Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Simple Sketching Gear

Minimizing my gear for a day of sketching in the city required leaving lots of handy tools at home, and although I packed lighter than usual I still carried too much.

 These items went into my small Ellington purse: (no longer available)
  • 7" square Stonehenge sketchbook
  • Small Moleskine sketchbook
  • Pencil bag with 2 copic multiliner SP, mechanical pencil and stump, bit of eraser and Magic Eraser, mister, Pentel waterbrush.
  • Small Altoids tin with 7 colors, metal bookmark with velcro, used to mount the tin to the top edge of the sketchbook.
  • bit of terry toweling, cuff from sock, pack of tissues- all used to wipe brush.
  • large flat waterbrush
  • 2 Inktense pencils, black and sienna
  • Small water bottle
I carried my lightweight Walkstool and used it often, but probably could have found a seat on park benches, low walls, steps, or simply stood to draw.

Personal items were packed into the outside pockets (thin wallet, keys, cell phone, sunglasses, lipstick)
My little purse was jam-packed and it wasn't exactly easy to get to things. When working in the field I want to lay my hands right on the item I need.

I didn't use:
  • the tissues or the cuff. A bit of toweling is sufficient. 
  • pencil, stump, erasers
  • the sienna pencil
  • the Moleskine sketchbook
 I drank the water but could have done without carrying it since I could get water just about anywhere.
And frankly, for sketching I didn't need the watercolor kit or the brushes. It's just habit to pack them. I'm love color but all too often I mess up a good sketch by trying add color in the field.

Next time I go out sketching  I'll leave all the watercolor gear at home and I'll take a larger assortment of sizes of pens, from an .01 to a 1.0 and a brush marker, and place my attention on drawing and leave the paint for later in the studio. After this experience, and quite a few others, I hope to pare down to carrying just a small sketchbook (whatever I'm using at the time) and my pencil case with a few pens in assorted sizes.

Monday, July 14, 2014

July Sketches

I've spent very little time working in my studio this summer other than working at my desk/computer. However, I've been drawing every day this summer and enjoying every minute of it, getting outside and really looking at the details of the world around me.

Twice I joined Rene Eisenbart to paint in local gardens. This rose was done Friday and is my first attempt at drawing and painting a rose.

Then yesterday I participated in the West Coast Urban Sketchcrawl. We checked in near the Roosevelt statue in the Park Blocks and fanned out to sketch whatever caught our eyes. When we gathered at noon for a group picture and Show and Tell I was blown away by the amazing work that was laid out on long tables for us to see. 

St. James Lutheran Church
My first subject was a nearby door in a church. I was struck by the contrast between the two parts of the same building at St. James, and by the mysterious non-functioning doorway and  the way the beautiful old building contrasted with the strikingly contemporary white office structure on the left.

The Old Church
When we first moved to Portland I attended this church. Now The Old Church is used as a venue for all sorts of events, especially concerts and recitals. This drawing is of the porte cochere. 

After lunch we continued to work until quitting time at 4pm. The Portland Art Museum graciously welcomed all the Urban Sketchers to draw in the galleries, free of charge! I watched others draw, including a new friend, Darsie Beck from Vashion Island, WA. Darsie has invented an amazing sketching bag that has a flap that folds out to form a platform on which to rest one's sketchbook while painting/drawing. See it at his website

Quick sketch of my yummy lunch, tied together with a strip of deli paper.

Downtown construction
My last sketch, of a new downtown building with its massive crane and nest of orange plastic construction fencing at the top. I messed up the sky something awful by starting on dry paper on a hot dry day when even the water on my waterbrush dried almost before I could use it. 

I'm posting drawings like this so that someday, maybe 5 years down the road, I can look back and see how far I've come as a result of drawing every day. We'll see. I trust the process!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Published again!

What a happy morning when I opened my email Friday to find that Mary Nasser had published an article featuring me and my map collage paintings on her blog, Mixed Media Map Art!  

I've shown you some of my map art before but in case you missed it here's one of the pieces: 

Prairie Grass - Oklahoma

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My Art Illustrates a Magazine Cover

Illustrating the Cover Story

My art graces the cover of the current issue of Divinity, the alumni magazine for Duke University's Divinity School. Yes, I'm bragging, especially because it wasn't because of anything I did except for blogging about making art using my collection of road maps. 

The magazine's editor contacted me a few months ago asking if I would allow her to use four of my map collages to illustrate the leading article, "Maintaining Good Roads", in the Spring 2014 Alumni magazine. She had seen my work online. How cool is that!

If you're interested in seeing the article with other photos of my artwork or to download the article in PDF go here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Here are some recent drawings, done while on vacation. I'm drawing for several hours each day and enjoying every minute.

As I was drawing this building a man stopped to talk. He's the owner of the local bike shop, a former medical illustrator and flute player. I enjoy the people who stop to talk.

This is Mike's bike shop.

