Saturday, November 30, 2013

Day 30: The Last Sketch of the Month

Well, that was a month and I managed to sketch every day.  There were a few days when it seemed like a chore, but most days it really wasn't too difficult. Today, I hadn't even thought about this being the last day until I had made two sketches.

 It has helped when I don't worry too much about the quality of what gets posted. Today's sketch, is an example of that. We were downtown for browsing and lunch, and we had a great parking spot  at the end of a block, looking directly at the corner of the library with a gorgeous red-leafed maple tree. (Actually, it was the second parking  because my husband was nice enough to move the car from one that wasn't quite this good.) I got back to the car half an hour before the meter expired and did this loose and somewhat messy sketch. I always have a sketchbook and pen with me and today I had tossed the watercolors in my purse,  just in case an opportunity arose.

                                                                                                                                                          When I've sketched each day, it seems like I find more opportunities for sketching. I often start noticing things in the morning that I might want to sketch during the day. This challenge seems to have led to more inspiration. I seem to see more things that look interesting, potentially sketchable, or just delightful. Since that's part of why I sketch anyway (to notice and appreciate things) I think I'll continue with this practice--at least until I don't. Being a retiree, I don't like having lots of rules, so I'll keep with this until it isn't fun or rewarding in some way and right now, that's hard to imagine.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Day 29: Coffee Cups at Paula's

I found this interesting quote on NPR's site. JS Bach was quite the guy with a simile.

J.S. Bach's Coffee Cantata (BWV 211) is, by its very nature, a departure for the oft-solemn composer, who frequently wrote in coffee shops. One segment of the piece translates as, "If three times a day I can't drink my little cup of coffee, then I would become so upset that I would be like a dried-up piece of roast goat." 

To hear some coffee songs, go to:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Day 28: Thanksgiving

This is what I would loved to have drawn: a beautiful bouquet our daughter-in-law brought,

but even if I had had the talent, I didn't have the energy.

Still, I didn't want to quit the sketch-a-day challenge, so  tonight I  made two sketches, but this is as close as you're going to see...

And now I'm going off to bed with thoughts of a lovely Thanksgiving day.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Day 27: Recipe

This morning, I started a sketch of the beautiful sky over a neighbor's house. I painted in the blue sky and the lavender clouds, but when I had time to get back to it, it was dark.

Mostly, I've been in the kitchen today, but I took some time to illustrate a favorite recipe. This is an adaptation of a recipe from my friend, Jayne. Although we're having our traditional vegetarian Thanksgiving tomorrow, we won't be having this because we've got too many other things to eat. I'm feeling full just thinking about it.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day 26: Hanno the Wooden Gorilla

Since starting this daily sketching, I often notice something during the day that I plan to sketch later. I think about it and sometimes even plan how I might draw it. Today, being a busy day of shopping and errands, inspiration didn't come until later when I spotted Hanno, the wooden gorilla, sitting on a shelf. I  propped him on a yoga block and thought that since he has so many flat planes, he would be good for shading practice.

After one sketch, I wanted to do another and then another.  I have a feeling that this gorilla will appear again. After all, Van Gogh painted his postman at least seven times and I need a lot more practice than Van Gogh!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day 25: Succulents

Hmmm...I think the one on the right needs a bigger pot.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Day 23: Gesture Drawings

I spent three hours at Hipbone Studios doing figure drawing today, but since my sketches of the long poses aren't really postable,  here are some short gesture drawings.

The model had some really good poses...

This punch felt like it was coming right at me...but still I drew...

I don't think the human body can really do some of these moves...

and here's a longer one, complete with lots of errors...

but it's all practice.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dqy 22:Rose Hip Wreath

We got this rose hip wreath at the farmers market a couple of weeks ago. I really applaud the people who make these, because it must be tricky to gather the branches into the wreath and wrap it up with wire, all while wearing thorn-proof gloves.

It's much too cold to stand on the front porch to draw this, so I brought it inside. Next, I'll be sweeping up all those little fallen rose hips that bounced around the floor.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 21: Crafts

This is not a a very interesting picture, but I'm not sure what to do to it to improve it  I even added glitter to the glitter bottles, but sometimes glitter can't even do its magic.  I tried adding more contrast after this one, with lots of shading. It was not effective. 

