07 January 2015


A few more drawings from my week's documentation…

Tuesday night's 10-12 Book Club read Winger, by Andrew Smith. It was a controversial choice, provoked a lot of discussion, and received ratings ranging from 10 out of 10 to 2 out of 10 to "I refuse to read this book!" Here's yesterday's cover of the cover:

This morning it was a perfect sunny 72 degrees out on this California "winter" day, so I spent some time in the yard, watering and sketching. I'm not great with the foliage (getting impatient and short-handing it and then faking it with some paint to cover up my deficient drawing skills), so I purposely didn't add color to this one:

Maybe I will later.

I worked 12-9 today because we had a rehearsal for our upcoming Readers' Theater program (NOT So Happily After, some retold fairy tales by Roald Dahl and Ron Koertge), so on my dinner break beforehand I went to Wahoo's for a burrito and did a little drawing while waiting for my food to come. I painted it after I got home. I was trying for a particular look for the blue linoleum table top, but it didn't really work out, so it's kind of smudgy. And I haven't got the hang of spatter yet, so it went everywhere on my desk except where I was aiming it. I hope it looks like hot sauce and not like arterial spray!

Anyway, that's my week so far. More to come...

04 January 2015

Sunday Farmers' Market

Going to the O.N.E.generation Encino Farmers' Market at Victory and Louise on Sunday mornings has become a tradition for me this past year or so. I buy a chocolate croissant from my favorite Scottish baker, pick up a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice, and stock up on produce for the week--greens, berries, tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, whatever. Sometimes I buy some homemade cheese as a treat, or one perfect artichoke, or a previously unfamiliar vegetable from the Japanese farmer, with instructions for cooking it. My last stop is always one particular flower vendor, who always has inexpensive and unusual bunches of my favorites. I put together something scented (stock, sweet william), something beautifully colored (gerbera daisies), and something showy and long-lasting (alstroemeria), and take it home to make a giant bouquet for the top of my piano, where it pleases my eye all week.

Each and every time I go to the farmers' market, I think to myself, Gee, why didn't I bring my sketchbook so I could draw all of this? Sometimes I take photos of some of the brightly colored offerings, thinking I will paint them later...but so far I haven't.

Today, I took my sketchbook, and instead of bringing my croissant and juice home, I sat in the patio area where food vendors set up around folding tables and chairs, and I sketched. It was really fun, and I can't believe I have put it off for so long. This is the reason I signed up for Sketchbook Skool--to give me a reason (or an excuse) to take the time to draw. I wanted to stay even longer than I did, but I go back to work tomorrow and things like the necessity of clean clothes and a tidier house sent me home. I did spend some extra time once I got there to watercolor my drawings.

I started this drawing from the top left down, and after I put in the lady hipster, and fatally drew the table in front of her (pen, you know, so no erasing), I realized that there wasn't enough vertical space to place her husband and baby where they belonged--so they appear to be somewhat embedded in the table instead of sitting a foot higher behind it! I do like the palm trees.

I was happier with this one--this was a view of one of the merchants from behind the scenes, since that section of the market backs up to the open area with the tables. I like the variety of people I captured, and I love drawing the wickie-ups (tent tops).

My favorite part of the morning? There is a really talented busker who works the market every Sunday--he's probably my age or older, and my theory is that he's a vet, because he has one metal leg. He plays guitar really well and sings musically, usually a variety of songs from "my" era--the '70s--including the Beatles, Crosby, Stills & Nash, etc. This morning, though, he surprised us all with a skillful acoustic rendition of "Hit Me Baby One More Time." Move over, Britney Spears!

Day two: Breakfast out, and a selfie

Our next assignment for Sketchbook Skool is simply to carry around our sketchbook and pen and document our week! To draw stuff that comes across our attention in ordinary, everyday life and make a visual record.

I decided my big sketchbook was too unwieldy to carry around for the next six weeks, so I went to the art store and treated myself to a smaller one (9x9), and then went out to breakfast. An old standard--Du-par's coffee shop--has opened up in a new location--Encino (where John O'Groats used to be), so I decided to try it out. Nice surroundings, and the usual basic coffee shop food. I got a two-person table by a window with good light, so I sat and drew for a while.

I drew with a Micron #8, and then put in the shading with Tombow pens. They make more of a hard edge than I wanted (I'm used to manipulating watercolor), but were fun to use. Some wonky shapes here, but that's what you get with contour drawing.

Later that same day…

Since I have been sick, my brain has been on autopilot, and I woke up today to realize that I hadn't sent any thank you notes for Christmas gifts. I decided that I would use my need for documentary drawings as incentive, so the first thing I drew was a picture of me (using a selfie photo as template), wearing my new ear muffs that my cousin Carol Sue gave me. I hate hat head but also dislike cold ears, so these work great. Thanks, Cos!

This is fun! More later…