Art supplies Outdoors/Landscape Places Sketchbook Pages

Sketchercizing My Errands

El Cerrito Library, Ink (Sepia Copic Multiliner)
El Cerrito Library, Ink (Sepia Copic Multiliner)

I combined walking, errands and sketching this morning, and really enjoyed all three, especially using my new sepia Copic Multiliner to draw these sketches. The pen is made of aluminum, is refillable with a replaceable tip. It’s very comfortable in the hand with a wider barrel than my usual Micron Pigmas, and the pen just glides across the page.

First stop was my little local library where I returned “Chasing Matisse”, a lackluster memoir about a guy who gets a book deal to go visit all of the places where Matisse lived. He fancies himself an artist as well as a journalist, but I didn’t think he was much of either. He basically read Hilary Spurling’s excellent two-part biography of Matisse and repeats stuff from her book in between his boring descriptions of his own  experiences seeing what Matisse had seen and sometimes even trying to sketch or paint it.

El Cerrito Post Office
El Cerrito Post Office

Next was another return of an Amazon purchase to the El Cerrito Post Office. I asked the clerk if she’d stamp my sketchbook with her round postmark stamp, just for fun but she said no and gave me some “airmail” stickers to use instead which I didn’t.

When I was a kid my grandfather had a bunch of rubber stamps and pads of old deposit slips from when he’d been a banker before the bank closed during the depression (but why did he still have them?). I used to love going to his house and playing with the rubber stamps.

I’d planned to add sepia ink washes to these sketches at home tonight because I’d ordered a bottle of that ink, but when I looked at the items that arrived in my order I discovered they’d made a mistake and sent me black ink instead. Rats. One more thing to return.

6 replies on “Sketchercizing My Errands”

Bolshie Post Office clerk! Were I a P.O. clerk I’d have been delighted to have been asked!
Thanks for the mini-review, Jana. In these days of tight budgetry constraints it’s good to know what may or may not be worth buying. Thank God for libraries!
And, (this is a given!) thanks for sharing your sketches and thoughts.


Jana: I believe the by-the-book rule for postal clerks is that they only stamp “official” items. However, my experience has been that if you approach them when things are quiet, and ask nicely, many will accommodate you. I wouldn’t even try in big-city post offices, but the smaller ones, you often do find some nice people!


Hi Jana! I finally have a little time to sit down and visit your blog – you’ve been so prolific while I’ve been lying around in the sun!
I love going back through your sketches, and getting a résumé of your life in Cerritos – even moreso now that I’ve been there and can better visualize things. And I am printing out the cheat sheet for plein air painting – what a nice thing to do for your readers. I promised Laura I’d go plein air painting in Brittany in October, and I have never ever done it before – thanks for the head start.
Thanks again for your wonderful blog.


Once again, in both sketches, such an original way of presenting spaces. I get the feeling that depth is being firmly resisted, and that I, the viewer, remain in the forefront with everything in the picture pressing toward me. And the materials add to this. In one picture, a sturdy stone wall pushes me backward. In the post office sketch, all the polished glass makes me imagine that my own reflection is driving me away. And yet–the joke!–these are two public buildings where anybody can go in. (Just the opposite of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in the Looking Glass.) So interesting indeed. Also, I keep imagining what the Indian in the teepee must look like–and admiring the composition of “Teepee in the Hood”.

So much is out of view!

What an interesting tack to take.


Comments are closed.