Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Lupine Time & Moonbat Baking Co.

 Annual Lupine sketch time, out my back door! 
Each year my image is different! 
(see lupine  blog posts in June, 2017 & June, 2016.)
Minute to minute the lupines transform in appearance.
Above, just before the bright Eastern sun hit this morning,
just before they went from soft misty blue-lavenders
to warmer golden tones, 
not as distinguished from their surrounding greens.

My seasonal work hours at the museum have increased 
so when I had a free Friday I reveled in it,
sketching at the Farmer's Market & then,
out the window 
of the locally celebrated bakery, 
Moonbat City Baking Co. 
The pastries & coffee, divine, & the happy atmosphere~Wow!
I overheard more than once,
"It doesn't get any better than this!"
The owner Michelle sets the tone greeting customers 
VERY enthusiastically, 
the chartreuse walls & the light from windows lift spirits.
 The café is small, 
but it welcomes lively visits & conversations,
& folks at tables doing their own thing with computers 
or, in my case, bien sûr, 
with my sketchbook.  

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Sketchbook Wandering in Québec City

Away from my to-do lists & routines
 my senses always open up in Québec.
Sketching & note-taking, my tool for observing & reflecting.
A beautiful place to enjoy being in the moment!
 My travel journal was a 4 X 6 book.
 After many trips there, I walk & wander, 
& I still discover new sights, like the Fontaine de Tourny.
Happy tourists play to the sound of 47 jets of water. 
(installed in front of the Parliament Building in 2007, 
but created in France in 1854.)

More new discoveries. This statue guy was a historian. 
Poets, artists, soldiers, women, politicians are also honored 
through statues around the city. 
 A visit to Musée de la civilisation always educates through sight, sound, movement & language. 
(French language!!)
On the left, part of a small model, une maquette, 
for the outdoor statue, Tribute to Women in Politics.
Surprise: The Quebec City Symphony filled the Main Lobby
with Beethoven's joyous 2nd Symphony.
Seeing them so close reminded me of the Sempé illustration,
which made me laugh!

 The exhibition C'est notre histoire, Premières Nations
et Inuit du XXI ième Siècle (First Nations) 
filled a huge hall with soft lighting, a sacred atmosphere. 
Artifacts & crafts displayed everywhere, 
including suspended from the ceiling,
stories & interviews on monitors, contemporary art...
The oral history touched me deeply...

Le Temps des Québecois was a fascinating historic exhibit,
again via artifacts, narratives, videos. Again, people's history.
Sunday morning sketch walk. Because of the weathervane
(la girouette) in the museum I started noticing them in the city.
The sketch on the right took quick minutes 
as my hands were cold & my feet were sore (wrong shoes).
I did it simply to observe the facade of a pretty café.

 I took some photos before my camera glitched out on me.
 The old city was being refreshed & renovated. 
Lots of construction workers, painters, scaffolding & cranes 
in the old city.
 But churches & monasteries were peaceful & quiet,
dressed in springtime light.
 This photo is for La Table de Nana. 
Lines were too long for me to eat 
at one of our favorite bakeries/cafés, Paillard. 
But these folks were enjoying it.
The public library that is housed by the 19th century church:
A place we return to for quiet, peaceful reading (in French!!)

Already planning my next trip...

Friday, May 11, 2018

Watercolor Mixing in Spring

Watercolor Mixing~ Enjoyment!
That is the diagram of my current paint box. 
Ceramic tray, a total pleasure, 
though too heavy to take on on the road.

Such fun to play Let's Mix Some Greens with a friend...
Possibilities, willy nilly were all over my page
with no thought to composition.
So cutouts & collage created a bit of order.
Il fallait les mettre en valeur.
After such intense focus, greens called me
everywhere I looked! 
Now, they are popping like mad outdoors,
minute by minute, vite, vite! 
taking their place in the midst of winter grays.
A friend calls them:
 "Emerging greens of spring..." 

I think they are in a hurry to arrive in time for summer.
Soon they will take over. 
In full bloom & without the gray contrasts, 
they will be harder to distinguish.

Perhaps we New Englanders are like 
the emerging greens of spring
The gardeners are out, the bicyclers, the walkers.
On the sidewalk & in shops, livelier hello's & quicker smiles.

It was a long winter...

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Sketchers Go to a Beautiful Space

 An initial rough sketch made at 
Beyond the Sea, (Gifts & Books & Café) 
Not great paper in my sketchbook, but it works.
Another field trip with the sketch group.

The owner has created a sunny pastel space 
in the back of the shop, 
looking out to a salt marsh 
on the edge of Lincolnville Beach. 
I had sketched out the window in December,
on a solo visit. 

Today the focus was on my friends.
Tourist season has not yet begun, 
so we each had our own table. 
We chatted lightly, sporadically,
punctuating the space with art tips & experiences. 
The above two images are illustration-sketches 
on watercolor paper,
derived from the roughs in my sketchbook.
They aren't meant to be portraits, nor to capture likenesses.
They are impressions that bring back the afternoon.
They allow me to linger in a pleasant experience...

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

It's May!

