Beating the Heat

In an effort to beat the heat on Father’s Day Bob and I left early for the beach and were rewarded with sparkling sunshine, no wind, and temps in the 70’s. I think we got one of the last five parking spaces at Doran Beach.

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When we arrived at 9:30am many families were setting up camp on the beach with tents, coolers, chairs, sporting equipment  and more. Our north coast ocean water does not beckon most of us to want to swim.  We’re content to soak up sunshine without the blistering summer heat of inland.

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By the time we left around noon, all the parking at the beaches was taken and the coastal road was jammed for miles and miles with folks from inland trying to make it out to Bodega Bay to escape the record breaking temps!

More Summer Concerts

I’m always a bit behind on sharing sketches. The first ones here are from the Railroad Square Music Festival June 11. This fine musician Andy Graham was set up on 5th St. in Santa Rosa with his didgeridoos and electronic whatsits mesmerizing the crowd with what sounded like a whole lot more than the music of one person!

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Wandering around we found the biggest crowd one street over on 4th street  and did  standing quick sketches of the musicians before escaping the too loud and not our style of music making!

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And then it started to pour. From warm sunshiny day to cloudburst. Definitely not California style weather! We ducked into another venue to escape the rain.

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And happily seated ourselves in the Cast Away yarn store to listen to Kevin Russell and his friends and wait out the storm with some mellow folk tunes

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(I sketched this later at home) Heading back to my car, trying to beat the next downpour I caught a few moments of a band and snapped a picture of this dude dancing to the Earls of Newtown. Maybe he thought the extra hat would protect him better from the rain? I made it back to my car just as the hailstorm started. Maybe the hat guy knew what was coming?

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Later last week Bob and I made it over to the Windsor Green for their summer concert series. It was hot enough that we chose the shady grass over a view of the band. I believe that most of Windsor and the surrounding townsfolk were camped out there for the evening.

Give it a Name

As soon as you see the face, there’s always a name waiting for it. This one became Oscar.

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inks and gesso on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

I was doing a demonstration of expressive painting with ink droppers, gesso, and scraper tools for a new private student. The next day this fellow in the wonderful cossack hat winked at me. All I had to do was paint in the eye, give him some teeth, and name him.

I hesitated at first. I had to reassure myself that it was OK to be so foolish. Surely I’m a more serious sort of artist than that. Perhaps I’ve been sketching so many people that I just can’t stop? But then perhaps you’ve have noticed that I’m having too much fun lately to stop it.

Here’s another one though, where maybe one can see more serious intent. . .

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acrylic molding paste, textured foil collage, acrylic paint and gold leaf flecks

Embossing foil, collaging with metallic flakes and juxtaposing cool greens/blues and burnt orange are some of the techniques I’ll be sharing in the “Patina” workshop coming up next weekend at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. At this writing there is still time to register for the last spot. For more info and to register visit my website. And by the way, there’s good air conditioning in the painting studio there!!

While the poor little studio air conditioner here tries to help me survive the 100 degree heat outside, these lovely blue squares are the tinkling ice cubes in the glass!

 

Sketching the Vignette

Last weekend I taught an Urban Sketcher workshop in Graton, CA, country style! It was the last of a series of  ten Urban Sketch workshops in the greater Bay Area celebrating the tenth anniversary of the worldwide organization.

The Graton Gallery generously let us meet in the shaded sculpture garden.  We also occupied the whole town, all one block of it, as we sketched lots of vignettes on the sidewalk, in the antique shop, the field, the garden at a restaurant and more. We took lots of pictures to share the day with you.

A vignette generally gets to the point of the story you want to tell without bringing in a lot of distracting (and possibly boring) details. It’s a way to express your enthusiasm about your subject so it’s clear why you picked it. It’s a well designed shape that is as important as the white of the paper around it. And it’s an extremely useful concept for the busy sketcher who wants to capture multiple stories in a day!

The students were busy with one assignment after another, doing thumbnails to identify and name the stories they wanted most to tell, connecting their subject to the environment it was in, “designing” the white space around it, and adding color to draw interest to it.

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For my 5 minute color demo I chose the subject of the green foliage peeking through the eye holes of Peter Crompton’s collosal sculpture in the garden.

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Many of the students stayed after to have lunch at Zosia’s, where some had sketched this Airstream trailer. (This sketch of mine was done on a different day).

Mixed Media workshop coming up!

On June 24 and 25 I’ll be teaching a workshop on one of my favorite techniques – achieving the look of patina in experimental mixed media painting. At the moment my studio is strewn with my own experiments and ideas I want to share. There are a couple spaces left in the workshop at this writing. Let me know if you’re interested and available to come join us!

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For more information and to register visit my website!

Rest, Retirement, Gardens

Sometimes I have to remind myself that we have gardens for more than weeding. In other words, it’s OK to simply sit outside and enjoy.

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inks, gesso, collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Time for rest, on a cushion in the garden, draped with ferns and fragrant blooms, a pair of cooing doves and a lap full of purring cat. The weeds can wait another day. The plans for tomorrow, the latest world news, the emails, all of it can wait.

For now there’s those cushions. If you don’t try them out a bit each day, the cats soon will and your throne of rest will be usurped. Then how will all those lovely garden idles find their way into the art? So take a rest – it needn’t be for long.

This piece was actually a demo I did for a private art party/workshop held in my studio a couple weekends ago, something I offer from time to time with great delight! We had lunch under the trees on the patio and I didn’t pull a single weed!

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Actually I was contemplating my husband who just retired June 2 and is learning to occupy a lounge chair outside while reading. At least he tried it for a couple days before getting all busy with his art again.

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My own strategy for sitting still in the garden is to do a quick sketch. For me that counts as rest, even though I find it quite energizing.  But then I’m not retired, exactly. . .

Carlos Medrano, Sabor de mi Cuba

Another Tuesday evening at Healdsburg Plaza, with Carlos Medrano and his band celebrating the 19th Annual Jazz Festival.

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So how do you put the tones and color and flavors of the hot and steamy Cuban jazz down on paper? Always fun to try!

Found a new spot to sit where visibility was good! It was early in the show and I plunked my mini-stool down right at the feet of the performers with my back to the dancers.  I don’t think I would have had the nerve if there hadn’t been a couple photographers with their tripods set up there.

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Later there was a fair amount of dancing on stage as the singer collected people from the audience and coached them in the sinuous movements of the hips. I gave it a try for a while too, then sat again to draw the audience, mostly in movement. It certainly puts a smile on your face with so many different ages dropping their inhibitions together!

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Next day I did another quick sketch from my iPhone pics, trying to keep the same freshness as the on-location sketches. I wanted another crack at capturing her movement. Trying to sketch faster and drop my tidiness in the service of energy. I sketched this same group six months ago if you want to check it out here.