Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Crossing On The Black Ball (Coho)

Another sketch from Jim's and my recent visit to Vancouver Island, B.C.   As we sipped our tea/coffee at a nearby table in the dining area of the Blackball Ferry, I noticed a woman sitting at the end table near the exit, who appeared a little distraught.  Another woman came and went periodically who seemed to be traveling with her, so I knew she wasn't alone, but was very distracted by her thoughts.   I couldn't help but notice the range of items on the walls around her that symbolized drama and crisis, so I gave in to the impulse to sketch the scene in my little Moleskine.  

As often happens, the face that came out of my pen onto the paper refused to be distraught and instead portrayed peaceful contemplation, so I went with it.  When I finished the sketch, the figure seemed more to symbolize a state of calm and equilibrium within an implied state of chaos.  I like it.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Juan de Fuca View

Jim and I were able to get away to Vancouver Island, B.C., for a few days, and it was a trip worth the long wait in ferry traffic hours (similar to dog hours, only without the multiple stick-tosses to kill time).  The conte crayon sketch on greytone paper above was the view from our cabin, through a two-story window.  The wildlife you don't see, came and went too quickly to draw (as well as some of the trees... what's with that?).   Point No Point Resort in Sooke is so worth going back as often as possible, even if one has to lie to relatives as to why you didn't visit them in Podunk, Nebraska, this year either (oops, sorry Aunt Mabel).   The labyrinth of trails along the shore that the Resort maintains was magical, to say the very least, and the weather transformed itself to accommodate our wildest dreams.   

And yes, the fish images in the clouds might be a subconscious communion with maritime dimensions as we haunted the driftwood- and basalt-furnished margin between the worlds, made possible by immersing ourselves in the electromagnetic field of the transformer, 15 feet from our bedroom window.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Coffee and Keyboard

Yesterday Jim and I had gone to Port Townsend to pick up groceries and order a case of gluten-free beer at the wine shop, but as often happens, we end up eating lunch at our favorite place, which sprawls into an afternoon just hanging out.  Our friend Marian had shown us this sweet coffee shop on the water that makes their own chai (yay), so I took Jim there.  While he was ordering his exquisite coffee and my chai, I grabbed a table and found an interesting model engrossed in his laptop.  I tried to make it look like I was sketching the pier outside, so he wouldn't feel his privacy was being invaded.

Most of the sketch was done with Daniel Smith's Prima-Tek watercolors, made with ground, semi-precious minerals, like Tiger Eye, Hematite, Garnet, Red Fuchsite, Amethyst and Green Apatite.  For the shadows and the fake "paper", I borrowed a little help from Inktense pencils.   Staedtler pigment liner pens for the ink outlines.  The foam in the chai was made with a white gel pen.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


An afternoon sifting through old family photos can certainly be an emotional journey, with each subsequent snapshot triggering memories that haven't been touched for decades.  This was a painting I'd given to a neighbor friend who had helped me move my children and my life to another state in 1984.  The subject reminded that friend of his family's farm and equipment, and perhaps it hangs in their living room still.  The painting has been long forgotten, and I hadn't remembered there was a snapshot taken of it until I found it in the box of family photos my mother left me.  The photo is badly aged and degraded as you can see.   But the darkening of it almost mimics the overshadowing fear and apprehension that tinted my view of the future around that time.   It reminds me of how important it can be to reassure that lonely past self that I am so proud of her efforts to build a safe and loving life for herself and her children, and how strong she was.  I am living the joyful and healthy future she could not see that her trajectory was shifting toward.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Today's posting won't include a physical image, only one of those little life epiphanies I had to share with you all.   One that an artist would appreciate, especially.

I ran across a reference by Rachel Berman (Canadian painter) the other day concerning "pentimento".  Not the first time I'd heard or thought about the term, but this was the first time it had zinged my imagination.  According to Wikipedia, pentimento is:

 "...an alteration in a painting, evidenced by traces of previous work, showing that the artist has changed his or her mind as to the composition during the process of painting. The word is Italian for repentance, from the verb pentirsi, meaning to repent."

For instance, the pencil or ink sketches on a canvas that were the first images of the idea for a painting, and were evident through the brush strokes...  revealing that the artist changed her mind before the paint went on.   Or a previous painting painted over with a better idea.  

This word suddenly became a metaphor for instances in my life that had shifted from their initial intent, not limited to paintings or sculpture.  My life is a series of "pentimenti".   I now have a name for it, and it's respectable.  Endearing, even.  I can see my life as a series of minor masterpieces in a gallery, some upon inspection reveal mysterious fossils of the first impulse before an eventual paint-over.     

Monday, October 1, 2012

Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Tunnel 3

I'm thinking these "sketches" are taking so long I could get away with calling them "paintings".  As I mentioned to a friend, I'm probably in denial about this, and should just start printing them on canvas or matting and framing them.  To achieve the alluring depths of the tunnel, I used acrylic paint, but the rest of the "sketch" is done with 01 and 03 Staedtler Pigment Liner Drawing Pen, Derwent Inktense pencils painted with a waterbrush, and Winsor-Newton Cotman watercolors on a Moleskine book page (alas, not a wet-media sketchbook).   Oh, yes, don't forget the important white gel pen for highlight touch-ups.