Monday, December 8, 2008

Wheels on a boat

Wheels on a boat, originally uploaded by Skeinfest.

Drawn from the car, 4:40 ferry Seattle to Bainbridge (it's Winslow! why did they change the name of the ferry run?!). I made the red Corvette look like a Gremlin; ha!

Drawn with a Rotring "Art Pen"; I suppose F stands for Fine. I liked it fine for drawing. Colors added later with NeoColor crayons, followed by a bit of water on a paintbrush: the ink that came in cartridges with the pen is not waterproof, it turns out.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Shaftesbury Sunset

Shaftesbury Sunset, originally uploaded by Skeinfest.

What a sky! Dorset November sunset from Tim's mum's house.

Dorset: farm and the cherry tree

The farm and the cherry tree, originally uploaded by Skeinfest.

More or less the same view (this time, through a window with a camera) that I drew last June: the cherry tree in its fall color, and the old old farm.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Thames, 24 November 2008

The Thames, 24 November 2008, originally uploaded by Skeinfest.

Some beautiful sketches on the Urban Sketcher by Katherine Tyrell, who reports (visually) from London. I saw the same yellow birches a few days later, and almost the same view of St. Pauls from the Tate Modern. I enjoyed a day with Marion and Brian and a bit of red wine and lots of Rothko.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sunday in London

11-23-08_0715, originally uploaded by Skeinfest.

Sketchbook stayed in my pocket until the last couple of days, but the cellphone camera grabbed this image when I made my way up to London near the end of my trip.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

On the road again

In a few days I will be back in the UK to spend some time with Tim's mother. I've got a few pages left in the Moleskine I started there and took to Paris, and a new one to start. I hope to fill a page a day once again.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Market Pillars: Seattle Sketchcrawl

I went into the Market and drew the pillars. And of course flowers. I bought a bunch of flowers and came back outside to "color in" my drawing. Most fun part, next to looking down and seeing the tile with my old next-door neighbor's name on it!

Afterwards I went to S'Abadeb: The Gifts -- the just-opened exhibit of Salish (Puget Sound area) art at the Seattle Art Museum. Old and NEW: Marvin Oliver's raven print (which I had only seen in a greeting-card size reproduction), and carvings by Susan Point, and some modern bentwood cedar boxes with polychrome carving (Andrea Wilbur-Sigo: stupendous. And some of the oldest pieces I've ever seen; cedar and wool and other organic materials tend not to last long in this climate, but there were a few very ancient carved pieces and even a fragment of woven cedar-bark hat. I will go back.

The exhibit is on until January. Anyone who lives here should find out about the incredibly sophisticated art that has been made in this region before "europeans" arrived. To my mind, this art should be the permanent centerpiece of the Seattle Art Museum.

Sketchcrawl Seattle at the Market October 25, 2008

Seattle Sketchcrawl: seemed like about 20 people at the Pike Place Market today! If only I could have drawn the 3 young Japanese women each holding a camera to her face to photograph the original Starbuck's coffee shop (getting a bunch of sketchcrawlers in their pictures to boot)!

My first drawing was just to clear the buffers and hit "re-set"! There's too much to see! I can't draw it all! but I drew Beth's cousin Katie.

Pike Place Market from Victor Steinbrueck Park

Monday, September 1, 2008

We've got Feegles!

Okay, there were distractions ... ! This is Nac Mac Feegle, newest member of our household. I collected little Mac Sunday evening after my great afternoon with Beth. Almost too much fun for one day!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Painting with Beth at the Ballard Farmers Market

On Sunday I met up with Beth, my oldest friend (we were locker partners in junior high school!). She is a wonderful artist who has just returned to painting after a hiatus of far too long.

It was raining, so we agreed to do recon in Ballard, where we grew up. We thought we might find a spot from which to paint the old library -- that is, the OLD old library, the Carnegie on Market Street (where I first learned to read: "See Jane run!"). The Ballard Sunday Farmers Market was a surprise to us, and then the sun came out!

