Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Sketching Downtown on a Rainy Day


Went rainy day sketching with just 2 of the Sketchers. 

When my paper started getting wet, I stopped with a quick
black & white sketch and the 3 of us retreated to the porch of 
 our favorite plant/home/gift boutique. 

Later, at home, when I added color I didn't use reference photos. For me that was daring, 
to add paint from memory & intuition. 
There is always something new to try when sketching!

The cold rain meant very few people were out. 
And it felt good to be with fellow sketchers. 
With distance.

Our outdoor days are limited. 
What will we do in winter when, on some days,
 the weather will prevent outdoor sketching & visits?

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Going Outdoors with The Sketchers

The Sketchers meet once a week, always
in beautiful places that are not far from our homes.
When I resumed going, over a month ago, 
drawing felt new all over again.
I had the tendency to try to record too much. 
After all, so I was seeing so many wonderful details!
This on location sketch got re-worked as I realized my eye 
had not seen certain things correctly. 
It would have been an ideal oil painting.
Sometimes, with watercolor, I miss being able 
to make lots of revisions.
The top sketch was a 2nd version,
using the original sketch, plus a photo.
I like both for different reasons. 
I'm finally coming around to making quick value studies
before jumping into color. How seductive color is though!
Lucy Willis' book, Light: How to See It, How to Paint It
has had a big influence on me recently. 
I used to own it, but gave it away.
Apparently I wasn't ready at the time.
We had an excursion to our local,
rather historic cemetery. Some challenges in perspective here.

On another excursion I stood on the end of a long wharf
at a harbor of a neighboring town.
As I sketched, the tide moved in.
Light, shadows & reflections grew more pronounced.
A lobster boat or 2 came in to shore. The slow rhythm 
& unhurried atmosphere calmed me.

No matter what the art lessons or technical challenges,
I Iove the peace I experience while sketching outdoors.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Going to the Fair...But Not This Year

 This post is an excerpt of an essay I wrote for a local newsletter.

La Table de Nana, 

who can’t make her annual pilgrimage to her

beloved Provence this fall, 

is sharing photos & memories of her past trips.

Do visit her blog!

The Common Ground Country Fair is my annual fall pilgrimage. 

I write about it here each September.

The Fair was cancelled due to Covid.

Each year I go to join in the 

celebration of harvest season, 

of community & cooperative sharing, 

of living in harmony with nature, 

of caring for the the earth & for one another.  

All with joy, artistry, respect, &, well... Love. 

Good things to have in these times. 

I go to rejoice in the midst of 

September’s vivid color, light & energy, 

before the gray of winter sets in. 


So many of us fairgoers, farmers, gardeners &

 participants of all ages felt the loss. 

I enjoyed going through old photos & journal entries. 

A reminder of one of the reasons I keep journals.

Over the years my small sketchbook journal 

has been my steady companion at the Fair.

One time the Popcorn Lady popped over

to watch me sketching her Popcorn House!

That gave me the chance to tell her how much I loved it

& to learn more about its creation!

Sketching to live, homegrown music, 

one of my favorite, favorite ways to sketch!!

This year I am adapting. Though sad, I've still been able to find

 September Joy in some beautiful local gardens.

I hope that by next year at this time 
our pilgrimages, 
our active community lives & celebrations,
and our good health will be back.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

China Marker Resist: Autumn Flowers

Remember crayon resist in elementary school?
Such magic when the wax lines (Crayola crayons)
got revealed by painting over them with water paints!

Here I drew with white china marker on white paper.
I loved not being able to
see exactly what I was drawing. 
A bit like blind contour drawing.
You rely on feeling the movement of your subject 
instead of the exact outlines.

Late summer sun has been intensely illuminating neighborhood gardens and flowers.
Sometimes I think I've never in my whole life
seen such beauty.

 I 'll post here as long as I can...
Still not sure I want to be forced in the new platform...

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Visit to a Sketcher's Garden

I hadn't gone sketching with the group in awhile.

We visited a member's country/woods garden.
The first image was a warm up, a rather chaotic response to 
a beautiful tangle of ferns and foresty plants
and an array of vivid colors in late afternoon sun.

Then, a more tame vignette, which is actually 
a sketch from a sketch using my photo as reference,
once back home.
The observer's eye, brain, & hand, 
like the body, gets out of shape without practice
and I felt it. 
Motto for the day:
Make sketching more of a priority because
I love the whole experience!

