Drawing Flower Art Ink and watercolor wash Life in general Painting Sketchercize

No Power So Sketchercize & Play

Peets Coffee Drinkers, Ink & watercolor
Peets Coffee Drinkers, Ink & watercolor

It’s been a weird weekend. As the song says, “It never rains in California in the summer” except it did on Saturday morning after a night of thunder and lightening (also rare in the Bay Area). It was supposed to be a plein air painting day but the combination of rain and a headache convinced me to stay home and paint instead.

Then the power went out. It was too dark in the studio to paint without some lights and I needed coffee to try to get rid of the headache so I walked to Peets to sketch there. I used my sepia Copic Multiliner and then did a watercolor wash (mixing a few colors on my mini-watercolor palette to match the ink color.

Alejandro's Dahlias, ink & watercolor
Alejandro's Dahlias, ink & watercolor

When I got home I called the electric company and they said to expect repair or a report by 11:00 p.m. that night so I made plans to go out to dinner and to the movies. I didn’t want to open the fridge so my food would stay cold as long as possible. Then I sat my sketching stool in the driveway next to my neighbor’s flower bed and sketched and painted a couple of his dahlias.

Then I took another long walk with  a friend, grabbed a fish burrito and went to see Julie & Julia which I loved! It had been ages since I’d been to the movies and even longer since I’d gone alone. I sat near another woman singleton who had the most infectious laugh and we laughed together throughout the delightful movie.

I appreciated the movie’s nod to the challenges faced by tall women (being one myself). The obsession with eating and cooking rich French food made me curious to know whether Julia Child ever dealt with body image issues or weight problems.I found these quotes from her in an interview in Business Week magazine in 2000:

Q: Could you sum up your feelings about the low-fat food movement? A: I don’t go for that at all…our motto is: “Small helpings. No seconds. No snacking. A little bit of everything, and have a good time.” If you can follow that, it keeps your weight and health in good form. Even if you’re going to have some rich dessert, you can always just have a little spoonful to taste it and keep your spirits up. Then I don’t think you have to go into that miserable, low-fat stuff.

Q: That’s more the French way of eating, I think. Americans always wonder why the French aren’t fat even though they eat rich foods.
It’s because the French don’t eat these great big helpings. It’s really horrifying to them to go to Disneyland and see these great big fat Americans plodding along, always eating something. No snacking is very important, I think.

I have a feeling she’s right about the snacking, but I know I find it a lot easier to maintain my weight if I cook and eat simply than if I’m surrounded by delicious, rich food and try to just eat a spoonful to taste it. But then I’d always rather be in the studio than in the kitchen, and am just as happy with a bowl of brown rice, broccoli and tofu than fancy French cooking.

P.S. The electricity came back on the next morning, 24 hours later.

10 replies on “No Power So Sketchercize & Play”

Hi Jana, I popped over to enjoy you blog site after my walk. I love the idea that you were forced to sketch the dahlia and go to the movie. We should do that more often. Your acrylic post is great too. Very informative.



I love your dahlia! The pure squiggly-ness of it is wonderful!

I also loved Julie and Julia!

If you’re going to cook using large amounts of cream, butter, etc., it helps to have more than one or two people around to eat the results… (And, by the way, cooking a la Julia is aerobic exercise!)

Maybe Julia had no problem throwing food away instead of eating it! After all, most food is best when freshly made. Or maybe she gave her left-overs to the local soup kitchen.

I used MtAoFC every day when I was really, really poor, and it was great. But at that point in my life, every everything menu-wise was planned out. Eating too much at one dinner, for instance, led inexorably to much-too-little at the next!

So now I cook less, weigh more … but if I still were that poor, I couldn’t afford to paint…


Hmmm, that’s a good point, about cooking for others or just disposing of the excess (although the whole concept of this kind of rich cooking does seem a bit like excess to begin with). So it’s interesting to me that you say you used her book when you really poor. I guess it would be a way to be creative and save money by not going out. I remember being a poor student and only being able to afford noodles and Kool-aid for a couple weeks (ugh!).

It also made me laugh when you said that cooking her way was aerobic! I could see that a bit in the movie — especially that mountain of chopped onions! Jana


LOL, yes indeed. If I could just have reasonable portions and no seconds! My dear husband is the cook at our house, and he is such an excellent one that I find these rules hard to obey.


I know all too well that I can’t do Julia’s suggestion of just taking one little spoonful for a taste… one spoonful leads to another… but since I am my own cook, I can make simple food that isn’t quite so drool-worthy as Julia’s dishes. Jana


What an interesting day you had! I love your drawing and how you kept moving throughout the day, adjusting to the weather and the power outage–felt like I got to spend the day in the Bay Area. And, it was so great that you shared a communal moment at the movies too!

I’m with you. Better to have some rice (or quinoa), broccoli and tofu…and maybe a little mesquite flour sprinkled on top. Yum!


I’m quite the addict when it comes to mesquite flour. It’s good in e v e r y t h i n g. No kidding. I use it in soups, in tortilla making (and so, for bread recipes), on ice cream, on yogurt, and straight from the bag by spoon…! I can’t imagine a food it wouldn’t be good in. See what I mean?

Mesquite flour is made from the mesquite beans by milling. I have made my own by using a blender, but it isn’t as fine a flour. It tastes a bit nutty, a bit like carob and slightly sweet. It is very good.

If you would like to taste this desert food, here is a link-Native Seeds I buy from this organization which has been around since the 1970s. I saw that they have mesquite flour from Peru right now. We usually mill our mesquite beans in October and November. I like the Peruvian mesquite, but prefer our AZ flour because it seems sweeter and more like chocolate.


Hi Melinda, So sorry for not replying sooner. I’m soooo behind on email! I looked for the mesquite flour in my health food store but they didn’t have it. I did find it online though but haven’t ordered it yet. I’m a little worried I’d like it too much and would be eating it from the bag by the spoon too. Next time I’m at Whole Foods I’ll see if they have it. Jana

Jana Bouc Sketchblog: Website:


Comments are closed.