Fool’s Day Parade in Occidental

I’m hosting my first SF Sketchers Meet Up! and it’s here in Occidental this Saturday, the Fool’s Day. Hope you’ll join me in some foolishness and sketching.

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If you sign up on Meetup.com for SF Sketchers, you’ll get invitations like this all the time. And then you can RSVP so the leader has an idea of who to expect and can answer any questions.

Here’s some of my sketches from a previous year of foolishness.

Looking at my life. . .with Rumi

lookingatmylifeacrylic and tissue paper, screen, lacy rice paper collage on w/c paper 10 X 11″

Inspired by a poem of Rumi and an interest in playing with translucent papers in some way, I folded tissure paper accordian style and wrote a line of Rumi’s poem on each fold, then secured it in a pouch. Oh, just a lot of fun playing with materials on a lovely rainy spring equinox day with my delightful Muse sisters.

Citrasolv art

Citrasolv cleaner “melts” the clay based inks of National Geographics in the most stunning way. I keep circling back to the Citrasolv collage lesson, which has to be started outside when the weather is warm and not windy. . .like last Monday.

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National Geo papers collaged on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Are you caught, tangled , running into hidden snares everywhere? Tread carefully. Watch your step, or when you fly, land carefully.  This life thing is tricky, at times sticky. It takes a lot of maneuvering to get yourself free once entangled.

So why not become the one who unties the knots, releases the locks, opens the door and gets to say “You’re free now. Go for it!”

If you want to try making these papers yourself, there are lots of how-to videos online. My favorite papers are the ones that have some picture peaking through, like the guy in blue above. And sometimes a page is so gorgeous by itself that you wish you’d painted it! You can also use the Citrasolv concentrate to wipe off spots of ink, using a stencil or a brush.

See more examples of my Citrasolv art on this blog.

Live, Love, Celebrate . . .Spring!

Looking back I found this post that perfectly describes this day four years later! And a lovely memory of my mom.

livelovecelebrateacrylic, Masa paper, acrylic faux encaustic, collage on w/c paper

live love celebrate the moment of emergence
the trumpet of vine
twining of stalks
popping of pods
fluttering of seeds
dandelion acrobats of springtime

i wonder how they know the moment
do the stars telegraph signals
on your mark, get set, go?

or do they tug on us all the time
til our resolve to stay boxed up finally weakens
and we begin to live and love
to celebrate emergence once again

A rainy equinox day for which we are grateful, we the people and the plants and animals.  Grateful for Spring’s official beginning, though we’ve had an abundance of Spring days lately here in northern California.  The first blossom on my studio’s apple tree just “popped” and the grape vines are budding out. A Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly was spotted fluttering up in the pipevines where soon the gaudy caterpillars…

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Sketching at home

When it’s not the season for travel or time for local event sketching, there’s always what is close at hand. I no longer sketch my food and drink, which is recommended by some of my favorite luminaries such as Danny Gregory and Liz Steel. But I’ve had my eye on the rusty mailbox next door, and then there’s always the goats at the bottom of the hill.

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Lamy Joy fountain pen and watercolor in soft cover Beta Stillman + Birn sketchbook

And then there’s the town I live (outside of), Sebastopol, where I’ll be teaching two workshops this spring. The first is “Introduction of Sketching in Public” on March 25th. So I’ve been wandering around town with the eyes of a tourist sketcher to find what one could capture quickly in a workshop setting.

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A lovely water fountain in the plaza and an exercise in connecting it with the background while leaving out most of the rest of what was there! That’s the hard part.

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I found a bench in the sun and had a few minutes left to doodle some people. I often end up liking these “doodles” better than the more finished ones. You’d think I’d learn.

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But another day I had more time, and a good spot to sit with a friend and kept sketching awhile after my subject had left. Of course they always leave before you’re done!

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fountain pen and watercolor in Toned Tan Strathmore Art Journal

And then there’s always the selfie. This one done while on an hour-long phone call in front of my computer (one looks for time where it is to be found), which might account for having lost a bit of the top of her head. Oh well.

I’ve had people tell me I should paint more attractive self portraits of myself, but this is so much more amusing. I think I feel a series coming on. After all, you don’t have to pay this subject to sit and she’s always available to sketch live!

Thanks to Birthday Well Wishers!

It is a bit of a rush to see all those names of familiar people popping up on Facebook to wish one a happy birthday. So if you are one of them, THANK YOU! March 13 often lands on some spring day heady with perfume and buzzing bees and. . low and behold, this year the sighting of the first Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly which was flying in ecstatic curves and dips. I had to wonder if it had just dried out after emerging from its papery frock.

All the spring art coming out of Muse Group has a strong nature tilt. This one is from last week.

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painted with water and charged with inks, with collaged papers on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

The sun rises and sets on this kingdom of nature. There can be a fair amount of strutting about here, of gorgeous posturing and preening (It’s not the kind of false showing off and pontificating we find in humans)

It takes a wise one to know what are empty declarations and what is truth worth hearing. There are no fakes among these birds in the shallows. I’ll put my bets here on the waders.

The lesson was drawing with a brush loaded with water, then charging in inks and watching them blend. I was using Higgins waterproof inks which blend so beautifully. I had a book open to some bird pictures while painting the large bird and the ones in the background and enjoyed making up the little ones. Pick your breed of bird! You may not find these anywhere else.

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This was some playing around I did to get ready for the lesson. The top ones are a kind of rohrshach, pressing another paper onto the wet painted image to transfer it. I liked the lacy edges I got that way.

Day 5: #OneWeek100People2017

Golly, I hope you’re not too tired of seeing all these people sketches. Yesterday was the final day (of 5) to get in the 100 people sketches. For a last minute spree Bettina and I sat/stood in the loft at Taylor Maid coffee in Sebastopol, the perfect place to catch people at that interesting angle looking down. A bonus is that no one looks up to see that you are sketching them!

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Platinum Carbon fountain pen in Stillman +Birn Beta sketchbook (soft cover)

This is a tricky angle because we’re so used to sketching at eye level that we don’t get the perspective right. Her legs were probably not that long when seen from above.

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I kept trying to capture the hand gestures as people talked to each other and only occasionally caught something before they moved on. I think if I sat for 3 hours I would probably have a chance to jump in fast enough. The hand is such a complicated structure that it requires quite a bit of study and practice in itself. I’ll put that on my (endless) to do list!

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It’s always more fun to sketch with a friend, and we had lots to discuss, but when the brain is tied up with such talk, it’s not as able to access the critical measuring and comparing part of drawing, so here I was getting sloppy. Determined though to get this woman’s hand gesture!

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This beautiful young woman reminded us so much of the lasses we saw in Ireland last summer. She was animated in every part of her body as she conversed with the young man opposite.

Painting in the red hair later seemed to rescue this sketch. I mixed up a puddle of yellow, red and a tad of blue and put some skin color in so the sketches seemed a bit more “human” and left it at that.

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Once again, not having to draw the face made it easier to get the gesture and foreshortening. Sometimes I find that my line gets squiggly from the excitement of the moment. The line takes over and wants to describe something quirky. O.K., I say. GO for it!