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Monday, July 14, 2014

Marina Condos

What you are about to see is very much the work of a sketch artist in training.  My inner critic knows crap when it sees it, but I've decided to post my sketch, anyway.

     This morning, I decided to go down into the valley and sit by the marina and just sketch whatever my eye happened upon.  Since I like architecture, it makes sense that my eye chose the new condos, which by the way, do not appeal to me at all.

     There are two structures each containing five units.  They sit at the base of a steep hill just above Rocky River and very nearly became history this past spring, when an ice jam broke free.

     With great confidence I began drawing the outline of the structure, reminding myself to just draw the shapes I saw.  Then, I started to get confused with the angles and perspectives.

     So, I took a short break to drink some coffee and eat my almond butter sandwich.  Sharing it with some sparrows calmed me.

     I returned to the sketch, and....

     So, I threw on some color using Derwent Inktense Pencils, put in a bit of writing and declared it done.

     Each unit has huge picture windows on each floor, which is probably quite wonderful from the occupants' point-of-view.

     Of course in the evening, when their lights are on, the situation reverses.  Hmmm...

      Those are wooden steps on the left that disappear behind bunches of leaves.

      I've always liked this part of the park system and will return within the next few days.  I'm fortunate that it's quite close to home.  And, there is so much to sketch!  Just not these condos.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

An Earthenware Vase

I've always loved how the air is charged with energy on the 4th of July as my town of Lakewood embraces this Day of Independence.  It begins with the line-up of chairs on tree lawns as everyone turns out for the annual morning parade.  This year, we had a special guest as we were treated with a bald eagle circling continuously high in the sky.  So symbolic!

     Everything was in a state of humming.  There were the block parties, the smells of outdoor grilling and the throngs of people laden-down with blankets, chairs and coolers, as they headed toward the park for picnicking and front-row seats for the evening fireworks. Everything was in a state of vibration. Then, there was the roar of the crowd as the last firework faded away and the stampede to homes and cars began.  Everyone was sated from all the festivities with wonderful memories to share.

     But this year I was especially excited, as the 1st day of Sketchbook Skool was beginning and the 1st class would be appearing in my email inbox.   (Sketchbook Skool is an online art course taught by a variety of sketchbook artists.)

     Starting a new class gave me a bona fide reason to buy a new journal.  I decided upon a 7"x10", 140# watercolor paper, wirebound field book by Pentalic.  Since Pentalic sells wholesale only, I purchased mine from Amazon.  So far, I really like it.

     Danny Gregory is the instructor for the 1st week and co-founder of Sketchbook Skool.  Already having four of his books in my personal library, I was familiar with his style and gentle nature before enrolling in this course.

     Via videos, Danny flipped through a couple of his sketchbooks and then, using pen, white charcoal pencil, watercolors and gouache, he demonstrated our first assignment.  Our sketch was to be of an object that held personal meaning.

     It took me a little while to find the right object, and I had to keep going back in time.... until, there it was.  It had been in front of me all along.


     This exercise was definitely a stretch for me... so many new things.  Particularly, with using gouache. However, here's the result.  This vase has withstood a lot of years and to this day remains my favorite gift from Herschel.

      And, as you can see, there is lots of room for improvement.  I hesitated about posting my sketch, but then I thought....well, you can watch with me as my art changes (hopefully, for the better)!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cassie's Hands

Remember autograph books?  Every spring I would go to Murphy's (as in G. C. Murphy five and dime) get a new autograph book and have my teacher and classmates write a message and sign it.  We all did it.  It's what everyone did in elementary school.... at least, during the '50's.

     There was something about all those blank pages just waiting for that personal touch.  Now, I wish I had saved mine, but I have a tendency to shed things.

     For the last few months, I have not been able to shake off the memories of those books, and I think now, that I know why.  It's time for an updated autograph book.... but, with a different slant.

     So, I bought a 9"x12" Bee Paper Aquabee sketchbook with 93 lb drawing paper, so that I could use both dry and wet media.  And, I began to trace the hands of various people in my life.


     I talk to them a bit about their interests or whatever, and see what their favorite colors might be.  And from there, I develop a page.

     Cassie's Hands is the first page that I've finished.  She is a young friend of mine (age not quite in the double digits) with a wonderful curiosity and enthusiasm for.... well, nearly everything it seems.

     I chose to feature her love for giraffes and mangoes.

     This is my first real 'full page' attempt at working with mixed media.  All I can say is 'that's it's a real learning process."

     And, as these things go, the page is a bit oversized for my scanner, so I had to photograph it and then crop my table out of the image.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Gelli Printing

One of the wonderful things about plummeting temperatures and bitter wind chills is that I am become captive within my home.   Self-imposed captivity, to be sure, but while 'one' implies that there are other benefits to this weather, well…… actually, I can't think of any.  (In fact, I've been whining a lot.  Not good.  I must learn to embrace the cold and…. What, who am I kidding?  The sub-zero temps have made me delusional.)

     So, when I learned of Carla Sonheim's online mini-course for monoprinting with a Gelli plate, I was primed to learn something new that would infuse some fresh creative air into my life. 

     And, it gave me a reason to visit Prizm!  I needed a few colors of acrylic paint (I bought Golden), some hot press watercolor paper, card stock and a brayer.  Not a lot of supplies.  Just enough.

     Our first day's assignment was to play with squirting paint onto the Gelli plate, roll it around and then press our paper onto the plate.  We did that a few times and were then given the option of posting some of our pieces onto flickr.

     At first, I wasn't going to do that - post to flickr, that is - as I don't fully understand how to use it.  But, I thought….. well, I'm part of a class, and posting my in-progress art might be helpful to others, as well as to myself.  (It certainly provides some objectivity.)  

     So, after a few false starts, I uploaded some of my 'art' and was pleasantly surprised to receive some kind comments from classmates and Carla shortly after.

     This is my favorite print, as I really like the colors and the effects that happened without any doing on my part.  Having little control over the outcome is one of the cool things about this process.

      And, it gives me a 'safe' way of working with abstract forms.

     I don't know what Carla has planned for us next, but already, I feel stimulated from breathing the fresh artistic air that this class is providing.