Saturday, August 3, 2019

Summertime Sketching

I have stolen time to sit in the summer heat, listening to the cicadas drone and losing myself in drawing.  Drawing becomes a meditation as you tune into the many shades of green surrounding you, seeking the right colored pencils to capture the scene 





Queen Anne's Lace in a pint Mason jar shares the page with Naomi Shibab Nye's poem, "Famous." 


Foliage reflected in a pond in the state game lands.  


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Daylily painting

Day lilies


The summer rains have produced prodigious blossoms on the day lilies on my hilltop home.  Down by our little pond, a lovely clump of bright orange flowers inspired me to grab my paints, some (free) mat board and an easel, and create this painting.

I notice that the mat board absorbs more paint, but holds up well to being worked over with watercolor paints & brushes. Now I have a moment of summer captured for the howling winds of winter. That's the beauty of playing with watercolors. An afternoon of splashing paints on paper can still the sunshine and save it for a day when you need to be reminded that July will come again, and with it foliage and blooms and lazy summer afternoons. Blessed are we to have the privilege of being alive on days like these.

Painting down by the pond.

Monday, July 1, 2019

The Inspiration of Free Supplies!

A local framing shop went out of business recently, and a friend alerted me to the fact that the shop owner was giving away mat board, glass and framing materials (Thanks, Kerry!).  I hustled down to the shop, met the owner, Steve, and thanked him.  He seemed pleased to have folks removing the excess from his stock room, as the new tenant of the shop had already moved into the front of the space.  I primarily picked up a bunch of sheets of mat board, including this smaller piece of white mat board.

Something about free materials inspires free creativity.  A sense of playfulness and gratitude rises up, and you can experiment. The white mat board I painted this sketch on reminded me of illustration board, so I tried watercolors on it, and had good results.  No buckling or warping, and no need for taping. It didn't suck up excessive paint, but worked like watercolor paper.  I like the smooth surface.  

You can ask a framing shop to save you their mat board cast-offs.  Most are happy to do so.  You'll have a variety of sizes (usually 8" x 10" and smaller) and colors of mat board to paint on and create with (see the journal making post from May 14th).

 This watercolor sketch (no underdrawing) was made with a Koi Water Colors Pocket Field Sketch Box and Pentel and Kuretake water brushes last night about 7 pm.  The light was shifting, falling so I worked quickly to capture the deep shadows and highlighted foliage.






A Fresh Look for my Journal

Chubby with the finished journal

I keep a written journal of my inner life -- part writing practice, part sorting out my thoughts.  I try to write daily.  After reading The Muse Is In by Jill Badonsky, I was inspired to play with paints and create a splashy cover for the plain green spiral notebook I'm currently using to write in.  I used Dr. P.H. Martin's Liquid Watercolors -- I love the lusciously bright colors -- and just folded the painted paper around the journal, taping it in place with clear packing tape.  Simple!


Paints (in egg carton), paper & spiral.



The back of the journal

The finished front cover.



Monday, June 10, 2019

Catching Up!


Here's a collection of journal pages I haven't shared.

28 May 2019 -- Chubby napping on the porch. We've been inundated by the periodical cicadas this summer.  17-year cicadas sound louder today -- a steady droning presence in the woods.


29 May 2019, 6:30 pm -- Trader Joe's Parking Lot after work. "Pouring rain, crashing thunder, people running to & from their cars or walking with hunched shoulders under umbrellas.  The 2nd day of heavy rain in a row.  I forgot my umbrella, but I don't mind an enforced break to sketch inside my dry car.  Traffic is heavy right now anyway."


9 pm At home, after the rain, fog forms in the valleys.


Portraits of fellow commuters on the bus.


31 May 2019 Back at home at the end of the day watching Chubby in the evening light.

4 June 2019 Breakfasting on a kale and pepper omelet.


10 June 2019
Drawing of a Barn Swallow from my friend Brad's photo.








Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Election Day Sketches from the Firehouse


I spent today as an election worker, writing voter names into a little book.  Because today was a primary election, not many voters turned out to my little country polling place in the township firehouse.  During lulls, I read Hannah Hinchman's A Trail Through the Leaves, chatted with the three other women working the polls, and made sketches of the state park woods across the road.  I struggled to capture the varying leaf textures of each tree species -- big and glossy like the cucumber trees, fine and light like the cherry trees, and dense and robust like the sugar maples.  Even on non-artistic days, I'm trying to squeeze sketching into my life to keep my hand limber.