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

Friday, August 22, 2014

Flowers, Fins & Kites at Magnuson Park

2 credit card sized sketches in my 5x7" Journal
One could spend quite a long time contemplating the rich depth of meaning that can be experienced at Magnuson Park in Seattle.

The public art installation, "Fins", made of recycled dive fins from cold war nuclear submarines, resembles a pod of Orca. They are installed close to the lake, where wildflowers grow along a smooth, paved walking path. The huge property was formerly a US Naval Station, accessible to the public through a narrow sentry gate. No sentry watches the gate now.

My easel under a tree
There is a kite flying hill, where a lone figure assembled his kite, waited, tried and tried again, until he got the kite aloft. Meanwhile, USk Seattle sketchers spread out among the meadows, trees, buildings, climbing wall, and shoreline where they tried and tried again to record their experience of the day.

Whether it's international peace and cooperation, flying a kite, climbing a mountain or other seemingly insurmountable endeavors such as sketching on location, the message seems to be "try and try again."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Amanda, five-minute sketch

We were at the market on a very busy weekend day, we were in a workshop being instructed by Gabi Companario, we were given just five minutes to do a live figure study and the time starts now!
This was my 5 minute sketch done on location at Pike Place Market, just inside the flower stalls. Amanda, a fellow workshop participant, was in a hurry and got tangled and twisted with her shoulder bag and jacket. I was struck by the similarities and comparisons of the girl, the bucket of paper wrapped flowers and the column. Sort of a transition of static to lively, masculine to feminine, and all "wrapped" around in a way. 

Since my drawing was only allowed 5 minutes' time, I felt it only fair to do the color in equal time.  It's not meant to be a finished piece, obviously, but I feel I caught the wrapped up quality of the moment. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Response" at Pier 1 in Anacortes

It's all about the tires!
Interesting things happen when you hang around a dock long enough. No, not that! I'm talking about sketching with the Anacortes Sketchers this past Monday.

A typical Pacific NW fishing boat was on its way out as I sketched on the sunny west end of the dock. A "certain aroma" occasionally wafted by. All sorts of leisure craft came in and out of the harbor while the crew washed windows and cleaned the already pristine decks of the "Response", a tanker tug and firefighting vessel. While I was sketching, one of the crew came out and assumed his best "Captain Morgan" pose for a good 5 minutes. No problem. Got it. Little did he know that for me, it's all about the tires! I loved the necklace of huge tires laced around the "Response" as she languished there in the shadows.. How much does just that big tire alone cost? I don't know, but here's what a $42,500 one looks like! 
Sailing Away
Here's what she looked like as I was getting ready to paint the all-important shadows. Arrrghh!
It was kind of cool, though, as she gracefully pirouetted 360 degrees and let us see the entire boat before she sailed away. Her crew can rightfully be proud of her.

Info about the "Response"---Built in 2002, by Marco Shipbuilding of Seattle, Washington (hull #489) as the Response for Crowley Marine of Jacksonville, Florida. She was the first Response class tug built for Crowley Marine. Besides being a tug for seagoing tankers, she is a Class 1 firefighting vessel, capable of throwing over 13,000 gallons of water per minute a distance of 400 feet. Quoted from tugboatinformation dot com.

 Avast me hearties! Steer your vessel to the Port of Anacortes 6th Annual Anacortes Workboat Races and Pirate Faire at Historic Pier 1 on the Guemes Channel in downtown Anacortes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Figure Studies vs. 6-Stroke Figure

If you've been around my blog and/or website for a while, you have probably encountered my tutorial on simple silhouettes, which I call 6-stroke figures. I even have a tutorial page and video on how easy they are to do. They're great for giving scale to a cityscape or adding the human element to a composition.

A 2 page spread from my little DYI pocket sketchbook
While I am recharging my art spirit this summer, sketching all over the place with friends and colleagues, I have decided to kick it up a notch (as Emeril would say) Let's see if I can put a little personality, individuality and expression in the figures I'm adding to the scene. BAM!
I would call these more than a silhouette, but less than a maybe "studies" would be a good term to use. I feel that I did achieve a bit beyond the generic and succeeded in trying to make them as individual as possible.

I guess the guys on the fishing boat are half stroke figures, or maybe just a dot! ;)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Painters, Loosen Up!

