Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Few Pages From My Sketchbook, and a Piece of My Mind.....

I have had a large blessing of houseguests recently, which is typical in Colorado in the summer, and is much more frequent for me since my parents moved here, almost two years ago. I cannot weave when I have houseguests; too many other things needing doing, and too many interruptions for such a solitary pursuit. But I have found small moments to sketch. All of these images are inspired by photos people have shared on the Sktchy app (#sktchy.)

These two bottom sketches were done after the horror of the latest mass shooting in Orlando. I am getting pretty angry about the regularity and persistence of these events. Although I try to keep politics off this blog, more and more I am convinced that we DO need a Grandmother in the White House now. Grandmothers care about the lives of loved ones; our own and the loved ones of others. Maybe Congress should also be filled with Grandmothers. Wouldn't our world be a better place if the love and experience and wisdom of a lot of grandmothers were in charge? Just the thoughts of a very concerned grandmother for you to chew on today.....

Monday, June 6, 2016

More from my sketchbook.....

While I am finding it hard to get into the studio to work, as we have been having frequent houseguests, I have been doing a bit in the sketchbook. The reason I can do one and not the other, is that my weaving time needs to be longer, more intensive, and without frequent interruptions, or I find myself making errors that take more time to correct than they did to create!

Sketchbook time can just use bits and pieces of time - moments, even. I usually sketch out a page somewhat tentatively in pencil,  over my morning coffee. Then I can just sit down with it in moments throughout the day, and add color to the skin, or do a small amount of detail work here or there. Five minutes here and there adds up to a simple sketch over a day's time. I can also work on a sketch while on the phone or while watching TV - an impossibility while weaving.

Anyway, here are a couple more from last week's sketchbook. The top image was inspired again by a photo on #Sktchy, and was submitted for the weekend challenge, which was 'texture.' Of course I had to do a fiber texture (the crochet cap)!

The sketch below is of two of my grandchildren. I'm not as happy with it as I am with the others. It is so much harder to sketch people you love, and the results are rarely satisfactory. Sad, but true for most everyone I know who sketches or paints.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Social Media, + a shy artist = Confusion


I am so confused! I do frequently find myself in this state, I admit, but I have decided to admit to this confusion, and confront it. I also believe there may be others I know - artistic and creative types - who will recognize and relate to my confusion. 

It started (or this 'episode' of confusion did) with a few photos of my grandchildren I want to sketch. I generally have a block about sketching people I know, because I am rarely satisfied with the end product. So I decided to sketch total strangers. I have had an app on my iPad for quite awhile, called Sktchy. People post photos of themselves there, and artists sketch them and post the sketches next to the photo inspiration.  I don't totally understand all the ins and outs of the app, but yesterday I posted the above sketch, and within an hour it was a 'Sktchy Pick' (still not sure what that means) and at this point, less than 24 hours later, the sketch has 170 'Wow's' (the Sketchy equivalent of a FaceBook 'Like')  and I have 36 'followers,' and several people have asked me to please sketch them.

Great - right? That was my first thought. But then the shy person in me cropped up. Why do I care if all these people I don't know like my sketch? I got 'protective,'  thinking I don't want to have to please a bunch of strangers, and all these 'wows' puts pressure on what I post in the future, doesn't it? But then I thought, well that's just silly! Most of the folks who see my art in exhibits are strangers; most of the folks who have purchased my art are strangers. That is true for most artists. It just seems strange to me, I guess, to do this on social media. It seems like an ego thing - like I'm posting it for the 'likes' and 'wows.' And I guess, in some ways I am. I have seen several artists make their reputations on social media. With fewer galleries out there to put our art in, perhaps this is the only way for an artist to go anymore... Get all the 'likes and wows' you can, then start sticking price tags on your online work.

At any rate, this morning I did another Sktchy sketch. I had found two women with ukeleles, and wanted to sketch them on facing pages in my sketchbook. I have not yet posted this sketch on Sktchy. I think I'll let the other sketch get lost in the crowd of new works first (it is still getting 'wows!')

I did enjoy doing both sketches. I did them simply and quickly. No gimmicks;  just ink, watercolor pencils, and a black marker. I think that is what I like about them, and maybe what others like as well, the simplicity of them. And just maybe the fun I had doing them shows up, as well. I hope so.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Peace, Love, and Rock and Roll....

I have not had the time I'd like to have to be creative, of late. But my Peace Rose just gave me it's first bloom this weekend, much later than my other roses, which have been blooming for several weeks now. But that is the way with peace: it seems to take it's time. Better late than never, though! I did take the time to sit and do a colored pencil sketch of it, (watercolor pencils, mostly Inktense) in one of my favorite vintage vases.

As a pacifist, I truly believe the best way to memorialize fallen warriors is not to glorify war, but to learn to solve issues in such a way as to avoid more loss. Surely that is what they would want, as well. The sketch is a simple one, but I did it slowly, as a meditation and a prayer for peace.

