Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Scene Three

On a recent Friday evening my phone dinged at me - "Hey, do you have plans for tomorrow or Sunday?"  Hmmm, what will I be getting myself into?  Isn't that what we all think when an ambiguous question pops up?  Or... is that just me?  Oops.

Anyway, we had a Saturday cycle trip planned, but I was free Sunday and replied as such.  I soon discovered my friend Kristi had volunteered to paint 3 small background panels for the community theatre.  She was requesting my "artistic talents."  My initial reaction was, well, YIKES!  Me?!  Can I really be that much help?  The only large art I'd done was the whimsical sidewalk chalking last fall.  However, one of the themes here is to try new creative ventures, so I agreed.
a fireplace palette.

We met on a Sunday afternoon to begin what would take three additional evenings to complete.  The "small" backgrounds were 8 foot panels.  Small in theatre world I suppose, but not to this gal.  The musical was Into the Woods and we were charged with creating Cinderella's house/fireplace, a baker's shop/oven, and Jack's house/shack.  Thankfully, Kristi had a few ideas to get us started and we planned our attack with pencil & brush.

I painted Cinderella's fireplace.. stone by stone by stone.

Kristi tackled the baker's shop... layer by layer by layer.


Working on the baker's oven.

We teamed up for the third panel - Jack's shack.  I roughed out the sketch and laid down the initial wood grain of the boards.  The next night  Kristi added detail to the wall and floor while I painted the window boards.  I think this panel had the best end result.  The team effort was a blast and there was plenty of chit chat.  Kristi was an art major as well and we tossed around mutual artist issues - like how intimidating it is to start something totally new on the page or canvas.  Those discussions were punctuated with comments on the project at hand - "Hmm, should I use another color?"  "What are you thinking?"  "How about I add a shadow here?"  That kind of stuff - bouncing back and forth as we worked.   
This project was time consuming and I was exhausted when we left each evening, but it was a fun experience.  The occasional complimentary cast member was a nice bonus - a nice confidence booster.  (And NO, I do not want to be a regular set painter.  Seriously, not.  Well, maybe I would help a waaaaays down the road.  Now, it's back to paper and small canvas - which are small in reality, not just in theatre terms.)

The first two panels on stage.  This was the last night we painted, so didn't get to see all three together.

All "finished."  For an artist - it's really never finished.  You just run out of time.

Now wasn't that a productive way to procrastinate my Sketchbook Skool homework?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Happiness is...

My husband called me yesterday while I was helping a friend paint sets for the community theatre.  It's been a fun, but time-consuming challenge.  More on that later.
Me - Hello.
Hubby - Hello!!
M - Hello?!
H - Helloooo!!! .... Who is this? (our conversations tend to start out goofy)
M - Your wife.
H - You must be painting.
M - Why? Can you hear the noise here?
H - You sound happy.  You sound happiest when you're painting.
It's an exaggeration since I don't paint often, but I love that he said it.  Later in the evening we were out on the cycle.  At one point, while increasing speed, he leaned in with great gusto and swiftly switched gears several times.  When we got to cruising speed, he briefly put his hands up and did a slow ninja chop in the air.  I chuckled.  Yeah, cycle-riding makes him happy.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Week 2 of semester 2 of Sketchbook Skool was all about self-portraits - or drawn selfies.  It's been both fun & frustrating.  I'll soon post a bit of the homework.  

In the meantime, the whole idea of this class is to get in the habit of daily drawing - of illustrating life as it happens.  It might be sinking in.  I sat down for a short nap one afternoon and instead wound up drawing the cat napping.  A simple moment of my day recorded in a few minutes of ink.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Drawn to the Kitchen

Draw your kitchen!  That was the final assignment for semester one of Sketchbook Skool.  Doesn't sound terribly exciting does it?  I mean, really, how exciting are appliances and cabinets and such?  Well, it turned out to be a kettle of fun.  (heh heh)

I've mentioned the sixth SBS teacher was Tommy Kane.  His method is to slow down, see the details and spends hours on a sketchbook page instead of minutes.  I gravitate towards the slow and detailed versus the mostly quicker methods of the earlier SBS instructors.  This particular lesson was calling my name so I skipped a couple assignments (for now).

