Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Mountaintop in February

 The mountaintop to which I return often...
"Where the mountains meet the sea..."

Two sketches from the same spot,
but on two different February mornings.
I went there to breathe....
Now I go back to celebrate.
Spring has more meaning this year.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Color Wandering Close to Home

A friend asks: What are your "prompts"?
Perhaps that is synonymous with" inspirations". "Points of departure". What launches me? 

Yesterday it was experimenting with a new "professional" brush
 that was on sale at Rockport Blueprint 

I also was inspired by some fused, wild, quilted pieces that my friend Beth gave me. 
They got me going on some color combinations that I would not normally use.
I did not copy her assembled colors, but they sparked some new explorations.
Making cards for friends, always a nice spark.

I continue to Sketchbook Wander, & it is still my favorite art practice, 
sketches prompted by what is in front of me.. 

But FINALLY being allowed back  into my home, makes me want to stay here for awhile.
I am reunited with some paints & brushes that I have missed.

What launches YOU into a zone of creating with art materials or with writing tools?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Works for the Language Exchange Show

I have been away but where I have NOT been during this time
 is at the pleasant Petits Déjeuners at Portland's Language Exchange. (1st image) 
And not out hiking like the randonneur in the 2nd sketch.
 Nor on vacation in Paris, as in the 3rd.
I have been in some high stress times in relation to home repairs. 
I did manage to frame up some work for a show at The Language Exchange.
What most of the little works in the show have in common is that they have
French language text integrated into the sketches,
or English language descriptions related to my travels in France.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Morning City Café Sketching

It's been a long while since I've been able to 
do my early morning city café sketching. 
Saturday I started as a sketcher,
but ended up as part of the group's happy energy,
as one of them caught me, 
and came over to see what I had drawn...Very fun!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Back From Where I Came

This was my very first post...my old home grounds.

Destiny brings me back there often these days...

La vie est imprévisible....

I am sorry that lately I'm not able to leave notes on your blogs, 
Dear Correspondents.

For now, I leave you with this image which is very dear to me...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

More Color Grids

I love measuring out the grid with a ruler.
I love methodically filling the boxes.
I love the linear, sequential process
as opposed to 
my more intuitive, fast, & loose sketching style.

I created a new chart because of  
two new Winsor Newton tube colors:

Quinacradone Gold 
New Gamboge 

I was curious to see how they mixed with my other colors, 
and how they differed from one another & from:

Cadmium Lemon
Winsor Yellow
Cadmium Yellow
Cadmium Orange
Burnt Sienna

Making these charts is a fine way
to get to know one's paints. 
It's not just about the colors,
but also about the granulation & irregularities
that different paints produce when mixed, wet in wet.

Doing my chart reminded me 
of doing a jigsaw puzzle.
It asked me to be patient until the end.
It asked me to work through the repetetive parts,
even if they became boring.
It asked me to pay slow, deliberate attention to the parts
and to the whole.

No doubt the effects of this study
will show up in my next watercolor sketches.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Sending Pop-Ons

 Sometimes making a little picture 
with pop-on teacups,
to send to a friend, 
soothes the soul.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Making Foldable Books

 The workshop we attended (previous post)
was called "It's a Foldable World", (how cute is that)  
& was taught by artist Cynthia Ahlstrin. 
She taught us "Faux Japanese Wrap Books." 

Right at the start she emphasized 
"Handmade, not Perfect" 
 & we all relaxed.
"We're not stressing today," 
she would remind us from time to time. 
The model book I made in the class is the bottom photo. 
Above is my follow up book, made at home,
using little painted elements 
that have been hanging around,
just waiting for this!
 The interior is an accordion fold.
Don't use anything lighter than 70 pound paper.
(She gave lots of tips like this.)
These springy little gems come alive in your hands.
And they hold together without glue! 
And you can make them be cards with fewer pages
if you want!
Foldable Magic!
Say hello to my 3rd book. I'm going to be filling these
with French vocabulary, quotes & expressions
for my new series/project. 
More are already in the works.
 My very first book, done in class.
She brought such nice papers for us to work with.
Cynthia was prepared, methodical & yet spritied.
With her method, you couldn't fail! 
And she made me laugh with expressions like 
"It's about quicko-chango-form today, not about content.
Does everyone know what content means?" 
(Filling the pages was to be done on our own time.)

Thanks Cynthia & thanks to my friends for taking me there
and sharing the fun!

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Art Notes & Learning Journals

I've been filling my "Art Notes & Learning Journals"
with notes from books such as
Sketching People by illustrator, urban sketcher, 
Lynne Chapman.
The 4 X 6" Pentallic Traveler blank books
are perfect for this series.
And they have lovely colored covers... 
Pages of notes...
I always record the page numbers
from the books from which I'm noting.
And put the day's date on top of many of my journal pages...
I also use these journals for workshop & class
notes & sketches. We traveled 50 miles yesterday
for a super fun workshop 
on making "Faux Japanese Folded Books."
Inbetween the pages of directions & teacher quotes
(she was very funny!)
I sketched the scene before me.

During the ride over I noted some details
that I saw out the window.
Chapman and her book were a good influence:
Record essentials...quick is fine!
On the way back it was dark in the car.
The gigantic white full Moon accompanied us,
& I gazed without sketching...

