Friday, December 28, 2018

Hats and Shoes - Symbols of Identity

Hats. I have drawn many hats over the years, and here is a wide selection of them. Most of them are for warmth, but not all. The above hat was a demonstration drawing/watercolor I did for a retirement community art class at the beginning of the month. It is currently my favorite winter hat, with the cheery felt flower pinned to the side.

The art materials are charcoal pencil (which I had always thought I disliked but I have changed my mind) and water soluble colored pencil. Which are called crayon pencils in Canada. People literally ooh and aah when I release the pigment in the colored pencil with a swipe of my water-laden brush. It is a form of magic I admit. 

When I sketch hats or shoes, it seems like a portrait. So this is my self-portrait.

A few years back,this heavy wool hat was a favorite of mine. I do not knit, but am keenly impressed by people who do. This hat was drawn digitally on my art app called Drawing Pad. It was easy to make it look fuzzy.

Another well loved hat, made in Nepal. One year this hat dropped out of my pocket in the library, and I didn’t see it again for months. I shrieked in delight when I saw it on the lost and found hook.

This fall I drew our grandson Wyatt’s hat. He was wearing it almost constantly when not in school. It says atomic on it and has a hockey puck in the design instead of an o. It is my portrait of him as a ten year old.

Five years ago I drew these hats on sale at our local shop. I jokingly called it the first sign of spring in our northern clime.

Three straw hats were hanging on wooden pegs on a wall at our local Historical Society, which is our way of saying town museum. I reveled in the subtle differences in the shapes of the brims, the shapes of the ribbons, and lastly the shapes of the shadows.

Two woven items hang on our wall near the kitchen. On the left is a child’s Adirondack packbasket. In pencil is written Bruce ’46. Which means that this was my husband’s packbasket when he was three years old. His parents and he spent several summers at a camp in upstate New York. His father was a very dedicated and admired counselor. He gained the camp’s ultimate recognition of having a rowboat named after him.

On the right is a straw boater, worn by our two daughters, taking turns daily. It was the headwear for the summer uniform of the British school that they attended when very young. Ages four and seven approximately.

And look, another boater. This one is an adult male version. I drew this assortment of hats, fans,and one pair of shoes at another historical society in Weare, New Hampshire. We people who keep sketchbooks can happily skip right over the “No Photography” rule in some museums.

This is my transition piece, ’cause the rest of this post is about shoes.

And a shoe rack at our daughter’s house. I think she has three more racks just like this now. The number of racks expands as do the number of children she has, plus the number of sports that they play.

My red shoes that I wear when in Canada. Our grandchildren thought they were a bit much at first, but they are growing to like them. Or at least getting used to Grandma with red feet.

A quick drawing of our small front hall. The door is glass and the window next to it is floor to ceiling glass, so you get a really good view of the snowy hillside just outside. My kind husband left early that morning, and left me a warning note.

Speaking of wintery footwear, here is a digital drawing of some native leather and beaded boots from Sachs Harbor, Canada. I spotted them at the Edmonton International Airport in a museum display case.And drew them on the spot as we waited for our plane.

And more shoes, maybe a toddler portrait. Our younger grandson was about two years old when he wore these. I has just finished scraping mud off of them.

And again, more toddler shoes. Maybe about three when he wore these.

I will end my collection with a totally different look. These boots are tall, covered in maple leaves, and not made to be worn. This shoe display was in the window of the Batta Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada. If you ever get a chance to go there, you must. It was a wonderful experience, although toddler Wyatt had to be removed. I pushed him in his stroller up and down the street. Which is where I saw this display, and drew it while I rocked our grandson back and forth.

One more thing about shoes to mention. First footing. One branch of my husband’s family came from Scotland, the Glasgow area to be more exact. This was about 1900 I think. In the 1960’s when I joined the family, their New Year’s Eve gathering had remnants of traditions from Scotland. We sang Auld Lang Syne, which is about remembering past times, places, and people. 

