Sunday, December 18, 2011

35 years between paintings - oh my!

Sitting at the coffee house early this morning as the sun is rising and a golden orange melon hue is on the east horizon, I look back at this past week and think about how I have fit in my drawing and sketching and realize it is starting - just starting slowly - to fit in a little better to my hectic life style.
On Friday, I actually was able to take a larger block of time and I did a painting sketch of fruit ( It was in the evening after a long work day, but I felt driven (with some goals that I set for myself that week and would have been disappointed in myself not to accomplish). The painting that I made was of two pears and an embroidered white linen napkin on an oak table (there an odd feeling the next day as I ate one of the pears for a snack, after spending so much time looking at it, turning it, positioning it as an actor in a still life, drawing it, and painting it in color). I had not painted with acrylics for over 35 years, I realized on Saturday. (It's really never too late to start again .) Way toooo long to not do something that gives me a feeling of wonder and joy. I gave the painting to Lyna for her birthday.

Why do we do that? Wait so long to do something, because we do not have time? Or because we think we are not able to do it well, so we can't start until we have more time to practice? It comes down to priorities for our time and that we really do have control of our time. We can plan to fit some things in by taking the time (planning time for it is the key with busy schedules). This week, for the first time since the 1970s, I finally feel the need inside to continue each week, each day with my passion - drawing life, sharing what I see with others through expressing it visually. Once you start, it does become a habit, a ritual that feels right to do as a part of your life.

Also, fitting in something that I rarely do but enjoy, was to go see a movie on the big screen yesterday. Hugo, by Martin Scorsese. It was meaningful with a lot of points to think about woven through the themes in the movie - family, orphans, the feeling of being alone or lonely, hope, danger, magic, adventures, dreams, dreaming while awake, courage, destiny and more. The one that stood out was fixing things, making things work even if it wasn't as we planned or perfect, and perseverence towards our goal (stories are never over, but continue on).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday eve musings

As I work online at the local coffee house on Main Street, I thought I would take a break to put an entry on my sketching blog. This weekend I was able to fit in several sketches and it felt good and I actually wanted to keep on sketching but needed to move on to other commitments.

I decided to take some time to do an ink sketch of Main Street and even though I have drawn some similar views, I never get tired of drawing the street scene again ( ).

As a real time sketch and not from a photo, it made me look closer at what was going on over time. People came and went, cars did the same as they parked in my view and then moved on. Sketching in real time makes one realize several things - how there are many things that come together that form a scene or experience and how quickly they can disappear. The buildings, though, remain as a setting for more experiences to happen at different times of the day, each with its own specialness and uniqueness to the individual "actors" in it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

End of November Sketching Notes

End of November Sketching notes

This month involved a couple of different exercises for sketching: an imaginary one-eyed monster in colored pencil, a combination portrait of my two sons in charcoal pencil and a building in a landscape (Dover Castle, England) in pastels. All were a challenge in their own ways, both in content and in the material used.

The challenge of doing a one-eyed monster was that I usually do not draw things from my imagination, much less monsters. So in trying to visualize a monster, and then a one-eyed monster, I thought of what does a monster mean to us and why do we have monsters and are they imaginary or do we indeed have some real ones. Then my thoughts continued with a monster with one eye and the ones that were in myths. The first that came to mind are the Cyclopes in Greek and Roman mythology. The next monster on my list was “Mike” from the 2001 Walt Disney movie, Monster, Inc. So one type of monster was very scary and fearful, and the other was one with friendly attributes. I decided to pursue the “scary” monster for my drawing, but really did not know where to start, except with one eye (given in the directions for the drawing exercise). While defining a monster to myself, I thought also about our inner monsters and how they can be “one-eyed” or those with one focus. My drawing became a monster that evolved out of a scribble – the eye first and then the other parts, several hands, and a flask for collecting the dreams of others, leaving them without hope. That probably is my biggest fear is not having hope and dreams to follow – so that became my monster’s activity. I named the monster a “dream snatcher” (

The second drawing is a combination of two portraits of my two sons. It is from a photograph that I took when I went out to visit them in Los Angeles and we walked out to the end of the Santa Monica pier and we stood awed by the Pacific Ocean. I titled it “Two Brothers Gazing at the Pacific Ocean” ( I have not worked in charcoal pencil since the 70s so it was an effort to try it again. I like how it creates contrasts of dark and light and will work with it more.