(To "Unknown" who asked permission to download 
some of my paintings for her studies: 
I appreciate that you asked.

I would ask that you not to do it. 
I feel vulnerable about my sketches being
on someone else's computer, & used, 
without me explaining my process & teaching.

Also, since I do sell paintings, it's awkward to 
have them be used, even though I know that's a risk
of posting them on the Internet.

And, I always encourage students to not get 
too tied in to some one else's work, but to experiment,
study techniques, watch demonstrations,
& let your own voice, experience, practice 
& responses develop.)

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Forget Me Nots

Recently a dear new friend recited a children's poem 
in Polish to me, called Niezapominajki. 
Forget Me Nots.

I made this little drawing/painting to thank her.

 But now this seems like a serendipitous little post.   I may not make many more as the new format for posting is too complicated for me. I'd rather spend time with my art, though I love the 8 years I've been Sketchbook Wandering. 

(The name is copywrited & you may see it somewhere else along with my own name in the future.)

Niezapominajki were a favorite flower of my dear mother's. 

I loved seeing their lightness this spring during my early quarantine-time neighborhood walks. 

to są kwiatki z bajki!
Rosną nad potoczkiem,
patrzą rybim oczkiem.

Gdy się płynie łódką,
Śmieją się cichutko
I szepcą mi skromnie:
„Nie zapomnij o mnie”.

Friday, August 21, 2020

The Gift of Homegrown Vegetables

A friend who lives in the country 
dropped vegetables off 
on my front porch while I was out.
 They were from her own garden! 
They were beautiful, tasted divine, 
and were nourishing!
And: They were grown with love! 
( Some of the Summer Squash slices
 even had little cutout hearts
 in their centers! No kidding! )
Thank you, M!

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Travel During the Pandemic. Summer of 2020

A sketch from a journal sketch (see post of July 2...)

For years my favorite back road trip was up to
Skowhegan & Jackman, ending in Quebec City.

The Canadian border is closed, & I stay home a lot these days.
But road trips are still possible.

From Belfast to Brooks, Dixmont, Winterport, Hampden.
This is organic farm country in towns like Montville & Monroe.

Roller coaster ribbon roads. 
Forests, farms, scattered country homes,
occasional views of distant fields, faraway mountains.

Here & there, political signs appear on the sides of the road,
but I try not to look at them.

This is not the coastal route with its crowds & cars,
Its clusters of restaurants & hotels.

For a short time the world feels safe, normal & familiar. 
The radio is off & I drive slowly, glancing, occasionally stopping.

I am told I will be able to visit Québec & other cities again.
In the meantime, how lucky I am to be here.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

The Personal Journal: Daily Pages

During my Experimental Sketchbook Class
I kept a special journal with art notes
& anything related that came up. 
{By the way, I did not pose the shot: 
My new wooden mannequin, (who I think has arthritis)
happened to be there when I was snapping the page.}
Recently I read through my previous personal daily journal.
During the early days of stay-at-home, 
I spent a fair amount of time embellishing my personal book 
with color, borders, paste-ins, & stickers. 
I wondered if it was somehow a waste of my time. 
Looking back I see that it wasn't.

While releasing nervous energy about 
the new, unknown situation we were in,
I was allowing myself to play with color, layout, & content.
I'm now enjoying the record that I have of those days.

Here I recorded some notes from a book for young people
about artistic process: Neil Gaiman's Art Matters.
I usually record these types of art notes in a separate book,
but I liked incorporating them into the "master journal."

Currently my daily pages are fairly unadorned. 
My art energy is going to several projects 
that will be offered for public viewing. 
But they have their own journal pages where I am
working out my journey to finished products.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Experimental Sketchbook Class: Time & Space to Create

Some of my work during the weeklong class.
It was perhaps the best art class I've ever taken at University. 
We were encouraged to experiment.
Push out of our comfortable ways.

I started getting scribbly & messy (not shown here)
so it was a relief to do some minimalist drawings.
Zoom grids became an integral part of my experience.
I wandered out of my familiar box.
I cut up one of my watercolor "still life" grids
and pasted fragments into a booklet.
And then, relief, back to the familiar~ 
except with a bit of a grid.
A grid containing The Tiny Fears of Rita
Les miniscules craintes de Rita
We tried a wax resist/ink wash/charcoal layering technique
that Maine artist, David Lewis, uses.
(His drawings are very sophisticated & refined...) 

