quick sketch

Pirates! and Fashion!

Pirates to draw! or at least one. I tuned into the Draw Breath group on Facebook, and accidentally discovered they were live streaming a drawing session with model Alida doing pirate action poses. So I grabbed my sketchbook and jumped in. And what was particularly cool was that my fellow urban sketcher (and illustrator/teacher extraordinaire) Mark Simmons  and Sara, another illustrator/teacher were sketching live on either side of the model so that you could watch them sketch. What a great offering!


The poses were going quickly and at some point I grabbed some watercolor pencils to see what I could do with them. My friend Laurie Wigham inspired me with this method of pencils and watercolor. She was sketching pirates too!


Woah! I love this one because it shows what happens when you rush and the pencil is too wet and the watercolor is splashed on in an approximation. Need to do more of that, I think.


A pirate with her bootie!


Pirates like that ale, you know.

Another day on Draw Breath was called Frisky Friday and a voluptuous model was posing in the most remarkable red creation.


. . .which changed into different creations. . .and then I realized I was hanging out with young (compared to me anyway) fashion designer/illustrators!


And here I was, still in my studio where I’ve been sheltering for the past two months, and not in the least thinking about fashion, except in the most abstract way.


And here she is, in one of those big puffy faux fur coats!

So here is the moral of this story. . .stay home, tune in, play with others on line and do your part to stop this virus thing. At least there’s some good news here. While you’re drawing you might be able to stop thinking about the future of our world, whatever piece of it you’ve been most worried about lately.





TLR Sketch Stories

The Living Room folks have been putting up with me and my sketchbook for six months now. I’ve produced a couple of posters of the sketches, but now I have a hard copy of Vol. I of my mostly on-location sketches to share with the women when I’m there. Apparently it’s nice to see yourself in a handmade book, especially when you’re used to being overlooked in a multitude of ways when you’re homeless.

Once again my husband Bob has applied his detailed book-making and letter press skills to the project. I always feel a little sheepish about putting all (literally) of my sketches, rough or otherwise into such a lovely container. Since I sketch on paper signatures which are sewn and taped together and then clipped into a light weight, temporary book made of corroplast,  there’s no way to tear out a sheet without messing up the book. But somehow when the book gets bound in this lovely cover my messy sketches look “right” and people are not critical (even though I still am!)


8″ X 10″ book with pen and watercolor on 100% cotton rag CP Fluid W/C paper

My plan is to publish the best sketch stories in a book that can be available then to the women in the program and others for fundraising purposes, but I’m working on a second volume first.


I’ve tried to sketch the various activities, both the everyday and special groups like meditation and singing. But I’m also documenting the many ways that volunteers help to keep this valuable program going.


. . .like preparing food, playing with the children, decorating the tables each week with fresh flowers and so much more.


When I sit in the corner sketching, usually for 30-50 minutes, I’m making notes about all the things that are happening around me. One Monday last month, in the living room-sized room, all these things (above) and a great deal more occurred in about 50 minutes! There’s no time to plan out the picture space. I just keep drawing in whatever I can see that may show some part of the story. It’s more like a tapestry of images that I hope will come together.


I’ve also been helping out a bit with the groups there. While the Expressive Arts group leaders take a month-long break, I’ve been filling in by offering a mixed media Muse Group with the able help of Ruth Burke. More about the fun we’re having in another post.

If you are interested in volunteering at The Living Room, they need you, especially this summer with so many folks headed off for vacation. Also donations are welcome. For more info head to their website.

Now I’m headed off to the Sierras for a week of painting and no wifi, so I’ll be back to the blog in about 10 days.


There’s still two days left in the 100 people in One Week sketch challenge! The social media air waves have been filled with speedy people-sketches. Maybe it’s getting a little much? Nevertheless, since I’ve been busy in my own way, here’s some samples. Whether or not I get to 100, who cares? Certainly not me.foolsvol2_3

The lovely lady in the Fool’s Parade towering over us and waving her flag. (done from a photo of course!)


If you live around Sebastopol you may recognize this guy – a fixture in the community, always dancing around with the manic look in his eye.


And one last Hubbub Club musician in the signature colors (and hiking shoes).


