Continuing my gouache experiments, I was pretty happy with the way this one turned out. I gave it to my daughter-in-law when she told me how much she liked it and would love to hang it on her wall. Now she can. That’s one of the best by-products of a passion for painting…being able to share my vision with others.
After an extraordinary autumn and early winter, with many things other than art going on in my life, I’ve gotten way behind on posting. This goose isn’t really a Christmas goose, it’s a summer goose, as are the rest of these sketches from Knox Miller park.
Knox Miller Park in Pt. Richmond is so pretty, with a lagoon of sorts, grassy meadows and the bay and mountains of Marin in the distance. The birds were all sketched from photos, the little landscape above was the only sketch I managed to do on site, after arriving late and feeling poorly that day.
Silly goose. My first attempt at drawing him from a photo.
I struggled and struggled trying to draw and paint this unusual white pelican from a blurry photo. I ended up adding some gouache to get back some white, which never really works well.
While I was having my car’s oil changed at Toyota Albany I took a hike down to the SF Bay Trail to sketch. I followed a confusing bike and walking path that goes up onto an overpass and then down under the freeway. It leads to the marsh on the way out to Albany Bulb, a spit of land homesteaded by the homeless that the city is constantly trying to reclaim. There were birds everywhere, including the beautiful, delicate white Snowy Egrets that always delight me (above).
I even spotted birds living right on the freeway walls; the family of pigeons above didn’t seem disturbed by the constant roar of cars. The hike was a bit isolated, and it felt spooky walking under the freeways, even on a sunny weekday morning. Fortunately the few people I saw along the way were polite bicyclists. No trolls living under these bridges like the Brothers Grimm fairytale I remember with horror from my childhood.
While I was sketching, a man was photographing birds nearby and he told me the names of the birds we were seeing, and how to differentiate them. I made notes on my sketch as I tried to figure out the basic shape of the birds.
After I filled the jumbo Moleskine watercolor journal I discovered I forgot to post several pages. From March! So here are a few of those sketches from early spring. Above and below are the John Muir home, with a bit of the fruit tree orchards and redwoods on the property. I sketched and painted these on site, with a little gouache added to the fruit tree blossoms at home.
Above is another spring sketch, painted directly with watercolor, of magnolia trees and the pretty little flowers planted around the tree.
Since my end-of-year wrap-up blog post remains unfinished, here are a couple of autumn sketches that were waiting patiently to be posted. I have a good excuse though: my new iMac arrived last week and since then I’ve been immersed in learning the Mac after over a decade on Windows PCs. I’ve been transferring files, talking to both Moron and Genius-level tech support, and installing and learning Mac versions of my applications.
I’m finding the Mac to be quite delightful in many ways and a bit confounding in others. But little by little I’m getting the hang of it… And..Oh Crud! right after I typed that I made some kind of wrong move and instantly I was popped out of the blog and into an endless loop of…
Computer: “Are you sure you want to leave this page?” I click: “Stay on page.” Computer: “Are you sure you want to leave this page?” over and over until I finally give up, say OK and click “Leave this page.” And of course nothing happens. Had to force quit and restart.
But Yay WordPress; it saved the draft! I wish I knew what I did so I don’t do it again. It has happened a bunch of times and I have no clue why.
It’s quite humbling going from being expert on the PC to being such a beginner that I couldn’t even figure out how to turn on the Mac (finally found the power button hidden behind the screen).
Happy Holidays to everyone! I made the digital sketch above in a new-to-me iPad app called ArtStudio. I’ve tried all the others and like this one the best. It has all the features of the other programs and more but just works more intuitively for me.
I did the nighttime digital sketch below in SketchbookPro, my previous favorite program. Several of us tried sketching in the dark on iPads on this sketch outing since it lights from within so you can see what you’re drawing.
The carousel in Tilden Park is beautiful and they have a special Tilden Christmas Fantasy holiday lights and decorations event every year. But every time I try to sketch there I get overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds and have trouble sketching anything I like. My sketch buddies posted some great results: Cathy’s colorful merry-go-round here, Ceiny’s coverage of it all here, Cristina’s bold drawings here, and Micaela’s lifelike digital sketches here.
Not only is the giant tree and field in front of the carousel covered in lights and decorations, but the interior is filled with a hundred or so trees, animals and other items, all decorated with different themes (e.g. there was a Hello Kitty tree and a 49’ers tree). Plus all the historic carved animals on the Merry-go-Round and the kids riding them whirling around. And Santa and the Elves taking wishes. Plus the merry-go-round music and Christmas soundtrack music being played over loudspeakers, and the smell of popcorn and cocoa from the refreshment stand.
It’s no wonder I get overwhelmed and have trouble settling down when I draw in there! Outdoors I sat on my stool by the restrooms way across the parking lot. It was quiet there.
Best wishes for love, joy and peace (and hopefully a little art)!