Workshops

Watercolor Tips for the Urban Sketcher

The Watercolor Tips for the Urban Sketcher workshop was on Saturday, held at beautiful Sunset Gardens at Cornerstone in Sonoma. It was one of those exquisite sunny (but not hot) days and the gardens were showing off their spring blooms.

wctips2

I’d started the planning of this “new” workshop with a list of watercolor tips. It got very long and boring, because watercolor can be a challenge and there is so much to learn. So I broke it down into the elements that work best when you’re out “on the streets” sketching and need to get the color down quickly! We had spring flower gardens to entice and serve as subject matter, so that’s where the focus was.

wctips4

The demos were about getting juicy color down quickly, using analogous colors and complements to make interesting color shapes and create color drama.

wctips3

For the novices the workshop was about learning how to get rich color from the palette. More advanced students were encouraged to mix color on the paper, painting wet against wet, charging color into wet shapes, and painting lively shadows.

wctips5

The three hours went by in a heartbeat, with the fragrance of sweet peas and roses to intoxicate, and the good company of fellows sketchers to enjoy.

Advertisements

Open to Spring?

Happy Easter! Happy Passover! Happy Spring!

There’s no little ones here to go egg hunting with today and so I’ve been watching butterflies and following a vibrant buzzing to the bumblebee nest outside my studio wall. It’s actually a birdhouse that’s been taken over by nectar drunken bumblers. Yellow pollen is dripping down the outside, giving away their hideout. And there’s always at least one of them, tipsy and hanging out on the edge, with buddies just inside.

But I was inside for a bit too, and finished this piece from a lesson earlier in the month, adding words from today.

glassinepapercollage2

layers of acrylic inks and glassine papers with monoprints

Are the windows in my mind open to spring?

Can my animal heart relate to the heavy breath of blossoms and buzzing bumblers?

I was a bit overcome today with the warm scents, the rapidly unspooling ferns, the snowy cloud of apple blossoms, and the tapestry of weeds calling out to be pulled!

Ah Spring. Is your mind and heart open to it? It’s a very strong cocktail!

IMG_5256

I went back to take a picture for you, and the party had grown! Sounded like they were really getting down!glassinepapercollage1

Another one, with a tree theme, and lots of layers, collaged and painted.  I was shooting for golden light shining through the orchard and those birds, and maybe a yellow brick road for Dorothy to skip along with her friends and Toto.  But then there was this blaze ripping through the trees and across driveways. . .it’s hard to forget about that fire. . .

If you want to join us this spring and summer, for my mixed media workshop titled The Playful Muse, here’s the new dates, just published!

May 20, June 17, and July 15, 1:30-4:30 in my Sebastopol studio. (You can sign up for one or all three.)

4-week August Session: August 5-26

For more information and to register contact me.

 

 

Last Night’s Party

Last night’s Portrait Party at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts was as thoroughly engrossing as the others.  At times I felt like I was in the company of professional models! though it was just us chickens of the sketching sort – a fun group.

If you have been wanting to come join us you may want to put our next date on your calendar – Thursday May 23, we’ll be at it again, 5-8pm. Everyone invited, no matter your figure drawing skills or lack thereof.

pparty1

These were my 2 minute sketches, done with a wet brush and a graphite cake, which I’d hoped would be a quicker way to do the modeling. It’s a somewhat clunky medium but gets one drawing with a brush.

pparty3

At 3 minute poses I switched to pencil and watercolor, which I liked better.

pparty2

I guess we all have our visual “issues” to overcome. When I’m sitting too close to someone I’m drawing, I can’t seem to avoid sketching them larger, often so they barely fit on the page – like Catherine here!

pparty4

I got out an Inktense pencil to sketch the one on the right.

pparty5

In this 10 minute pose I got a bit more ambitious, with more of the figure.

pparty6

Last pose of the night. A very wise woman gave us a lovely peaceful pose.

I’m so tempted to go back into these and “finish” them, but I would surely lose whatever “freshness” I have achieved. It’s wonderful practice, and frankly as good as meditation for quieting the mind. We have music playing in the background, but each person is intensely in their own creative space. The resulting portraits are as different in style as the individuals we are.

See you next month, May 23rd?

Portrait Party this Thursday!

Are you ready for the next Portrait Party at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts on April 18, 5-8pm? It’s getting to be a monthly thing, and I’m so glad because I’m meeting lots of new people, getting to sketch with beginners and professional artists both. See the details below and more about last month’s party.

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 3.49.12 PM

Come when you can. No need to register first. Groups form as folks arrive.

#oneweek100people2019

Are you getting your pencils sharpened and pens filled for next week’s challenge to sketch 100 people in one week, beginning Monday April 8, and share your sketches on social media? If you want to know the “rules” and the intention behind this fun challenge (now in its third year), go to the Facebook group page, join up and read a fun description with lots of ideas about how to participate. When you put your mind to it and form a plan, it is remarkably easy to do 100 quick people sketches in a week. And once you get going, sometimes it’s hard to stop!

And then, what good timing! You’ll be warmed up for the next Portrait Party at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts on April 18, 5-8pm. It’s getting to be a monthly thing, and I’m so glad because I’m meeting lots of new people, getting to sketch with beginners and professional artists both. See the details below and more about last month’s party here.

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 3.49.12 PM

 

On Becoming a Nature Nerd

I spent that gorgeous day yesterday out on the Las Galinas Wildlife Ponds with John Muir Laws and a bunch of nature nerds. It’s OK to say that because Jack (John) told us to approach our nature explorations and journaling like a nature nerd and he should know. In case you don’t know him, he’s the author of The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling, and other nature journaling guides, and the founder of the Nature Journal Club here in the Bay Area.

So what does it mean to be a nature nerd?  Well, it’s things like data collection: location/date/weather. It’s walking along a trail and looking for something weird, something that tweeks your curiosity. It’s not just making pretty colored pictures, but writing down your thinking about what you’re observing.

lasgalinas

What I love about this approach is that you don’t have to know the names of the plants and animals or be able to identify the bird calls. You draw and describe what you see and hear and your questions and guesses, and it’s all in the service of being there in your experience of “the wild”. Like those red patches on the red winged blackbirds that look like military medals or epulets. Or the ole coot dunking his head up and down while fishing, and that sound like an “ow, ow”. Was that the ole coot complaining?

lasgalinas2

If I had been there alone i would have drawn the familiar outline of the sleek black cormorants lined up on the pipe. But Jack and the other bird watchers were there with their fancy tripods and telescopes and I got to see what a truly exotic bird this common bird of California wildlands is, with its hooked beak and orange face, electric blue mouth and lavishly patterned back! And then they were doing the orange gular pouch flutter and double crested fluff-up of the mating dance. All that can’t be seen without binoculars of course, and you can’t draw what you can’t see!

The young night heron however was quite visible from the path and not inclined to move. While sketching him/her I couldn’t help imagining that the mother had given strict instructions for him to stay put until she came back.

lasgalinas3 Here’s the setting where Jack is showing us an example of how to draw a quick map of the area and use symbols to illustrate different types of wildlife. Along with the usual Marsh wrens, egrets, geese, ducks and cormorants there were spottings of otters and maybe even an orange tailed weasel?

If you want to be on the email list to find out about these outings and courses, go to the Nature Journal Club, and maybe I’ll see you there some time.