Monday, December 29, 2014

Again With The Manresa Castle

Before long I'll be able to have a show of my own, entirely hung with Manresa studies.  Let's hope not. It's just so convenient when Jim is getting his allergy shots.  This time of year, I don't even have to leave the car, just re-park a little after Jim goes into the clinic, so I can have a better view.  Lord knows you don't want me to be sketching and posting the tailgate of the '67 Chevy pickup truck parked in front of our Prius.  Or maybe you do!  If I don't start posting something else, you all may just quit holding your breath for yet another Manresa Castle sketch.  But I do love making those tower contours, as well as the mysterious dark windows.  And the shadows of the stark, bare tree against the very old brick wall.  Must admit, though, I gotta get a new gig.  Maybe one day I'll check into one of the haunted rooms, and sketch!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Poppy Pods and Pebbles

I haven't posted for awhile, much shifting going on in my mind and life.  My studio is becoming more complete, along with my new laptop set up along with scanner and printer and almost all of my files (the hardcopy type), business and personal.  It's getting rather cozy and inviting in here, even though I haven't set up my tunes, yet!  

Trying out a new sketchbook currently that I ordered two of, a sweet, toned paper, hardbound book by Strathmore.  One in tan and one in grey.  I've spent some hefty money (well, not hefty, but still more than I'd like) on some new supplies, one of which is a good quality Kolinsky Sable watercolor brush I've wanted for a couple years.  It hasn't come yet, in fact that one is out of stock from Wet Paint and they've offered another, and maybe more superior one at a great sale price, too.  So Monday we will know for sure what's up with that, and it will be on it's way to me.  My inner child is actually Santa. She's so good to me in exchange for allowing her to play in my studio!

This is the first sketch in my tan sketchbook, done with Conte crayons, Faber Castel Pitt Pens, and a little Inktense watercolor pencil.  Though the Conte crayons are harder than most pastels, I think, they are still a bit messy, so I sprayed the sketch with La Tour Sennelier Fixatif before detailing with the pens and pencils.  

Poppy pods salvaged from our garden, a peirced beach stone and pebbles who came home with me for a better life.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween Bash In Ashland

A fellow klassmate in Sketchbook Skool lives in Ashland, Oregon, and apparently most of the town turns out in costume (some real humdingers, too) to hit the streets and party.  This online friend and her husband posted photos of themselves enjoying festivities, while in costume.  I got inspired.  Quick sketch with a Pentel Brush Pen, and watercolor.

Stalking Jim

Poor Jim.  His back has been in pain for days, threw it out a while back. But don't worry, it's steadily improving.  But Elsbeth's klass assignment this week is to follow someone around for a few hours and sketch them in action.  Poor Jim.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Cover Initial Mock Up

Our current Sketchbook Skool teacher (for this week) is Jean-Christophe Defline in Paris, who has inspired me with his wonderful adventure comic covers of family vacations, based on his long-time love of Tin-Tin comics (I think his are even better).  His name for them is Flin-flin.  Inadvertently he has given us an exercise for this week that was timely for me, as my novel was put on hold for months to enjoy participating in SBS klasses.  I needed a kick in the pants to inspire me again on my writing project, and this assignment fit the bill.  He has us doing mock-ups of book covers in whatever way we like, which produced some amazing and diverse results amongst the students.  I realized that creating a mock up for my novel's cover would be sort of therapeutic, and help me to feel that it could be real, and actually be published at some point!  This is my initial effort, with much help from my wonderful husband on the printing part.  This was simple, old-fashioned cut and paste.  For a peek at parts of chapters, please check out last year's postings in October and November:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Our Moclips Adventure

Last week Jim and I had a pleasant little getaway to Moclips, Washington. I had not been there since 1986, when Neil and I had spent a few days at the Ocean Crest Resort for our honeymoon.  Nothing had changed. Much. A new and fancier restaurant, but it did seem the suite we stayed in hadn’t been upgraded since I was there, then.  The bed was new, though, and so comfortable!  It truly made up for the choking episode the first night, when the free-standing, ancient fireplace billowed and filled the rooms with swirling smoke, no matter what we did with the damper.  How hard can a Duraflame log be to light?

