Saturday, May 30, 2020

Visiting with Vincent in my backyard

Just grabbed some ink and pens and tried my best to channel Vincent. 

Ralph Steadman?

I love Ralph Steadman's work. I find his work funny, playful, serious, and skilled. I like platters and ink blotches and admire good draftsmanship.  I can do splatters and blotches and am working on draftsmanship. 
I have been taking Shari Blaukopf's Light, Shadow, and Color class.  There are lessons with bins and cars.

We have a portapotty out front for a few weeks while our house is being painted.  

I did two sketches. One inspired by Steadman. 
 The other  direct watercolor, no pencil/pen.

Virtual sketchcrawl - Embody the art you love

Today's challenge was to be inspired by and emulate some piece of artwork that you love.  I'd picked Hokusai's Great Wave.  

I used a limited palette and no blending to try to emulate a woodblock print, portraying a few leaves of the shrub beside my front porch.

51st and Sandy Blvd

The past week I have been working on a twelve panel Concertina (Accordian) sketchbook. Each panel is about 7.5" x 10", so the entire book is 7.5" x90".
 I made  the sketchbook and prepared the pages in this book in my studio, then took it out to the construction site down the street in the evenings.  It was quiet.  The workers gone home and very few people saw me juggle this concertina and supplies. I am experimenting with various new materials, new approaches and various ways to document this. Affinity Photo ( a photoshop alternative) has a panorama creating feature. My scanning bed is 11X17 ,so I scanned and patched!   
I am greatly inspired by two Karen Stamper's online Concertina workshops: How Wild is your Garden and Creative Concertina Sketchbooks 1 Buildings/Streets/

We are not happy about a six story, eighty-five unit, twenty parking space building goin up a block away, BUT it is quite the sketching opportunity!

Friday, May 29, 2020


I thought that I should document all the construction that going on within sight of my house.  Cause someday, God willing, it'll all be done and quiet on the street again.

The green dumpster is for my next door neighbor.  The structural work is all done now, and the electrical system and plumbing have been repaired.  They still have to re-assemble her kitchen, and repair the plaster and repaint in of the rest of the house.

The brown dumpster is for the triplex across the street, which has been vacant for years.  The original plan was to turn it into a five-story building containing three luxury condominiums.  That, thankfully, was scrapped.  It's either going to come back to life as a modest triplex, or have the apartments merged to become a single-family house.

And behind that, where the alternator rebuild shop used to be, a new condo building is going up. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Sketching with alternative materials

Hi all,
I'm late to adding my virtual sketch crawl doodle but here it is. I painted my coffee cup with coffee. It was a little weird, and the coffee didn't stain as darkly as I wanted, but it was fun. (only down side is that the coffee bled through to the other side of both pages...bummer).

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Virtual Sketchcrawl #4, Saturday, May 30 - Embody the art you love

For our next virtual sketchcrawl, we'd like to lean on our fellow artists (current and past) for inspiration. As always we welcome your participation whether you choose to engage in the challenge or not, but if you would like to try it...

1. Choose a piece of artwork that inspires you or that you find beautiful
2. Identify some aspect of it to try to emulate: colors? rhythm? strong contrasts? delicate lines?
3. Set it up in front of you as you work, and try to capture something about that art that you love as you sketch your home or the view from your window.

Here are a couple examples of what a sketcher might try...

For this Van Gogh painting, you could use Neocolor II crayons or oil pastels in short rhythmic lines to get strong color and rhythm in your sketch, even while your sketch is of a houseplant, a cat, and a bookshelf.

If you are inspired by this painting from Charles Renee Mackintosh, you might choose a limited palette of muted analogous colors and compose your sketch to contrast strong blocky/straight shapes with curvy, natural shapes... perhaps your neighbor's house seen straight on with big curvy tree shapes around it.

We'll start sketching around 10am. After noon, or when you're ready, please post your sketches to this blog, to our email list, or in our Facebook group.

See you (virtually) then!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Pen to Color Pencils

I am usually a pencil, pen, and watercolor guy. In that order. I'm always too scared to just start drawing with a permanent item. Enter color pencils. They're softer, more forgiving, and quick, but for some reason I rarely use them. In a lifetime I don't think I'll ever master blending them like I can with watercolors.

I found myself downtown today and I had to sketch fast. There were a lot of people passing by who kept me on edge. Looking back, now I see one facade of the building is slightly out of the right plane!

Change it up!

I tried some of my water color pencils, then went back over a little with my watercolor brush.  I like the combination of effects that comes from that.

I got impatient with my attempt to draw on my phone.  That can wait for another time when I find an Android app that can save to somewhere expected.  Or figure out how to capture my screen.  I know I can figure it out but it probably took me less time to just draw this second sketch.

Different Materials

I don't have much left of the materials I don't usually use. I've gotten rid of most of them in the effort to gain space. I use ink all the time but I always use the same tools. So this time I used a feather that has been hanging around my studio, a stick from the apple tree and a copper wire I found outside. I shaped the feather and stick and when at it. The wire delivered the boldest lines and quantities of ink.

Virtual Sketchcrawl #3- New materials

Looking around my studio, I discovered many items I have not tried. Many I inherited from my friend Joan. I intended to use her Progresso woodless colored pencils and water color crayons, but at the last minute I ending up using a small set of Holbein watercolors.    I thought I would do a light wash then add pencil. Two hours went by with only a few  Progresso strokes...Oh well....The colors were not my normal colors.  I have not used watercolor in a long time....

 I have been busy with all sorts of other new materials in my Wild Garden Books: Charcoal, Artgraf water soluble graphite, kneaded and powdered graphite, Woodies, Leaves as stamps, collage, etc. I have been posting some of it on instagram.

