Drawn reports in the form of the portraits - war in Ukraine. December 20-25, 2022.

December 20, 2022. Day 301 of war.
We talk about all the parts of family and friends in all the different parts of the world. Dad says that he thinks that biology is a spoiled Mineralogy and Mom says that she is not going to argue with him - it is just that biology is impressionism and Mineralogy is classicism and she prefers impressionism any day of the week. (Dad is a chemist and physicist and Mom is a biologist). They prepared a bunch of new words in Ukrainian to discuss with me. Dad says that I made Mom's face too dark in my drawing and I add color. When he sees the result his comment is "leave my portrait as it is". 

December 22, 2022. Day 303 of war.
My parents had a good long walk and tell me all about the new place, the new route, and the dogs that they met. We talk about some algebra (Fibonacci numbers and Binoms). Mom shows me some beautiful leaves she found and lists a bunch of plant names I don't know hoping that I will help identify these. 

December 25, 2022. Day 306 of war.
Dad reports that he found a new cat in the neighborhood. They went to another new place in the morning and are very excited about it. Found lots of new treasures and were showing them to me. We talk about whether being smarter makes you happier and about some new Ukrainian words. I tell them about our holiday plans. 

Christmas by the Ocean

There is not much to say except that it was a wonderful idea to spend some time by the ocean. And to take very little drawing materials as it allowed for some very fast but joyful sketching moments. 

Bike and sketch outing with birdwatching.

I took my bike for some quality time together and we saw a pod of white pelicans, a commotion of coots, a raft of mallard ducks that were looking for mates, a gulp of cormorants drying off on what used to be a pier, and some great and snowy egrets. I am looking forward to a chance to use a word for multiple egrets nesting in one area - since I know where that rookery happens in May not far from me. 

Life Drawing party!

I spent a very exciting evening in San Francisco in the studio of the wonderful Diane Olivier (a person who writes in her artist statement that drawing is her primary medium but whose sense of expansive space and light is what I think about first). It was a surprise party for our mutual sketching friend and to celebrate we had a life-drawing party with two amazingly dynamic models - Ruby and Prudence. 

In three hours I filled 18 pages, some were shareable - here my friends took some photos (thank you!) of the wall where we pinned our works at the end. B&W are mine, color are not (I think the left photo has some works by Cathy Mcauliffe and the right - by Laurie Wigham). I enjoyed working with chiseled marker for one and two-minute poses, stencils and ink and brush for everything longer. 


Drawn reports in the form of the portraits - war in Ukraine. December 13-17, 2022.

December 13, 2022. Day 294 of war.
Some days are harder than others - because of weather, because of the war, time, and distance. They keep reading me poetry, this week Joseph Brodsky is cropping up a lot. They miss their home. 

December 15, 2022. Day 296 of war.
War brought many changes to our life. One of them is that my parents are suddenly aware of the results of the soccer world cup. They even have preferences and opinions about teams and players. I think this is as big an event as when my Mom told me something about a famous wrestler a few years back. We are talking about their medication regimen, and they tell me about new people they met on the street. About the new year and our hopes and plans. 

December 17, 2022. Day 298 of war.
My parents are collecting all sorts of treasures that they find on their walks: leaves, rocks, sea shells, etc. Mom shows me a teaspoon that Dad found on the street and gave to Mom as a present. I tell them about a wonderful evening I had - a life drawing party for a friend's birthday. I describe the place and people and tell them about all the greetings that were sent to them. They ask lots of questions. We talk about the nuclear fusion breakthrough and Dad tells us stories about his co-workers who were working with a particle accelerator. Dad tells me that he plays chess strategically. I ask him what this means and he tells me: "If I need a pick-me-up I play on my level. If I want to learn something I play above. The lessons are always waiting for me". Mom says "I am so grateful we are warm"- one day before the whole city of Kharkiv lost power, water, and heating. I am so grateful that my parents are warm. 

Plants update in gouache, printmaking and CMYK.

I got some new plants recently and this is a quick update on them - though since I sketched these there was some development and some leaves were lost. But I am working on figuring out why this happened and sketching all that fell, all that it left - basically, all.

All three of these are made with different tools that I am enjoying working with: some printmaking with stencils and collages, some gouache with spattering and lettering dome with flex nib dipped in gouache, and my CMYK pens. 


Art and War in Ukraine. Part 3. Aza Nizi Maza - art studio.

Aza Nizi Maza is an experimental art studio in Kharkiv. This is a group of artists working with people of all ages and a wide range of special needs and the work that they do was very interesting and inspiring for quite a few years now. The studio is originally located in a bomb shelter that was left after WWII - it used to be a place for art studios for many artists where I used to do to see "real artists at work". It was a dark and strange place but slowly some great people turned it into a "cave of wonders" and Aza Nizi Maza took it to a new level. 

Many people went to this shelter when the war started. 
I don't know the whole story but when the bombing became a new life for kids in Kharkiv, Aza Nizi Maza went to the subway where many kids in were living. And they started making art with the kids. Bringing their ability to support kids and give them power, materials, and encouragement to draw their hearts out. And that is priceless! 

They slowly covered subway walls with papers and covered them with artworks and words, and then they went beyond. 

Today the studio is back to regular classes. And lots of kids are drawing there. They are making some bags with the kids' artwork, organizing exhibits, and making sure that amid the horror of this war there is light and a place where people are welcome to come and work on their art, have some warm food and some light. It is now a safe and colorful place in so many senses. You can support them by donating to their paypal or purchasing bags with the artworks made in the studio.

