Friday, August 19, 2011


I think this quote by Sean Reichle perfectly illustrates the meaning of influence. Think about it and choose your friends carefully.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chicken Soup for the Pilgrim's Soul

Pilgrim has been a little neglected lately since I've been sketching a lot in my watercolor Moleskine.  I looked around the house for an everyday object to sketch in Pilgrim and came up with the reliable old soup can. It worked for Andy Warhol, right?

I debated between chicken noodle and tomato, and the noodle won out. This sketch was done over a background sprayed with pigment inks in pink and red. The can was painted with gouache, watercolor, and twinkling H2Os. This time I decided to skip the black ink and use only paint to sketch the soup can. I tried to make the can recognizable while using as little detail as possible. I was going more for personality than realism. (Honest, I was.)  I kind of like the pinkness of it--so NOT Andy Warhol.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Everyday Objects

I have a few more sketches of everyday objects to share with you. I'm NOT a germaphobe and rarely use this stuff, but when I sketch at lunch I'm limited to "office" items. I just like the gooey green goopiness of it. You can tell from the bottle that other people in the office are far more concerned about germs than I am.

Like many of you, we've been having quite a heat wave during the past few weeks. I can't even tell you how many of these I've consumed lately.

This cactus looks like it was probably pretty easy to sketch, right? WRONG! It was harder and took longer than the first two sketches combined. The problem was that after a while I couldn't figure out what part of the sketch was cactus leaves and what part was the space between cactus leaves. It was like one of those optical illusions that make your eyes go buggy. I kind of gave up somewhere in the middle, and since I was already an hour into the sketch, decided to just call it finished.

Sketching is a funny thing. At first it's downright frightening. Then, once you start having some fun with it, it becomes addicting. You start to look at everything around you and think about sketching it in your mind. I  am thoroughly enjoying this "everyday" diversion.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I recently became re-acquainted with my watercolor Moleskine and went on a little sketching spree. It all started quite innocently--as most of my art adventures do. I was working on my second adventure journal, and although I think these little journals are a great way to record the events, memories, details, and ephemera from a trip, the one thing they lack is a sense of "place." Since I envision these adventure journals as baby steps to real travel journals, I realized that I need to learn how to sketch.

I'm not talking about sketches like these. I'm talking about the kind of sketches featured on the urban sketchers blog. Holy moley! I want to be an urban sketcher when I grow up! I've been on a few sketch crawls in the past and found them to be incredibly challenging events resulting in mediocre sketches. Instead of feeling inspired and motivated to make progress, I felt like it was just another art form I would probably never be able to master. I've spent my entire life thinking I can't draw worth a darn. (I think that's why I find abstract art so appealing.)

But I also spent a lot of time hating my attempts at hand lettering and never thought I would be good at that either. A lot of practice turned that around and I'm now quite happy to write to my heart's content. I have to believe that I can also improve at sketching--or anything else I set my mind to--if I'm willing to work at at without giving up. My friend Cathy and I are now on a mission to become urban sketchers. We're dedicating a few lunch hours a week to get outside and sketch.

This is one of my first attempts. It's a building that is being demolished. At this point the windows had been removed and they were starting to demo the interior. The day after I sketched this the whole section with the doors was gone. My main objective here was to practice perspective since that's always been a struggle for me. It's not too bad but it feels pretty lifeless to me. After this sketch I tried to concentrate on a looser, more spontaneous and colorful style. Cathy went on vacation and the weather was crappy, so I had to resort to sketching at my desk where I did the salt water taffy and my paint palette.

We got together after work one day and decided to see what we could accomplish in 30 minutes. We set a timer and stopped sketching when it went off. (I added the text later.) That night I did the travel watercolor set and the wine bucket. It was so hard for me to stop at the end of 30 minutes because I have a tendency to want to add "just a little bit more." But I'm happy I forced myself to stop because the sketches are definitely looser than they would be otherwise. I wrote the name of the wine we drank on the sketch. It's good stuff and you can find it at Whole Foods.

Imagine my delight when I discovered that The Sketchbook Challenge theme for August is EVERYDAY OBJECTS and I just so happen to have a group of them right here. What a lucky coincidence, eh?

I'm still trying to figure out the best way to go about sketching and have been experimenting with different tools and techniques. I'm viewing this as a true challenge and learning experience. I know I won't be happy with every sketch, but hopefully it will get me closer to becoming the awesome urban sketcher I'm hoping to be.