After much procrastinating and the inner critic trying to talk me out of it, I sat down on a rainy afternoon when there was no harvest crew to cook for.  As usual, my persnickety brain was immediately annoyed that the lines weren't instantly perfecto.  I wanted the fridge along the right edge, so started there... without thinking about my hand being in the way as I moved from right to left.  Urgh.  Then, the stove went all wonky.  It doesn't really lean out like that.  "Tommy said to just keep going!"  That was on repeat in my brain.  So, I did - even though the back counter line was angling down & actually the whole drawing was leaning to the left.  I kept going.

I posted this first photo to the SBS Facebook group.  I reasoned, if I get this out there, I will actually finish it.

Over the next week more lines were added, then cross-hatching, then more lines, then more cross-hatching.  (Click on any photo to see it larger.)

Watercolor was next and it made me nervous.  Those wonky kitchen lines had grown on me.  Did I really want to risk messing it all up.  "Oh come on, it's just paper!  Get to it!"  So I did.  First some greens, then the cabinets, walls, and floor.

I started having fun.  Adding color here and there.  Going back into dry areas and enhancing the color or texture.  I thought I was done and posted the photo above.  Oops, missed the middle of the window and a few small white spaces and a few magnets.

Ask any artist - we always see something to change or correct or add to.  I see several areas I could enhance, but this one is done.  This final photo was posted about an hour before semester two started.  I'm so last minute it isn't even funny.  My daughter wants to frame this, but I won't be tearing it out.  Guess I'll have to properly scan and print it for her.

Semester two of Sketchbook Skool started Friday.  We've been celebrating July 4th and finishing up harvest, so I've only watched a few class videos.  Time to crack open the sketchbook!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sketchbook Dreams

It's been nearly two years since starting this trek and since my silly art class dream.  I had another goofy dream last night - kind of a sad nightmare really.  Much of the vivid story faded quickly.  What I do remember:

I'm at an elaborate exhibit of student work with a mishmash of classmates - high school friends, college pals, and Sketchbook Skool artists.  Our work is oddly shaped pottery.  Observers file by and I am obviously proud of my creative pots.  Then it's time to pack up and Danny Gregory instructs us, one by one, to collect our pieces.  Oh dear, the order is determined by ability, from fantastic to not-so-good.  I wait...  then chat with my SBS classmate Lynn.  Why, yes, she would indeed like to invite me to join her group of artists, but alas, there is no room right now.  "Keep me in mind, I'd really love that!"  

Turning back to the tables of pottery, I realize three of us are left... the bottom of the class.  I am bummed and suddenly realize how juvenile my pots are.  "Now, do you see why you need to spend more time on this?" Danny stands next to me like a stern principal.  "Yeah... I thought this was good."  A totem pole of tiny pots falls apart as I pick it up.  Sigh. I begin gathering my sad pots.  Then the alarm interrupted my distress.

I've deduced this was a combo of my tumultuous first semester as well as the inner critic voice (aka The Monkey) telling me I'm not talented enough or something.  WHAT-EV-ER.  Back off buddy.  I'm just happy Mr. Gregory was the instructor of whatever pottery class that was.  I bet I had fun in class!  . . . .  Oh, wait!  I just thought of the new exercise program at work ... I'm nearly in last place.  Hey!  Maybe the dream is also about my sucky exercise habits!  Yay!... er... I mean, I need to get going on that.  (And sketching.)

Semester 2 of Sketchbook Skool starts Friday.  Woohoo!  I'm off to finish a bit of leftover homework from semester 1... (and of course, go for a walk).

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