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.