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Monday, March 28, 2011


Last night we watched Secret Millionaire on tv where a wealthy man took to the streets for a week to volunteer helping the homeless on skid row of L.A.  He didn't tell those he met that he had money but gave a story of losing his business and being on the down and out himself.  After a week, he not only revealed he was a multi-millionaire but he also gave sizable donations to the various organizations or people he had "volunteered" with.  The faces of those many homeless has stayed with me today and is obviously influencing my drawings.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

More sketching

Rather than do 18x24" sketches while in my studio, I kept my family company today and sat in the family room and sketched in a 9" x 9" sketchbook from various images I found on the internet.  I usually paint or draw from my own photos unless invited by a friend to use theirs but today I have to admit I wanted the challenge of sketching quickly from photos taken by someone else.  On some, I went for speed and did each of these in just a few minutes.  All in all I did about a dozen sketches today.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pencil sketch

The previous sketches have been with conte or charcoal pencils.  Today I got out my trusty #2 pencil and blended only by adding more strokes rather than smudging with my finger or a stub.  My son worked on this boy's computer while I tried to capture him with my camera.

18"x 24" pencil sketch

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A professional photographer friend, Tom Szalay, invited me to sketch or paint from some photos he's taken of students of his.  This is one I did yesterday.

18"x24" charcoal

Monday, March 21, 2011

Familiarity breeds stress!

I'll start by saying I love everything to do with art.  I love looking at art, reading about art - I even dream about art.  The longer I draw and paint, the more comfortable I am with what I am doing EXCEPT when it comes to drawing or painting someone close to me.  Then I stress out.

A couple of months ago I painted my husband, using only a palette knife (see earlier post).  Today I sketched my daughter, Lisa.  I don't have a formal art background although last year I did take a drawing class from a local artist.  Actually, we would watch him do portrait sketches and then we would go home and copy from some photos, bring back our work to be critiqued by the class.  I learned a lot from him and am thankful for those four evening classes.  He didn't cover shading which really is what gives form, volume and shape to an object.  In the few weeks, I am taking a workshop on drawing portraits and I hope shading will be covered.  In the meantime, it is trial and error.

I am trying different drawing materials like conte crayon and charcoal.  In the past I've only used your every day #2 pencil or pen.

This is my daughter Lisa.  I wonder if anyone who knows her would recognize her in my drawing.  I can already see some minor adjustments I need to make.   The answer to all my artful desires is practice, practice, practice.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

More sketching

I didn't take the time to draw until very late in the afternoon.  Sundays are "family time" and I feel I'm taking away from that when I sneak off to my studio.  But by late afternoon everyone seemed busy with their own activities so I didn't feel so guilty.

18"x24" charcoal

18"x24" charcoal

This second sketch was done without any reference material.  I wanted to sketch from my heart and do something quick and spontaneous.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A lot has happened

A lot has happened since my last blog.  My houseguest came and left, my husband retired (again) and he and I took off for warmer parts for a month.  I almost always travel with my sketchbook and sometimes my paints and rarely take the time to paint unless we are in one place for more than a few days.  This trip was no exception.  I packed a bag with sketchbooks, watercolor paints, brushes etc. and other than a little doodle time one afternoon with my sister-in-law, I didn't look at them except to move them from car to motel room, back to car again.

I also carry a camera and have been known to takes hundreds (ok thousands) of photos on one trip.  This trip I took few photos but did leave with wonderful memories.  Memories of sunshine and short sleeve shirts in March.  Memories of a touch of snow on cactus.  Yes it snowed outside of Tucson.  Memories of times visiting with good friends and time with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law.  Memories of dancing with my husband.  And, memories of driving many miles - over 3650 in one month.  We came home with the thought that yes, we could be very happy spending winters in Arizona.  The question remains as to where we would spend summers.  Also, I would find it very hard to be away from my grandchildren for any length of time.  So, no answers to what now questions, just a lot of good memories.

It's taken me a bit of time to get back into my studio but I did it.  I'm continuing to feel the urge to work with figures both in drawing and in painting.  These 18x24" sketches are what I've been working on.  You may recognize some of the images as I've painted a couple of these models during a workshop I took last year.