portrait sketch

On the trail and at home

Our new home is beautiful. No doubt about it. Which is not to say that it is without, shall we say, unexpected occurences which must be dealt with or accepted as is.

On the beauty end is the climate and the way the garden view enters our home (now that the recent heat dome is a point of history that is). Andrew has found the perfect perch to absorb the warming rays for a cat nap after lunch. 

And then there are the surprises. Interesting sounds. Like the crickets in the toilet downstairs, sounds that is. After watching a few Youtube videos Bob was able to discover the problem and after several tries, silence the crickets, at least for now.

Then there were a few days when we would suddenly out of nowhere hear the first few bars of Beethovan’s Fur Elise. No it wasn’t the doorbell, or the dryer telling us the clothes were dry. No one at the door. . . Finally Bob discovered that it was the old security system which was being activated by something at the street, and he shut it off.

Then there was the discovery that pretty much every wall in the house is painted a color called Spiced Vinegar and it was beginning to feel like a bit much.

But walking the trails around here seems to put things to right again. A couple days ago I was walking on the Chehalis Trail just three miles from home. It reminds me a bit of the Redota Trail in Sebastopol, though the forest is denser and taller. I stopped to look at a lake that was almost covered with some kind of water lily, and a tiny old woman saw me puzzling and stopped. I knew immediately I wanted to talk to her.

Chehalis Western Trail, Lacey

And so I met one of my first new friends here in Olympia, Bronka Sundstrom, a 96 year old woman who walks 5-6 hours each day. 

Bronka Sundstrom

We walked for a while together as she told me some of her story. She was a Polish Jew who was interned in a concentration camp during WWII at the age of 12, lost her 7 siblings and both parents while there, barely survived herself. She was so debilitated when finally rescued, that she had to learn how to walk all over again. But she went on to marry a Swedish man with whom she led a long life of skiing and mountaineering, and here in Washington acquired fame for breaking records for climbing Mt. Ranier as an old woman. 

Needless to say I had to sketch her portrait, and now I have a reason to see her again and give it to her. Maybe some more of that courage and determination will rub off on me. And maybe this walking-the-trail activity is not a bad to make new friends here, not to mention increasing longevity! 

FACETIME

In this shelter-in-place lifestyle one must snap up the opportunity to sketch when the occasion presents. So for some reason Andrew and I were sitting at the kitchen table, and I guess he was showing me something on his phone. Only then he called me on FACETIME. Now why we would do that, when we were literally maskless-ly sitting across from each other at the kitchen table. . .I couldn’t say. 

But I looked at my phone screen and caught this perfect moment, with the fan over his head turning him into a human helicopter, and then my laughing face in the corner, like a pesky little insect. Thank goodness for the screen save function! I mean, this is truly a reason to have a cell phone with you at all times. Wouldn’t you say?

The headphones are growing out of his ears much of the time, although also sometimes attached to the temples. Then, if he pulled his mask up over the eyes, he’d resemble one of the many insects with eyes on the sides of the head, the better to see 360 degrees.

A Drawing Duo

We were having some work done on our house, so Andrew and I spent the afternoon in art making in my studio.  

We are both accustomed to sketching each other and being sketched. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a mostly stationary model across a table from me, especially after relying  mostly on pictures for so long.

watercolor and white gouache on gray toned paper

The pose as I constructed it is a bit of commentary on the preoccupation of our culture these days with staying connected on our phones while doing other activities. In fact, he was switching back and forth from the sketchbook to texting with friends and changing the music.

by Andrew Cornelis, black ink on white paper with fine liner pen and brush pen

This was the drawing he was working on while I drew him. Another illustration springing from his prodigious imagination. Note that there is no Procreate or Photoshop used in this, just black ink on white paper. His drawings capture so much about the human experience that it’s easy to recognise parts of yourself in them. You can see more of Andrew’s drawings on Tumblr!

Devilish to Angelic

The Inktober challenge is stretching way into November for me, because I just don’t want to put my ink away. Here’s the latest.

sumi ink

Day 24: Dig.  He’s probably a nice guy just planting some bushes in his garden. But then it’s possible the shovel has a different meaning, if you know what I mean.

Day 30: Ominous.    Can you tell that I love the dark drama poses? This one was a surprise, since the paper I thought was cold pressed watercolor paper turned out to be something different which acted more like a blotter paper. I almost threw it out, but instead just kept going.

sumi ink and Noodler’s golden ink

So this last one is the result of some hilarity on FaceTime. Son Andrew captured this shot of his brother Ben while Ben was walking around his apartment, with the light shining over his head, creating a statue of liberty or angelic effect.

I couldn’t resist. Perhaps the angelic will serve as a needed counterpoint to the more devilish portraits in this post. (Ben is and will always be my little angel, after all!)

#oneweek100people2019

Are you getting your pencils sharpened and pens filled for next week’s challenge to sketch 100 people in one week, beginning Monday April 8, and share your sketches on social media? If you want to know the “rules” and the intention behind this fun challenge (now in its third year), go to the Facebook group page, join up and read a fun description with lots of ideas about how to participate. When you put your mind to it and form a plan, it is remarkably easy to do 100 quick people sketches in a week. And once you get going, sometimes it’s hard to stop!

And then, what good timing! You’ll be warmed up for the next Portrait Party at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts on April 18, 5-8pm. It’s getting to be a monthly thing, and I’m so glad because I’m meeting lots of new people, getting to sketch with beginners and professional artists both. See the details below and more about last month’s party here.

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 3.49.12 PM

 

Reminder: Portrait Party This Thursday

If you haven’t reserved your seat for the Portrait Party this Thursday, 6-8pm at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts gallery, 282 S. High St., Sebastopol, now’s the time.

Here’s the scoop again:

screen shot 2019-01-07 at 7.30.38 pm

Please reserve your seat here so we know how many chairs to get out. No money required to sign up.

There’s been a lot of interest in this, so please come a bit early. Bring a donation of $10 for the Art Center. And remember to wear distinctive clothing and a hat if you can.

Don’t miss the Portrait Party!

Questions? contact me here.