March 2006 Archives

street view

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Butler Street, just down from Allegheny Valley Bank, waiting for a friend. I sat in her car and wondered whether I had time to start a sketch. Luckily the line in the bank was a long one... The last official day of my vacation, but we'll change the clocks and enjoy the relocated hour of sunlight this weekend.


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Actual, direct sunlight in my studio yesterday. (Today it is still gloriously warm, but overcast.) Acrylic on paper, 50" x 38" - click for a larger view.

sign of spring

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Store-bought, as mine aren't quite open yet. Blooming all around town, though. It was 73 degrees and sunny today... I made excuses to walk as many places as I could think of (came back from my haircut via the grocery store and then walked again to the grocery store later).

paint water cup

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The plastic is stained, but still translucent. I'm fond of this disposable container. It's part of my kit when I'm painting with acrylics, as I have been for the past two weeks. (The Niji waterbrush makes water containers unnecessary with my sketchbook.)

bay view

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From memory, one view from my parents' house in Gloucester. (38" x 50" - click for enlarged view.)

We had blue sky and warmish weather today, pleasant for walking around, and finally possible to imagine spring. Saw an early daffodil in a friend's front yard.

bamboo notebook

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I love the way this notebook of soft paper is bound with a single piece of bamboo to cradle the spine.



After I finished this painting, I repinned it to the wall, to see how I liked it as a vertical composition. Looking at it again after a few hours, I prefer the original view. Acrylic on paper, 38" x 50". (Please click to enlarge.)

lemon shadows

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Maybe it's the late hour, but I did not expect that this lemon would have so many shadows. One for every lamp in the room, of course, but I didn't see the fainter ones until I really slowed down to look.


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A new week and more big paper. (38" x 50")

contour of child sleeping

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Sleep slows her down enough that I can draw before the pose changes... It also allows me to see from new angles.

winged victory

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I admired this Winged Victory outside the Carnegie Library in Braddock, PA, after going to a chili cookoff there this afternoon. The band played well, the chili habanero was my favorite, and I won an eccentric pair of coffee mugs at the silent auction.




A closer look at part of an alstroemeria blossom.


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"California?" asked my husband. "No, partly Gloucester, and partly that corner of my study." "Oh, a mash-up." More a dreamscape, I think... but fun to think about different places at the same time. (Click for a larger view.)


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Slightly askew, like so much in this house, but glowing and warm on a cold spring night.

ocean stone

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Another morning of vacation, another big piece of paper to paint on...

alstroemeria blossom



This flower looks unchanged from a week ago, in spite of being knocked over this morning and losing half the water in the little vase. (Did I remember to refill it? I don't think so - too eager to drink my coffee and then go paint.)


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Today's painting on big paper (50" x 38"). I was enjoying the feeling of sweeping my arm across the page. That gesture, repeated, evolved into the cup of coffee, done from memory and imagination. (Click on the image for an enlargement.)

diptych: walking



Another work in acrylic which started out on the big paper, though after thinking about it overnight, I decided that the composition and proportions and emphasis would be improved by getting rid of the bottom third and dividing the remainder into a diptych, 50" x 24", overall. (Click for an enlarged view.)

August Sander influence? Or Stendhal's mirror in the road? Or...? Loosely based on a photo from my California visit in February.

open hand



Fountain pen and then gouache.


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Looking toward the Pacific Ocean. A larger scale version of the gouache sketch I made while hiking in Marin last month. Acrylic on paper: 50 inches wide by 38 inches high. (Click on the image for a larger view.) I am on spring break for the next two weeks, and after lots of recent travel, I'm looking forward to time with family and time for art.

three carrots

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Three carrots left from an afternoon snack, uneaten because they were "cut the wrong way." Remember when that was so important? (I still like cut carrots better than the rounded ones from the store, so I suppose I'm sympathetic - besides, it gave me something to paint this evening.)


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Twilight. Clouds, leafless maple, and electrical lines. With the equinox tomorrow, daylight continues to lengthen. This was painted well after six p.m.


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This bamboo piece leans against the wall. Some child used it for a project once, but the banner or flag is long gone, leaving the elegant shape to speak for itself.

blue vase of flowers



Brought one stem of the flowers upstairs, stuck it in a small vase, and pulled the curtain forward for an instant still life. Watercolor crayons.

vase, stems

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My family brought flowers to the airport. Tonight I just wanted to get the feel of a few of the stems and the glass. Maybe tomorrow I'll look closely at the blossoms. Fountain pen with brown ink.

stone staircase

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Saw this staircase through a doorway in the Capitol Visitors' Center in Austin this morning. The building was once the Texas General Land Office, and is substantial in a 19th-century medieval way. I loved the simplicity and scale of these stairs, and the relationships of all the shapes. Pencil and gouache - painted on the flight home.

wrapped violin

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Went to the Austin Museum of Art after lunch today (fantastic enchiladas at the Taco Shack on Brazos - but I digress) and spent some time losing track of time at the current show: Christo and Jeanne Claude: The Wurth Museum Collection. I asked if there were any restrictions on drawing in the galleries, and was told that drawing was fine, just no photographs. So after looking around, I stood and drew, and then stood and painted, and thought a little about wrappings and representations. And then somehow it was more than an hour later and I needed to walk back for the last couple of presentations at the conference.

panel discussion

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This was not the best panel discussion of the conference, so I began to draw the audience, instead.


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Solitary, sitting against the wall outside the Hilton Hotel grand ballroom. Free wifi and a local beer. Of course, I wasn't being particularly social either, since I was drawing and not wandering around - small-talked out by this point in the day's events.


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One block from the convention center in downtown Austin. A boy swept the porch steps. Under a tree, a man played guitar. A workman leaned against the building next door. The writer O. Henry lived here in the mid-1890s, and the house is now a museum. I sat on the front lawn for about fifteen minutes after lunch and brushed shapes of gouache on the page, adding the ink later.

in transit

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Neither here nor there. Drawings made during a day of air travel en route to Austin, Texas. Did not draw it, but on the gradual descending approach to the airport I saw a tiny person in a cowboy hat riding a tiny horse.

black bag



Taking a pause from color to draw with fountain pen as I pack to go to Austin, Texas. This bag is my everyday bag for hauling laptop, lunch, and sketch stuff to and from work, and is also my favorite travelling bag. Very sturdy, with lots of useful pockets. It fastens with an airplane seatbelt clasp.

two pitchers



Each handmade, each not quite symmetrical, but each holds just enough milk for breakfast.

child writing

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I am learning to work without the ink line. My daughter is learning our phone number.

blue plastic bag



New York Times delivery bag on the corner of the coffee table.

two oranges

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Two oranges: the color of the fruit and the color of the wall? Or did I mean the fruit? Looking across the dining room while eating supper, I saw this still life on the sideboard.

late night

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Still life after a late night and good conversation...

kneaded eraser

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I can make my right hand new to myself by adding an element. This is the discovery of the evening. All the parts are in a different relationship to each other when I hold something - here, the kneaded eraser from my pencil case. Pencil and gouache.

blue chair

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Once upon a time, my parents got this chair at a rummage sale. All the years I was growing up, I remember it in a corner of a living room and then later a bedroom, covered in worn soft straw yellow gold velvet. When it was my turn to have it, I recovered it with blue. Now twice-recovered, but still blue, it is the most comfortable reading chair in the house. My children do not realize that it is still gold in my mind.

foot, sofa's end



A line drawing to start a new month and a new sketchbook. My right foot and then a great tangle of pillows and blanket at the end of the sofa.