Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Datebook and Sketchbook...oooooo...

As promised, my unfinished watercolor from Door County. I just applied paint to the page without doing a base sketch, and I think it really shows. I'm pleased with what I dabbed on the page, however, and it brings the scene quite clearly back to mind.

While I was flipping the pages of the sketchbook, I ran across these taped-in figure drawings. I'd grabbed a small stack of copy paper and a charcoal one evening and went to town drawing from the tv. There was a whole lot of really awful stuff on the pages when I finished, but these were a few of the better bits. It was nice to be able to hack them out of the muck and get rid of the really bad stuff.

The quote: "After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one." —Cato the Elder (234-149 B.C.)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Datebook 5-15 thru 22

Time flows backward on the blog when I have several dates to cover, and it seems strange to me. Seems strange when I reverse the order too, so what's a girl to do?

Anyway, Monday I came home after a wonderful weekend in Door County, Wisconsin. The folks have a cottage up there, so all I had to do was bring the bike and whatever other fun things I wanted. This included a couple of movies and sketchbooks.

The quote: "It was on my fifth birthday that Papa put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'Remember, my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm." —Sam Levenson (1911-1980)

This quote, if you know my Dad, suits him very well—both in the way he was raised and in the way he raised me. It's not a warm and fuzzy concept, but it certainly builds character, self-reliance and, by extension, self-confidence.

This morning the quote has a bit more poignancy because I watched the movie Pursuit of Happyness last night. If you've seen the movie, you'll know what I mean. If you haven't, you should.

I drove up to the cottage Friday night, and Dad and Connie didn't come up until Sunday. I'd planned out a great Saturday of sketching and cycling all over the peninsula to complete some sketches for Sketchcrawl 14. Unfortunately, I awoke Saturday morning to a driving downpour.

The Sandpiper in Baily's Harbor opened for breakfast at 7 am, and I was there with morning newspaper in hand when they did. Ate way too much for breakfast and sucked down an entire pot of coffee while alternately reading the paper; working the crossword puzzle; and staring out the window at the birds in the feeders, the rain pouring from the sky and the many shades of gray of the lake and sky.

I couldn't loiter forever, so I headed in to Sister Bay to pick up a few groceries, and then returned to the cottage. I'd recently purchased the miniseries The Impressionists, so I fired up my notebook computer and popped in the disk—what a great series!

Around noon, the clouds began to part and the sun actually made an appearance. I flew out the door and grabbed the bike from the car hoping to finally get in some miles. I took a small sketchbook along too, just in case I was inspired to stop along the way. As it happens, I was inspired to stop along the way, but I didn't because I could see a new crop of clouds coming in from the west, and it felt so good to be riding those quiet roads past the blooming cherry trees that I just didn't stop.

I was only out for about an hour, and the clouds had closed back in bringing with them some cooler temperatures in just the last half hour of that ride.

Inspired by the part of the miniseries I'd seen so far, and floating on a small endorphin high, I sat on the floor by the sliding glass doors and started to paint. My sketchbook holds up fairly well to watercolors. I dove right in with the paints without doing a preliminary sketch. I spent the rest of the afternoon at it as the showers came and went and the temperature continued it's downward slide. I'll post the results in a separate post.

Around 4 or so, I decided it was going to be cold enough for a fire, and went outside to bring in some firewood. I got the fire started, poured myself a glass of wine, cooked up a small Thai chicken pizza (yum) for dinner and ate it in an easy chair with my feet propped up on the hearth. Life is occasionally well beyond good and into the realm of ideal, for which I am deeply grateful.

Coming down the stairs Sunday morning, I happened to catch some movement out of the corner of my eye. Outside in the yard was a wild turkey, preening! Cool! I watched it for a while, and it didn't seem to be going anywhere so I walked toward the back of the cottage to the kitchen to get some breakfast. When I looked out the kitchen window I saw the male. It was very obviosuly the male because he was in full display mode. He was farther away from the cottage than the female, but he strutted here and there while she seemed to ignore him completely.

Dad and Connie drove up Sunday, but they got a later start than anticipated. I headed out the door to do some shopping, stopping at Wilson's Ice Cream Parlor in Ephraim for lunch. In all the many years I've gone up to Door County, I've seen the place and wanted to go in but it's been so busy. Nothing like a little cold and rain to keep people inside, added to which I got there around 11:30 in the morning—a little early for the lunch crowd. The service was very fast, so I really didn't have much time to scribble out my little sketch.

H.D. Thoreau's May 17, 1858 journal entry:
"The rain is good for thought. It is especially agreeable to me as I enter the wood and hear the soothing dripping on the leaves. It domiciliates me in nature. The woods are the more like a house for the rain; the few slight noises more hollow in them; the birds hop nearer; the very trees seem still and pensive. The clouds are but a higher roof. The clouds and rain confine me to near objects, the surface of the earth and the trees."