Bob (my husband) was learning a new book binding method and let me use this tiny one for my 100 people. The newspaper was a good source of faces that day. I did two of Attorney General Barr because the top one didn’t reveal the tilt of the head and other signs of stress. I almost got Netanyahu’s smirk, but need to learn to exaggerate more!


Lurking in the Whole Foods dining area here. The paper is smooth so the paint sits on the surface – actually pretty fun to work with as the colors creep into each other.


I’m using fountain pen with brown ink here, and discovering the fact that I can no longer see clearly across a room without my distance glasses and can’t focus on my sketchbook and brush without my prescription readers. Time for graduated lenses, but until then. . .messy sketches.


The black thread is a bit distracting, but I love this little book because I can feel free in it!


Another day at the restaurant at Cornerstone Gardens. More sketches (not people) from there later.

Sketching away the holidays


Japanese brush pen and w/c in Strathmore w/c sketchbook, 5 X 7″

The holidays are officially over now.  Today we’ll take down our Bookworm tree and lights.  My Strathmore sketchbook, inaugurated in October, is full.  The holidays are never a time to get much larger painting done, but they are a perfect time for some quick sketches.  Here’s a sampling.

The jury is still out on which of my pens works best.  They all have pros and cons. The brush pen, which you see in these images, is the most expressive, but it puts down such a bold line (a bit scary!) and it bleeds, so you can’t paint watercolor over it. unless you want mud.


In pursuit of more colorful subjects I have found the Farmer’s Market to be the most accessible.  I went to sketch motion, but ended up sipping my chai comfortably on a bench and opting for a sedentary subject who was easier to draw.


More brush pen sketching at a local cafe hang out. The trick is to stay away from facial features and go for body attitude. All the shading here is the brush pen bleeding as I swipe it with a water brush.



The guy in the foreground was literally close enough I could touch him, but he was more interested in the people ordering their coffee, especially this young lady with the cool boots!

Bird Enchantment


“Comet”, a Screech Owl

Comet was the tiniest of the birds I made the acquaintance of this weekend at Santa Rosa’s Bird Rescue Center’s open house.  I was attending the first of the Birding Sketchbook series led by Jonqui Albin, Bird Activist/Action Artist.  We were shown the basics of action-drawing birds and set loose among the hawks, falcons, owls and kestrals that were brought out of their cages on the arms of trained volunteers.  A strong wind was blowing and the birds were clearly delighted to be out (if not exactly free to fly around!)


“Aurora”, Red Tailed Hawk

We were given a pencil to lightly sketch in the gesture of the bird before going in with pen. The wind blew the birds wings open.  What a thrill to be 4 feet away from the wingspan of maybe 5 feet across! And the eyes. . .at once beguiling and unnerving.


“Wowl”, Horned Owl

Wowl would win any bird beauty pageant with those eyes and tawny plumage and especially with his handler, a young woman with a man of her own firey red plumage!


“Vihar”, Great Horned Owl

I’m sure you’re wondering, as we did, if these magnificent birds would again fly free.  They are after all rescued birds, not zoo animals.  They live in lovely spacious cages but will never be able to survive in the wild because of disabilities (little Comet is blind in one eye for instance) or imprinting to a human. Actually I think the imprinting happens both ways.  They handlers seemed to have a love affair with their feathered friends.

And after 2 1/2 hours of bird company I was sufficiently enamored to be contemplating volunteering, if not at least returning on a regular basis (the Bird Rescue Center has open houses twice a month!) to sketch, or maybe just to gaze into those mesmerizing eyes.

The World’s Best Model



Sketching Woodrow in Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Do you see the green/blue behind the horse’s tail?  That’s the swimming hole by our campsite that we frequented each afternoon and had practically to ourselves.  One day we heard a ninnying and found this beautiful Arabian there in the shade, his human family in the shade below.  Excited, I got my chair and sat in front of him, Woodrow the horse that is, and commenced to sketching.

Well, I’ve sketched chickens and goats and sheep and cows and dogs and cats, all of which resulted in quick sketching, as in glance/memorize/hope for the best.  This noble creature almost stood still for me.  And can you imagine a more perfect subject for sketching?