Marina, Sequoyah Park

Marina, Sequoyah Park

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Out and About With My Sketchbooks

Meet my new muse, a beautiful little handmade paintbox by David Cooper. It was ordered as an anniversary gift in June and it finally arrived in October. It has precipitated all kinds of sketching activities in the last few weeks including making some handmade sketchbooks. This painting is in one of them on  Fabriano Artistico 140 lb cold press paper. I used a Lamy fountain pen with Noodlers Lexington Gray ink and watercolor. I had such a good time with this one!

Here is a picture that includes the real paintbox just 3 x 4.5 inches and so nicely made.

I decided to make some watercolor journals that I could take out on location along with the new paintbox and here is the first one. It is designed to hold quarter sheets of paper, 11 x 15 inches. The covers are a little larger to protect the paper, 11.5 x 15.5 inches and made of .080 Davey board which is quite sturdy. Then I covered the board with a natural linen fabric.

Here ia a photo where I was preparing the covers. I used a pvc glue (Miracle Muck) and then glued a nice paper on the inside. The two covers were left under weight over night.

Then I prepared the paper by dividing full sheets of watercolor paper into quarters. I arranged it so that the outer edges would have a torn edge. I used my old three hole punch to prepare the paper to place in the journal. For this first book I used Bockingford 140lb cold press paper in white and some tinted colors. One of the nice things about the way this is made though is that any paper can be used and the pages can be taken out and new ones put back in.

After I took the covers out from the weight they were drying under I used a Faber Castell Pitt pen with a brush tip and permanent ink to draw my signature on the front of the journal. Then we used a quarter inch punch tool and a hammer to make the holes in the covers. Three black one inch locking binding rings were used to assemble the covers and the paper. They can easily be opened and closed to take pages out and put more in.

Here is a photo of the inside cover where I also placed an identification card.

A photo of the torn edges,

standing on its side,

and folded completely back to place on an easel or my lap.

I decided to try some plein air sketches to hunt for ideas to put in the new sketchbook. This one shows Mack and Laddie on the pier at Lake Bixhoma. It is done with a refillable Sharpie and some colored leads.

This is another sketch done the same day with the same materials. It was windy and the little white caps on the lake took my interest.

The last one is looking back near the entrance to Lake Bixhoma. I thought that coming back with the new sketchbook for a larger watercolor sketch would be a good idea after making these little sketches.

At home I tried a few more studies from photos I had taken at the lake with pencil and watercolor. 

Here is my gear set up with the new sketchbook in place on the easel. This is the En Plein Air Traveller Easel which I find is very light weight and easy to set up.

Here is a photo of the watercolor sketch in progress in the new handmade journal. It is a little larger than I normally sketch and it was a challenge. I usually suffer from sensory overload when trying to sketch on location and this time was no exception.

Here is the final version of the sketch on the Bockingford paper in watercolor with black and brown permanent pens.

Back at home in the 8.5 x 5.5 inch Mixed Media Sketchbook I painted another memory from Dahlonega, Georgia. This is permanent pen and watercolor and this rainbow sighting was the inspiration for what I finally wove in the tapestry workshop while there.

 More planning sketches in pencil for another watercolor sketch inspired by Lake Bixhoma.

Here is the new sketchbook set up in the studio ready for another watercolor,

and then the sketch magically appears. Not really, this one was full of challenging moments including completely washing out the background only to repaint and discover that even though it was now nicely painted it was too distracting from the forground. So more taking out, toning down and glazing... In the end it was the water I wanted to paint and I am not unhappy with that.

This was done on blue tinted Bockingford paper
with watercolor, permanent pen and gouache.

I liked the first sketchbook so much I decided to make a second one a little smaller. Here is a photo right before the holes were punched in the covers. I prepared a selection of watercolor papers including Fabriano Artistico, Arches and Lanaquerelle in half the size of the first one, 7.5 x 11 inches.
While the covers were being weighted I went ahead and painted a little tea cup sketch for the first page.

Here it is in the finished smaller sketchbook.

A closer up view of the Christmas Tea sketch. Fountain pen and permanent ink with watercolor.

Which brings me full circle to the paint box sketch which is the second page in the new smaller sketchbook. Looking at this today a wild thought entered my mind, what if I made a Big Tapestry from this sketch of my Tiny Paintbox. I think it would be fun to weave those squares of paint, the brass, the mixed paint on the trays, the background, lots of fun.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Travel Sketches, Near and Far

I've been here and there this Fall and taking my sketchbook and my camera with me.

The latest adventure was a road trip with Mack to North Georgia and the charming town of Dahlonega. The last time we were there was about 40 years ago and we were both college students at the University of Florida.

