ink and gouache

The Botany of Fire

As the fires now rage in southern California those of us in the north watch with compassion and relive the terror of those days in October when we watched our city burn. In the interim we’ve had good bit of rain to green things up here and to begin the clearing of properties. Yesterday I turned my attention to some of the strange and, dare I say, wonderful vegetation that survived the burn on a property where the dwelling sadly burned to the ground.

AngelaRd2pen and w/c with white gouache in 9 X 12″ toned Stillman and Birn sketchbook

A palm tree, blackened and charred but possibly not all the way through. These plants hold secrets within their cells that we could learn from.

AngelaRdbark

Trees don’t bleed like humans, except metaphorically.  These palms are relatives of the grasses with fibrous material to the core. I’m rooting for them to shed their outer layers and come back with fronds greener than ever. The hillside above and below here was already vibrant with luxurious new growth fertilized by the ash.

AngelaRd1

But for now these ghostly figures tell the story of the raging fires. Quan Yin silently witnessed it all and now watches over the restoration. She stands serene and unwitting of the worry that this artist has placed on her brow in the art here. This is after all my telling of the story, with hopefully enough of the recognizable to touch some place in you.

 

Portrait Madness

clowns

Pentel brush pen and gouache in tan toned Strathmore sketchbook

I’ve been playing with this new Sktchy app, which is a great resource for us insatiable sketchers who are always on the look-out for interesting faces. I have it on my iPhone, so I can put my feet up in the evening and sketch on my lap (which is why my lines are so crooked!) People post photos to inspire and then the sketches they do of the photo sources.

hirohito

Like this guy Jordan on the right, who I had to sketch because of those fabulous eyebrows.  I’m trying to get comfortable with the juicy brush pen, which is sooo expressive, but really tricky to manage the different angels to get fine and thick lines.

I’ve also been getting inspiration from old magazines.  This issue of Look in 1958 featured world leaders, like Hirohito.

pope

I’m so used to painting shadow shapes with watercolor washes, so this requires relying more on line and has a comic strip quality.

valentinojpg

The tan paper is best left as skin tone.  I got a bit carried away trying to get that dark handsome thing going with Valentino’s portrait

chorus

White and blue gouache and black brush pen, and it’s enough, mostly because of the tan paper.

supporter

The Press Democrat had this great photo taken at a Trump rally where there were confrontations among demonstrators.  Definitely a case of a picture being worth 1,000 words!