Virtual Sketchcrawl #3- different medium

I may have complicated my journey here by choosing too many new materials.....I have used; Powdered Graphite, a Caran D'Arche felt tip waterbrush and a Faber Castell 'Noblot Ink Pencil'(that comes out blue when water is applied)

This was challenging because it was so different have what I have been doing with my sketching currently.

With Faber Castell Noblot Ink Pencil and Powdered Graphite with The Caran D'Arche felt tip waterbrush

Powdered Graphite with brush

Virtual sketchcrawl - new media

I'd bought a cheap kid's set of watercolor pencils, months ago, at Freddy's, but had never tried them.  So, with today's theme of trying a different media than you usually use, I dragged them out.

Obviously, I couldn't sketch the pencils themselves, not in their true colors at least, so I let other pencils stand in.  And the highlights didn't work very well.  There was a white pencil in the box, but, wet or dry, it didn't seem to end up in the drawing.

For my second sketch, I dragged everything outside, and huddled under my eaves to do one of the dogwood blossoms.  To make the white stand out, I cut apart one of the multitude of paper grocery sacks that I've brought home during the pandemic.
And, again, the white was pretty pathetic.

Virtual Sketchcrawl 3 alternative drawing materials

For today’s challenge of using alternative drawing materials, I decided to use those old discarded school supplies, the crayola markers I’ve saved up year after year. I have a lot of these since I have 3 kids. The nearly dried out ones created a lighter tone and different texture. This is a view from my deck. Our chairs are all mismatched. Nothing but last years twig in the clay planter.

Sketching with Trevor

For this sketchcrawl's theme of using a material we haven't worked with much before, I chose my ArtGraf watercolor graphite. 

My subject, Trevor, might look peaceful but he changed position several times and was a bit complicated! I did find the watercolor graphite an interesting match to try to show the shape of him while also somewhat capturing his black and white patches. It's a good material for focusing on doing brush strokes without getting distracted by color, and that's an area where I could use a lot of practice.  Fun experiment.

Last sketchcrawl we did continuous line drawings, but I had to stop early for a personal event and never posted.  So, belatedly, here's what I did that morning... it's Trevor again, this time in his bed with his favorite giraffe stuffie.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else did today!


Monday, May 11, 2020

Virtual Sketchcrawl Challenge #3- Change it up- Use a different medium.

Our regular sketchcrawls are once a month, but why not sketch together more often while we're sketching from home?

Please join us for our third virtual sketchcrawl on Saturday, May16th
Encouraged by the very good turnout from our second challenge- Continuous Line we are offering another in the form of using a different medium than the one you usually use.

That is; perhaps using graphite instead of ink or maybe gouache or colored pencil instead of watercolor. You know you have those materials sitting somewhere in your stash that you may have tried sometime but for some reason or another went back to your usual medium. We all  have done that, right?

So we invite you to experiment and try that other meduim but still be limited to sketching in and around our homes during our stay safe isolation.

Kay's stash

As always, this challenge is optional, and you can be as strict or as loose as you like. Your participation is welcome whether you choose to take on this challenge -- just make sure to work from life and to include contextual information, so it stays in the realm of "urban sketching"!

We will start at 10am.  At noon, which is when we would normally be meeting up for lunch to share sketchbooks, we'd love to see your sketches online in whichever forum feels comfortable for you:

(1) posting to this blog
(2) emailing to our mailing list
(3) posting in our Facebook group

See you there!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Continuous Line: My Garden

 A day late and lifted the pen a few times, but not many.  I used water-soluble ink and I added a few swipes with the water brush.
The background texture was done beforehand.

This is a good exercise.  Thank you for the suggestion!

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Continuous line

OK, I tried a continuous line drawing. Actually, I tried it twice, and then reverted to standard (virtual) brush strokes.

And I decided to document activities that I used to do often, but have let slip of late, and have now taken up again during the pandemic.

Firstly, sewing.  Specifically, sewing face-masks.

I found the continuous line business difficult to do on a tablet, because I couldn't zoom in.  Which meant that I couldn't see exactly where the line was going down under my finger.

But I tried it again to show that I've started baking bread again.
This one was difficult too, because that bread was right out of the oven and just smelled so good. So, as soon as the sketch was finished, I cut it open to eat a quarter of it.  And then another quarter, with butter.

Continuous Line: ink pens, brush pens and rain

It wasn't raining when I started drawing the plum tree from my front porch but it was at the end. Big fat raindrops that came in handy. After getting my drawing in the weeds with my various pens I just held it out and let the rain fall on it. I think it made it better.

Continuous line challenge

Here are my two sketches from today's pdxusk challenge.

Still learning about this technique. One lesson so far has been pretty evident though, My use of water soluble ink has pretty well removed the continuous line in the first sketch. Two possible solutions; the use permanent ink or as I did in the second  sketch (living room- south view) use less watercolor!
Thanks for this idea, Kalina, this was fun.

Added some white gel pen

have to admit....not much less watercolor but better.

Fresh sketch - still drying - continuous line + wet splashes

Something different from my normal - standing up to draw/paint my kitchen.  I'm looking forward to other sketchings.  Thanks for the prompt for a super fun way to draw!

Correcting Errors Completed

I made an error that was published in the article about our group in the May issue of Drawing Attention and gave the wrong person credit for this drawing. Patricia Chow, editor of the magazine, worked tirelessly and fast to correct it and now the drawing has the right credit. This is the beautiful drawing by Anne McKinney. Thanks so much to Patricia and all the other people around the world who keep us drawing with their efforts!