We set up our easels and as we painted, we had lots of admiring attention from strollers, and people with strollers, and even people in strollers. During a break, we ate crepes for lunch as we sat on the curb. "Montana Slim," playing music up the street a bit, provided the soundtrack (and placed a CD in my paintbox as they were leaving! thanks, Slim!). Their rendition of Talking Heads' "Home" really lit the fuse on the afternoon for me. Bliss.

And then we went to Ray's Boathouse and sat on the deck in the sun with a refreshing drink, talking about the trials and joys of ... well, life.

In my picture, the part I like best is the row of farmers' tents; that's where I fussed the least. The brick bell tower at the north end of the market stands next to the old Ballard News Tribune building; my dad delivered that paper when he was in his early teens. I'm not used to painting with an audience: I stared at my painting more than at the scene, and that usually fails. Still, I got some colors I like. Oil paint is still very new for me; everything is experimental! Beth reminded me that we are just sketching!

Here is Beth's painting! She gets so much into a much smaller panel than mine. Colors and life and activity. People! the most vivid part of that day! Thank you Beth!

(Also thanks for the picture of me: I look happy!)

Thursday, August 14, 2008


From February 2008.

I'm reaching back in time to fill in, because I wasn't making much art in August!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Talisman

Oil painting class with Danny Adams, mid-July, four days of bliss: it IS possible without going to Paris!

I don't think this painting is finished, but the longer I don't work on it, the less I can remember about how to get back to where I was in my head while working on it. In my head or out of it: wherever that was.

At the end, Danny said, "there's a painting on a cigar box lid..." and until that moment I had not even thought of Serusier's "Talisman." I had seen it a month earlier in a small dimly-lit gallery in the Musee d'Orsay; Serusier (one of the "Nabis") is said to have painted it under the guidance of Gauguin. I can just imagine. I am not a fan of Gauguin, though I may have to give him another look, prompted by Martin Gayford's "The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Provence."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thinking about drawing

More drawings from a few days of class. Not great, but not bad considering that I was taking "Beginning Drawing" less than four years ago. Yeah, okay, if I'd been 16 then I'd expect more progress and refinement by age 20! But after decades of "I can't draw; I wish I could draw" it is deeply satisfying to get even this far!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Drawing ahead

Life drawing class with Danny Adams, mid-July, 2008.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Raven mask

Amazing to go from Paris museums to, a few days later, Seattle art museum and see work by Morisot, Manet, Goya, Velasquez, Renoir. After the "Inspiring Impressionism" exhibit (go! closes mid-September), Tim and I went downstairs to look at the astounding northwest coast art. I drew some masks; here is Crooked Beak of Heaven (raven).

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ferry ride home

In Paris, most of my colors were added a few days after the drawing. For some reason I needed to put the color into this drawing right away, on the Edmonds-Kingston ferry ride as I headed toward home. There's my trusty suitcase; there's the little black metal W&N watercolor box and my travel paintbrush.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dejeuner sur les cobblestones

Also, there were accordian players. Montmartre, Cafe "Chez Ma Cousine," 24th June, 2008.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Midsummer Tree

What I saw (and smelled) as I looked up from the concert in the garden.

Midsummer Concert

Midsummer night, June 21, the longest day of the year: all of Paris celebrates Fete de la Musique with concerts everywhere. In the manicured garden courtyard of the Ministry of Research and Higher Education, the orchestra of the students of the Grands Ecoles played "Night on Bald Mountain" by Moussorgsky and Beethoven's 7th Symphony (with, alas, some competition from the rock-and-roll band on rue Descartes). The music was beautiful. The sky was blue. The air was scented sweetly by the tree under which I sat. There was beer. On this, I will blame my lack of perspective. In the streets afterward, there was also Silly String.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Orsay Terrace, 20 June

From Tyler Street

On the upper levels of the Musee d'Orsay, there is a terrace with views across the Seine towards the Tuileries, the Louvre, and across town to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. I spent all day at the museum, drinking in colors.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Seine in Rain

Matisse had his studio midway between these two bridges, at 15 rue St. Michel. Notre Dame and the bridges appear in a number of his paintings. Actual raindrops appear in mine (evening of June 19). Perspective drawing is a challenge!

