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: http://www.sketchbookskool.com/, 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!