In my current Sketchbook Skool course, I learned a technique called drawing fast and slow. You start with a fat medium, like a big brush of watercolors, and draw an object very quickly. Then you take something finer and draw in the details. I chose to draw my mixer. I didn’t have any paints handy, so I used a Zig Clean Color Real Brush waterbase marker. For the detail work I used a Prismacolor Premier 08, which is larger than I usually use, but felt right for this.
Category Archives: art
Every year, BCinDC (my local BookCrossing group) gives away free books at the Gaithersburg Book Festival. After getting my 227 books all ready to go, I decided to draw the boxes and bags and bins. That purple bin has been my BookCrossing bin for years, and has served me very well.
By the way, we as a group brought 2100 books and came home with fewer than 10. That, my friends, is a good day.
On a beautiful day in April, I drove out to Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia. I’d been going through a bit of a drawing drought and I was determined to draw something. Well, I ended up taking the tour of the Governor’s Mansion, which was lovely, then wandering around the carriage museum, which was empty save for me and had no chairs and I felt like I would have been conspicuous had I started sketching. However, I did draw this one picture of a small portion of the mansion. I had to sit a bit awkwardly – most of the benches are not within sight of the house, for some reason. Anyway, it was a good time and taught me that I really need to start keeping a pencil sharpener with me at all times, because the stubby gray pencil left scratch marks.
I recently went on a little road trip, snarfing my way across Maryland’s Eastern Shore. One of my stops was Berlin. This town is absolutely precious. I stopped by Rayne’s Reef for lunch, and sketched the display window of Town Center Antiques across the street (which I also enjoyed browsing – it’s huge!).
I’d like to note that this was my first time sketching in public with no other artists around. I’d joined in sketchcrawls before, and I’d drawn in public with no one else around, but this time I was the only one drawing among a bunch of strangers going about their day. And you know what? It was fine. Nobody bothered me or rushed me or commented on my drawing. I felt comfortable and confident.
And I may just do it again sometime.
There’s a chance I might have mentioned, once or twice, that my dear husband is a musician. His studio is packed to the gills with equipment and toys and art, and I picked only a tiny part of it to draw. Pictured here: one of his many guitars, an amp, a tape deck, a reel-to-reel, a cabasa, a keyboard (in the foreground), and a record player, among other smaller items. It’s a study in black because 99% of modern musical equipment is black.
One day I hope to get back in there to sketch some more, but it’s not easy because he’s usually either working in there (in which case I’d be in the way), or we’re hanging out together (and it’d be a touch rude to run off). But that’s okay. It’s not going anywhere, and I imagine it’ll only get more packed with interesting things as time goes on.
Okay, I really only hate drawing trees. Now I understand why so many urban sketchers stick to buildings – they’re easier. Anyway, I decided to take advantage of the morning light to draw the view out the kitchen door onto the deck. We have a gorgeous crape myrtle that blooms bright pink late into the summer, but of course it’s currently January, so it’s nothing more than sticks and some dried out berries. The deck railing is in desperate need of a good cleaning, which will also be waiting for warmer weather. But this was a bit of a fun experiment with my new pens of varying widths.
While we’re focusing on the mundane, here’s a little sketch I did of the kitchen counter as seen from the living room couch, drawn while my husband was cooking dinner.
The final week of Sketchbook Skool: Beginnings was taught by Tommy Kane. He taught me patience and persistence. He believes in capturing every detail, taking ages to finish a sketch, and finishing every drawing he starts. I drew my kitchen, which took me 90 minutes and far longer than I’d ever taken for any other drawing of that size.
I’m pleased with how this turned out, but it also taught me that even though I thought I was slowing down and taking in every detail, I definitely rushed over some parts. That’s okay; this probably won’t be the last drawing I do of my kitchen.
In July and August of this year, I took an online course called Sketchbook Skool: Beginnings. I’ve always been enamored of the idea of keeping an art journal, and this course struck me as the perfect introduction. I was right.
Danny Gregory taught the first week. His was the name I primarily recognized, famous for Everyday Matters. He explained how he started art journaling, and probably had the most influence on me of any of the teachers. His technique of drawing the entire outline of an object (or objects) before filling in any of the interior details was not something I’d tried before. I also particularly liked his purpose in drawing: not so much to capture the image, but to connect with the subject of his drawing. His example was of drawing his son’s shoes, and how while he was drawing them he was thinking about his son.
For my first assignment, I drew a stained glass bird that my grandfather made. I’ve blurred out my writing, since this is still a journal, but I did find myself remembering Grandpa as I drew. I don’t always feel that connected to my subject, but drawing does teach me to see things in ways I never did before.
This was my first foray into drawing in ink. I’d always been a pencil kind of gal, but Danny’s reasoning – that it helps build confidence because you can’t go back and erase every little flaw – was sound, and I found it really helped me get more comfortable with finishing my drawings. It’s also easier on the paper to not keep erasing all the time.
