04 December 2019

Some urban sketching

Last week I met a friend mid-afternoon at Hugo's for a late lunch/early dinner, and got there about 15 minutes early, so I did a sketch while waiting for her. The restaurant was uncharacteristically empty—it's a popular spot, but we seemed to have hit the lull between lunch leaving and dinner arriving. I really like the earth tones and green they used to decorate the restaurant—along with the lighting, it gives an intimate atmosphere.

Tuesday morning I woke up late and a little cranky.  I didn't have many groceries in the house and couldn't figure out what I would have for breakfast. Then I remembered my cousin telling me that the AMC in Woodland Hills does a special on Tuesdays—$6 for all movies for seniors (60 and over), all day! So I took myself to Bobby's Coffee Shop as a treat, where I did a sketch of the other end of the bar while I waited for my food, read my book, and enjoyed having someone else cook my (late) breakfast, and then I went to the movies. (I saw The Good Liar, which was great!) I'll have to remember this outing for future moody Tuesdays.

Bobby's was similarly uncrowded, between breakfast and lunch, so the only people in my sketch were this lone cell phone studier and one of the waitresses, who was renewing the supply of ketchup at the empty end of the bar.

Uniball pen and watercolor, in my Moleskine sketchbook.

19 November 2019

Back to the prompts

I'm running behind on Doodlewash November, so in the interest of catching up, I decided to see if I could combine prompts. The two I chose were "Raccoon" and "Pomegranate," which seem unlikely as co-conspirators, but guess what? There is a video for absolutely every eventuality in life on YouTube, and one of a raccoon enjoying a snack of pomegranate seeds, sitting on pillows at a table and scooping them up from a pretty china plate is no exception! So I took a screen grab, and here we are:

Uniball pen, Signo white gel pen for whiskers
in the sketchbook...


18 November 2019

Challenge accepted

A couple of years ago, I took a class from Sketchbook Skool on map-making, taught by the talented Nate Padavick of theydrawandtravel.com. That year, teen summer reading club had a travel theme, and I came up with the idea that the teens could do a map for one of their summer projects—either a map of actual places they had been on vacay, OR a map based on a book they were reading. Anarda and I put together lists of books with road trips in them to facilitate ideas, and held a couple of workshop sessions, hoping for participation. Alas, the teens were not as fascinated with the idea as we were, and we only ended up getting about half a dozen to participate. We each had fun making a map, mine based on the book Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins, and Anarda's centered around Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Two years later, I received an email saying that theydrawandtravel.com was having a contest, involving maps of "special places." And since for the past two years I had been contemplating an idea for a map, I decided, last week, that I was going to make and submit it.

Cousin Kirsten and I meet semi-regularly for breakfast out, usually on a day when she doesn't have to go to work until noon. For a long time we just went to one of our regular venues, but after a while we got bored and decided that since there were so many restaurants in the Valley, we should be explorers and try out a new one each time we met for breakfast. For about two years, we did just that. We did return to various places multiple times if we liked them a lot, but we tried to keep throwing new ones into the mix. We were somewhat restricted (this being Los Angeles) by morning traffic from going too far afield, so most of our choices ended up being in the west Valley, between my house (dead center) and hers (far west).

I sat down last Wednesday, looked up all the restaurants, and put them in order according to address, most of them along Ventura Boulevard. Then I made a small drawing of each restaurant's logo. Between Thursday and Sunday, I drew and redrew the map in pencil until I had everything just so, and then inked it onto good paper and watercolored it. And last night I submitted it to the contest.

Here is a .jpg of all the places we have sampled the eggs, potatoes, toast, waffles, coffee, etc. in the past couple of years:

And here is the link where you can find my entry, online at theydrawandtravel.com:


Kirsten is responsible for the title and the synopsis (inside the legend box), plus lots of helpful critique in-process. It's always beneficial to have someone who will let you bounce your ideas off of them!

Here are the details of the contest: https://www.theydrawandtravel.com/stroly-contest

I have no illusions that I will be one of the winners; but I'm so excited to be in the company of all these fantastic artists, and I admit that I do hope to be chosen for the top 100.

