Hot Breakfast and Lunch at The Living Room

For the past three months I’ve been making weekly visits to The Living Room, a day shelter for women and children in Santa Rosa. It’s become one of the highlights of my week.

The Living Room is the kind of program that breeds devoted volunteers who’ve been coming for years – like the weekly teams that cook delicious and healthy hot breakfasts and lunches for up to 80 people. hotlunch

Here’s a (standing) sketch I did while trying to stay out of the way of the cooks and servers. They were gracious to not complain!

My main role at the Living Room is to tell the visual stories as they unfold in the moment. The staff and participants have been generous and welcoming and allowed me to be a fly-on-the-wall, (even if sometimes under foot as well).

As I sketch I also get to hear the stories of homelessness and lives in transition. They are the stories of women of great spirit who are becoming my friends and teaching me about what is happening here in the county with our housing and other poorly addressed problems.

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There’s a room full of toys for the MAC (mothers and children). It was a busy place that morning and the only place I found to sit was in a teensy chair next to this charming fellow who was rolling out his clay. Believe me it was hard to draw when another part of me was dying to play with the kids.

There are volunteers who can entertain the children so that overburdened moms can take care of other pressing matters – like where to sleep tonight, or how to get to medical appointments.

But moms might also have a break from serious concerns for an hour to participate in one of the groups – art, singing, knitting or meditation!

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On Mondays Dave arrives with his guitar and song sheets and a professional lead singer.

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. . .in the dining area, where some women are stretched out asleep and others assemble for a chance to sing favorite songs and lighten spirits. That day the songs were those I knew by heart and could sing along while sketching! It certainly lifted my spirits.

I’m working my way around all the activities and am hoping to put the sketches together as a banner to be hung on the walls of TLR, as well as a calendar at the end of the year, perhaps to help with fundraising.

We all love to see our lives in picture form. Apologies though to the women who have allowed their image to be so roughly rendered here. Hopefully the spirit as I experienced it will shine through.

More sketches coming. . .

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Our Cups Runneth Over

As I write this, Russian River communities are evacuating, The Sebastopol Community Center is at flood level (where they pull up the flooring and cancel Jazzercise and other events). Our sump pump in the basement is filling up and may go off at any moment, and the rains keep falling.

So I thought it a good time to share sketches from last week when I took on the challenging task of sketching the water in the Laguna below my house., which is all about the reflections.

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I doubt there are any kayakers out there today, but really, wouldn’t it be fun to paddle over a road? We’ve gone from drought and fire season to days of winter’s atmospheric river, a dramatic transformation. I need to get out there again when the rains pause, to practice more reflections, where the skies and trees dip dizzily into the waters.

woodenheadAnother scene that near my home, the version which was aborted by my too cold fingers. You fill in the rest.

Fire Story Sketches at the Land and Me Event

 

After the devastating 2017 firestorms here in Sonoma County some of us sketch artists were compelled to record the stories of our land and people who were so dramatically impacted. As time went on we sketched the rebuilding efforts, and finally a year later, the anniversary events.
And now we’re happy to announce the first pubic showing of the entire body of fire story sketches at an interactive performance event, created by local artists, musicians,dancers, and thinkers, featuring live music, interactive creative experiences, dance poetry and participatory performance.
Carole Flayerty and I will be there to talk with people about our process of reportage sketching, recording the experiences of the fire through the filter of personal experience. I hope you can join us at. . .
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If the land could speak…
The Land and Me  – Public Performance Event!
Saturday, March 2nd, 2019
from 4:00-6:00 PM – Free – Register HERE
The DeTurk Round Barn, 819 Donahue St, Santa Rosa
Join us for this interactive performance event, created by local artists, musicians, dancers, and thinkers, featuring live music, interactive creative experiences, dance, poetry and participatory performances with:
Eki Shola . Ben Roots . Nancy Lyons . Ernesto Garay . Carole Flaherty
Susan Cornelis . Margie Purser . Irma Bijou . Lea Goode-Harris
Kasia Apolinarski Krzykawska . Dustin Ordway . Aimée Otterson
Jared Wiltse . Carol Mancke . Trena Noval
Bring along your families, neighbors, and friends to note and celebrate some of the ways that the richly diverse Santa Rosa community has responded to the 2017 fires through renewed connections to the land.
CONTRIBUTE to the PERFORMANCE – please bring a small object you found on the land that can fit in your hand to share at the event!
ALL AGES WELCOME!
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To get a glimpse at more of my own fire story sketches visit my website.

Audubon Sanctuary, Tiberon

On Tuesday this week I joined the nature journal folks in Tiburon for one of John Muir Laws (aka Jack) lectures on “How to Draw a Forest”. Jack is a master naturalist and accomplished nature illustrator whose teaching methods are engaging as well as informative.

Jack says “The process of attention is what makes you fall in love with the world. It’s through attention that we create memories. The sketchbook helps you to preserve the integrity of those memories. ” 

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Jack does these workshops all over the Bay Area and leads monthly nature trips as well. The Richardson Bay Audubon sanctuary in Tiburon is a heavenly spot on the Bay across  from San Francisco. I was ready to try out the “how to draw a forest” techniques but was so wowed by the yellow house on the bay that I couldn’t resist, damp and cold as it was that day! And then it was lunchtime.  The inside of a forest sketch technique will have to wait.

