I haven’t been buying flowers lately but this small bouquet at Trader Joe’s was $3.99 and I figured it was a minor enough extravagance to indulge. I seem to always pick bouquets with something orange. Come to think of it, I pretty much always pick the same type of bouquet with the same type of flowers. Having any colorful flowers to look at is nice but maybe next time I’ll try for something different. I could really go for some red ranunculus.
Several weekends ago I ditched the kids with my husband and visited my friend in Grover Beach. I sketched on the drive down, sketched everywhere we went, and sketched on the way home. I filled 4 pages of my Goodbye California Sketchbook! And my friend still speaks to me, so I must’ve managed to sketch and interact with her at least enough to not completely piss her off. She’s a real sport.
On the way down I stopped in Chualar for the old PG & E Substation. It was windy and I was basically standing on the onramp to the freeway for the only possible vantage point. A CHP officer was pulled over nearby and I didn’t want to have to explain myself, so I drew fast and saved the watercolor for later. Next, I stopped in beautiful Gonzalez and battled the after school crowds for a parking spot with a view of the water tank. Next, I sketched the oil field just north of Paso at an inexplicably popular exit with no services and a view of, well, an oil field. The old Motel sign is in Paso Robles across Hwy 101 from Firestone Brewery. I wanted to sketch that too, but I was running out of daylight. And get this: I had to sketch the Soledad sign from an internet photo because THEY TOOK IT DOWN!!! Big mistake, Soledad. Despite it’s implications, the sign was all you had going for you.
In SLO, we wandered around downtown, sipping tea, second-hand smoking hobo cigarettes, and fake shopping. The Fremont Theatre was a must draw, as well as the Mission. BTW, I did my 4th grade mission project on Mission SLO, so I know pretty much everything about it. After all, I have built it out of sugar cubes. I’m not a Mason, or anything, but the art store, Law’s Hobby Shop, where I purchased all my college supplies, used to be in the building which houses Masonic Temple. Now its a Christian Bookstore or something lame. I had to draw the Indian statue out in front of the Cigar shop. When I was living there, some DB frat guys stole the original Indian and it was never seen again. I had always thought it had been returned, but as I was sketching, the owner came out and told me he replaced the stolen one. And then bolted it’s ass to the building. Then I sketched the mountain, which of course, is Bishop’s Peak. Which I have hiked to the top of no fewer than 25 times. Probably.
Finally, we drove to Morro Bay and sat atop a hill where I had a lovely view of both Morro Rock and the power plant towers. It was really quite lovely.
Cathy Johnson’s second lesson was on drawing in nature. I was on vacation at the beach this entire week, which should’ve been a good place to draw in nature, but drawing landscapes is one of those things for me like cleaning the toilet and I kept putting it off.
I really like these two ocean thumbnails! My favorite of the bunch. And I had to throw in a power pole for my husband. (He works for the electric company. And does not shut up about power lines. Ever.)
This is the worst. I see other people draw these terrific trees and bushes that look so great. I need some serious practice here. Bleh.
This week’s lesson was taught by Cathy Johnson, a naturalist and artist who has written a boat load of books and has a whole heap of experience in capturing nature. She is a sweet lady and I really enjoyed watching her videos because she’s positive and lovely and you can just tell that she is a very nice person. I love drawing animals, but I usually (ok, always) draw them from photos, because, well, you know, they move. I did my best to draw a bird from nature, but it was pretty pathetic. As Cathy suggested, if you can’t get a reasonable likeness from a moving object, just use a picture. But better to use a picture you took yourself to maintain a real life connection.
These first two seagulls were drawn from photos I took. I like bird butts. 🙂
This third seagull was from a googled photo. And this 4th page was done in real life as I walked around the embarcadero in Morro Bay. That thing in the middle? It’s a squirrel. I thought I could draw a squirrel from memory (which is basically what this is) since I’ve drawn them before, but alas. No.
The second class was taught by Koosje Koene. She’s fantastic. I want us to be friends. 🙂
We did self portraits in different styles- using a mirror, photos, or memory. Portraits are hard, but practice makes better.
Here’s me from a photo in the 80’s. My hair was RAD!
This Mercedes is actually white, but that is boring to paint. Also, yes, I drew this months ago, but I hate my scanner.
I spend a fair amount of time sitting in my car in my driveway while the kids sleep in their car seats. This is prime sketching time. Although, the subject matter consists of pretty much this car and my garage door. Which is all as well, since I forget my sketchbook 90% of the time they both are asleep at the same time, which is approximately 0.5% of the time that anyone falls asleep at all. Sigh.
Last year for Christmas, someone in my family got me, at my request, Aloyna Nicklesen’s Colored Pencil Painting Bible. I had seen it on Amazon and thought it could be awesome. Plus, I’ve had a 48 pencil Prismacolor set since I was in Jr. high school and I thought it was high time to learn how to use them. Now, a year later, I’ve finally cracked it open and… this book is inspiring. Really. Her paintings are spectacularly realistic and the book goes into detail about techniques I’d have never thought up in a zillion years. So, I packed up all my necessary materials along with the book for my WDNO at the library. It turns out, colored pencil painting is slow and requires quite a hell of a lot of skill.
First of all, I’ve never oil painted so I don’t own any mineral spirits. This is a required material according to Ms. Nicklesen, so I searched around my house for an alternate. I chose castor oil. While, castor oil did sort of blend the color a bit, it also soaked through the paper. I’m going to guess that the artists of history had it right and used mineral spirits in lieu of castor oil because it is better. Go buy mineral spirits.
Then, I had 1.5 hours to work with, and this is what I accomplished:
Pretty unimpressive. With 20 minutes to closing time, I decided to begin one of the exercises in the book (Yes, there are exercises!! I love that!). I started to sketch a pair of cherries. This is my incomplete 20 minutes worth:
Verdict: Keep at it.