It is all about Gesture!

In my last post I mentioned I was starting a new online class.  The class is with Roz Stendahl – Drawing Live Subjects in Public.

To find out more about Roz Stendahl and her classes visit her blog – Roz Wound Up.  You can spend hours in her blog.  There is so much information about drawing, mixed media, art materials, watercolor, gouache, portraits of people and animals.  I think you will find almost anything.  Plus you can sign up for notification on her classes.  Roz is an incredible teacher giving so much valuable feedback to students every step of the way.

This class has started out with gesture drawing. Something that has fascinated me although I always felt I could not do it. Roz explained it in a user friendly way.  All the participants are asked to do  30 minutes of gesture drawing a day.  Animals, people even sea shells.

So far I have done birds and people.  You really have to be quick and forget about any details. You have to watch the subject and not the paper.  We were encouraged to use different media.  My favorite is colored pencil or brush pen.

The first set of sketches is birds.  The colored pencil is hard to see. The first two sketches are correct.  The last sketch in calligraphy pen is not.  I forgot about gesture and fell into drawing the contour.


No doubt my favorite place for drawing people is Costco.  Today I opened my sketchbook and walked through the store amongst the shoppers sketching people with a brush pen.  Only one person commented “Hey, she is drawing people”  Another person apologized for standing next to me while I was drawing. It really was one of the most fun times I have had drawing people out in public. I have lots of sketches to share.  When someone moved I stopped and started a new person.  So you will see some parts of people. I started each drawing trying to catch the center line of the gesture and then to draw and feel the volume of the person not the contour.  Click on any sketch to see a close-up.  There will be more to come on the class in the coming weeks.

p11 p10 p9 p8 p7 p6 p5 p4 p3 p2 p1


My week with Zeta!

It is fun to experiment with coloring agents and sketchbooks.  Sometimes there is a learning curve.  I have been sketching in a Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook  It has good quality smooth hot press paper,180 lb and in natural white.

I have been struggling with watercolor in this sketchbook.  I like to slosh on the color and drag the pigment down so it bleeds into the next color.  This is not easy and I still don’t think I have been able to accomplish this style of painting.  It is not a good a idea to grab a new sketchbook without first experimenting.   So after being disappointed with a dozen or more sketches I have finally had some time to experiment with the paper.

We have just come home from a 4 day sailing excursion down the Columbia River.  The following are some of the sketches from the trip.

boatThese ladies were moored next our sailboat at the St. Helens Marina.


Lots of people fishing at St. Helens marina into the evening.


The next morning I found this young mother in the park watching her children playing on the slides.

conversationWe spent two mornings at the St. Helens marina and both mornings these gentlemen met.  I was disappointed with my painting in these sketches so today I experimented!


The first sketch was painted with Daniel Smith paints and a No. 8 round brush.  Not a lot of control over the pigment with some blooming as I tried to pull down the pigment.  The paper soaks up the pigment quickly.  The second sketch was painted with Daniel Smith watercolors and a No. 12 round brush.  I had more success with the bigger brush.


The first sketch is with a Lamy Safari fountain pen, fine nib and J. Herbin Perle Noire water soluble ink.  The paper is perfect for pen and ink either gel pen or fountain pen.   The ink bled beautifully when I added water.  I decided to play around with a purple Kuretake brush pen.  The pigment did not move when you added water.  It had already set on the paper.  I started to have some issues so stopped and added a purple undershirt to the figure.  The second sketch is with a Uniball Vision gel pen and the color with Faber Castell Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils.  I started to play around with washes with Derwent Inktense pencils and Caran D’Ache Neocolor II water soluble crayons to the side of the sketch.  The watercolor pencils, Inktense pencils and watersoluble crayons were a good match for the paper.

It was good to experiment and to be reminded of some of the other options I have besides watercolor.

Tomorrow I will be switching sketchbooks again.  I am starting a 4 week online course with Roz Stendahl and will be using a Strathmore 500 series mixed media sketchbook.  One of my favorite papers.   The course is “Drawing Life Subjects in Public”.  I am looking forward to the course Roz Stendahl is one of my favorite artists.  So I will be reporting on the course during the next four weeks.  There will be plenty of wonky drawings!

A Busy Summer!

Summer is always a busy time for us.  We spend most of the time going back and forth between our boat in Portland and our home in Lyons.   So while I was tired of the winter cold and rain sometimes the heat of summer also makes it uncomfortable to sketch outside.

I have filled my Fabriano Venezia sketchbook.  The paper was great but I found I could not move the pigment around when doing a watercolor wash.  Not sure if it was the paper or the high temperatures we have experienced in Oregon lately.

I have just started a Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook.  I need to give it more time.I should just stick to my favorite sketchbook, Stillman & Birn Alpha in 9 x 6 landscape.

I have tried to focus on two things in the last couple of weeks – brush pens and waterfowl – ducks and geese.  Two self portraits in brush pen. Pentel brush pens and some waterbrushes filled with ink washes. Yes this is the same person…just on different days!  Click on the images for a closer look.

brush-pen-portrait carmelbrush

Ducks and geese can be found in Lyons at the beaver ponds and at the marina in Portland.  I decided after a couple of attempts to look at them more closely and to understand the anatomy of each bird.  I spent hours  on John Muir Laws’ blog  where he has some hour long video workshops posted along with good information on sketching birds.  Birds, ducks or geese don’t stay around too long to be sketched!


The first sketch is from the beaver ponds in Lyons and the second sketch from the marina in Portland.

Here is a very messy spread in my sketchbook where I made notes on how to draw ducks and geese. I have no sense of layout sometimes! I was amazed how beautifully the paper in the Fabriano sketchbook took colored pencil.  The drawing of the heads are in black Verithin colored pencil.

ducksI found the odd person here or there.  Some were fishing, at the marina and in the dental office and one gentleman at Harbor Freight!  The last one was a 30 second sketch!


I took my art stool across the road and found a shady spot so I could sketch the local Grange Hall in Lyons.


The following are some random sketches.  One night we had salsa and corn chips on the boat.  The salsa was not the best. My husband, Dwight, reads his Kindle each night while I go walking and sometimes sketching in the evenings.  I do pay for it with sore feet!


feetI am sorry my feet are a little scary at times.  Until next time.

Something different!

I do draw more than people edging their way to the Starbucks counter!  Well sometimes!

I collected these daisies on our evening walk.   I think they are classed as weeds.  None the less they are nice in a field or on the side of the road.   Two versions and I think I like both.   The spots of colors in the first sketch were added with stencil and stamping ink.


I also found these on the evening walk, Canadian Geese.  Sometimes they will ignore you and other nights they will take off at the very sight of a human.  I am still not sure what to use when sketching them.  So I am on search for the right tool.  I have yet to try a brush pen.  They almost move as much people..maybe more.  So present a real challenge.


Back to buildings which I also found on my evening walk!   Some experimenting here.  I used a Sailor pen with bent nib loaded with Noodlers Lexington Gray ink for the first  sketch.  I had problems with the pen.  Well maybe not the pen.  The artist using the pen needs to practice more.  There is nothing wrong with the pen.  It really moves you away from sketching every little detail.  Watercolor was added.


The second sketch is another house on the evening walk.  Both of these houses are for sale.  I have discovered it is easier to sketch a house when it is vacant!  I used my Platinum Carbon pen with a worn down nib.  It is no longer extra fine but fine.  I also loaded the pen with Noodlers Lexington Gray ink.  Watercolor is scary but fun.  This one had it moments but in the end I am happy with the results.