Reportage Sketching

Apple Blossom Festival

Twice a year in Sebastopol we celebrate our agrarian roots with an apple festival.  In the Spring it’s apple blossoms, even though the festival lands on a day which is weeks past the actual blossoming of the apple trees. I particularly enjoyed the live music this year.

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And especially this band! It was hard to sit still and sketch rather than dance to their soulful R + B music. We considered sitting in front of the stage directly in the sun and behind the dance area. But there would be little visibility , since the band was in the shade of a tent. The vantage point at the side of the stage was better, a bit closer, though we could only see part of the band.

There’s probably a story to why this wonderful band took the name Lucky Losers, but they were definitely winners in my book!

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When the winner-Losers finished their set there was time to stretch and get ready for the next group. This continuous line drawing was fun, a standing sketch connecting heads in the audience, chairs, tents.  . .

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Once again on the (other) side of the stage I took the strategy with this band to start with the instruments and hands/arms and attach whatever body parts I could see to them! This way I actually got five musicians in the picture, but was unable to see the lead singer Volker Strikler!  Sorry Volker. Another great band!

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A little wind blew up in the late afternoon and the sun seemed more appealing. We sat down right behind this West County Sound guy who was struggling to get the system up and running for the next band, Burnside.

For memories from the fall festival here in Sebastopol, check out last year’s sketches.

 

March for Science and Earth Day

I packed felt tip pens and Inktense pencils only for the March for Science last Saturday in Santa Rosa. We missed the speeches so it was all marching when we got there. Surrounded by signs and chanting and friendly, committed people.

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You can see I’m taking liberties here, combining moments from the march (which was impossible to sketch in motion) with the Earth Day fair. Clo is of course the mascot for Clover dairy products and was there is costumed-human form. (It was not my intention that she look so diabolical!)

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Sketched later from pictures I snapped while marching. The signs are the best part!

A Day at SF MOMA

Taking sketch breaks is a perfect way to to avoid the tired feet and visual overload that usually happens to me at a major art museum. The San Francisco MOMA was our destination last Thursday and the Matisse/Diebenkorn exhibit. Rather than trying to head home before the rush hour, we stayed through dinnertime and benefitted from a more relaxed approach.

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

If you feel a bit like you’re on a ship while looking at this, then I achieved my goal of communicating my experience of Snohetta’s architectural design for the new expanded MOMA.  There are so many interesting angles, both inside and out, that one needs to continually re-balance to stay grounded. Perhaps that’s what happened to the bronze statue, which I sketched in an effort to reconnect with gravity.

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I made it through the exhibit about five minutes ahead of my friends and got this much down before they showed up. It’s enough I think. Always better to only sketch what one sees. The mind fills in the rest.

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If you watch an Alexander Calder mobile long enough, the up and down of perspective gets lost and you no longer miss it!

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Looking up through the Occulus as the light pours down. It’s not a subject for a quick study, more an opportunity to record a tapestry of favorite visual moments.

Workshops This Spring!

It’s a busy spring season coming up, and I’ll be doing what I enjoy most – sharing approaches to painting and spreading my own creative wings with like-minded people! Hope you can join me.

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For more information about these workshops and to register visit my website!

Sketching Between the Puddles

Normally at this time of year here in Sonoma County wouldn’t we be enjoying more predictably sunny days? Instead we’re dodging downpours on a regular basis, and LOVING IT! Gardening days are pure bliss because all the plants that have been biding their time throughout our five year draught are going bananas now!

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So last weekend we planned to visit the goat farm and sketch the baby goats, but that plan got rained out. So we headed over to Harmony Farm Supply and sketched in the sprinkles of rain and under an overhang while garden-fever was in full swing and customers were hungrily selecting additions to their spring gardens.

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Oh, by the way, while being frustrated that it was not a baby goat sketching day, I did a quick one of this handsome young one (Redwood Hills Farm) from a Facebook photo. Good practice for when the sunny day comes!

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Next day, Sunday, was sunny! The Sebastopol Farmer’s Market never disappoints with seasonal fruits, veggies, baked goods, plants, crafts, live music and more to tempt, well, everyone! Greedily I did a series of vignettes, some while standing.

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And then found a sunny spot out of the way to draw the tents and a guy picking out a pastry.

Some of this was practice and thinking through the schedule for my next sketch workshop April 29, 30 in Sebastopol, which will feature on location sketching along with the opportunity for some good eating! If you’re interested, visit my website.

TV and Photo Sketch Practice

The more I draw, the hungrier my eyes become for images to sketch. For instance, my favorite TV programing, Masterpiece Theatre! the costuming! the dramatic expressions of the characters! Sometimes while I’m watching I’m also doing imaginary sketches. So after I watched The Bronte Sisters on PBS I went back and found my favorite poses and indulged myself.

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I grabbed a couple fountain pens, my credit card sized mini w/c palette and water brush, which I carry in my purse, and sketched furiously to simulate real life (and because it was late and I was tired)

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Next day I did the other Brontes, with a bit more care, but trying not to overwork.

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You may have seen the figure on the left from my “live” Fool’s Day sketches. The fool on the right came from pictures I took in the parade. I know I couldn’t have sketched those hands as more than crude mittens if it were live. I think the practice of studying pictures of frozen action helps prepare one for the next real time event.

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I was so impressed with fellow Urban Sketcher Liz’ hat, as well as her sketches, so I had to get her down in my sketchbook.

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And one more post parade fool, texting on the steps.

Fool’s Day Parade

The Fools turned out in force to celebrate April 1st in traditional Occidental style Fool’s Day Parade on Saturday. I donned my tutu and joined them along with sketcher friends.

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Lamy Joy fountain pen and watercolor in handbook field watercolor journal, 8X8″

While waiting for sketchers to arrive I met Baan who was kind enough to pose. Her mermaid tail was a kind of hand-sewn blanket which added the marine effect to the gourd hat. A mix of themes creating a perfect fool-style costume.

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There was time for a quick picture of us with our green “official fool” badges before the parade.

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It was about 85 degrees in the shade by the time the parade got started and the parade was NOT in the shade. Wiltingly I marched along for a while.

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Switched to the brush pen which gets the idea down faster when there’s movement.

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After a bit of walking I ducked into the shade to watch and wish I had an umbrella. I’m not sure how I would have managed the sketching with the umbrella? And at this point the brush pen ink seemed to be melting, so I switched pens again.

The butterfly lady was added at the end of the parade when I was all warmed up and cooled down, sitting on a stool in the shade!

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And this one, while sitting around with the other sketchers, enjoying the last bit of fanfare and then sharing of sketches.

Next year will be my fourth year of foolery and I’ll be ready again! Zero the Clown will be back with his declaration to “do anything that brings fun, silliness, harmony, happiness, celebration, relaxation, health, love, joy, creativity, pleasure, abundance, grace, courage, balance, spontaneity, passion, beauty, peace and life energy to thyself and all other beings everywhere.” I figure that about covers it.