Month: January 2018
Tomorrow my niece and nephews and their parents are coming over for lunch, so I made chocolate chip cookies today. It was fun to gather up the ingredients: flour, sugar, eggs, baking soda, vanilla, etc… and whip things up into a creamy brown dough. Such fun to dump in the chocolate chips and mix them into the dough. My son and I spent time putting small spoonfuls on the baking trays, singing the ‘”C” is for cookie, that’s good enough for me!’ Cookie Monster song (yes, he is 18), then in the oven they went! My mom’s cousin, Kay, makes the most amazing chocolate chip cookies. Light and buttery, they make my mouth water just thinking of them. Every time we visit their cabin in the summer, there is a big glass jar filled with cookies, and she always makes up a care package to send home with us. We eat cookies for several days. My kids claim my cookies are not as good as Kay’s, and no matter what I do, I cannot match them, which makes me smile, because I have to agree. Like discerning State Fair judges, they have compared our cookies and come to their conclusion: Hers are blue ribbon cookies!
Anyway, after a few minutes, the cookies come out of the oven, hot and crusty, and after letting them cool, I of course, have to taste one (to make sure they are okay) and one often leads to more. Here’s to chocolate chip cookies!
Yesterday I went with my niece and nephews to the Children’s museum. They are visiting from Australia, the weather was cold and cloudy, so it seemed a perfect outing. The museum has been renovated completely since I brought my own kids there years ago. I like the renovations, but found it difficult to navigate, because nothing was where I remembered it to be. We spent time in the play area, face-painting, Our Town, Forces at Work, and Laser room. We also built snowmen and other things with clay and made circuits in the art studio. A good time was had by all! I did a few sketches, mainly of objects—the yellow VW Bug that the kids were washing at the “carwash”, a hanging disco ball with a Saturn ring around it, some kids playing with wind socks, a wind chime made out of bamboo stalks that kids could not stop from pulling, which made an obnoxious banging sound, etc… Everywhere around me was stimulation—noise, light, objects, colors. Sketching people was hard because they moved around too fast. But I had fun anyway!
Yesterday I took my sketching students to Central Park. I chose the location because it was indoors with green living plants and trees, and a waterfall! After a major snow storm on Monday, and huge drifts of snow Tuesday morning, it was a great place to get out of the cold and see something green. We talked about sketching people then split up to sketch. I did this sketch of 2 of my students who were looking to the left toward a small bridge. I liked their vibrant clothes and the trees nestled around them. A woman in a hot pink coat came and sat near them with a small child. She barely stayed long enough for me to sketch her hat and face and coat collar. She bounced up and walked away, but sure enough, came back later for a couple minutes more….enough time to sketch the details. It was such a lovely place to sketch and we are going back next week!
Nature is also fun to sketch. Today we got walloped by a winter storm. Schools were closed at 5:30 a.m., but no snow started falling until about 10. A few flurries floated lazily to the ground before it began in earnest. At 4 p.m., I can now see why the schools were closed. White blinding snow keeps falling with no end in sight. I sketched this tree outside my window, everywhere branches are covered in snow. Some of my bushes have so much white on them, they are hard to see. I used pen and watercolor and attempted spatter-painting with acrylics and an old toothbrush. Glad I can be inside!
I am enjoying teaching urban sketching class and have been telling my students to just sketch everyday things in their lives—-things either inside or outside their house. The point is to get into a habit of drawing, even if it is something simple. Today I followed my advice and did a simple sketch of shoes. Nothing too exciting, but I liked the shapes and laces, and set these Converse up on the rug. My daughter has 3 pairs–black, red, and Marvin the Martian, which are pretty cool. I wanted just red. I used a Faber Castill Pitt pen and drew without a pencil outline first. Then I used watercolor to lay in a red wash, which I darkened with a second wash, grays and browns and purples for the shadows, and it was done. I like the rough, loose look, which I can achieve when I don’t use pencil first. Keeps me from being too precise! It keeps my brain from over-analyzing too much and trying to be perfect. That is the joy of sketching— just having fun and not having to worry about perfection.
Today I was back again at Dorothy Ann Bakery with my sketching class. We dispersed around the store to sketch and I found myself in the wedding cakes consultation area, surrounded by grandiose and beautiful cakes, and…. this enormous gingerbread village. I only sketched a small section of it here… Having tried to make a gingerbread house from scratch many years ago, I marveled at the complexity in front of me. Layers of buildings, iced cookies, roofs, a barn, iced windows and doors, and other cookie objects made it an interesting sketch subject! I also liked the Minnesota theme, with the Stone Arch bridge by the left lamp post, Prince’s guitar, and the Cherry and the Spoon on top of the bridge. This gingerbread village was truly a work of art and I was happy to sketch it!
One of my favorite places is the Stillwater Art Guild Gallery, in Stillwater MN. It is a co-op gallery with 65+ members and I have been a member over 2 years. This gallery is in the Isaac Staples historic sawmill on the north end of town and houses some of the most unique and amazing art I have seen. Part of being a member means volunteering there and helping with sales at the reception desk. It has been a joy to meet many patrons from around the country (and world!) who come to the gallery looking for that special piece. We have a wide variety of art—paintings, textiles, metal and wood art, jewelry, cards, and drawings to just name a few. Each month artists from within and outside the gallery come to exhibit their work in our River Room. This is usually a party reception and it’s fun to see new art. I like to talk to other artists about their work, and often learn new things about various mediums, things I have never tried before. It’s always a fun place to be, and if you make it to Stillwater, you don’t want to miss it! Last year I sketched the view from the reception desk (above) and below is a sketch I did last week of some of our unique art pieces. Enjoy!