This could keep you busy for a month of Sundays! I grabbed some random supplies from the studio to play around with today. I have some ideas to give you a bit of practice with color mixing, water ratio, pencils vs paints and more!

Watercolor Techniques in a Nutshell!

1. If you're a bit worried about color, start with working out value, the relative light and dark pattern you need for any sketch or painting. Choose three graphite pencils of varying value. Harder ones are lighter and softer ones are darker. Now one at a time, see if you can make the same light, medium and dark values with each one. Practice crosshatching small 1" square sections on a piece of sketch paper. (Copy paper works, too) You'll have to control the pressure, depending on which pencil you use.

2. Now make similar little squares with your watercolor, mixing Burnt Umber and Ultramarine Blue to get neutral midtones. You'll have to control the amount of water as well as the balance of warm/cool color to get the results you want.

3. Choose three tubes of watercolor, each color intrinsically light, medium or dark. Practice using the paint almost full strength, choosing a subject suited to these three colors and values. Check your results in black and white or grey scale. The above examples are referenced from a previous challenge and show how loose you can really get!

Tip: Have you been drawing lines around things to make them look more realistic? Unless you want "tighter" paintings that look like coloring book pictures, keep it loose. Squint! Draw general shapes lightly with pencil, then paint with a good pointed brush, using value and color to get the definition you desire. Keep detail to a minimum.

About Sunday Painters posts: Especially during this summer, I have been posting weekly inspirations for those of you who like to play around with art at home. These are not meant to be lesson plans or complete exercises, but just a jump start to get you going. Please let me know if these ideas are giving you a little boost to practice on your own. :)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

"Mimsy" to be sure

To continue from yesterday's post---It was something of a fantastical morning, painting in the intermittent rain at Gasworks Park and Marina.

"A beautiful pea green boat"
A few of us wound through a narrow wooded path from Gasworks Park to a tiny houseboat marina for the last half of the outing.

And what should I see? A beautiful peagreen boat (house), apparently just sailed back from the sea by the owl and the pussycat! See what looks for all the world like a vintage Evinrude motor attached to the hull? I am told that these are true house BOATS, because they are capable of being navigated out on the water.

Kate posed us for a great group shot at the end of the outing and check the USk Seattle Flikr photo pool for photos of our work (Nice work, Tina and Peggy). Regardless of being a bit damp, we were all proud of ourselves for braving a few little summer showers. I, myself, looked a bit like a borogrove when I took off my hat.

"All mimsy were the borogroves," What is the meaning of the adjective, mimsy? Flimsy and miserable. "When I make a word do a lot of the work like that," Said Humpty-Dumpty, "I always make it pay extra."
A shabby looking bird. "...And a borogrove is a thin, shabby looking bird with its feathers sticking out all around- something like a live mop." - Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carol.

Sketching in the rain can be like that.

Friday, August 15, 2014

"Tea Party" at Gasworks Park

Rain was coming down in big, splashy drops as I arrived at the Gasworks Park meet up with USk Seattle this morning. There was a shelter, a restroom and the hope that for once the forecast would be accurate--diminishing rain throughout the morning. I was a bit early, and by the time everyone arrived, we had the rain break we were hoping for. Yay!

I found myself in an "Alice in Wonderland" state of mind. Perhaps memories of visiting the park with my children had something to do with it. I looked up above the main shelter and there was an orange "teapot" for me to draw! I had enough time to put some color on and start with my next subject, the "blue layer cake and sandwich plate caddy". It was in a puddle, just around the corner, below eye level. I had to dash in and out of the shelter now and then for a few details, since we had a few light misty sprinkles of rain.....evidently the "10%" that the forecast reported.

Visit here tomorrow for the tale of the last sketch of the morning. :-) "All mimsy were the borogroves,"

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Grey Days

"Summer Squall" - Original Watercolor by Michele Cooper

If you've been reading my recent posts, you know I was sorely tempted to go back to Rosabella's, if only to get a look at the famous 5lb. apple pies. Today is one of only three days a week that they are open!

Value Plans - Pencils or Paints
 Then we got quite a bit of rain yesterday and again this morning. It accomplished two things:
  1. I lost interest in driving all the way to Bow in the rain, thereby being saved from encountering the giant apple pie and possibly taking one home.
  2. I was inspired to think about the way wet in wet watercolor loosens up one's approach to sketching, drawing and painting while using a limited palette in the color of the day.
After all my recent line work and summer color, I'm ready to loosen up and simplify the landscape into broad areas of value or tone. These are my two paintings of the day.

