March has been a Rollercoaster

… and we’re not done yet!

I was listening to Terry Gross’ interview with RuPaul on NPR’s Fresh Air the other day when I was brought to a standstill by RuPaul’s insight into the human condition.

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“Being youthful is about being flexible both literally and figuratively. In this life, if you can stay flexible, you have a really good chance of navigating a really rich experience for yourself on this planet.”

Wise words we all would do well to remember during these tumultuous times.

(Portrait of a Sktchy muse in a Hahnemühle Nostalgie A5 Sketch Book)

Art as a Coping Mechanism

The Coronavirus pandemic has all the world’s inhabitants on edge, including me.

As we search for ways to cope some people turn to information gathering, some turn to science and others to their faith. Some, like me, turn to all of these and run it through the “art filter” in our brains.

This information goes into my addled brain, swirls around as I try to make sense of it, and then comes out through my hand onto my journal pages. Often it’s still an entry of jumbled thoughts, but I’m comforted by the act. It’s one small way I can adapt… an arrow in my quiver of coping mechanisms.

As I wrote on my March 16th journal spread, “The only thing constant is change.”

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(My take on Edvard Munch’s The Scream, and two Sktchy portraits in a Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketch Book – A5 portrait) (some text obscured for privacy.)

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.

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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.

Blooming!

It’s been a while since my last update on the progress of the little paperwhite bulb I was given back in mid-December. Quite a lot has been happening…

and just yesterday it bloomed!

Of course now the house is filled with its “perfume”!

I don’t mind it and figure it’s the price I need to pay to have green and flowering things growing in my house each winter.

But the Paperwhite’s smell can be polarizing. Where do you stand on the issue?

Scent? … or stink?

Testing New Brush Pens

I love watersoluble pen and ink work because sometimes you feel like keeping a line and sometimes you don’t.

On Roz Stendahl’s blog and her Patreon site, Roz Interim, she demonstrated the Pentel Sign Pen – Artist Micro Brush. They’re dye based and water-soluble, perfect for shading with a touch of water, and on top of that they have a super fine brush tip! You can see that in the photo below.

I was able to find both sets of 6 at my local Michael’s and immediately set to testing.

Portraits don’t always have to be realistic, do they?

Hahnemühle Nostalgie – A5 portrait

The Paperwhite’s Update #1

It’s been two weeks since you saw the first images of the daily documentation of my little Paperwhite’s growth. It’s been growing gangbusters now that it has its roots firmly entwined among the glass beads.

These daily ink and watercolor sketches just prove that art can be made in the briefest of time. These rarely take more than a half hour of my time but give me immense enjoyment.

That’s a good trade off any day!

Best Two Bucks I’ve Spent

I finished the second spread of Paperwhites the other day and was so pleased with my photo editing I just have to share!

I edit ninety percent of my photos on my iPhone using a few select apps, yet as much as I appreciate what I can do with PhotoToaster and Snapseed… TouchRetouch is absolutely magical… just look at the before and after.

Before:

After:

$1.99 in the Apple App Store and I believe it’s available at Google Play too… best two bucks I’ve spent.

I broke a couple of roots as I took it out of its glass pebble-filled jar. I won’t be doing that again.