Art Journals, sketches, TV sketches, watercolors. Read: guilty pleasures, fixations and obsessions.

paintings

As seen on tv

As seen on TV

Paul Manafort wears navy blue for his mugshot in June, 2018. Pencil, watercolors,
Derwent Inktense and a dash of Micron pen here and there, in a 9×12″ Canson Mix Media spiral notebook. Reference pic was a screen shot snagged while I watched tv last month.

In anticipation of the upcoming trial this week, I wanted to brush up on Paul Manafort’s features. He has an interesting face and aura about him. Nearly always, I gain pathos for my subjects; like I’ve had a sit-down with the real person after time spent scrutinizing their nostrils and whatnot. I try to use great care which faces I scrutinize.


Dunked and Drawn

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Noodler’s Bulletproof Black in a Lamy Vista EF, DS and WN watercolors in a 11×14″ Canson XL Mix Media pad. Yes, the paper buckles; it’s not the greatest for wet work. But I don’t mind if I slosh beer on it while I splash paint around…

On the last day of Spring, I dunked Stella, the amazing expanding sponge toy into a glass bowl and placed her on the front porch table where Stego was ensconced. She had been egging me on for weeks and because Stego was nearly back to his old tiny self, I obliged. Stella began to grow slowly, but when she made progress, she meant business.

Recently, I found some toys on the walking path near the house and scooped ’em up because they were winking at me. They immediately began to hang around Stella’s bowl and they clearly desired to be drawn. I’ve been keeping track of Stella for a week now and so have the boys. They’d better watch out, though. Stella’s going to get way too big for that bowl.

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Lemon Trillium

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Noodler’s Lexy Gray & Bulletproof Black, DS and WN watercolor in an 11×14″ Canson Mixed Media pad. 15 June, 2013. Windham, Maine

Daunted by painting flowers, I thought I’d dive back into the pool with a sketch of a foliage plant, the Lemon Trillium in my garden. I wanted to convey the liver-spotting that this plant has but will have to work on that another time. I’m still grinning from my hour of splashing paint around on the front porch. Hell, I’m just happy that I didn’t need to wear my fleece vest today—it’s been so cold in Maine the last month. The notebook is too big for my scanner so I snapped it with my iPhone 4S. The color and exposure could be better, but you get the sketch!


Stego. Saurus.

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Graphite and DS watercolor in a 3.5 x 5.5″ watercolor Moleskine book. Windham, ME

My sister-in-law gave me a couple of expanding creatures last week and it’s been too cold to do anything but sit in my idling car with the defrost and the heated seat blasting. Warmer weather started (exactly) today and I scheduled front porch time for hanging out and sketching. I filled a huge vase with water and dropped the stegosaurus in and sketched away while sipping iced coffee.

Summer is here and not a moment too soon.


Sensory Memory

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Noodler’s Bulletproof Black in a Lamy Vista EF, WN and DS watercolors in an A5 Moleskine watercolor book. Lake Placid, FL.

While visiting my mom at her new “55 Plus” community in central Florida last week, I became a frequent clubhouse pool guest. Nobody asked me who I was, probably because I pinned the guest i.d. tag on the outside of my tote bag. But I could tell a few of them just barely resisted the urge to saunter up and ask, “…and who are your people?” I feigned nonchalance and set myself up in a cabana to sketch and sip a brimming tankard of iced sun tea after a leisurely soak in the bathtub temperature pool.

Ahhhh, sensory memory is serving me well right now. I can close my eyes and feel the hot sun on my toes as I listen to the ugly New England holiday weekend forecast which calls for highs in the 50s and insistent rain.


Finally!

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DS Moonglow, Fr. Utramarine and Potters Pink on 6×6″ 140 lb. watercolor paper. 3 May, 2013.

Finally! After a month of creating Kaguya’s Gift, my International Fake Journal Month fake journal, I was anxious to splash around color without a plan. More of that needed, although I enjoyed the journal immensely and am already scheming plots and materials for next year’s fake journal.


