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

Posts tagged “watercolor sketches

Filling In

101312 harbor activity

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.”

sister mary eunice

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

120712 walter's eye

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.

Sketch of a Sketch

Received my copy of the Laws Guide to Drawing Birds by John Muir Laws a couple of weeks ago — I only had the chance to hastily flip through it because company came that very afternoon to stay for a week… Every so often during that week, I’d casually handle the book, furtively crack it open for a teasing peek only to slap it closed, my face flushed as though it were something taboo to do in “mixed company”. Clearly, this book intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to get some alone time with it.

A couple of days after our guests departed, I uncovered the book, which was in a pile in my studio and immediately formed a vision and intention for the next morning: Two morning hours (at least) of play on the cool and breezy front porch with this book, my sketch kit and a virtual fountain of hot coffee.

The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds is laid out well and although I didn’t start at the beginning (I never do!) I read a couple of early chapters and settled on scratching out one of the lessons in my small dry media sketchpad. Then I started to get fidgety — probably the coffee — and scooted everything together for a sketch outing “portrait”. Then, not so mysteriously, I felt compelled to sketch and paint that scenario in my new Moleskine watercolor notebook.

When I think back on last Thursday morning, it makes me grin. I need to manifest more of this type of vision/intention, it was so much fun to play!


Watercolor, Noodler’s Bulletproof Black ink and gouache in 8.25 x 11.5″ Moleskine watercolor notebook. 10 August, 2012.

At a luncheon yesterday, I was utterly transfixed with the rather unusual chandelier that hung over our table and just had to attempt to convey its whimsical character in a sketch. Yes, maybe I fussed with the crystals a bit too long. I confess a suppressed fixation with sparkles, glitter and fantasy.

The Gauntlet

Watercolor on 140 lb., 8.5 x 11″ Strathmore Visual Journal. Westbrook, Maine. 1 June, 2012.

Nothing says “carnival” to me more than the scent of fried dough. It smells delicious, and I’m sure that when the oil is new, the result is very good. But, ugh — I tried it once a number of years ago and even though I’m a hound dog for anything covered with sugar, the dough was heavy and greasy and sat unpleasantly in my stomach. My friend and I were walking off an excellent meal of Indian food last weekend, when we happened upon a small carnival in a park by the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, ME. Full of saag paneer, I was able to run the gauntlet of carnival delicacies without succumbing to any temptation. Until I got to the milkshake stand, that is.

Looking around at the carnival sights as I contentedly sipped my chocolate shake, I realized how extraordinarily crisp the lights of Jensen’s Fried Dough stand lit their flags against the night sky. I had my sketch book with me, but didn’t feel comfortable whipping it out and starting a sketch. So, I snapped a photo and sketched it at home later that evening. I wasn’t thrilled with the sky rendering, so I started another version with a different palette and here is a view of the comparison. Although I like the sky in the second attempt, I think the first sketch has more personality.

Window Seat

Digital composite of watercolor and ink on Moleskine notebook and Strathmore watercolor paper.
27 May 2012.

This sketch is a composite, digitally combined with Awash in Babies. I showed the “plain Jane” version without the whiney babies to a few of my friends and they all agreed that the sketch was incomplete without a monster on the wing, like in Twilight Zone’s “Nightmare at 22,000 Feet.” Naturally, I took their suggestion, but only as far as cutting, pasting and LAUGHING at the result. Traveling with fussy little ones must be a nachtmare, but being seated in a plane near one of them can be excruciating.

It’s not graceful to gloat. No, it’s not.

Graphite, Ink, Intense Pencils on Moleskine. 12 May, 2012. South Windham, Maine.

Revenge is sweet when it’s time for Super Scrabble on a Sunday afternoon. I lost the last game, which took place April 15, and botched my little drawing of the afternoon as well (see it here.) So, this game and sketch redeems me somewhat, although it’s not really graceful to gloat. But, heheh, it’s hard not to once in a while…

Pressing Business

Pastimes and fixations on projects come and go with me, but I’ve always sketched, doodled, painted and otherwise made things from scratch. Some years, I am up to my elbows in buckets of sudsy water, scraping layers of wallpaper from the walls of our old farmhouse and other years I can’t seem to get enough time outdoors in the gardens. This year, I’m sketching more, started playing with watercolors again and am getting rather obsessed with fountain pens, paints and sketch books. Especially sketchbooks made with watercolor paper.

Over the years, I’ve made a couple of booklets and pamphlets and have enjoyed the process, but mostly I adore having a tangible piece to show for my effort. Lately, I’ve been wanting to create sketch journals, making the sizes that I want and filling them with good watercolor paper that won’t warp with repeated washes. After watching a fast-action video in which a guy makes himself a beautiful journal, I got it in my head to make a book press and get started bookbinding.

The maple board and the hardware came from Lowe’s. My kind husband cut the boards for me and yesterday, I assembled the book press. Today, I created my first book with it. It’s not perfect, surely, but it’ll do nicely for as a palette journal. I’ve got to revisit a couple of Web sites to find out where I went wrong with the stitching, (although the stitches seem tight, one of the signatures is slightly separated from the others,) and it would probably be a good idea to get some archival glue. But, I’m happy to have been able to put this little 3.25″x4″ booklet together with scrap materials.

Helles Crew

Ink and watercolor on Moleskine notebook. 28 April, 2012.
Last weekend, we took another road trip to New Hampshire. The waitress fairly rolled her eyes when she saw me whip out the devil ducks and wooden Cabin Fever contender. When she saw me sketching, I heard an audible sigh. No matter, the beer was great and the devil duckies wanted beer. Here, see the envious Helles Crew at Moat Mountain Smokehouse & Brewery on 28 April. Cabin Fever Snow Pile Races Evil Devil Duckies and rounded, grounded Palooka Red only wish they could taste this brew!

Natter, Schmatter

Ink, markers and watercolor on Moleskine notebook. 26 April, 2012. South Portland, Maine.
Had an appointment to have my car serviced at the local Subaru dealer  and their WiFi never works for me, so I brought my sketchbook and pens. Wish I’d brought my earplugs, too, because two 60-year-oldish ladies were dominating the waiting area with their blather and natter. I barely contained my eyeballs from rolling back in their sockets several juicy times and inadvertently let an exasperated sigh when one of the ladies asked her friend where
Daytona Beach was. (Really.)

The natter and the wait might have been boring as hell, but I found the duct work
in the showroom fascinating.

Awash in Babies

Watercolor, ink, Tombow pens on Moleskine watercolor notebook. 23 April, 2012.
These wee baby dolls live in this 3″ diameter salt cellar in a china cabinet. They caught my eye the other day—they looked forlorn and neglected. Now they reside on my desk and demand constant attention. Because I know who’s boss around here, I obliged with a sketch.


Ink and watercolor on 5×8 Moleskine. 15 April, 2012.
Lost miserably at Scrabble today, but came up with a half-decent ink sketch of the situation. Then, when I started painting, I bumped the notebook and the Bloody Mary red paint ran. So, I went with it and splashed my way across the page. Whoopsie…