This time I was going to take a tapestry workshop with Joan Baxter. To prepare for travel sketching I bought a little 5 x 5 inch Handbook Journal that fit in the back pocket of my purse. From a recent post by Cathy Johnson I had learned about the Pentel Multipen. I took two, one had 8 colored pencil leads and one had red, black and blue ball points, an HB pencil lead, two hi lighters, a red lead and a non copy light blue and along with the refillable Sharpie that always resides in my purse gave me many options. A very light weight sketching kit.

Our first little trip involved taking Laddie to stay with Josh in Kansas and so I tried out my little kit on a sketch of Josh at Panera.

The next day we set out for Georgia and it was rainy and stormy most of the first day. There were lots of things I could have sketched when I was not driving but I chose this gas stop in Alabama. I guess it was the atmosphere.

By the time I was able to do any more sketching we were in Dahlonega. I love college towns! They are always rich with art and music and designed for walking. Even though it was stormy for the first part of our visit we were able to walk everywhere. After a long road trip it is so nice to ditch the car and not enter it again till time to go home.

I was pretty busy during our time there taking a tapestry workshop ( more about that on the Common Threads blog) and didn't do a lot of sketching but do have a few more to share.

This is the Library and Technology Center at the University of North Georgia where we walked to see the tapestry exhibit by Tapestry Weavers South, Woven Together.

On the road trip home we drove from Dahlonega to Gatlinburg, Tennessee the first day. This was a sketch from Cherokee, Tennessee. Very beautiful place and very popular!

I wanted to do a sketch from the Smokey Mountains. It was a beautiful time of year for this drive. Unfortunately my first choice was rainy, cold and with a fog so think we couldn't see anything so I did this quick one at a lower altitude.

All of these were done with my ultra light travel kit and I was pretty pleased how accessible and handy it was.

Once back from the travels I had some photos taken of various locations in Dhalonega and decided to work from the photos while the memories were still fresh.

Here is a drawing done with Copic Multiliners 0.3 and 0.5.

Here it is with some watercolor added. it was early evening when I came upon it.

While we were in Dahlonega it was a short walk every morning to the Picnic Cafe. A very warm and inviting place with good food. They also catered our lunches for the workshop so I wanted to get a sketch. In fact I was pretty spoiled by the end of the workshop having those lovely lunches appear everyday and now that I am back home I miss them

I have a few more sketches I would like to do of scenes in Dahlonega, maybe by the next blog post.

On Saturday october 18 for world wide sketch day a friend and I ventured to a nearer locale for a little plein air sketching. This is my effort from Lake Bixhoma just south of where I live in Bixby, Ok.

It is a very pretty spot, especially now when the Fall colors are coming out but I chose to do this rock gully with a Burnt Sienna Tombow and watercolor. I liked the perspective of the rocks tumbling forward.

I also made many thumbnail value sketches for another painting I would like to do out there.

Not long before the trip to Georgia, I spent the weekend with friends in the country, Wellston, Ok that is.

I don't have the whole group in this one but this year I am in the picture because Gwen took the photo. We are all feasting on homemade pizza night artfully presented by Lynn!

Cheers to good friends and our semi annual retreats!

Another sketch from the Wellston weekend in a meander journal I started filling at our Spring retreat in Lawrence, Kansas. Someday soon I am going to be adding color to these.

With this drawing one whole side of the journal was complete so I headed outside with my sketchbook to capture some of the Wellston countryside.

My first stop was to admire some cows in a field next to the house we were in. They must not be sketching subjects often because they were pretty curious about the activity.

Next a little scene with the sun coming up behind the trees. Now that I think of it, this one came first and then the cows.

The next day a friend and I headed a little further down the road, and I did this ranch. I had to stand to across the road to sketch it because the grass was so high. It was a beautiful day but getting pretty hot by the time this one was finished.

While I was sketching the ranch, a Roadrunner ran right down the road in front of me, and stopped as if to say " sketch me". So I turned the page and made a few quick sketches and then he was gone.

Last sketch of the day standing in the middle of the road that the Roadrunner had scurried down previously. Have to admit, it was hot and I was tired but I liked the loose quality of the line so...

I added some watercolor and dubbed it Roadrunner Lane.

Last, a few studio experiments. Here is a sketch done in a waiting room. I liked it but had gone too far ( a very familiar story) and had some pen work that was very distracting. I decided to add some collage and was pretty happy with the result.

Many times I sketch late at night, especially when I want to get some practice in and have days that are packed with other activities.

This was one of those late night sketch experiments. I decided to do a simple contour drawing of my hands but I would draw my left hand with my right and then my right hand with my left. It was interesting so I tried it again the next night.

Here is the second attempt, right hand with left and left hand with right. it occurred to me that the tapestry I was weaving had influenced my sketches.

This idea of drawing/painting with both hands was intriguing so I tried one last experiment...

I took a toy giraffe and posed it for my right hand. Then I took a pen in each hand and drew it with both hands at once. I discovered that symmetry is pretty easy to achieve this way and then I used a Tombow and water to paint the pattern of the Giraffe. It is much easier to use both hands at once when doing a contour drawing where the pen does not leave the paper than when painting areas that requires picking up your hands and moving them frequently, just saying.  I did discover that my left hand is pretty comfortable with a paintbrush though.

Finally, I just received a new handmade brass paintbox that I am pretty excited about a couple of days ago but I think I will have it in a separate post.  I just filled it with paint and haven't tried it yet. Next time!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Catching Up With The Sketches

I have been doing quite a bit of sketching but I'm very behind on posting. I am making a pact with myself to start keeping up with posting sketches to the blog every couple of weeks once I get back from a tapestry workshop in Georgia the first week or so of October.

Most of the first group of sketches were from the second semester of Sketchbook Skool, titled Seeing which started on July 4th.

This assignment was to draw a piece of toast, really paying attention to all the details. My toast of choice was whole wheat raisin cinnamon. It was an unusual activity for the 4th of July. About halfway through the drawing I realized we probably need a new toaster. It was almost burnt on one side and barely warm on the other. I used some fine tip Copic and Pilot pens for this.

The next assignment was to first paint the general shape of an object with gouache or watercolor fast, and then add the drawn detail,slow. I decided to use our weather radio as the model.

Two interesting projects from Danny Gregory and this was the last sketch in the Stillman and Birn Zeta sketchbook. I will be getting another soon as I am really missing this paper.

The second week started off with self portraits or selfies if preferred with Koosje Koene.

I like to draw people but they are usually doing something in a bigger scene, I've never been to much for portraits but in the interest of expanding my skills I sat in front of a mirror and did this one with colored pencil. Pretty stern looking but it is tricky to look at yourself in the mirror and draw at the same time.

Still working with "Selfies", this time we were to do a continuos line contour in pen and then add watercolor.

I don't know who this person is, but it was loose and fun.

Another continuous line contour with watercolor, very quick. This was early Sunday morning and I think I captured my overall look pretty well with this one. Not exactly flattering but still fun and somewhat of a likeness.

This one was very fun, I was looking at a photo of myself on the iPhone and drawing the scene b from my reflection in a mirror set up in back of the drawing table. I think I really captured a little story in this sketch!

Pen, watercolor and colored pencil.

I was drawing from the mirror again and concentrating hard on not looking too mean. I was also working with some magic pencils with several different colors in each led so that as you draw many colors come up.

It was about this time that I was getting ready to go to Providence, Rhode Island for the ATA Tapestry retreat and workshop so I did this last one (upper left) sitting at the Tulsa airport waiting for my flight from a photo I took on my iPhone. Is it obvious how much I enjoy flying? The couple to the right just happened to be there.

This is a sketch I did in Providence while out to lunch one day but for the most part I was so busy during the trip  that I didn't get much sketching done. I did have a great time though!

This was a Sharpie fine point refillable pen in my handbook Journal.

This was July 17th and except for a few sketches I did in my tapestry notebook and shared on the Common Threads blog I don't have another entry until August 17th!

Once I realized that it had been a month since I did any sketching I decided to participate in a 75 day challenge to sketch everyday. Yes, I had been swamped and busy when  returning home  but I didn't want to get out of practice.

The SBS semester was basically finished when I started making up my work on class three with Brenda Swenson.

I started by doing some very quick continuous contour drawings of some  familier objects with a Tombow pen.

Then I painted with some watercolor. I actually drew the same objects several times and it was a good way to get going again.

We had lots of ripe tomatoes at that time so it seemed like a good idea to use them for this assignment.

I like the look of the Tombow pen with the watercolor as a nice change from the permanent pen I usually use. Tombows are water-soluble and fade into the painting as you work. I ended up buying a few more of them.

Next was Cathy Johnson's class, and I was supposed to be waiting for birds to arrive so that I could sketch them in the backyard, but with Laddie and Purrlie along to help not many birds showed up so I sketched them instead and a squirrel, feeders and so on just as things showed up without trying to compose anything. It was fun and relaxing just hanging out in the backyard. I used colored pencils for this.

The next afternoon I went out without Laddie and Purlie and had better luck with some birds showing up. The Scissortail Flycatcher was a nice treat and I did a larger sketch based on a very brief encounter and consulting the Peterson Guide.

Pen and watercolor.

When I came back in I found quite a party going on in the birdbath outside the dining room window so I did a quick sketch. I really enjoyed working on these sketches, it felt like the first time I had relaxed since I had left for Rhode Island over a month before.

