Sketching my dear little Millie, the Formosan Mountain Dog, a rescue from Taiwan and always a source of inspiration for drawing, painting, and getting out in nature every day for a walk.
On my first day back to work after being sick for weeks we had a staff meeting. I wanted to put my head down on the table and nap so doodled to stay upright and awake. Later I pasted the page in my sketchbook with the added note about antibiotics.
Then my first night back at Tuesday night sketching (at the Bread Workshop) after I drew my food I sketched the sketchers at my table. I had to add that shading to the right of Amy’s face to “erase” the splotch I made by her nose that looked like a booger.
I added one too many lines, which lead to more lines to try to fix them, in Sonia’s hair which had been perfect until I did that. I made a note to remind myself to STOP at “good enough” and not keep going.
…but my son Robin did instead. And he took wonderful, soulful photos that he shared with me. So of course I had to sketch them, starting with this otter whose expression really struck me. It came out a little different in each sketch.
I finally threw away the Pigma Brush Pen I used for this sketch. The point seemed to fray on first use and only got worse. The Pitt Artist Brush Pens seem to hold up better.
I think this one is my favorite either because of his expression (why am I assuming it’s a boy?) or because the drawing reminds me of a series of children’s books I used to read to my sons when they were little, about a little badger named Francis.
And here is Robin’s original photo:
I wonder what this cute little guy was thinking. Doesn’t this just call for a caption? What would it be?
Last week I took advantage of quick sketchers Martha and Cathy being away to spend an hour working on one image instead of constantly moving from one spot to the next. This was a really complex scene and the more I drew the more details appeared to draw.
By the time I finished, Sonia (who did several sketches of different views from the same spot) and I were so cold we decided to head home. I work right across the street from the lake and doing this drawing helped me to see what an amazing resource I have for sketching right outside my door.
The next day at lunch, instead of eating in the kitchen with my colleagues, I took my sketchbook and went for a walk by the lake. My plan was to sketchercize: walk for 15 minutes, do a sketch, and walk 15 minutes back, getting in a 30 minute walk. But 5 minutes from the office I saw a row of Double-Crested Cormorants all lined up drying their wings in the sun as if they were on clotheslines.
(Cormorants are easily identified because they’re the only waterbirds that sit in the sun with their wings spread, hanging their feathers out to dry. They lack an oil gland for preening, so their feathers get waterlogged when they swim under water.)
After I sketched a cormorant and walked a few minutes more, a gaggle of goofy geese were all lined up at the edge of the sidewalk, waiting for someone to decide what to do next, and they needed sketching.
Walking back to the office I came across a foot-high rock with a bronze plaque on it that said “Leon Olsen loved to walk here.” What a great way to honor someone. A memorial walk rock!
It was an important meeting. The participants were brilliant experts in their fields. Yet I still couldn’t resist sketching my way through the meeting.
I only had my work notebook and a fat roller ball blue ink pen in the conference room with me. During a break I grabbed a black one but it was still weird to draw with compared to my usual extra fine point pen.
I actually captured a likeness on a couple of these little gesture sketches.
I enjoy sketching on BART, our subway system (which has been in the news since New Year’s Eve when BART police shot and killed a defenseless, unarmed young man which was captured on cellphone video and led to protests and rioting in downtown Oakland). BART’s headquarters are in the building where I work in downtown Oakland. To keep people safe inside, the building has been on “lock down” the past couple of weeks, with I.D.s required to enter the building to keep those of us working inside safe. There’s been no trouble though, with way more media and police around than protestors.
On BART this morning, this old man made a great model. He barely moved and had the most gigantic ears I’ve ever seen.
This would probably be better if I darkened all of the area around her but I liked her pointy nose.
Trying to recover from a caffeine hangover headache this morning, and completely out of coffee at home, I walked (slowly) to Peet’s for a latte and a bag of beans to replenish my supply. While I was sipping and sketching this lady, two clerks from the nearby Trader Joes sat at the table next to me and held a training session that provided an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the grocery business for the always curious (and eavesdropping) me.
They took turns reading aloud from a document contained in a bright blue cardboard folder. I learned that the average checker completes about 200 sales per day and that that number is used to compare the productivity of workers. I learned about when and why they have to declare goods unsellable and that they then donate them to food banks, including flowers.
They pondered that one for a while, trying to figure out who would actually want unsellable flowers and what they would do with them. They concluded that food banks probably don’t need flowers so they must go elsewhere. But I was thinking the flowers would be nice to brighten the homes of the needy people getting the food.