir if cubes start to stick to the bottom, about 20 minutes. then put it in a heavy 10 quart pot also under medium heat.
2. Add the onion, jalapeño and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.
3. Add the chili powder and stir well. Cook for about 5 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the tomatoes, cilantro and tomato paste along with the nibblets corn. Stir vigorously to incorporate and let simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Stir in the cocoa powder, sugar, coffee,vinegar and tabasco. Add the salt and pepper, taste and season as needed.
6. Add the beans & bay leaves, stirring gently so as not to break them. Simmer over very low heat for 8-12 hours. Note the heat must be extraordinarily low, just enough to bring things to a simmer over the hours. I use a defuser to offset the heat on our gas stove, this seems to work the best. Whatever else happens--don't let it burn. Serve with a dollop of sour cream in the center covered with shredded cheddar cheese (sharp) . Different meat can be substituted. I've used ground beef, skirt steak and sirloin. Using sirloin, stewing beef or skirt steak, you'll need at least those 12 hours to break down the fiber in the meat so that it flakes apart. Less time is needed of ground beef, that can be ready in an hour and a half.
Enjoy! Oh, and a very happy New Year to one and all!