Art Colored pencil art Drawing Faces People Portrait Sktchy

Happy New Year Flower Garland with Onlooker

Happy Flower Garland with Onlooker, graphite and colored pencil on paper, 11x8"
Happy Flower Garland with Onlooker, graphite, colored pencil, 10×8″

When I saw the reference photo on Sktchy for this drawing, I loved the happy smile on this guy’s face and the perplexed expression of the man in the car next to his. It expresses my feelings for the new year: grateful, happy optimism for better days ahead and the dismayed confusion and general WTF for last year.

Here’s to a joyful, healthy and less socially distanced 2021!

Bay Area Parks Colored pencil art Outdoors/Landscape Plein Air Sketchbook Pages

Change Is…

Stege Marsh, ink and colored pencils in pocket Moleskine
Stege Marsh, ink and colored pencils in pocket Moleskine

I started to title this post “Change is Good” and then I thought, yeah, but change can be difficult too. As I thought of all the things change is (hard, exciting, scary, growth) I realized that if nothing else, change is constant, it just IS; thus the title.

So what about change? Well, the most obvious change is my blog’s appearance. I’ve begun the process of converting it to a website that will host both this blog,, and my art portfolio website, now at It’s a work in progress so please, if you notice any bugs, let me know.

The sketch of Stege Marsh above reflects another change in my life; it’s one of the first sketches I did while out walking my pup. I waited until after we’d walked about 3 miles through the huge off-leash dog park at Pt. Isabel (well I walked 3 miles, she was off leash and probably ran 10 miles running off and coming back). By the time we got to this spot she was happy to rest while I sketched this view along the Bay Trail. I carry a little bag of colored pencils and a small Moleskine sketch book in my bag all the time as it’s lighter than my watercolor kit for long walks so that’s what I used to color in the ink drawing.

Colored pencil art Flower Art Sketchbook Pages

I’m Not Number One, I’m 2 Million! plus 1 More Crab Apple

Crab Apple Blossoms with colored pencil sketch on tan paper
Crab Apple Blossoms colored pencil on tan paper in 8×11″ Moleskine Journal

Once more with the crab apple blossoms, this time on tan paper using mostly a Prismacolor black grape colored pencil and white pencil (and then pasted in my giant Moleskine).

I sketched these before I did the oil paintings posted previously below. I wanted to try the approach of sketching with only three values: the tan paper as mid-range plus highlights and shadows. But I wasn’t seeing a lot of variation in value in the subject. Everything except for the whitish pink blossoms looked like a medium dark value. So what I was trying to do didn’t really make sense. But it was fun anyway.

The Visitor 2 Million Prize on Making a Mark

Katherine Tyrrell credited me with being or generating the 2,000,000 millionth visitor to Making A Mark, my favorite blog about art on the web. We were both down with a nasty flu bug then so she missed seeing the counter tick over to 2 million. But she could tell it was either me (reading her blog from bed with box of tissues in hand) or someone referred from my blog, so she named me the prize winner. Her blog is such a gift to the artist/blogger community. I learn something new every time I read her weekly “Who’s Made A Mark” column.

Colored pencil art Life in general Sketchbook Pages

Time Is Like Toothpaste (Or Paint); A Tube of Birthday

Tube of Birthday, Ink and colored pencil, 12x9"
Tube of Birthday, Ink and colored pencil, 12x9"

I have a very tenuous grasp on time. I always think I can do more in the allotted time than is possible and then I end up rushing to avoid being late (usually unsuccessfully). This “time grandiosity” I suffer from also means I start the day, a weekend, or in the case of the drawing above, my birthday vacation, with a sense of infinite time. And then suddenly the time is gone and I’m shocked and dismayed.

I always thought of time as passing on its own until I read this article at the beginning of my birthday vacation, How to Actively Take Control of Your Time, which compares time to a tube of toothpaste.

Unlike a stream running or sand falling in an hourglass, toothpaste does not simply come out of a tube on its own – we force it out and use it up…Time does not fly by – rather, we push minutes, hours and days out of our finite toothpaste tube of life.  ~ Sid Savara

So at the beginning of my vacation (back in June) I drew the tube of paint (seemed more appropriate than toothpaste) and marked off what I did each day. I paid attention to the choices I was making about how I squeezed out that day’s “paint.”

What about you? Do you choose how you squeeze out the hours of your life or do you feel like time is squirting by on its own?

Berkeley Colored pencil art Drawing Ink and watercolor wash Painting Sketchbook Pages

Elinore’s Birthday Mimosa

Elinore's Birthday Mimosa; mixed media
Elinore's Birthday Mimosa; mixed media

Last Sunday I went to a lovely birthday brunch at Elinore’s favorite restaurant, Liaison Bistro in North Berkeley. The food was absolutely fabulous, the service was excellent, even with the large group, and the company was delightful.

After we ate and the plates were cleared, the waiter walked around the long table with a big rubber stamp, printing the dessert menu on the papers covering the tablecloth. When he came to me, I said, “Wait!” and pulled out my sketchbook, asking him to stamp the book instead.

The stamp became the frame for my drawing of Elinore’s mimosa. I had my mini-sketching kit with me so used a couple watercolor pencils and a waterbrush for color. Then people wanted to see the book, passing it around and looking through it, but being polite about not reading the personal stuff (I hope).

Later I used a gold gel pen to title the page and pasted in the wrapper for the little chocolates they put at each place.