Riding out the storm

The wind and rain yesterday was unspooling my thoughts and making me quite uneasy. My cellphone was squawking warnings of roads flooding nearby and a mini Niagara of water was spouting from the storm drain next to my studio as the waters surged down the creekbed. I was looking through my “Conversations with the Muse” books where I have been collecting my art musings since 2004 and found these two pieces which reminded me of other storms and feelings similar to the ones I have now. I find that the advise offered by the Muse twelve years ago is still of comfort.

ridingoutthestorm

acrylic inks and pen on Lama Li w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Riding out the storm in a fantasy sleigh

echos of some springtime drawn by longing 

and the nagging pelt of rain

days end to end now

floating somewhere barely dry

lily pad musings nourished by deep running waters

making their way ever downward to the earth’s core

burrowing

sumi ink, acrylic painted paper collage and pen on Lama Li w/c paper

Burrowing with my imagination as shield.

Another deluge this morning and now for a few minutes or hours a bit of sun. I must head out to soak it up before the next round of burrowing.

North Bay Urban Sketchers

Also known as the Ready Set Sketch group, the North Bay Urban Sketchers meet up on the second Saturday of each month to sketch together at a different Sonoma County location. The group is coordinated by Richard Sheppard and welcomes anyone, beginner or experienced artists who wish to get out and sketch in public alongside others. Typically there’s an initial meet up place to greet everyone, followed by time for sketching in the vicinity either alone or with others, and then a time at the end to look at all the sketches together and meet some other sketchers.

There was a fine turn out yesterday for the meet up in Occidental and sunshine to warm the art spirits!

occidentalchurch

fountain pen and w/c in 8 X 8″ hand.book sketchbook

Occidental is a friendly little town nestled in the redwoods between Sebastopol and the ocean and happens to be one of my favorite spots for sketching. This white church right up the road from Howard’s Cafe was back lit, which meant staring into the sun to sketch it. But I must say that after so much rain and cold, it was a delight to experience the tentative warmth of that winter sun.

barleyhops

Next spot was the pub Barley and Hops across the street, and once again, facing into the sun I zeroed in on just the porch and the elegant palm fronds.

occidentalmeetup

I can stay away from sketching people only so long til the urge takes over! And there’s few better subjects than sketchers because they are mostly still.

If you’ve been wanting to try some sketching outdoors, why don’t you join the Facebook Group, Urban Sketchers- North Bay, and come along some time?!

#SBSADrawingaDayChallenge

 

 

The Barlow

Local. Food. Art. Wine. This is how the Barlow here in Sebastopol wants to be known. The buildings share the upscale “warehouse” look. You can taste the beer and coffee where they brew and roast it, then move on to wine tasting, shopping, get your hair done and even watch a traditional Tibetan Tanka painter at work. I often meet friends there for coffee. But yesterday we were out sketching. The pink pig and orange umbrellas at Zazu caught my eye.

zazu

 Brown deAtramentis Document ink and w/c in 8 X 8″ hand.book sketchbook

I’m really trying to stick with what interests me and leaving the rest out. It’s a tad less realistic that way, but more satisfying. When you’re standing on the street on a cold, damp day, the picking and choosing of subject matter is a necessity. Luckily I had my down jacket and knit cap on. I can’t imagine sketching in the snow like some of my Urban Sketch friends do, like Marc Taro Holmes in Montreal. Brrrr!

woodfour

I was struck by the angles on this view and propped my book on a post for a quick one. More orange umbrellas – I can’t resist! There’s room for text there at the bottom, but I was more interested in lunch at that point. Maybe the lunch at Village Bakery should go there.

If you’ve been thinking you’d like to join me to get going on some sketching, I’ve got just the thing! My Introduction to Sketching in Public workshop coming up March 25 will get us out enjoying Sebastopol, the Barlow included, with sketchbook in hand. My favorite way! For more information and to register visit my website.