For my last sketch in Cathy's class I sat in the back corner of the yard and drew this Golden Shower tree. I didn't set out to do such an involved drawing, it just happened and though I had intended to paint it it I decided not to. It seemed the drawing had enough personality on its own.

This was done in a bigger 11"x 8.5" journal.

I also have a book I keep color studies in and did some green mixing studies with watercolors.

More greens...

and still more.

I decided to make swatches of my tube greens that I could compare to the mixed colors. This was all part of Cathy Johnson's class too.

Before I started the next class I did a few "sketch of the day" pages.

This one was experimenting with the Tombow and Copic markers using some shells as models.

Here are some tubes of gouache, drawn with pen and painted with ... gouache.

I wanted to try some pretty ink I had received as a sample from Goulet Pens so I drew some flowers...

and painted them with watercolor. The ink was water-soluble but sometimes that is a nice effect with the paint.

Moving on to class 4 in SBS with Andrea Jacobs.

The first assignment was to do a drawing using a ball point pen. I have never thought to do a drawing with a ball point although I have done a lot of doodling while on the phone with them. This pen was a give away and several years old. I was really surprised, not only was it fun to draw with but I think it turned out quite nicely. The blue color is so rich. People are doing some amazing art with ball point pens! I learned something!

The next assignment for this class was to incorporate a writing style that she demonstrated into the sketch. Writing is not a strong suit for me but I thought this quote and flamingo went well together.

Last assignment for Andrea's class was to draw a collection of things. Instead of trying to compose the whole thing at once the idea was to draw one thing and then decide where to place the next thing and carry on from there. Also fun and I  used some more of my shell collection drawing with a large variety of pens, colored pencils and some watercolor.

I decided to take another little break from the class assignments and go to the Zoo. Since I was really in the class by myself at this point( the wonders of online instruction). Of course I was still trying to draw everyday so I went with a friend and we had a great time.

We decided to start off with a slower animal and this tortoise was really posing for us. This was the first sketch. Sharpie and watercolor.

Next we tried the White Rhino pair. It was getting to be pretty hot day by then and although they were further away and harder to see we didn't have to worry about them going anywhere.

Sneezy the Asian Elephant was next. He was really putting on a show for us and catching him in one pose was tricky but....

the Chimps were the most active and difficult as the sketch displays.

I resolved to do more practicing with the Schleich toys before the next zoo trip.

The last class for SBS was Liz Steel, well known for her fancy tea cups and architecture sketches.

I made a rare decision to do this one on a seperate sheet rather than in the sketchbook so I could give it to a friend. These tea cups were fairly challenging but it could be I was a little tired about then. Keeping up with a daily practice of anything is not always easy!

I did a second one for inclusion in the sketchbook.

I decided to take a break before the last assignment for Liz Steel and work on some animal sketches from the Schleich toys. Here are some crocodiles done with the Tombow pens and a little water.

African elephants in permanent pen. One of my toys wandered in to the drawing while I was taking the picture.???

I am collecting quite a menagerie of animal toys in the studio and this is not all of them!

I had some free samples of some new Derwent pens and decided to try them out, The line painter was awfully leaky or maybe it was just not a good night for drawing.

Really had some fun with this one, I drew the Border collies on one evening and the sheep the next. It reminded me of the illustrations in some of the early readers I had as a child.

Here is a real animal for a change, my Purrlie cat doing one of her best tricks. Tombow pen and watercolor.

Another one of Purrlie. She was sitting on my lap and I was covered in a quilt. Those two bumps at the bottom are my knees. I was pretty happy with this one.

For the last sketch in Liz Steel's class I drew my house. This took some time and spread out over two afternoons with permanent pen.

Then I painted it with watercolor. Very enjoyable.

With this project I had completed the second semester of SBS. The next one sounds really exciting, the title is Storytelling and it starts October 3. There will be new teachers and I'm really looking forward to it. I would be drawing anyway but find the format of a different teacher every week stimulating and pick up so many tips and information about materials and techniques without feeling overwhelmed by one teachers point of view.

The class projects are done which is satisfying but I still have a sketch a day to do.

I rarely work from a photo but this is taken loosely from a photo I took at the 108 Contemporary gallery in Tulsa during a recent weaving invitational show.

More Schleich toys...


and toys.

I am ready for another trip to the Zoo but it will have to wait till I get back from the tapestry workshop with Joan Baxter. That is going to be fabulous!!

Tombow pens again and some water.

I spent a couple of afternoons drawing my favorite lawn chair. This was actually a pretty challenging subject. Drawn with a Lamy Joy fountain pen and D'Atrements document  ink.

I painted it the next day. This was the next to last page in this handbook Journal...

and this was the last page.

Here is the Sunday September 21 sketch, my new Moose toy and day 34 of the 75 day challenge.

Not sure what todays sketch will be but I'll think of something.

Keeping busy...