Drawn reports in the form of the portraits - war in Ukraine. July 24-29, 2023.

July 24-29 2023. Days 517-523 of war.
I had a wonderful week with my parents - watching sunrises every day was a highlight of my trip - and I will make a separate post about it when I get to scan all the iterations. But for now I continue my travels.

A Different Kind of Sea

As I move northward through my European trip, I am adjusting the mini set of colors that I take with me in my pocket sketch kit. This outing to the Baltic Sea was with thee water-soluble pencils and it worked just right.

A super short visit to Copenhagen

My summer travels took me to Copenhagen for a very short visit, and both rain and I had a great time running through the city.:


Drawn reports in the form of the portraits - war in Ukraine. July 17-23, 2023.

July 17-22 2023. Days 510-516 of war.
This week is special: our conversations started on video and continued in person! I’m visiting my parents in Croatia: meeting all the cats, identifying flowers together, catching cicadas and lizards before it gets too hot, and talking, talking, talking. I’m using this opportunity to draw my parents in profile and get more practice in Ukrainian. We walk, watch the news, call friends and family, and cook together. Trying to hold on to good things and not fall apart from the hard ones. 

A Story of a my Big Sketchbook Painting Disaster

I tried to paint in my A3 sketchbook while standing up. It was a disaster - here is how:
First I decided that I would hold both my sketchbook and a jar with water with one hand. This meant that after the first few minutes, my hand was so tired that I lost control of the jar with water and it flipped and drenched the whole spread with slightly green water. Like this:
After this I decided to not show my frustration to my companions and see if I can save this sketch by throwing everything at it at the same time and limiting the time that I would give it. I declared that I'll be done in 5 minutes and I used my fingers and whole palm to paint quickly. Like this:
Here are some process photos and results:

Last Matilija Poppies of the Season

Before the end of the Matilija poppy season, one more bike ride was taken to the special spot where people are friendly to my spreading art supplies all over the walkway and poppies are growing in a way so that I can see them from all angles. These are very tall plants if you let them grow and often by the end of the season I need a ladder to see them from above yet in this place there are always some plants low enough for me to draw even while sitting (which is a given with the A3 sketchbook im working in now).

Drawn reports in the form of the portraits - war in Ukraine. July 10-16, 2023.

July 10-16, 2023. Days 503-509 of war.
This week my parents celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary!
They made some special food, got calls and texts from kids and grandkids from all over the world to celebrate and we toasted their marriage via video call! I drew them extra large on the occasion :) 

In their news: another one of the neighborhood cats got a proper name. It is a large and happy cat that lives near the cafe and now that my parents are talking to it daily, people who work at the cafe are talking to my parents daily also. 
Mom remembered another large cat that they knew in Kharkiv - it belonged to their friends who once decided to rescue a little fox cub. The cat and fox lived together for some time and then one day the fox pushed the cat out of the 4th floor balcony. Cat came home as if nothing happened! I tried to ask my parents what were their friends thinking about bringing home a fox. But they explained to me that it was little and needed care and then then they reminded me about stray dogs that I was trying to rescue as a kid and I stopped questioning an idea behind bringing a fox in the house :)

The "Large Sketchbook" sometimes gets a break and stays home.

Probably this post should be titled "I get a break from the large sketchbook from time to time". Or that "the Large sketchbook gives me a break from time to time"? In any case - now that I am almost at the end of this sketchbook I see that the wonderfully challenging and gently expanding my abilities A3 sketchbook (also known as large and cumbersome) got quite a few pages glued in it. On some occasions, it happened by design and on some occasions, it happened by accident. I tape and glue things in my sketchbooks all the time as I enjoy using a variety of papers and in general draw on whatever is available - and then make it work all together. 

So here are two more sketching outings.

First - combining acrylic markers and traditional gouache.

Sketches from the second outing combine pen and ink, gray wash and some stencils. 

Traveling to Kenya (via Street View World Tour)

This month the Street View World Tour was traveling to Kenya!
Here are a couple of previous adventures that I did with this wonderful bunch of people - including one to Kharkiv Ukraine where I was the guest artist: June and May

I had a blast drawing streets filled with colors and letters and discovered that Post-it notes are amazing for my stencil technique: using the sticky part I can minimize a need for a complex holds which I sometimes need to perform in order to apply ink. And it is especially useful when the time is limited!


Drawn reports in the form of the portraits - war in Ukraine. July 2 - 9, 2023.

