Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Lupines Are Up!

 They are everywhere, alongside of major roads, the interstate, back roads, & my own back field.
In Maine they seem to always welcome the Summer Solstice.
I marvel again at the colors of this annual event. 

In the field out back I watch them as the light changes 
from sunrise to sunset.

Oh, the colors!
One glance reveals blue-violet, the next, violet-rose.
Some kind of Lupine magic...

The Lupines directly out my back door 
have shed most of their blossoms 
& are getting ready to sow more Lupines for next year. 
A week ago they were in full bloom 
I did a quick morning sketch. 

To see my Lupine post from June 16, 2016, Click here.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Local Sketching!

Saturday morning: I met 3 friends to play French Scrabble 
in the large café space at the new United Farmer's Market of Maine. It's here in Belfast!
Wonderful, fantastic, happy, FANTASTIC indoor market! 
It equals the old Portland Market (now gone), & indoor marketplaces I've loved in France. 
Food, produce, coffee, flowers, & even crafts! 

After the game I sketched the view I'd been looking at during the Scrabble.
Tips of white tents on the waterfront~another celebration!

I met a Swiss tourist, an oil painter. 
He showed me his book of lovely travel sketches 
of this region's scenes. I spoke French with a French woman
& her sweet daughter who were selling handmade soaps. 
 Yesterday some of us sketchers went to a presentation on watercolor products 
at Rockport Blueprint in Camden. 
As usual, I sketched through the lecture, both the class scene & out the window. 
Helps me to listen.
Talented artist friend L snapped a photo. 
So much fun talking watercolor & materials with friends & acquaintances. Inspired, after the presentation,
 I did an inventory of my watercolor stuff, then continued some unfinished work.
 They had an after hours sale for us participants.
Voilà my new sketch tote! I brought it with me this morning &
it is not only cute, but it works!

(If you visited my last post, I have replaced the
first sketch with a new draft.) 
I learned a lot through the first one while overworking it. 
I simplified & paid more attention to value in the 2nd.
Still a complex subject & a challenge as opposed to today's sketch, which seemed to paint itself.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Urban Sketch Group Date #2

2nd draft sketch
2nd time with the Urban Sketch Group.
From a small park on Main Street, several of us 
looked down toward the Shore Walk, 
which is just to the left of the boat landing.

Our hilly town presents scenes with distances, 
marvelous combinations of forms & proportions. 
I want to draw more of these complex views 
with their challenges of perspective & scale. 
This is teaching me to simplify, to keep a rhythm going.

I am bolder with the group, I attract less attention from passersby.

After, everything around me looked so vivid & attractive. 
I wished I could have stayed to do more.
They say that when drawing/sketching/painting
 a physiological change occurs
& perception becomes clearer. 
It IS a form of meditation. And a way to appreciate  
a moment in time, a place...

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Something there is about an Spring.
(with a nod to friend S. and William Carlos Williams...)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Urban Sketch Group Waterfront

Our 2nd excursion with the Urban Sketch Group.
A Hometown, Downhome day, on our waterfront. 
We didn't need to wander far from town for this pleasure.

I sat in the protective shade of the Gazebo, 
on a blue sea breeze, sun filled cloudless day.
 My warm up drawing (not shown here)
 was of two cabin cruisers, 
an interesting challenge in perspective & proportion, 
but in the end not a scene that moved me.

Two of us stayed on,after the group was done 
& "fell to" silently, drawing & painting, 
separate but in good company. 
We talked about our attraction to water 
& how lucky we are to be here.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Second Drafts and Responding

Both are 2nd draft sketches, sketches from sketches. The little flap above the flowers is from a 1st draft page that I had removed. The top sketch is from a drawing I did in February while staying at a neighbor's home when I had to evacuate my own home due to repairs. The original was stiff, overworked. It reflected a ton of stress, & also reflected a desire to please my neighbor. No.

The 2nd is a re-make from a heavy, overworked sketch at Friday's Farmer's Market which reflected my tension from not having sketched for 2 months. It did not express my feelings to the burst of color that I encountered.

This sketching is like physical exercise: One "stays in shape" & flows by doing it frequently. I am discovering, that Lightness is a key to my authentic response & expression. Sometimes it must be less about what I specifically see & more about the feeling. Always lessons, yes?

Friday, June 2, 2017

With an Urban Sketcher: Farmer's Market

A new kid in town rolled into our Sketcher's Group last week. She is a card carrying Urban Sketcher & she organized a group sketch excursion for us today. We went to our outdoor Farmer's Market!

This solitary sketcher, moi, loved not being alone today. At the end we each talked about our sketch/es & what we experienced. Oh, how fun to learn from other sketchers & to see through their eyes! Thank you to the group and to our leader!

A woman asked us, "Is this a class or are you all just having fun?" Struck me so funny!!

Me, being a gregarious sort, I chatted with people I knew rather than sketched some of the time. This was a sort of warm up day, as I haven't sketched for awhile. It's a rough sketch, the first in my new 81/2 by 11 inch Moleskine watercolor book (bigger than my small comfort sizes.) I prefer the paper in "Hand Book" watercolor journals, but I'm enjoying this larger size.

The Farmer's Market: Local people & tourists, a fiddling duo, flowers, cheese, breads, baskets, seedlings, vegetables, farm animal products...& lots of banter & hello's & it's so good to see you's...lots of movement, lots of walking, toddler's toddling, children swinging, breezes blowing...