And the family recruited a party participant to do the first footing, or be the “first foot”. There are the hard and fast rules of what to do at midnight to bring good luck in the New Year. The person who first crosses the threshold must be male and have dark hair. (I read online that this was to insure that the person was not a Viking, known to have blond hair). I think the other customs had been forgotten here in the New World. That is, I do not remember the first footer bringing in gifts such as a silver coin, shortbread, a black bun, some salt, a lump of coal, or a dram of whiskey. Although there was plenty of shortbread and whiskey in the room.

But certainly the tradition persists of wishing everyone a Happy New Year. And so I do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

New Hampshire

I’m happy to announce that I will be participating in the Authors Night gathering at Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown, New Hampshire, on Friday January 18 from 6 to 9 PM. Come take a look at my three books, chat about future book possibilities, page through other books by local authors, and perhaps partake in the offerings from the site sponsor.

My three books:

A drawing and description of every one of the 234 towns and cities in New Hampshire.

A motivational book for those just starting out in art, or for those who were once there and are having a hard time getting back.

The product of wandering around Portsmouth through the year of 2017, sketchbook in hand. Bring it with you on your next visit there, and follow along.

Here’s a link to the Authors Night site:

See you there!

New Hampshire

I’m back!

My regular two month visit with family in western Canada, together with preparation for a few local art events, has done a number on my pledge to regularly update my blog.

I’m now back home in New Hampshire and gearing up for the final few weeks of the holiday season. I have of course accumulated a whole bunch of fresh artwork, and I’ll be sharing that with you here in the near future.

Here’s a quick preview. In the previous post I showed a small orange sketchbook down in the lower right corner of a picture of some of my tools. I brought another one of this size (yellow) with me to Canada, and here’s a quick, uncommented video of the record of my visit.

Hang in there, and I’ll be back soon with further artwork and commentary.

But I jumped right back into things once I got home. Yesterday I presented the first of a series of 4 art classes at the Smyth Public Library in Candia, New Hampshire. I am in the process of setting up another set of classes at the library in Atkinson. Next week I'll be giving a talk based on my most recent book, A Small City by the Sea: An Artist’s View of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at a local retirement community.

Stay tuned!

Friday, August 31, 2018

New Hampshire and Vermont

Here is a photo of three kinds of sketchbooks I have been using lately. The large linen covered one is 8" x 8". The orange pocket sketchbook is just that, sixty pages, 3.5" x 5.5". And behind them are two accordion-fold sketchbooks.

 A line drawing of a nearby mountain, Mount Kearsarge. And some nice blue sky.

 On the other side, I penned in some summer offerings of produce, flowers, and alpaca compost. The produce and the compost were for sale by the side of the road. Honor System!

 When family came to visit, we headed over to the coast, Hampton Beach, NH.

 Now on to drawings in the pocket sketchbook. It’s a beer and barbeque festival at the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, Vermont. Lots of beards on a very warm day.

I just looked down and this is the tangle of feet that I saw.

One day while weeding in the garden behind our town library, I saw this grandmother and her granddaughter enjoying a sunny morning’s sketching.  They did not notice my sketching them, but I showed the drawing to the girl before she left. I have sketched with my granddaughters too.

 In my little orange sketchbook, I drew in ink the stage set of a play at the New London Barn Playhouse. The comedy/musical was called “Murder For Two”.
Vincent Gunn              Dustin Cross+
Scenic Designer        Costume Designer

Keith A. Truax           Jill BC DuBoff
Lighting Designer        Sound Designer

Just a few of the beautiful rocks on the beach at low tide in Rye, NH. Only the yellowish one on the right belongs there. All the rest of the colorful rocks came from elsewhere and were washed up onto the beach.

 As a double page spread in the linen sketchbook, this is 8" x 16". We decided one day to visit the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire. Here we have rocks, seaweed, and sea critters in the touch tank. Star fish are now called sea stars, because they are not fish. I did pick it up for a closer look. The scallop shell looks a little goofy with its two limpet shells on it looking pretty much like eyes.

This is my favorite view of Mount Sunapee and Lake Sunapee from the second floor bedroom of an historic home called the Fells in Newbury, NH. This is ink and watercolor in the linen sketchbook.The opening in the stonewall leads down to a large rock garden on a steep hillside.

And we’ll finish with flowers I picked at Spring Ledge Farm in New London, NH. Dahlias have become very popular as wedding flowers.

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.