Sunday, July 1, 2018

New Hampshire
For this month, I thought I would do a nice review of some of my past drawings/paintings of Pleasant Lake. This is the lake at the bottom of the hill where we live in New Hampshire. Behind it presides Mount Kearsarge. I drew this view from Morgan Hill.

At the south end of the lake is the village of Elkins. It is all peaceful and quiet these days, but was once a busy scene of mills and factories making scythes. A few remnants of the mills exist, but only in the form of a scattered walls, and foundations along the millstream.

I drew the band stand. Local musical groups play here on Sunday nights in the summer. Yes, the roof is a little crooked. In my drawing, not in real life.

Still on the south end near the branch post office and a small town public beach. We are now looking at Morgan Hill.

The same place with the same birch tree and the same white pine.

On the north side of the lake is our communally shared beach.

Another view of our beach on a busy Sunday afternoon. Must have been a great day for sailing.

And here I am in my kayak, with my sketchbook and pencil. I colored it at home.

Looking away from the beach, we see the Inn at Pleasant Lake. And the red annex building. It is an old barn where we have events. Our two recreational kayaks are here on the beach, although not the ones I drew.

A panoramic view of Pleasant Lake and Mount Kearsarge and several boaters. And little people enjoying the sandy beach. The light on the hills and the water was shifting from one second to the next. It was fascinating to watch and a challenge to capture.

I’ll end with a winter scene from the inn, looking at Mount Kearsarge and the ice covered, snow covered lake.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

New Hampshire, Alberta, and California

Yup, I am still on the planet. It has been a few weeks since the last posting.  Some reasons could include working on the next book, travel, and grandparenting. But I still intend to keep the blog journey going, and thanks for checking up on me. We have seen evidence of footprints here.

We have all heard the song about Catalina Island, “The Island Of Romance”. It is indeed twenty-six miles across the sea from the Los Angeles area. Most of the island is a nature preserve, but it does have two small resort towns. Mexican style hand painted tiles are everywhere. I drew a fountain in the main square. And I sketched a view of the homes that climb the steep hills.

One Saturday, I joined a group of sketchers in the Strathcona section of Edmonton, Alberta. We were back from balmy California at this point. It was good to be indoors at the market, and seeing flowers in pots, and the usual fruit, veg, and crafts of a farmers market. These apples were such a beautiful shade of yellow.

Next up, with a slight twist of my body, I caught a view of these squash. The color is so, shall I say it, drab, that the farmer cuts one open to show off the very pretty flesh inside.

And sometimes there are musicians at a market. As you can see, I started planning the composition at the bottom with the violin case, rather than at the top of the page with her face. So a little add on with tape was required. It can be fixed with digital magic.

I like sketchbooks of all shapes and sizes. This is the smallest one I have ever used,  just 3.5 " x 5.5". Granddaughter Roxy and I were riding in the back seats of the family SUV. The road was bumpy, but I was determined to draw the roofs of the houses as we passed by. The tip of the pencil was jumping all around, but I held it firmly to the paper. I remember our giggles as the sketch drew itself. Color was added later.

With a similar roof line, here is the cover of my (our) latest winter project, book #3.

As with the two previous books, this was a family activity. I drew and I wrote. Our daughter Karin did the overall graphic design of the book and assembled it into press-ready files. My husband Bruce was the indispensable computer guy in the middle, scanning my drawings and keeping track of everything. Tom Holbrook of RiverRun Bookstore and Piscataqua Press in Portsmouth was again the publisher.

The book is available at Tom's shop, and online at Amazon. Till they get things fixed there, spell my last name without the E when searching!

We will also be helping staff Tom’s table at Portsmouth’s annual Market Square Day on Saturday June 9. See you there!

And a sample page inside. There are 84 pages of drawings/paintings, with small amounts of accompanying text also written by me.

Another sample page. Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is filled with beautiful brick buildings.

Another page, with iron fence posts and signs.

From the above sketch of the weathervane came this painting.

One more book page, illustrating the Button Factory, now an artists studio complex.

And the resulting painting, based on the sketch.

New Hampshire Magazine is a wonderful monthly collection of history, stories in general, and things to do in the state. This month’s theme was the Seacoast, a perfect fit for my new book.