And next door is the kite shop, Once Upon A Breeze.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Drawing my kitchen

This week at Sketchbook Skool our instructor is Tommy Kane who is passionate about detailed drawings. The demo was of Tommy methodically drawing his kitchen so I decided I could do that, too, and I did. This is the one wall of the kitchen at the beach.  I was happy with my drawing until I started coloring the shiny black dishwasher. Maybe I'll just collage some paper on top of the black hole and have a place to journal.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Drawing stuffed birds and old dolls, Sketchbook Skool assignments

 I had lots of errands today, not much time to draw, and no compelling subject until I remembered my doll. My grown daughter thinks this doll is scary and won't even look at it, but then she never was one to like playing with dolls. I loved my dolls and cherished the few I owned. I only kept one, though, and only because of the dress she wore, one I made when I was nine... to match my sundress.

Golden Eagle

I had a wonderful time yesterday, drawing birds at our local Audubon Society where there are lots of stuffed animals who patiently posed as I took my time trying to nail the shapes and values. I also tried my hand at drawing live birds at the feeder and one perched on an attendants' hand.

 Another day I drew Lisa as she was giving me a pedicure. I wasn't happy with the drawing because it couldn't get the contour of her forehead and nose right, with her head down most of the time and rarely absolutely still. However, she was overjoyed and thanked me for drawing her. One never knows how something simple will touch another person.

When I started this blog its purpose was personal, to keep a record of the art I create each day. Somehow I lost my way and stopped keeping the daily record. I want to start again. While I don't complete a piece of art every day I usually do something creative whether it's painting paper, playing with my gelli plate, taking photographs, gardening,sewing, or even canning. I intend to do a better job of reporting this daily activity by sharing it here on my blog in hopes that what I do matters to someone else, too.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Show and Tell at Home

There's a long narrow powder room next to my studio at home which I use as my personal art gallery. I can change out the artwork whenever I get tired of looking at it because the nail holes don't show in the texture of the wall paper. The room has a north-facing skylight so the light in that room is pure and clear, and even at night there's enough light from sconces and the little lamp to see the work. In fact, I've toyed with the idea of setting up an easel under the skylight so I can enjoy better light as I paint.

I've noticed that friends make a point of going to the bathroom whenever they visit, whether they need to or not, and they stay a while longer than one would think.

We like this bright, slightly chaotic room though it might cause an interior designer to shudder.

I'm of the opinion that when one is an artist her own works should be more prominent than works by others, shown without either pretense or shyness. Put it out for others to enjoy. Who know, maybe someone will want to buy a piece. And no, there are no prices displayed.

I have other of my art throughout the house, along with collected originals by other artists. They're sometimes conversation starters and reveal a bit about the people who live here. Even my husband's study is papered with art, though none of mine. He likes realistic works, especially farm scenes so there's lots of scenic watercolors and art he's purchased when he travels, along with his collection of carved birds.

What hangs on your walls?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Haystack Rock and other recent collages

Haystack Rock
Haystack Rock is located off shore of the seaside village of Cannon Beach in NW Oregon. The groupings of rock which commands the attention of visitors is quite accessible at low tide and is a popular attraction for children and their parents who love exploring the tide pools at its base. 

Our family spends lots of time in this lovely spot and images of Haystack fill my photo files. It seemed appropriate to see how I might build a collage that incorporates my photos and uses some of my painted papers. The collage is 9 x 12".

Brother Oak
Brother Oak, 9x12, features my photo of an oak tree that grows alongside a small family cemetery on a hillside outside Magazine, Arkansas. The wintertime photo was a rather blah wintertime photo so I 'colorized' it with a wash of blue and added some green to the grass.

I continue drawing in my sketchbook, motivated by the excellent teachers of the first semester of Sketchbook Skool. It has the result of encouraging me to draw every day, sometimes with tools such as colored pencils that are uncomfortable to me. I'd rather slop around paint than sit tediously layering color with pencils. But I intend to try it all and see what I can add to my skill set, and hope in the process to develop better hand-eye coordination and ability to draw what I see.  Here's today's drawing: 
Morning Coffee

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sketchbook Pages, Week One

 I've drawn in one of my sketchbooks every day this week and I intend to keep it up. It's a bit embarassing to post my wonky drawings but this blog is, in my mind, a way to record my work and progress so it serves my own purpose.

I'm working in an 8" square sketchbook I made. The pages are an assortment of watercolor papers, all shapes, sewn together to make nearly full sized pages. I save all my paper scraps as well as paper samples (waste not, want not) and this seemed to be a good use for them. Some papers work better than other. This first page is 7.5" x 3.5" and is sort of the introduction page.



I did this page yesterday and am NOT happy with it. The pots are okay (I'm working on ellipses which are hard for me) but the pen I used wasn't waterproof so the minute I started adding watercolor the black ink made the page gray preventing me from painting bright colored tulips.

Perhaps you can get a better idea about the sewn together, pieced, pages in this example where the larger but shorter section on the right was zigzag stitched to the narrow piece on the left. I rather like the look.
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