Sep 12, 2020

Sketching While Waiting

I took the nonagenarian to see her eye doctor and had a wonderful time in the waiting room. First - the air was purified and easy to breathe despite double masks (one mask for the smoke and another for the covid). Outside I could not see most of what is usually there: San Jose was very smoky with AQI above 200 because of all the fires along the West Coast. And the waiting room had some people for me to sketch!

Sep 3, 2020

August California fires

This August brought devastating fires to California (again). Many are still burning and the smoke situation is now a part of our everyday life: apps to monitor air quality are installed on the phones again; I dust my plants from the ash in the morning; we close all windows when it gets too smoky outside and then rush to have our walk when it's better. But the sunsets are incredibly beautiful. Haunting, eerie, sometimes outright scary but beautiful. Here is a couple from last week:

Aug 28, 2020

Dragonflies this year

There always were dragonflies around here - but this year it feels like they are everywhere! Dragonflies bump into me when I bike, they zoom by and pass when I run only to make a sharp turn and head the other way, they accompany me on my walks. But they are always too fast for me to even think about drawing them! 

Today I found a dead one and in perfect condition. I was voted out on taking it home with me to draw so I crouched on the sidewalk and spent a nice thirty minutes looking at this beauty. 

Aug 27, 2020

Experimental pen gets experimental ink. And a dog portrait.

Over the years I collected a bunch of ink samplers. Some I used a lot, some I used a little but all of them ended up in this box. 

So today I was cleaning one of my experimental pens and decided to double the experiment by filling it with whatever's left in those little vials. I used syringe to get the last drops out and shook it to get rid of the air bubbles.

Then I used a piece of scrap paper to get the pen going.
And then I had to test the pen of course :)

Aug 24, 2020

Current Main Watercolor Palette

I like having these records about my palleter. I use them when I am making a decision as to what color to remove or how to simplify my palette, what colors to pick for the particular project. Or what colors to add to a yet new palette. 

But I also use these when I need a boost. Making these record reminds me how much I enjoy just playing with color. And later on I can go back to these, see how I loved some color or color combination and would be excited to paint again.

These are useful when I need to reorder fresh tubes of paint too. 

Aug 21, 2020

Current Gouache Palette

At the beginning of each sketchbook, I record the tools that I enjoy the most at the moment. This is my current gouache palette set-up at the beginning of sketchbook #130. 

Aug 19, 2020

I started a new sketchbook!

I started a new sketchbook and had fun decorating the cover. 

This book might not get to travel much but it only means that the new reflective cover will last longer and will be greeting me with the shiny stickers!

Aug 14, 2020

Testing new things

It’s a really hoy day, so I am pretending to be out and about drawing figs (actually sitting under a cluster of fans in the kitchen) and testing new blogger interface for posting from the phone. 

Jul 16, 2020

There were a lot of irises in my sketchbook during the last two weeks.

I got a bunch of beautiful irises at the end of June and painted them many times with different tools - experimenting with new markers, color pencils, stencils, inks, and watercolors. Interestingly now that I look back at these all I did not paint them even once with gouache!

Jun 30, 2020

In Review June 15-26, 2020

I continued painting gardens in gouache (without any underdrawing or lines over the painting - for 30x30directwatercolor challenge). I used photos by 
And I've been mixing greens a lot. I keep some notes but they are not organized. I think it would be a good idea to make them into a small workshop/handout thing for future classes. Greens are hard in any medium but some simple ideas help with the overall strategy for making them work for you. 

I went on a virtual sketch trip with Suhita Shirodkar to India and Ukraine and then we actually met in real life and visited Gay Kraeger in her magical garden. It was our first outing since the beginning of isolation and felt wonderful to be with friends and painting outdoors.


I went for a few bike rides and drew on the way too. 

And more agapanthuses made it to my sketchbook, together with sketches of everyday life, family members, and video chats.