And I was so very pleased to have the book get a very nice, insightful, mini-review on page 65.

In other local news, we just hung a show of my work at the library in Dover, New Hampshire. I will be giving a talk there at 6:30 on Tuesday, June 12th, and the show will run through June 29th.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

New Hampshire, Maryland, and England

I decided to have a theme of animals for this post. I looked through the last nine years of blog posts (that took a while!) and selected a few drawings that I especially liked. Only one drawing is based on a direct animal observation. You'll see what I mean.

Starting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, I sketched some funny old metal mailboxes, with a very tropical flamingo on one of them.

On the right is a nicely carved salamander above a shop doorway, also in Portsmouth.

In Baltimore, Maryland's Inner Harbor, you can rent a small dragon boat to pedal around the waterfront. The pointed glass building is the National Aquarium.

Last winter, I stopped my car to draw this snow dragon on the New London, New Hampshire, town green. I knew which local artist had made it because I recognized her style based on her children's books. I added a few sparrows for scale.

The dragon was only there for a few days. It then got transformed into a ski jump for the upcoming skijoring competition (skiers pulled by horses).

And one more dragon on the town green. This time it is a large inflatable sculpture that has a tunnel full of children. See them peering out of the round windows? It is part of a summer festival called Hospital Days. It raises money for our local hospital, 100 years old this year.

Here are the real animals, a flock of sheep in a field in the Cotswolds, in England. The guy in front kept a careful eye on me while the others grazed.

And another sheep, a puppet owned and operated by Lindsay Aucella. And a tiger. She has a wonderful business with her puppets, and travels widely throughout New Hampshire. Lindsay comes to our town, at the small beach on Pleasant Lake, once a year.

Learn more at her website.

These stuffed animals sit in the sun on a window seat in our house. A Paddington bear made by my mother, a regular teddy bear, a striped something, and a Curious George monkey.

Once we owned a rowhouse in Baltimore near an Hispanic grocery. The ceiling was filled with pinatas. They are constructed by hand with crepe paper and cardboard, and filled with candy.

Our doorknocker is a carved wooden woodpecker. This drawing is a few years old, but the woods look just like they do today. Deep snow and copper beech leaves clinging on until Spring. The melted circles around the tree trunks say that Spring might be coming soon and daffodils will pop up there.

One year our town had a fundraiser which involved fiberglass statues of gnus. Various people painted them, and then they were raffled off. Call me a grouch, but I think they are an eyesore. But I do like this home made parody of the project. An elk on the lawn of the maker, named for a village in our town called Elkins. So instead of a Gnu of New London, it is the Elk of Elkins.

Shortly after I drew this, the next generation of baby elk appeared on the scene.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Panama and Costa Rica

Last year I started experimenting with accordion sketchbooks. On this sunny day in Panama,  I planted myself on the bow of the ship National Geographic Quest, got out my art supplies, and started in. Pen, watercolor, and white pencil.

All the land you see is national parks and protected jungles in a rain forest. The little island to the right is called Granito De Oro which means grain of gold. The island is a ‘one palm’ island with a yellow sand beach. After I finished painting, I took a Zodiak (powered inflatable invented by Jacques Cousteau) over to the island and did some drawings there too. It was crawling, literally, with hermit crabs.

On another day of our week’s expedition, we roamed around a botanical garden, Casa Orquideas, in Costa Rica that is carved out of the tropical jungle. It is for sale by the aging owners if you are interested. Here is a video of the pages in my sketchbook that I made while there.

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One morning I painted this bird sanctuary, Bona Island, from the comfort of the lounge area of the ship. After lunch, we got a naturalist-guided up close tour in a Zodiak. We went around the left hand side where multitudes of frigate birds were puffing out their red chests to impress the ladies. I also saw, at a distance, my first iguana.

And then, just around the corner from the protected land and the bird sanctuary, was this:  a massive line-up of ships getting ready to sail through the Panama Canal. And in the distance, Panama City with its skyline of tall, gleaming, white, residential highrises.

Our ship moored overnight halfway through the canal in a huge man-made lake. This is my very first drawing of a container ship. It was probably even longer than this, but it was moving fast so I drew fast.