All Wrapped Up

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Miyoho serves food and beverage to the entire shuttle crew en route to Kaguya Lunar Station.
Micron Pigma pen, watercolor on random scrap of paper, glued into the approx. 8×8″ hand bound journal filled with Strathmore 500 Series mixed media paper and Canson Mi-Teintes paper.

My participation in the International Fake Journal Month has consumed me. My creative sketching and painting energy is all wrapped up in my hand-bound fake journal where young Hoshi Banks, a college engineering student, has taken an internship position on the Moon. At “present” she is on a shuttle, about to orbit the Moon and descend to the Japanese Lunar surface station Kaguya. Hoshi has been sleeping quite a bit on this journey, the reasons for which she is (finally) becoming suspicious. There are three other interns in the program and Hoshi is growing desperate to tell them she thinks the aerospace corporation which has organized this expedition to Kaguya is not what it seems!  I wonder what lies in store for them on the Moon?

Have a look through the pages of my fake journal, Kaguya’s Gift, and let me know what you think! Maybe you will want to participate next year?

Click here to learn more about International Fake Journal Month, created by Roz Stendahl.


Because I’m the Leprechaun!

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Noodler’s Bulletproof black, watercolor pencils, watercolors on A5 Moleskine watercolor journal.
16 March, 2013. Windham, ME.

Wish I’d bought two of these punching Leprechaun pens at the dime store last month, because I gave this to the hostess at her St. Patrick’s Day party last Saturday. (Great party, though!) Every time I look at the face on this sketch, I think of the comedian Chris Rock. Come to think of it, he does kind of remind me of a Leprechaun, somehow.

And then my mind goes down the association tunnel and quickly lands on a certain Saturday Night Live skit involving Wayne, Garth and a flashlight.


The Eyes Have It

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From last fall’s TV sketching obsession, this is CW’s Supernatural Archangel Castiel in the midst of smiting the devilish Crowley with his laser-blue eyes. Noodler’s Bulletproof Black and watercolor on 11×14″ Canson Mixed Media Pad. 14 Nov. 2012.

Last night, I just couldn’t fall asleep. Tossed, turned, counted backward from 100 several times and never once nodded off. Oh, I was tired enough to sleep. Yes, I was. And no, I didn’t consume caffeine or the like after noon yesterday. What I did was teach an early evening yoga class that ended at 7:30 p.m. Sleeplessness after teaching has happened to me before. I also get this skimming consciousness after practicing a pranayama, or breathing exercise, called Nadi Shodhana. I’ve casually queried my yogini friends and nobody else admits to this experience. Maybe this was a spontaneous Yoga Nidra experience? Naaaa. I feel refreshed and alert after Yoga Nidra, quite the opposite of how I feel at the moment.

Today I will have to endure feeling … and looking … like this sketch of poor old red-eyed, dry-lipped and sleep-deprived Castiel.


Lunar Delicacies

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Pencil, Bulletproof black ink, water soluble crayons, acrylics, acrylic inks and watercolor on an 11×14 Canson mixed media pad. 3 March 2013. Windham, Maine.

This sketch is the first rough study of the illustration I envision for my sci-fi short story, Blame, which is based on a dream I had in the late 1990s.

First, I did a cut and paste Photoshop file and the more I look at it, the more I think that it should be the illustration not something I draw or paint. But, I love drooling over the depression glass pieces and think it would be fun to include portraits of the “lunar delicacies” I have in my own china cabinets in the eventual painting.

For me, in this case, it’s more process than product. I can’t wait to set up some of the glassware my mother gave me and start drawing and painting them.


Earthlight

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Acrylics on 8×10″ canvas board. There are probably a half-dozen abandoned, gessoed over paintings under this one. Windham, ME. 2 March 2013

Still feeling my way around with acrylic paints — I started this right after gessoing over an awful self-portrait. It was dusk outside and the clouds were striated and slightly illuminated (from God knows what, we haven’t really seen a sunset in days!) This started out being a “serious” study of the poplars on the Presumpscot River bank behind the house, but then I added the moon and it evolved into an earth-like planet.

