Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Language Exchange of Portland Maine

Meet La Fofolle. The idea of her 
as well as her name came from 
Valérie Guillet, the founder of 
Portland Maine's Language Exchange. 
She is part of the new logo & website for the school 
& its wonderful Immersion Programs & Trips.

To see her in her context, 
& to check out the school's offerings Click HERE .

La Fofolle is full of joy because at the school 
she has learned to communicate in the native language 
of the foreign country in which she is travelling! 
And she gets to learn more of that language 
when she travels with
The Language Exchange's Immersion trips!

Click Here to visit the Photo Gallery of 
Valérie’s magificent photos of past Immersion Trips.
My favorite happened to be the Lavendar Trip en Provence.
  It was one of the most enchanting experiences of my life!
The day we went into the mountains to see, to experience 
& to smell the amazing fields of lavender 
I'd forgotten to bring my camera. 
So I had to sketch like never before!
But now I am delighted to see Valérie's photos in her gallery!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Homework: Still Life Versions

Homework for class: Ink Drawing

I started with simple, tiny, (2" X 4"), 
02 Micron pen drawings  (below)

But afterwards, I couldn't resist 
making a color version. (above)
 I love the feel of the ink line, 
but one should not keep scribbling 
on one's little drawing because one will be left with:
Only a black surface.

So, I continued scratching & hatching 
on new versions.
(Above): minimal line.
I love it, but it takes restraint 
to not keep going. And, so it is in life. 
Learning to know when & how to stop,
or to move on to the next.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Why a Drawing Class?

 "Why would you take a drawing class
when you already know how to draw?" someone asked.


• In drawing one never stops progressing & learning.
• One learns from other students as well as a teacher.
• New energy & motivation.
• New exercises & materials = good bye comfort zone!
• Homework!
• Community of folks with similiar passions

The above drawing may appear to be similiar 
to many I've posted.


It was re-drawn with my familiar ink 
from a fast, on-location pencil sketch
which was new & different.
I haven't used graphite in a long time. 
And I used a "WOODLESS PENCIL", 
introduced to us in class. Very dark, smooth, & rich! 

An in-class exercise also affected the way I'm drawing now: 
Drawing with our non-dominant hand! 
A wonderful way to loosen one's approach!
I HAD to do it when I had a wrist injury,
but the comfort zone made me abandon the practice 
when the wrist healed. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Illustrations: Library Kids' Stuff

This little guy bear has been coming with me 
to library story times for a long time.
We don't do that many, now that we are retired, but 
we will be presenting a new Pajamarama series at our library. 
He's happy that he is the poster guy for it.

He loves reading to children & leading them in song & art!
Here is an illustration 
that I had created for the children's page 
of the Scarborough Public Library. 
My illustrations for print and/or Internet 
are a bit tighter than my sketches, 
but I enjoy creating them! More to come...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Sight of the Stars

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty.
But the sight of the stars makes me dream."
~Vincent Van Gogh

Last night I dreamed I was looking up at the stars 
 & remembering how I loved to do that in the past. 
These days I dream,
but I forget to go out to look at the sight of the stars.

From the Walking Bridge, these days, 
I watch loons, ducks, gulls, cormorants & seals. 
The Walking Bridge which goes over the Passy River 
where it runs into Belfast Harbor 
and then to Penobscot Bay 
 which opens out to the open sea.

From the Walking Bridge these early evenings, 
I am treated to the sight of curtains of rain 
falling from violet-gray dense clouds
10 miles out across the Bay, 
over the Castine Peninsula 
& beyond that Blue Hill.

Up close along the path to the Walking Bridge 
I am treated to sweet ferns dancing, 
inviting me to touch them
with their natural perfume.
These days wild flowers are shrivelling 
& displaying seeds with white feathery wings. 

These days, through the car windows 
on Maine road trips, 
I am treated to the sight of rolling hills 
& gold toned meadows,
distant hills, & apples sparkling on trees. 

I want last night's dream to come true,
to enjoy the these early autumn nights, 
as well as these amazing days.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Portland Cafés

So I moved from a city that I love to a small town that I love. I've been tuning into feelings of homesickness, lately, mal du pays, nostalgia, longing, in Polish its called tęsknota.There are concrete aspects of the city that I don't miss: pollution, traffic, low flying airplanes. But I miss some places terribly: the cafés for example. Some of them moved away as did I: Cambridge Café, Portland Coffee Roasting, and Mornings in Paris. Above is a scene from 2000 at the old Portland Coffee Roasting that was on Commercial Street. Cafés are for many people places for conversation, for me, they are most often a place where I love studying my French and, of course, sketching.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Maine Storyboard

Just thinking about favorite places in Maine.
At this moment in the background of my mind 
I am hearing the Beatles: 
"Love, Love, Love..."