Also, check out Nate and Salli's other website, theydrawandcook.com. Similarly great art, and yummy recipes too.

15 November 2019

More art for November

For the prompt "Octopus," something a little more historical than ocean critter-oriented...does he look too much like Medusa?

This was fun, both the portrait itself and the "appendages" I added on to remind us all of that classic tune of 1968.

I'm busy with a map project right now so I'm giving the prompts a miss for a few days, but I will catch up. I also posted some older artwork to fulfill some, which isn't exactly copacetic, but oh well...

For berries:

For flowers:

And for children:

More to share soon...

09 November 2019

#DoodlewashNovember2019 7-8-9

Here are my next two entries for November. There was a prompt of "leaves" for November 7 and one of "owl" for November 8, so I decided to combine them by using the leaves as a decorative autumnal background for this encounter of the baby corvid with the baby owl.

These two are supposedly enemies, but I think maybe, if caught young enough, they could be friends...Today's prompt was "nuts," and I could either paint a self-portrait (ha ha) or render some actual goobers, so I chose a medley of favorites in the shell—peanuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts. I drew them with a brown micron pen to keep all the colors as true as possible.
I don't always like the prompts on offer, but this time Charlie chose some nice fall themes, and I'm enjoying putting them on paper. More to come!

Uniball pen (birds), Micron pen (nuts)
Paul Jackson watercolors
Bee Super Deluxe Mixed Media Sketchbook

07 November 2019

November renaissance

Since I bagged Inktober, I haven't been making much art. I seem to go through these cycles where I can't focus to pick up a pen and draw, even if it's just some little thing. So when November rolled around and Charlie over at Doodlewash published his prompts list for the month (and it looked like one I could get with), I decided to let that give me some impetus. Here's what I have so far:

#1: "Puppy"

This is Ruby, my friend Kim's dog. She's not a puppy, she's actually getting up there...but don't all the "littles" retain that puppy-like quality forever? She's a sort of champagne color all over, but I erred on the side of pink because of her name.

#2 Pears

I enjoyed painting these—there's just something so paintable about pears. I even managed a little spatter without it looking like a crime scene. The shadow could have been better...

#4 Eyes

I had fun with this one. The prompt reminded me of this old movie from my younger days, which gave me nightmares for weeks after I saw it. I chose not to put too much emphasis on the camera and focus on the eyes. Who knew how hot Tommy Lee Jones was in his youth?

#6 Water

This looks like I did it en plein air, but it's actually from a photo I took while at Echo Park with the Urban Sketchers group one day. (I painted other things that day, but really liked this bridge.) There wasn't a lot of water in the scene, but enough to fulfill the prompt. I struggled a bit with the reflections and the ripples.

More to come!

13 October 2019

Coffee shop fame

A few postings back, I shared an urban sketch of Bobby's Coffee Shop that I made. Since I had done it while there on my own, the next time Cousin Kirsten and I went there to breakfast, I remembered and pulled my sketchbook out of my purse to show her. The manager (owner? not sure) of the restaurant happened to be passing our table. He saw my drawing, and promptly solicited me to send him a .jpg because, he said, they were reprinting the menu the following day, and he would feature it in the menu! I negotiated a credit for myself with him, and sent it over. The next time we went to breakfast, there was my picture—on the front cover of the menu! Pretty cool.

I haven't said anything about it up to now (this happened a couple of weeks ago) because Kirsten and I wanted to take our friends, Kirsti and Aaron—who recommended Bobby's to us—to breakfast there and spring the menu on them as a surprise. We did that this morning. They arrived first, and it was fun, upon walking through the door, to be greeted with exclamations of "There's the celebrity!" They thought it was way cool, and I have to agree.

Although some people chided me for not charging him for its use, I felt like since I didn't do it as a commission but purely for fun, why should I? Also, it has already borne fruit—last week he sent me the email and phone number of a local florist and said "please call them, they have some work for you." From the way it was phrased, I'm hoping he didn't tell them I did the picture gratis, because if it's a commission, I will be charging. Still, what fun! opening doors to local businesses to showcase my work.