Sketching People Who Don’t Move

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I have been in an airplane the past week and decided to pass some time sketching passengers. These can be easier to draw than most people because they are seated, belted in, and can’t move very much! I drew a couple guys and found it relaxing to draw the seats as well. As my pen moved over my paper, I felt calm, even during a little turbulence. Another flight got me sketching. A large bald man sat a few feet away and stuffed orange ear plugs into his ears. Our plane sat on the tarmac with a slight delay, so instead of getting worked up, I sketched. He slept during the flight, so I had no trouble sketching him.

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Finally, I sketched other people who didn’t move—-mannequins! I had taken my sketch book to the mall but didn’t have time to sketch. I was waiting at H and M and sat on a display table (which I was asked to move from) and noticed these shiny black models with no faces. They were kinda creepy, but were immovable and wore brightly colored clothes with interesting textures, so I went for it! The store was busy and noisy, but it’s amazing how drawing can help you get into a relaxing zone and I do zone out my surroundings. I was so relaxed and focused that I wasn’t paying attention to the ripped jeans my daughter threw into the “purchase pile” and discovered them when I got home!

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A License to Draw

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I have been trying to draw more. It’s hard to make time, but I know there is time and I have many excuses. A great book by Danny Gregory, “Creative License”, is my new go-to place to be inspired to draw. He is fun, honest, creative, and has scads of ideas to get you to put away the excuses and just plunge in and draw! I did a few drawings of objects around my house. Drawing my life is interesting. Even just a few minutes a day (which I don’t always do) is providing comfort and peace in a time when my father’s health is deteriorating. Danny provides a structure similar to getting a driver’s permit—basic fundamentals of drawing and practicing daily. Then on to scads of ides of what to draw as you gain confidence. I highly recommend it for beginners and advanced drawers alike. I find it very inspirational!

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Finally, I took my sketchbook to the pool in July. I decided to sketch people I saw, which is challenging for me. Looking furtively out of sunglasses, propping my book on my knees, I try to not be obvious. One lady with a floppy hat that covered her face was a great subject. I just draw things that catch my attention, or I like the pose or accessories. Enjoy!

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The Hudson Marina

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A few days ago I enjoyed an evening sketching in Hudson, Wisconsin. This beautiful river-side town boasts a nice park right on the waterfront, so I parked and looked around for things to sketch. The day was winding down, blue skies and evening sun setting, breezes, and the activity on the river was all around me. Large yachts, cruisers, ski boats, and sail boats moved slowly around the river or were anchored together in the middle of the water where people talked and radios blared. I sat at a picnic bench by the marina and noticed the St. Croix Sailing School sailboats parked nearby. I liked the look of the row of boats, the sunlight was bouncing off their ends, the other parks in partial shadow under the trees. Sometimes I notice patterns and shapes that are interesting and that’s what I choose to sketch. After I sketched the waiting sailboats, I turned the other direction and looked out into the marina. A group of adults sat in the back of a boat and on the dock and sipped drinks and chatted. Near them was the dock and other large boats were parked. I watched a guy in a smaller fishing boat and he stood on the dock and talked to others. It was so relaxing that evening, everyone seemed to be having a nice time! There’s something about boats and water….I love to sketch them.

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Benefits of Black Flies

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A highlight of our summer is going to Ontonagon MI for a few days with family. This is a small town on the upper peninsula of Michigan, on Lake Superior near the Porcupine Mountains. We enjoy staying with my husband’s family and spending time on the beach, canoeing, relaxing, and enjoying nature and day trips.  This year the black flies were terrible. They bite and droves of them follow you wherever you go. Being outside was not ideal, so we found other things to do. I sketched in the cabin and also sketched the open back end of the Broasted Chicken food truck (lower left) as we ordered a chicken dinner. The following day several of us went into town to see the lighthouse and antique shops. I walked down a long beach, hot in the sun, skittering around from flies. But I loved the stump, driftwood, and the long jetty along the river, so I sketched quickly while swatting away flies. I also stood from afar and quickly sketched the lighthouse, blocking in quick shapes and lines.

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After a stop in the gift shop, we went to the Ontonagon museum, which was a treasure-trove of antiques. There I found plenty to sketch in the air-conditioning and no flies. My favorite was the moose-hoof ink well. Kinda weird, but interesting. I could have stayed there all day! Despite the flies, we had a good time and I came home with some memorable sketches, something I probably would not have had if I spent all day laying on the beach!

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Sketching at Arcola Mills

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On Sunday I joined the Twin Cities Urban Sketchers at Arcola Mills outside of Stillwater. This historic mansion and grounds was a beautiful place to sketch. There was a waterfall and creek, woods, wildflowers, and a beautiful view of the St. Croix River shoreline. I chose to start with the house first and used my large Moleskine for a larger view. I went down the hill a bit and sat in front of a garden of flowers, hoping to capture the building peeping up over the tops of flowers. The path to the waterfront was downhill and I joined some other sketchers enjoying the view. Sunlight dappled the shade and a boat or two went by on the river, with waves rolling up on the shore. I also chose two smaller spaces— the brick and stone foundations on each side of the house, with purple cone flowers. There was low humidity and it was so peaceful listening to the birds, breezes, and running water!

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Backyard Flowers

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Day Five found me sketching plants in my back yard. Container plants or free-growers, they are all beautiful this time of year! Can’t wait to try the basil for pesto! I recently got a new hummingbird feeder because the one sketched was leaking. We’ll see how many new hummers we get!

Graduation and Golfers

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Day 3 of my challenge found me at the Woodbury High School graduation sitting on bleachers at Aldrich arena. While waiting for commencement to start, I looked around for things to sketch. The band and orchestras were playing, so I decided to sketch a boy holding a bass on his lap between songs. His posture and the large instrument caught my attention, and I had to sketch, then wait until he finished playing and sat back down. The conductor in his black robe was a challenge, as he kept moving, but I tried to sketch him anyway. I also sketched the vases of flowers that each student was given after their name was called.

Day 4 found me at the Prestwick golf course dropping off my son. I sat in the parking lot for a bit, capturing the high stone retaining wall and the golf carts lined up ready for a tournament. I liked the contrast of their light-colored roofs against the green and blue of trees and sky, as well as the interesting architecture of the club house. Now, on to Sketch #5!