Albany Ink and watercolor wash Landscape Life in general Outdoors/Landscape Painting Places Plein Air Sketchbook Pages

Creek by 99 Ranch Market, Albany

Ranch Market Creek, ink & watercolor in Moleskine 7x5 wc sketchbook
Creek, ink & watercolor in Moleskine 7x5

I thought I was bringing my car in for an oil change, but the service manager told me it was way overdue for its 3 year/30,000 mile major maintenance (about 3 years overdue, as a matter of fact). I take public transit or walk whenever I can so my 2002 Toyota RAV 4 has less than 26,000 miles on it. I thought I could wait until 30,000 but he said no because the kind of short trips I take are harder on the car than lots of regular driving .

So I left it with him to do the full boogie on the car, feeling a bit sheepish at my car abuse. Despite the offer of a ride, I decided to walk the two miles home, hoping I’d find something fun to draw on the way. Sure enough a mile into the walk, I found this beautiful creek I never knew existed, half in the shade and half brilliantly lit with spring greenery all around.

As I was sketching and painting, an elderly Asian woman (99 Ranch Market is an Asian shopping center) showed me the bag of bread she was bringing for the resident ducks and then wandered off down the path, hoping to find them.

When I got home I realized I’d left all of my keys with the service manager. Oops…. But fortunately I have a “Plan B” for my keys, having locked myself out one too many times in the past.

And now my car seems so much perkier and happier with all new fresh fluids and the nice car wash they gave it. I’m very fond of my car, it’s always been totally reliable, and I really should treat it better.

Drawing Flower Art Gardening Gouache Outdoors/Landscape Painting Photos Plants Sketchbook Pages

Botanical Sketches: Proteus

Proteus in Bloom, ink & gouache, Moleskine 5x7 sketchbook
Proteus in Bloom, ink & gouache, Moleskine 5x7 sketchbook

When I was walking to BART last week I ran into Fletch who had just finished shooting photos of an amazing Proteus¬† a few blocks from my house. I must have walked by this stunning plant a hundred times and never noticed it until he pointed it out to me. I couldn’t stop to sketch that morning but finally got back there this afternoon.

I got as close as I could without trespassing and sketched with my Micron Pigma .01 pen, trying to capture the many different forms the blossoms take along the way to fully blooming. Then I used my mini gouache palette and a tiny brush to paint the details.  Gouache seemed like a perfect medium for doing this kind of detailed botanical sketching.

I also took a bunch of photos of these amazing and diverse flowers. Here are a couple of them:

Photo of Proteus blossom
Photo of Proteus blossom
Proteus in bloom, photo
Proteus in bloom, photo

Note to self: Find proteus at a nursery and plant them! But first I want to do some larger botanical illustrations from my photos (or from life if I can convince the woman who owns the plant to allow me to take some cuttings). Fletch told me she reluctantly allowed him to take one.

And here’s a bit of etymological (word origin) trivia about theProteus:

The Proteus got its name because of its amazing diversity of form: It was named after the Greek sea god, Proteus, who was able to change his appearance at will.¬† From this comes the adjective “protean,” which means “versatile”, “mutable”, “capable of assuming many forms.” “Protean” has positive connotations of flexibility, versatility and adaptability.

Animals Drawing Ink and watercolor wash Painting Sketchbook Pages

Barnyard Critters at Old Borges Ranch

Proud Rooster, ink & watercolor in Moleskine 5x7
Proud Rooster, ink & watercolor in Moleskine 5x7"

After our painting session at Old Borges Ranch on Saturday I did a few ink and watercolor sketches of the critters who were roaming around where we sat for lunch and our critique. This rooster was wonderful and actually seemed to pose for me, just long enough to get this much and then he wandered off.

The chickens weren’t as cooperative. I wish I took a photo of the goofy gal at the bottom. She had the funniest, fluffy clown feathers–sort of like 3 sets of beards; one in the usual place and the other two on either side of her face.

Bit's o' chickens, ink & watercolor in Moleskine 5x7"
Bit's o' chickens, ink & watercolor in Moleskine

This goat seemed like such a happy guy (or gal?) chillin’ out in this empty tub. I was very hungry since I’d remembered all my art supplies but forgotten to bring lunch and it was already 3:00. I rushed drawing the tub and I can see that it’s not deep enough and looks a bit like a sardine can.

Goat chilling out in a tub; ink & watercolor in Moleskine 5x7" sketchbook
Goat chilling out in a tub; ink & watercolor in Moleskine 5x7" sketchbook

I’m using a really funky old computer monitor while mine is off for repairs so I have no idea how any of this is going to look on my blog. Hopefully the scans and colors are decent and the sizes of images make sense.