Day 5: #OneWeek100People2017

Golly, I hope you’re not too tired of seeing all these people sketches. Yesterday was the final day (of 5) to get in the 100 people sketches. For a last minute spree Bettina and I sat/stood in the loft at Taylor Maid coffee in Sebastopol, the perfect place to catch people at that interesting angle looking down. A bonus is that no one looks up to see that you are sketching them!

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Platinum Carbon fountain pen in Stillman +Birn Beta sketchbook (soft cover)

This is a tricky angle because we’re so used to sketching at eye level that we don’t get the perspective right. Her legs were probably not that long when seen from above.

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I kept trying to capture the hand gestures as people talked to each other and only occasionally caught something before they moved on. I think if I sat for 3 hours I would probably have a chance to jump in fast enough. The hand is such a complicated structure that it requires quite a bit of study and practice in itself. I’ll put that on my (endless) to do list!

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It’s always more fun to sketch with a friend, and we had lots to discuss, but when the brain is tied up with such talk, it’s not as able to access the critical measuring and comparing part of drawing, so here I was getting sloppy. Determined though to get this woman’s hand gesture!

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This beautiful young woman reminded us so much of the lasses we saw in Ireland last summer. She was animated in every part of her body as she conversed with the young man opposite.

Painting in the red hair later seemed to rescue this sketch. I mixed up a puddle of yellow, red and a tad of blue and put some skin color in so the sketches seemed a bit more “human” and left it at that.

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Once again, not having to draw the face made it easier to get the gesture and foreshortening. Sometimes I find that my line gets squiggly from the excitement of the moment. The line takes over and wants to describe something quirky. O.K., I say. GO for it!

#OneWeek100People2017, Day 4

Day 4 of the challenge I decided to speed things up a bit more. Using the QuickPoses.com site I set the timer on 60 seconds and got out my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen which is great for gestural sketching (I had forgotten how much I love this pen!)

The Quick Poses in the clothes and costumes category tend to be action poses that rely heavily on costumes with weaponry with only an occasional ballet dancer or fashion model thrown in. I had to sit on my judgments about that and just get started!

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I don’t seem to be able to fit too many of these gestures on a page (6 X 9″ sketchbook,) so I had to keep flipping pages. The figures are grouped randomly by me to save some paper. Some interesting story lines resulted from the pairings!

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In this one for instance, the pinup figure appears to be held hostage. (Not my intention!)

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I was catching on here about leaving out what i didn’t have time to draw. How little we need to recognize a figure.

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My brush pen is starting to run out of ink here!

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So I switch to the Lamy Joy fountain pen. The muscle man pose is a gift! Most figure models are attractive women ,so it takes longer to learn how to sketch a male physique.

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The break dancer was particularly difficult, but I think the skateboarder may be my favorite.

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But I had to get some live model practice and headed to town to catch the high schoolers who always swarm the Safeway grocery store after school and hang out in front. It was a warm day, so they all seemed to have those multi-colored ice pops and some sodas. I felt like a lurker, standing behind my car directly across from them. But of course they didn’t notice me. Adults are largely invisible to people this age.

You probably know of Danny Gregory of sketchbook fame? I loved his video, I’d rather draw you than shoot you on the difference between the way a camera sees and we human’s see . Watching it this morning made it just a bit easier to accept the gross imperfections of my own efforts and appreciate this process. Thanks Danny! Collecting 100 sketches in 5 days of busy life doesn’t lend itself particularly to accuracy in drawing, but a lot of life is getting communicated nevertheless!

#OneWeek100People2017

Internat’l Women’s Day and Day 2 + 3

Today wasInternational Women’s Day along with Day 3 of the 100 people sketches in a week challenge, and I was able to celebrate all in one!

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I arrived late to the noon time demonstration in Santa Rosa and no sooner had I gotten a few lines down the paper when a reporter from the Press Democrat got interested in the three of us who were sketching there and started interviewing us. (and here I was worried that we’d look like we weren’t participating!) So I got to talk about Reportage sketching or documentary journaling and how it actually connects us deeply with the action in the moment.

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My favorite part is the signs. Note my friends Bettina and Carole, busy documenting! And the hands waving as cars drive by honking in agreement. It was a wear-red day, in support of the Day Without Women strike.

Day Two of the 100 people challenge we met at Oliver’s Market cafe in Windsor.

It was really easy to get our 20 sketches for the day in just about an hour.

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When there was a lag in the folks sitting in the cafe, we just switched to sketching each other.

#OneWeek100People2017

Day 1: 100 people sketch week

There’s a lot of sketching folks out there this week rising to the #OneWeek100People2017 challenge! So I couldn’t resist. It’s actually a five day challenge, which means 20 people/day sketched any way you want. But if you’re busy, obviously that means fast! Monday is always a very full day for me with my Mom’s group in the morning and Muse Group in the afternoon.

So sleepy-eyed in the evening after dinner I sat down to sketch from QuickPoses.com, a great online resource for when you can’t get out and sketch live. Most of these I started out with watercolor and added ink.

After finishing these I wanted to keep going but it was getting late. These poses are so great!! I think I could get addicted. And to reach the 100 goal I’m going to have to work faster and simpler. Maybe just stick to pen. Later today I’ll be in a grocery store with my sketch buddies capturing live movement with more speed and probably a lot less accuracy.

Why do this? Drawing is one of those activities that improves with quantity, like reps with those barbells or miles of walking/running/biking. And there’s a previous limitation to overcome. 100 sketches in 5 days just might do it.

I find inspiration in so many places. Here’s some of my favorites:  Marc Taro Holmes of course, and Liz Steel, and Suhita Shirodhar. They’re all blogging about this challenge this week and talking honestly about the process. Check it out! And I’ll be back every day to share my own discoveries/sketches.

#OneWeek100People2017

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 Moments In Between

I carry an abbreviated set of sketch supplies in my purse, ready for when the opportunity presents itself. Here are some of the sketches which have accumulated in my sketchbook in the past couple weeks in those moments in between the business of everyday life.

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pen and w/c in soft cover Beta Stillman +Birn sketchbook, 7 X 10″

. . . at Codex Book Fair in Richmond where artists from around the world exhibit their original creations and show and tell to the public.

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It was hard to take time away from the looking to sketch! So much to see and learn, but the colorful umbrellas caught my eye.

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and my friend Laurie Wigham sat down to sketch with me for a while and took this picture. Meanwhile she did a beautiful watercolor sketch of a container ship in the bay outside the window.

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Another weekend we joined Andrew and Maura in the city (S.F.) to explore the Mission, its murals, shops, and fascinating street milieux. Here I’m trying to sketch at a cafe and visit with them at the same time, inside, distracted also by the long line that’s forming across the street to get into one of the trendy ice cream joints.

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We visit thrift shops to try on clothes as well as some not-thrift shops like this one. I take a load off my feet to sketch the mannikins.

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Life and sketching happens wherever you find yourself and last week it was in the preop department where everyone wears blue bonnets, staff and patients alike, and the electronics are beeping and showing movies of, not stock market trends, but vital signs. The patient did well and I got lost in the wires and buttons.

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Next morning I had time to grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks before the exhausting day ahead, hanging out with and caretaking my own dear patient. (Who now is healing quite well.)

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It’s a bit of a challenge to get good color application with a waterbrush, which is what I carry in my purse, also a palette the size of a credit card.

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But it gets the job done. Life gets down in little bits and pieces in sketches while the memories get reinforced, and a little bit of pleasure bubbles up. Life and art like to go hand in hand.

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.