#SBSADrawingADayChallenge

A bittersweet farewell

So many speeches by politicians turn me off, or worse even ruin my dinner. But this week I watched President Obama’s Farewell speech and it went right into my heart, and then found it’s way into my sketchbook. I was also thinking of committing to do a sketch a day for a month (starting yesterday) so this seemed like a good start.

obama

My eyes filled up with tears so many times. Oh dear president, you will be sorely missed! I am full of gratitude for all you have done for the American people.

I think I already have an almost daily sketch habit, but I’d like to share it with you all and hope you will join me and others. Check out the Sketchbook Skool drawing challenge and get started! #SBSADrawingADay Challenge

 

Sketchbook in the purse

The sketchbook that travels in the purse tends to get used when you might not expect, like when you’re out with other people and there’s a discreet moment or two and something catches your eye. . .

flyinggoat

Lamy Safari fountain pen with water soluble ink and watercolor in 5 X 7″ w/c sketchbook

It was the ruby red lipstick, ivory skin and blue earbuds that made her a must-sketch. I tuned out my family’s conversation over coffee for a few moments to capture it. I knew that my subject, just a couple feet away, was too absorbed to notice.

busstop

Waiting to put Andrew (Droob) and Maura on the bus for the airport I realized I hadn’t sketched him enough over the holiday. “Hold still for a moment” I said. Easy to ask of someone with a cell phone in his hand.

Flood Musings

I hope you are safe and dry. I spent the afternoon in my studio trying to stay simple while feeling the need to put words down along with paint. The Muse arrived, no doubt by boat. The sirens have been real and each time I’ve said a prayer for those who needed to call for rescue.

escape

acrylic, Sumi ink, photo and screen collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

(photo art borrowed from Bob Cornelis)

There really is no escape, when you’re fed up with the weather, politics, your health, or yourself. You can try to sneak away, but then there’s the hook that snatches you back. The invisible link that handcuffs you to your life. Sets you back into another revolution of same-old-ness.

But it’s storming now, the pineapple express has pulled into our station, and the sirens scream out “floods!” You’re washing away downstream to somewhere new. Not where you thought you’d be, but somewhere new. And it’s OK.  Maybe you’ll get it right this time.

Intro to Sketching in Public

I love my iPhone camera as much as the next person, and whip it out to capture that special gesture, or bark texture or subtle light play. But the picture I take doesn’t capture the smells, the sounds, the conversations, the temperature and texture of the air, the thoughts that arise as I sit or stand in that moment.

It’s a bit of a mystery why, but nevertheless true, that the effort to transfer those impressions onto the page, in line, shape and color, accomplishes these things. I have found repeatedly that my sensory memory can be captured on paper, even in a rather rushed and rudimentary drawing with a bit of hasty text added.

Reading this you may sense a bit of my messianic zeal about sketching. I must say that in today’s monster rain storm, I am happy to burrow inside. But I am anxious to share what I’ve learned about sketching in public with folks who’d like to either get started or re-started, to incorporate it into everyday light or to be ready for upcoming travel.

So to get started this spring I’m offering an Introduction to Sketching in Public Workshop. With it’s lovely plaza, Main St. shops, Barlow attractions of shops, wine, food and art, not to mention colorful residents, there’s no shortage of spots for quick sketches and food to sustain the effort. I’ll be adding some of my Sebastopol sketches on the blog in the coming weeks. This one was done in an art store standing by the check out counter.

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-11-00-36-am

This workshop is a way to get comfortable with supplies and approach so that you can continue in other settings.The best way to feel less exposed about the “public” aspect is to do it in a supportive group. I still prefer sketching in public with my buddies. In Sonoma Co. we have a wonderful sketch meet up group, the Ready, Set, Sketchers who meet monthly.

I will also be teaching a weekend workshop on Quick Capture Sketching April 29, 30 at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, which will provide more skills, resources and the opportunity to practice sketching on location.

Registration is open for both workshops now. For more information and registration visit my website. Hope to be sketching with you in 2017!