Weekend Sketch Ride

Art, Ink & Watercolor, Urban Sketches

 

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Family Ride, ink and watercolor in Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook, 11 x 8.5 in.

We had an excellent weekend of bike rides, donuts, sushi, and kids-staying-with-grandparents. Somehow, though, I only got a couple quick sketches in. This is our family bike set up from early in the morning while the kids played ‘Bank Robber’ at an otherwise deserted playground. This was just after second breakfast at Blue Star donuts, so the sugar energy was high. I should’ve sketched the donut, but I know that if I take my hands off my scrumptious treat for one moment, it will be snatched right off my napkin with such stealth that before my eyelids can lift up to zero in on the thief, my kid will be licking his fingers.

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February Sketchcrawl

Art, Ink & Watercolor, Urban Sketches

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On Saturday morning, I loaded up my bike basket with art supplies and rode over the Tilikum Crossing down to the South Waterfront. There, I met the Portland Urban Sketchers for this month’s sketchcrawl. The intention was to draw everyone’s favorite new bridge, the shiny white Tilikum, but a very short ride from our meeting place was a sunny viewpoint showing the full expanse of the Ross Island Bridge- Portland’s most underrated of bridges. From the top, the RIB is not very fancy. Pedestrian traffic is not allowed or is at least dangerous and, while car passengers can enjoy striking views of the city, drivers best keep their eyes on the road to avoid head-on collisions or a lengthy drop down to the Willamette. Below the road, though, the bridge is as pretty as any of the other bridges in town. The steel supports are going to be repainted this year. In real life, the bridge is a much lighter faded color, but this here is me urging the city to go for a nice bright green.

As I finished up the ink of this painting, the sun shone and the air got warm enough for me to take off my coat. A sailboat floated by with 4 pirates on deck singing, “What will we do with a drunken sailor? What will we do with a drunken sailor? What will we do with a drunken sailor, early in the morning?” It was a bit late to be considered early in the morning, but by the sounds of it they had the drunken sailor part just right.

 

Watercolor Wednesday

Art, Urban Sketches, Watercolor

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It turned out better than I expected, but I won’t say I’m happy with this. What makes me really dislike this sketch is that I drove all the way up to St. John’s bridge to paint it and realized I forgot my water jar just when I got settled into a great parking spot. All I had was a little tiny crappy water brush. So, I painted angrily.

Watercolor Wednesday

Art, Ink & Watercolor, Urban Sketches, Watercolor

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Color wheels are so joyful. I have an indistinct plan to cover a wall somewhere in my house with framed color wheels. I think maybe the bathroom. Or the laundry room. Someplace that really needs a blast of cheer.

The view from the window right now is quite gray so the color wheels could help in any room of a winter Portland house. Though I will say, the houses in my neighborhood are practically a color wheel themselves- so these gray days usually fail to bum me out. Maybe we should all do ourselves and our communities a favor and paint our houses happy shades of Permanent Magenta, Gamboge, and Cobalt Blue.

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Watercolor Wednesay & Urban Sketching

Advice Requested, Ink & Watercolor, Subject of Thought, Urban Sketches

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I love Urban Sketching. Whether with an official group or on my own, I love spending 2-3 hours out of my house drawing from life. I leave a place with a much more complete sense of it. Not only do I have the visual ‘snapshot’ I’ve captured on my page, but looking at the complete sketch conjures the whole experience: the day’s weather, music or radio shows I listened to while sketching, people I saw walking by, and conversations I overheard.

For example, with this sketch, I recall an episode of Car Talk and an OPB show discussing David Bowie’s death. Which makes me sad. And I remember that buses came and went while I sketched, blocking and freeing my view. A man walked by wearing official-looking clothes, who I thought might tell me I needed to pay for parking if I was going to sit there all day (but didn’t). Which makes me feel a little anxious. Bus drivers took cigarette breaks and a woman wearing a coat over a very short skirt ran through the rain looking very cold.

