Sunday, December 8, 2013

Critters on the Couch

A quick sketch. I used a Pentel brush pen filled with Noodler's Cayenne water soluble ink for the line work.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Roaming Radish

Here's a few sketches from our Whidbey Island Sketchers meet a couple weeks ago at the Roaming Radish in Freeland. Having eaten there before, I knew they had fantastic food. All organic and local grown. It was delicious! And I really appreciate their numerous vegan selections. 

First I sat at the bar...   

Then huddled in the hall next to the kitchen.

Later got in a few more sketches of customers and wait staff.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Figure Painting, Session 4

In my fourth figure drawing session our model was scheduled to pose for 3 hours so I thought I'd tackle it with oils. I went into the session with a plan to keep it simple by focusing on basic shapes of light and shadow and not worry about details such as a likeness or individual toes, etc. And also to release myself from the outcome and simply play. I've practiced that through regular sketching on location and have become a process junkie. It's the experience. That's the gold nugget. The real pleasure. And if something works it's frosting on the cake. Letting go gives me license to explore and allow a drawing or painting to become an individual as it evolves. I'm creating to seek understanding through questions. I read an interesting blog post at Roz Wound Up by Roz Stendahl, one of my favorite blogging artists. She wrote about drawing and the questions that motivate us to draw and what drawing leads to. It made me wonder what questions artists and myself ask while creating. What do I seek to understand? These questions are very individual and I think they define our personal styles. It's a form of truth seeking. Personally, I'm not interested in flashy and stylish brush strokes. I like grit and directness. Playfulness. A raw, immediate response to what I'm seeing. It's easy to be seduced by techniques, yet we can't escape them, so it's a dance. In the end the picture contains the whole experience and all the questions that lead to the decisions that made it.

Angela in oils... 

The Questions
While painting Angela, I'm in a room with other artists engrossed in their own questions and understandings. There's a synergy in the group that's fueling. Model, artists, drawings. My internal conversation: How is the model sitting? What's her attitude? Shoulder angle opposed the hip angle? She's looking up a bit, I see under her nose. I try to feel the action. What color should I draw with? Where do I want to place the figure in the picture frame? What happens when I thin this blue oil to a watery consistency and apply it to the background? What happens when I paint another thicker color on top, scumble it, drag it dry? How does the model's leg move toward me? What kind of brush stroke conveys that? There's bone under that flesh, a structure, remember that. How does the light and shadow fall across the figure as a whole? And in parts? How do I depict that so it reads? What's that reflected color? How can I punch up these values? Don't let mud happen! This area is unfinished, how can I keep it consistent with the rest? Does that edge move this way? No, that way. Those are just a few of my questions and I've only scratched the surface! What are yours when you paint and draw?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tin Palette Studies and a Tip!

In my efforts to create a mud-free travel palette I did some color mixing studies. As I had mentioned in a previous post, the colors in my palette were Hansa yellow, Azo orange, Quin red, Cobalt blue, Cobalt teal, Diopside genuine, Quin gold deep, Raw sienna, Burnt umber and Lunar black. I didn't do mixes with Azo orange since I'm considering switching it out with Pyrrol orange. Or Lunar black. One could create endless studies with the colors that fit in this little Altoid tin palette!

I decided to remove Raw sienna and add Quinocridone sienna. It makes outstanding oranges when mixed with Quin gold deep, and also a nice transparent deep brown when mixed with Cobalt blue. Quin sienna is very versatile. It's also powerful in intensity. Since I can create fairly decent deep values with colbalt blue and Quin sienna, I removed Lunar black.

Here are additional studies with colors I'm considering: Hansa yellow, Anthraquinoid Scarlet, Pyrrol orange, Quin sienna, quin gold deep and Cobalt violet. Some interesting mixes.

I decided to add cobalt violet because I just can't live without a violet in my palette. So for now I've settled on Hansa yellow, Quin red, Pyrrol orange, Cobalt blue, Cobalt teal, Cobalt violet deep, Quin sienna, Diopside genuine and Quin gold deep. 

Here's a neat trick!
I found this brilliant trick (somewhere on flickr) for attaching pans to the tin using self sticking magnets on the bottom of the pans. So I bought a roll of magnetic tape and cut pieces to size. It comes in sheets too. At first I was skeptical they'd be strong enough to hold, but they do. Works great! Makes colors interchangeable with a click. No sticky stuff to deal with.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Winter Sunset

While out walking the dog this evening I did a couple sketches of the sunset over the Olympic Peninsula. I took my Altoid tin palette, two small sketchbooks (3.5"x5.5" and a 5"x8") and water brushes in a small satchel. Zoey, my dog, didn't seem to mind waiting while I worked. There was a deep carpet of leaves to lay on and the temps are a bit warmer than it's been. The sunset was something to behold. Incredible color on clouds, reflecting on water and constantly changing.
I made some changes to my tin colors after doing color studies this morning. I'll be posting about that in a day or so. I'm much happier now with my orangey reds and purpley blues!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sketching at Ebey Bowl

The Whidbey Island Sketchers met at Ebey Bowl in Coupeveille last week. A wonderfully retro place. So fun! Do check out WISk's fabulous sketches!

A few sketches from later that evening at Greenbank Grille:

A Little Night Drawing

I weathered the cold on a walk at dusk and did this little sketch of the road in the woods. It was getting dark fast and I could hardly see what I was putting down, but that's part of the excitement. I enjoy coming home to view the results. Not thrilled with this one, but oh well.

