Yellow Chrysanthemums and managing expectations.

I got this beautiful bright pot with yellow chrysanthemums to brighten up a series of gray days when we had non-stop rain (which I loved by itself but it does not mean that I can pass by an opportunity to bring home chrysanthemums!). And I thought that I will paint them every day. In reality, I did not sit down to paint them even once! They appeared in a bunch of "I have two minutes" sketches though :) I did not crop one of the sketches so that you can see that some of these are done not in my sketchbook but in my pocketbook (or on scrap paper) :)

They are still in full bloom - so I might get more serious (or not :)

Drawn reports in the form of the portraits - war in Ukraine. January 16-22, 2023.

January 16, 2023. Day 327 of war.
Some of the conversations happen during dinner times and some of the dinner conversations run wild and hot - Dad was explaining something to me and was much closer to the screen, talking with his hands a lot. I managed to edit huge hands out of my sketch but only after we finished our video call I noticed how much smaller Mom is here. We talked about the venn diagram between being smart and being cunning and went into the abyss of the topic of whether pieces of art and literature can be used as sources of historical knowledge. 

January 18, 2023. Day 329 of war.
I did not write much during this conversation as we were troubleshooting all sorts of everyday life things: fridge, ventilation, email, hearing aids, Mom, Dad, computer, headphones, iPad - in short - some days equipment just does not want to talk to you, same with people.
January 22, 2023. Day 333 of war.
My Dad recommended I try eating salted herring with bananas and Mom told me all about cats and the weather. Both of these conversations meant that both parents are doing fine. We went over the list of relatives (there are some important birthdays of great-grandkids coming up!). Dad was discussing ways of fixing his cane with me. 

Art and War in Ukraine. Part 4. Mistograf - a family of urban sketchers from Kharkiv.

"Mistograf" - is a family of architects and urbanists. Tanja and Jaroslav and their three kids (Yulia, Olya, and Marko) were living in Kharkiv, Ukraine. When the war with russia began on 24th of February, 2022 they, together with their parents, spent 5 days hiding in the basement of one of the buildings in the center of the city. They left Kharkiv for Lviv on a train that was filled to the brim with people and pets. Since then they made a camp many miles away from home in a tiny village in the Mountains of Ukraine. From there they travel and tell stories about different cities of Ukraine, how they lived before and how they live during war.
Despite everything that is happening in Ukraine this family kept drawing through whatever was happening to them. They were drawing while hiding in the basement (when Kharkiv was shelled many times a day). They were drawing through evacuation and then moving from place to place. Without much materials at first but never stopping they drew parts of Ukraine as they moved through and then after they settled a bit, they started traveling around Ukraine sharing their stories with others in the form of bi-monthly zines/newspapers. 
I love that kids contribute to these publications and maps are my favorite images for a long look but even from a quick flip through the pages you get to know both the place and the family a bit. I enjoy popping up on their youtube where you can see some videos from the travel and events and how Tanja and Jaroslav create works together. Mixture of drawings from life with cartoons and comics, use of text in sketches, interesting notes about working on location, interviews with locals - all can be found there. Also, Mistograf's work is an example of how people brought their Ukrainian language to a new level and they inspire me in their writing too. 
They have a whole series now - covering the cities of Chernihiv, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Odesa, Ivano-Frankivsk, and small cities of the Lviv region and there will be one about Kharkiv - but that is a story for another post! 
Right now you can read these in Ukrainian but there is an English version for Ivano-Frankivsk and others are in the works. 
You can learn more about this amazing family of artists and sketchers at the English version of their site: - you will find ways to support them via PayPal or Patreon (and on the site as well). 

I have a bulb situation on my table - part 2

Here are some sketches and notes from a couple of weeks after the beginning of the process. Three different bulbs are drawn as they display different levels of enthusiasm. I scanned these pages before and after adding the color as I am simultaneously trying to have more black and white works and have more color in my sketchbook. Which - if it would work the way I want does not contradict one another but I am at the messy stage of the process. 

I have a bulb situation on my table - part 1

I enjoy growing plants from seeds and bulbs and clippings. Just watching them grow day by day can change the whole dynamic of the way winter transforms into spring for me. In anticipation of this I usually get a bulb or two and this year I got three and then one more but I forgot which one was which - so it was (and still is) an experiment with a surprise. Two of my bulbs are stubbornly refusing to start growing but others are on a roll! Here is a sketch from day one of the whole process this season.