Wednesday, December 30, 2009

After 40 minutes of getting the blood flowing by racing around Terry Conners rink in Stamford (dodging hockey tykes and those ridiculous walkers they use to teach kids to skate these days), I went up to the bleachers with my not-so-loved Moleksine sketchbook (I cannot WAIT till I'm through with this sketchbook, it's like drawing on a manila folder) and did a few chilly drawings. I know, some people do very well on these pages and use watercolor and dish soap to make it work. It's just not for me.





(Lamy Safari with Noodler's ink in Lexington Gray; colored with Faber Castell Pitt Artist markers.)

Happy holidays ... and a look ahead to the new year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

As the first snowfall of the season starts melting away, I thought I'd share a little of what I've been up to over the past month... and what I'm looking forward to. First, here's a peek at what I've been up to while conspicuously neglecting my sketchbook:

That's my take on Ann Budd's Knit Father Christmas design, finished just in time to display in our house for the holidays. And right now I'm frantically knitting a sweater for my 6-year-old niece (hopefully it will be done by the 25th)!

But while I'm knitting and purling my way toward repetitive stress injury, I'm also packing my gear for two very exciting workshops I'm attending next month. The first will be a reportage workshop at Mystic Seaport from the folks at Dalvero Academy/Studio 1482. It promises to be intense, cold and a bit crazy. (Fingerless gloves? Check.) The second is a plein air workshop in the Bahamas, taught by Susan Abbott. The lightweight easel I've ordered from Judsons Art Outfitters is (according to UPS) slowly making its way across the country. I'll have to be careful not to pack too much for this trip, as part of the journey involves a small propeller plane. And in the middle of all this, I'm hoping to get a quick roadtrip in to the middle of Pennsylvania to see friends and learn to ski! Whew!

Hope everyone has a fabulous holiday and a very happy new year!

Sketchcrawl Results

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I know this is a week late, but as the weather gets colder I find myself getting busier!

We started our crawl in Chelsea Market near the Chelsea Wine Vault, with a good-sized crowd for once:

Sketchcrawl 25 - Chelsea Market looking toward 9th Ave entrance

Sketchcrawl 25 - Sketchers at Chelsea Market, New York

For this next one, I used a dip pen that I'd bought in New Orleans, along with Higgins India ink. It was the first time I used a dip pen "out in the field," so to speak. Surprisingly it wasn't too hard to handle the bottle, ink, paper towels, etc.

Sketchcrawl 25 - In front of Chelsea Wine Vault

Then a bunch of us moved on to the High Line:

Sketchcrawl 25 - The High Line, New York, NY

After that I left the group to meet up with M. and have lunch. All in all, it was a good crawl!

New Orleans Sketchbook

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sometimes when the weather is beautiful and you're in a new city, it's really hard to stop and sketch ... you just want to keep walking all over and seeing all you can!

Here's a quick sketch looking down Chartres St from near Jackson Square in the French Quarter. The balconies and buildings cast a ton of shadows everywhere.

Chartres & St. Peter Sts, New Orleans

Here's a look down the opposite side, still from a bench near Jackson Square.

Looking out from Jackson Square, New Orleans

And here's a super quick sketch dashed off while waiting for the Magazine Street bus, colored with Faber Castell Pitt Artists pens later:

Waiting for the bus, New Orleans

E, I, E, I, O...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

'Tis the season for apple-picking ... or at least, it was. After reading the recent feature on apple orchards in Connecticut magazine, I wanted to go sample the harvest for myself. So we set out for Easton a few weekends ago, to a place called Silverman's Farm. When we got there, we found out that apple picking had ended for the season, though families were still mobbing the place for pumpkins and tractor rides. (Tractor rides are like hayrides without the hay, as we came to find out -- at least we got to ride up the hill through the apple orchard and see the view from above.)

It was a typical autumn "country" scene -- kids and parents quaffing cider in little single-serve sippy cups, toddlers trudging around with gourds bigger than their heads, strategically piled bales of hay, the whole works.  But somehow the whole thing reminded me of what Ada Louise Huxtable wrote about in The Unreal America -- nothing was quite, well, genuine. The pumpkins weren't attached to anything -- selecting them from where they sat on the ground was really no different than selecting them from a bin in front of the supermarket. Most of the edibles, jams and jellies in the small market weren't made on the premises; they were made "for" the farm, as the labels indicated, by some wholesaler who made them for lots of similar farm stores. And I believe they even had stuff from that standby specialty brand of all "country" stores, Maine's Stonewall Kitchen (usually found next to their Ohio-based gourmet-foods cousins from Robert Rothschild Farm). I certainly understand why they sell all this stuff, but part of me wishes that these places still actually produced everything (or most of their wares) and didn't have to rely on all the wholesale private-labeled stock. There's no point in shopping at a destination if all I find there is the same stuff I've seen elsewhere with a different label slapped on.

Still, it was a lovely fall day, and I ended up dashing off some super-quick sketches of the animals in the farm's petting zoo.