Pantheon and Santiago

June 19, evening, I went out for a walk and a few blocks from the flat, I saw on a bench and drew the Pantheon as carefully as I could. I also wanted to draw the parking spot with outlet for recharging electric cars but I couldn't fit it in!

I felt a little bit brave when I sat down, but by the time I stood up again, I realized that sketching in public in Paris was totally fun and absolutely the best thing to be doing and not the least bit scary.

I added a picture of the golden shell that is the symbol of the pilgrims who walk to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. John bought it for Jane when they were there a few years ago, and she wore it almost all the time. John gave it to me at Jane's memorial service last year. Just after I made this drawing, I went around the corner to the Rue St. Jacques, where pilgrims leaving the Ile de la Cite in the Seine would take their first steps on the ancient road to Rome, or to Santiago (= St. Jacques = St. James). I thought of Jane a lot on this trip, about getting to know her when I was 17, and I also thought a lot about being in Paris for the first time when I was 19.

Une Manifestation

June 19: After my coffee in the place Contrescarpe, I strolled up the rue Descartes and rue de la Montagne Ste. Genevieve to the street market: tomatoes and cherries, poppies and cheese!

Then, my way back was blocked by police, who were spreading out and blocking streets in preparating for a "manifestation" or demonstration. Since I couldn't continue up the street, I went in to a little store to buy some milk and butter. When I came out, the demo had moved downhill so I was free to continue. Instead, I stopped and stood on the sidewalk, shopping bags at my feet, to draw what I saw.

The demo was very calm: some slogans, some singing, a bullhorn, some sitting down in the street. Police vans everywhere and police with riot shields, but their helmets were hanging on their belts and it all seemed fairly routine.

The banners had the names of various university departments, and one said "Sauvons l'universite" (let's save the university); does anybody know what the issue was, on June 19, 2008, at the rue des Ecoles and rue de la Montagne Ste. Genevieve?

Un Cafe s.v.p.

First morning in Paris: my command of the French language, limited at the best of times, only extended to "un cafe" at the Cafe Les Arts on the Place Contrescarpe.

Do you see the Place Contrescarpe in my sketch? No, you do not! I was still too shy to stare at anything beyond the immediate vicinity of my own table and the chairs nearby. I did get a "Velib" bicycle (Paris's amazing bike rental system) across the sidewalk.

Nice neighborhood in Paris

Morning view from the flat. Look, there's an art supply store! Besty has a bright yellow sign.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Paris in the the spring (almost mid summer)

On June 18, I arrived at my rented flat in Paris and there was a full moon that night!

Southampton to CDG

After our walk, Tim took me to the airport at Southampton. I still don't know how to draw airplanes, but I know how to fly to Paris!

Old Harry

The chalk cliffs at Swanage are irresistible for sketchers like me and this lady. Her other half was napping; my other half was taking pictures of plant life. This chalk "creature" is called Old Harry. Ronald Jesty did a wonderful watercolor of Old Harry; it's in one of my art books (with a different name) and we saw a giclee print in the window at Quarr Gallery in Swanage. They have more of Jesty's and others works available.

Swanage cliff walk

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

South coast, chalk cliffs

We walked along the beach at Swanage on Britain's south coast. It was windy! This was the last time I tried to do watercolor in the field. My water and my paints and my brush and my notebook were blown around. The next day we walked along the cliff that is in the distance.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Views from French Mill Lane

The view toward St. James's church and the ridgetop on which Shaftesbury has stood for over two millennia. Sunset artificially tropicalized by excessive playing with NeoColor crayons!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Morning, Holyrood Farm and the Blackmore Vale

In the morning, I drew the scene looking out across the farm toward the Blackmore Vale from French Mill Lane.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Holyrood Farm and the Blackmore Vale

In the evening, I drew as it got dark. I added the colors when I couldn't see the scene out the window at all.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Shaftesbury and the Blackmore Vale

I drew the cherry tree next door (all of these are Pigma Micron or similar finepoint waterproof pens).

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sketchbook June 2008

I started drawing at SeaTac airport, while we awaited our flight to London Heathrow.
I said I would do a drawing each day.
It was a somewhat scribbly start. There was some beer in the vicinity.