It's May!
Happy First of May, Joyeux 1er mai! 
In France it is La fête du travail.
In Poland it is too, Swięto Pracy.
A long time ago,
In the US
 we used to make & give May baskets.
So here is my little May gift for you,
including un brin de muguet.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Sketchers Go Downeast

Sketchers went Downeast, to Stonington. Field Trip!!
Sketchbook Wandering!

 I got to ride in the back seat...
Quick impressions on the road to Deer Isle. 
Last chance to enjoy tree branches as buds are sprouting.

I got car sick from all the curves & hills, but it was worth it!

Glimpses drawn from imagination & memory.
In the sketchbook, not on watercolor paper...
Low tide.

If I could sum the voyage up in word, it would be: BLUE!
Blue & breezes & springtime sun, 
replacing frozen grays of winter.
On the way home we stopped on top of Caterpillar Hill,
and looked out across the Bay! So often I have looked out to 
Caterpillar Hill from my home on the mainland! Amazing!

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Mouton Studies

Mouton came to me during a time of intense bad-luck stress. 
The bad-luck stress left, but Mouton decided to stay. 
He is a "Sigikid" and comes from Germany.
Recently I did a quick sketch of him in my daily journal.
He liked it. "Do more, Rita, do more!" 
"Andrew Wyeth did many studies of his favorite models, Rita. 
So please, study ME!"
He often sits next to my pen cup. He knows how to get
my attention. (He's onto my fountain pen obsession.)
 He did not realize how how much work went into me trying to illustrate, 
verses my private sketching! 
After all these years of loving & sharing picture books with children,
I know even more what tremendous work goes into 
creating animated, consistent images!

Picture book authors & illustrators are Mouton's & my heroes!

(Mouton's favorite picture book at the moment is 
I Lost My Bear by Jules Feiffer.)
He may still prefer it when I sketch him loosely in my sketchbooks, 
but he's glad I challenged myself to try something new.

Mouton's been speaking to me in French lately.
(We like listening to a French radio show while we work.)
Even though his name has French origins, 
he pronounces it MOO' tawn. Accent on the MOO.
(Il aime faire le clown-pronounced "clune.")
Now, take a break from modeling, dear Mouton.
Repose-toi bien.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Dreaming of Provence on a Snowy Day

View from my studio window

While it was snowing all day, a friend came over
and we shared stories of travel in Provence.
My past travel, her upcoming trip.
St. Rémy de Provence, a view par la fenêtre du Musée Estrine.
That was the trip on which I didn't bring my camera, 
but I did fill 2 sketch journals. 
A little drawing, 4 X 6" made this morning 
from the initial sketch.

Blogger La Table de Nana has been posting photos
of her last trip to Provence. She loves it there,
but then again, she finds & shows beauty wherever she is. 
Click here to visit her exquisite blog.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Art Learning Journal: Studying Masters

More notes from my Art Learning Journal.

From the book, Matisse in the Studio:
A catalogue of an MFA, Boston show that I missed.

There is a great value in sketching works of art,
using books or visiting museums.
I notice so many aspects 
that I miss when I look without drawing.

We public art teachers were guided to teach in the 80's-90's 
by always starting with a lesson on a famous artist, 
 & analysis of reproductions of his/her work. 
Followed by hands on art.

And we made field trips to our art museum,
where students made visual notes, 
went on searches, & answered specific questions.

The book, Teaching Drawing From Art
has many rationals for teaching drawing to young people,
& for integrating fine art into lessons.
It tells us that students need to learn 
by their own experimentation,
& by studying great & varied sources of fine art.

When I taught this way, I gave room for individual invention within a style or medium. 
It wasn't just copying, oh no. 
But do I think ALL lessons should be started with fine art? NO!
An invented scene, after I took visual notes from Matisse's paintings.

If you Google: "Matisse/ Interiors in Nice/ Images"
you'll find an amazing assortment of his paintings, 
in which he integrated objects from his extensive collections
 into complex scenes.

And oh! Note his use of color!

He was a "modernist" which meant he avoided 
the "conventions of modeling, perspective & recession".
(Though I think they are somewhat present.) 
He uses a "shifting space with push & pull 
between the elements".
He thought of his own studio as a theater.

Me, I'm also captivated by the scenes that 
were outside of Matisse's windows. 
And outside windows in my own life. 
(This scene, March 5, 2015. It's similiar to today's view!)

Next for the Art Learning Journal: 
Cartooning: Philosophy & Practice by Ivan Bruneti. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Discovering Popcorn

I tried to eat popcorn (again), but it still makes me sick.
So I drew popcorn instead. 
First, observational studies for accuracy, with lots of erasing.
(not shown here.)
Then, loose sketches. Interpretations.
Feeling the Popcornness. 
Delighting in the gesture, form, contours, miracles & science
of popcorn.
All the while, related thoughts popped onto my paper: 
Discoveries & connections, while spending a slow,
lengthy time with these 3 guys.
Turkey Tail Fungus:
Years ago, an assignment in undergradutate drawing class:
To magnify an object, to try to reproduce it
as precisely as possible. 
I remember spending hours on it.
I also made a magnified study in charcoal
of a broken peanut shell.
I can't find the drawing, 
but I loved getting to know that shell, 
with its repetitive pattern of miniature rectalinear shapes,
& the surprise discovery of skeletal fibers.

The fast sketch, my favorite mode, benefits well
from going back to slower forms of drawing.