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An Old Autumn Tree

Time away from the blog has told me: 
I needed to get back to my true purpose:
To remember why I draw.
I had gotten distracted, 
starting to think that it was 
about showing others, forgetting
my internal need for 
observing, recording, reflecting,
When I'm in my personal process,
knowing that I'm not obligated to show everything,
then I can also choose to share.

I sketched the tree out the window during breakfast
at my favorite bed & breakfast in Bar Harbor.
After, I had a lovely sketch walk 
along one of the carriage roads, 
with a friend,
a friend who is more familiar 
with what's happening in nature
than I am. 
We would stop, she would point out
what she was seeing,
give explanations,
while I sketched & wrote down her quotes. 
I too was in the mode of stopping & noticing.
Very very wonderful, a gift,
at this time of year when there is so 
much variety & change.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Autumn Changes

Changes as October hurries on. 
The leaves, blow & fly these days. 
Trees are  are partially dressed, 
arms & fingers revealing themselves more each day. 
Above, a sketch based partly on a summer photo 
of Somes Sound, Mount Desert Island, 
and partly (mostly) on memory. 
In the scene above, the trees are still
wearing their September coats. 
Completely from memory, 
that high spot I described 2 posts ago, 
on my way East, Augusta to Belfast by the horse farm.

PS. I replaced the sketch that was originally 
in the previous post.
Do scroll down to check it out...
A sketch of a sketch, the original served 
as a good reference for this one.
My own changes:
Creating more from memory,
 looking into my mind more.
I feel the change coming on of moving inward,
to a more private place. 
I have the intention to not post here for awhile...
On verra, we shall see...
I am hearing: "Follow your Heart," 
express your authentic self,
in the midst of so many distractions out there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Change of Scene at the Bookstore

After my university class in the "big city" of Augusta, 
I enjoy going to Barnes & Noble. 
I like to do a tour of the store & then 
relax with a latté in the café 
while going over class notes.

Yesterday 2 women were loudly discussing POLITICS 
loudly in the café:Ack! Serenity disturbed! 
So I took my cup to a chair across from the art section. 
The change of scene had a marvelous effect. 
I never would have thought to go there 
without this disturbance! 
I ended up receiving a flow of art ideas 
for my upcoming work, 
& while there, grabbed a quick sketch. 

Change of scene: A simple tool 
for making the most of a moment.
 Profitez-en bien!

PS (I replaced the sketch that was here previously with a revised version. A sketch of the sketch...)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Autumn Trees Shout Out!

My twice weekly commute to French class 
has been more enchanting than ever.
Each time I see different mixes of colors 
along a 40 mile stretch of road: 
Through woods, by lakes, next to fields & farms,
with distant small round top mountains 
to the north, east and south.
Heading East just as you come to 
the hilltop Seahorse Farm,
distant views emerge, of Penobscot Bay, Blue Hill,
and the hills of Mount Desert Island,
while peaceful horses graze 
in rolling pastures to your right.

I finally stopped at a little lakeside State Park
 to do some sketching.
The only other person there, 
under a shaded pavillion was a watercolor painter. 
It was understood
that we would not chat but just paint & draw.

Such intensity,
such vibrancy,
 these hardwoods shout out their beauty,
with arms reaching out to me, and to the sky.
Each spot along the road is different.  
Some places are in full color,
 others have faded, 
others have more evergreens.
Still other hadwoods are only beginning 
to change from their summer greens.

This last shout out of the leaves as they depart is festive.
 I am in the autumn of my life, "golden years" they say.
It does seem to be filled with days of brightness,
(as well as soft fog and grays.) 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Upcountry Fairs

In "big city" Portland, 
my predominant means of viewing art work 
was in privately owned galleries. 
Here, I prefer outdoor Fairs & Farmers' Markets, 
where local artists & artisans
set up their booths alongside 
harbors, rivers, or in town squares. 
Part of the fun is strolling outdoors, 
 chatting with vendors & other folks. 
Great places for sketchbook journaling!

Above, a summer Art Fair in Bucksport, 
along the Penobscot River.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Taking Sketch Notes at the Common Ground Fair

In 2014 & 2015 I did photo blog posts of the Common Ground Fair, one of my all time favorite events.
 But this year I quick sketched, & truly Sketchbook Wandered. 
It's probably what I love doing best, even though it is, well, sketchy.
We arrived early. Even waiting in the line outside the gate was enjoyable.
 The book is small, the lines are fast. I quickly add color later,
but I write/jot down some color names while sketching.
Recently, while seeing seeing some very refined & illustrative sketchbook journaling, 
I'd started to question & wonder about my process. 
But Saturday I came back to myself, doing what is most natural to me. 
This note-taking is my best way to put me in touch with my experience.
Seasonal still lifes are everywhere, 
especially at the Farmer's Market stalls.
One of the highpoints was The Gawler Family Band (Google them!). Oh, the JOY that they radiate!

There were 6 of them this year, the Mama & the Papa, the 3 musical daughters & the musical son in law.
 And we got to join them in sing alongs, musical folk tradition at it's best. 

Later on some of the family would be leading a work song workshop 
while shucking garlic.
For the first time I got to see the Vegetable Parade, a tradition since 1990!! 
People of all ages wearing exquisite hand sewn vegetable costumes! 
It's the best parade I've ever seen!! 
Sometimes just a quick second is all it takes to capture some of the magic, in this case "garlic braids". 

There is so much more to show & tell, but for now I'll say,
What a way to celebrate together & to greet Harvest Time & Autumn!!