Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Fish Town - Leland, Michigan

While we sat in Leland, Michigan waiting for the wind and Lake Michigan to calm down (I've become a fair weather traveler with the boat), I got out the sketchbook and spent the morning in Fishtown making this sketch. Fishtown is located right next to the marina where our boat was parked and is what used to be a fishing village along the river that runs into Lake Michigan. Today Fishtown, which is about a block long, is inhabited by old buildings and lots of tourists. The buildings host t-shirts shops and the usual collection of tourist trinkets. Fishtown also has a commercial fishing operation and several charter boats that take anglers out to try their luck on Lake Michigan.

Free Boat Wash

My wife and I are out on our boat for a month plus. This sketch was done this past Sunday morning while I was sitting in the cockpit of our boat. It's a look south out of the mouth of the Leland, Michigan harbor as thunderstorm worked its way in from Lake Michigan. If you look between the pier heads you'll see a fishing boat that came roaring in off the lake to out run the storm. Once the rain started it lasted several hours and did a great job of washing off the boat. We stayed in Leland for a couple of days until the wind and Lake Michigan calmed down.

Friday, July 15, 2016


Had the opportunity to attend Urban Sketchers Chicago sketch workshops this past weekend.  Had an amazing time.  Met quite a few fellow Urban Sketchers which was terrific.  Very talented and dedicated folks.  Learned a lot and tried several new techniques and materials that pushed my comfort zone.  Refreshing, energizing and eye-opening all at the same time.  Stopped in Springfield, IL on the way home to see some of the Lincoln sites.  Got in a bit of sketching there too.  All of these sketches are in a Stillman and Birn beta series book. My sketch materials range from pitt pens to pitt big brush markers to a pentel brush pen and koi watercolors.  Quite a variety for me.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Hanging Out

This is a sketch I did Sunday afternoon while sitting in the cockpit of my boat. The sketch is of the aft end of a 33 foot Cape Dory that's, for the time being, hanging out in a slip directly behind my boat. I got to meet the new owner of the boat, know the old one, and applaud the new owner's efforts at polishing, cleaning, and re-doing the boat's wood. She's now in great shape and ready to be a part of the new owner's daughter's wedding this summer.

The sketch was done with ink and Prismacolor graded grey scale cool grey markers. Love the effect you get when you start using the pens to provide shadows. Suddenly the flat paper takes on depth and dimension. Fun to work with.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Saturday Morning in St Paul

My favorite way to start a Saturday. Sketching with my Son with good coffee. I am using a very non waterproof and overpowering red ink here with watercolor. 

I am allowing looseness...which is harder than it sounds...yet freeing. 

I am loving this current watercolor setup. I set this up almost two years ago and have been using Jane Blumenthals "ultimate mixing palette" for Daniel Smith. 

- James Nutt

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Red roses climbing

By Marcia Milner-Brage, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Steps to garden
Every year I attempt to express the beauty of my Iowa, May garden in a painting or drawing. The climbing roses on the arbor are usually the impetus to see if I can convey what I feel and see in my backyard paradise. Once again, I'm afraid I've fallen short. Nothing from my hand approaches the reality. l enjoyed trying though. May 30, 2016

Here's another attempt that includes our rose trellis from six years ago, shy two days. Note that the roses had not yet climbed over the top. May 28 2010.

Back patio roses

Monday, May 30, 2016

To Windy to Sail...

Sunday afternoon it was way to windy to venture out of the slip to go sailing so I got out the art supplies and went to work.

This is a sketch of one of the marina buildings at Crosswinds where we keep our boat. Right to the left are a couple of boats that are still waiting to go in the water. If you look closely, between the boats, is a guy on a ladder waxing and polishing, trying to get his boat ready for launch. Doing the sketch was a great way to relax the afternoon away.

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