Figure studio sketches

Model Marathon

While the rest of the world was eating nachos and drinking beer at their Superbowl Parties yesterday I was enjoying the practically deserted freeway which took me to San Francisco for another Urban Sketcher meet-up at Fort Mason, the Bay Area Model Guild Drawing Marathon. I guess a lot of sketchers aren’t Superbowl fans because it was packed with artists and models on stages for poses from 1minute to 10 minute to long poses.

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I brought my acrylic inks and dip pens and dove into the short 1-3min poses in the morning. By afternoon I was ready for the longer 20 min poses, but found that I didn’t do as well with those. Go figure! (Pun there)

The last picture in the slideshow is of my friend Mark Simmons, an illustrator who can draw circles around just about anyone, figuratively speaking. He showed up with a long roll of paper about a yard wide. (I took this pic about 1.5 hours into the morning session!) By the end of the morning alone, as he unrolled the paper, he had filled it with twice as many figures, some in color, that seemed to dance across the paper.

Surprisingly almost all of the models were male, or at least not straight female. But in San Francisco especially one knows to be a bit more fluid in identifying gender or non-conforming gender. The lovely person you see in these sketches is a transexual model Alida, over 6 feet, powerful and exquisitely feminine at the same time, capable of holding strenuous poses and seeming to prefer them.

It’s been a whole week of figure sketching for me – at The Living Room day shelter for women and children, at the Portrait Party at Sebastopol Center for the Arts, and at the Marathon.  Stay tuned for the Portrait party next!

Reminder: Portrait Party This Thursday

If you haven’t reserved your seat for the Portrait Party this Thursday, 6-8pm at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts gallery, 282 S. High St., Sebastopol, now’s the time.

Here’s the scoop again:

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Please reserve your seat here so we know how many chairs to get out. No money required to sign up.

There’s been a lot of interest in this, so please come a bit early. Bring a donation of $10 for the Art Center. And remember to wear distinctive clothing and a hat if you can.

Don’t miss the Portrait Party!

Questions? contact me here.

A Portrait Party!

I’ve been wanting to host a Portrait Party for all my fellow artists ever since I attended one at Arch Art Supply in San Francisco last spring. It was a gas! And this one will be held at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts in conjunction with the GO FIGURE art show which opens this Friday. I hope you can come. Details below. All are welcome!

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RESERVE YOUR SEAT

 

Master Quilters

With the colder weather I’ve been enjoying more studio time and practicing my quick capture people drawing skills. When I watched a video about The Master Quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama I couldn’t wait to try sketching the faces of these women, who embody for me a serene wisdom and powerful heritage that I think most of us in this frenetic modern life have missed.

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I hope you can slow down enough to watch the 14 minute video, and breathe deep and then you’ll know what I mean. But I lead a distractible life, and so I got this far and was called away. When I got back I was glad I had stopped! The imagination is always grateful to be left to fill in the rest.

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I really wished I could set a spell on the porch with these ladies, happy to swat flies and keep stitchin.

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If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll watch the video and get to see them talking and making their lovely quilts, a tradition passed down from mother to daughter.

Muslim Fashion

Have you seen the Contemporary Muslim Fashions exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco? If you haven’t, then you might only be picturing scarf-clad middle eastern women, rather than the complex and diverse assortment of contemporary Muslim dress styles around the world. The women’s apparel in the show is designed by seasoned and emerging fashion designers from Malaysia to Iran, Indonesia to Pakistan. We’re also talking Muslim Rapper and motorcycle fashion and the bikini a la “Burkini”!

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And modest sportswear, in this case ultra-chic with that red hijab.

Realizing my utter illiteracy in Muslim clothing vocabulary I looked up the word hijab when I got home found innumerable meanings from “veil” to “curtain” to “modesty” and dozens of translations and hundreds of different applications to dress worldwide.

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I do wish that the museum had invested in some mannequins whose hands had more than two positions and more than the non-descript high-fashion model faces. Nothing exotic or interesting about those. But watch the online videos to see real women moving in these creations.

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After an hour and a half of standing and sketching I finally plunked myself clumsily on the floor to give the feet a rest. There were Art Institute students camped out in this fashion. Not my choice, but better than nothing! I added paint to the drawings at home.

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I’m not sure why Red Rose, the most gaudy-glittery evening dress was so distinctly unadorned (immodest) on top, but the black box top on the other model makes up for it.