Danny also introduced me to the idea of laying down a wash of color on the page before drawing anything. Sure, they’re kind of garish and it tints the rest of the objects on the page, but I find I really love these spreads.
It’s no wonder that Danny’s inspired so many people to start keeping a sketchbook of their lives.
Just a couple of glimpses into my regular life.
This is a recliner that currently resides in my livingroom. It used to be in my study, but we moved it earlier this year in order to make room for a second desk. I bought it used back in 2001 and it has held up quite well, serving most often as a great place to sleep when ill or injured. Nowadays the fluorescent pillows are gone (they freaked out the cat for some reason), and the blanket has been replaced with a lavender one from Disney World. But it’s still a comfy spot for humans and felines alike.
Our coffee/dining table. It’s a huge, black-painted, hardwood affair, quite scuffed and in desperate need of refinishing. My husband bought it before we met, so I don’t even know how old it is. Our laptops and water cups live there and we eat our meals there in front of the television. (Yes, I know that’s not good for us.) As you can see, other objects end up there from time to time as well.
So there you have it. As I continue to keep a sketchbook more regularly, I am starting to learn that what you’re drawing isn’t always as important as just drawing at all. There’s plenty of stuff to sketch out there, and even the most mundane can turn into an interesting piece of art.
This is my first ever crosspost between this here blog, my personal journal, and the Glue Stick Tourist blog. So if you subscribe to all three, there will be a lot of repeats, but there’s some stuff here that’s not on either of those other places.
Travel sketch journaling is a new activity for me. I’ve always kept a written journal, and more recently I’ve been gluebooking my travels (and sharing them on the GST blog), but drawing my travels is new. And I still haven’t quite managed to merge the three into a single journal – except for special journals dedicated to specific trips, and even those contain little to no drawing.
This was my first expedition where I actually spent some time sketching my experiences. I always intend to, but this time I actually did. Nothing too extravagant – I’m still a bit shy about drawing in public – but I captured the memories. Below is a description of my adventures with their respective gluebook and sketchbook pages.
The second stage comprises a few stops, including the Westmoreland County Historical Museum and Lancaster Tavern, where I stopped for lunch. The Mary Ball Washington Museum and Library was closed, but I wandered around the buildings outside a bit.
Since the buildings were closed, I drew a little bit on the river, then sketched the graves and my oyster shell (which is still in the cup holder in my car). I’d been excited about the National Park stamps, but I think I went a bit overboard in my sketchbook, especially since I also stamped them on a piece of scrap paper to include in my gluebook. In the future, I’ll just put one or two in my sketchbook and leave the rest to cut out later.
Built in 1735 by horrible people (sorry, but when you successfully petition the colonial government for permission to cut off your slaves’ toes, you don’t get any praise from me, regardless of your other accomplishments), Christ Church is a simple but very lovely little Anglican chapel. I was raised Catholic, so having the pulpit in the exact center of the church and pews in little cubicles, facing all directions, is foreign to me.
The docents were marvelous. I appreciate anyone who thinks of me as “young,” but given that these women were easily twice my age, that’s their prerogative. The one who gave me the tour of the church was especially funny. She mentioned that the Carsons – the folks who built the church – had their own special cubicle of pews directly across from the pulpit, within which the pews were two inches deeper than the rest of the church. The docent whispered to me, “We think the Carsons had big butts.”
She also kept asking me where I was staying for the night, and didn’t seem to understand that driving home that night wasn’t a big deal. I was roughly two hours from home, and it was only midafternoon. But I guess when you’re older that becomes a very long drive.
It was getting pretty gloomy and rainy by that point, so I drove out to Windmill Point, snapped a quick photo, then headed across the bridge on Route 3 (shown in the second page above). Oi, Virginia river bridges are terrifying. I don’t generally have issues with heights, and this wasn’t nearly as scary as the Bay Bridge, but the two-way, no-median traffic was a touch unnerving.
I drew the light fixture from the Lancaster Tavern. I thought about drawing my food, but it was already getting cold as I ate it, so I’m glad I didn’t take any extra time. The pulpit from Christ Church was drawn from the brochure; I didn’t feel comfortable stopping to draw while my tour guide was there. This is one of those times when it’s good that the sketches and the collages aren’t in the same book, since my sketch is clearly inferior to the photo included on the gluebook page.
As a bonus, one more sketch page. The next evening, we journeyed into DC to see Amanda Palmer, who was on tour promoting her memoir, The Art of Asking.
We had dinner at Rosa Mexicano, home of some of the best guacamole ever, before heading to the show at the Sixth & I Synagogue, which was gorgeous. The main design on the page is a detail from the ceiling. As usual, my husband took tons of great pictures.
All in all, a truly lovely 48 hours. And utterly exhausting, but sometimes that’s just how it goes.
How do you record your memories?