Drawings often deviate from the original plan.

Pressed Red Tip Photinia Branch with shadows, backlit illumination

The plan was to paint the drawing according to color value rather than color hue using illogical and discordant hues.  I began drawing with a dip pen using Diamine Ochre ink.  I wanted to see what variations of hue the ink would separate into when I added only clean water along the edges of the lines.  The flow of ink into the water worked beautifully for the dry, pressed leaves, more of a burnt sienna hue than an ochre hue. I followed the inspiration of the leaves rather than proceed with my original plan.  After painting the shadows and cell shapes the leaves looked flat and uninteresting.  I pale wash of aureolin with a touch of burnt sienna brought life back into the leaves.

I’ll give my original plan another try and post it on the Creative Color Blog later today.

Sketchbook Drawing: Pressed Red Tip Branch and Shadows, ink and watercolor.  Limited palette of aureolin, french ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.

Home again after an inspiring and adventurous ten days in California.  Great people, great landscapes, great food and great weather.

San Francisco Streets

One of my goals was to play with the perspective of the streets during the two days I spent in the city of San Francisco.

Slanted streets and houses

The one day in San Franciso that I planned to sketch rather than walk and snap photos, it began to rain as soon as I put ink to paper.

Slanted landscapes everywhere

Most of my time was spent drawing and painting on Moffett Field in Mountain View and exploring the hills in the surrounding area.  Though I love the beauty of the flat landscape in New Jersey where I live, I feel more connected with the slanted and rolling landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Pacific Ocean Reflections

In addition to slanted landscapes, reflections and shadows turned out to be threads that wove the fabric of my trip.

Pacific Ocean Seaweed Shadows

Already, I  look forward to returning, perhaps in January, to teach another Color Scheme Game Workshop not only in Santa Rosa., but in Mountain View and San Francisco as well.  In addition to the Color Scheme Game Workshop I’ll be teaching a Color Value Workshop in Santa Rosa. (Thanks again, Joanie Springer, for helping to make this such a successful trip!  Thank you Kristen and Zak at Village Art Supply for hosting a last minute workshop in the middle of your amazing art store! )

Photos taken in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The last three cherries sat on the chopping block.  My hand reached for them, my mouth watering.  I noticed the three separate shadows cast by the overhead lights and I withdrew my hand and reached for my sketchbook instead.

Cherries and Shadow Shapes

Whew……. now I can eat the cherries!  Yummmmmmm.

Sketchbook drawing: drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink, followed by watercolor washes.

A perfect title for a Nancy Drew mystery.

Family Treasures No. 18

This is the second painting of The Glass Lady. I posted the first one on the Creative Color Blog.  I wanted to stay more delicate in this painting.  The Glass Lady was my mother’s.  She sat upon her dresser, hiding the small, homeless or injured objects that accumulated during the days and weeks and years of my childhood. In the first painting, the shadow became opaque and along with its opacity it acquired the visual appearance of being an object rather than a shadow.  With this in mind, I kept the shadow more ghostlike.  At the same time, I experimented with presenting the aspect “shadow as object” by allowing it to exist beyond the boundary of the yellow cell.

Painting: drawn first with vintage Sheaffer fountain pen filled with Noodler’s black ink, followed by washes of watercolor.

Color Scheme: Complementary Triad of Yellow, Violet and Blue/Green

Luke’s water glasses stole the show as the peirogies cooked in the frying pan.

Water Glass Still Life No. 1

Abstract Still Life of Water Glass

Pouring Seltzer Still Life

Water Glass Still Life No. 27

When inspiration strikes there is no stopping me ……

The pin oak tree in my backyard creates dramatic patterns, especially in the morning light.

Pin Oak and Morning LIght

I can’t put off attempting to capture some of its majesty even if it is only selecting a few of the shapes that delight me.

Sketch: Drawn first with Noodler’s Fountain Pen filled with Noodler’s Bad Belted Kingfisher blue ink, followed by Ciao Copic Markers

As I reorganize my studio following the chaotic “get-everything-off-the-basement-floor” rush to prepare for Hurricane Irene, I am finally sorting some of the boxes of incomplete paintings from Betty Stroppel’s studio.  When Betty’s son and daughter moved her to the Mid-west last June I ended up with the choice of watching her sketchbooks, paintings, supplies and unfinished paintings left to be deposited into a dumpster or to make room for them in my studio until I could find homes for them.  I have been choked for space ever since.

Betty Stroppel's watercolor studies

I can’t keep everything of Betty’s any more than I can keep everything of my own.  It is difficult to pass judgement on another artist’s work, especially when you love and respect the artist as much as I do Betty.  These two studies are, for me, keepers.

Watercolor study by Betty Stroppel of Man Wearing Hat

Watercolor study of shadow on house by Betty Stroppel

Such simplicity.  I continue to learn from Betty through the scraps of paper, the notes, the sketchbooks and the clippings that fill the boxes in my studio.  I make note of the information that inspires me and instructs me.  The rest I must release along with my own sketches, drawing and paintings that no longer have a place in my life.  Too much baggage gets in the way of becoming a better painter.

Moving on……..

It began sipping coffee in bed.

The last two sentences of my morning journal are “This is a beautiful day.  Let’s see what I can do with it.”

Pencil sketch of the bed linens drying on the clothesline

While sipping coffee and writing in my journal I noticed the branches of the blackberry bushes bouncing up and down more vigorously than possible in the gentle breeze that blew through my open window.  Upon closer scrutiny I saw small birds darting back and forth between the clothesline and the blackberry bushes.  I wrote the last two lines and began my day, anxious to join in the fun and feasting.  Between hanging pillowcases and sheets I filled my mouth with juicy, sweet blackberries, darting back and forth like the little birds.

As the third and fourth loads of laundry sloshed about in the washer, I set up my chair and indulged in capturing the shadow patterns created by the linens on the clothesline.  I have a passion for hanging out the wash.  As a young child I watched my mother hang wash, a smile on her face, her hair and skirt blowing in the breeze.  More often than not she would be whistling a tune.  I’ve never know anyone who could whistle as beautifully as my mother.

My plan was to be totally at peace with whatever I did throughout the day and not allow myself to fall into the habit of thinking I should be doing something, anything other than what I was doing at any given moment.

Finally, after six weeks, my new, bionic body kicked in and my energy level soared.  The drawing session was followed by mowing the lawn, weedwacking the yard (including the Secret Garden that has become a jungle), weeding the circular garden at the end of the driveway, sweeping the walks, watering and feeding the zinnias, lavender and Nispero (Eriobotria japonica).

All the while my brain was weaving the many memories connected with clotheslines.  Oddly enough, the photo below is connected with clotheslines  and played a small part in a novel I began writing in the early 80’s.  My sister-in-law saw the photo and thought it looked like something that would be on the cover of a fictitious alternative magazine named “Bizarre Horizons”.  The suggestion stuck in my mind and became a reality in the novel.

Alexis and me after a shower.

As the sun rose it gifted me with shadow patterns and as the sun set it gave me more shadow patterns.  All through the day cobwebs in my brain were cast aside and memories of recurring motifs throughout my life surfaced.

Morning Shadows No.1

Evening Shadows of aloe & sweet peas

Morning Shadows No.2

Morning Shadows No.3

Morning Shadows No.4

Morning Shadows No.5