Small, orange, and never still

This is Samson. Not so small, actually. And often still. Until I decide to draw him. Then he will come sit on my book. Or walk away.

Samson in dip pen, brown and yellow ink and Blackwing pencil

But I don’t give up so easily, I’ll follow him around with my book. When he’s tired of finding new spots to sit, he’ll stay put. But he’ll change postures quicker than I can draw.

Samson in Apache Sunset ink and Brush pen

I win some, he wins some.

Posted in Animals, Close to home, Everyday Sketches | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Last Minute Gifts, Gifts for Yourself

The print orders for the holiday season are all shipped out. But it’s not too late to send a gift, especially in this year of staying-at-home through the holidays.

If you’d like to gift a print from my etsy store but want to let your recipient choose their print, give them a gift certificate. I’ll send you a customized pdf with their name, your name and a short message from you.

A $35 gift certificate will buy them an 8×10 inch print and a $55 gift certificate will buy them an 11×14 inch print. Prices include shipping to most places.

Buying yourself a print this holiday season? Take 15% off at checkout with the code SKETCH1THANKS.

Or maybe it’s time to gift your self the experience of a workshop ? There are still spaces open in my 4-week workshop starting February 2021, The Art of Capturing People, Places, and Objects.

Details and tickets available here. If you want to gift it to someone, just email me and let me know.

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Flowers to start the week

Last week, I painted this lovely arrangement made by Jessie. Flowers are so much fun to paint: they’re super forgiving, which allows for lots of experimentation.

My favorite part of this arrangement is the unexpected bits: the foliage and myriad little textural elements that add so much interest.

Right now I’m enjoying mixing media a lot. In this piece, I use watercolor, colored inks, gouache, and graphite pencil. I also spray, smudge, dab and smear around a good bit.

Hoping this brings you cheer at the start of the week. I know painting it last week left me feeling happy. In a year when the holidays might be a tougher on many of us than other years, here’s wishing you a safe and happy holiday season.

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Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt

Here’s a really interesting piece on the relationship between Schiele and Klimt.

I attended two separate online life drawing sessions, both hosted by Art Makes Sense. The first one had poses and costumes inspired by Schiele, the second one by Klimt. Here are some pieces from those sessions.

If you ask most people, “Klimt or Schiele, who do you prefer?”, you hear strong opinions on both sides. When I look at my sketches from the two sessions, I can see it’s clear I have a strong bias towards one of them.

Posted in Figure Drawing, people, Portrait | Tagged , | 6 Comments

A Raven and a River

I painted these pieces on Family Drawing Night. They’re both from photos, done while chatting with family on Thursday night. I really love the opportunity to do things outside of the usual and the little discoveries and surprises they bring.

When drawing from photos, it helps me to have a personal connection to the place. This first piece explores texture and is based on a photo from Hampi, India, a magical place I have fond memories of visiting. Done in a tiny book in watercolor + white gouache. I usually use white just for highlights, but here I mixed in in with other colors to create opaque gouache-like colors and layer texture over texture.

This next piece is done with just white gouache on black paper in a Stillman and Birn Trio book. My favorite little bit was finding that if I used watered down gouache, it pooled in a more opaque little thread around the edges of a shape in a way I really liked. See detail at bottom of image. Watercolor does this too, and I always like it, but something about the starkness of one-color highlights the pooling.

How and where these little experiments will find their way back into my work, I never know or worry about. If nothing else, they record my current interest in texture.

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Holiday Giveaway

Many thanks to all of you that bought my book and left reviews online!

A quick little post to say I’m doing a book giveaway: one for you and one for your friend, if you are the lucky winner. (And if you own the book already, maybe you can gift your copy too?)

To enter it, head over to this instagram post for details.

[Open to US, UK, Canada and Australia residents only. Must be 18+ to enter. Only one entry per post will be counted. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram] 

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A Day in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Just before California went back into lockdown, I spent a most lovely day with Gay and Nina in the Santa Cruz mountains painting persimmon trees. We do this every year, Nina and I check when the persimmon are ripening and then head up to Gay’s place. It’s come to become so special, this trip. I look forward to it as soon as the leaves start turning…

Here are two sketches of the hachiya persimmon trees.

And one of the fuyus.

It was my birthday and I couldn’t have asked for a better day: sketching with friends in a magical place, a visit from the wild turkeys and a delicious apple cake made by Gay.

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Everything but the Kitchen Sink

I had to look up the origins of that phrase. Most sources agree the phrase originated in the early 1900s and became popular during World War II, where it was said that everything but the kitchen sink was thrown at the enemy. The first print reference to be found is in a Shell fuel advertisement in Life Magazine in 1944.

This crazy mess is the small jungle of plants in my kitchen window. A rubber plant that keeps growing and a couple of plumerias make it feel like the tropics.

Right now I’m loving my reed pen, and all the organic, textural line it creates.

I’m also loving looking closer at pattern and texture.

Using just a palette of three primaries unifies this piece. It’s the yellow, Monte Amiata Natural Sienna, that gives it its muted tones. The other colors are two favorites: Transparent Pyrrol Orange and Ultramarine Blue.

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Little Stuff

Somedays I head out and sketch, some days I draw the little stuff.

These persimmon studies were made while designing a new session for Sketching PlayLab. Looking closely at the simplest of things is such a rewarding process, especially if you can stick through the drought of ideas that seems to follow that first burst.

This page below started with me sketching my chai cup but quickly evolved into a page full of cups and mugs drawn with different tools. Gotta love mark-making: so freeing, so expressive and so much fun.

How is your sketching practice going? Here in California, most of us are in our most strict lockdown until January 2nd, 2021. It’s become more essential than ever (for me) to put pen to paper everyday. Carving out sketching time, however little everyday, helps me feel anchored in this crazy world.

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Pen and Ink: On Location and in Studio

I love working on location. But one of the things I’ve been working on this year is creating in my studio too. I love working on location and how you can “see” with all your senses, and how that informs the work. But when it is cold and windy, or when I am with family, a super-quick piece might be all I have time for.

So one of the easiest ways for me to segue into studio pieces is to be on location and to do a first piece on location. I don’t think of this as a study for another piece so much as a first, immediate reaction. This very quick sketch in a single pen and graphite pencil was done at Carmel on a recent afternoon.

I did this next piece at home soon after, my impressions of my walk and the day still fresh in my head.

I suspect this was a good place to stop. But when I walked by the piece a little later, I wondered what it would look like with an additional colored ink and some texture added in. So it morphed into this.

I learnt a good bit from this process and will be applying it to more pieces soon. It’s not only fun to do a piece over again with different tools and parameters, it also makes me re-live the moment, giving it a second life. And there’s different aspects of the experience and place to be captured in this second take.

Posted in california, Close to home, Everyday Sketches, Sketch Journal | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments