Drawing Life in general People Subway drawings

Subway Sketches and Exploding Head Decisions

Subway heads 1, ink in Small Moleskine sketchbook
Subway heads on way to work, ink in Small Moleskine sketchbook

It’s appropriate to be posting sketches of heads since mine feels like it might explode if I have to make one more decision! There is so much going on in my little life right now, and so many important and non-important choices to make that my brain wants to go on strike.

Some of the decisions have to do with traveling with oil paints for the first time to the Rose Frantzen 5-day workshop in Arizona in early February (ship supplies by UPS or USPS? risk checking paints in my suitcase? how to get wet paintings home? live-in or drop-by cat sitter while I’m gone? plus all the travel worries a homebody like me can drum up).

Subway heads 2, ink in small Moleskine sketchbook
Subway heads on way to San Francisco, ink in small Moleskine sketchbook

The guy on the left above was actually standing right above me on the subway and interested in what I had been drawing, posed for me. He was nice enough to say he liked it. I wanted to tell him I’d fallen in love with his chin, but figured that would be stupid.

Subway 3, Waiting
Subway people waiting, drawing slowly

Other decisions I’m dealing with have to do with some remodeling of my duplex to prepare the back unit (currently my studio) as a rental unit, replacing both kitchen/pantry/laundry room floors, moving my studio out to the new former-garage studio (easier now thanks to space planning help from my sister the amazing interior designer), and lots of sorting and getting rid of stuff to prepare for the moves.

And all the above lead to leaving my half-time day job and getting to paint full-time. But of course there are decisions related to that too, like when to take the leap, currently planned for about a year from now.

I’m grateful these decisions are all about happy, exciting, positive changes. But even happy things can be stressful. There’s even a word for that: eustress.

eustress: noun.  Stress that is deemed healthful or giving one the feeling of fulfillment. From Greek: eu ‘well, good’ + stress, modeled on distress

The trick for me is to just make each decision once and not rethink it. Decide. Done. Next. I’m getting there.

Drawing Ink and watercolor wash Painting People Sketchbook Pages

Waiting and Waiting

Waiting at Kaiser, Ink & Watercolor, 5.5x7.5"
Waiting at Kaiser, Ink & Watercolor, 5.5x7.5"

Sketching is such a great way to enjoy time spent waiting. In the sketch above I was waiting for someone during her appointment at the medical center.  The lady on the left was dressed completely in Barbie pink from head to toe, including sweatshirt, purse and shoes. Even her cell phone was bright pink.

The little boy above spent his waiting time enthusiastically “reading” a book. He squealed with delight to his mom over each page.  It was so nice to see a child loving a book even if he was too young to actually read the words.

BART Station Street Light, ink & watercolor, 7.5 x5.5"
BART Station Street Light, ink & watercolor, 7.5 x5.5"

When Casey was here visiting from France, I arrived early at the BART station to collect her and her family. While I waited I tried to find something interesting to sketch from my car but this was as good as got: concrete, pole  and sky.

I spent the previous day visiting with them in San Francisco and was looking forward to showing them around Berkeley, which we capped with a fantastic dinner at Chez Panisse (thanks Casey and Michele!) Since Casey had her family with her, we didn’t get to sketch but I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them. They are the nicest and most fun people. I wish we lived closer so we could play together more often! I plan to visit them in France within a year or so.

Drawing Ink and watercolor wash People Portrait Self Portrait Sketchbook Pages Subway drawings

Last Pages of the Old Sketchbook

Last page self portrait. Ink & watercolor
Last page self portrait. Ink & watercolor, drawn from life

In Louise Stanley‘s “Rules for Keeping a Sketchbook,” her rule number two  is “Start on the third page to get your courage up.” Number three is “Go back to the first page and do a self-portrait when you’ve got the nerve.” At her exhibit it was great seeing some of her (often comical) self-portraits from journals spanning decades.

For my own journals, I preferred the idea of making the last page a self-portrait instead. That way it still creates  a record of the YOU that put all that stuff in the journal, but it’s not there staring back at you every time you open the book. So this is my self-portrait on the last page of the Fabriano Venezia sketchbook.

BART Riders, ink and watercolor
BART Riders, ink and watercolor

And this is the second to last page. Just a couple of subway riders with a bit of watercolor added later. I’m about a quarter of the way into the new journal I bound myself and am really loving it. My next posts will be from that journal.

And now it’s Friday night and what has felt like a very long, exhausting work week is finally over and I get to transition back to my art life. But that will be tomorrow. Tonight I’m just interested in a good night’s sleep.