Lilly Pond at Ruth Bancroft Gardens

 

Water Lilies at Bancroft Gardens, sepia ink and watercolor, 5x8 in

Water Lilies at Bancroft Gardens, sepia ink and watercolor, 5×8 in

It was a gorgeous day at Ruth Bancroft Gardens in Walnut Creek when my plein air group visited. I walked around looking at all the beautiful plants, sculpture exhibit (and buildings in the private area we were given access to, where the 105 year-old Mrs. Bancroft still lives). With less than an hour before our session end I finally settled on sketching at the lily pond.

I painted the old barn the last time I was there and that barn sketch is one of my favorites ever.

Here is my sketch with the scene behind it and artist Catherine Fasciato painting a lily with oil paint. I sat right between her and the sculpture, choosing shade first and subject matter second on this very hot, sunny day.

Hydrangeas and the Last of EDiM 2014 (Fan and Remote)

Hydrangeas in Glass, ink and watercolor, 7x5 in

Hydrangeas in Glass, ink and watercolor, 7×5 in

My hydrangea bush is doing great this year, probably because it’s on the side of the house that is now a dog run and every day I empty the dog’s water bowl on the bush. Also it’s no longer competing with its two siblings that I removed because one never blossomed and the other had annoying teensy flowers that shed all over the table.

EDim 22 Remote Control, ink and  watercolor, 5x7 in

EDiM 22 Remote Control, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

These remotes live in the studio and operate a little combo TV/VCR, a DVD player and the stereo. There are another half-dozen that live in the house. I’m glad remotes were invented but they are ugly and annoying. I so wish I had this remote (a brilliant sketch and concept!)

EDim 23 Fan, ink and watercolor, 5x7 in

EDiM 23 Fan, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

As I noted in my journal above, drawing a fan seemed like it would be even more boring than drawing the remotes but in fact it was really fun. I was really surprised as I sketch to discover all kinds of interesting design features I’d never noticed before when just turning it on or off (without the using the remote that came with it, which I’ve lost).

So I didn’t make it to every day in May, just 75% of them. I went away for a 3 day retreat and when I came back had lost the momentum. Oh well.

EDiM 8 and 9: Mirror Image (me in pitcher) and Shadow

EDiM 8 Mirror Image in Copper Pitcher, ink and watercolor, 7.5x 5 inches

EDiM 8 Mirror Image in Copper Pitcher, ink and watercolor, 7.5x 5 inches

This one was really fun to draw. It was a surprise to see that I was reflected twice, right-side-up and upside-down. I had to stack the pitcher on top of a box of kleenex on top of a box of rubber stamps.

EDiM 9 Mirror Image in Copper Pitcher, ink, watercolor, gouache, 7.5x5 in

EDiM 9 Mirror Image in Copper Pitcher, ink, watercolor, gouache, 7.5×5 in

I drew this in pencil sitting outdoors at a little round table in the sun.  I sketched in the shadow of the flower and painted everything with watercolor. By then the sun had moved and there were more shadows so I painted them in too. I didn’t like the way it messed up the composition so I brought the sketchbook into the studio and painted over table and extra shadows with gouache. It only partially hid the “mistake” but I decided I liked the way there’s a shadow of a shadow showing through.

I used rubber stamps for text on the page but got that wrong too (9, not 8) so just used the X stamp to cross out the 8. I love work that is fresh and just right on the first pass. This isn’t that, and shows a bit of the struggle. Sometimes that just makes things more interesting.

EDiM 6: Hand-Me-Downs from Mom and Grandma (3 tries)

EDiM 6-Relic: From Ma and Grandma's Kitchen, ink and watercolor 5x7"

EDiM 6-Relic: From Ma and Grandma’s Kitchen, ink and watercolor 5×7″

I wasn’t happy with the first two tries (posted below) for the prompt “a relic or something handed down from family” so started over with the simpler subjects pictured above: my grandmother’s yellow mixing bowl; a serving spoon with part of its pink handle broken off and my favorite spoon that I eat with all the time, both remnants of my mother’s 50s kitchen with their pre-plastic Bakelite handles. And last, my grandmother’s beat up old jar opener that she used to pop open her homemade dill pickle jars. I use it all the time to open jars and think of her each time I do.