At Silverman's Farm 1At Silverman's Farm 2

At Silverman's Farm 3

At Silverman's Farm 4At Silverman's Farm 5

At Silverman's Farm 6At Silverman's Farm 7

Drawing Boats at Mystic Seaport

Monday, October 05, 2009

Took a drawing class this weekend called "Anatomy of the Boat" at Mystic Seaport, taught by J. Susan Cole Stone of the Mystic Art Center. It was meant to be mostly plein air, but Saturday's relentless rain drove us all indoors. We started off with sketches of catboats in a small building:

Catboats, Mystic Seaport

During a very brief break in the weather, we sat by the water and drew the little wooden rowboats (dories, I believe):

More boats at Mystic Seaport

But sure enough, the rain started up again; I chose to go with some of the class to the youth education building, from which we could see the sailing class getting ready for a race. Sketched the sailboats quickly with pencil and Pitt markers:

Sailboats at Mystic Seaport

Sunday proved to be much sunnier. Started off with a pencil sketch of the Liberty:

Liberty, Mystic Seaport

Then it was back to the little dory boats -- this time I tried out a very rough watercolor paper and added watercolor (yes, I know, the boat in the foreground shouldn't be quite so pointy):

Boats at Mystic Seaport

Finally, I used a small box of watercolor pencils for this sketch of the Breck Marshall; probably not the best medium, but I made do:

Breck Marshall, Mystic Seaport

Portland, OR, Sketchbook

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Spent much of last week in Portland, Oregon, attending the AASFE (American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors) annual conference. Spent the weekend taking in the sights in and around the city. Here's a quick one done while waiting for dessert at the restaurant clarklewis, colored later with watercolors.

clarklewis restaurant, Portland, Oregon

This one looks up Oak Street in Hood River, where we stopped for lunch during our driving tour of the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood. The weather could not have been more perfect the entire time we were in the state!

Hood River, Oregon

SketchCrawl #24 - Governors Island

Sunday, September 20, 2009

This time, the NYC group chose Governors Island as the SketchCrawl venue. The weather could not have been more perfect!!
Before heading down there for the SketchCrawl meet-up near Castle Williams, stopped at Republic on Union Square for some pad thai. Sketched the view looking north toward 18th Street while waiting:

Sketchcrawl 24: View of Union Square streets

Since M had brought along his folding bike, we rode with the bicyclists on the ferry going over to Governors Island. The boat was packed with people and their two-wheelers:

Sketchcrawl 24: Ferry to Governors Island

There was a festival on the island. These sculptures loomed over the tents and people:

Sketchcrawl 24: Sculptures at Governors Island Festival

I set up my folding stool in a patch of shade near Castle Williams and sketched the view of the Manhattan skyline beyond:

Sketchcrawl 24: View of Manhattan from Governors Island

As I took the ferry back to Manhattan, I sketched the bright red structure above the ferry dock:

Sketchcrawl 24: Governors Island Ferry Dock

It was a very fun SketchCrawl day indeed!

Main Street, Millerton, New York

Monday, September 07, 2009

Biked the 10 miles on the Harlem Valley Rail Trail from the Metro-North station in Wassaic, NY, to Millerton, NY, yesterday, and sat on the bench in front of the Harney & Sons tea shop to sketch this view. Unfortunately the area was a bee magnet, so I had to get up several times to fend them off! Drawn with Koh-I-Noor Nexus Studio pen (which I'm not crazy about) in Fabriano Quadrato Artist's Journal and colored with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist brush pens.

Welcoming September at the High Line

Monday, September 07, 2009

Took advantage of a half-day at work to visit the High Line, the new park that's been created from old rail lines above Manhattan's West side. It's truly a magical place. While I was there sketching, I saw another artist doing a plein-air painting and dozens of amateur photographers capturing every vista.
I used my usual Lamy Safari/Noodler's Lexington Gray ink to draw, and then experimented with my latest acquisition -- a host of Caran d'Ache Neocolor II water-soluble crayons. I'm still getting the hang of them, but I like the intense color they produce.

Maine sketchbook

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Woke up early to watch the sun rise from the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.

Sat on the rocks near Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse to paint this one:

This is a lobster boat as seen from an overlook on the Ocean Path in the park:

A quick sketch of Main Street in the town of Southwest Harbor:

Here's Jordan Pond, as seen from the Jordan Pond House Restaurant in the park. (I thought their famous popovers with jam were good but not amazing.)

A super-fast sketch of some boats in Bar Harbor:

And a gazebo, sketched from the same vantage point but on the other side of the park bench I was sitting on:

The flat rocks in the park made it easy to sit and sketch for long periods of time. Here's a look at some park tourists gazing at the ocean at Thunder Hole:

And again, from the same vantage point but looking right instead of left:

I took a lot of different materials with me, so several of these were experiments. I used my usual Lamy Safari with Noodler's ink but also Pitt Artists pens, watercolors and other ink; I used my Moleskine watercolor sketchbooks, Arches hot-pressed watercolor paper, and Strathmore cold-pressed watercolor paper.

Family weekend in Mystic

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm always the type who takes a bunch of activities to a weekend away. This time, I brought along my sketching stuff, some books to read, and my knitting. I didn't knit a stitch, and read about two lines, but I did manage to get some drawing in. I sketched the dock at twilight, even though the colored pencil shading makes it look earlier in the day. Then I sat on the deck sketching family members who had gathered around the table for a card game.

Monuments, museums, meals in the nation's capital

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Visiting D.C. feels like coming home -- a home that has changed a great deal since I left, of course, but somehow is still comfortingly familiar.

Saturday night, we had dinner at Oyamel, in Penn Quarter, where the made-to-order guac and tiny tacos are heaven...

Dinner on Sunday night -- just as delicious -- was at Agraria Farmers & Fishers on the Georgetown waterfront, which is all about seasonal, sustainable ingredients. Yes, it was originally conceived by the North Dakota Farmers' Union, a provenance that seems a bit odd for Georgetown (but not so odd for D.C.)

(Lamy Safari/Noodler's ink & watercolors; Faber-Castell Pitt Artist's pen & Staedtler Aquarell watercolor pencils.)