"Summer Squall" by Michele Cooper
Original Watercolor - 7x15" - Price: $115

Value Plans - Sketchbook page NFS

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rainy Day Cat Nap

Someone once told me that every cat has two homes: the one where their owners live and the one where they spend all the rest of their time. I believe it.

A cat has been napping, meowing, hanging around and generally acting like our home is hers. We never let her into the house, so she has about 5 or 6 spots around our yard and patio where she takes naps. She goes home at night but the rest of the time she's here. This has been going on for over a decade. We have no idea what her name is or where she really lives. She sneaked into the studio yesterday and stared intently at the bin under the counter. Disconcerting.....and I don't want fleas in the studio. OUT!

We stack our patio cushions on the umbrella table to protect them from rain. That's when this cat enjoys the cushiest of nap times. THAT'S when I have to get a lint roller out for cat hair! And I don't even own a cat. Come on! I have proof that she is quite pleased about the whole thing. While we both hid out from the rain today, I decided to make a watercolor sketch from my view of her out the back door of the studio. Here is her portrait, napping on a stack of our cushions, wearing that self satisfied smile.

"Rainy Day Cat Nap"
Original Watercolor by Michele Cooper
Size: 8x10"  Price: $100

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rosabella's Poppy Patch

Rosabella's Poppy Patch
It was a perfect, sunny, HOT, summer Monday in Skagit County. I promised to post this after adding more color yesterday. (See yesterday's post for more.) I named it for the reason I stopped to sketch. Anyone who knows the location at Rosabella's Garden Bakery will see that I took out the very nice, but too-big-and-in-the-way sign. It was right in the middle of the poppy patch, blocking my view of the road going uphill into the distance.

I wish they had been open yesterday. Here are a few of the things for which they are famous:
(I really wanted a bouquet of those flowers....and at least a look at the 5 lb. apple pies)
  • Rosabella's famous 5-lb apple pies
  • Fresh apple cider donuts - watch them being made
  • Fabulous lunches and pastries from the Bakery
  • Experience hard cider and unique fruit wines
  • Vintage gift shop full of discriminating food & unique gifts
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables in season
  • Rosabella's specialty-cut flower bouquets
  • Great coffee and espresso

"Farm Fresh Eggs" ink sketch on location, Bow, WA
As you see (photo-right), I took a photo of my ink sketch (in the cool, air conditioned front seat of my car, sorry for bad exposure) and got a bit of color on before my sketching buddies arrived. You can see that stage of my sketch in this photo. (I'm the one in the white hat-my sketches are top and bottom left.)

Today the lighting has changed drastically, with lightning storms, possible rain and hot, muggy, overcast skies in the forecast for the next few days. Still, I just might have to go back and see what else I can use for the next page in my sketchbook. Did they say they were open on Thursdays?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Edison Journal

Edison Afternoon
The writing:
"Lavender grows in baskets at the corner of an old red ochre brick building in Edison, WA.
The distant mountains have a purple haze and
A huge stand of green bamboo makes a quiet sound, rustling in the breeze.

At 2 pm the porch light is on at "Hedgerow"
And the sunflowers are going dry."
Michele Cooper - 8/11/14

The sketch: Well, I got all tangled up in the textures and should have quit while I was ahead. I still had a memorable experience in Edison, WA with my sketching friends and I think it's better reflected in the "journal" part of my sketchbook this time.


There's always something sketch-worthy in Skagit farm country, especially at the peak of the summer growing season. There are road side stands selling flowers this week, but they'll have home grown fresh vegetables and fruit to offer soon.

"Farm Fresh Eggs" ink sketch on location, Bow, WA
Although the Anacortes Sketchers were meeting for lunch at 12:30, I drove out a little early to see what the day would offer. I could have sketched the whole day and never made it to Edison, but I settled on doing a 15 minute ink sketch at Rosabella's Garden Bakery. Then I drove back to our lunch spot to wait for the others and added watercolor, parked in the shade. I need to let it dry before posting, so I'll add it into tomorrow's post.