Hmm...What to do with this? 
Is it a storyboard for some paintings? 
A storyboard for a little book?
Might I add text & turn it into a graphic novel of sorts? 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Portland Farmer's Market with Maine College of Art

 I spent a day in my beloved old home city of Portland, 
at the downtown Farmer's Market, 
sketching with a Maine College of Art Workshop. 
Above, not the original, as the raw sketch was 
too full of fast, scribbly lines. 
 Also a sketch from the sketch. 
Sketching with a class gave me the bravado to plunk myself 
& my little stool down in the midst of a sea of 
moving people, colors, & sounds. 
What a great way to slow down & to focus 
on one subject at a time.
If anyone was peeking over my shoulder, I didn't notice. 
This is the actual on-location, raw sketch.
Our Lady of Victories, is the monument in Monument Square,      
created to commemorate lives lost during the Civil War. 
Every Wednesday she looks down on the market below. 
I was looking up at her while eating at a sidewalk café table 
on the edge of the sidewalk.
Also on the edge of the sidewalk was Myron 
playing blues harmonica & singing lyrics, 
some traditional, some invented on the spot. 
He played well to the young children
& made them dance. He made me laugh. 
That's a foot operated tambourine!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

My New FWB: Favorite Watercolor Book

I'm been making little gifts of dried lavender that I got 
from the local Glendarragh farm & the shop in Camden. 
Purple, violet, plum, lavender, 
periwinkle, mauve magenta & crimson hues 
are calling to me lately. 
Over the years so many of my young girl art students 
chose them as favorite palettes, 
& not just on Valentine's Day.
 Palettes are on my mind because of Mimi Robinson's book,
Local Color: Seeing Place Through Watercolor
Influenced by Josef Alber's work showing color relationships,
 & realizing how much she enjoyed painting color tests before painting subjects, 
she started using palettes in & of themselves 
as a form of visual journaling. 
 The  book is meant to be instructional, 
but it is beautiful in its own right between her photos, 
the palettes & her representational paintings.
So many watercolor books have overlapping information, 
so I rarely buy them anymore. 
But this book is unique & a pleasant addition to my collection.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The French Series

Based on a book shop in Arles

I will be visiting some old French study group friends 
who asked me to bring some of my pictures 
of France, the ones I used to sell. 
The trouble is: Most of them have sold.
I'm trying to create more, but it's not the same.
I haven't been to France in 3 years!
And perhaps my way of drawing is changing.

Here are a few of the old ones:

 Based on a street scene in Paris.
Artist's collection.
La maison aux volets bleus, Venasque

 Two hilltop villages in Provence



On the way back I'm going to drop off some
Maine landscapes to a shop in Damariscotta.
So, I figure, first, I'll show them to my friends.
Perhaps I can interest them in images of my current love: 
Rural Maine.

I guess, wherever my spirit is, 
that is where my drawing takes me.
For now, it's right here.

Monday, July 20, 2015

From the Sketchbook: MFA, Boston

Going to Boston means going sketching. 
Above, the MFA permanent Impressionist Gallery, 
a place  of familiarity & comfort for me,
 a place that on this day was not crowded.
The crowds were at a temporary show of Leonardo drawings.

Leonardo said that recording observations
with your own eyes was more important
than any established philosophy or religious principles.

Leonardo's concept of beauty was found in the 
"study of the living" in all its complexity.

"Drawing was an essential part of artistic practice during the Renaissance." 
"Drawing became the artistic equivalent of writing poetry 
or thoughts in a journal."   

 Unlike some European art museums which I've visited, 
the MFA is filled with loud, LOUD adult VOICES, 
sometimes talking about the art, oftentimes, not. 

In Blockbuster shows, it is often difficult to get near the works,
 especially when they are small.
So inbetween reading & seeing what I could of the drawings, 
I guess I stepped back & recorded my observations of
 "the living."

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Backroads of Maine. Haystacks

Looking East to the Camden hills from route 52.
For me, it's one of the most beautiful backroads in Maine.
It's all the more beautiful in early evening light after
an afternoon of kayaking on a very blue Lake Megunticook.

In my childhood I dreamed of living on a farm.
Haystacks were a symbol of that life. 
Those haystacks were cone shaped in the fairy tales, 
formed by hand instead of rolled.

In childhood I always colored the grass a flat green color.
It is interesting to me how differntly colored it really is! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

On the Road in Maine

This summer,
I've been traveling some Maine backroads. 
Augusta, Camden, Appleton, Rockport.
Portland, Freeport, Union, Searsport.
And Twice to Quebec City...

"Life is a journey, not a destination," 
said Ralph Waldo Emmerson. 

But on these trips, 
the journeys & the destinations
are equally pleasant parts 
of my summer life.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Summer Colorplay

A little collage to wish you all
a most playful summer!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Maine's Glendarragh Lavender Farm

I always associate lavender with France, Italy & England.
But yesterday we visited a Maine lavender farm! 
After a beautiful ride through green, green, green, 
woods, farms & fields, overlooking rivers & lakes 
the Camden Hills to the east, 
we arrived at a 26 acre farm in Appleton,
 nestled in rolling meadows & 
filled with French & English lavender, 
flower gardens, bird houses, & old oak trees, 
not to mention happy wanderers.

Glendarragh Farm is open to the public 
only 3 days a year, during the harvest. 
Young student farm workers guide you , 
explain the growing, harvesting & drying processes, 
and share some history of how the farm came to be.
The gift shop, in an old barn, allowed us to bring back home
 a little healthy, therepeutic, aromatic, cheerful Lavender, 
in my case, in the form of a bouquet.

The Glendarragh Farm Lavender shop 
on Camden's Main St. is open year round!
When the front door is open, enchanting, enticing 
fragrance wafts out the door & lures me in, to luxuriate in
the scents of dried lavender,  & lotions & balms,
made by Glendarragh's owner.  
 They are interspersed with lovely treats such as 
blue & lavender scarves, pottery, sachets, & candles... 

The Fourth of July: 
It was a, pastoral, lavender filled summer day...