June 2005 Archives


Here is my suitcase, as I will be in transit for the next couple of weeks: Pittsburgh > Las Vegas > San Francisco > Monterey > Esalen > Monterey > San Francisco > D.C. > Pittsburgh > Boston > Gloucester > Boston > Pittsburgh. And then I will be home for a while.

I know that for large bits of the time I will not have internet access. I'll keep drawing and writing, but posting may be pretty sporadic until July 10th.



A continuous line drawing of my glass of Cotes du Rhone - only one sip taken and I noticed the honeysuckle vine and sky reflected on the surface, and then as I kept drawing I saw my hand drawing this page in the dark bowl. Mark was whistling. The wind was blowing gently and I could smell the blossoms of the garden. We ate dinner outside.


First acrylic painting. Sixteen by twenty inch canvas board. Still life value study. To work on such a large space after my small moleskine and sketchbook is very different - liberating, but what a lot of ground to cover. I like the scale, though. And the classes today were marvelous.



Done in my sketchbook during watercolor class today: the digital mural, "Magma Spirit Explodes. Tsunami is Dreadful.," by Chiho Aoshima, as seen from outside in the sculpture garden at the Carnegie Museum. The mural is fabulous, and I am so glad it is still up from this year's Carnegie International.


This was done in a cafe between my two painting classes. Color added at home. The green tag is my museum ticket - I left it on because I liked the way the color looked against the blue-lavender of the bag.


Another in a series of brush pen drawings, with watercolor crayon added.

Today my three summer classes begin: watercolor and painting today, and drawing will begin on Thursday. I also just found out that I had gotten off the waiting list and into a five-day drawing and painting workshop in California. (!) The teacher, Leigh Hyams, is someone one of my sisters has studied with - a phenomenal teacher. So I'm rushing around getting a plane ticket for myself and dealing with household, work, and family logistics. After Thursday, my internet access may be unpredictable for ten days or so. I will keep drawing in my sketchbook every day, and I hope I will also have a lot of other drawings to post when I return from my great westward expedition.

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Another brush pen and watercolor crayon drawing: radish on a Japanese plate. It is still early enough in the season that our radishes are spicy but not impossibly hot and bitter.



A view of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Polish Hill, in Pittsburgh. Drawn from a photograph I took yesterday. I love the domes of this church, and the way they can be glimpsed from many angles on the hillside. Took many photos of it yesterday, and expect I will keep drawing it for a while. Gave this picture to Mark as a father's day present.



The same set of zinnia blossoms as yesterday, from a slightly different angle, done with brush pen and watercolor crayon. Variation on a theme.



Three zinnias from the garden in an old glass ink bottle.

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Zinnia, pink, in blue and white cream pitcher from Portugal.


Mmm. Less predictable than the ones from California, but intensely-flavored and so ripe. Picked yesterday, tasted today, eaten tomorrow.


Further explorations with the brush pen. I added little bits of watercolor this time.


Experimenting with my new Kuretake brush pen. What fun. The ink line is so sensitive. Because of the thick/thinness, and because control is more challenging (um, almost absent), I'm just working fast and larger. This pen is so much more fluid in its touch than the disposable brush pens I've used before. I don't know whether it is the fun of ink in cartridges, or if the brush is made of a different kind of fiber, or if it is just the adventure of buying something and having all (ALL) the documentation and packaging in Japanese, but I'm infatuated.


My daughter picked out bright orange marigolds at the garden center today. One went in the flower pot she painted last month. The pot is pink and purple, with touches of blue. The garden writer Henry Mitchell once said that marigolds should be used sparingly, like exclamation marks. Our garden now shouts with delight.



Some time ago, I wrote a children's book, Think Cool Thoughts, which has just been published by Clarion Books (and is due in bookstores June 27). The wonderful illustrations were done by Linda Bronson. I just got my box of advance copies, and it is so exciting to see a stack of them and imagine them in bookstores and then in the hands of children.

The book tells the story of a little girl named Angel and how, in the hottest part of a very hot summer, she and her family escaped the heat. I'm so glad it is coming out in time for summer nights of reading aloud...

If you don't have an independent bookstore you like to support, you can buy my book from amazon.com via the link in my sidebar.

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Porch rail post viewed from the swing, just before the rain began. The temperature has dropped a welcome 15 degrees...


Four sketchbooks, drawn in the fifth. (This could be fun to do in a series, each time I get a new book!)

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And I'm beginning a fifth sketchbook with this entry. I have been making daily drawings since the end of December, and have been posting them here since the end of January. Little milestones and marks of progress please me, but the project itself is now its own reward. I look forward to seeing how it goes over the rest of the year, and what pictures I will have to look back at by then. Whatever happens, drawing has become part of the rhythm of my day.


An elderly rubber duck. Can plastic have patina? I think this does. In any case, I now have the rubber duckie song running in my head. You probably do, too.




Candlelight in a darkening yard. Summer begins to begin. Do I hear thunder? Baseball fireworks.

This was drawn and painted outside in near darkness, by the light of this candle and three others nearby. The pen I chose in the dark turned out to be brown, rather than the black I imagined, but I couldn't tell until I began to brush water with watercolor crayon over the drawing. (At that point I figured it out, because my brown pen is not quite as waterproof as my black one!) Interesting to see how the colors changed when I brought the picture inside to different light.



The iPod sits on the table beside the sofa, recharging. The white cord of the headphone cabel sprawls and swoops across everything else there - book, journal, turntable, papers, and all. It commands the space.



This is my favorite kind of apple, lately. Good texture even at this time of year, and the right blend of tart-sweet.

(Trying to get more translucence from the watercolor crayons.)


Buttercups in a blue glass bottle. Some of the painting happened after the fact - we had to go out, but I took my book and my waterbrush with me, and when I had a moment I moved the color around on the page.


Trying to catch the feeling of a glass with water in it, using just contour lines and no shading. One of those evenings when I just wanted to see where line would lead me...


I labeled this drawing of the oak branch I can see out our front window "Quercus something." Local non-experts believe that it is a pin oak, which would make it Quercus palustris, but I haven't keyed it out in any of my field guides. I'm just pleased that I could remember the genus.


Beginning to think about summer, as the school year draws to a close...


This rose is deep red and blooms all at once, not repeating through the season as some of the others do. Un-named, it came with the house, and is scentless but spectacular for a week or two each year.




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