The scene had gotten even better through the years...even more heart-stoppingly gorgeous, with the added patina of storm clouds and the thrashing drama of crashing breakers, the foam torn and flung by gusts of wind.  Early morning woke us with the building shaking from thunder, the lightening illuminating our bedroom constantly.  Rain hit the roof deafeningly, seemingly forever. Even so, the late morning brought sunlight and refreshed the still-turbulent waves with a rich blue.  As the unusual tide retreated back down the beach, the wet sand gave the appearance of our walking on the sky beneath our feet, seabirds flocking by us, soaring with their own reflections.

This is the drawing I dashed into my sketchbook in tiny installments through the days before we headed home again in the rain.  Almost entirely done with Derwent Inktense water-soluble color pencil wash, layered on a watercolor Moleskine book, landscape page format.  With a little Staedtler Pigment liner pen for the birds, and the foam was done partly with the Uniball Signo White Gel pen.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Haunted Girl's Room

Our current teacher for our online klassroom is very inspiring!  Mattias Adolfsson is an amazing illustrator and one of this week's assignments is to draw our memory of our first day at school as a child.  Well, my mind drew a blank for that day, though I remember the emotional memory quite well.  Instead, I drew the memory of a situation in second grade, I think, when I was just sure the girl's restroom in our elementary school was haunted.  The idea spread like wildfire, and little girls being what they are, before long we were unable to visit the room alone.  When we did (in groups), there was much screaming and racing back to the classroom.  Soon other classes had the "haunted restroom" bug going on.  It took the principal himself to step in and put an end to such nonsense.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ghost Door

Recently a band of merry Sketchbook Skool classmates who discovered they all happened to live within a few hour's drive from one another, decided to descend upon Port Townsend and get to know one another.  And sketch the town.  We all arrived from our various points on the compass, had coffee at 10:30 AM at Better Living Through Coffee, and scattered to pick our fave subject.  Linda Tennant, Diana Jackson and I found a good area we settled into.

This is a view from the parking lot where The Upstage used to be, a wonderful venue that had many fabulous entertainers come and perform while folks dined on great food.  So sorry I never got to see Maria Muldaur perform there before they shut their doors.  Now it looks like a ghost town, other than the bicycle shop still in the complex. Off to the right was also the back door to The Undertown, one of our fave hangouts, sketches of which I've posted on this blog.  Also closed now.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rocky's Theatre

Jim and I attended the 2014 Port Townsend Film Festival last weekend, Jim as a volunteer photographer, and me as a tag along sketcher. The heart of the events centered around the Rose Theatre on Taylor, one of our most fave places to hang out. Rocky Freidman, the owner, happened to be sitting out front in the sun, enjoying the crowds, when I spotted him. How often does one get a chance like that, to sketch Rocky with his venue as a backdrop? He glanced over at me now and again, and then got up, disappointingly, and walked away down the street. Oh, well, no matter, I worked on the building facade a little. Suddenly, there he was, squatting down on my right, exclaiming, "Oh, my God! That's me!" He was excited, even though it didn't look like anything but chicken scratches at that moment. He flipped through the other pages of my Moleskine, and decided he would pay me whatever I wanted for that drawing, when I was done. I told him I couldn't tear it out, but would make him a print. He grinned, and I said, "My husband and I have had so many good memories at your theatre. I couldn't charge you, it's my gift to you." Well, it's done.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Papa's Handkerchief

I have been reflecting on my father, my relationship with him when I was a young woman (he died in 1977), and wondering how to honor him with my current work. The only things I have of his are this handkerchief, and a navigator's pin (?) he wore during WWII, when he was stationed on an aircraft carrier. 