Mostly, I wanted a record of making Christmas crafts with my daughter-in-law. I have that, so that's plenty for me. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 20: First Frost

Looking out the back window, I could see frost on the grape arbor this morning. Tucked into the corner of the landing, with my pens on the windowsill, I stood and sketched this small scene.

When our son was little, he and his friends played in a sandbox that we built under the grape arbor.  Luckily, we always kept the sandbox covered when it wasn't in use, because only later did we discover that opossums liked to roam above it at night, feeding on the grapes.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 19: Tired Leaves

If you want to see some beautifully painted leaves, you should look at Shari Blaukopt's blog, which probably inspired me to paint these desiccated leaves that fell into the yard from the massive tree next door. I tried Katharine's trick of adding some powdered instant coffee while the paint was wet. I wasn't very careful when scattering it, so some went outside the leaf shapes. With  the addition of  water, it became the background. It's not clear in the scan, but the dark spots are kind of thick and very shiny. Maybe I used the wrong kind of coffee--or maybe it was supposed to be tea. Well, at least my sketch smells good.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 18: Negative Space

I've been wanting to draw the corner of our grape arbor with its withering leaves, but it's been too cold and wet, so today I brought some leaves inside. Early on, it was clear that they were going to look very plain, drawn on the toned paper. I remembered Kalina's dramatic black brush pen work, so I thought I'd add some black to the negative spaces. I was listening to a very interesting radio program and probably got a little carried away, but I had a good time. Yesterday's rule about not using markers for leaves has already been broken. So much for rules.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day 17: Cat Nap

There wasn't much time for sketching today, but I spotted a cat napping in a downtown store window and took the opportunity to do a quick sketch while it was relatively still. Then I added some leaves that I had picked up. What I learned from this: don't draw leaves with markers.

The next is another souvenir of our walks, a spiky seed pod. 

That's all for today.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Day 16: Sketchcrawl with the Urban Sketchers

It was easy to get in today's sketch, since the Urban Sketchers were out this morning sketching in Goose Hollow. While I was gathering my courage for going out in the cold and rainy outdoors, I sketched this window view from upstairs at Fehenbacher Hof.

At lunch, I tried to get a few quick portraits of some of my fellow sketchers. The odd cropping was necessary to remove a poorly placed ear. It would  be much appreciated if my subjects all wore their hair or hats over their ears.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 15: The Halfway Mark

Today, I drew a glass of water and a very plain white plate with toast and jam on a plain table. It didn't seem there was much to do with it, so I changed things a bit. This may be more of a doodle, but it started as a sketch.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Day 14: An Unexpected Opportunity

Today, I had something else in mind to draw, but after a trip to the grocery store, where some gorgeous tangerines were on sale, how could I resist? It must have been the first day they were out, because they still had so many leaves.  I'm sure several of us pick out our fruits and vegetables by how drawable, or paintable they look. I know I'm not alone in that.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Day 13: More Corn

I'm not tired of drawing the dried corn yet. I did get tired of drawing over the gutter in my toned sketchbook, so since I was in the vicinity of an art store today, I bought a large toned sketchbook. This should keep me busy for awhile.

I asked M. if he had a corny joke to go with today's post, but no luck. It's just drawings today.

An aside on the Sketch-a-Day: I would hate to jinx this, but it seems like this daily sketching is getting easier. While I was dusting, I kept coming across things I wanted to draw--like corn! I also fiddled around with some sketches I made in the dark last night and since the weather was gorgeous, I tried to do a sketch with watercolor while some of the trees still are in full color. I just kept getting interested in one drawing after another. The watercoloring outside was a mistake, though. I should have realized that at 3pm there was still dew on the grass from the morning. My watercolors wouldn't dry!  It may be time for just ink or markers--or car sketching with the heater blasting.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day 12: On the Bright Side

This was a busy project day, so I didn't have much time to sketch. 

When I showed my husband, he said, "Not bad."
 I said, "Well, it's not exactly a Van Gogh."  
He responded, "Looking on the bright side of things: you still have both your ears."

