Friday, February 16, 2018

Weekly Joy

Saturday morning Happy ritual: The Indoor Farmers' Market.
Weekly joy. 
With fewer tourists & crowds,
I'm bolder about sketching.
After: Another ritual: Library Date with my sweetheart.
We sit next to each other at a big wooden table. 
On a high shelf behind us: A soapstone statue.
I wrote: "Young Buddha is content, and so am I."
Sweetheart reads newspapers, and I... & take notes from my current book.
This time is was Liz Steel's 5-Minute Sketching: Architecture.
I love her books, her blog, her site, her videos.
 And she gives online lessons. 
Click Here.

Do you have a daily/weekly/monthly ritual that brings you Joy?

Monday, February 12, 2018

Paper Dolls Made Themselves

Drawing/Playing without observation & references. 

Paper Dolls Working Out!
I'm fascinated by the different dance & Zumba moves
in classes at the local gym!

These girls seemed to create themselves 
while I was chatting with my knitter friend.
She knit (ed?), I doodled. 
Who is this little person? YOU tell me!

PS. I am still replying to comments. See last post...

Monday, February 5, 2018

Sketching: From Observation. From Imagination

 Drawing with the group at a local "Antique Mall."
Because we are an official group, we get to go to
many fascinating places! 
(one of us always gets permission beforehand.)

My visual challenges were about  proportion, perspective, & relationships between objects.
Some others in the group focused on individual object studies. 
I'd like to do that too, studies with more depth & detail,
but for now I'm attracted to the interplays. 
There were many "nooks" with displays by individual vendors.
With so many objects to view in any given spot, 
the items were intriguing for themselves
(an antiquer or cultural historian would have a blast!)
 as well as for their
 lines, forms, angles, placements.  
Recently I've started to practice a new type of drawing:
From Imagination! 
A new Journaling group at a local library, 
based on cartoonist Lynda Barry's teachings in her book, Syllabus
is opening new channels in my brain.
Above, The beginnings of a "Self Portrait."

In my usual way, I take notes from the book. 
But I sprinkle these with my own memory/imagination
 drawings & writing. Syllabus is really a workbook. 

I was taught at a (too young) age to draw ONLY from observation. 
I don't know if drawing from imagination was ever a strength anyway, 
but what there was got squashed. 
Barry deals with the fear adults have of drawing from memory. 
She aims to "bring drawing back into people's lives"
(from their childhoods as most kids love to draw & then stop),
instead of "to teach drawing" to adults.

Stay tuned: Sketchbook Wandering: The Cartoon!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sketch Group at the Home Garden Boutique

A cold winter's day at a local home garden shop. 
The proprietor of Brambles welcomed 7 of us sketchers,
& even lent us stools. (I ended up buying mine!)
Brambles is one of 
the most artistic and nourishing to the senses shops 
I've ever been in! 
The owner, so friendly, so happy, and no wonder! 
She is surrounded, 
all day long, by gorgeous colors, scents, 
handmade objects that she herself has selected, 
plants that she has grown, 
and by cheerful customers and visiting friends!
Aaah, can you smell the flowers?
This in mid January! Note the contrast!
Outdoors, let it snow (and be monochromatic!)
Brambles will infuse you with happiness 
during any season!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sketching in Line

 Sketching while waiting in line at the grocery store.
You whip out your small (inconspicuous) 4 X 6 book,
your pen, & in seconds you go from being bored
to being interested, sometimes even disappointed
that the line has moved along!
 You have your book handy. You reach for it fast.
A friend says,
"Rita, you have the fastest sketchbook in the West!"
Quick unfinished sketches are fine. Spontaneous!
(I added a bit of color at home, 
from color notes I'd made.)
My small Art Learning Book now doubles for a 
On-the-Scene sketch book, 
because I carry it with me at all times.
(on the right: notes about Richard Diebenkorn's drawings.)
We are a One-Car-Wash Town. My car stayed dirty
because I avoided the long lines.
Now, my car is clean because: I Sketch!

PS New feature: I have added responses to the notes
on the previous post. A new part of blogging for me.
Will continue to do so...

Monday, January 22, 2018

Elephant Wandering

I was immediately attracted to a golden elephant statue, 
in the midst of many lovely tea cups, pots, & decorative objects at our local Tea Room 
when I went sketching with the Group. 

The above sketch no longer exists because I was overly critical of it. 
I went home, painted it over with gold acrylic paint, & then ~ tore it up. 
Note to self: Don't be so quick to reject the results of my sketching.

(A friend had taken the photo before I destroyed the picture.)
2nd version, sketch from the sketch,
it doesn't have the spontaneity of the first. IMHO. 
In one of the many books these days about sketching, 
I am reminded that I do this for the love of the process, 
more than for the result. 
However, the results are part of the process.
More Elephant explorations in my 7 1/2 by 11" book 
(that does not have watercolor pages.) 
Ganesh, the Hindu Remover of Obstacles. I need this.  
The Smithsonian Elephant, my friend from chilhood. 
Elephants at the Washington Zoo, we also go way back.

I don't think I'll ever go to Africa or Asia,
but I would like to visit some elephants.
Did you know there are some amazing online videos?

Have you seen real elephants? Do you believe in Ganesh?

