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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Home for Christmas

White freesia were one gift to Mother

One big white lily with carnations and greens 

Nutcracker stands at attention

Christmas tree & gifts sit in the front bay window

Sister sent peppermint striped lilies to Mother

Monday, December 20, 2010

Greenberry's Coffee

Greenberry's Coffee

Coffee drinkers at Greenberry's in Reston. Coming here reminds of my grad school days in Charlottesville, which is where Greenberry's got started. And every once in a while I'll bump into an old friend from U.Va. while I'm there.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

DC Sketchers @ Union Station

DC Sketchers met in the main concourse of DC's Union Station on Saturday morning, 12/18/2010. The historic interior was decorated for Christmas with lots of people scurrying across, catching their departing trains.

We made ourselves comfortable in the lobby's seating, practiced composing with our viewfinders, selected views and quickly created several smaller drawings. We learned how sighting/measuring techniques can help to see and draw proportional relationships to create perspective drawings.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Having never been to the east coast, I took a day trip out to Annapolis a week or so ago. Drawing outside gets harder the colder it gets, but I managed to make these two sketches before I was forced to duck inside.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

DC Sketchers @ The National Gallery of Art

DC Sketchers visited the National Gallery of Art and began by creating blind contour drawings of Winter (After Arcimboldo) (2010), a colossal 15-foot-tall, fiberglass sculpture by American artist and filmmaker Philip Haas (b. 1954). It is inspired by Arcimboldo's painting Winter (1563), on view in an exhibit in the East Building. The sculpture is a great subject for blind contour, with a rich surface of organic textures and edges.

After this warm-up, we went to the largest gallery of the exhibit From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection. Working from the masterworks on view, we learned how to see, measure, and draw proportional relationships - an important skill needed in drawing. We also learned about the importance of negative space in a composition.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sketches: Los Angeles

These sketches were done one day while visiting a friend in Los Angeles this past week. It was my first trip out west. The weather was great compared to DC this time of year. I was able to visit the Getty Museum and see a lot of the city.

View from a rooftop.

Literati Cafe

Street corner outside California Wok

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

hotel art - the secret lives of drawer bottoms

so... this is a little bit of a different type of location sketching, if ever there was one. for the last 15 odd years, whenever i stay somewhere, i try to leave my mark... on the bottoms of the drawers in the room i'm staying in. sometimes i have more time than others, which is why some of the designs are detailed and others look rushed. i do not harm the drawer in any way, and most times no one ever knows this artwork exists. but anyway, this is what i do!

some of the designs are from my imagination, but sometimes i am actually drawing something that i see in life. it could be something in my room, or something i see in the view out my window.  back in the day i used to use more paint, but since 2001 carrying paint onto an airplane is not as easy as it once was. so these days i generally stick to crayons, colored pencils, and sharpies.

the ones i've posted here are all drawn from life.  to see the entire collection of drawer drawings that i have online, you can visit my flickr album HERE.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

DC Sketchers @ The National Zoo - 12.04.2010

DC Sketchers visited the Smithsonian Zoological Park, otherwise known as the National Zoo, on a cold but sunny Saturday morning. We began with a discussion of a shared reading from John Ruskin's 1857 text "The Elements of Drawing". Ruskin's thoughts about Composition (pp. 244-268) framed our investigation of the zoo's Asia Trail and The Birdhouse.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Morning Sketches a good habit to cultivate.

This past two months I have moved from outside in the garden drawing each morning to inside the house. The little sketch book I use gets a new sketch each morning after my journal pages are written. There is a great variation in my concentration and energies for drawing from one morning to the next but in the end it is always worth 5-30 minutes to do a sketch.
Early in this series, I gave up drawing after only two, out of three orchids.
Chartreuse and white lady slippers orchids in the studio. 

Drawing first thing in the morning makes me more aware of my state of mind each day. Eventually, by creating a new sketch each day, the books fill up faster than they used to do when it was only an impulse that made me sketch. It is very exciting to have a series to reflect on, which took only a little effort each morning.  In winter my subjects tend to be piles of things in the studio or living rooms. The best of all subjects are the cut flowers and bowls of fruits. 

Somedays one orchid was enough effort to draw.

This is a cut flower I haven't had before, the exotic chartreuse green and white lady slipper orchids (Cypripedioidea)  My partner brought them home Nov. 5th and still today, Dec. 4th they are looking good. Only one has turned from chartreuse green to a mellow lemon yellow but since these are cut flowers it's amazing how long they have lasted. Let me take this as a chance to give a sincere thank you to the man who brings me flowers and tends our garden!