Sunday, September 21, 2014

crab pot, again

This one was near Saddlebag Island (near Anacortes). I spent a lot of time studying the reflections in the water before I attempted to sketch and paint this one.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

summer sketching

Crab pots present a colorful obstacle for boaters. On the surface of the water are things that float and attached to the floating part is a long line that goes to the ground with a crab trap attached. If a propeller catches the line, it could mean a real problem!

Just because they are obstacles, sometimes a nuisance, doesn't mean that they are lacking in their own particular beauty. Crab pots make an exciting sketching subject, like this one in Roche Harbor.

Ink and watercolor sketch in Aquabee 9" square sketchbook.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

sketching on the water



From a watery perspective, sketching is a challenge and a lot of fun. I especially enjoy tackling complicated shapes and working to understand them with my drawing.

It feels like rubbing velvet with the nap to see a drawing come together. I feel content. And maybe full of static electricity!

Life is very good.

Christopher Cross "Sailing."



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

not Perry Mason

 Courtroom dramas are nothing at all like "Perry Mason" television shows. The action is much slower and doesn't tie up neatly at the end of an hour. There are no surprises. Hamilton Burger doesn't object or get befuddled.

Actual courtroom dramas are slow. Each bit of evidence is explored and layered in testimony and exhibits. The pace is like watching paint dry. Oil paint. The kind that takes months.

Court time provided me with several days of sketching opportunities.



Besides the sketches, I took notes of what the judge and attorneys said at various points. It is now an illustrated record of an unpleasant experience.

A record with my own commentary and observations.
After all is said and done, I think I might enjoy sketching from "Perry Mason" videos. It would be much cheaper!

"Perry Mason." Full episodes are available on YouTube!


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

home through Kansas

On our way home, we took the non-interstate highways and byways through Kansas. I saw things I never knew about, things I marveled at, things that made me smile. The Flint Hills area was beautiful! I'm so glad that the settlers could not till its rocky soil and left us with a perfect example of how the prairies looked before human interference.

Sadly, the air conditioning in our motorhome gave up and we endured many days of +90 degrees with 90% humidity. Our trip west was marked by days of driving that started before sunrise, long afternoon breaks with the coach parked in the shade of a tree or two, and long drives after sunset.

Even with that discomfort, I am love seeing our country. Oh beautiful, indeed!

Ray Charles sings "America, the Beautiful."



Saturday, June 21, 2014

inspiration: St Louis Zoo and Art Museum




I am just back from a road trip to St Louis, MO, where my family had a beautiful reunion. I got to see my father and all of my siblings and their kids, plus a lot of family. 

One special treat while in St Louis was going to Forest Park, the site of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition and centennial celebration, but more commonly known as the 1904 World's Fair. You can read more about the fair here.

As we walked around the zoo and the art museum, I kept humming to myself the song, "Meet Me In St Louis." Appropriate, since my grandfather's name was Louis and he went by "Louie" and it was this grandfather's children and family that gathered... 55 participants!

I loved the zoo (and not just because admission was free!). Their gorilla habitat was wonderful and I spent a lot of time observing these majestic animals and sketching them. It was tough to sketch them, though, because every time one of them got close to the observation window, he would sit down with his back to us people. It struck me as an act of utter contempt. Wow. 

The art museum was grand all together, but especially grand in its huge entrance hall.




I especially enjoyed this Monet painting.

And this Modigliani.
St Louis is a special town and I look forward to going there again. Maybe next time, it won't be 92 degrees with 90% humidity. That was a little hard to take. The best part of the trip was seeing my father again. I am not sure that he knew me, but I knew him, held his hand, talked to him and loved the chance to see him again.

Love you, Dad.


"Meet Me in St Louis." Maybe you will hum the theme song, too.



Saturday, May 31, 2014

working a design while on anchor, Oak Harbor

When we are anchored, I try to find landscape scenes that interest me. At Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, I heard an eagle and while I watched him hunt, I noticed these evergreen trees on the spit.

From the sketch, I created these two Notan paintings with watercolor. I like both of these design plans and may work up some larger paintings from them. 

I can sense the rhythm of the water from these paintings. It's sometimes the only music necessary.

Monday, May 26, 2014

museum inspriration: Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum

9" x 9" watercolor and ink
This week, at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, I saw sculpture by David Eisenhour that blew my socks off! His bronze and stone sea forms were staged in groups and some alone in such a way that I wanted to respond to them. I had to respond. I looked at them, again and again, circled them to see all sides, and wandered around the exhibit many times. In my sketchbook, I listed some sea forms that I wanted to explore myself. And soon! The BIMA is only one year old and if you haven't made a stop there yet, it's worth every moment. Admission is free. Truly great work there!

But, before I could respond to the Eisenhour sea forms, we were cruising the Sound and then tying up at the public dock in La Conner, where I toured the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum. This is a favorite stop for me, not because I am a quilter, but because I love the variety and imagination of art quilts. And, though I do not sew, I have gone into many quilt shops to fondle the "fat quarters" just for the joy of color and texture.

What a treat it was to discover fiber artist Marianne Burr and her work on the third floor of the museum! The work is as colorful and delightful as she is. All of her work is done on silk which she has handpainted and then stitched. It's really a painting that has been stitched to wool batting and then backed/framed with more fabric. It's enough to make me want to sew.

In the meantime, though, time to reflect and respond and you see some of that in the sketch above. Sea forms, glorious color and whimsey, and "stitches" of ink marks.

Variations on a Shaker Melody, Aaron Copland.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

museum inspiration: Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA

Jen Elek and Jeremy Bert at The Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA


Sometimes, when walking through an art museum exhibit (or gallery exhibition), I feel a buzz of energy that makes my hair stand on end. It is not only a function of the artwork I view, but where I am in my head, what I have been doing with my own artwork, and my openness to looking at something new. That buzz can be the start of a cascade of changes that results in new art ideas and practices.

Earlier this month, I felt a buzz when at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA.





Even the exterior of this museum is exciting, with the enormous metal cone venting the "hot shop" where furnaces keep about 1000 pounds of glass 2400 degrees Fahrenheit!

Even better, inside the hot shop you can watch artists make their glass creations live, or you can stream it. It reminds me of some of my early Catholic lessons on hell and damnation.


Lenny Kravitz "Whole Lotta Love."