Some people knit, some hike, some read, some play golf. I sketch. I sketch for pleasure, but I also sketch to connect with my surroundings and unwind. For those who are just beginning to sketch, it might not be that way for you yet, but give yourself a break. The first days of learning to ride a bike aren’t mindless, are they? But after you get the hang of it, you are able to take in your surroundings and the bike is part of the experience. So too with sketching.
My husband and I hit the golf course on Friday. The snow and ice haven’t been gone long, but it was warm and sunny and the leaves were just coming out. Lots of spring noises and smells. For the record, I don’t golf. I can’t remember the difference between a bogey and a birdie. It’s hard enough to keep track of the innings. I walk or ride along and sketch. It isn’t fair for the golfers to keep those awesome views to themselves.
The greens were quite yellow. I considered fiddling with them later to add variety, but I decided to opt for the freshness of the moment.
Why should golfers only see this view? This took less than five minutes, then I hurry and catch up to my husband while it dries.
I’m not Sherlock Holmes, but I do love to nose around and look at my Facebook friends’ photos. It is so obvious to me what they love. It isn’t the volume of images, but the moments they capture and share. I’ve sketched a bird, a child, and a building. For the sake of variety and my whimsical nature, I chose this image for today’s post. I understand why a person would love a tractor. So much work shared to the rhythm of that engine. My boys loved getting rides in the bucket of Grampa’s tractor. It needs “Allis Chalmers” painted on it. A small detail, but love is in the details, right?
Many of my friends on Facebook post such excellent photos. The light or composition might be stunning, but honestly, I’m looking for the love: love of nature or the love of a dad for his son. It’s the element I’m drawn to more than light, color, and composition. It’s where beauty finds a home. It motivates and stirs me. The photos I find and put in my “to sketch” file are mere ghost images of what my friends love. Sketching them is like holding a precious jewel for just a moment.
Since the past two images I sketched were of living beings, I thought I’d mix it up a bit with a structure. My husband’s cousin owns a beautiful home in New Hampshire she calls “Joy Hill”. She is an excellent photographer and has posted many lovely images, but this one caught my eye.
In a sketching group on Facebook, we were asked to sketch a square from a photo of an Italian street. The finished images will be on display in Palazzo Moretti, Italy. I’m not able to travel to Italy this year, but my sketch will be taking up a little space in that beautiful country.
Below is the photo and my interpretation. It was begging for life and a bit of story. I like to think of it as “Before the Fall”. A couple ways you could take that: romantic or humorous…or both.
I found this fun website of artists illustrating recipes. I entered a contest where the artist illustrates one ingredient used in three simple recipes. I got my entry in twenty minutes before the deadline. I’d like to have you think this is unusual for me. Here is my entry:
Carrots Times Three
Our family loves carrots and Alaska’s are fabulous.
Illustrating recipes is so much fun. In fact, I’m planning on creating twelve of these and giving them to my daughters-in-law for Christmas using Blurb or some other site that prints books. That might mean I need to plan ahead a bit. Maybe a little more than twenty minutes. Please feel free to print this for your own use, but please, don’t share, post, or sell the image. Share this blog site all you want.
More Facebook Friends sketches coming. I’m looking at a photo of the most lovely farm. It’s almost finished.
I must have a stalker’s heart. My Facebook friends post photos which only tempt me to see more. More of that road trip. More of that family (oh, look! they have twins too!) More of that building project. More of those crazy pets. Some of those images reached out and grabbed me by the leg. Well, sort of. They spoke to me in one way or another. Usually it is the lighting in a photo that catches my eye. If it makes me catch my breath, it goes in the file. I’m not going to tell you what images are there, but judging by the contents, I’m eclectic.
This is the first one. My friend, Heather, feeds all sorts of birds. I’m jealous that she has Stellar Jays. She is only a hundred miles and a mountain range away, but those jays don’t live near us.
Stellar Jay Watercolor
She feeds them from her hand and captured that expression with her camera. How could I not paint this handsome dude? I’m a sucker for electric blue eyebrows.
The next painting is on my painting table. I’m going to send a photo of the painted image to the “owner” and wait for a response. This one has to look just right or it is all wrong. Oh, to be a fly on the wall…
It is always an honor to paint a person. There is the responsibility to “get” the expression and put the eyes and ears in the right places, but there is a level of tender intimacy found when I look so long and carefully at just that nose, that ear, that personality. It isn’t the same as painting, say…cars!
These cars are all in Arizona. People drive golf carts around, too. I wasn’t sure what to put in the bottom middle spot. It would have been difficult to draw a small car across the gutter of the page. My friend, Elinor, suggested an Arizona license plate. Pretty cool idea, isn’t it? The page needed some text, so I added words from an old Country Western song. I sang it for my husband and he laughed.
We flew from cold and dark Alaska to sunny Arizona earlier this month. I sketched in the sun every day. A friend I met on Facebook, Stacy Egan, invited me to join her sketching group in Tucson. What an enjoyable and friendly group! We met at the train station and roasted in the sun to sketch this cool, old train.
I realized as I photographed these following images that there is a thread here. They are all passages: a door, a window, a gate. Last weekend my mother went through a passage from life to death. She had been at the doorway for so long, slipping away from us in bits as Alzheimer’s slowly took her from us. I believe with all my heart that she is with God now and that she was so very glad to go from here to be with Him. From this life to eternity. During this Thanksgiving week, I am thankful for having had a wonderful mother.
The lakes in interior Alaska have begun to freeze and the swans are getting ready to take the last flight out before their feet freeze in the ice. I stopped at Eureka Summit and sketched part of the Chugach Range. I could have used two more pieces of paper in this panorama to sketch what I was looking at through the windshield. Snow hasn’t fallen on lower elevations. The colors are from dry grasses and leaves.
Eureka Summit Mile 130 Glennallen Highway, Alaska
I’m going to post sketches available for sale on this blog and they can be purchased using PayPal. Message me if you are interested. The price will be in the title or it will be marked sold.
On Saturday I took four children to a birthday party fifty miles from our house. After I dropped them off, I escaped to a quiet lake nearby and sketched this view. A gentle breeze was blowing and birds were flitting about in the trees. It was marvelous.
Lake at Mile 143, 7″ x 9″watercolor/pen $50.00 (postage paid)