Monday, March 30, 2015

Sketchers at the Tulip Fields

Two more days until the "official" opening of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and the fields are at peak already. Anacortes sketchers met across from Christianson's Nursery in Mt Vernon today at what may be the ultimate field this year.
Spring has sprung! 68 degrees and color everywhere !
Update: My friend and fellow artist took a photo of me painting this sketch. See it here.
ASk sketching in the tulip fields today. A trophy shot of my sketch in progress.
A bystander asked if we all wanted our photo together, I gave her my camera, she took two photos and I have no idea what happened to them. I should have checked to see if she pushed the right button, I guess.

I did get some photos of Anne and Joyce sitting on their portable camp stools very close to the mud! and our group photo of sketches, a distant view of the group putting their work at the end of a row and a trophy shot of my sketch in progress.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Lion's Teeth outside the Studio Window

I looked out my studio window this morning and saw a brave little flower growing in the expansion joint of the sidewalk. The name dandelion is the English name for this beautiful buttercup yellow flower. It is also called lion's tooth- this is because its notched leaves bear much resemblance to the teeth of lions. The sun came out and cast the shadow of the flower head onto one of its leaves. I was charmed!
Sketched where it grows. 
Immediately, I abandoned the idea that I originally had for the last page in my Sketchbook Project. I grabbed my sketchbook and pen, standing over the flower to draw. See, this is the way it goes when your sketchbook is as much a part of your life as wearing shoes!

One of my colleagues on IG reminded me of a poem, “We wouldn't ask why a rose that grew from the concrete for having damaged petals, in turn, we would all celebrate its tenacity, we would all love its will to reach the sun, " - Tupac Shakur

The name dandelion is a corruption of  the original French word dent de lion which when translated means 'lion's teeth'. In Greece the flower is called Leotodon which means lion tooth in Greek. 

Check out my 2015 sketchbook at the Brooklyn Art Library in New York.....once it gets there. See what's on the rest of the page. 

Friday, March 27, 2015


Inside Cover of my 2015 Sketchbook Project
 "Not all those who wander are lost". That is one of my favorite statements.

For my 2015 Sketchbook Project, I decided to meander through my part of the Pacific Northwest, finding subjects either at home or within approximately an hour in any direction. Sometimes I sketched in my book with friends, including the Seattle and Anacortes Urban sketchers. Sometimes I sketched alone on our deck in the back yard, at the kitchen counter or the local public garden.

As you will see, the dates on each page are random, not placed chronologically from front to back. I simply chose the page that best fit my inspiration and used it that day. Wander through my book. You won't be lost while reading it but I trust you will be away for awhile.--Artist's Statement

This sketch sums up my experience of the whole project. I saved the front inside page until the end, so that I would have the whole book finished and I would know how to introduce it.

I'll be mailing my sketchbook off to New York tomorrow. Just in time for the extended, extended deadline, eh?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Anyone for Croquet?

Jerlyn sketching at Gretchen's Kitchen Shop
These would have fit in nicely at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party
I wanted to add text to the teapot sketch and color to my line drawing of Jerlyn. Didn't have time until now. This brought back memories of a very fun day in Mt. Vernon with the Anacortes Sketchers.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Flickr Group Cover Photo Announced

See my other sketches and paintings on my Flickr Photostream

I am honored to announce that my photo Burke Wings by Cooper in the group Urban Sketchers Seattle has been selected to be its cover photo.
See how it looks here
If you missed the blog post on Sunday, March 15, 2015, see the circumstances under which I sketched it:

Sheltered from the Storm and Surrounded by Natural History at the Burke Museum

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The entire flock

I finally have an opportunity to post all the other photos from a week of classes I taught last term when we got to sketch live baby chicks.
Harriet and Abigail seemed to enjoy their first art modeling gig. 
I knew we wouldn't have such a privilege of live models  in every class, but I think the ones my students did from photos turned out very well indeed!
What's even more impressive is that all these are 5 minute sketches.
I know because I timed them. 
Congratulations, everyone, on sketches you can crow about!

Now if this doesn't inspire the rest of you Sunday Painters, I guess it's time to go bowling.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

ASk at Gretchen's

Happy sketchers! Thank you, Donna and Dianne!

Anacortes Sketchers filled their sketchbooks at Gretchen's on Monday.
The Anacortes Sketchers were welcomed at Gretchen's in Mt. Vernon on Monday, March 16. Give us a beautifully set up kitchen shop nearly all to ourselves and just see how busy we can be! So busy, it has taken me a while to put this post together!

If you are local, you may recall that this shop was set up with the assistance of Graham Kerr, whose national cooking show, "The Galloping Gourmet" was so popular. You should see the kitchen used for demonstrations and classes!
Everyone fell in love with the bright Spring teapots!
Busy, busy, busy, all over the shop!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Extrememly early season in the Skagit Valley

I painted at this field of daffodils near the Tulip Valley Vineyard and Orchard in Mt Vernon this morning. 
The Skagit Valley farmers are anxiously awaiting the tulip bloom, concerned that it will be over by the time of the official start of the annual Tulip Festival, usually on the first of April.

