fountain pen and watercolor

Oscar de la Renta at the de Young

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Pelican fountain pen and watercolor in 6X8″ Stillman and Birn sketchbook

A morning spent at the de Young art museum in San Francisco with two sketch-buddies, there to see the Oscar de la Renta Retrospective show .  The show runs til May 30, so plenty of time to see it.  And bring your sketchbook, because it’s a near ideal situation for sketching the figure.  First of all, the figures are posed in stylized postures. Second, they don’t move. And third, they have no complicated hair and facial features, because they’re bald mannequins!  So you can focus on what really turns you on: color, design, textures, and imagining what it would be like to wear such creations!

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I had a moment of freak out at the entrance when I was told that I couldn’t bring my day pack in unless I held it by the handle like a purse!  Right. And where was the third hand to hold a pen?

The problem was quickly solved by putting my pens and iPhone in a pocket, carrying my sketchbook, and checking the rest in the coatroom.

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The exhibition rooms were dark and dramatic.  No place to sit down, but we’d anticipated that.  Sometimes the feet of the model never made it on the page, and in this one I did “her” from two angles to try to get that Cossack-like stance.

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With each figure I took a picture to use as source for adding color at home.

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The viewers were mostly women there with their girlfriends, talking about the fabrics, picking their favorites.  It was a real girlfriend extravaganza.

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The Eastern Influence room was heavy on the animal skins, like this bridal outfit with the minks dangling from other minks or whatever other poor animal.

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We spent some time in this room, deciding which gown we would like to wear.  I tried to think of the last time I wore an evening gown. . .high school prom maybe.  But that doesn’t really count.  Camp Winnarainbow “Kick the Cannes Festival”?

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We all liked this one: soft, flowy, and sooo feminine (and not scratchy on the skin)

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While I was sketching these, the docent came around and I picked up some tidbits.  Sara Jessica Parker wore the white gown at an opening and asked de la Renta to put his name on it, which he did in RED! The pink one flows down three sets of steps.

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About de la Renta Vogue magazine wrote: “Nobody makes a woman feel more like a woman at night”.  (Movie stars maybe.)

By the time I’d painted in the drawings at home I was thinking, how fun it would be to do fashion illustration!  in another life perhaps?

Nursing Home Sketches

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fountain pens, watercolor in 7 X 12″(full spread) handmade sketchbook, Fluid w/c paper

I’ve made some new friends at the nursing home where my mother-in-law lived. My weekly visits coincide with this fellow Chris coming to play and sing folk songs to the residents, who largely sit quietly listening, enjoying and zoning out. Almost all the patients are in wheelchairs. The staff has given me permission to sketch and I’ve become part of the “furniture” in the activities room.

fcactivities2 Funny thing, I always feel better when I leave. It’s a heart opening. My own personal world grows larger from sketching these folks. fcactivities4

Some patients brighten their day, which is pretty much always like the day before, with colorful clothing.

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and accessories.

FCactivitiesFamily visit are cherished.  And music in all forms lifts the spirits and soothes.

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There’s ball “games” for the residents!

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I like to use my fountain pen with the Noodlers Golden Brown ink to start the sketch. The softer line works best for old people whose edges are softened by the years and by inactivity. The Golden Brown ink melts a bit when color is added, and later I go back for some line emphasis with black.

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I’m learning my way around wheel chairs.  They’re as complicated as bicycles!

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Someone’s grandpa.  I never knew either of mine, and I lost my father 27 years ago.

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Such a wonderful face – I couldn’t resist. A friendly man, happy to be sketched.

Thanksgiving

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fountain pen and watercolor in 8X8″ Handbook sketchbook

The pie was made, the salad ready to go.  I was not on turkey duty and the guests had not yet arrived.  I arranged the table centerpiece and sat down to sketch it.  Little figurines from when the kids were little, some made with Sculpey clay, and only gotten out this one day each year.  Candles and persimmons.

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No time to sketch again til after the feast when we’d settled into a lovely post turkey lethargy. The candlelight made it difficult to see the sketchbook and I’d had my share of wine, but gave it a go anyway. I had signed up for the “Urban Sketchers Virtual Meetup: sketch your Thanksgiving meal or the aftermath” and promised I would sketch!

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The aftermath was also some relaxed time hanging out with the family, here the son and his girlfriend, both architects.

It’s quiet again now and my stomach is recovering from too much wonderful, but oh so rich, food. Hope your Thanksgiving was a sweet and bountiful one!

Le Cirque de Boheme

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fountain pen and watercolor in Strathmore w/c sketchbook, 7 X 5″

Bob and I went to La Cirque de Boheme as a holiday treat.  I had originally thought I would sketch it live, but quickly realized that the obstacles to sketching in the dark were too great in this setting. I also didn’t want to be looking down at my book and missing any of the delightful performances.  So I cheated and took a few flashless iPhone pics.  The quality was just barely good enough to serve as a source for drawing, while leaving plenty of room for my own expressive details.  The clown/mime was absolutely our favorite act.

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Last page of this sketchbook here, for this young juggler of hats and more!