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Merry Christmas!

xmas2017The holiday picture I’d planned to get when we were all together was beginning to seem like a chore. We would need a “good idea”, like the year we were pretending to take a selfie with cell phone attached to a tree limb and our cat Phil posing perfectly in front of us. Or going back many years to the two little boys cuddling white bunnies (real) under the same santa hats as above.

The ideas for this year were getting a bit too wild and difficult, so Bob said, “Why don’t you just sketch us” and it seemed like the easy way out for all of us, even me! An hour or so later we had our picture for the card, rough as it is (no real likenesses here, but in the ballpark). Smiles all around.

I hope you’ve had a day of smiles as well. Happy holidays!

 

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The Season’s Rasa

 

rasa

acrylic and collage on BFK Rives paper, 10 X 11″ (monoprint)

Rasa: [Sanskrit], the spirit/soul of something.  Capturing the very essence of something to evoke emotion in the viewer’s brain.

voicesinunison

acrylic and collage on stone paper, 10 X 11″, (the printing plate)

Concerts, bright lights on a stage, voices lifted in unison. The dark of the year engulfs, making its demands on the spirit.

Stay with color. Let it take you to spring. Notice the deeper color palette, the burgundies and golds and deep russets. Pair them with a violet sky. Light a candle each day and rejoice.

More experiments in printing here; the first image a “pull” from the “plate” of the second.  The textures left behind were so intriguing that the plate deserved its own finishing touches. The slick surface of the stone paper makes it easier to scrape out shapes and wipe paint off before it dries. Stone paper, also known as rock paper is a durable paper-like product manufactured from calcium carbonate (marble waste) bonded with high-density polyethylene.  It’s a bit like Yupo, if you’ve ever tried that.

 

Big Daddy’s Antiques

The San Francisco Urban Sketchers had a meet up at Big Daddy’s Antique emporium last Saturday followed by a party at Arch Art Supply Store, the sponsor of the the urban sketchers.

antiques

Big Daddy’s is no hodgepodge antique store. It’s carefully curated with arrangements that suggest living spaces. I liked this one that reminded me of a sitting room where one might smoke a pipe, read a leather bound book of poetry while stroking the head of a hunting dog.

antiques2

Was it really possible that women once had waists like this one? and the rest of the curves to go with it? Certainly they would look good in the gowns on Masterpiece Theatre.

Arch Art had the most amazing array of sketchbooks, palettes, pens and more! Truly the place to shop for sketch supplies, even if you already have everything you need.

potrerohill

Afterwards we still had daylight and wanted to take advantage of the city scenes which we don’t get here in Sonoma County (well endowed as we are with countrified beauty!) So we parked up on Potrero Hill and I sat down on a street corner and did what I could with the last half hour. I wanted to get a foreground object to anchor the sketch and got a bit carried away. Does it look like this motorcycle is rearing up and ready to roar up the impossibly steep street?

The Slime Eel

This week we went to Bodega Bay in search of more crabbers to sketch and got lucky! Docked at Lucas Wharf was an unusual commercial craft devoted exclusively to harvesting the slime eel, which gets sent immediately to South Korea where the market for them is robust.

LukasWharf

The crew was friendly and educated us a bit about this fishing specialty. As you might imagine slime eels are not the delectable eel you find in your favorite sushi. No local chef would feature them on their menu and they are palatable to South Korean tastes only when highly spiced or chased with a stiff shot of liquor.

They are also known as Hagfish.

“Hagfish are not often eaten, owing to their repugnant looks and sliminess. However the inshore hagfish, found in the Northwest Pacific,[28] is valued as food in Korea. The hagfish is kept alive and irritated by rattling its container with a stick, prompting it to produce slime in large quantities. This slime is used in a similar manner as egg whites in various forms of cookery in the region.” -Wikipedia

LukasWharf2

After that rather busy first sketch and a lunch of fried calamari, I decided to relax a bit and simplify. Get a load of the giant gull on the left! I guess I was feeling a bit intimidated, perched as I was on his dock.

On the way home we stopped in the little town of Bodega and caught the last bit of light of day.

Bodegachurch

And by the way, if you’re wondering why Koreans pay the big bucks for such an unappealing fish, it has to do with that whole virility booster business.

 

 

Sketching the Symphony and Street Music

Our Santa Rosa Symphony orchestra has a Discovery Series of concerts where you can sit in on a real rehearsal of an upcoming program. The seats are affordable and you can sit up close if you get there early enough. So if it looks like these sketches are done from close up, you’re right. Second row orchestra seats at the Green Center.

concert1

pen and watercolor in soft cover Stillman + Birn Beta sketchbook, 5.5X8.5″

That meant that mostly I saw the front row of violinists (younger and older) and the back of the conductor.

concert2

Wanting to be as discreet as possible I sketched with a pen, then added a bit of paint at home afterwards.

concert3

When they moved the piano on stage for the Ravel Concerto and placed it, yes, that close, well. . .and then Stewart Goodyear came out cool as a cucumber and those fingers rained notes, not like individual ones, but a curtain of music, and so easeful. And well I guess you can see I got a bit wrapped up in the shape of his beautiful shiny head. . .but the fingers – ahh – and conductor Andrew Grams hands – ahh. And Ravel’s romantic music – ahh.

concert4

That was some concert! and ending with Clair de Lune!

Later in the week Bob and I spent a day in Berkeley and Emeryville, our old haunting grounds before we moved to Sonoma County. We stopped for some lunch and window shopping on Fourth Street in Berkeley.

4thStreet

And while sipping a Pumpkin Latte outdoors at Peet’s I had a few minutes to sketch. The East Bay Urban Sketchers sketched in this location for their meet-up this week. Rather than the bright sunlight, they captured the bright lights of decorations at night. Check out their wonderful sketches from the night scene here!

And for more sketches on Fourth St. in Berkeley go to this one from two years ago when we made the same trip! https://susancornelis.wordpress.com/2016/01/06/in-the-sketchbook/

A-bombination

If you let one thing lead to another, you might end up with these. . .

bombinate

monoprint with fluid acrylics on BFK Rives paper and stone paper collage, 10 X 11″

Bombinate. I bomb. You bomb. We bomb. They bomb-inate [buzz and hum] and taste the sweetness of the seasons, a spicy mixture of humus and herbs.

Abom(b)ination, an assault, an intense combination of bombs and angry countries, nations in abom(b)inate mode with no nature to groove on or calm them down.

I’ll bombinate with the mushrooms and lichen, hum for world peace and try not to expect too much, too soon. Try not to be too disappointed when the bumblers don’t return and the other kind of bombing abominators get too bumbling.

Dictionary definitions:

bombinate: to make a humming or buzzing noise

abomination: a vile, shameful, or detestable action, condition, habit, etc.

You probably know what I’m getting at here without my spelling out the politics of it. The art technique of it is more fun to talk about. In Muse Group we used stone paper for the printing plate in our lesson on monoprinting.  Not the usual, but that’s what we had. The “plate” was in most cases more interesting than the print.

yellowfloweracrylic on stone paper with collage, 10 X 11″

Can you see how the print at the top is the mirror image of this one?  The stone paper is a bit like Yupo, if you’ve ever tried that. You get all kinds of interesting textures with juicy paint. Use a rubber tipped color shaper to scrape paint off before it dries. After pulling a couple prints I did some scraping and shaping and let this one dry, then added color and line and collage elements later.

The word bombinate came from interesting-word-file which I started years ago. I could just imagine the bumble bees going after the pollen in this delectable flower!