My mother had done her best to raise me to be a good housewife in the '60s, so I was in charge of ironing and pressing all of my dad's shirts and his endless stack of freshly laundered hankies when I was ten or eleven. I felt so abused at the time, thought that was my mom's job, not mine. Funny the way an old, threadbare hankie can bring back such vivid memories.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fat Cat Lavender Farm

This was my result from the other day Judi and her friends and I sketched in the Sequim valley.  The ducks kept passing back and forth, giving us a sideways glance, wondering what the heck we were doing.  Maybe they'd never seen a sketcher before, and I had never seen a duck with a pompadour.  They were Peking and Mallard mix, and the one white one had a white puff ball of feathers on it's head (sorry, I added it after I scanned this image).  Strange, alien bird!  Judi had started quacking at them, and they each tilted their heads, like dogs, to listen.  After awhile, when I was done with the swing, Vicki came and sat in it.  I wish she'd done so earlier, as it would've been great to sketch a seated figure in the chair!  

When I sat to begin sketching, I decided that no matter what I did, that ancient, twisted, writhing apple tree had to be pivotal for the scene!  Judi is the silhouette under the tree.

This sketch was done with Daniel Smith watercolors in a travel palette, Staedtler black Pigment Liners, with a touch of Derwent Inktense watersoluble colored pencil details, on a watercolor Moleskine.  And some sweat.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Railroad Bridge Park Outing

A dear new friend and fellow Sketchbook Skool student, Judi Nyerges, spent some time with her fellow painter friends here in Sequim, last weekend.  They popped over from Whidbey Island, and stayed at the John Wayne Marina for a few days, a particularly gorgeous spot on Sequim Bay.  They were SO gracious as to invite me a couple of those days to hang out with them, all of us putting on to paper (or canvas) our impressions of some of the scenery this area offers.  It takes out-of-town artists, sometimes, for me to really see the place Jim and I call home! 

This is an hour's worth of my efforts of Dungeness River (well, not counting the time I worked on it at home), at Railroad Bridge Park.

Thank you Judi, Vicki and Chris, for a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Not With Hands

The more I play with this wonderful kraft paper (stonehenge), the more I am in love with it.  Such a far cry from the paper bag material we used to wrap postal packages in, back when I was a kid!  I can even watercolor on this, though it does wrinkle a little bit.

This is another homework assignment for Liz Steel's klass in the second semester of Sketchbook Skool.  An object around the house that has meaning.  Most of the students were sketching and painting family heirloom china teacups, but as the ones my mom had disappeared decades ago before I could even inherit one, I used my stoneware sculpture.  This is titled "Not With Hands", as there is no door handle.   She is one of the few sculptures I hadn't sold in the mid-'90s, and is precious to me as a result.  She's become one of the family, now, and stands on the island in our kitchen, all 20 inches of her.

The sketch is done with watercolor, with some white gouache as an "opaquing" agent, mixed in.  Details were done with a Staedtler Pigment liner (black), and Inktense Watersoluble pencils.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Souvenirs Of Earth

This week of Sketchbook Skool has been especially taxing, but in a good way.  Our teacher, Andrea Joseph, is an amazing illustrator, and I just HAD to buy her book.  Truly something I have to keep looking at frequently.  Maybe once or twice a day.  This week she has pushed us to do intensive sketching with BIC pens, or any ball point pen, or whatever combo of implements we have on hand.  Our last assignment with her was to sketch a collection of objects we might have in the house.  I wandered around our place for a couple days, looking at all the things that might work for that: Jim's little cabinet full of wine corks, wine stoppers, etc., wine glasses, antique silver spoons, what have ya. Beautiful and interesting things. 