I wrote a sci-fi short story called “Blame” which stemmed from a dream I had years ago where I was stranded on the Moon (yes, that was some dream…) and was sifting through piles of beautiful depression glass. In the dream, I could see the Earth looming in space but the piles of sugary glass were even more compelling. Hmmm. Maybe my next not-so-serious study subject?


Out the Window

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“Out the Window.” Acrylics on 4×4″ canvas. 28 February 2013.

Stymied by my latest self-portrait attempt at getting reacquainted with acrylics, I grabbed a tiny, 4×4″ stretched canvas, put on soothing Yoga Tribe music and slapped some paint on it while gazing out the window at the poplars in the woods.

This mini painting makes me feel tons better.


Branching Out

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WIP 25 Feb., 2013: Acrylics on 9×12″ canvas board.

Working out my winter-blues demons with my tiny watercolor portrait last week was incredibly productive for me. It shook me out of my doldrums, spawned several productive studio days — now I find myself itching to branch out further and signed up for a Strathmore multi-media instructional art workshop. After I signed up, I thought I’d better reacquaint myself with my rather neglected collection of acrylic paints. Initially, I’d set up a rather ho-hum still life. Bleh, no fruit or household objects, please! Since I’d learned so much from my little watercolor self portrait revelation, I again turned to my mirror for a handy subject.

This work-in-progress shows about three hours of fiddling. I’d dreamed of big swaths of brushstrokes and thick, buttery paint … the opposite of my effort. Yes, there are primitive stabs at technique, nearly fatal proportion problems here and, ugh, I have portrayed my eyes as flat and too small. Something I didn’t omit, however, was my brilliant fledgling set of Gramma jowls; looks like I exaggerated them, instead.

Ach, unless I spontaneously burst into an interesting new rhythm with my approach, this strange “selfie” will likely be covered in gesso after a few more hours of fiddling.


Angel on My Shoulder

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Angst, pencil and Daniel Smith watercolors in 3.5×5.5″ Moleskine watercolor
notebook. Mirror self-portrait, Windham, Maine. 19 Feb. 2013.

Feeling restless this winter. Don’t want to go to bed at a reasonable hour and don’t want to get out of bed in the morning because I stayed up too late. Activities that usually got me to spring out of bed weren’t motivation enough anymore. I was feeling mopey and sluggish and looking grey faced and haggard. I’ve gotten winter depression before, but it snuck up on me this year and hit me like a ton of bricks.

Tuesday morning the angel on my shoulder must have whispered into my ear, because all at once I thought, “Ah-hah! It’s Seasonal Affective Disorder!” This explained my arty dry spell; I needed to use my neglected stash of pencils, pens, ink and beautiful watercolors to find my way back. Before I had even brushed my teeth, I was looking in the mirror and scratching out a self portrait. I saw evidence of my state of mind. When I looked at the finished sketch again Tuesday afternoon, I felt like the spell was broken. I’d nudged my downward spiral upward and outward just by picking up my tiny Moleskine watercolor notebook and a pencil.

Thankfully, I’m much better now. Realizing that I am experiencing symptoms of S.A.D. seems to be half the battle for me. I’m trying every trick in the book to claw my way toward spring with a genuine smile on my face: Yoga, meditation, chocolate, extra Vitamin D3, drinking plenty of water and — most importantly  for me — continuing to express my feelings with art supplies.


Dry Spell

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Noodler’s Lexy Grey ink and Daniel Smith watercolors on a 11×14 Canson Multi-media pad.
20 January, 2013. Windham, Maine.

Fringe is over. American Horror Story Asylum is done. Aside from the Winchester Bros., there’s no tv show I’m watching currently that is snagging my sketching eye. Although I am keeping up with The Walking Dead, I don’t exactly feel like focusing on zombie eyeballs and nasty ooze closely enough to render it on paper. Not so much. Mostly, I’m moping around because it’s the middle of winter, my hands feel like scratchy sandpaper and I’m feeling fussy.

