Sketching Trio at the Channel Islands National Park

Posted: Sep 13, 2019 | | Labels: , , ,

From August 25th till 28th I had an adventure. A bunch of sketchers and some non-sketching companions came to California Channel Islands National Park with the Sketching Trio: Gaye Kraeger, Suhita Shirodkar and myself.


We spent three days on the boat with short excursions onto the islands. We hiked, learned about the history of the place, kayaked, snorkeled, made friends, observed wildlife, shared knowledge.

We sketched, drew, painted, and journaled during all three days - on the boat and the shore. And even some in the water.

The boat and crew provided us with a place to sleep, delicious food, companionship, and a unique opportunity to see the Channel Islands National Park. Our requests were met with a smile and eagerness to make it the best trip possible. I felt well taken care of.

What I try to remember most about this trip is that feeling of sharing a unique, pristine place with a bunch of people that enjoyed doing what they were doing.

The boat's name was "Conception". It was its last trip before the one that ended in tragedy on September 2nd.

Right now it feels like this trip was in a different life, in a different world. I did not know if I should post this. What for. Why. But then I did.

I would like to show you some of the sketches from this trip. Share a tiny bit of that beautiful place in a spirit of doing what I love and sharing it with others.

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Map drawn on the evening when we all gathered in Santa Barbara:
Life on the boat did not agree with me but with some medicine and care, I got better. At first, all I could do was some blind contour or very quick sketches - without taking my eyes off the horizon. Click on the image to see it larger and perhaps you might be able to read some of the blindly-written things too.

I could not paint on the boat during the first two days and only an example of my fellow sketchers and their continuing support got me to do a couple of watercolors on day three.

On the shore I got my gouache kit out. 


We had a chance to snorkel and I sketched some of the underwater world and I did a super quick drawing of our boat from the kayak.

During our outings to the islands I tried to draw all kinds of treasures:



I am glad I had this chance to see the place. And spend this time with a great group of people. 

Suhita wrote a very thoughtful post with a different look at our trip and posting it on her blog - start here.





Sketching on the run

Posted: Sep 9, 2019 | | Labels: , , ,

I saw some blue and green herons recently!


Gouache on toned paper and blooming san pedro cactus.

Posted: Aug 20, 2019 | | Labels: , , , ,

The other day I found a blooming san pedro cactus - It was over 6 feet tall and had dozens of flowers (mostly closed during the day).

I had just a few minutes but toned paper allows me to paint with gouache very quickly.

Wonderful Nova paper from Stillman & Birn is now my standing choice for the toned paper and I had some black pages tucked with my pocket gouache kit.

Later at home I taped the sketch in my main sketchbook with some washi tape and added a protective layer.

I often add a layer of tracing paper over my gouache sketches because of two reasons: it protects the sketch and also semi-transparent surface allows me to have a second take on the composition or just plain doodle some more over existing sketch - in this case I drew a few flowers with a brush marker.




Pocket gouache

Posted: Aug 15, 2019 | | Labels: , , ,

This is a note to myself - to record what gouache kit I took with me to the island trip at the beginning of the summer and how I changed the colors after.


Note: adding a drop of gum arabic to the dry paint when topping it off worked very well - even for crumbly colors like Alizarin Crimson.
And here is how I felt about some of the colors after the trip and a month of daily gouaches in June (read the names of the colors) and how I started thinking about changing colors.
Resulting in this palette - which is currently sitting in my bag.
Right now this pocket gouache solution works really great!
I only wish I found a collapsible flat brush to carry with me.

How I store my sketchbooks (now).

Posted: Aug 8, 2019 | | Labels: ,

I recently changed the way I store my old sketchbooks. Before this change, I had a large box on top of another large box with some more sketchbooks piled on top of those. But it was impossible to take a look at old sketchbooks. And it was getting harder and harder to add new ones to the pile without ruining the whole structure. 
So I got them all out, decided to keep the oldest 50 or so in the box and the rest are on the shelves - easy to pull and flip through by me or a guest. (Took me two days - mostly because of all the memories I wanted to refresh by looking at my sketches).