Friday, March 29, 2013

The Pagoda's Back

Another warm and sunny day in southern Michigan so the dog and I headed to the back yard. While I worked on this sketch to celebrate the fact the back yard has emerged from the snow, the dog, Emma, spent her time crawling around under the deck. The pagoda sits next to the pond in our back yard. I thought it interesting today. Welcome back to the pagoda and the spring flowers that have sprouted to surround it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


It was warm and sunny today...a first for "spring" in Michigan. So I loaded the dog in the car and headed south of Battle Creek looking for a sunny spot to do some sketching. I found this interesting old Grange hall about 6 miles south of where I live. The owner wandered over while I was working and I found out from him the old hall was built around 1900. Neat place and boy was it nice to be outside again!

Scavenger Hunt--March into April

Hi all! 

Any new entries in our March scavenger hunt, signs of spring?  (Around here, we're starting to see fewer heavy coats, anyway!)

And any suggestions for April's hunt? 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Trip to the Moon

We took a trip to Bonner Springs, Kansas where we took my son geocaching, exploring at the Moon Marble Company and then finished him off by eating the Ultimate Destroyer at Papa Bob's BBQ.  :)  It was a great day!  At the Moon Marble Company we were able to watch Bruce do a demo for handblown glass marbles.  So incredible!!  We plan to go back in the fall when they host a competition for marble artists.  It may take that long for us to finish eating that Ultimate Destroyer sandwich!  LOL  We didn't eat it as part of the food challenge (one person to eat all 4 1/2 lbs of smoked meat on a sandwich, 1 1/2 lbs of fries and 4 pickles in 45 minutes) but we shared it between the three of us and had enough left over for us to eat it for lunch the next day and still have more to go! 

It's been a while since I've posted and I freely admit that while some of this was done on location the sketches of the marble demo were sketched from photos I took.  The geocaching sketches (on the left) had color added on location and the rest received color at home.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Food Co-op

We went to our first food coop meeting this was overwhelming, like a beehive, so I just sat in the corner and sketched!
This is the original sketch, done with a Micron Pigma .01...I needed more color, so I wet the page with my sprayer...

Loose, colorful washes while the paper was still wet were fun to do...

I enjoy a little spatter for color and texture...

Almost done, and back to the top!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tucker Blvd. View, St. Louis

Finally a mild day! For the first time this year temperatures climbed above 70 degrees on Friday afternoon. Warm enough to break out the watercolors for some urban sketching. I "discovered" a park on Tucker Blvd. with a different view of the Civil Courts building  & several other sketchworthy views as well. Around me workers were completing street repairs and preparing for today's St. Patrick's Day parade.
Tucker Blvd. View, 03/15/13; Michael Anderson, waterbrush, watercolor on Canson 140lb cold press, 7" h x 9" w.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Road Trip!

Last weekend my daughter, two granddaughters and I took a road trip to Ohio for the weekend.  It always amazes me how the landscape on this route is the same but yet is continually changing. Along with the clicks of the tires on the road, it's a very soothing rhythm. 
The four of us went to celebrate at a bridal shower for my niece.  I only did one sketch – too busy gabbing and eating. We had blue skies, gray skies, rain, snow, sun and a great time. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring is starting indoors!!!!!

Hey, I found one!!!! A sign of spring, right now happening in my town of Cedar Falls, Iowa. It's indoors! It's at my local florist, Bancroft's, just around the corner.

Bancroft's is a locally owned, one-of-a-kind storefront with a greenhouse out back. Tuesday, when I dropped by, the owner's helpers (old friends from the a small neighboring town) were busily potting geranium sets from flats into pots. While snow still swirled outside and humongous piles of old, dirty snow mounded on the curb and sidewalk in front, spring planting season was beginning in the humid warmth of the greenhouse.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Unrelenting Winter--Waiting for Spring

I'm sorry for being a curmudgeon.  But the views from my windows and the crusted, slippery mess of mounded snow that I navigate on daily walks (really trudges), tell me one thing: WINTER IS UNRELENTING.

Fogged Windows, March Rain
One day this week it rained and sleeted all day, adding an icy crust to the record breaking winter's snowfall, unmelted in dirty piles everywhere. I took refuge in my bedroom, finding interest in how fog on the window altered a familiar view. Is fog on the windows in March a sign of Spring?