We collected shadows by tracing actual shadows.
Some of the students turned their results into imaginative
imagery, unrelated to the original subjects, and then 
turned them into handmade books.
I loved my Swedish Ivy design & didn't transform it,
except to put it into an accordion format.

Last class exercise: Do 20 versions of the same object, 
using various papers & drawing materials.
I got 3 done in our half hour allotment...

But THIS is the idea which I most want to continue
at the moment...20 objects? 50? 100? 
Maybe they would be painted and drawn, then,
hand sewn together into a paper quilt that folds 
into a book. We shall see...

The beautiful thing is that I have SO many wonderful
inspirations & directions with which to continue.

Thanks to my instructors & to the class, composed of
young undergraduates, graduate students,
& some oldsters like me. 
So much inspiration,
& this is only the tip of the iceberg...

Monday, July 20, 2020

Summer School!

"Experimental Drawing and Sketchbooks",
University Class...
So motivated, so happy!
The assignment here:
Create a drawing of your studio space.
The scene chose me, grabbed me instantly.
After all this compartmentalized Zooming,
it was interesting to focus on relationships 
between objects. How my eyes play tricks on me, thinking 
that things farther away are bigger than they are. 
I was so rusty, had forgotten how much
I love to draw!!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Art Journaling Group: Using a Grid

Art Journaling Group. 
It was my turn to present. 
I showed Lyn Frye's Smallies 
from her blog, A View from the Oak. Do visit!
I've mentioned her Smallies in a previous post.  
 For Lin it is an ongoing daily practice. 
I did it for one month last winter.
 I loved choosing my image or event at the end of each day. 
It was like having a special lens with me,
a way to pay closer attention.

(To see my previous post, click Here.) 

 The idea I presented this time, to our Zoom group,
 was, using a grid, to virtually invite 
one another into our homes 
by writing/drawing things that are close to us: 
literally & figuratively. 
Things we would show if we were having 
guests in our homes.
I loved the personal images & stories that emerged.
My own grid ended up fading into the background, 
but created a nice framework for little drawings. 

It was fun to teach a little something again...

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Cool Summer Colors. Vibrant Fabric Colors

A little road trip off the beaten path. 
Not the coastal route with tourists & cars 
& clusters of restaurants and hotels.
This was roller coaster ribbon roads, 
forests, farms, scattered country homes.
Occasional views of distant fields 
& faraway mountains.
 A fabric store in the city, about 50 miles away.
I've been luxuriating in assembling 
vibrant colors of cloth.

And yesterday I basked in 
cool country colors 
on a wet summer day. 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Still Sewing Not Sketching

Large square coasters and:
Fabric Buckets or Baskets!! 
 So easy to learn from video tutorials by
Jean Truelove 
(she offers quality instruction
plus entertainment, 
she is full of personality!)
And Treasurie
(she offers a quick & clear tutorial,
excellent to refer back to as often as one needs.
...which is often, in my case...)

Use them as pretty containers, make as gifts...
They remind me of Origami, going from a flat
material to a 3D object. 
Isn't it magical, what humans come up with! 

Still sewing not sketching.
It's all good.
(Except the part about having the moth rash 
& fly bites.)

Remedy: Stay in & sew!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Still Quilting (#3 in a series)

Still working on the little quilt rather than sketching...
The current stage: 9 blocks ready to join...
I need the sticky notes to remember the layout.
Border to be added and a backing...
Maybe some embroidery....probably not sashing...

Preceding stages: I love the evolution!

My sewing room work space has been evolving.
An "office" corner with my card table from high school!

The day bed for laying out work, a drying rack for fabric.
The little, foldable plastic white table cost $10.
I'll be able to carry it with me 
when Sketchbook Wandering!

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying being a plant 
indoors and out. 
Not a Gardener, not a Quilter, 
but being Homebound (mostly)
makes me an Enjoyer 
of these things!

The next project has already begun,
it happened on its own with leftover squares. 
I'm still using up what I've learned is called
my "stash." My fabric scraps from before.
Again, I'm grateful to You Tube sewing & quilt instructions.
And for tips & inspiration from my friend Beth at
Sew Sew Art. Click here for her blog.
Click right here for the YouTube video that 
inspired the "Crazy Log Cabin" style.