Monday, September 1, 2014

Refinery Skyline

Sketched at Seafarer's Memorial Park with ASk

One of the so-called "necessary evils" of living in the beautiful coastal town of Anacortes is the ever present refinery. Too many times to count, however, I have heard people say that they hate to admit it, but it is actually rather beautiful at night. I agree, but I also appreciate the "big city" feel of all the stacks and towers--right there in the middle of a rural scene.

Recently, I saw a sketchers' challenge online. It was entitled "So ugly it's beautiful." To me, as an artist, there is beauty to be found in just about everything. So I sat on the seawall and sketched this from Seafarer's Memorial Park on Memorial Day.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Standard Sizes

How many times have you been inspired to paint, excitedly grabbed your stuff and had a whirlwind of a painting experience without regard for anything!? You emerge from the altered state you've been in and realize that THIS IS THE BEST THING YOU'VE EVER DONE! Then you realize that THIS WILL DEFINITELY NOT FIT INTO A STANDARD SIZED MAT AND FRAME!

No? Well, maybe you've gotten through an entire painting session and suddenly realize that it's ALL crummy except for a long strip in the middle (or a 3x5 inch corner) or some other area. But definitely not the whole thing.

Both of these dilemmas may have the same solution: standard sized mats and frames. For problem #1 you have two solutions:
  1. Open up your checkbook and pay for a custom mat and frame. After all, it's your best work ever! It deserves its own reward.
  2. Reach for paper that is already standard size anyway. Have a stack of 8x10, 16x20, 11x14, etc. paper ready to go before you ever start painting. Make sure it's a bit larger, to allow for spacing under the mat.
For problem #2 (mostly crummy painting), you just take a few ready made mats for a trip around your finished painting until you find a section you like that fits into the opening. Cut it out, with a bit of extra margin, and voila! Problem solved!

How about using your own paintings for source material?

Bonus: I like these new super elongated mats for panoramic images, but it's not so easy to paint a composition from the beginning that fits. Maybe we should see how that pile of unresolved paintings would work if we only rescued the panoramic parts that we like.

Alternate Bonus: Okay, so the section you like is just a teensy bit too narrow or short for the mat you wanted to use and cutting it down to the next standard size will sacrifice too much of the good stuff. How about using your own painting as source material for a new composition in the new size and format? What you learned from the first attempt will now benefit what you intend for this one. Besides, now you DO have a standard sized piece of paper on hand before you even get started.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Flowers at UW Medicinal Garden

The first part of my sketch outing with USk Seattle yesterday was in the floral part of the garden. Bees were pollinating the globe shaped flowers as several of us moved from plant to plant as well.

Journal part of the spread is now finished.
I sketched all the flowers and wrote some of the journal page on location. I knew, however, that there was more to learn and I wanted time to reflect on my own personal connection to the experience. Now that it's done, I wish my father could have been there. His minor in college was botany. He would have loved investigating every plant and tree.

More from the UW Medicinal Garden

Off he went, back to the herbal garden.

Friday, August 29, 2014

PPP with USk Seattle at the UW

You know how some agencies just love acronyms and initials instead of saying the whole phrase? Well, I've got one for you.....PPP stands for Paraty Pit Party. Kate thought it up for those of us who stayed here while some of our fellow sketchers went to Brazil for a fabulous symposium. She even made badges for us! What fun! Actually we are all very excited for those who are there and can't wait to hear all about the experience when they get home. In the meantime, there is an official page to browse and we will KEEP CALM & SKETCH ON.
One of my sketches from the meet with USk Seattle
We met in the UW Medicinal Herb Garden. The map shows where I was sketching, sheltered under some trees while it rained a bit. Make sure to see our sketches posted from that day. It's amazing how much there is to see, just in that one small area.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Feeling Blue

Is it possible to feel happiness and sadness at the same time? Or perhaps warm gratitude for acquaintanceship, yet sorrow at missing out on the future companionship of someone? You know the saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

I prefer the thought of a friendship as a garden, being cultivated with time, growing, blossoming....yet knowing that winter will come, when everything must rest. Looking back on the summer is a special kind of daydream. I am warm with reminiscing. I think one of my favorite gardeners would agree that life gives us challenges as gardens give us weeds. I admire the way she dealt with them.

"Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them." -A.A.Milne

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Shrimp and heirloom tomatoes

I have friends and colleagues in Paraty, Brazil, taking part in a symposium and sketching with people from all over the world! I am so excited for them! Wish I could be there, too. So I'm having my own experience at home, sketching a plate and little egg cup that we got in Lisbon and Madeira during our travels. See, I'm thinking everything is connected through the language,  Portuguese.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Summer afternoon in a flower patch

On their way back from an afternoon sketching at the flower patch.
Hedlin Farm runs a seasonal stand at the round-a-bout entrance to La Conner. Today the flower patch was full of color-from wild daisies below our ankles to the sunflowers way above our heads. Even though we melted in the scarce shade of another hot summer day, I had a great time sketching with friends. Everyone was ready to go, but before I packed everything up, I caught two of them on their way back to share our sketches. See the Anacortes Sketchers blog for more of the day's paintings.
A great cloud of dust arose as dry soil was being tilled in the distance.

After everyone left, I was trying to cool down in my air conditioned car, and deciding whether to go home or work on my unfinished sketch. I added the figures and a few extra touches. Once I cooled off, the light was better on the distant farm, so I moved around to the other side of the farm stand and sketched the view I had liked from the moment I arrived. Finished it at 5pm. One of the helpers who worked there took a picture and sent it to her watercolor friend in Florida.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The word of the day

What comes to your mind when you hear that word?
Start with a title. 
Instead of looking around for objects that you could use as painting subjects, why not look around for titles that will generate a painting? I can think of lots of still life objects like jewelry pieces, chinaware, pottery, tools, watches, quilts, etc. that would fit the word "heirloom".  What do you feel like painting today?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Magnuson Park, Seattle

Yesterday, I posted the right side of my sketches from Magnuson Park. I kept the two sections on the left blank until I could at least make an ink drawing of a composition I had in mind. It's funny, because the small sketches on the right side of the page are from my view to the left of where I was standing, and the opposite is true of the left side of the page, seen below.
My view from under the tree
My Micron Ink sketch
Anyway, I needed to wait until I had access to my good brushes. The Aquaflow waterbrush carries its own water supply, but the tuft leaves something to be desired. Why I chose to do those tiny credit card sized sketches with it is beyond me. Maybe it's for the same reason we do anything that's on the edge.....just to see if we can!
Entire 3-section spread