We got to spend some time in Panama City, mostly walking from the shoreline park to the old town (Casco Viejo) The brick streets were narrow, which provided shade from the tropical sun. Our group stopped very briefly on this corner, the site of the ruins of a monastery and school. We saw lots of rebuilding of the old stone buildings in the area, and the main square looks grand again.

I drew this building, the Biomuseo, while on board the ship. Partially because it is a very colorful structure designed by Frank Gehry, and also I knew we would be visiting it the following day. In English, the name is the Biodiversity Museum. Panama as a land bridge erupted from the sea 15 million years ago, and changed animal migrations and sea currents, allowing species from the two continents to mix and interbreed.

Three objects from an archeological section of the museum. I like clay vessels that incorporate animal faces or bodies.

Panama, and specifically the San Blas Islands, is well known for a native art craft, the mola. It is an elaborate form of appliqué. Here, the blue is the bottom layer, with the deep red sewn on top of that. I believe the other colors are added in smaller areas on top. I learned that this type of art originally comes from designs painted on the body.The women sew two panels and attach one to the front of a blouse and the other to the back. This style is still the form of dress on the islands today.

I saw this block of colorful signs and shopfronts across the street from our hotel. I can’t resist this sort of melange of color, letters, words, and images. And it is very telling of a specific place and memory.

The video shows best in Full Screen mode. Once you start it, click the Full Screen icon at the lower right. Tap Esc to return to the blog.

Subscribers who receive the blog in email via Feedblitz might not be able to view the video without clicking through to the blog site itself.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Alberta, California, and New Hampshire

As many of my readers know, we spend a few weeks in the spring and fall in Edmonton, Alberta in western Canada, where our younger daughter and her family live. One fall day I drew this panoramic sketch of the North Saskatchewan River, which bisects the city. It is always a beautiful light green shade. The river is born in a glacier the Canadian Rockies, and it flows north into Hudson’s Bay. Minerals scraped from the floor of the glacier contribute to its color.

I got in the warm autumnal colors too.

In downtown Edmonton there is a new arena for the Oilers, the NHL team. We were parked in the back, where the Edmonton Community Arena is a part of the building. Our granddaughter was playing there on her hockey team.

I just couldn’t resist the curves of this building. The light poles added to the effect.

  I keep drawing our littlest grandson’s shoes. Maybe I am trying to slow down his toddler years.

 And one day, our older grandson rode his bike over to our condo for a visit. He parked it in the hallway. And while he played, I had plenty of time to sketch it in ink and put in some colors with water soluble colored pencils.

  In the airport in Edmonton, I found a display case with these wonderfully beaded moccasins from Sachs Harbour, way up in the Arctic area.

 Our other branch of the family, our older daughter and her husband, lives in Los Angeles. Here is a coffee shop called Blue Bottle, on Third and Broadway, a short stroll from their apartment. The sky was its usual clear blue.

 My daughter and I took a walk to Olvera Street, a few more blocks east of her apartment. The origin of California as being part of Mexico is widely seen in Olvera Street. The food, the music, and the products in the market are pretty convincing that you have slipped over the border into Mexico.

 Back in New Hampshire, on the East Coast, we attended the Holiday Open House at the Button Factory in Portsmouth. This old solid brick building was once the international center for the manufacture of shoe buttons. Eventually, there was no longer a need for those items. Since the late 1960s, it has been repurposed as artists’ studios.

One of the artists had spotted me drawing in Portsmouth a few weeks earlier and invited us to visit her studio at the upcoming event. It was indeed a happy occasion, well supplied with wine and cheese. And art.

 It is plenty cold and snowy here now in New Hampshire. But the winter berries are bright red and attract the birds. It is a cheerful sight.

Another happy winter sight was the blooming of a red and white amaryllis bulb that was given to me. 

And yesterday, I awoke early enough to see the winter sunrise in the snowy woods. 

The art on this blog posting is a mixture of traditional sketching on paper, and images done on my digital art app called Drawing Pad. It is a ton of fun to use it, as I am playing with light, as well as line and texture. And I can adjust the colors to be either opaque or translucent, thin or thick, smooth or textured, and all combinations of these. The digital images are these: the moccasins, the Blue Bottle, the red trees, the amaryllis, and the sunrise. My art tool is my left index finger.