July 2-9, 2023. Days 495-502 of war.
This week we crossed 500 days of war, and it seems unreal. 
My parents made a fruit punch with rose petals from the neighbor's rose bush and told me about two new cats one of which decided that the best place to sleep is behind my Mom's legs. We talked about all the family members and friends and volunteers around the globe who help Ukraine in many different ways.

Mom continues to work on her memoirs and this week Dad was adding things - his contributions were about one of the old family dogs (a Scottish collie called Gemma), Edvard Grieg (Norwegian composer), and about dear friend Osya Klugman who was always ready to have some tea and tell you about a new poet or author. Once Osya mentioned Lina Kostenko in a conversation with me (I was probably 12) and when I asked him who it was he spent my Dad's whole birthday party in the kitchen - reading (by heart) Lina Kostenko poems to me to quickly remedy this hole in my education. 

On My Table: Beginning of July 2023.

It's July. In Ukrainian the name of this month (Lypen) is tied to the name of the linden (aka Tilia - Lypa in Ukrainian). I am walking the streets of California smelling Tilia blossoms and thinking about this amazing name for the month - it means way more to me than Julius Caesar ;)

As I'm working in a large (A3) sketchbook it took me some time to come up with a way to fit it on the table with the other things that I wanted to share and still show a part of it. This sketchbook is being filled with lots of summer sketching adventures!

I got some amazing books for my birthday and am obsessed with looking at the lines and colors in the art of JoaquĆ­n Sorolla, Tove Jansson, and Beatrice Alemagna:
Book 1: Sorolla and the Paris Years
Book 2: Tove Jansson: Work and Love
Book 3: On a Magical Do-Nothing Day

This new pencil sharpener (Swordfish The Triple 3 Hole Canister Pencil Sharpenerearned a place in my plein air set (Emma Carlisle mentioned it on her Patreon - for me the winning point was that it can sharpen Woody 3 in 1 Pencils as well as normal and medium-sized pencils). 

I am mixing more colors for my acrylic markers, drawing lots of people and treasures, biking, walking, sketching and having an amazing summer! And I'm trying to pick my art supplies for an upcoming travel (hence limited palette ideas you can see on the table). 

Summer Continues: Walk and Sketch

Sometimes Bike and Sketch is substituted by "Walk and Sketch" - this way I discovered that Jacaranda season is upon us and spent some time enjoying my neighbor's fence.

Drawn reports in the form of the portraits - war in Ukraine. June 26-July 1, 2023.

June 26 - July 1, 2023. Days 486-494 of war.
This week's conversations were circling some domestic issues - what to cook when the weather is so hot and how to fix some things - like my painting pants, my backpack's pockets, or Mom's new accessory - a cane that was gifted to her by a new friend - another refugee from Ukraine who befriended my parents on the street. 

Both my parents got new glasses (we are very grateful to the people who assisted in the process!) I drew them with the new eyewear on the first day of July:)

My parents told me about a poem by one of the russian-American poet - Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky. I am more familiar with his works in russian than in English, and this poem was written in russian. I never heard or read it and, apparently, it never was published - however, there are video recordings of Brodsky reading it. And here is an article about it in The New Yorker. It is written on the Independence of Ukraine and is filled with anger, accusations, and an ugly-phrased statement that in the end Ukraine "will return". It brought many layers of feelings and thinking and we spoke about it for some time - until it became obvious that it is too painful for all. There is no simple way to convey all the layers - so I will not. 

Mom says: "I miss my library. But this missing is not helpful. Let me tell you about new blue flowers that just started blooming next door".  

Bike and Sketch: Somehow there is no time and then there is.

Rudbeckia hirta, commonly called black-eyed Susan caught my eye the other day. A short bike ride at the end of a rather long and complicated work day. It was another semi-planned semi-spontaneous ride with a semi-movable amount of art supplies (yes, I am still complaining about the size of my sketchbook and the fact that neither my foldable chair nor my water bottle can ride in the side pockets of the backpack if my sketchbook is inside). But I was super happy I went and super happy for the company!

I started by drawing an agave and then switched to stencils on the wonderfully abundant yellow flowers with dark shape centers - commonly called black-eyed Susans. And then I did a full-page take with gouache and stencils (and some color pencils at the end).

Bike and Sketch Adventures Continue! A House with Artichoke Front Yard

Extra long days (happy Summer Solstice a little over a week ago!) and extra large sketchbook with extra great company this week means I went to more biking adventures! 
This time - to paint wonderful purple artichoke flowers :) 
Gouache and stencils in my A3 SKetchbook - process photos are below.