Monday, November 11, 2013

Day 11: Take 2

On the way home today, I noticed this big, golden-leafed tree, brilliant in the sunshine, right behind an archway, so I decided to sketch it. I parked in a lot catty-corner from the arch, where I could get a view from the car. On my first attempt, I painted  and then added lines, completely skewing the archway. The next time, I did the lines first. It still looks skewed, partly because my drawing is off and in part because the foremost pillar really is much bigger than the other one. I think I want to go back and draw it straight on, but tomorrow's forecast is for rain and with today's wind, who knows how many leaves will be left on the tree? Ah, well...more mileage.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 10: Two Lemons

This Sketch a Day challenge is actually resulting in more than one sketch a day. The first sketch, I made sitting outside in the Park Blocks, enjoying the sun, but with very cold ears. It didn't result in a "postable" sketch, but it was practice, or as Frank Ching would say, "I was getting some milage." 

After getting cold, I drank a wonderful cup of mint tea with lemon. That was the inspiration for this.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day 9: Library Tree

I got in a quick car sketch when M. was inside getting his library book.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Day 8: Gratitude

Today's drawing went very smoothly. It was a pleasure. I owe part of that feeling to a wonderful conversation about sketching that I had with two friends. 

Thank you.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day 7: Samurai!

It was easy to get in today's sketch, because several of the Urban Sketchers of Portland met at the Art Museum to sketch with a visiting sketcher. We spread out and sketched the Samurai exhibit. I got in a few sketches, but this one (the knot on the back of armor) is the most finished.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 6: New Laces

It was a busy day today, so I went right for the toned paper for a sketch of some old shoes. I finished the sketch, but not the lacing.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Day 5: Something Completely Different

My husband and I often go out to listen to music and frequently, I take the opportunity to discretely sketch. It gets pretty dark after the lights are dimmed and the show begins, so I'm often sketching by candlelight and don't really know what I've drawn until I get home. The other day, in an art store, I tried out some gel pens that seemed to really glow. I plan to try these out in the dim light tonight, but I thought I'd play with them a little first. In a little black Moleskine, I drew a few little sketches of some vases.

Well, that was fun, at least.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Day 4: The Season of Decorative Gourds

Well, I certainly wouldn't be posting today except for the promise I made.  This morning I sketched the gourds and some other fall items that we've collect on our walks through the neighborhood. Then, this evening, I painted...and painted...and painted. It had a paint-by-numbers look to it, so...

I added even more ink, overworking it even more. Tomorrow, I'll try for a simpler approach.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day 3: A Rough Patch

When I decided to make a sketch every day in November, I knew that there would be times when it would be difficult, but I didn't expect that to happen on the third day! It's funny how it can be so different from one day to the next. Yesterday, at the hand class, there was a time when I felt like I was really 'in the zone.' I was loving drawing and exploring the form with my pencil. It was a great (albeit fleeting) feeling.

Today, was not like that. We were downtown, but it was near lunch time and everything seemed overwhelming to draw in our limited time. At home, I had one disaster after another. My lines were crooked, my perspective was off, and even my watercolor washes were streaky.

I decided to make one last attempt and then post the best of the day's sketches, in this case, my last. I sketched some pottery birds on our telephone table. I hope L., who is also doing this challenge, had a better sketching day than I did.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day 2: Hands

Today, I took a  three and a half hour class in drawing hands at Hipbone Studio. It was a very useful class with good examples, handouts, and instruction. The instructor, Jeff Burke, pointed out landmarks on hands, even marking his own so that we could see the lines of knuckles and other bones. So much of drawing is observing and he pointed out many things to observe.

I hadn't realized how difficult it is for a model to hold a hand pose for 30 minutes at a time, but we had an excellent model.

I won't show my first attempts because they have a noodle-finger look to them. You'll just have to take my word that I improved.

Friday, November 1, 2013

November Challenge: A Sketch A Day

Another sketching friend and I have promised to sketch every day for the month of November, so here is day one:

It started with a kind of tilty sketch at Oblique Coffee. (Maybe the name of the shop was having an effect on my lines. ) I liked the way the bottles above the doorway looked in the  sunlight coming in the window.

At noon, I sketched some of the local goats, but they moved to quickly to result in any sketches that were near postable.

This afternoon, I sketched some dried corn that I've been meaning to draw.

And this one doesn't count for November since I drew it last month.  It's a sketch of a customer in headphones working on his laptop at Christopher David--a classic coffee shop scene.