Month: January 2018

Sketching at the Bakery!

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Today I taught an Urban Sketching class at Dorothy Ann Bakery. What a yummy place to have a class! I did a quick demo sketch of their fireplace, showing how we use lines and shapes to start a sketch. Pencil, watercolor, then ink to make some areas jump. There were black lanterns with candles and a red vase. I liked the radio on top and a snaky cord that was plugged in. We talked about urban sketching, looked through books and sketches, and then practiced drawing donuts, which one of the bakery ladies, Mary, had plated up for us. We promised not to eat them, and we bought other treats to eat instead.

Last week I had sketched at the bakery (see below) and met Mary. We got to talking about squirrels I had sketched and how they were in our yards. I also sketched a man who was sitting and looking out the window. I liked his red coat and hat. I also wanted to sketch the dessert case and the dessert I ate, an almond tart. It was a fun place, smelled great, and you couldn’t beat all the things to sketch!


Winter Friends

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I have watched with interest the animals in my yard and how they handle the sub-zero weather. Last year I had several bird feeders and despite everything I tried, the squirrels were wily enough to figure out how to get onto them and eat up all the birdseed. So this year, I keep 2 mesh sock feeders for the chickadees and goldfinches and throw sunflower seeds on the ground. With that new food source at ground-level, my yard has attracted both squirrels and rabbits. I enjoy watching their antics, especially the squirrels, who win the award for “Non-Minnesota Nice.” The bunnies sit fat and puffed up, keeping warm under my furnace exhaust, and nibble on dead Hosta plant stalks. Then they venture a few feet over to the seed on the snow and nibble away. I love watching both types of animals and sketched several poses of each out my window. The squirrels’ bushy tails drape over their backs when it has been so cold, a furry scarf for sure. All is well until my dog comes over for a peek out the window, which starts her barking and my sketch subjects fleeing. Ah…. such is life of a sketcher!

Airport Scenes

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I flew to Chicago yesterday and had the opportunity to sketch in the airport and on the plane. I took a tiny plastic earplugs case and added 3 swipes of watercolor paint– Ultramarine blue, Alizarin Crimson, and New Gamboge. I decided to use only these primary colors because I wanted a small paint kit to fit in my purse. My first sketch was around 5 a.m. at the gate. A small child was sleeping in the seat across from me and her beautiful skin and precious angel face captured me. I worked quickly and used my paints and water brush, which worked OK.

My pencil sketches below were done in the quasi-darkness of a plane cabin on the way to Chicago. The shades were drawn and I had no overhead light on. Suddenly in the aisle across from me, I noticed a sunrise. The flight attendant had sat in the empty seat and opened the shade, and I saw a slice of pink. I got out my sketchbook and in the darkness, sketched her profile and the sliver of sunrise out the plane window. I added in the seats and profiles of passengers in front of her. Once the sun rose a little, there was more light, so I sketched my sleeping son next to me.

The other pencil sketch was done in literally a few minutes. While waiting for my flight home, I noticed the luggage that a mother and small son had piled haphazardly on the cart. I sketched furiously at all the shapes and sizes and finished the wheels when they got up and left!

It was nice to be able to sketch and I hope to do more travel sketches in the future!


At the Dentist

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at the dentist

Sketching subjects can be anywhere you look! I was at the dentist’s office the other day, waiting for my son. I looked around for something to sketch and my eyes settled upon the Children’s corner. A large set of false teeth greeted me, pink as baby’s skin, as big as a melon. A giant toothbrush lay beside them. I resisted the urge to go and play with them. But they made interesting subjects. There was also an alligator toy with pretend teeth and boxes of blocks and books. I chose the most interesting and went for it. My son had hung his blue coat in the closet, and that stood out to me, a bright object against blacks and grays, so I decided to sketch that too. A -7 degree day greeted us, so a coat sketch seemed appropriate. This is a fun, whimsical sketch, and I like doing those every now and then!


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It’s fun to sketch family members (if they don’t mind). I did several sketches of my family over the Christmas holiday and found that feasting, blankets, and warm fires gave way to drowsiness, which is a perfect time to capture a sketch. My son loves wrapping up in a blanket and hanging out on the couch to rest. I captured a couple sketches so I share those today. Drawing people who aren’t moving is much easier than those who are. I start with the head shape, draw quick lines to establish the parameters of the body, then add shapes to the couch, chair, or pillows. When taking my time, I start with mechanical pencil, then outline in ink and then watercolor. If outside the house and time is of the essence, I sketch with ink and no pencil. It has a looser, more organic feel. Enjoy!