These are works created during the war:
The text is in Ukrainian and says: "Let there be no death today. Not for Mom, not for Dad, not for me, not for my goldfish" - here is a link to this work on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CbelAzANLN3/
This one says: "We will win and make everything better" 
Here is an example of the bags: https://www.instagram.com/p/CgWCOFvIRPe/

Recent December tradition: Portrait Party with the Art School of the Future

I am a big fan of the art and art teaching that Rama Hughes brings into this world. You might know that he is the main force behind the Art School of the Future and his daily sketch diary is a (wonderfully consistent and often inspiring inquiries) part of my media diet :)

I've been a part of Rama's portrait party wagon for some time now but it gets better and better with time. This year I decided to see what will happen if I bring my printmaking tools to the timed portrait making and I had a blast! All the one-minute poses were done with either a pen or a brush pen. But all the five-minute poses were done with a pentel pocket brush pen filled with black ink and my stencils/printmaking kit.

Drawn reports in the form of the portraits - war in Ukraine. December 3-11, 2022.

December 7, 2022. Day 288 of war.
My parents prepared me with a fresh batch of Ukrainian words to learn. I am not sure how much I will use the one for the special headgear for a married woman but Dad thinks that word for thighs is very important - otherwise, how will I explain which part of the chicken to give me at the store? We talk about some famous tennis players and how their sport was connected to the theatrical performance on the court. They had a great day with a long walk and made it to a cathedral - which is much further than they'd been before. They celebrate the win and tell me that will take it easy the next day. 

December 10, 2022. Day 290 of war.
We talk about people in Odessa without power and heating. Then about people in Kyiv, then Kharkiv, then all the small and large cities that we could remember. Talking about all the parts of Ukraine brings memories of all kinds of people that my parents knew and were friends with - and this is how they start smiling and telling me stories. Then there is a short break in the story and Mom says out of the blue: I am no longer afraid of the airplane sound. But thunder still scares me. Then we are back to their youth and Dad tells me how he was copying some forbidden literature by hand. 

December 11, 2022. Day 291 of war.
I messed up my drawing several times and was able to fix some things - but Dad's eye got a patch treatment. Somehow it made Mom laugh a lot. I will do it more often now :)
We talk about a famous artist Vasily Vereshchagin who did a lot of travel and war-related paintings. Mom comments that her favorite part is the sky in all his works. And was is horrible any way you look at it. Dad is whistling a part of SiƩbel from the opera Faust. I am not familiar with how it should be performed but this does not sound bad.

What happened to my pine cone?

I picked up a wonderful pine cone on a lovely hike. It was a long day and I took some photos and left it on my table overnight... and in the morning it was a different pine cone! 

I drew it in my sketchbook. And then I added an overlay and drew it from a photo - as it was before. Because this is a gouache page and might smudge a bit. But mainly because I was still not over the change that happened overnight! 

Orange spread in my sketchbook

Orange is one of my favorite colors. This, in addition to the fact that some of my favorite fruits are orange in color, means that this time of the year my sketchbook has lots of orange in it. This was an orange spread and some additional orange sketches sprinkled through my sketchbook: persimmons and tangerines (or mandarins?)! (oranges and carrots are next ;)

I painted these as large silhouettes with black ink and pentel pocket brush and then used gouache to add color, with some pencil over for additional tiny marks.
And these are some close-ups and details of more persimmons and tangerines - mostly painted with me CMYK pens (pentel pocket brushes filled with colorful inks:)

Drawing while walking, drawing in the rain

I had a wonderful time hiking through a forest on a Sunday morning recently. It was rainy and foggy, some colors were saturated and others were muted. A great company of friends meant a conversation accompanied by raindrops on my hood. I was a little too wet and cold to draw first but then got out my little pocket drawing pad and used a waterproof uniball to make some quick sketches-while-walking: a twisty madrone, fallen three meant I drew people climbing over it, a turn in the road. The sketches are hard to recognize by others but they are my little memory about a day well spent!

Drawn reports in the form of the portraits - war in Ukraine. November 30-December 3, 2022.

November 30, 2022. Day 280 of war.
My parents went for a tiny walk which ended up as a 2.5 hr stroll (record!). The weather was very nice, they met a lot of friendly people and some dogs to play with. Found good places to rest. My parents told me about Ukrainian singer whom they found on youtube. Dad told me about some adventures of traveling without tickets. Mom has reached a part of her memoirs where I can contribute a bit so we are trying to recall some events together these days. We discussed power banks and options for warming up for friends and family in Kharkiv.

December 3, 2022. Day 283 of the war.
We talk about new Ukrainian words that my parents prepared for me, and some physics effects of yogurt and acrylic markers (that I was shaking during the call). Dad told me a story about making money by sitting exams for someone else and Mom told me about her excursion to get the trash out. We talk about the war and all the people connected to it, the conversation is punctuated by listing all the things that we are grateful for. 

Nonagenarian update

Little snippets from the everyday moments with our nonagenarian. New books (many in Ukrainian). I enjoy noticing little changes in the outfits and hairdo, how things are positioned in the room. We discuss news about her plants. Little things.   

On My Table: First Days of December 2022.

Just a couple of days ago I read somewhere that December is like a Friday of the year. I've been thinking about it since then and can probably agree - though at the moment it is a busy Friday! 

I am playing with my gouaches and mixing stencils and collages in my latest sketchbook with toned paper, making some cards for the season and there was some exciting development in my CMYK pens - I decided to make a purple and ended up with the best blue ever! It is officially my color for December!