The Living Room sketches/portraits

Carmen

The portrait project at The Living Room is keeping me joyfully busy these days, collecting the stories of these women who have become my friends. They have all been homeless and many of them still are. They have that is common, along with other things I couldn’t have known about without spending hours listening to them. They possess a kind of hard won wisdom and a desire to minister to others who are down on their luck.

. . .Like Carmen, who leaned in to tell me her secret, “Sleeping on the streets you learn to be grateful for what you do have, and it makes you strong.”

Carmen

Carmensita is almost always to be found by her side.  She is the white “Yoda” in the stroller below. Likely she is dog sitting the large hound by her side.

dogduo

 

#30faces30days continues. . .

I think I’m getting addicted to painting faces, after 26 days this Sktchy challenge, which is also a course with different teachers and lessons every day. When I look at faces now I see minute variations in skin tones and am constantly mixing colors in my mind, while my fingers twitch in anticipation of sketching and my eyes can’t help but notice how the ears relate to the nose and eyes, etc., etc. I curl up on the sofa in the evening to draw and paint the muse (the picture which is one of thousands of available faces on Sktchy) of the day. Although it’s better to do all this with a live model, I’ll settle for Sktchy in the meantime!

The 30 days is almost over, and I feel like I’m just starting to get the hang of it. Here are some of the past few days’ sketches.

30faces19

Day 19 the lesson was to “let the light be your line” with teacher France Van Stone, who is a genius with graphite. But watercolor is my thing, so I made the point by slapping on some rich background negative painting at the end.

30faces23

(on gray toned paper) Lesson 23 was “Drawing Shadows with Minimal Lines”, with Patrtick Hochstenbach, but being a painter, once again, I went for color, dashed in some extra lines at the end, and really liked the effect.

30faces24 (on toned paper) Lesson 24, again with France Van Stone with graphite, was one of my favorites. I loved being told I didn’t have to finish everything and maybe it would be better if I didn’t!  And what a fabulous face to draw!

30faces25

(toned paper) Lesson 25 Lending Your Portrait a Hand with Margriet Aasman was challenging because I like drawing hands only slightly more than windows in a tall building, meaning not much. But Margriet makes you look at each joint and curve so you start to see how different each is. Nevertheless I think my impatience shows in the outcome here.

It’s all good though. Lots of good practice and learning to apply to the portrait project I’m working on at The Living Room these days. I’m up to about 17 portraits with stories now and will share move of them soon.

 

Meet Maria

When I first starting going to The Living Room to sketch the stories I felt shy about just showing up and sitting down with the women. I had been given permission by the staff, but at first it was a bit like showing up at a party where no one there has actually invited you. Or even like the first day at a new school, an experience I had many times as a child, since my family moved a lot.

But it was my good luck that one of the first people I met, as I sat down in the singing group, was Maria. It was so easy to talk to her, and she volunteered information about how things worked there, so that I felt more at ease. And the next week, when I showed up at the Knitting Group, she let the group know what who I was. Over time I learned that it came naturally for her to offer help to women who had newly shown up at The Living Room, bewildered, anxious and in need of  direction. By the time I did this portrait, I had already sketched her numerous times in activities and events there.

Maria

 

Christmas at The Living Room

It’s a sunny morning, the day after Christmas, and my sons and I are headed to the beach for a hike! Both of them now live in land-locked places and appreciate the ocean air when they’re home.

So I’ll take a few moments while they’re eating breakfast (it’s been busy here lately!) to share my day of celebrating Christmas at The Living Room with participants, staff and Santa Tim and Jingles last week.

TLRmotherchildXmas

The week before I’d wrapped presents with the moms in the MAC (Mothers and Children) program. On this cold and rainy morning there were no children outside in the play area, so I headed into the MAC house which was packed with moms and their youngest children and a grandma or two. This little one was enjoying her new doll. . .

TLRMACXmas

. . .while other children were being entertained and entertaining the moms. I came too late for the young man who comes with his guitar to sing Christmas songs with the families. I caught what I could with my pen, took some pictures and added paint later.

The holiday feast was next, with roast beef, twice baked potatoes and all the other trimmings, and with an infinite supply of Christmas cookies, all served at white clothed, festively decorated tables by a large crew of volunteers.

lrsantasknee

(above sketch from Christmas 2018)

Then Santa and Jingles showed up to pose with Moms and kids and staff and even some lucky volunteers.

santa andme

You may have seen this very same Santa on the front page of the PD paper this week!

Happy Holidays to one and all!