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

Posts tagged “art journals

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!


A Good Soaking

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Noodler’s Bulletproof Black in a Lamy Vista, EF and DS & WN watercolors in an A5 Moleskine watercolor notebook. Windham, Maine.

I am now officially a fan of those cheesy “expands by an amazing 600%” sponge toys! So much fun documenting the transformation and prodding the jelly-like and slimy critter with a stick to adjust its position in the vase. Guess I’m just one of those people who never really grew up. It doesn’t take much to amuse me.

Here’s my second sketch of Stego in his early stages of expansion. Finally, he grew so long and heavy that his tail busted under the soggy dino’s weight. Yesterday, I tenderly pulled him from his bath and cobbled his slick tail back on with a toothpick (ouch!). Now he’s on a platter and enjoying a small snack. A good soaking apparently made Stego so very hungry. If it warms up tomorrow, I’ll grab a chair on the porch and sketch’im again as he withers.

Very soon, I shall plunge his companion, Chandra the Sea Star, into an appropriate vessel and observe her progress with pen in hand. What do sea stars eat, anyhow?

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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.


Opera Rose

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

Had a lovely time with my mom today enjoying warm breezes while sipping an illegally large frappuccino, unashamedly eavesdropping on an extremely amusing conversation at a nearby pavilion and sketching the new pier on Lake Jackson. All that and a new tube of WN Opera Rose watercolor, my current obsession!

Entering this post on my iPad. What a challenge!


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.


The “Unwatch” Option

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The Governor to Milton: “You kill or you die. Or you die and you kill.”
Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and watercolor on 9×12″ 400 Series Strathmore hardbound sketchbook.

Ugh, I was worried that the dream Goddess would punish me with zombie dreams if I watched the season 3 finale of The Walking Dead right before going to bed last night. The Governor is one messed up unit and without spoiling the outcome, the character no longer has a shred of pathos intact after what he did in that episode. I sketched with my new Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, with which I have obviously not developed a working relationship. Rough sketch above! Need to keep sketching with it to learn its nuances.

On the subject of dreams, watching last night’s show doesn’t explain the dream that I did have: In it, I was a feudal Japanese house servant/wife, complete with a filthy floor, a smoky kitchen, a cranky mother-in-law and an oafish, arse-scratching husband. The family did own a beautiful exotic wood desk that had two big drawers, each of which had its own key. Needless to say, I did not possess the keys to the desk and during the dream I was intensely absorbed in fantasy about the contents of those drawers.

If I could “unwatch” last night’s tv show, I would select that option. I hope the bloody mess that was The Walking Dead season closer won’t enter my dreams.


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?


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.


Kiss Me

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Noodler’s lexy gray ink and watercolors in Strathmore hardbound sketchbook.
American Horror Story Asylum, Season 2, Episode 13, “Madness Ends”.

The Angel of Death asks Sister Jude, “Are you ready?” Her answer: “Kiss me.”

I sketched during the final episode of American Horror Story Asylum, but only just enough to get the images I wanted down on paper. What a satisfying wrap up to the season. Really not any dangling story threads to wonder about. This morning I splashed some watercolors onto my drawings, although this Strathmore hardbound sketchbook isn’t really made for it. I stubbornly use this book for my tv character sketching, washing it on anyway because I like the way the pages crinkle when I leaf through to look at what I’ve done.


Speculation

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Michael, Fringe’s Child Observer, just before he undergoes a brain link with Walter. Season 5, Ep. 10, “Anomaly XB-6783746” • Noodler’s Bulletproof Black, PPBP, Schmincke gouache on 400 series Strathmore hardbound sketchbook. 12/26/12

Still on my Fringe binge and savoring the speculation on which answers to the myriad conundrums that the final episode will actually reveal. When it is finished, I will certainly miss Fringe’s characters and the outrageous yet believable future fiction. The prospect of a glossy movie deal for these actors sounds wonderful for them, but the plot would raise a thousand new questions which I doubt they would answer by the end of the film. Such a fantastic tease, entertainment!

After Fringe’s finale, I will move solemnly onward, in search of my next guilty pleasure television sketch fixation. Until then, I will sketch during the final show and watch it again (and again) over the weekend — keeping the episode on the dvr until satisfied that I have wrung a drawing from every sketch worthy scene.


Fringe Withdrawal

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Noodler’s Bulletproof Black and watercolor on a 9×12 Strathmore 400 series hardbound notebook. 21 Dec. 2012

The fifth and final season of Fox’s TV show Fringe isn’t even over yet and I’m feeling lost without it — in advance. The inevitable loss of “intimacy” with the storyline and characters I’ve grown to know and love has started to set in with the countdown for the finale, which is slated for next Friday night.

Of course, I sketched while watching this evening, but it was half-hearted effort and I’m not at all inclined to scan it. Here’s my favorite portrait of Walter Bishop, played by John Noble, from Season 5, Episode 9, “Black Blotter.” In this episode, Walter’s dropped blotter acid (again) and leads the gang on a merry chase to a room that links to a sort of parallel reality. At first, the Walter character annoyed me, but he’s really grown on me and I believe when I am in the throes of my Fringe withdrawal that I’ll miss him the most.

 


Magic Glasses

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Noodler’s Lexy Gray ink and watercolor on 5″x7″ Strathmore 400 series watercolor paper.
January 7, 2013.

Feeling smug about my intact sanity despite the daily avalanche of political ads this past election year, I used to recommend employing iron gate mental blinders and a knowing grimace that could pass as a wry smile in a pinch. But now a certain media-savvy and extremely annoying celebrity (and I use the term in its loosest definition) has a bun in her oven and my mental survival efforts have failed me miserably. Although I do my best to avoid Web sites and cable channels that pander to pseudo-celeb publicity stunt crap, my retinas are flapping like flags in a gale from the recent barrage of headlines and images of this young woman, whose name shall not translate from my brain through my fingertips to my keyboard today; no, it will not.

Before I could help myself, a photo caught my eye, I read the headline and, yep, clicked through to the story. The offending image was of this particular famous-for-nothing who was shown tossing her yard-long, raven hair extensions, pouting out  the injected fat in her prominent lips and flaring her tiny plastic nostrils at her notorious baby daddy. (Can you even flare your nostrils after rhinoplasty?) To clarify, I’m not talking about Kate Middleton and no, I’m not talking about LiLo — although I might give in to the urge at some point. Previously, I was blissfully immune to the annoyance factor of this not-to-be-named public figure whenever proof of her existence crossed my consciousness. Sadly, a brief scan of that one article provided me a lifetime overload of her and I am on a mission to Ninja out anything to do with her from my consciousness.

I use Google News as my browser’s home page because I like the myriad sources they use to compile the list I am presented with. Yes, I was aware that I could personalize this page, but never considered it until I saw the above-mentioned headline about her in their “U.S. News” category. Not “Entertainment” or “WTF” or even “Health” (think plastic surgery) but “NEWS”! Since then, I opened the settings, selected news sources and got rid of the “Entertainment” category entirely on my personalized aggregate page. I now enjoy fewer random exposures to the ubiquitous “news” regarding the state of this woman’s uterus. Until somebody invents magic glasses to filter unwanted visual noise, I suggest that there is sanity and control to be gained in exploring the filter options on your home page and displaying that wry smile as needed.


Hooked.

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Sister Jude, to Dr. Arden (American Horror Story Asylum) as he adeptly reels her in: “I don’t have time for the prologue. Just say it.”
Noodler’s Bulletproof Black & watercolor in a 400 Series hardbound Strathmore notebook.
2 December 2012.

As attracted as I am to dark and scary TV shows, I am absolutely obsessed with this season’s American Horror Story. I’m especially drawn and repelled by the Day Room scenes where Sister Jude has ordered that the record player be in constant use, playing an annoying nonsensical song. When I was a kid, I used to play that song on my record player incessantly: the French Singing Nun’s “Dominique”. One side of the 45 rpm record had the French version and the other had the English. Hooked on this show, my need to know the answers will grow until it airs the next episode on January 2, 2013. I wait…


Filling In

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Noodler’s Bulletproof Black in a leaky Pilot Penmanship and watercolor
A5 Moleskine watercolor notebook. 13 Oct. 2012

Looking back at my sketchbooks and seeing the huge gap of time where I neglected to post my sketching efforts, I’ve decided to try to fill in the gaps with drawing experiences that made me especially happy. The inference is that some sketch sessions don’t make me feel great. Although that’s unfortunately true, those grumpy sessions are few and far between.

This Portland (Maine) Harbor sketch was really fun to do. I took the footpath from East End Beach to get a view of the Ocean Gateway Terminal, where a huge cruise ship was disgorging hungry passengers to the many excellent Old Port restaurants. I’m a bit shy when sketching alone in public, so I try not to attract attention and don’t make a big production of whipping out my drawing supplies. This day, I had hardly put pencil to paper to block in the basics in my notebook when I was interrupted by a friendly cruise ship couple who wanted to have a look at my work!


“It’s a boy.”

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American Horror Story Asylum’s Sister Mary Eunice whispers to Lana, “It’s a boy.”
Micron Pigma marker and watercolor on 8×11″ Strathmore hardbound 400 Series notebook.
13 Dec. 2012

Guiltily, I took an hour to catch up on last night’s American Horror Story — Asylum, one of my many guilty pleasures.

There is another sketch worthy character from this finale episode: the Angel of Death. I’d better sketch that one soon or I’ll always be looking over my shoulder…


Fringe Element

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Walter Bishop examines “Tech” on Fox’s TV show Fringe. Watercolor, Noodler’s Bulletproof Black ink on a Strathmore 400 Series hardbound sketchbook (not intended for water media: buckled and pleasantly crinkly now!)

What, three months since my last Sketch blog entry? I’ve been gobbling up other people’s blogging and sketching regularly, just not posting. Maybe a New Year’s resolution is in order. In fact, it’s been so long since I’ve uploaded a photo, the upload process has been streamlined and upgraded and is running really slick — seems there are perks for slackers like me.

This sketch of Fringe’s quirky character Walter Bishop happened because of the way his eye enlarged when he passed the magnifying glass in front of it. Perfect! I wish there was a way for me to sketch his voice: what a melodious sound. It makes me feel contented somehow to be “busy” making a sketch while watching TV. I like to think of it as the lazy woman’s method of multitasking, except neither watching television or sketching are really tasks, are they? Maybe it’s my way of justifying sitting on my arse for a certain period of time just letting everything else fall by the wayside. Instead of pausing the show, my favorite technique is to snap photos with either iPad or phone then when the photos appear on my photo stream they are readily available for me to study. (Hitting the pause button during the show causes a big pause bar and Time Warner logo to come up and that blocks out the bottom third of the screen.)

For my noble TV sketching efforts, I am using a lovely Strathmore 400 series hardbound notebook that Mom gave me for my birthday in October. It’s got around 25 sketches in it so far. I had started sketching screenshots in my huge 11×14 Canson multimedia XL notebook (what lovely paper!) but it’s too heavy to travel with, hence the perfect and timely birthday gift. Once the Strathmore is full, I’ll be moving my “multitasking” back into the Canson, for sure.


Opposites Attract

Johnson Bros. “Indies” pattern sugar bowl. Ink and watercolor on Moleskine watercolor notebook.
6 September, 2012.

Aiming for a fast and loose sketch, I cast my eye about for inspiration. Of course, my desire for detail superseded my plan and guided my gaze to the china cabinet. There were the pretty blue and white Indies plates. Ah! The sugar bowl would be fun to sketch, I thought to myself. After I got the bowl settled in the middle of the kitchen table, I queued up a Supernatural episode on Netflix and started drawing while Sam and Dean raced about saving people and “ganking” demons.

Mostly, I listen to music when I sketch. I don’t know what impulse led me to put on my guilty pleasure, Supernatural, while drawing, but it’s not lost on me that I was depicting something very fragile and light against a heavy background of tongue-in-cheek television horror. Think I won this battle, though. I’m quite happy with the resulting delicate sketch of our pretty sugar bowl. Maybe that old saying is true: opposites attract.