Saturday, May 23, 2015

virtual sketchcrawl . . . at home

Today is "virtual sketchcrawl day" for those participating on Facebook and Urban Sketchers Midwest. I had considered going somewhere interesting to sketch, but we are busy getting ready for a family get-together on Monday. Bill is smoking a brisket early (in case of rain . . . which we seem to be having daily), and we have been cleaning patios. Also cleaning his shop, where we will set up all the food. Our one-bedroom cabin is just too tiny for 4 kids, 3 in-law kids, 5 grandkids, 1 or 2 dogs, our cat, and two or three additional friends we've invited.

So sketchcrawl is at home today, a sketch of our smoker at the back door with Bill's woodshop beyond. A bit wonky but fun to draw.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Meet the Author--Jim Butcher!

We had hoped to get to the venue in Independence, Missouri, in time for me to sketch it, as well...but the street addresses were so confusing we did well to buzz in minutes before Jim Butcher was to begin speaking.  He moves a lot, but it was an interesting challenge--and great practice!--to try to catch the man during the lively 2-hour talk.

I finally satisfied myself with drawing the audience!  At least I didn't worry about catching a likeness...and I'm always delighted with the chance to draw free models.

Our books are mostly on Kindle or borrowed from the library, so I asked him to sign my journal page!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

More Business Travel

Had a quick trip to Oklahoma City for a technical committee meeting. Took along my sketch supplies and managed to do some on-site sketching. The rain kept me from ranging too far, but I found the American Banjo Museum! I have a soft spot for banjo. I took it up in college as a way to avoid studying and have some fun. Never stopped playing.

I took a cell phone camera picture of the museum in case the rain started back up, but managed to sketch it live. Some construction workers were close by and busy, but I managed to stay out of their way.

They had a few banjos on display that us patrons could play, so I did. I was the only patron there. Wish I had time to sketch the Deering Banjo that I played, called the Zombie Killer! It had great inlays of zombies, and metal parts with the same theme.

Sketch process: lay it out with fiber tip pen, followed by watercolor pencils and waterbrush. Text comes when I get back home.

Steeple through Spring Trees: the process

A lot goes into a drawing even before I put a pencil or crayon mark on the page. 

KNOWING THE PLACE: I'd walked on Grove Street as it curves and becomes W. 7th many times, in all seasons. That curve borders this large grassy expanse. It was a floodplain of the Cedar River before the flood wall and dike (unseen to the left) were built.  This is a distinct Cedar Falls neighborhood of single family houses with yards, a nursing home, a church, and the Viking Pump Foundry. The Foundry, which was behind me as I stood at my easel for this drawing, is what makes this neighborhood not quiet on workdays. It's only a few blocks from downtown. On the other side of the dike are railroad tracks leading to the coal burning utilities plant and a City park that hugs the bank of the Cedar River. 

WHAT CAPTIVATED ME: the shadows on the grass, the grove of dark tree trunks, the steeple of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church through the trees before the leaves would unfurl fully and obscure it, the small dark red shed behind the tree trunk on the left, the soft colors of early Spring. All of this was in my mind's eye, before I actually started to draw.

The preceding days had been either too cold, rainy or windy. On this late April day all was quiet and early Spring idyllic. We all know here in the Midwest how breathtakingly rapid Spring can unfold. I knew I had a narrow window of opportunity to capture what beckoned. 

STARTING WITH A QUICK COMPOSITION SKETCH--soft pencil in my pocketsize Moleskin. Sometimes, my Moleskin sketches are all I need to do if I feel they've captured what I call "the truth of a place". But this time, I was pretty certain a larger, more developed piece in color was called for. I'd bicycled the 1/2 mile from my house, carrying my roaming studio in panniers: portable easel and my drawing accoutrements.
UNDERDRAWING--9B water soluble graphite applied with a wet brush on warm gray Canson Mi-Teintes paper. 

BRINGING IT TO COMPLETION: After about two-and-a half hours on-site, I'll  have an almost finished Neocolor II water soluble wax pastel drawing. That's about all I can handle standing in one spot. Anyway, it's alway good to take some space, step back and peruse afresh in the cloister of my studio. Sometimes, as with this drawing, I'll do some minimal tweaking (usually of value relationships), before I call it done. Go to my post HERE'S THE CHURCH AND HERE'S THE STEEPLE on the Urban Sketchers blog to see the finished work up close.

Anyone up for a new job for the main USk Organization?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It's Time Again - May's Virtual Sketchcrawl - May 23rd

A sketchcrawl "in real life" is normally a group of art friends getting together to share the fun of sketching, wherever they are. In our small group, we meet up once a month on the 3rd Saturday, sketch a few hours, and then eat and share our sketches. Some groups are large, some are small, but we often wish we could meet with a larger pool of artists. (And yes, it IS the 4th Saturday this month, it got away from us.)

So since we are an online community, let's do a virtual sketchcrawl!

Let's meet up, wherever we are, to sketch! Then post to the Artist's Journal Workshop group with VIRTUAL SKETCHCRAWL or #virtualsketchcrawl in the title. We're here:

We're a big regional group, so any time of day you can manage it is fine!

Hosted by Cathy Johnson

Monday, May 18, 2015

April's Sketchcrawl drawings

We had intended to meet up at Case Park in Kansas City, but the rain defeated's been a REALLY rainy spring in our corner of the Midwest.  So we met at the Nelson-Atkins, one of our favorite places, and enjoyed the quiet...and dry!

This young man was there sketching the whole time I drew the chimera...
I've always meant to sketch the chimera at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of art...these are Derwent Blue Grey, the one on the right wet with clear water, the other left as it was.

Of course I did my usual sketch of Quan Yin...
And one from our "virtual sketchcrawl!"
I forgot I hadn't posted these...siiiigh...I've been swamped with other stuff!
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