I spoke to the owner of the winery, who said some events have now been moved up two weeks early.

Friday March 20, Update: Field #1 at Roozengarde has red tulips in bloom today.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Urban Sketchers Seattle, at the Burke Museum

This morning at the Burke Museum, another sizable crowd of Seattle Urban Sketchers came together for the monthly outing. Along with families, individuals and a meeting of the Tlingit and Salish tribes, we all shared a cozy and warm place to be on a blustery, rainy day.

Again, as I always do in museums, I felt a convergence of experience and time.

One of the featured exhibits was "Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired", which showcases how today's artists learn from past generations. The exhibit features 30 new works by contemporary Native artists, paired with historic pieces from the Burke Museum that artists identified as key to their learning. Coincidentally, a contemporary tribal group met in an adjacent room where a man with drums chanted, wearing his own woven hat in the traditional design. See photos above/left depending on your display screen.

My sketches of wings and eggs from the ornithology display in the lobby.

The elegantly displayed Xiphactonus from Kansas.
Although I enjoyed touring much of the rest of the museum, I was captivated by what I found in the lobby, where we all met in the beginning. I stayed there most of the time and sketched the two sketchbook spreads seen above.

The Confluence of Science and Art: Wes Wehr's Inspiration is now on display in the lobby of the Burke Museum. It is a fitting tribute. The entire display was beautifully arranged, like the perfectly arranged cabinet drawers of treasure in the paleontology and geology collections – the focus of Wehr's study and inspiration.
Sketchers, both new and experienced, find their subjects.
 The sketches above are but a fraction of those set out to share at the end of the outing today. See the Seattle Urban Sketchers blog for more accounts and photos of the inspired results.
 I can hear these toothy characters now, exclaiming: "So I'm stuck out in the middle of nowhere without a dental plan!"
Psst. Hey, guys, I hear there's a drawer full of teeth downstairs. FYI.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

And for dessert we have........

And for dessert......
We have pie, of course! With all the talk of Pi Day being today, and the last date of its kind in a century, etc., etc., I unaccountably developed a sudden craving for pie. Evidently I have no resistance to subliminal suggestion.  

It was a close call. I seriously considered getting out my perfect pie crust recipe, the ingredients and my rolling pin. But then you saw how that went last Sunday with the pancakes.

So we got a Bakery pie instead. Labeled "Berry Envy Pie", it has raspberries, marionberries, aronia berries and blueberries. Berry good!

AND I just managed to sketch the French Lavender ice cream before it slid down the pie! You can see the ice cream pre-avalanche in the sketch and post-avalanche in the trophy photo.

This is the back page of my 2015 Sketchbook Project. I have one more sketch to do and then I can send it off!

Happy Pi Day

The nerd side of me likes this. The foodie side of me says, "Oh, that PI Day."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sketching Chickens

Jody brought her chicks to sketch in my class today. Abby and Harriet were so sweet. We all fell in love with them. Thanks, Jody.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

aRT OR Breakfast

Anyone who has attempted sketching/painting and eating at the same time knows the struggle. The more you focus on your subject, the more delicious it looks and the hungrier you get! As if drawing and painting aren't enough of a challenge already!

Which is why I join Danny Gregory, author of "aRT Before Breakfast", in challenging all you Sunday painters to sketch what you had for breakfast today.

See the 15 second video progression on my Instagram. 
Where is my sketch of the pancakes, you ask? Wellllll, I was trying to select just the right shape of a partially eaten stack of pancakes and before I knew it they were gone! 

Thanks to all those who wrote to tell me that they thought I could have written the book, since so many familiar phrases rang a bell. Well, when it's true, it's true, right Danny? A tip of the beret to you, sir. :)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Loosening up Exercises

If you only paint occasionally it can seem as though you are starting right back at square one each time you start a new project. Here are a few tips to help you Sunday Painters loosen up:
  • If possible, set up a collection of several vases and containers of daisies (white ones) like I did for my class. If you can leave them up for the week, you will be able to do spontaneous sketches whenever the opportunity presents itself, instead of starting all over again.
  • Use opaque containers at this time, to concentrate on the mass or "cloud" of flowers".
    • Always start with a few loosening up sketches first.
    • Simplify. Create masses rather than a tedious collection of individual shapes
    • Practice direct brushwork, pre-wetting the background and "dropping in" additional color/value to create loosely suggested foliage and flowers.
    • Stay aware that you are practicing by using charcoal when you draw. See my examples above.
    • Keep it loose when adding color, too. Use a large flat brush and limit your brush strokes.