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Now the Saudi model on the right would certainly have at least had a rich head of black hair, don’t you think? And some less “comfortable” looking shoes? But hey, no one asked me, and I still recommend the show.

I’m wondering how to work some head scarves into my wardrobe without looking like a copy cat. It would certainly solve the problem of hair that frizzes when it rains!

Thanksgiving at Home

Rain outside -thank God- and fresh air after two weeks of toxin laden air from the Butte Co fire.  And cozy inside the kitchen with lots of cooking and so much catching up to do. Ben has been home this week, which means lots of interest in eating and talking and lounging in the window seat in our kitchen/dining area. He is always amenable to Mom’s sketching. The usual pose has a computer on the lap and foot in the air.

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In this one I tried painting direct with watercolor, then added the line into wet paint – not very accurate but fun. Only problem was that he sat that way (mostly) for so long that I got obsessed with getting his face right and ended up making it look like someone else.

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But then he changed position and I gave it another try:  drawing first, then painting, and because of the earlier warm up (and having sketched him a hundred times before at every age) it actually looks like him, though perhaps a bit wider.

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Knowing that I can never sketch the cooked turkey before it gets carved, I went for the uncooked bird this time, though I was being urged to be quick since it was supposed to be in the fridge.

Turkey anatomy  is something I have never actually studied as a subject to draw. But I found myself quite transfixed and challenged by it. The result looked a bit dopey to me, so I added the words for humor’s sake, and then was satisfied.

The cooking of this turkey was also a challenge, which led to various expletives and a promise to never again. . .so I’m glad I captured this much, because we may be considering other fowl or even vegetarian Thanksgiving entres next year!

Hope you had a heart and stomach warming Thanksgiving day!

Latino Community Event

Last night I attended an event for the Latino Community to share experiences of the firestorms last October. KRCB in conjunction with KBBF were the hosts and there was dinner and entertainment. It was a great opportunity to listen to and sketch “Fire Stories”.

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Trio Orion was a perfect way to warm up the crowd. I learned that KBBF radio provided the only translation of fire disaster information to the Spanish speaking community that was experiencing the same terror and uncertainty as the rest of Santa Rosa.

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Patty Ginochio, of Ginochio’s Kitchen in Bodega Bay talked about the throngs of fire evacuees that filled the roads and later the beaches in the wake of the fires. Many of them were Spanish speakers who were afraid to go to the shelters closer to Santa Rosa because they feared deportation. But she also spoke of the overwhelming support provided them by the community in the days that followed.

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Irma Garcia spoke eloquently about the need for government and other agencies to be better prepared to understand and respond to the needs of the Latino community that works so hard and makes such a large contribution to our county.

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Some middle school girls read their poems about the fire. And then individuals shared their anxiety the night of the fires and their difficulty coming to terms with their post-fire lives.

My pen and brush were moving like mad to try to record all this while my heart filled with compassion for these folks. I hope we all do a better job of watching out for all the people in our community whenever the next disaster appears, regardless of citizenship, language or economic status.

If you think you’d like to sketch fire stories like these please join us on Saturday Oct 6 at the Shiloh Park Wildfire Anniversary Event: Community Healing Together. And please sign up at the Meet Up site where there’s more information, and so we know you’re coming.

Practice, practice

Like most of us I like to think that one day I’ll just “get it” and then painting will be effortless self expression. This is very short sighted thinking of course, because it’s the drive to evolve as a painter which motivates me to practice, practice, practice, even when things are not going particularly well. Practice, as in effort. My friends who participate in challenges, like the #30X30directwatercolor2018 challenge which is going on this month, understand this. Paint something every day and you can’t help but evolve, even though on any particular day it may feel like you’re sliding backward.

Suhita suggested doing more than one of the same subject. So after two tries at the pagoda on Stowe Lake, I tried a third, this time from a tiny picture on my phone, direct watercolor. Taking the advise of Marc, to get farther away or work from a less detailed pictures.

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A quick and dirty direct watercolor with fewer specifics yet more fresh and appealing. Here’s the first two:

In the first I got mesmerized by the up close detail. In the second I was far enough away that I had to make up details, when I should have left them out!

Another day I was sketching in Sebastopol with a view of Gravenstein Station. My first try, in direct watercolor was highly frustrating! Not having the pen line to rely on, my watercolor application got too tight and descriptive, choking out the light.

gravstation It certainly represents the scene relatively accurately, but I think I pretty much killed it dead. With 10 minutes left til I had to go, I did this less ambitious sketch and liked it much better.