May your weekend be a peaceful one. May our days and moments be peaceful, and may the peace that comes from us spread - as far and wide and quickly as possible.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Giving a hoot.....

I have not been getting much weaving time, again. How was it that I used to be so productive? And I have reached that frequently reached point in this tapestry where I look at it with despair, knowing it will be a total failure, as it doesn't look at all like an Amaryllis. It looks like a weaving, though, so I trust my work, and keep going. What else can I do?

One of the things I can do is go out in Nature, so my husband and Booker and I went on our annual owl hunt the other day. The owls were out of their nest, so we were afraid we'd missed them. But Mom was in a nearby tree, keeping one alert eye on her young ones, and the owlets were in the nesting tree, out on a branch, huddled together against the spring wind. We got a few good photos, and I sketched Mama Owl in my sketchbook.

I also got some new markers I wanted to try out, so I also 'tried out' the Sketchy app, for the first time. It is probably something I'll do again! It is fun to sketch someone I don't know - all the pressure is off. I was happy enough with the sketch, but not thrilled with the markers. They were expensive, and they bled through even my heavy Stillman and Birn sketchbook paper. Oh, well. Live and learn. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Working, worrying, and a bit of playing....

I did not have a Studio Tuesday last week. My Dad ended up in the hospital and had a Pacemaker 'installed,' so we spent last Tuesday and a good bit of the early part of the week there with him. He is doing very well back home now, so my husband and I took a few days to go over to see two of our grandchildren (dare I say 'Very Brilliant and Talented Grandchildren?') perform in the Denver Public School's annual Shakespeare Festival. The kids (now ages 10 and 12) have done the festival for the past three years, but this is the first time we got to attend. They amazed us! Each of them had challenging lead roles in their scenes and did a wonderful job! What a great thing this festival is: exposing even the youngest kids to this great literature and language! The photo above is of a small portion of the kids parading in, sadly in very bad weather, though their spirits and enthusiasm did not seem to be dampened. Below is this years 'Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth,' which we were told are honorary roles, to be earned by top high school seniors.

In our few days away, we stayed in a VRBO apartment in Lake Dillon. We have a tradition of taking a small trip for my birthday each year, and this was that trip. My intent for these trips is to do a bit of painting or sketching. It was rainy or snowy our entire time there, until the morning we were to come home. So we mostly just enjoyed relaxing, reading, and watching movies. The last morning, the sun came out and we could finally see our view of Buffalo Mountain from the living room window. So I sat and began a sketch of it, and the next door cabin. Above is as far as I got before we came home.

I was tempted to quit at the stage I was in the above photo. I often don't know when to stop a sketch, and frequently regret continuing. So I decided that, for awhile, I will take pictures of my sketches in progress, and see if I like the 'less completed' ones better, and can then convince myself to 'quit while I'm ahead.'

When I got home, I 'finished' the sketch from a photo of the scene. I am not sure I improved it at all. In fact, I believe I like the 'less finished' version best.

This morning I decided to continue my 'experiment' by doing a small sketch of some lilies of the valley from my yard. Gus, as always, was my assistant and advisor.

Here are three stages of my sketch. I think I like the middle one best - before I felt compelled to add shadows with a grey Copic marker. I have trouble blending that marker, so the shadows look a bit stark to me. As always, I begin a sketch with pencil and watercolors (photo#1,) then add colored  pencils to intensify areas and add contrast (middle photo,)  then finish up with markers, as in the final photo. I'm not sure the markers were/are needed, especially in a sketch of a somewhat 'delicate' topic, like this one.

I did do some Studio Tuesday work this week. I am mostly working on these petals on the left side of the tapestry, though I also keep trying to even up the fell line as I go. I am past the mid-way point on the tapestry, so will share an overall photo of what I can see on the loom later this week (hopefully, after a bit more work.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Take a Walk on the Wild Side....

Yesterday was, once again Studio Tuesday. I did not get to work for a great deal of time, but I worked one petal to completion, and worked on another today. This is the one I finished yesterday. I have been having some back pain, so am being smart and not working too long.

Yesterday was also the beginning of several #100 Day Challenges, on Facebook and Instagram and various other social sites. I did not officially join one, but have decided to challenge myself to walk every day for the next 100 days, and either sketch or take photos to document the walk. Yesterday I walked in the nearby city park. Today my husband, Booker, and I took one of our annual 'owl search' walks. We found the Mama Owl in her usual nest on the Audubon Trail, which is part of the Colorado Riverfront Trail. This nest is the one that, several years ago, got blown down, so the Audubon Society replaced the nest with this platform and basket, which she has happily used since then. Isn't her camouflage amazing?

We always see other fun things on this trail. Today, my favorite 'drama' was this one: First, the squirrel peeking over the top of this dead cottonwood tree...

... then she disappeared, to reappear looking out the hole. Then a flutter...

... and she was chased away from the hole by this Flicker. Whose nest is it?  I'm not taking sides, but we did see a flicker nesting in a similar hole several years ago. Just saying....

This is a photo of a dove observing us, that my husband took. We love these photo walks!