Everyday Life December 2023

Little drawings that happen in between larger projects are often drawn on the go, with whatever supplies I had on hand, and then added to my sketchbook at the end of the day. They fill spaces around digger things in my sketchbook. Yet I treasure these a lot! During a quiet moment this December, I was looking at the sketchbook from 2009 and these "in-betweens" reminded me about a series of self-portraits after a run that I was drawing, a special meal, a set of soft plush cubes, a conversation. So here is a bunch of my December "in-betweens". 

Year in Sketchbooks - 2023.

2023 was long yet it passed by super quickly. It was full, emotional, hard, complex, rewarding and interesting. As I work on a full summary I see that a lot of it made it to my public sketches in one form or another. But in any case, I am super glad that I sketched through it all. 

As soon as I am done writing this text I will go draw a pile of presents on a last spread of Sketchbook #153 and I prepared a lovely handmade book to take me in 2024. Which means 7 sketchbooks in 2023. Here they are all at once - from #147 to #153.

I posted video flip-throughs of books 147 - 151 on my youtube channel and will make video tours of the rest early in 2024. 

All of the books are much fatter by the time I finish them though some show it more than others as I continue enjoying layering things to the brim. The sketchbook with a round number 150 was celebrated with some bold experiments- a large sketchbook that deserved it's own tag on this blog :) I had some amazing travel experiences close and far this year and tried to record them all. Some hard conversations. Some beautiful flowers. Dear friends. Searches and celebrations. Good memories.

I did a lot of mixed media experiments, enjoyed working with gouache a lot, and of course, continued printmaking on the go and in my sketchbook. Lots of new materials. Some big and some little projects have not made it to this blog yet - so I am adding a line for sharing them in my 2024 plans and signing out for now. See you in 2024! Let it be filled with light and hope! 

Here are links to some previous "end of the year" posts: 


Poinsettia Surprise

In the middle of a pre-holiday whirlwind, a cardboard box with a lovely print appeared under my door. The tag said that it's been checked for a Japanese Beetle, there was my name and no other notes, and inside was a lovely Poinsettia! A surprise! It took me about a week to go over a list of potential gift-givers until I found out who it was from (thank you, dear!) :) But the gratitude for having a new plant to paint started pouring onto the pages of my sketchbook even before :)

Changing Weather

California winter is super colorful and the weather has lots of moods and changes. My favorite winter moments are after the rain when the sun suddenly creates bright spots of light around objects and darker surroundings are making them pop. Or when I see a good winter shadow. Or a fog! Actually there are many more... here are a few that I sketched this December:

Video Tour Through Sketchbook Number 149

I worked in Sketchbook #149 from the beginning of April till the beginning of June 2023. 
This was an 8 x 10" Softcover Alpha Sketchbook from Stillman&Birn. The paper can take a lot and has a lovely tooth that works great with my mixed media style - from printmaking to gouache to watercolor and ink. And yet it does not induce a feeling of preciousness in me - so I work in it without hesitation or fear of ruining anything. Glue and tape also perform great with it - so my compulsive layering really works. 

This book covered the best of spring in California: Superbloom of Our State Poppies, Red Flanders Poppies, Irises, my African violets, and lots of other flowers and plants. 

I sketched during my interview with Nishant Jain: Sneaky Art Podcast: A Conversation in Two Parts.

I had a blast Urban Sketching Online with A Street View World Tour - as a Guest Artist we drew Kharkiv, Ukraine and I visited other places in the world with the same crowd before and after.

Many portraits of my parents. And lots of people sketching.

You can see them all in a full video here:

Forest Diary

Sketching the redwood forests on the Pacific Coast as I hike is a speeding activity - but is always worth it - even if all I get to do is put a few lines on the page or spread some huckleberries as an illustration to what is happening (see process photos below)! Bits of text are usually added when I get to the table and glue and tape in my day's sketching bounty. The forest was wet and full of wonderful light and colors. I am ready to go there again! 

From the trip to the Pacific Coast

In November I spent some time in the forest but every evening we made it to the coast to see a sunset over the Pacific Ocean. My sketches of sunsets are never fully satisfying but this is something I cannot resist and feeding this urge to sketch is very gratifying and humbling  :) Trying to match the speed of changing colors slight shifts of mood and the unbelievable sense of time running through my fingers is always priceless :)  

December Portrait Party Tradition Continues!

I had a pleasure of attending another December Portrait Party hosted by @artschoolofthefuture to celebrate a birthday it's founder, amazing teacher and artist - @ramahughes . The pleasure of drawing with this group is one of my December highlights! If you want to see my previous notes on these portrait parties - here is a link!

Persimmon Season 2023

As many of you know I am a big fan of persimmons. There are some people for whom persimmons are the first thing that comes to mind when I ask them what they think I draw the most :) And for several years now the peak of my persimmon season was a trip to paint the trees with foliage and fruits turning the best fall colors - with Gay Kraeger and Suhita Shirodkar. However this year stars did not align for this to happen so there is only one leaf and a handful of fruits scattered here and there around my sketchbook. Still - it was very orange!