Fast Sketching on a Grid

Golf courses are so enjoyable to walk around. I walked with my husband around nine holes in Palmer with my sketchbook. I’ve never been a very fast sketcher, but I wanted to see if I could get some sketches down between his shots. I started out sketching with a pen on a grid of about 2″ x 3″ rectangles. Each of these took less than two minutes. I filled them in with watercolor later. The larger ones I sketched at the tee or while my husband putted at the green, giving me a little more time.

If you are new to sketching and want an idea for getting started, consider this approach. Think of something interesting to you, then make a grid and fill it with simple images. If you look at the small sketches I did, you will see there aren’t very many lines drawn.  The color gives it life. Use watercolor, colored pencil, markers, or even crayons. You could do everyday objects such as shoes or mugs or do a page of blossoms growing in your garden-or weeds as the case may be. Fishing tackle would make interesting images to draw. Remember, you don’t have to fill up the page in one day. Enjoy the process and sketch what you know or explore what you don’t. I don’t know much about horse tack, but there is a barn nearby with lots of things to draw. Might be fun!

I’d love to know if you do this and how it works for you.

Harvesting Copper River Reds

Last week we joined several other Alaskans harvesting beautiful Copper River Red Salmon on the Copper River. The day was hot by Alaska standards and the river was running high. With temperatures in the seventies, glaciers and snow at higher elevations melt, causing the water to rise. It had risen six inches overnight. We learned that salmon stop running upstream as the water rises because the water they are seeking in their “home” stream becomes too diluted for them to follow. They slow their assent and lull about until the water level goes back down and the concentration of their stream becomes stronger in the river.

The limit for salmon this year was thirty per household. We caught fifteen in seven hours. The week before, friends of ours caught one hundred fish in a day, fishing for three families.

We drive about 150 miles from our house by pickup, then about seven miles on a trail with a four-wheeler, then we hike down a very steep bank to the silty river and put the net in the water. We can’t see the net in the water because of the silt, but when a fish swims into it the pole jerks and we lift it out of the water. There is nothing like fresh Copper River Red Salmon!

Sketches of Summer

Last week we went for a four-wheeler ride with snow falling around us. So far, it has been the coldest July on record. I think the birds are knitting socks for their fledglings since it is so cold. It is definitely taking longer than usual for birds to fly from the nest. This robin was busily feeding her chicks between sitting on them to warm them up.

In a shadowy spot near a lake grow the most beautiful Northern Lady Slippers. So elegantly they glow in the dappled sunshine I just had to inelegantly sit in the moss to sketch the last few blooms of the summer.

Sketching in the Summer-Belanger Pass, Alaska

My husband and I went on a little four-wheeler trip into the mountains on Sunday. Dramatic storm clouds ripped up and down the valley as we watched out of the wind on a hillside eating our lunch. Shooting stars, anemone, cranberry flowers and deep blue gentian were everywhere.

Something like snow started to fall. It was round like hail, but soft like snow. My husband called it “snail”. It looked as if it had snowed up the trail so we enjoyed the area around the pass, then made our way back home.

Sketches of June in Alaska

About ten days ago, the sun came out and finally it warmed up. I’ve been outside sketching, gardening and playing. Without polar fleece.

Down at the Matanuska River.

Stopped to sketch the lovely River Beauty, or dwarf fireweed, as it grows along the Matanuska River. A cloudy day.

Near our house are lagoons. They are full of ducks and surrounded by flowers.

I sat on our four-wheeler as I sketched the lagoons and listened to the mother duck talk to her ducklings.

Last Thursday, I was a part of the reading program at our local (38 miles away) new library. We blew into a mixture of bubbles and paint, then laid paper on it. What great results. Art is such fun!

Children in the new Sutton Library courtyard.

Bubbles and paint and a few sparkles.