EDiM 6-Relic: 3-hole vase and roses #2, ink and watercolor 7x5 in

EDiM 6-Relic: 3-hole vase and roses #2, ink and watercolor 7×5 in’

Above is my second attempt, some roses from my garden in a little vase my mother gave me. It’s really complicated with “arms” reaching around and circling three round-bellied vessels, all connected.

Below is the first attempt, sketched outdoors in blinding sun that messed with my judgment of color and value. Also below is an attempt at drawing what the vase looks like from a different perspective. Also a fail.

EDiM 6-Relic: 3-hole vase and roses #1, ink and watercolor 7x5 in

EDiM 6-Relic: 3-hole vase and roses #1, ink and watercolor 7×5 in

The color of the roses was so pretty…much nicer than anything I could paint.

Photo of vase and flowers I sketched from life

Photo of vase and flowers I sketched from life

Spring Things and not so Spring-y Things (Self-Portrait)

Figgie 2014, ink and watercolor, 8x5.5 in

Figgie 2014, ink and watercolor, 8×5.5 in

This little fig tree has survived so much: being transplanted, then a killer frost, and then transplanting again after sewer line work. As soon as leaves sprouted this year so did two figs. Sadly the crows or squirrels (or the toddler next door?) took them before I could even post this.

Little Rose Studies, ink and watercolor, 7.5x5.5 in

Little Rose Studies, ink and watercolor, 7.5×5.5 in

I sat in the driveway and quickly sketched some roses but had to stop when the shadow of the house took away the light.

End of Journal Self-Portrait, graphite, 5x7.5 in

End of Journal Self-Portrait, graphite, 5×7.5 in

And then there’s my not so spring-y self, frowning into the mirror, with hat-head and something wrong with the mouth. And yes, it’s intentionally buried at the bottom of this post. It feels good to be drawing again, after what seems like months away from it. It’s also a little frustrating feeling rusty at it. But the only fix for that is more drawing!

Spring! Iris!

Iris, ink & watercolor, 8x5 in

Purple Iris, ink & watercolor, 8×5 in

I put my sketching stool in my front garden to paint the one iris that decided to bloom this year. The past two years none of them bloomed and I think it’s because you’re maybe supposed to dig up the bulbs and separate them and plant them further apart when they get too crowded? Gardeners, your advice welcomed!

I missed sketching the first blooming of my roses, when each rose is so perfect and beautiful it’s just heart breaking. I was “too busy,” putting it off one day too many and then the big rains came and the fresh perfect roses were no more.

I really enjoyed drawing and painting while practicing close observation of the different shapes and structures of this amazing plant.

Valentine Carnation and Buzz Ballz Booze Beverage

Valentine Carnation, ink and watercolor sketch, 7.5 x 5.5 in

Valentine Carnation, ink and watercolor, 7.5 x 5.5 in

Do you think people born around holidays grow up to reflect the qualities of that holiday? My friend Judith was born the day before Valentine’s Day and she’s extra sweet. I took her out for a birthday breakfast this morning.

Our waitress must have had a bad day (trying to be generous here). The other waitresses all gave long stem red carnations to their customers. We had to beg for a coffee refill and she didn’t give us flowers.

I started to drive away after we’d said goodbye but felt sad not to have a flower to take home and draw. So I parked again, went back into the restaurant and asked for a flower. And here it is.

Valentine Carnation and BuzzBallz, ink and watercolor 7.5 by 11 in spread in sketchbook

Valentine Carnation and BuzzBallz, ink and watercolor 7.5 by 11 in spread in sketchbook

The other thing on this page is a round plastic “bottle” with pop-top that I found in the street. The product name and contents are equally disgusting: a cocktail of vodka, apple liquor and apple juice called Buzz Ballz. Really? Who is this being marketed to? (And yes, I washed my hands and the container before painting it.)

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