Jane and Lisbeth sketching in a high traffic area of Edison. (Pop. 110)
With temperatures soaring into the high 90's elsewhere, the Anacortes sketchers lounged in the shade in Edison this afternoon. It was a refreshing 84°F, in the shade. My car made it to 100°F where it was parked on Cains Ct near "Hedgerow".

Some of the renowned restaurants were closed on Monday, but not the Breadfarm, where I bought a wonderful loaf of ciabatta bread, warm from the oven. (My husband and I enjoyed thick slices of it with brie, olives and cold prawns for dinner. Yumm!)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Painters - tools of the trade

Making a stone wall-tools large and small
Just in case last Sunday's teapots and lavender are a bit too civilized for you, how about "finding a still life of tools"?
These were left at the work site while the masons took a break. (See my post about this location.) Zoom in for your choice of colors and sizes. Or maybe you will do an entire composition, including the rocks!
Hammers, chisels, gloves and bamboo "pipe" to blow away debris

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Kubota Gardens Sketchbook

My sketchbook impressions of the day - 8/8/14
They seemed to merge with the stones. Chisels ringing, stone masons from Japan and around the country worked together at Kubota Gardens yesterday as a group of USk sketchers observed and created pages in their sketchbooks. Once in a while, a whiff of dust would come through the chain link fence as a stone worker blew it out of a granite crevice with his bamboo "straw". Cranes lifted the stones, one or two at a time, and placed them where directed by Junji and Suminori Awata, 14th and 15th generation stonemasons and masters of their craft. In just 14 days they will dry fit the granite into an 8 ft. base for the new Terrace Overlook.

Called Rock People Chisels, I am grateful to have shared the experience with my granddaughter and great-granddaughter yesterday.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Rock People Chisels

The sound of chisels on stone rang out over the 20 acre grounds at Kubota Gardens in Renton today. Over 300 tons of High Cascade granite will become an 8-foot high “ishi-gaki” stone base, for the new Terrace Overlook. They use the same techniques that were used to build Japanese castles before the 16th century. It will be completed during a two week workshop with 20 participants, August 7-20, 2014 – a community effort and rich East-West cultural experience. The public is encouraged to come and share this historical event. Watch as this amazing project transpires!

Front to Back - Susan, Tina, Masons
Meanwhile, approximately a dozen Seattle Urban sketchers of all ages and experience sketched and observed in the shade of a canopy nearby. Be sure to read Tina Koyama's account of the experience and see other photos of the masons at work and the sketchbook pages created by USk. (I'm in the group photo...back row with my sunglasses still on!)  I'll post my sketchbook spread from this historical event tomorrow.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Making Water Portable for Sketching

Recently, I posted the first sketches of my equipment for small, portable water containers, etc.

My Portable Water System
Here's the page after I finished it today. These are the solutions I've come up with for minimal but effective ways of transporting the water you need for on location watercolor sketching.

Brushes: As you can see, some brushes come with water in a handle/reservoir, which can be squeezed out as needed to wet the paints or onto your palette or paper. Other brushes are made to fit down inside their own handle to protect the Kolinsky sable tuft. I like that the travel brushes extend to make a normal sized handle when taken out and screwed back onto the end. (Short handles make me clumsy!)

Sponges: I find that I need a synthetic sponge to regulate the water on my brush, as well as for cleanup after using my smallest travel paintboxes. The natural sponge is nonabrasive for pre-wetting the sky area, making it more receptive to soft, blended washes. (Sponges are better than tissues or paper towels because they can be rinsed clean, squeezed nearly dry, and there's no disposal problem. It's no fun trying to figure out what to do with a handful of soaking wet paper towels or tissues!)

Water Containers/Sprayers/Misters: The tiny Mister Atomizer is quite powerful and will wet down my whole palette in just one or two spritzes. With that and the water brush, I usually don't need to carry any more water for ink and wash sketches. (I use the sponge to clean off my brush between colors.)
The larger spray bottle and cap can hold enough extra water for an 8x10 or 11x15 sketch. (I pour half the water from the sprayer into the larger cap to rinse my brush.) Most times, you can refill as needed from your bottle of drinking water or a restroom faucet.

This page will be for my 2015 Sketchbook Project.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Barn Shadows

Barn Shadows - Watercolor by Michele Cooper
This is the final result after working on this composition from yesterday. It was a lot of fun working with the variety of shapes provided by the years of wear and repair on this old barn. After sketching in my sketchbooks, it was wonderful, being able to use bigger, better brushes and larger format. It's the first time I've painted this one, but I feel like I could explore it a hundred times over and get a new viewpoint each time.

