In April my sketch group decided to sketch things starting with “A” but I kept going with it. I had a lot of fun finding things about the people I sketched that started with A. Click on any of the pictures to see them larger with my notes in slide show format. As you’ll see from the times in the notes, I was working some long hours the past couple months which is why I’m so behind on posting. When time is limited I always choose painting over posting.
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).
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.
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.
You can imagine my glee when this gentleman in full Mohawk sat down across from me on BART. Entranced by his cell phone, he never noticed me sketching and held perfectly still. It must have taken him a long time to get his hair to stand up so perfectly–and why? Especially first thing in the morning? I awarded him a sticker (on his page) from National Geographic.
UPDATE: Larry Hatfield sent me this link to a great Mohawk at a crazy website: People of Walmart where photos of actual shoppers and products at Walmart make you laugh, cringe and/or swear never to go to a Walmart.
And above, bonus BART rider sketches, people reading actual books, not a cellphone/Kindle, etc. And below some subway feet sketches.
I was amused by the variety of guys shoes, from super point to square toes to waffle soles.
There’s something about this sketch that really says winter in Northern California to me: bundled up, boots on, bare trees out the window, and a sense of quiet.
Now that I only work in the office two days a week I have fewer opportunities for sketching on my 13 minute subway ride but always enjoy the adventure of trying to sketch someone, not knowing if they’ll get off in a minute at the next stop.
I’m wrapping up the last of my sketches in my last handmade sketchbook with these two subway sketches and next time, my end-of-journal self portrait. I didn’t get around to binding another journal one in time and so switched to a Moleskine watercolor sketchbook as a stopgap.
The Moleskine would be perfect if only it wasn’t in horizontal format. I hate the way two-page spreads become very long and skinny. Trying to sketch in it vertically is awkward to hold. Working in it for a few weeks has given me the incentive to get a new book bound ASAP!
I needed to draw and paint something fun and refreshing after the ordeal with the last oil painting. I reached into my still life cabinet and pulled out this fun little pitcher. This gave me the idea to draw my complete inventory of still life items, one at a time. And that gave me the idea to draw everything I own. I wonder….
The day before I’d drawn these two guys snoozing back to back on BART. The coppery paint mixture worked perfectly for them too.
This lady carefully marked up her cheesy crime novel, “Guns Before Butter” with her pencil as she read. The train ride was really bumpy and so my ink line got pretty squiggly. I switched to drawing her after a big guy with a bike got on and completely blocked my view of the man above her.
I experimented some more with the brown craft paper sketchbook, drawing with a black brush pen on BART and (above) adding white pen and colored pencil at home.
And below, some ink drawings done on BART with watercolor added at home later.