For this week’s drawing, our group was to use pastels. I have been trying different techniques with pastels – smudging and just sketching and this week, I kept to the sketch technique. I wanted to do architecture in a landscape, so I chose a photograph that I had taken this summer while traveling in England. It is of “Dover Castle”( I do like the colors of pastels and intend to also work more in this medium too.

It is inspiring to be working in a drawing group, because it keeps me obligated to turn in at least one drawing a week, based on the theme or assignment for that week. Being in this drawing group has helped me keep working in art (since it is easy to not find time, because there are so many other things to do too). The assignments have been varied and it has been interesting to be trying different mediums over the year. It is a drawing group that is doing a drawing a week for 52 weeks and it will end this December. I have enjoyed the different artists in the group and hope to keep in touch with them. Some of them are working on a traveling journal together, of which I am one, and it is traveling around and over to Germany as it is being worked on by members of the drawing group. It will be interesting to see the final art journal with all of our entries.

As the drawing group ends after 52 weeks of drawing together, I would like to keep doing a drawing a week and more as I can. I am also looking at posting more in Urban Sketchers - there are weekly theme assignments on their blog site too ( Their theme for this past week was old buildings/new uses ( Now they are introducing themselves this week - old and new members, so it is interesting to see who is involved in drawing urban environments ( This blog will help keep me working as I make entries to talk about the work. I look forward to more feedback too as I go.

Well, on to Week 48 of the drawing group work. More next week.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Becoming natural with using blogs . . . .

Again, I start to try to use this blog area. Life is so busy that it is difficult to be consistent in keeping up a blog. But I am seeing the value in it and will try to add something to this blog more regularly.

What inspired me is Dagi's blog.
I have been participating in a Drawing Lab that Jeannie ( put together for 52 weeks (for the year of 2011). In looking at her blog, Jeannie has a really nice landscape drawing on it below her books and photos (scroll down). For week 43, we all did a landscape and Dagi posted some on her blog website. It was neat to see it being shared and this gave me more encouragement to start working on my own blog site. The landscape drawings are very nice, and Dagi's adds a nice contrast as being a fresh looking sketch from her window at work. It is spontaneous with a lot of feeling. i like pencil sketches for their narrative value and detail.

More to come next week.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Getting started again - 52 weeks of an online Drawing Lab

To keep myself on a regular schedule of doing some sketching and drawing, I decided to sign up for an online Drawing Lab. This one was intriguing because it lasts for 52 weeks - the whole year of 2011, with a required drawing once a week.
You can see some of my posts for the Drawing Lab weekly drawings on Flickr:

This is some information on the Drawing Lab that I am doing the drawings for:

Drawing Class by Jeannie (Jewelry by Jeannie) ..... She says.....
"What if I told you, you can draw? What if I told you, drawing is fun-not scary? What if I told you I'm going to teach you how to draw this year like a real artist? You might be saying to yourself right now, "I can't draw," "I'm not creative." Nonsense, I said that too.

Having a foundation of basic drawing skills will help you in all of your creative work. In the same way that running a marathon can give you skills in perseverance, discipline, and focus which affect all areas of your life. So learning to draw teaches you to "see" and focus, developing your hand."

Go here for more information on the class.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I have good intentions to try to work on this blog and post ideas for discussion with others about drawing and sketching, but my schedule has been very busy. I will try to make time this spring. Another year has past?!? Where does that time go?