"Barn Shadows" - Original Watercolor by Michele Cooper
Size: 11x 15"       Price: $200 (unframed)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Value vs. Color

Black and White iPad photo of preliminary washes
I have passed by this barn for years and wanted to paint it, but the location does not allow for easy access.

You never know what's going to happen to barns, and I am determined to find a way to paint it before anything changes.

Here's what's on the easel. I know I won't have time to do the entire painting today, so I'm only going to show you the preliminary washes in black and white. That's what I'm usually thinking about at this stage anyway. More tomorrow.................................

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sketching at Cap Sante - Anthony's Dock

Tucked under the gangway, near the boat lift at Anthony's Dock, my "sketchy" friends and I enjoyed another summer afternoon in Anacortes today. With a clear sky and temperatures in the 80's, we set up right on the water, where cool breezes refreshed us. (See more photos of our day on the ASk blog.)

It was a pleasant surprise when Kevin Paul, the Swinomish Coast Salish master carver, stopped by to chat while we painted. Coincidentally, I had just seen his totems at the houseboat docks at Lake Union recently.
Watercolor Line and Wash - Anthony's Dock, Anacortes
Below is my ink line drawing, sketch, before adding watercolor. I am really enjoying the way each medium works on the paper in my new Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook.
Micron Pen in my Stillman & Birn Beta Sketchbook

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday painters – Lavender Earl Grey tea

Try a variety of arrangements and alternative viewpoints.
Last time, I found my still life on the kitchen window sill. This time, circumstances led me to it. My coffee maker was all warmed up, I went to the fridge to get milk for a latte' and......horrors! milk! What to do? Well, when life gives you slice them and put them in your iced tea!

It's been hot for us here in the Pacific NW. We've been having temperatures averaging 84°F. Add to that the fact that the lavender harvest has just peaked and the plants along my driveway still have blooms. A caffeine kick start may still be had if one makes tea, iced tea for this weather! Lavender Earl Grey seems just the right blend.

Remember when setting up your own still life, that appropriate objects are just the beginning. You must keep in mind that the viewpoint, compositional placement, color scheme, and lighting need to be considered. Which of the three choices above seems to work the best, in your opinion?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Life in the rearview mirror

Micron Pen/WC Wash
Both metaphorically and literally, I was sitting in the ferry line looking back on my day at Cloudstone Sculpture Park.
Clinton Dock Ticket Booth

I still felt like actually sketching instead of serious plein air painting and decided to use materials at hand.  There was the boarding ticket for the ferry which I had just received, and my handy extra pen from my purse on the seat next to me. While waiting for the ferry, I quickly sketched the ticket booth while looking at it through my rear view mirror. Once I got home, I added a few light washes of watercolor.

Looking back...............
Portal Tomb at Carrowmore 7.28.99
Fifteen years ago, I participated in an international cultural exchange between Women Painters of Washington and women painters in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Between the two exhibits, we had time to tour the land and paint on location. I stood under a tree at the Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, and painted this view (above) of a tomb and the distant view of Maeve's tomb.

Work in progress on Friday at Cloudstone. 8.1.2014
 I spent a lot of time reminiscing about my trip to Ireland, while working on my sketch (above) at the Cloudstone Sculpture Park on Whidbey Island yesterday.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Cloudstone Sculpture Park

Urban Sketchers Seattle joined Whidbey Island Sketchers at a thought provoking location today.

Cloudstone Sculpture Park showcases the art of Hank Nelson. Surrounded by nature you will find works of carved stone, cast bronze, cast iron, monumental steel, and earthworks.
On Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound area of Washington, residents deeply care about indigenous trees, ground cover, watersheds, shorelines, and wildlife. While maintaining eco-stewardship Nelson creates synergistic relationships between the land and his hundred sculptures. Serpentine pathways lead visitors past great pyramids, monumental steel structures, story filled ruins, and spell binding carved stone totems. Conceptual works urge visitors to take care of our planet and our people.-quoted from Cloudstone website
The Sculptors at their work
Cloud/Stone, Earth/Sky, Man/Nature, Transience/Eternity, Growth/Decay--This place kept showing me the idea that such disparate concepts might be able to coexist.
Surrounded by shapes