I got to thinking about what was important to me, and what I'd like to immortalize.  I know, it doesn't really matter, I'm making a big deal out of it.  Maybe just toss some pasta on a table and grab my pen, right? But knowing how I love to have a little bit of emotional or inspirational connection with my drawings, I picked up various little stones, shells and bits of the natural world that climb into my pockets and come home with me from time to time.  Some have been old friends for decades.  Others, like the peacock feather, remind me of our cat family so recently gone from our lives.  They all looked like what I would take back home with me from this planet as souvenirs.  Or "souvenenirs" as the Other Worldly version of myself misspelled!  

I didn't think I could do the luminous colors and textural surfaces on these justice with BIC pens, I seem to be pretty horrible at using those, and need more practice!  I used a beautiful array of colored pencils Jim's deceased wife had left behind.  Stroke by stroke, the whole thing took maybe four hours.  The journal I sketched this in is an old hand bound journal someone gave me years ago, with ivory-colored paper.  Not good for water media, but really nice for pencil sketching.  There is some pen work in it, too, but not much, sadly.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Garden At Midday

I had tried to make time for days to paint this particular angle of our garden, as one would see it coming up the driveway from the road.  My kurrent klass teacher, Cathy Johnson, has us doing landscape homework this week, so I had a valid excuse to grab my paints, my three-legged REI stool, and my kit, and set up in a shady patch to catch the wide range of hues and textures.  It might've been better had I subdued the forest that is maybe 150 feet beyond, but I thought it'd be a nice dark contrast to make the garden pop.  According to many other students, it was a good idea.  This is done with Derwent Inktense Pencils, a waterbrush, white gel pen, and some gouache on a Stillman Birn Alpha watercolor book.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Feline Selfie

This is the final selfie from my assignment in Sketchbook Skool of A Selfie A Day.  Two from mirror, two from photos, two of continuous contour sketches, and one from memory or imagination.  Guess which one this is?  Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.3 and graphite on my sketchbook paper. Some fist smudges. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Selfie In Grey Tones

Nearly finished with klass assignments, this is the second of two sketches from photos of me.  This one was from a favorite photo of myself taken by Jim last year.  It was a dark and cold night, we were cozy in our reclining chairs, the lamps were low (this is not an introduction to a romance novel).  The prevailing color of the photo was DARK.  So I used a dark grey toned paper, and sketched with my varying grey and white Conte pastel pencils.  By the time I was done, I had more grey dust on my body than on the paper, but I was happy.  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Blind Contour Selfies

Koosje has also prompted us to do a selfie version that is a contour drawing.  Which usually requires that we just look in the mirror, put the pen to the paper, and draw our portrait without lifting the pen until we are done.  A great exercise, but I misunderstood, and thought we were doing this without looking at the paper!  She wanted us to maybe fill it in afterwards with color, but by the time I finished with my "blind contour drawing", the result was like a Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum display.  Oh, well, it's a lot of fun, might do some more!

Down Under Selfie

At the day's end, I finished my second mirror selfie homework assignment for Sketchbook Skool, Koosje's klass.  I was working against time, as the light from the sun was perfect, hazy bright, lending some drama to the subject, but the sun was inching toward the horizon!  I grabbed my Indiana Jones hat to create a little more visual interest, and again used my Derwent Inktense Watersoluble Pencils for the color wash, and Staedtler Pigment Liner, with a touch of white gel pen for highlights.  I so love hats.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Selfie In Graphite

Another semester has begun in my online Sketchbook Skool Klass Kourses (truly not a misspelling), and again, I'm so enjoying the postings of my fellow students from around the world, as well as working the assignments given by our delightful and incredibly talented fakulty.  Kurrently, this week our teacher is Koosje Koone (again, not a misspelling, she is Dutch), and she has us doing a series of selfies, at least one a day.  Some from looking into the mirror, some from photos of ourselves, some from memory, some from a continuous pencil like while not looking at the paper.  This was mine from last night, end of day light, in front of my flexible jewelry mirror.  Thank goodness it was a good hair day.  But truly, I am showing my age!  This was done in graphite on my Moleskine sketchbook page.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Making Friends With My New Book