Little did I know when I read this entry and it struck such a chord in me, that I would be experiencing it firsthand just a couple of days later. I love the phrase, "It domiciliates me in nature." It evokes such a great feeling of belonging to a moment or a place no matter where you are. It's a familiar feeling, and very comforting.

The quote: Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see." —John Lennon (1940-80), Strawberry Fields

The pencil sketch was done from the front seat of my car in the train parking lot. I pulled into the space and looked up to see a tree sprouting lamps. I had to chuckle, and then I had to draw. I think I might have continued to chuckle while I drew because the lamps are terribly crooked. I like that, though, because if they did grow out of the tree they certainly wouldn't have been perfectly straight.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Datebook Pages

The quote (just one this time): "There are three intolerable things in life—cold coffee, lukewarm champagne, and over-excited women." —Orson Welles (1915-85)

It's usually a pretty safe bet that on Monday morning, I'll stop at the Dunkin Donuts for coffee on my way to the office from the train station. I did this Monday spread on an earlier Monday when the cup was close at hand to act as a model.

With the house on the market, I find myself doing all the little home improvement stuff that I'd put off for so long. It's much more fun to buy a stack of books than floor registers for your heating ducts, but they tell me prospective home buyers will be wooed by duct covers more than piles of books—go figure.

Went a little quote crazy this time around:

"Truth is more of a stranger than fiction." —Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Excellent twist on an old classic.

"We are here and it is now. Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine." —H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

"There are few nudities so objectionable as the naked truth." —Agnes Repplier (1855-1950)
I sense a theme.

"Have no fear of perfection—you'll never reach it." —Salvador Dali (1904-89)
Well, that's a relief.

I was inspired to go to Looptopia (an all night celebration of culture), until the end of the work day that Friday when all I really wanted to do was go home, put my feet up and pet the cat. Maybe next year.

Friday, May 11, 2007

More Than One

The quote: "To the complaint, 'There are no people in these photographs,' I respond, 'There are always two people: the photographer and the viewer.'" —Ansel Adams (1902-1984)

I used my art history book for the Picasso detail below. Still needed some inspiration for this spread so I flipped the book open and selected something from that page to draw. It just happened to be the St. Mark from the Gospel Book of Archbishop Ebbo of Reims. The face and hands really do have that exaggerated look in the original, unfortunately his left leg does not—that wonkiness is all me...sigh.

The quote: "It is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have learned English—up to fifty words used in correct context—no human being has been reported to have learned dolphinese." —Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

The quote: "California is a fine place to live—if you happen to be an orange." —Fred Allen

Why oranges? Why not?

You'll see a small note in the upper right corner for the Sudden Century. Yet another ride I didn't do. It's really quite amazing how many organized rides I'm not doing this year. At least I haven't completely stopped riding.

The quote: "I was going to have cosmetic surgery until I noticed the doctor's office was full of portraits by Picasso." —Rita Rudner

This spread didn't get posted until today, because except for the color wash and quote, it was blank until last night. I've been a bit lax in my doodling/sketching. The art is a detail from Picasso's Guernica. Here's a link to PBS's Guernica Introduction for more information about the painting.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Just One

This is one little drawing that looks better in its original orientation.

The quote: "If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion." —George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

I particularly enjoy the flexibility of this quote. The opportunity to substitute so many other professions is tantalizing.

As you can see, I'm having fairly regular showings of the house, just no offers as of yet. Perhaps I should put an ad out with this drawing and text reading, "For sale: This lovely view—comes with a small house attached." What do you think, a revolutionary new marketing ploy or no?

Now that summer is hitting its full stride, my car is spending much more time in the garage. I've been enjoying the full smorgasbord of transportation options: my two feet, a quick mountain bike trip, or a longer road bike trip.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The End of April Already!?!?!?

The quote: "An effective way to deal with predators is to taste terrible." —Unknown. I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to claim this quote—such sound advice.

The desultory little sketch was done at the train station the morning of May 1st, and it was a second sketch. I missed the early train, and instead of staring into the distance with a blank expression on my face, I sketched. My train buddies started showing up when I'd just put pencil to paper on this masterpiece, so I stopped.

The quote: "We are obliged to respect, defend and maintain the common bonds of union and fellowship that exist among all members of the human race." —Cicero (106-43 BC).

An important obligation we have lost somewhere along the way, and the world is just too small to do without it.

The quote: "If you wish to know what a man is, place him in authority." —Yugoslav Proverb

The lamppost drawing was the first drawing on the morning of May 1st, and it reached completion because I missed the early train and had a long, lonely wait until the next train.

Speaking of long waits, here's the quote I teased you about a few posts ago: "Now your remaining days are few. Live them, then, as though on a mountain-top. Whether a man's lot be cast in this place or that matters nothing, provided that in all places he views the world as a city and himself its citizen. Give men the chance to see and know a true man, living by Nature's law. If they cannot brook the sight, let them do away with him. Better so than to live as they live." —Marcus Aurelius (121-180), Book X, Pros Heauton