Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out with the Old Sketches

Here are a few more miscellaneous sketches from 2011. Here's hoping that when I look back on these in December 2012, I'll cringe when I see how primitive they look in comparison to what I'm sketching then.

If you happen to be peeking in at this blog today, Happy New Year to you! If you're a sketcher, may your  new year be filled with wonderful sketching opportunities. If you're not yet a sketcher, maybe you'd like to start in 2012. There's a lot of satisfaction to be found in pausing and sketching your world!

Wherever your paths lead you, best wishes for 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Problems with Shadows and Reflections

I have a really hard time seeing shadows. I like to attribute this to having lived almost my whole life in Oregon, in the Willamette Valley, where we have overcast, rainy days and can go for weeks at a time without seeing shadows. This doesn't really work as an excuse for indoor scenes. 

 Shadows are hard for me to draw partly because I've always been much more focused on line. I'd like  get better at seeing shadows, and colors, and reflections---and line!  

Here's my current skill level. Among other things, there are definitely problems with shadows and ellipses. This is my baseline.  I'll come back and check in a year to see if I've improved.

In this sketch, the Lindor chocolates are covered in foil and then cellophane, but I have no idea how to paint reflective material like that. I did notice that even the cellophane cast shadows. Who knew?

The amazing thing about this sketch is that I didn't eat any of the chocolate, even after I finished drawing it!


When I'm uninspired, a grid sometimes helps.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

More ODAD Sketches

The stockings are hung, the cookies are baked, the presents are's too late to start practicing Christmas carols on the piano, so I might as well post some sketches.
We used to light this at my parents'  house, now we light it  at ours

GlitterFest 2011 at Linda's, Plum Pudding ornament from Heather

Fun book with great pictures and then a magical movie

Some tiny blooms from the yard

Making omiyage (fabric origami)

Omiyage gifts, stuffed with lavendar

The other night, a few of the Portland Urban Sketchers went to Pioneer Square and sketched the line for Santa.

My fellow sketchers

                                                           Happy Holidays to all!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One Drawing a Day

I've been trying to draw (or sketch) once each day for the month of December. It worked for November, so I thought I'd give it another try. I really just average one sketch a day since sometimes I get a few done and then slack off for a day or two. I can get the sketches done, but the scanning's taking longer. I could use a scanning elf.  Still, here are a few that I've done this month.

A group of us sketched at Gossamer, a shop that sells yarn and Waldorf School type items. It was a
feast of color and sketching there was a wonderful way to start the month. 

I took a few liberties with the front window, since I was sketching from the inside out and just guessed at what the banner said.

felt and yarn toys, and examples of things to make at Gossamer

Heather, sketching by a tower of yarn.

And here are a couple other sketches. December has been a pretty colorful month sketch-wise.

Well, it's back to the cookie baking. Maybe soon I'll have some cookies to sketch--or at least some remaining cookie crumbs.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Own Private NaNoDrawMo

A friend and I decided to try to do a drawing for each day in November, but we won't be posting them to the NaNoDrawMo site. Here's what I have so far (not counting the Japanese Gardens and Leaves that I already posted this month).

Young woman working in Caffe Destino

Ghost Ships at the Portland Art Museum

Museum guard, sketchers, visitors and ship parts

Warm up sketch on Ladd's Addition Sketch Crawl with the Portland Urban Sketchers

View of Ladd's Addition from window at Palio
(drawn one Saturday and watercolored the next)

Another view out the window of Palio

Miscellaneous sketches, Palio

Drawn in the dim light of Jimmy Mak's
 Mel Brown Septet playing

 I never quite know what these sketches look like until I look at them the next day in the light.

I've been practicing perspective. It's kind of like doing sit-ups.

When I see these larger, I can usually spot some of the flaws.

I tippy living room scene.

We put together some shelves. I decided to practice perspective before we put them both against the wall. We were better at  assembling them than it looks like in the sketch; the low one wasn't really that warped.

This isn't the first time I've drawn this wooden basket and it won't be the last. Maybe I'll get it right someday.

I drew these by freezing frames on t.v. It sure would be useful to freeze frame real life. I think it's time for a figure or face drawing class.

That's it for now. I think I'm going to make 30 sketches for November!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I'm enthralled with the leaves this fall and can't seem to get enough of them. Each time we go for a walk, I pick up a few more. I've been keeping some of them in a bag in the refrigerator and they keep pretty well. My husband, however, thought he was reaching for salad ingredients and was a bit disappointed to find maple leaves instead of butter lettuce.

These are pretty much like the leaves in the last post, but this time I added shadows.

The non-refrigerated leaves are starting to curl up.

Yesterday, the Portland Urban Sketchers went to the Japanese Gardens to sketch. The leaves, along with the sketchers were very refrigerated and the colors were spectacular. With frozen fingers and so much glorious scenery all around, I was a bit overwhelmed and went mostly for an impression of the landscape. I would need some extra intense pigments to get anywhere near the actual colors.
There were dozens of people taking photos yesterday and this woman was in my line of sight for quite awhile. Of course, soon after I decided to include her, she walked away, so I had to crop my picture at waist level. I tried to get my friend, Katharine, to model for me, but she was involved in her own sketch.

Here are a couple more scenes that I'd like to draw next time I go to the Japanese Gardens. I love those curly branches and the contrast of dark and light.

If you look closely, you may see some very cold Koi.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Thinking of Andy Goldsworthy today.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Autumn around Portland

The circus, Cavalia, set up their giant tent in NW Portland last week. According to the Oregonian, the tent weighs 5,000 pounds, is 100 feet high, has 71,000 square feet of canvas, and has seating for 2,000. When I was drawing it, I noticed that there are rope ladders hanging from each of the tent tops. Yikes!

This week, the Compagnons des Esquisse went to Cornell Farms to sketch their fall displays. This is a terrific nursery with a very friendly and knowledgable staff. They have wonderful arrangements of flowers, scarecrows, pumpkins, statuary, stunning trees and everything related to the garden. They were very inviting and let us spend a chilly, but sunny morning sketching.

I really liked this skeletal flamigo in his burlap basket of plants and gourds.

Lots of pumpkins....

This yoga frog seemed very serene in a bent branch chair.

If you find yourself in NW Portland on Barnes Road, check out Cornell Farms.