Archive for February, 2011

Week #5 – on location – new snow

We had snow overnight, a nice wet snow just right for making snowmen.  And that’s just what we did.  He was so fetching that I had to paint him, sitting outside on a stool in the lovely sunshine.  It was chilly but the sun was warm and just enough to keep my hands from getting so cold.

Week #5 – still on location

Week #5 is a free draw week.  (Actually, the lesson includes directions for a nice little box and some accordion journals to make.  I’ll have to wait on those until I have the needed supplies on hand.)  I’m not very free to traipse around looking for interesting stuff to paint since we are still helping with the care of our new little grandson, but there are plenty of interesting subjects right here at home.  We took a walk the other day when it was a balmy 68 degrees and I was admiring the many different kinds of lamp posts in the neighborhood.  Yesterday was a sunny but chilly day – yes, winter is back – and I took advantage of the nice weather to sketch the lamp posts I could see from the front yard.  I sketched and inked them but then  ran out of daylight and had to paint them today which is very overcast and damp (freezing rain and snow on the way).  With all the colors so gray, it was difficult to see the highlights but I tried to remember where the sun and shadows were. It’s amazing to me how the addition of the little boxes around two of the lamps really helps to give them presence and to unify the page.  It looked so empty without them.

Nathaniel Owen

God has blessed Ellen and Doug with a precious little bundle, our second grandson.  Little Nathaniel Owen arrived a few days early and in near record time.  What a delight he is, so amazingly formed and singularly made.  Mom and baby are fine and getting adjusted to their new schedules.  Dad is adjusting too, to sleep interruptions and lots more laundry.

As the doting grandmother, I got to make him a quilt.  It is black and white on one side, colorful on the other and measures 36″x40″.  The colored side is made from fabrics mom and dad brought back from Africa when they were there several years ago.  Both parents have clothing made from several of the fabrics and the others were purchased because of their colors and patterns.  The label is an appliqued elephant who bears all the pertinent information.

Week 4 – on location outside

Since we are helping care for Ellen’s new little one, I’m sticking pretty close to home so as to be available.  I thought that painting cars (or parts thereof) would be a good challenge and an interesting subject.  It was a bright sunny day and I took my sketching bundle and a stool out to the driveway and set up shop.  Painting the Jeep was fun but by then I was cold and the wind was picking up.  I had started to sketch out the front of the truck, but the proportions were off so I abandoned the idea and came inside.  There were some interesting seed pods on the ground and holly over-hanging the fence, so I picked up a sprig of each and brought them inside to paint.  Is that cheating?

Week 4 – on location outside

Yes, that’s right.  Outside!  Jane lives in Southern California, so outside is lovely for her.  She knows however, that many of her current students live in harsher climes and she will allow us to be creative in our interpretation of “outside”.  We can actually sketch outside, sketch looking out the window, sketch from the car, or any combination of the three.  The idea is to narrow down the view to a few choice elements and details, not to paint the whole landscape.

Yesterday I sketched from a hospital room, looking out the window.  The view wasn’t even outside, but overlooked a lovely courtyard with trees, planters, benches for visitors  and walkways to get from one area of the hospital to another.  A new wing had been joined to an old wing with a lovely open atrium, full of sunlight and respite from typical hospital views.

Today I tried painting outside.  It was so cold and windy that I abandoned my post after painting the bridge.  The other elements were painted looking out windows.  It really was a lovely day with sunshine and strong shadows.

Still week 3 but I’m not sketching at a museum

I’ve been down with a heavy cold and really not up for going to a museum to sketch.  Instead, I chose to work where I was, with the emphasis on sketching on location rather than on subject matter.  The first one is of  little odds and ends at home.  The second is of chairs in doctor waiting rooms.  The third is at Borders while I passed the time waiting for yet another appointment.

We’ve been encouraged to use a wash of color behind our drawings to warm and unify the page.  I haven’t been doing this because this needs to be done ahead of time and I usually think about it after I’ve already drawn something.  So last night, as I was admiring a fellow student’s beautiful washes, I made myself stop right away and prepare two pages for today.  I chose a soft golden yellow for one and a light green for the other.  They are very hard to see in the photos posted here – perhaps because they are too light or because of my pitiful photography.

We are also encouraged to draw directly to pen, no pencil sketch first.  I was reluctant to try that with the chairs but did “go for it” at Borders.  Things are a little quirky, partly because it is hard to alter a pen mark after it is done, partly because I was working in my lap on a soft comfy couch, and partly because I had just gotten a cortisone injection in the thumb joint on my drawing hand and it hurt to hold the pen.  Oh the things we do for art.

All three of these drawings are done with water soluble pen.  Then, using a brush with just water, the lines are blurred to allow for shading to create dimension.  It is a fun and quick way to draw but there is a bit of a learning curve.  You can  see I’m still learning.

Week 3 – on location at Black River Academy Museum

I went to the local Black River Academy Museum today. On display are items from Ludlow and the Black River, VT area. They have a little of everything, including things from a local barbershop, old dental machines and lots of housewares. They have a hat that belonged to US president Calvin Coolidge – he grew up in nearby Plymouth and went to school here before the building became a museum – but I didn’t get to paint it.
I managed two pages in 2 hours but the kitchen page is sort of unfinished because I ran out of time. There was a very cool sieve hanging on the wall… another time.  I filled up the blank spaces with writing.


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