I’ve been doing more oil painting than sketching lately so it’s taken longer than usual to fill my journal and get to the last page that I always save for a self-portrait (above). It’s interesting how each sketch in the collection below shows a progression upwards in age and (occasionally) in skill and how only bits of them resemble me at all. Also interesting how many of them were done on days I was feeling grumpy and/or tired (probably wisely choosing to sketch myself instead of working on something that “mattered” when I felt that way).
Below is a little gallery of self-portrait end-of-journal sketches since 2009. You can click on any image to see it larger, if you must.
End of Journal Self-Portrait, graphite, 5×7.5 in
End of Journal Self-Portrait, ink & watercolor
End of Journal Self-Portrait, February 2013, Pitt brown Brush Pen and watercolor, 8×5″
End of Journal Self Portrait, graphite and watercolor, 7.5×5″
End of Journal Self-Portrait #1, ink & watercolor, 7×5″
End of Journal Self Portrait, colored pencils, 7×5″
End of sketchbook self portraits, ink & watercolor
End of Journal Self-Portrait #1
End of Journal #2 (Ick!)
Self Portrait B-1, ink & watercolor
Tortured sketch (in mirror), Pretending sweetness (from photo)
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.
I sat in the driveway and quickly sketched some roses but had to stop when the shadow of the house took away the light.
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!
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.
Early on the morning after Thanksgiving our Urban Sketchers group went to Oakland’s Chinatown for some sketching. It was business as usual in the busy produce markets, herb shops, meat and seafood stalls, and Chinese restaurants, with no sign of Black Friday.
I found a spot to sit in front of a bank and had fun drawing all the details in the architecture. I started in pencil because the scene seemed so complicated. It’s easier to get it “right” with an eraser but it takes so much longer to draw it twice, in pencil and then in ink. I had to add the watercolor at home from a photo because by the time I chose my spot and did the drawing, it was time to meetup with the group.
While I drew, local people stopped to watch and give me encouragement, whether in excellent or broken English. My favorite was the plump, elderly lady who said something in Chinese, grinned, and gave me a big thumbs up. The amazing thing about sketching in public is that no matter how good or bad you’re doing, people always say nice, encouraging things.
Since many of us were there, we took photos for our group blog. I used the timer on my camera, setting it on the edge of a defunct fountain in the center of this plaza. I didn’t realize I was including the lady on the end. She must have been really tired as she nodded off and slept through our photo session. The photo we ultimately used on the USK blog masthead here was kindly taken by a guy who watched me repeatedly duck under the yellow warning tape around the fountain, set up the camera, and dash back to sit with my friends.
I was asked to make a watercolor portrait of a beloved cat much missed by her family. This post will be their first chance to see what I’ve come up with so far. I’m not sure I’ve captured her appearance or spirit yet as her family knows her.
(UPDATE 6/12/2012) Yay! They loved the painting and are getting it framed.
They sent two beautiful photos of Lucy in different poses to work from. I had to guess a little since the photos only showed one paw and the bottom half of her ears and I wasn’t sure how accurate the colors were. Below are the studies I made before the painting above.