Workshops

Intro to Sketching in Public (Sebastopol)

It’s always a crap shoot to schedule an outdoor sketch workshop in March! But somehow we slipped between the rain storms for an idyllic weather day last Saturday in Sebastopol town for the Intro to Sketching in Public workshop. We took over the stage area on the Plaza for the introductions and then spread out in the plaza for the morning of demo and sketching.

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We look at bit bundled up here, but it was warm in the sun. After some drawing warm ups I demonstrated continuous line drawing and shared thoughts about how we decide what to put in and what to leave out of a quick sketch.

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I certainly left out more than I put in! All those cars and benches and things. I’d still be there sketching if I’d put them all in!

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Lunchtime and the afternoon was spent in the Barlow where there’s plenty to eat and sketch. I picked a spot across from a clothing shop for a 5 minute sketch and then added the color in a demo later, adding splatter and white pen detail with the Uniball Signo white pen. Once again I left out way more than I put into this scene, capturing only the “bling” that attracted me.

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Last stop of the day was in front of everyone’s favorite coffee shop, Taylor Maid, and the Floral Design shop. There are still areas of the Barlow that are undeveloped, like this scene from bygone years across the street  And if you can tell me what it is, I would appreciate knowing. Does it have something to do with apples? Grains? Wine? Beer? None of the above?

Citrasolv art

Citrasolv cleaner “melts” the clay based inks of National Geographics in the most stunning way. I keep circling back to the Citrasolv collage lesson, which has to be started outside when the weather is warm and not windy. . .like last Monday.

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National Geo papers collaged on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Are you caught, tangled , running into hidden snares everywhere? Tread carefully. Watch your step, or when you fly, land carefully.  This life thing is tricky, at times sticky. It takes a lot of maneuvering to get yourself free once entangled.

So why not become the one who unties the knots, releases the locks, opens the door and gets to say “You’re free now. Go for it!”

If you want to try making these papers yourself, there are lots of how-to videos online. My favorite papers are the ones that have some picture peaking through, like the guy in blue above. And sometimes a page is so gorgeous by itself that you wish you’d painted it! You can also use the Citrasolv concentrate to wipe off spots of ink, using a stencil or a brush.

See more examples of my Citrasolv art on this blog.

Thanks to Birthday Well Wishers!

It is a bit of a rush to see all those names of familiar people popping up on Facebook to wish one a happy birthday. So if you are one of them, THANK YOU! March 13 often lands on some spring day heady with perfume and buzzing bees and. . low and behold, this year the sighting of the first Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly which was flying in ecstatic curves and dips. I had to wonder if it had just dried out after emerging from its papery frock.

All the spring art coming out of Muse Group has a strong nature tilt. This one is from last week.

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painted with water and charged with inks, with collaged papers on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

The sun rises and sets on this kingdom of nature. There can be a fair amount of strutting about here, of gorgeous posturing and preening (It’s not the kind of false showing off and pontificating we find in humans)

It takes a wise one to know what are empty declarations and what is truth worth hearing. There are no fakes among these birds in the shallows. I’ll put my bets here on the waders.

The lesson was drawing with a brush loaded with water, then charging in inks and watching them blend. I was using Higgins waterproof inks which blend so beautifully. I had a book open to some bird pictures while painting the large bird and the ones in the background and enjoyed making up the little ones. Pick your breed of bird! You may not find these anywhere else.

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This was some playing around I did to get ready for the lesson. The top ones are a kind of rohrshach, pressing another paper onto the wet painted image to transfer it. I liked the lacy edges I got that way.

Eggs and Gold

Eggs are an old favorite subject of mine, back into the days when I started each morning collecting the eggs in the coop behind my studio. My studio is studded with birds’ nests in many corners. I like to make nest art and imagine myself a fluffy wee chick bedding down in one.goldflowacrylic inks, collage on tissue paper textured w/c paper, 10 X 11″

the river of gold melts

comes again as grasses that dry out and

comes again as birds’ nests that fill with eggs

comes again as baby chicks

and always as the river of gold

everything in the process of dissolving and being born again

The Muse Group lesson here was making a paper textured support to paint on. I chose my old favorite. So simple. Paint the whole surface of the watercolor paper (or whatever support) with matte medium.Take a sheet of tissue paper and while the matte medium is wet, press the tissue on so that it wrinkles in. Paint over with more matte medium and then let it dry. (You can cut off the overhang after it’s dry.)

We also used all kinds of fun textured fibrous papers, brown paper bag, doilies and more. One never has to limit the imagination when doing mixed media!

A new Monday Afternoon Muse Group series starts here in my studio in Sebastopol, CA on Monday. There’s space for one more if you’re interested! or ask me about dropping in when vacancies occur. More info on my website.

The Grid

How do you rescue a painting going nowhere fast? Try cutting it up and using a grid layout to reposition the parts. That’s what we did last week in Muse group. Everyone had her own unique version of course, and here’s mine.

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Starting out with this. . .a demo of drawing with acrylic inks and a dropper. This demo sat on my shelf with a large stack of other unfinished pieces, until I cut it up and

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. . .grid-ed it. It’s rather like a game where you move the pieces around until you are satisfied. . .it took a while and I added a line and a dot, only.

Secretly seductive. Swaying to the music of grasses blowing, waves surging. Fill in the blanks. Make the connections. Play with the Rubric Cube of possibilities. Settle the eyes somewhere around the belly button. It’s a safe place to be, in the well of life’s origin, where this great mystery always resumes again.

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And here another take on the grid, with some flaps and extra pieces to complicate and enrich.

ARCH Art Supply Poster

Arch Art Supply store in San Francisco made blk/white posters of the sketches done by all ten of the Urban Sketch teachers who will be offering workshops in the Bay Area this spring! For more information about the workshops, check out the 10 X 10 workshop schedule. My workshop is June 10, “Sketch Vignettes to Share the Story That Interests YOU!”

Here’s the Arch poster with my sketches from the Occidental Fool’s Day Parade, which will be coming up again this year.Yes, on April first. Maybe I’ll see you there?

archposter