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Sketching with Mariah in a Too Busy Week

Sketching Fruit with Mariah after Tacos
Sketching Fruit with Mariah, ink & watercolor

This afternoon I went for a hike with Jessica and Mariah in perfect autumn weather and then J made tacos for dinner. After dinner Mariah (age 10) plopped her sketchbook, watercolor pencils, and Niji waterbrush on the table, pulled the bowl of fruit over in front of us and said “Let’s sketch.” How could I resist!

Mariah’s sketchbooks are such treasures. When we first started sketching together a couple years ago she preferred drawing from her imagination but now avidly draws what she sees too. Watching her abilities and understanding of what she sees grow is such a pleasure. Especially since she’s around the age when many girls stop drawing when they realize they can’t do it perfectly.

I also really admire how she has many pages of “just practicing” as she called them in her sketchbook (pages someone else might tear out thinking they were “failed” drawings).  She doesn’t fear leaving them there or “wasting” the page. They’re just practice. Sometimes there are three pages in a row like that. No big deal. Such wisdom. I wanted to post her fruit sketch too but she turned the page while it was wet and it got all blurry. She just couldn’t wait to start the next sketch: the box of taco shells she said she really wanted to draw but didn’t know why.

I’ve managed to squeeze in a few other nothing-special sketches in the middle of a two-week, too-busy period (work, family, life!) and here they are:

Subway Ladies
Subway Ladies, ink and watercolor

Friday night my watercolor group came over and we painted together. I did a couple quick sketches of them while we sat around the table. Judith had a new shorter haircut.

Judith, ink in Niji waterbrush
Judith, ink in Niji waterbrush

Sharon worked in water-soluble oils instead of watercolor and somehow got yellow paint on the wall that wouldn’t come off until I tried my Magic Eraser and it came right off.

Sharon, ink in Niji waterbrush
Sharon, ink in Niji waterbrush

We were all so tired after a long week but it was great to get together and paint. By request, I demonstrated how to get a good “bead” of juicy paint when making a flat wash and everyone took turns doing a few rows of the wash down the page. Together we created a really nice even page of purple.

A few more days of craziness and things start settling down again. Can’t wait!

6 replies on “Sketching with Mariah in a Too Busy Week”

A delightful get-together for you all and great sketches! Hurray for Mariah– the practice, and the keeping on with the sketching, I mean. Maybe this means she won’t stop sketching, as I and so many did in the years following grammar school.

Myself, I am still trying to return to being my 10-years-old self (and like Mariah) because, back then, I would illustrate letters and post cards to friends when we moved away from each other. It is a wonderful age, ten…



I love the idea of playing at being 10 — I wonder how old Pippi Longstocking was in her books — I bet she was about 10, a perfect age. Just big enough to do fun stuff but not yet wrapped up in all the angst of adolescence. And I odn’t think Mariah will stop sketching — if anything she’s doing more. So are you illustrating letters and post cards now? It’s harder to do since we mostly send emails anymore. I suppose we could illustrate them too but it’s just not the same! Jana


I’ve just rediscovered this blog which I found by chance one day early in the summer – I’m really pleased to find it again! I love your September 29th picture – the oil of the view across Stege Bay – reminds me of Kurt Jackson’s work.
This time I’m going to bookmark this so I don’t lose it.
Keep up the good work!


Thanks so much for your nice note and for the comparison to Kurt Jackson. I’d never heard of him before and enjoyed looking at his work. I’m honored by your suggestion of a connection! I especially like his seascapes. Thanks for the encouragement too. It came at the perfect moment! Jana


Your posts are always so refreshing and calm. Even though you have a busy week you show the good time you spent with your friends and your art. I appreciate that.


Thanks so much Pat. I’d actually been just about ready to blow a gasket but our walk and sketching and the exuberance of a happy 10 year old (despite all her recent losses) was just what I needed to calm down. Jana


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