I've finally made friends with my two month old Stillman-Birns Alpha watercolor book. My "page fright" had me avoiding using it until the Monkey would say, "Okay, now you are famous and proficient enough to make a mark in this." Ha! Is that ever going to happen? Not in this lifetime. So tonight, after downing a (gluten-free) ale, I turned on all the studio lights, and laid out the new book. Inside the front cover, I introduced myself to the book about Elsbeth McLeod's Life. For my pleasure, or for whoever might read it later. In this particular book, I will sketch and paint those things and events in my life that have meaning, maybe paste in a ticket stub, or pressed flower, or whatever, too. An imprint of what matters to me. Now I'm not so afraid of it. The other sketchbooks and w/c books I have were reserved for us being out and about, things that happen in town, or objects and people I witness that are relatively unrelated to Who I Am. Ridiculously scary to devote a book to my life!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

We've Gone Inside

Yesterday I had another chance to sketch my favorite building, Manresa Castle.  Every two weeks Jim goes to the Medical shortstay at Jefferson Hospital in Port Townsend, to get another installment on his allergy shots.  I don't always go with him (allergy shots are against my religion), but yesterday we wanted to stop by the paint store and look through samples for painting our front door.  We got there ten minutes after the store closed.  However, I did get another shot at Manresa Castle, and this time, actually went inside and sketched!! Phew! Big move!  Just so the hotel management didn't think I was skulking around with evil intentions, I asked the young ladies at the front desk permission to skulk...I mean... sketch around the premises.  They were fairly enthused about my doing so.  

I didn't go far, the parlor just off the lobby was regally appointed, and the sun came in just so... I found a cozy corner to stand in and laid my kit out on the table.  I didn't get too far when Jim called me to come back to the car, he was done and ready to go.  I did put in the majority of ink lines of objects in the room, and a little swatch of watercolor hue here and there to remember for later.  I finished the sketch today here and there between errands and interruptions by our handyman as he worked outside in the rain.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Artist's Trading Card Projects, Butterfly Poetry

In the online class, Sketchbook Skool, that I've been enrolled in, several of us have opted to form a little sub-group of ATC (Artist Trading Cards) swapping.  I've never done this before, have preferred to paint large, or in a small sketchbook when out and about.  For those of you who've not heard of these, there is plenty of info online about them, so for the most part, I won't go into what they are here.  But artists have been doing these for a number of years, now, all over the world.  It's both challenging and rewarding to paint this small (the size of a playing card), but I did pretty well for my first attempts, I think.  These are watercolor, with details in Derwent Inktense watersoluble pencils, as well as black Staedtler Pigment liner pen and a touch of Interference Blue, Gold and Red acrylic.   

Thursday, June 5, 2014

In Memoriam To A Furred Friend

Today our last cat, the most wonderful, coy and uber-feminine Duchess, left this Earth and our company.  She was just shy of 19 years.  We will so miss her, and feel so strange having no animals in our house.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Requiem For A Dead Junco

Poor thing thought my studio window was another, more inviting world.  But I couldn't waste the opportunity, so I immortalized her.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Reject

This one was problematic and I didn't think it looked so much like Tommy, but today I reworked it a little, and it's okay.  Water color and Inktense Pencil.  

He Claims He Is A Maniac

Though the first Sketchbook Skool semester is now over, a great many of the students are still enjoying sharing on our communal Sketchbook Skool private Facebook page.  Our final teacher was Tommy Kane, a whacky illustrator, author and long-time advertising art director, as well as a producer of some pretty entertaining videos of his travels and his sketch journals.  It was a very enjoyable klass (not a misspelling), so much so I purchased his new book!  He had us all drawing our kitchens, the results of which I will post maybe tomorrow.  At any rate, during this "summer skool" break, several of the students were trying their hand at doing Tommy's portrait in whatever their favorite medium was.  It became contagious, and soon the FB page was filled with amazing postings of student's creative and wonderful drawings of Tommy.  He loved them, started collecting them, and says he will publish them in his next book.  That would be a hoot!  Today I finally got some time to finish my version of Tommy from a photo he'd sent each of us.  I couldn't make up my mind which medium to use, so the sketch is in graphite, watercolor and Derwent Inktense Pencil wash.  