The everyday moments of life are not usually interesting enough for people to document. A group of women returning to their car after getting off a train isn’t unusual or funny or touching. It’s nothing. But it’s a moment in time like a million others. Each Urban Sketch contains these moments like an invisible catalogue.

 

+Please feel free, feel requested, to use the comments section below if you have any advice or suggestions. Any advice is accepted. All suggestions will be considered.+

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Road Trip to the Central Coast

Pen & Ink, Sketches, Urban Sketches, Watercolor

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. Hwy101page

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.

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I didn’t finish my Cal Poly page- I still plan to include the Cal Poly Seal. But this page shows the Yosemite Hall dorm- is where I met my husband. Aww! Memories!! And some places where I learned.CalPolyweba

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.MorroBayweb

 

 

Sketchbook Skool #6

Urban Sketches, Watercolor

I don’t want to play favorites, or anything, but it can’t be helped. Architectural drawings and block lettering hold a special place in my heart. The final class in Sketchbook Skool was taught by Liz Steel. Her lesson had me so jazzed about drawing, it had me laying awake in bed thinking about driving to a place that would a) have interesting buildings to sketch and b) be far enough away that both my kids would fall asleep on the way. It was the weekend, so naturally, I ditched the family and sketched in nearby Martinez.Image (74)

In addition to drawing buildings, Liz loves to sketch her teacups. Her blog has a hundred beautiful examples. I searched high and low for a teacup to test out her technique, even seriously considered spending $30 in an antique store for a suitable example (which I would probably then never use for tea). Finally, I went to my mom’s, thinking, surely she’ll have one or two. In fact, she had about 15 perfect drawing subjects, which I will now periodically ‘check out’ of the tea cup library that is her hutch. Here is the first:Image (72)

 

Hello, I’m Antisocial.

Pen & Ink, Urban Sketches, Watercolor

Here’s the latest from my “Weekly” Drawing Night Out project. This time I went to the nearby Peet’s Coffee because it is 5-7 minutes closer to my house than the library and we’re counting minutes, man.

Compared with the library as a drawing location, I will say that despite being closer, it is slightly less desirable due to the sociable atmosphere of most coffee shops. Everybody knows that if you go to the library, you want to be left alone. If someone shush-es you there, you would quickly shut your yap and be apologetic. At the coffee shop, however, folks get all chatty. What’s the nice way to tell a stranger, who’s just being nice, to get lost?

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Park day

Pen & Ink, Sketches, Urban Sketches, Watercolor

Last weekend we needed to go grocery shopping, so naturally, we started out at the park. My baby slept while I drew and painted this tree. Some old lady came by with her 1 and a half year old charge to oogle at the baby. Then the 1 and half year old hit my baby in the face with a sandy hand… “No, no, child! You can’t talk to the baby if you hit!” She then allowed the kid to come back by (all the while, INTERRUPTING my brief moment of silent sustained drawing, SSD) so that the girl could whack my baby several more times*. She also had a dog tied to a tree that barked and snarled at all canine passersby. The dog got similar smiling, soft-toned scoldings. “No, no, Freckles! You silly animal, that dog is twice your size!”

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*My baby was not harmed in the making of this drawing. If he had been in real danger I would surely have stopped drawing and laid a smack down on the old lady.

It’s beauts! :)

Pencil, Sketches, Urban Sketches

I decided to pick up Randy from work last Friday in San Francisco so that we could all enjoy a lovely afternoon in the City together. Then I realized as I crossed the beautiful brand new Bay Bridge that it is Friday and we will have to leave in 30 minutes if we want to avoid the hellscape that is Friday afternoon traffic heading out of San Francisco.

So, we hung out at Chrissy Field for five minutes then loaded everybody back into the van to at least cross the Golden Gate before it got real bad. We got out again at Fort Baker and delighted at the views of the bridge, the bay and the city. I drew this picture of what you see if you turn your back on all those iconic subjects and face North. Then a pack of some 20 something girls parked their car in front of me and, while commenting how “beauts” the day/scenery was, went for a nice walk down by the marina. “Whatevs,” I said. “I was almost done anyway.”

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