PS. Have you read the beautiful & sensitive story,
 The One and Only Ivan?
It is for young readers, but it is for everyone.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Nourishing the Body and Soul in Winter

 Montessori education tells us to surround ourselves with all things beautiful, 
taking care with selecting our environment.
Since my move to the new studio (dining room), 
and since my increased museum attendance, 
I "curate" my shelves, making order, selecting, arranging, re-arranging.
(The book, top right, The Secret Lives of Color
Box of cards by a company called Retrospect.)

 Top, from the local Bright Bird Studio. Below, a shrine box by 
local artist Micaela Grasse. (I placed the little sign inside the window that says, "Good Health".) 
 Watercolor painting on my wall by local artist Ben Hall.
I love that it's a local scene, & love its abstract quality!
 Twinkle lights were up in November. 
They and Bright Birds, shiny baubles, cheer me. 
Colorful woven bowl by a local artist, 
& original illustrations by artist Melissa Sweet 
(also local though nationally known.)
   On a recent cold, gloomy, gray day I bought a sampler of glitter, 
to spark my spirit,
at the art shop on Main St. 
It worked, & I've used it on my latest coptic book 
which I stitched while sharing tea with a visiting friend.
She knit & I stitched in my sunny warm dining room.
And we chatted while the cold winds blew.

 Feeding my body (organic wild blueberries & organic rice cereal
feeding my soul, with color & art tools.

Since January 1, I read & copy passages from the book, Simple Abundance, into my morning diary, 
using the French translation. The author is all about
gratitude, appreciating life, inner happiness...
 The Library Sketchers group, which I have turned over to the group to lead now, 
still nourishes my love of drawing, 
& feeds me with inspiration & comaraderie. 
Artist Leslie gave us a presentation on paint brushes. 
She generously brought gazillions, & let us experiment with them!  
(the other page: sketching without my glasses 
at my local hair salon, looking into a big mirror.) 
 Leslie's brushes! Talk about abundance!
 Saturday morning, my body & soul get nourished at our indoor Farmer's Market. All local vendors & it has a European feel! This time of year, New Beat Farm had carrots, beets, rutabegas, and cabbage. I sketched, 
then bought a bunch of organic carrots, later made a vegetable soup.

My friend has a lemonade stand, adding hot chocolate & cider at this time of year! 
More to show in another post, but, in short, 
to be at her stand for me is like being in the film, Pollyanna, so much good feeling, color & prettiness!

Many older folks go to Florida in winter, but I love finding
sparkle, light, & color right here. All the more intense, perhaps, against the backdrop of neutral winter grays, umbers, siennas, and muted dark greens of the out of doors. 

Question: What do you surround yourself with? 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Paste Papers and Bookmaking with Abby Read

  I attended 2 workshops at a local arts center. 
One was on paste papers & coptic stitch bookmaking by  Abby Read, 
wonderful artist & teacher. 
Made sketch notes in my Art Learning Book.
I got to wear a long printer's apron too, a grand costume! 
Even though I had done the coptic stitch before,
it's complicated for me & lots of repetition & re-learning helps! 
My finished book! I'm proud of it, like a young child
coming home from arts camp!
This one shines because I swirled in Pearlescent paint. Ooooooo!
(I also added some colored pencil marks when the paper was dry.)
 We made papers to take home! 
You mix a paste with acrylic paint, you goop it on Canson papers, 
you swirl & cut into it with tools like combs & plastic credit cards. 
I used a putty knife. 
It's fingerpainting, except without fingers, as acrylic stains! 
Such joy to dance in lines, to blend colors,
such fun to see what will happen next!
A new book in progress here at home!
The notes help me to be able to do it independently.
More using up stuff that's been around here forever,
 papers I've been saving for just this thing!

Thank you Abby Read and classmates!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Filling the Air With Christmas

during the season of long nights
when we fill our coastal villages with
Colored Lights, 
Wreaths All Red and Green, 
Decorated Evergreen Trees, 
Fake Candles and~~ Sales. Lots of Sales!

Music on the radio and in shops 
fills quiet air with songs
 Jingle Bell Rock and Silver Bells,
White Christmas and Winter Wonderland...
Meanwhile I take a break,
stopping for a cup of hot soup  
in the back café of 
Beyond the Sea at Lincolnville Beach. 
I stare out the back window and sketch...
Only quiet colors here,
 of a low tide 
where the sand meets the woods beyond...
Those are ducks...
They are slower and quieter than people 
at this time of year...

May you have a serene holiday season...R.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Batches of Mini Cards

My mom & I used to bake Batches of Christmas cookies.
A few times we made crafts. Each year during 
the darkness of the year I fall into making cards (not cookies).
This year, Batches of mini cards, 2.5"X 3". 
I call them "Reet's Paper Treats".
 Some to give away. Some to sell at The Sail Locker (click here). You can also catch the Sail Locker at the Saturday United Farmers Market of Belfast.   
 Using my bits & pieces again,
and my themes that have sat in the idea journal for awhile.
They're in cellophane packets, hence the reflections.
I forgot to photo them before wrapping.

Also a batch of 4" X 6" cards. 
Some are re-purposed pop-ons from last year's French alphabet series.
Working toward a line for summer tourist season in Maine.
So many talented artists & artisans on the coast of Maine
who are also great entrepreneurs. (Marketing is not my forté.)
"Magic for you!" says the fairy!