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Zen of Seeing/Drawing

I'm looking back at my earlier drawing experiences.
Above, a simple drawing from the 80's.
From the 70's, drawings from old sketchbooks. 
I had not intended at the time to show them to anyone.
 I was in a state of wonder,
observing & drawing what was in front of me, 
learning revolutionary ideas that enhanced my pleasure.
My cats provided endless opportunities for focusing on
changing forms & wondrous poses,for enjoying their "catness".
(The brown spots are from aged non-archival glue.)
I've been sketching less lately, but making a lot of notes 
in my Art Learning Journal. From books, museum visits, workshops.
 Early on, Frederick Franck was the influence that changed my life. I learned that I could savor the experience
verses be conscious of what the drawing looked like. His philosophy & methods were perhaps different than a lot of approaches to sketching & drawing, the "How To's". He stated that his drawing process was not about "sketching" to record an image, it was a deep, sensitive, spiritual, Zen experience, an empathetic response, a focused state of being in love. I suspect some Urban Sketchers integrate some of this approach. My best experiences happen when I'm free of thinking too much...But technical learning, such as perspective and proportion, also enhance my experience of drawing/seeing.
Paul Hogarth's Creative Pencil Drawing (1964) was another strong influence on my drawing, back in the late 60's, early'70's. I loved his loose "interpretations" of his reactions to nature & to man-made phenomenon. 

So: I'm reminded: 
If I'm drawing with only the end goal to show my work, or to sell my work, I can lose the "Relaxed Fluency" that Hogarth talked about, & the wonder of seeing that Franck spoke of. 
Not everyone who shows & sells loses this fluency, & the best art retains the influence of the heart & soul.

Conclusion: Studying various approaches to any discipline 
makes that discipline richer.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tiny Books Get Tinier!

 Still using bits & pieces, leftover swatches of watercolor play.
I switched from accordion pages 
to simple pamphlet stitched pages for these little guys.

Non-adhesive covers (previous posts) 
with store bought fancy papers and Canson,
with a pamphlet stitched signature.
 Learn some skills, then use them in different combinations. 
I've let go of wanting immediate perfection, and
with each new book, there is indeed more precision!
They come from chaos,
tubs of little bits and pieces, 
piles of paper scraps,
and miscellaneous odds and ends.
And from reading books like
Making Handmade Books 100+ Bindings
by Alisa Golden.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

More Mini Accordions with Some French

Some Materials:
Quality paper 
• du papier de bonne qualité
• du papier qui est souple et flexible
• du carton, l'épaisseur dépende 
sur la taille de livre et sur le type de papier
• un couteau, X-acto knife
(il faut souvent changer la lame)
• de la colle, je préfere "Yes! Glue" et "UHU glue stick" 
(Bâton de colle) 
Ruler and Triangle
• Une règle de métal, un triangle
Embroidery thread
• du fil de broderie

How To:
Put "non-adhesive accordion book" into Google.
My favorite is the one by Rebecca Edwards,
"How to Make an Accordion Folded Book Without Glue"
But check out lots of others for tips on various techniques.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Il me faut pratiquer avec beaucoup de répétition.

I'm not gifted in cognitive, left brained functioning...
I have to try things and experiment. 

If faut aborder mes projets 
dans un esprit d'exploration, d'aventure, 
d'expérimentation et de découverte. 

I still mess up on new projects like this, 
having  to adjust elements. 
It all works à la fin, just takes me longer.
(But when I will teach it, I will have it down
because of the practice.)

The author of the podcast Français Authentique says: 

"N'avyez pas peur
de faire des erreurs." 

Dont' be afraid to make mistakes.
Oui, j'en essaie.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Handmade Books & Perfectionism

An old hand printed 
(not by me) 
paper scrap
A button 
I've been saving for years
Embroidery floss that's been 
in a storage box 
in the closet
Another Accordion Book 
is born.
If you worry 
(I say to myself) 
every little 
variance in size
every little wrinkle 
if you keep re-doing things
because they are not
(I say to myself)
you will never get to...
...have a wonderful new little book!

In my 
Sketchbook Journals 
I don't need
perfect lines 
perfect proportions 
perfect colors
(most of the time) 

In fact ,often, 
the looser the drawing, 
the more alive it is.
I have studied
over the years
which has given me

So I
these little books,
I practice
letting go of 
along the way.

What is your experience with 
(I could use some tips...) 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Mini Accordion Books

I'm going to a workshop called Urban Sketchers tonight!
Ironically, I'm not sketching lately. 
Maybe this will re-motivate me.

But I AM making non adhesive mini accordion books.

I'm using stored bits & pieces on the covers that, 
like unused toys on a shelf,
have been waiting to be brought to light, 
& to be loved again.

All the new mini's will be going to the workshop 
that I'll be teaching in Portland...en français...

What do these books contain? 
The aqua button one has the conjugated verb, 
"Rire" : To Laugh ,
because I love it, but I can never remember it.

The Moon and Star book has a lovely translation into French
of a quote by John Lennon:
"Nous resplendissons tous comme la lune
et les étoiles et le soleil..."

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Happy Easter Mini

 Holidays, a lovely excuse 
to make cards & decorations!
I'm grateful that this holiday tradition 
started for me in childhood.

I LOVE mini cards, 
with cutouts glued on (Yes paste) 
onto a small folded strip.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Home and Color Play

 Close up of one section

Playing with layers:
1. yellow tones of watercolor washes  
2. glazing, wet over dry  
3. pastel pencil marks
Simple color play turned into 
a theme (Title: "Home Schema Home") 
for a local group show at Waterfall Arts.

 I loved the schema for home 
when I drew as a young child.
And I still do as an adult sketcher. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sketching Through Meetings

Sketching gets me through meetings, 
that agitate or bore me...
I re-did some images from a meeting 
I attended in February, 
to make them a bit more presentable... 
Subject of the meeting? Politics.