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Street You Should've Grown Up On

Linda, another new sketching buddy, met me for lunch in Port Townsend today. She had a friend with a historic home near Chetzemoka Park, so we drove up there and wandered the street near the friend's house.  I dropped my pack, opened up my new REI campstool, and began sketching yet another heartbreakingly sweet neighborhood in PT.  It was a perfect day for it. you see faces in the tree branches?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Leisurely Progress

Today the cat was not in the mood to hold still much, and laid around in lumpy, boring poses, and the squirrels and deer weren't showing their faces. I thought I'd take a break from fast-moving subjects, and work with a very slow-moving critter for once. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Tiger Stripes

Jim and I had a rambunctious three hours with grandkids today while their mom was at a show, selling her handmade jewelry. Of course, as they have cats, too, I was happy to bring in my sketchpack. I'm still enjoying the online Sketchbook Skool klasses, and the current one has us drawing animals. Little Shyloh, the almost-five-year-old, was immediately thrilled for me to pull out the Moleskines, as she's been instrumental at choosing my colors for Inktense sketches in the past, and she so loves my sketches. She has an amazing color sense! She squints and reads the colors on the side of the pencil before handing them over to me. I enlisted her help as I tried to figure out the complex colors on the back of Trixie, their sort-of-tabby-female-that-brings-home-whole-rabbits. Before long, my pencil box was between Shyoh and her brother, each snatching colors out of the tin to wash the rich, intense jewel-tones onto their drawings! They won't find those pencils at Walmart!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Circle of Life

This week's teacher on Sketchbook Skool has assigned that we do grids.  Grids and vegetables, and many of the students have been struggling with that task, and others do really well with it.  I've been one of the struggling ones, I'm afraid.  After days of getting distracted with...well, you saw the previous posting...other sorts of drawings, this morning I realized I DO grids.  Just grids my own way.  And the vegetables in the fridge look sad, as do the lackluster fruit in the bowl.  However, this large clamshell a dear friend picked up and handed to me from the beach on Cumberland Island off the coast of Georgia has been lying around the house for years, with other shells and beach pebbles nestled inside.  For me, it's like a little sumptuous snack for the soul, always tempting me to pick it up and fondle it.  

So this morning I snipped a young branch off of the garnet Japanese Maple by the porch, and sat down to do a "quick" sketch of those together, using a sheet of stationery Jim had lying around from when he and his previous wife would make greeting cards from them, with their photos on them.  They make lovely toned paper for monochromatic drawings.  Well, three hours later, this was the result.  I'm pretty pleased with it.  *Note later...  I guess I'm a little less pleased, knowing that I misspelled "Spring".  My daughter caught me on it! Sigh, back to the drawing board.  Literally.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sea Monster

And now for something a little different...

This is one of Jim's and my collaborative efforts, and so far, we are so happy with our firstborn!  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Uptown Victorian

My sketching friend, Sharman, and I headed back to Port Townsend today to do some studies for our current online class (or klass).  We were trying to keep it simple, practice some washes and this old house caught my eye as we drove around uptown.  We pulled over, got out, and soon realized it was not a simple subject.  I'm not as happy with it as say, the Manresa Castle sketch, but salvaged some of it after I got home.  Sharman's was soft, much more sumptuous colors.  I've got to walk away for a day from this one, as it's looking more and more like The Bates Motel to me!  Our second sketch was a simpler view, the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Chetzemoka Park.  Maybe I'll post that tomorrow or this weekend.  But all in all, I feel I did a pretty good day's work.  And ate shrimp tacos at Owl Sprit. Wonderful!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Manresa Castle Revisited

