Sunday, December 13, 2020

Light in the Dark Season

Apologies if you have been getting multiple notices of this new blog post. Google apparently had a massive outage, and we've been trying alternative means. Once they get things fixed you might get a bit of accumulated mail that's been piling up there.


I've chosen a dozen images that have the theme of winter light, or colors. They have been made over the last five years or so. The digital art app I use is designed for children. That is why I enjoy it so. It is like having a brand new box of crayons. And, unlike crayons, there is an 'undo' arrow. It is magical and intensely fun to be able to make the colors either translucent or opaque or anywhere in between. For example, yellow can go on top of black. Yes, I still use watercolors, pen, pencil, acrylic paints when I choose. 

I love how the winter sun appears to burn a hole through the bare trees. We have snow on the east side of our steep hill in our high elevation town. 

And going back through some older artwork, look! I have depicted this same scene from the same chair gazing out into our woods. On this occasion I added the copper colored leaves on the beech trees. And some snow flakes.

And again, in the past, I drew the scene all in greys.

Again a winter sun low in the sky, but looking over towards the ridge. 

The ridge again, with the last rays of the sun coloring the hillside all golden. This looking east. And pink clouds too.

One more golden ridge view. I often run outside during this time as I love the warm light in the cold months. This time, I skipped over drawing the trees and just drew the land.

And now, we are going to travel from our home in the woods of New Hampshire to our other home. Which is a condo in the city of Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, Canada. Here, I drew the dazzling morning sun as it reflects off of another building and back right into our condo. Into the small space between the shade and the window sill. 

A lot of the buildings in our neighborhood in Edmonton are grey and brown. In the cold months my eye is always searching for color. These condos are near the grandchildren's school, so I had passed them many times.  The primary colors are so appealing. Our condo building looks very similar to the one in the middle. I can spot the construction projects by this particular builder all over. They are colorful.

I held my iPad in the crook of my arm as I drew on the screen with my left index finger. 

This is the view from our condo. The sunsets are splendid nearly every night. I merely indicated the rooflines of the nearby houses in shadow. They are close together and sort of blend in at this time of day. 

Another sunset view. This time from a nearby coffee shop. 

In our neighborhood in the southwest of the city are both individual homes and apartment buildings. This is a fantasy version of one of them, a doodle. It has many windows looking west to catch the sunset views.
One large window is reflecting a brilliant setting sun.

The last drawing is under the lights of the outdoor rink behind our family's house. 

This is the view from their kitchen window.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Close to home and far away

We live in three acres of woods accessed by a long dirt driveway. It was 6:30 PM in mid-August, New Hampshire. The sunlight through the trees struck me as beautiful.  So I took some rapid photos with my iPad.  The forest floor is covered with ferns in this area.

And another one, with my view shifted just to the right in darker shade.

And another with the glare of the sun more obscured.

 Walking farther down the dirt driveway, I see the low sunlight skimming the surface of the road and landing on the short grass at the edge. The bright light makes a floating shape that blocks out the details of the crushed gravel.

Sunlight on short wild grasses.

Our driveway. Looking uphill.

One more ribbon of light in the forest clearing before I return home.

And for contrast, our trip in 2019 to the far away Galapagos Islands. More than 3000 miles from New Hampshire. We flew from Boston to Miami, then to mainland Ecuador, then another flight to the islands. Our Los Angeles based daughter and her husband joined us for the wonderful adventure.

In the photo above, the top image is a two page sketch and watercolor painting that I did in February 2019. Just under it is the same sketch, but now it forms the front and back covers of my latest book. (Available online.)

The book is a replica of my sketchbook which I started and finished during our trip. With a few added sentences underneath the art to complete the story.

And, a video of every page of the book. Come travel with me. 

Monday, July 6, 2020

Confinement Container Series 2020

For this posting, I choose a small sketchbook that I worked on from mid-April to mid-June. It has sixty pages. I chose twenty that I like the best. They have a good narrative flow I feel. A sketchbook becomes a diary.

My idea or concept was to choose a container as a symbol of confinement (or isolation or quarantine or whatever you have called it). Since we live in the woods, with a long dirt driveway leading to private roads, we have always been able to leave the house to take a walk, and get a feeling of peace from observing nature. Besides the container, each drawing/painting includes a bit of the natural world brought indoors from a walk.

From my subject matter, you will be able to see spring, then summer arrive. As another item to notice, my still life props like fabrics, and the containers (bowls, bottles), and a yellow bird, come and go into the compositions. Like actors in a play who appear on stage, leave, then dramatically reappear.

The above drawing includes a clump of white pine, two quartz rocks, a chunk of brick, and black mica. I am counting the white plate as a container.

This is the first appearance of the very small bottle which came with maple syrup in it. The white quartz is back,. a different white plate, a pink scarf and a branch of rhododendron which looks nice and green all winter. The blue line at the top is some sketchbook messiness oozed over from another page.

By now, you can recognize the white plate, the bottle, the rocks and brick. The new players are the daffodil and the yellow bird.

I am not certain that a container is here. Maybe the folded paper which contained a written note.

I only had one daffodil so I had to get the most out of it. We seem to be hovering directly over the round plate. I had a lot of fabric scraps lying around that I was making into face masks.

I roamed around the house and came up with this container, a small box I bought in China. It has pressed metal around the sides and an old tile shard on the top. The cala lily is from the grocery store. I was feeling braver about going there.

A few wildflowers were starting to pop out along the roadways. Of course, that is my small ceramic container for my watercolors. It was rather fun to paint the drips.

Our LA daughter sent me a craft kit for making lovely crepe paper flowers. It is a poppy.

