D’Anjou Trio

You can’t feel the feel the paper in this Hahnemühle Nostalgie art journal but it is incredibly smooth. That’s super when writing or sketching in ink. The paper, at 190 gsm (grams per square meter), is heavy enough to take water media quite well… just don’t overwork it as I have here.

I have a few layers of ink and watercolor on each of these pears and I must have been a bit too zealous with my brushes. The paper is rougher and has just started to pill along the edges of the pears.

I love the book though, it’s sturdy with a wonderful grey fabric cover. It opens totally, hardly buckles even when soaked, and watercolors remain brilliant. I even got some granulation which you can see above the rightmost pear.

Is it my favorite Hahnemühle book? Not sure… I have one of their watercolor books to try. No rush though, I still have many pages of this book to fill.

Panera People Portraits

Not only is Panera a great place to meet friends for lunch but there are always plenty of interesting victims subjects to sketch. I had a great time catching up on everyone’s comings and goings as I practiced with my Sailor Profit fude nib pen.

I also tried out a new charcoal pencil that works like the old style peel-away China markers. You can see that image in the top left of the next image. I usually don’t like working with charcoal or even graphite in my sketchbook as it smears too much but I couldn’t wait to give it a go.

I’ll think I’ll save the charcoal for life drawing and keep on working with ink and watercolor in my sketchbook. Both the paper and my hands stay cleaner that way.

A Valentine for Australia

At the height of the Australian bushfires back in January I was glued to the news and weather channels saddened at the destruction of huge swaths of land and people’s homes as they tried to cope with the worst fire season on record. I was seeing videos of people evacuated from their homes carrying nothing, people standing on the beach and in the sea to escape the flames. In the midst of all this there were still citizens rushing into the burning forests to save wildlife, especially the many koalas still clinging to the trees as their habitat succumbed to the flames. I tip my hat to those brave rescuers.


Today I read the New South Wales fires are contained thanks to the hard work of the mostly volunteer “fireys” and residents. Unfortunately now Aussies need to worry about flash flooding and mudslides. Recovery is still far away but the community and conservationists have started the hard work of restoring natural habitats.

My heart goes out to all those who have lost family, their homes and possessions, their livelihoods, and their wildlife from this catastrophe.

I stand with you Australia.

Meditation – 10 February 2020

The great lessons from the true mystics, from the Zen monks, is that the Sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family. in one’s backyard, and that travel may be a flight from confronting the Sacred. To be looking everywhere for miracles is a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous.

Abraham Maslow

January, Figuary, March…

I discovered Figuary earlier this week, specifically #Figuary2020, and I am officially obsessed!

Figuary is Figure Drawing Month. Every day this February there are daily tutorials and practice sessions co-produced by Kenzo and Mayko of LoveLifeDrawing.com and Larry Withers of Croquis Cafe.

I’ve been watching the tutorials and drawing from the fast poses to improve my ability to quickly capture people’s gesture. I did say fast poses…. most are one and two minutes long with each session ending with a five minute pose. This is a real stretch for me but I’m enjoying the half an hour or so it takes to complete the day’s session.

Some drawings are more successful than others and as you can see above, five minutes isn’t long enough to prevent errors in measuring and perspective. I’ll just keep focusing on capturing what’s essential and hope my technique will improve with practice.