One of my most favorite subjects for sketches is Manresa Castle, in Port Townsend, a local landmark and hotel.  As some of you have seen on this blog, I did a sketch some time ago (May 24th 2012), but it was another view, on toned paper, with monochromatic Conte crayons.  It was earlier in the year, the trees were bare.  And I drew it from the interior of our warm car in the parking lot across the street, while waiting for Jim to be done with his allergy shots in Jefferson Medical shortstay.  

Yesterday Jim was again getting stabbed with needles in each arm (poor guy), so I actually got out of the car and wandered over to the Manresa parking lot, and sketched with my tiny watercolor kit.  I was standing in one of the last few empty parking spots, so I almost got run over, twice, but I stood my ground.  I took the attitude that my work took precedence over their silly vacation, and glowered at them until they backed up and drove away.  Most of the window details, shading, and greenery went on that evening after we drove home.  One of these days, I'll actually have to go inside and see if I "sense" the oft reported haunting, or at least eat in the restaurant.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Late Afternoon Glint

Today's assignment from our teacher, Koosje, was to find a simple item and draw it fairly realistically with colored pencils.  It's been many years since I've used plain colored pencils that aren't water-soluble, but I began my search for just the right item.  I'm sure anything would've worked, as other students were posting tomato drawings that made your mouth water, translucent lemons, kid's toys, onions, eggs, etc.

My "simple" subject matter popped up this evening just before the sun went down, and I'd about given up finding something worth drawing with colored pencils.  An antique sugar spoon... or is it a jelly spoon?...glinted in the last rays of the sun from the window.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Clam Shack (Koosje's Online Klass Assignment)

Today I was well enough to walk down across our road to the property on the bay where a new-ish pier leads down to an old abandoned clam-processing shack on the water.  I've always thought the interior of the shack itself was spooky and sort of haunted-looking, and usually avoid going in.  I figured at the worst, I'd fall through the floor and end up in the bay.  At the best, an owl would explode out of the darkness and chase me, screaming, out the door.  But I'm okay with sitting up on the pier on my little sketch stool, the stiff breeze pasting my hair back, and drawing the forbidding doorway down below.  I was hoping for the company of the usual cormorants, kingfishers and eagles, but all I had today was a nervous-looking seagull.  This is done mostly in watercolor wash, Derwent Inktense water-soluble colored pencils, with some gouache over-painting when I got home to the studio.  I especially like the thick moss carpet on the roof of the shack, and the window on the opposite wall from the door.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Pharmacy

This was the last sketch I did for Danny Gregory's week of Skool (I keep spelling that right and have to go back and correct it).  I stood last night for two hours, holding the toned paper in my arms on a pad, drawing first with white gel pen, then, wishing I could capture the colors of the bottles, ran down to the studio and grabbed my gouache paints for the colored areas.  Gouache on toned paper is so much fun!  Tomorrow is the next teacher's klass online, Koosje Koone.  We'll see what stuff I do this next week as a result of her suggestions.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Jewel of the Forest

had planned to draw the old abandoned clam-processing shack on the bay across the road from us today. There would be Eagles, Kingfishers, Cormorants and other illustrious citizenry in attendance, I know, but I didn't make it any farther than our own garden. However, nature obliged me, as I perched on my sketching stool, by providing a miniature bird for company. This is my fourth Sketch of Danny's week of Sketchbook Skool. Instead of getting looser and more spontaneous, I've gotten more detailed and intense! What's with that? 