Bedside Table, Snow Falling
By late afternoon of the same day, the temperature dropped and chubby snowflakes started to fall, continuing through the night. Is a heavy, wet snow in March a sign of Spring?

Days before, it had snowed and snowed for a string of days. The dreary storm laden sky merged with the whiteness of the snow-covered roofs.

Willoughby House Tower, Snowy Morning

Willoughby Tower, Snowy Roofs
Willoughby Tower, Snowy Roofs
And then the week before that, there was the snowstorm that everyone at the grocery store was proclaiming to be the last BIG ONE.  HAH! Is increased snowfall in late winter a sign that spring is coming?

Spruce Behind 2-Story House in Winter
Spruce Behind 2-Story House in Winter

As you can see, I'm starved for color!!! I NEED SPRING!!!! I NEED GREEN.  (Sorry for the rant.)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Jazz & Sketches, Gregory Porter, St. Louis

Jazz vocalist Gregory Porter appeared for several evenings in January at Jazz At the Bistro, an intimate “listening environment."  Conversation is requested to be kept at a minimum prior to each performance out of respect for the artists and fellow audience members. My favorite new song of 2012 has to be his “Painted On Canvas”. The beautiful lyric and melody will resonate with urban sketchers everywhere. He is always pictured wearing a distinctive cap with a short bill that is tied beneath his chin and indeed he wore it the evening I drew this sketch.
Michael Anderson, 1/06/2013, Uniball Precise V7, pocket-size Moleskine, 5 ½” x 7”.
We are like children
We're painted on canvases
Picking up shades as we go
We start off with gesso brushed on by people we know
Watch your technique as you go
Step back and admire my view
Can you use the colors I choose?
Do I have some say in what you use?
Can I get some greens and some blues?
We're made by the pigment of paint that is put on
Our stories are told by our hues
Like Motley and Bearden
These masters of peace and life
Layers of color and time
Step back and admire my view
Can I use the colors I choose?
Don't I have some say what you use?
Can I get some greens with my blues?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Anticipating spring at the local nursery

It's that time of year:  most of the now is melted, but the garden is too muddy to work in, so I spent a few hours inside at our local nursery with watercolors.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

evening out with friends

evening out with friends by vickylw
evening out with friends, a photo by vickylw on Flickr.
A few weeks ago, we met friends in the small Flint Hills town of Florence, KS --- fantastic steak! As it should be, having been cooked by actual cattlemen, at the Merchantile.

The restaurant is open on a limited basis, owned and run by a large ranching family. Only one item on menu: really good steak! (They also offer chicken for finicky people) -- plus old-fashioned goodies as hors d' oeuvres, home-cooked sides and dessert.

The small town's water tower boasts that their water is 99.96% pure spring water.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Scavenger Hunt...signs of spring in my town

Every year on March 1, the Dari-B opens...this year HUNDREDS of people stood in line for ice cream on a snowy day.  Nuts, yes?  But...spring!

Marking Time

We've sold our house and this afternoon was the buyer's inspection of the property. So...the dog and I wound up driving down to Scotts, Michigan where I found the former home of White Sales Corporation.

This building, like many of the structures in Scotts now stands empty. Scotts in its heyday was a thriving agriculture community. It was a crossroads for rail service and had a grain mill and pickle factory. Over time Scotts was eclipsed by the growth of its nearby neighbors Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, Michigan. Farms still surround the town, trains pass through but don't stop, and the town marks time.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

4th Annual Urban Sketching Symposium!

Registration opens March 25
We're pleased to announce that online registration for the 4th International Urban Sketching Symposium will open on March 25 at 1 p.m. GMT (London time) A link to the registration page will be posted at at that time. And check this out: We are offering a special early-bird rate of $350 US if you register before March 31!

Here's the registration schedule: March 25 to March 31*: $350 US (Special early-bird rate!) April 1 to May 11: $395 US May 12 to May 31: $425 US June 1 to June 10: $450 US (*Cut-off times will be midnight GMT.) Hope to see you in Barcelona.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March Scavenger Hunt--signs of spring!

All the birds were at my urban feeder the other day--yes, even the red-winged blackbird, which always says spring to me!

I've got another plan in mind to sketch for this hunt, perhaps later today while the snow's still on the ground...what says "spring" to you??  Getting the boat ready for the season?  People shopping without coats?  The zoo opening? 

I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with!
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