This little palette is what I took. A year or so ago I spray painted a little Altoid tin with the intent of turning it into a pocket travel palette. I set it aside until I saw my sketching friend's little tins and was inspired to put it together. The tin contains Hansa yellow, Quin red, Cobalt blue, Diopside green, Cobalt teal, Raw sienna, Quin burnt orange, Burnt umber, Azo orange and Lunar black. All are Dan Smith. Handy little palette! Covers the color wheel nicely. I'm not a huge fan of Quin red but it mixes up very nice violets, so I didn't add a violet of any kind. It mixes a decent orange too, but sometimes I want a pure punch of it, so added the Azo. I'll work with that for awhile but will change it out soon for my favorite, Pyrrol orange. It's fairly opaque, which has advantages at times.

Water brushes, fleece and fuzzy gloves.

Later that evening I decided to try sketching outside again but this time with my headlamp on. Brrrr!

I tried to capture the moon and it's beautiful light through the clouds and tree...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Figure Drawing, Session 3

We had an outstanding model at our last drawing session. She has lovely features and dressed in an interesting costume of a black skirt, frilly gauzy top and black stiletto boots. I tried to suggest her tattoos and not go over board on them.

I started with charcoal:

Then moved to watercolor:

I have mixed feelings about long poses. I much prefer doing gestures and quick 20 minutes to keep things fresh. But, admittedly, longer poses give more opportunity to study. And more opportunity to overwork it. So I draw the same pose a couple times.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sketching at Senior Thrift

Spent an afternoon sketching with the Whidbey Island Sketchers at Senior Thrift in Freeland. This is from a couple weeks back.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

More Figure Drawing

Even though our model didn't show, our drawing group managed by drawing each other. I must say we have an interesting group of noses. I find noses wonderful subjects. They come in so many subtle shapes and sizes.
Drawing that evening was excruciatingly difficult for some reason. It felt like I couldn't see and feel the forms, so I tried drawing the same subject over and over.
Here are some drawings from the last session...




The many hands of Faye.

An unfinished drawing of Judith

Monday, November 11, 2013

Figure Drawing

It's an incredible joy to get back to figure drawing! I find the human form so beautiful. Here's a few drawings from the last session. I used charcoal for the gesture and Neocolor with water for the other two.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Lewis Moon Snail

Lewis Moon Snail shells are commonly found on Puget Sound Beaches. This little study was done with Neocolor and watercolors.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


A little pet portrait in my new Stillman and Birn sketchbook. Nice, smooth surface for pen work. Hotpress for watercolor.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sand Dollar and Sea Urchin

I did these simple studies of a sand dollar and Sea Urchin shell using Neocolor and my Ackerman Manga G Pump Pen. I love working with both.

The Ackerman pen is perfect! I give it an A+ rating on performance. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ackerman Pump Pen

Playing around with my new Ackerman Manga G Pump Pen on this sketch of Rainbow Kale. It uses dip pen nips such as a Hunt or croquil and has a pump mechanism that delivers ink to the nib. I've put it together in a way where my thumb presses on the pump as I draw, so there's a pretty continuous flow. I love dip pens for their varied line. Buh bye Lamy and Ahab!

Some more play with line variation using Noodler's Cayenne in my Moleskin sketchbook. Smooth paper is much easier to work on. Less catching in the tooth of the paper. Though, I like good kersplatt now and then!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

View from Double Bluff

Just a little sketch of the water from Double Bluff beach on a cool evening. Double Bluff is one of Whidbey's great off-leash dog parks. No dogs today, though!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Crockett Lake

I did a swing-by Crockett Lake for a quick watercolor sketch. It was an intensely bright day and as a result I think I treated the color too timidly. I have to keep reminding myself to beef it up since watercolor dries lighter. This day I was intrigued by the colors, patterns and forms scattered around the landscape. The wild roses in bloom sprinkled pinks on sage green and the purple/blue patterns in the gravel rocks all made for an active landscape. The fragrance of roses in the breeze was intoxicating!

Crockett Lake is a shallow brackish lake that's located within Ebey's Historic Preserve near Coupeville. It's protected habitat and serves as temporary and permanent home to 238 species of birds. It's definitely one of Whidbey Island's crown jewels. You can read more about it here.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Earth and Sky

With such a broad spectrum of weather events yesterday, I thought I'd go out and try to record it. Looking towards the Olympic Peninsula from the beach, the clouds were quite dramatic with little distinction between earth and sky.

I got a little carried away with that dark strip of land.

I gave it another try. The light and atmosphere changed very quickly as the sun was setting. A cool, northwest evening. It was beautiful, as usual!

Friday, May 10, 2013

It's Peony Time

A couple sketches of my tree peony. I filmed the process of creating the first image and hope to have it uploaded in the next couple days, when I figure out the editing software. Unfortunately I filmed it sideways!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Quick Sketch Horses

On a gorgeous spring day I glimpsed these horses standing near the road grazing so I pulled over for a quick sketch. Unfortunately I was unable to get in any more, within a few minutes they had grazed their way to a much farther location. I tried to capture the elegant movement of the Pinto's tail swatting flies. A strikingly beautiful horse. The other too.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Siri and Steve at Ott and Murphy

After Sketching at Callahan's Firehouse a few of us headed to Ott and Murphy for live music and a glass of wine. OM has expanded which means more room for sketch supplies! And elbows. For musicians too. This evening we were serenaded by Siri Bardarson on electric cello and Steve Trembley on guitar. What a delight! I'm not sure how to describe their music. Eclectic? With comedy mixed in. Feel good music without the musak. Lively and beautiful. Regardless, if you have a chance to catch them, you're in for a treat.

Here's a few of my sketches...

A patron enjoying the show