I'm just amazed at the tidal wave of folks all over the world that have responded to this online course!  Apparently there are over 1000 that have signed up.  I've made some very nice friends through this, and my creativity IS JUICED!!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sketch #3 New Lamp

Jim and I have purchased a new item or two for the house recently, including an antique Japanese jewelry chest (I may open it up and do a sketch of the rows of little drawers inside later) and the (not antique) Tiffany-style, peacock feather patterned lamp.  The coffee table they are perched on is also an antique, and together, the three with the their individual classic details made me absolutely HAVE to draw them.  Fortunately, these are in the bedroom, and I could curl up on the bed and draw.  I almost removed the stack of jeans and pants I've got folded on the table, but decided it made a great, domestic counterpoint, so the composition wouldn't look too much like a furniture store ad.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Today's Sketch

I'm loving this online class...  when you dish out money to study, you have permission to insist on making time for it.  So my afternoon was filled with pens, Moleskine journal, sketchbook, Inktense pencils and brushes.  Does life get any better than this?  Maybe actually traveling with my sketchbook would be even better.  Hmmmm.

Danny Gregory's Sketchbook Skool


I've enrolled in a series of classes (or klasses) online, hosted by Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene:, and featuring six weeks with six (I think?) teachers, with a playful, empowering and diverse course for those interested in sketch/journaling.  It looks like hundreds have signed up from all over the world, and all sorts of backgrounds.  Many are just learning to draw for the first time, some come from an accomplished background in the arts, but want to pick up new ideas and be involved in an instant community of like-minded creatives.  We all post our work and comment on each other's accomplishments.  It's pretty contagious.  Yesterday's videos were all by Danny, our first teacher in the series.  His relaxed, colorful, humorous journals and style are a big reason why I collect his books and have signed up for this ...."Klass".  This page is my first day's efforts of Danny's homework assignments.  Really, I'm learning a lot from the other students as much as from Danny!  Mostly, stay loose (tough for me), be free, be spontaneous.  And let go of the preciousness of the paper!  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Weekend With Creative Folk

I've just come back from a delightful weekend with two of my most favorite artists... our grandchildren.  
We indulged in a number of activities that didn't include slogging through the rain.  Some of which was video games, either on the computer, iPad or TV, some of which involved clipping pieces of prints of Gustav Klimt paintings, pasting them into drawings that were so not what Gustav Klimt was visualizing originally, some of which involved eye-hand coordination, some involved tickling.  Some of  the creativity was mine (as you can see), with the strategic guidance of four-year-old Shyloh, who was masterful in her ability to select the perfect colored Inktense pencil color for my drawing.  She even deciphered the tiny color names printed on the pencils.  Her proclamation that she would someday be a "Real Artist", proudly, was the high point of my afternoon!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Gilded Wine Bottle Abstract

I've been tearing small squares of 140# hot press Arches Watercolor paper and taping four of them (wet) at a time on my mounting board, then swirling and tipping Daniel Smith primary (as in: red, blue, yellow) watercolors over the surface.  I liked two of the four results, which I think are pretty good odds for spontaneity.  And of course, I can't just leave them alone, so I played a bit with Sennelier soft pastels once they were dry.  Just a touch on the blue and purple edges of this one, to enhance what was already there a bit.  I found a small bottle I'd begged off of my wine-collector husband, dug up a tall, antique liquour glass (heirloom), and did their portrait together with Derwent Inktense pencils in a dark red.  Highlights on the glass were pure, undiluted gouache white, from the tube.  A dear friend had gone through her deceased mother's stuff and found a lovely pad of gold foil from the 1970s and gave it to me, so I tore a bit to adhere on the painting.  I'm glad it scanned well.  One never knows how gilding will show up in a photo on a 2D surface!  It's been years since I've worked with gilding, and I remembered how frustrating it is to use as soon as I let out my first breath while laying it down.  Suddenly, it was snowing gold snowflakes in my studio.  It's hard to see, but there is gilded floral patterns around the tiny glass, which I put on with acrylic paint (I think it was interference gold) mixed with a "bronze" powder.  I so love mixing my media recklessly!  It's like playing, rather than working.