The ferns were starting to poke up through the brown leaf carpet in our woods. They are very hairy when they are all curled up and starting to unfurl. A silver cup makes its first appearance on the stage.

This time, I copied the painting on the card, seen earlier.

Yellow bird is back. He is carved wood, bought on a trip to Costa Rica. I did a few acrylic paintings at this time. The paint tubes remain on my art table.

Brand new leaves are often yellow, and reddish colored. The package of gummi bears come from a coffee shop. It was open again and I felt brave going in. I followed all the taped signs on the floor.

More accumulated paint tubes on the table. A first sighting of one of my favorite old bottles. One tiny bloom is all the nature we get this time.

The silver cup again with lots of reflections.  It has many names and birthdays inscribed onto it. My husband, our daughters and all four grandchildren. I am calling the rock as nature. I sometimes carry small rocks in my suitcase when I travel because many places do not have enough rocks. I am from the Granite State.

The flat old bottle is back. And one printed leaf on a cotton sari quilt from India.

New leaves, a couple of bottles, and yes — the daisies are in the fields now.

It is time for day lilies.

And red clover, and white yarrow. And my favorite bottles with fascinating writing on them.

On this day, I decided the wildflowers could stay in the bottle, but the cup and bowl and box should fly through space. My friend, yellow bird, keeps me company.

These bottles got so big, the bottom edges are cut off. It was a quick sketch.

The rocks are piled on top of the brick again. except for one. And the tile box is close by for conversation.

The end.

 I hope you enjoyed my condensed version of my third Art At Home Sketchbook.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

TV Appearance!

Hello. Back in 2012 I was featured on our week night TV program New Hampshire Chronicle as I neared the end of my Draw-NH project. We’re a small state, but we’ve got a lot of towns. From 2011-12, I visited them all and drew what caught my eye in each. There’s a link to the Chronicle piece in the Recent Publicity section of the sidebar here, down a little bit on the right. I finished the project a month later at Town #234, Rollinsford. By 2014, I had learned how to put all these drawings into a book. Then, with my new knowledge of publishing, I made two more books over the next four years. The proof copy of a fourth book just arrived in the mail, and after a few tweaks will join the three others at Amazon or for order at any bookshop. These days, pretty much stuck at home, I can be found with my morning coffee, sketching and painting in my sunny window seat.

So in this time of virtual travel, we contacted the Chronicle people and suggested that they might like to do an update and take things right up to the present. They jumped at the opportunity.
I had a video conversation with the producer via Zoom, and then we had a very intense couple of days of gathering up samples from all 4 books and other recent work to send to them. This will all be skillfully edited down to 6 minutes, and aired at 7PM Eastern on Wednesday May 13th.
Here's a link to their preview:
If you're local, it’s easy to watch the program WMUR Channel 9 in Manchester. Now, thanks to modern technology, you don't have to be local. You can watch a live stream at this address. Show up there a bit before 7, and keep clicking till it snaps in.
And if you didn't make it to the broadcast or the live stream, you can find it here, well off into the future.

All 4 books

The 7 regions of New Hampshire
A total of 234 cities and towns

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Scavenger Hunt Through The Alphabet

Here is a video, 19 minutes in length, that I made while flipping through the pages of a sketch book. It kept me happily occupied for nine days. I hope it gives some pleasure to you. A drawing group from Boston made the suggestion to do an ABC at home Art Scavenger Hunt, and here it is.

Friday, February 14, 2020

California and New Hampshire

The view from our Los Angeles airbnb shows the fascinating mix of Art Deco from the 20s and 30s, and the new financial district starting in the 90s. We took a little break from NH snow with our quick trip to California to visit our older daughter and her husband. The peaked roof new building caught the morning sun so beautifully. The shadows kept shifting as I drew.

This sketchbook is 3.5" x 5.5". It is the easiest size to carry around on a day to day basis. I am quite amazed how much information fits onto a small page.

I love the trees in downtown Los Angeles, DTLA. Such smooth grey bark on their trunks and limbs.

The building on the right, another Art Deco delight, is where our daughter and husband live. On the tenth floor, near the palm trees.

We sat in the sun for a while next to the large tropical plant. Others had the same idea. 

Our daughter and hubby have two pugs. I sketch one at every visit. 

I also tried my hand at drawing another dog, Batman. 

Every day we ate breakfast in a very authentic French bakery. We sat at the scrubbed pine family table. See how the cups have no handles? That is a French style breakfast cup, usually only used at home. It keeps your hands warm.

Los Angeles has more museums than any other American city. On our first day we headed up the hills to the Getty Museum to view a show featuring paintings of French artist Edouard Manet. The museum is huge with several buildings and extensive gardens. Free admission! Just pay for parking.

The temperature was just right for lingering. I draw what interests me, especially if I have never seen it before. In this case, I admired the grand effect of the re-bar tree-like structures. Inside are planted bougainvillea bushes which grow right out of the top.

It was another breakfast at the cafe. I remembered to draw my beautiful mixed fruit tart at about the halfway mark. 

The drawing on the right was the view from our lunch at the Blossom Restaurant in Chinatown/Los Angeles.

The new financial district has very tall, very modern buildings,all different one from the other. I sat poolside on the tenth floor of our daughter’s apartment building for this view. I enjoyed watching the shadows move across the colored glass structures.

Back in New Hampshire, my eye was searching for color. In February, flowers are the easiest way to do that.

Last week, on a very windy and snowy night, our little town had an annual gathering, Dinner With Jack Frost, in the town hall.  Several restaurants donate food. And we buy tickets as it is a fund raiser. The decisions are tough: there are far too many offerings to try all of them.

A couple of days later, I sketched the spaces between some white and some pink flowers.