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Direct watercolor with white pen line added at the end

Another day I decided to practice figures with no preplanning, just drawing/painting directly, from another phone photo.

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I was testing my ability to paint shapes with no drawn or painted line. Great practice but clumsy outcome. And definitely missing the spirit of the music.

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Determined to do a first-thing-in-the-morning direct watercolor I did this selfie in my pajamas while sipping chai (from my computer monitor). It bears little resemblance to me (which haunts me! how to fix it!) but again, great practice.

 

100People Days 1-3

This was day three of the sketch 100 people in one week challenge. I don’t usually like to be told what kind of art to do, preferring to set my own goals. But when so many of my urban sketch friends were participating, I signed on. (you know FMO, fear of missing out?) Well, here’s what’s happening so far.

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Lamy fountain pen and ink in a 6 X 8″ Hahnemuhle Nostalgie sketchbook

I started out using the Sktchy app, and as much as possible, continuous line drawing. It helps to keep the pen on the paper so you don’t lose your place! The drawings on the right were done first, and look at the improvement already when I made it to the other side of the paper and got clearer about where to draw the lines?

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On Monday afternoon I caught the Muses (in my mixed media workshop) hard at work. Noodlers Red Black ink in the fountain pen here, and it’s slightly water soluble.

On Tuesday I was reading my friends’ blogs and feeling a bit jealous that they live in cities where there’s lots of people to draw. Here at home I have my husband or the goats at the bottom of the hill. Oh, and the cats.

 

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So I headed over to the train depot at Railroad Square in the afternoon, where there were a few men waiting together while they complained about the cost of the ride on the new SMART train. The hipster (pictured above) lingered only moments and left before I could add his girlfriend (who was a great match!)

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People don’t really stand all that still when they’re impatient for the train to come, and then it came, and that was it. So I headed over to Old Courthouse Square where I could sketch sleeping people from a distance, homeless or just down for a nice afternoon nap?

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Then headed back to the S.R. Mall to see what action was there. Not bad! On the left I was trying to capture this beafy guy while he was balancing on the outside of his feet, but he changed positions and so did my drawing. The girls on the left and the right of him were my favorite sketches of the day. No pencil first. I was discovering that when I do the quick pencil thing first, I lose the gesture, so I put it away.

From a seat on a couch in front of a furniture store in the mall I could see the old men who were resting in the chairs in the middle of the mall.The one on the left was gesturing while telling a story. . .caught it!

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Still on the sofa I’m watching the escalator traffic and getting maybe 5-10 more seconds of drawing time than with the people walking by. Then a lady comes right up to me and asks about the sofa I’m sitting on, and I realize it’s time to move on again.

And I get home and look at the sketches and see that almost everyone, even some of the people on the escalator, and the father eating dinner with his son in the food court, all are looking at their smart phones! But you already know, that’s our new world.

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Today I had to wait a long while at Toyota. I decided I was “broken in” enough to use the pocket brush pen. With that I had to slow down enough to use the tip lightly for fine lines and broadly to “paint” in the darks. But what about gray or white hair and a beard? When you have only two values, black and white, it’s challeging to show subtlety?  I realized that every line started to count more and shapes became more important.

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I haven’t counted them up yet. Since I’m headed to San Francisco for the weekend there will be lots more opportunities, and I’d like to try some color next!

How are you doing with your people sketching this week?

Beatles Singalong

On Saturday Sebastopol was treated to a Beatles Singalong at Coffee Catz led by my friend David Klotz, the irrepressible music man I know from Wavy Gravy’s Camp Winnarainbow! David has recently moved to our town and joined the music scene here, so he was a bit surprised when the Cafe filled to overflowing with enthusiastic singers (of a certain age and cultural disposition) who knew most of the songs by heart.

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I got a seat up front so I could sketch while singing, but really I ended up singing more than sketching.  The Beatles were after all, exactly my era, and David encouraged us to not hold back but let our young selves emerge whole heartedly. He started with piano accompaniment which sounded like a bit of his own jazzy arrangements.

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Then moved to guitar, and back and forth throughout the afternoon, embodying the songs, music and lyrics, with virtuosity and clear delight. Another fellow accompanied him on the guitar.

We’re all hoping to hear lots more of David’s music now in years to come! Or you can join him as an Adult Camper  at Camp Winnarainbow in summer.