Dec 26, 2021

Forest trip to start my holidays

I spent a few days in magnificently wet and colorful forests on the Pacific Coast near Mendocino. Mostly hiking - but also looking at a gorgeous ocean sunset, foraging for mushrooms, and cooking them after. 




Dec 22, 2021

Portrait Party

Rama Hughes is an amazing artist and art teacher. He created an official portrait party quite some time ago (Here is an old blog!) and he hosts portrait parties and other wonderful drawing games online with his gang at the Art School of the Future

I am a happy participant in these events when I have a chance and last week Rama hosted his Birthday Portrait party! I was excited to attend but the day did not go as planned and my enthusiasm was gone. Until I remembered that this is such a supportive no-stress group of people that even if I join for a few minutes and run away - I know that there would be no hard feelings. So I took a little break to rest and joined later in the party - but had such a BLAST drawing everyone! 

The whole drawing experience was a disaster as my first pen ran on me like crazy and spattered a lot of ink all over. The next one ran out of ink in the middle of the line. The third one needed resuscitation which did not go well and another ink splatter happened and then another pen tugged on the paper and sprayed more ink. The last pen ran out of ink too - but by that time I was expecting something like this to happen :) I had fun cleaning and refilling my pens after but most importantly - I enjoyed drawing people and kept smiling the whole time! Thank you, Rama - and Happy Birthday! 




Dec 19, 2021

It’s a Daffodil!

Some time ago I got a bunch of bulbs and planted them into pots or put in the water jars. I was not sure what was where and so far these bulbs were teaching me patience. I drew them periodically. But this week one of the plants started to grow very rapidly and we have the very first flower: it’s a daffodil! 



Dec 17, 2021

My Mind Map - Connecting Windows Into Different Lives (Hammershoi, Lucia Berlin, Bergman, Sydney Smith and more).

A few weeks ago, I shared some parts of my sketchbook where I dive into the world of books that I enjoyed recently and artworks that I am consuming by re-drawing them. 

Some of the drawings and thought processes about connections did not make it to the previous post (Words and pictures about Vermeer, Hammershoi, Monet, Sydney Smith, windows, and refugee crisis). So I am adding them here - with the astonishing prose of Lucia Berlin and some stills from Bergman's movies that haunted me for weeks. 


Here is a video of a flip-though all of these pages in my sketchbook:




Dec 16, 2021

Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 4.

The last sketch of the day was of the Sea Ranch non-denominational chapel. It is a wonderful little building that makes me think about hobbit holes and the power of a community. It was inspired by an artist, designed based on sketches and location setting, built by local craftsmen, and is maintained by the volunteers in this community. I wish to visit more places like this! (here is a very interesting story with great photos from the process of construction).

It was the end of a long sketching day and the setting sun was gifting us a gorgeous golden glow. I did a quick pen drawing which did not dry properly (dump day and a sketchbook that was out and about all day long) - so when I sprayed it with water I got a beautiful running ink effect. Then I decided to add color but now I wish I left it and just enjoyed the view instead of rushing to catch it on my dump paper.

And these last two sketches are from a quick stop on the way back - some boats in the Bodega Bay while we chewed on our sandwiches and made plans for more trips like this.

What a wonderful trip!

Here are links to the other parts of this story:

Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 3.
Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 2.
Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 1.

Dec 15, 2021

Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 3.

I took with me a portable kit for the stencil technique that I've been working on for some time now. The experiment went very well - I can have all the tools in a pocket and work on location. It does require a surface to work on (either putting a sketchbook on my knees or standing next to somewhere where I can place my book). And I tried adding white gouache to it for the first time - here is an image I shared in a previous post - when it was unfinished. And again - in its final version.

I used this technique to work in the cypress lane too. It is a mind-bending row of trees that creates a tunnel that catches the light in a very special way. This was probably the most challenging sketching spot for me because of so many amazing views - each one more interesting than the other. All three of us ended up experimenting with our subject and tools. Photos of me are by Srivani and Suhita. Thank you!


Here are links to the other parts of this story:

Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 4.
Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 3.
Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 2.
Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 1.

Dec 14, 2021

Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 2.

After an early lunch, we moved to the beach where I got to sketch some treasures (we found a large piece of kelp with the leaves and roots and a top shell of a crab). We were sitting in a little cove with a perfect view of these two rocks guarding the entrance to the beach.


And in the next beach was occupied by harbor seals - we painted above it - view to the side and view of the seals - playing in the water (usually you see them lying on the rocks but this time we witnessed a lot of activity!).

Here are links to the other parts of this story:

Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 4.
Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 3.
Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 2.
Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 1.

Dec 12, 2021

Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 1.

I've been to the Sea Ranch before, but not like this. This time two of my friends (Suhita and Srivani) and I went for an art adventure, and it could not have been better. Our endeavor began with some rain during the drive but even that was an interesting experience on a majestic Hwy 1 along the Pacific Coast. The house was warm, and conversations were galvanizing.

The next morning we woke up to perfect weather which changed a lot during the day but every surprising turn brought more interesting light to our works. It was not cold, we witnessed some magnificent skies, we had some interesting architectural solutions and nature to draw. We managed to sketch in five different settings on that day and here are my sketches from the first one:



Here are links to the other parts of this story:

Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 4.
Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 3.
Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 2.
Sketching Trip to the Sea Ranch: Part 1.

Dec 10, 2021

One Evening and One Pomegranate (Sketchbook Spread)

This was an evening of trying different approaches to drawing a pomegranate. At the end of the night, I used so many different materials on the last sketch that when sprayed my sketchbook with the casein fixative it started spreading in all directions. But that is fun too :) 






Dec 9, 2021

Festive mood for the end of the year: Kangaroo Paws!

I have my bright lights on and have a whole bunch of little festive arrangements going on - apples, persimmons, dry flowers, pine cones, magnolia cones, pistachio tree berries - and a few days ago my collection grew with this branch of Kangaroo Paws! This plant is usually yellow or red and is native to south-western Australia but is now cultivated around the world and scientists sequenced the genome of kangaroo paws and were able to produce many new colors for the kangaroo paw including blues, purples, and whites!



Dec 4, 2021

Community Art Showing.

This Holiday Season began for me with arranging a bunch of my works on the walls of the local  community center. 
There is a series of Dog Portraits, 100 views of Silicon Valley and Lakes of the Summer 2021 - painted around Lake Tahoe. 






Dec 3, 2021

More from the Mushrooming trip

Forests are such primal places - especially older ones with the multitude of layers opening up more and more as you let the place unfurl by being still. My love for sketching in the forest grows out of stillness that enraptures into a world I did not see before. Even with the smallest, fastest, simplest of sketches by the time I am done and ready to catch up to my party, the world around me is larger. There are more birds, everything suddenly is alive and not what it seemed before. 
I made a video flip-through these pages in my sketchbook: