A Reason to Sketch

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.

Golf 1

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.

Golf 2

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.

For the Love of a Tractor

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?

A loved tractor

A loved tractor

Sketching Joy Hill From Facebook Photos

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.

Deanna's Joy Hill

Joy Hill web

An Italian Sketch Without Air Fare

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.

Suzie Althens Before the Fall

pan_view_pozzuolo_13_suzie (2)

Painting Kids and Cars

Elijah

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!

Arizona 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.

Arizona Sketches

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.

Tucson 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.

Tucson Red Door web Tucson Blue Window Brick Doorway web

Esperanza Villa web

Sketching a Lake Before Freeze-up

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

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" $50.00

Lake at Mile 143, 7″ x 9″watercolor/pen $50.00 (postage paid)

Sketching a Mailbox, Rose Hips, and a Glacier

Day 21 through 26 of the Sketching Project. I tried to choose a variety of subjects, but I tend to spend as much time outside as I can since winter is just around the corner.

Our son's mailbox looked so pretty in the sun.

Our son’s mailbox looked so pretty in the sun.

The Matanuska Glacier with the river in front as it converges with Caribou Creek.

The Matanuska Glacier with the river in front as it converges with Caribou Creek.

Rose hips are plump and red now. I'm thinking of making some syrup with them.

Rose hips are plump and red now. I’m thinking of making some syrup with them.

Wonderful GrandView Lodge, where they serve the best coffee, pizza and pie!

Wonderful GrandView Lodge, where they serve the best coffee, pizza and pie!

How I love laundry dried outside...

How I love laundry dried outside…

Thought I'd make a stunning arrangement with these dried four foot beauties. Placed them carefully on the back seat of the car. Started to drive then pulled over to heave them out of the car. Wow, did they stink!

Thought I’d make a stunning dried arrangement with these four-foot beauties. Placed them carefully on the back seat of the car, then started to drive, then pulled over to heave them out of the car. Wow, did they stink!

Almost to the end of the month. Five more days of sketches to go.

Sketching Berries, a Bottle, and a Bus

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking over my shoulder during this sketching challenge. You might wonder how I choose what I’ll sketch. During the day I’m on the lookout for interesting subjects-interesting to me and to you. Sometimes sunlight will land on an object and I’m just drawn to it. Sometimes I want to share a view or something like these luscious blueberries with you.

I nibbled on nearby berries as I sketched these, then I ate them!

I nibbled on nearby berries as I sketched these, then I ate them!

I’m sure the neighbors were wondering why I was staring up at this power pole.

This bottle of olive oil looked so humble in the light.

This bottle of olive oil looked so humble in the light.

This is a bit of a self-portrait.

This is a bit of a self-portrait. I drive my big yellow studio about 200 miles a day. I often stop and sketch after I’ve dropped off the students.

Our living room and the door to my studio inviting me in...

Our living room and the door to my studio inviting me in…

At Eureka Summit I stopped and sketched this in my big yellow studio. The poles are there to mark the road during snow storms.

At Eureka Summit I stopped and sketched this from my big yellow studio. The poles are there to mark the road during snow storms.

On the Glenn Highway, there is a section where the land flattens out and little lakes dot the landscape.

On the Glenn Highway, there is a section where the land flattens out and little lakes dot the landscape. I always feel like yodeling here. It’s a bit Narnian, isn’t it?

Sketching a Harrow, a Hat, and a Few Feathers

I wanted to share the sketches from last week for the Sketchpack Project for Artsource, an art supply store in Cape Town, South Africa. So fun to join other artists around the world in this August project.

Half of a harrow in the sun.

Half of a harrow in the sun.

A few feathers I found recently

A few feathers I found recently

Our neighbor's flowers. How could I resist?

Our neighbor’s flowers. How could I resist?

Oh, we had a lovely, warm summer!

Oh, we had a lovely, warm summer!

As I drove home, I looked over my shoulder and saw this. I turned the car around and sketched this on the side of the road.

As I drove home, I looked over my shoulder and saw this. I turned the car around and sketched this on the side of the road.

This candy is SO good! I don't know why it has a resealable top.

This candy is SO good! I don’t know why it has a resealable top.

My daughter in law's sweet grandmother gave me this spice grinder.

My daughter in law’s sweet grandmother gave me this spice grinder.

This little restaurant is in Palmer, across from the fairgrounds.

This little restaurant is in Palmer, across from the fairgrounds.