And how bout skies?! Laurie Wigham will be teaching the next Nature Journaling class “What’s in a Sky?” next month.  Laurie knows how to capture the mystery and eloquence of skies and break it down in steps for the watercolorist.

And if you’ve been thinking about taking my Watercolor Painting Tips for the Urban Sketcher workshop May 11, now is the time to decide! There’s one spot left. For more information and to register for my workshop or any of the other 10 X 10 Bay Area Urban Sketch workshops this spring visit my blog post here.

 

Image Transfers – Two Ways

In my Muse Groups rule-breaking is encouraged, so there’s a groove of free thinking which we enjoy. Serendipity is encouraged!

We’d been enjoying the splatter and spray techniques, and then I introduced the idea of transferring a photographic image transparently onto a painting, and suddenly there were some rules! For instance, this method only works with toner copies (not ink jet prints!) and it requires a certain careful handling. There was much to practice.

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The first method I taught uses clear contact paper. You press the image ink side down onto the sticky side of the contact paper, burnish it, and then wet it so that you can rub off the paper pulp, leaving the image on the transparent contact paper. Then you glue it down on your painting in a spot where the image takes advantage of the underpainting showing through!

In the case of this dragon I had a lot of fun painting over the transparency as well, once it was down. I had to give the dragon credit for the inferno, and suggest his jewel-laden body.

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Here I used the dry gel transfer method. First I collaged the music pages, using a Valentine sweetheart theme.

Then I printed out a toner copy of my face – a picture taken in Photobooth on my computer with the comic strip filter. I painted a layer of acrylic soft gel onto the surface of the music and pressed the image, ink-side down onto the wet gel, making sure that it made contact all the way to the edges. After letting it dry for 24 hours, I then wet the paper and rubbed the paper pulp off gently with my finger, leaving the black ink image. See what I mean? Several steps to pull it off.

The rest was glazing with ink washes, stenciling and collage with the doily shape.

And here’s what came out in the writing. . .

Talk to me Baby! Tell me what’s on your mind. Bad Hair day? Watched too much TV news? Wondering what to give the hubby on Valentine’s Day?

Or. . .remembering the good old days, when the Beatles occupied your mind, and your heart was a fresh young thing. Before the glasses. . .Before the thousandth hat worn and taken off again. So many lives in one, until it’s hard to pin down who this is.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Sending love your way!

SF Sketchers 7th Anniversary Party

Did you see the skies yesterday?! It was a spectacular jaw-dropping show yesterday morning as I drove into San Francisco through mist and fog and rain and sparkling sunshine and every kind of cloud drama.

I was there for an urban sketcher teacher meeting, sketch meet up and party at Arch Art Supply Store. A pretty significant downpour was perfectly timed for our sketch meet up. But these SF Urban Sketchers, many of whom have been meeting to sketch outdoors for years now, were well prepared and unphased by the cold and rain. I headed over with some of the group to Big Daddy’s Antique store, an open emporium  of fabulous furnishings grouped in living area scenes. No heat, but at least shelter from the rain!

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After an hour we headed back to Arch Art Supply for a celebration of 7 years of SF Urban Sketcher meet ups. In the capable hands of Laurie Wigham the group has grown to about 3200 members and hosts one or two meet ups in the city every week, as well as the 10X10 Urban Sketcher Workshop series which I will be a part of again this year. You can download the entire workshop flyer here. And if you want to join some SF Sketchers events you can sign in on Meetup.com

Arch Art Supply is our generous sponsor and was the host of the party. It is always fun to shop there for sketch supplies. I can hardly believe this, but I actually brought home a sketch palette set up that I had never seen before! (I mean I think I have a collection of every other one ever invented.) I’ll share it here at some point after I have tried it out.

Portrait Party Postscript

Can getting people together to draw be a party as well? That was the idea last Thursday evening at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts when the auditorium area behind the gallery was turned into a figure studio and participants arrived in hats and scarves and some even with instruments!

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(If you’ve received this by email and you can’t see the slideshow, click on the title to view it on the blog page!)

(The sketches here are my own. I have no pictures of other artists’ sketches. Next time hopefully!)

As people arrived we started seating groups of six people. Everyone took turns posing, first for one minute poses and building up to ten minute poses, while music played and a deep concentration set in. Non-drawing spouses watched and took pictures. At the break there were refreshments and a few minutes to do another thing we all enjoy, to make new artist friends!

Suddenly it was eight o’clock and the evening was over!  Sketching faces can be so mesmerizing. . .it’s hard to stop.

If you missed out, don’t worry because we’ll do it again soon! The Art Center has been so supportive of this event and the response has been robust. I thought I knew most of the artist community already, but in addition to familiar faces there were many new people to meet.

As soon as we have a definite date for our next Portrait Party I will post it here. Stay tuned!