Although the drawings I’ve made over the past couple of weeks have been okay, but I seem to be in an imagination dry spell. Nothing’s really satisfying me. I’ll go so far as to settle on a subject, select a sketchbook to make an entry in, open the book and uncap my lovely Lamy Joy 1.1mm filled with Noodler’s Lexy Grey … and then I hesitate. Nope. My attention span just isn’t strong enough to dedicate sufficient energy to fill a sketchbook page. I made a ho-hum attempt on Super Bowl Sunday, scratching in and dropping color onto a snack table sketch earlier in February. But, blah, maybe it was the sound of football: that sketch will not be given air time. If I didn’t kind of like the sketch on the other side of that page, I’d excise it from the book and recycle it.

Last month, just as my restless feelings were taking root, these pretty tea cups that my mom let me have caught my eye and fairly demanded a sketch. I remember these cups from when I was a child (but not allowed to touch!) and they make me smile just looking at them. I thought sketching them would break the spell, but after I splashed the images onto the page, I slapped the book shut and didn’t do anything else in it until I made myself draw my desk and everything on it just as it was, without arranging things so they’d be more compelling. Sigh. I even Googled “writer’s block” and came up with an EFT video to clear stuck energy. Maybe I should give that a go.

I trust that inspiration is building, just as I am noticing that the winter is waning. I’ll spend my time on the numerous other projects I’ve been neglecting and allow my sketchy muse her space.

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Noodler’s Bulletproof Black, Lexy Grey ink and Daniel Smith watercolors on a 11×14 Canson Multi-media pad. 11 February, 2013. Windham, Maine.


Almost

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Pitt pen, DS watercolors on 5×7″ Strathmore 140 lb watercolor paper. 29 January 2013.

This beautiful, misty/rainy/icy morning has me wanting to go into the woods. The birds are acting like it’s spring (it’s not) and the scent on the air tells me crocus should be poking up from the garden beds (they aren’t). I long for a good, old-fashioned snow storm with cement quality snow. The type of snow that’s perfect for clomping around in snow shoes, making snowmen and carving out cozy snow forts. And of course it’s great for creating snow pile racing courses.

The ground is bare in spots and icy mud is rearing its ugly head in our nachtmare driveway. The sights and sensations of this late January weather pattern are so alluring that I almost don’t resent that this isn’t a full-on snow storm. Almost.


Snarky Sam

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Noodler’s ink, DS watercolors on 9×11″ Strathmore hardbound sketchbook. 24 January 2013.

CW’s tv show, Supernatural, Season 8, episode 11 • LARP and the Real Girl.

Dean pouts while Sam snarks about the medieval costume Dean must don to investigate the supernatch goings on at a LARP (live action role-playing) festival. Of course, Sam smirks to learn that his older and much prettier brother gets a taste of humility now and then, who wouldn’t? But, as they near the end of 8 seasons, I am reluctantly beginning to believe they are preparing to call it quits. Story lines have always been predictable and that’s never bothered me. But it seems like the Winchester brothers themselves have become complacent caricatures of their own characters. That doesn’t mean there won’t be a season 9; another season would give them an opportunity to indulge their dedicated followers a jump-the-shark grand finale season. (Not that they haven’t been “jumping the shark” in every episode for, oh, about 8 seasons!)

Over the top stunts and story lines or not, I’ll be watching … and sketching.


Suzanne

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Noodler’s Lexy Gray ink, Daniel Smith watercolor on 5×7″ 140 lb. watercolor paper. 14 January 2013.

Happy birthday to my friend Suzanne! I panicked Monday morning when I realized I hadn’t opened my calendar over the weekend. It had the reminder to mail her a birthday card on Saturday to be sure she got it on time.

Whoo, hoo for me! I made it.