crypt currency

Among the Memorials

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A friend organized a painting session at a nearby cemetery. It was quite a peaceful place, with stately mature trees and weathered headstones. The day started off sunny, but the clouds (and wind!) rolled in after lunch.

180211_Santa Clara Mission Cemetery 1

I was sitting in the shade, so my work took a long time to dry. Of course I also got impatient and dove into the wet areas too quickly. Consequently, mud -- and some overworking. It was a challenge to leave all the white spaces for the headstones, too.

Santa Clara Mission Cemetery 2


Music and Mountains

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Saturday evening we went to see the Cambrian Symphony's concert "Metamorphosis," featuring soloist Julio Elizalde playing Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3. I sketched some of the musicians as they warmed up while waiting for him to take the stage.

180203_Cambrian Symphony San Jose

It was a treat to hear Elizalde. He was visibly tired after the performance -- not surprising, as the Rach 3 has been called the equivalent of K2 for pianists.

On Sunday, we took a day trip to Sacramento. I didn't have a chance to sketch in the city, but we did have a lovely lunch at Skool and went to the Crocker Museum for some inspiration. What a gem! I especially enjoyed the E. Charlton Fortune exhibit. It's there till April 22, so go see it.

On the way back, we took a meandering route along the Sacramento River. I sketched vignettes from the passenger seat while listening for updates on the Super Bowl score - #FlyEaglesFly.

180204_En route from Sacramento to San Jose

I'm not much of a football fan, but I did enjoy the "Museum Bowl" on Twitter put on by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Did you follow it? Even the Franklin Institute and Boston's Museum of Science got into the act! Mad props to their marketing departments!


What Happens in Vegas

Sunday, January 28, 2018

I've finally been to Las Vegas! Only for 24 hours, for a work offsite, but still. Was able to squeeze in dinner at the Cosmopolitan, a stroll past the Bellagio fountains, and a jaunt through the Canal Shops at the Venetian.

My colleagues and I stayed at Lucky Dragon hotel, which seems to be headed for foreclosure. The windows were all tinted red, but I had a lovely (rose-colored?) view of the mountains.

180125_View of Las Vegas

San Francisco

Models and Views

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Bay Area Models' Guild hosts drawing marathons from time to time. They offer several rooms, with a variety of models both clothed and nude. Poses range from a few minutes to several hours long. Last week they held a marathon at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.

I joined them for a few hours during the morning session.

180121_Model Guild Drawing SF 1

180121_Model Guild Drawing SF 2

180121_Model Guild drawing SF 3

Afterward, I stopped into Readers Bookstore (operated by Friends of the San Francisco Library) where I found some classic art technique books by Alwyn Crawshaw, John Blockley, and Charles Reid. Of course I also popped into Flax Art next door.

On the way home, I sketched a few of the hilly city streets from the car.

180121_Vignette of Street SF 1

180121_Vignette of San Francisco 2


Women's March San Jose

Saturday, January 20, 2018

So inspiring to march (and sketch) with the throngs of women in downtown San Jose!

180120_Womens March San Jose

Naturally, I brought along all my pink and purple pens and colored pencils. ;)

Sketching and marching - Women's March San Jose

Did you march today?


Portrait of a Cat

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Was commissioned last year to do a watercolor of a dearly departed cat. I don't often sketch pets, even from photos, so this was an opportunity to get out of the comfort zone.

Commissioned watercolor of a cat

plein air


Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Painted en plein air at Sand City Beach near Monterey, CA, on New Year's Day. Yes, it was that warm here!

ice dancing

Sketching Skaters

Monday, January 15, 2018

180107_US Figure Skating Champ 1

M. got us tickets to last weekend's ice dancing free skate at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships here at the SAP Center in San Jose. It was such a treat to watch it live and sketch the action.

180107_US Figure Skating Champ 2

no resolutions

Five Goals for the New Year

Saturday, January 06, 2018

171224_Watch Hill RI Beach

Happy 2018, everyone! I've always been inspired by artists' new year posts, with their tidy summaries of the previous 12 months plus eye-popping teases of future projects.

I won't bore you by reliving 2017, but I will share five goals for the upcoming year. (Why "five"? 'Cause clickbait.)

1. Work out loud. I like to draw and I like to write, so it should be easy to write about drawing, right? Sort of like doing a demo at a workshop? I actually don't do it as naturally as you might think; it doesn't occur to me to publicize what I'm doing while I do it, so this is something I'd like to work on over this year. I'd like to share more about how I choose subjects, materials I use, etc.

2. Stick to a routine. I'm not bad at squeezing random solo sketching time into my life (I mean, that's what my Craftsy class is all about). But I'm lucky to have a ton of opportunities for sketching and painting in my area, so I'd like to take advantage of them more regularly. I need to commit - whether it's to a monthly Monday-night life-drawing session or a weekend paintout/sketching meetup.

3. Be prolific. I've wanted for a while to create a themed body of work (such as for a gallery show). This I hope is the year I do it!

4. Go broad. I have a lot of art supplies in my studio. Why don't I use them? Inertia. This year I want to go beyond my minimalist, familiar daily carry of pen/sketchbook/watercolors. Let's find out what all that other stuff can do!

5. Go big. I tend to work small -- in sketchbooks or on compact plein air panels. In 2018, I'm challenging myself to do larger work in the studio. To get inspired, I've signed up for Michael Azgour's Abstract Figurative Painting workshop at Pacific Art League.

What are your goals for the new year?