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!
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, JanasJournal.com, and my art portfolio website, now at JanaBouc.com. 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
After Barbara and I took a walk, she picked up her car at the Smog Zone (behind Gilman Auto in Berkeley) and I sketched the car repair shop. I got tricked by the angle of the overhanging roof on the right but I drew it in ink so there it is, wonky as can be.
While drawing I sat in the middle of a planting bed on something not meant as a seat in front of the fancy new McDonalds across the street. I wanted to hurry since I kept expecting to be asked to get out of there (plus the scent of their burgers frying always reminds me of the smell of the boys’ locker room at the high school gym).
So instead of messing with watercolor I used the watercolor pencils I’ve started carrying for quick getaways when it’s not convenient to use water. I was surprised how much brighter and more saturated the color was after I added the water later at home and so wiped some of it off.
That evening Sonia and I met at Pyramid Brewery for Tuesday night sketching. We were both a little out of sorts so it was great to unwind, chat over dinner and a beer, and of course, draw. These guys (above) were wonderful models. They barely changed position and didn’t leave until I finished them. When Pyramid turned the lights down at 9:00 we headed home feeling much better than when we arrived.
For those embarrassing moments: an UNDO spell that’s just as easy as clicking the back ← button. This spell is similar to the “Rewind” spell, only quicker.
Next time you need a “Do over” or an “Undo” just cast this handy spell. The directions are written in gold ink at the bottom of the Journal of Spells & Unspells right-hand page. I discovered this written language after meeting an amazing, eccentric, local artist named Bebe who traveled the world making life masks of people she met and whose home and car are covered in her imagined blue writing, pictured below (click images to enlarge).
I first met Bebe when I was about to walk past her but instead stopped to tell her how beautiful I thought she was, struck by her white braids, colorful clothes and Cleopatra eyes. Months later Barbara and I were walking in Kensington and we stumbled upon her house. She saw us looking, came out to say hello and invited us in, regaling with us with stories of her travels and fascinating life. Nearing 90 she said she walks three hours every day, does her art and meditates daily.