Stay Home – Stay Strong

… and keep drawing. That’s been my mantra all through this month of social distancing. Yes, I miss meeting up with my art buddies but I refuse to let that stop me. After all, it’s my art journal that helps me make sense of the world and keeps me sane (or some semblance of it.)

By the way… have you noticed how the news outlets each spells this disease differently?
COVID-19, Covid-19, covid-19.
Well I read on our local e-newletter that it’s really an acronym for “coronavirus disease 2019”. Both Merriam-Webster and the AP Stylebook prefer the all caps version, the New York Times prefers Covid, and The Economist has been going with covid.

I think I’ll go with COVID-19, mainly because I had no idea it was an acronym… I learned something!

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Moleskine Art Collection – Watercolor Notebook – A5 portait orientation
subjects drawn from photos posted on the Sktchy app.

Making Masks

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Early last week Dr. Fauci asked us to prepare ourselves for a massive death count and to do everything we can to mitigate these losses.

But what could I personally do?
I made face masks.

When was working I always chose tie masks over the elastics when I could, and I know many other health professionals feel the same, so I went into production for the hospital, along with family and friends.

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Interested in having your own mask? Check out this information from the CDC – Centers for Disease Control.

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These seagulls are way too close so…
Do Your Part – Stay Apart.

Confession: I am an Art Supply (but Not TP) Hoarder

How did it get to be Friday?

I can’t be the only one unable to keep my days straight during this Stay-at-Home thing.

Thank goodness I have been hoarding art supplies over the years… no shortage here! (Pretty good on the TP front in case you were concerned for me.)

… and of course,

Do Your Part – Stay Apart

(Sktchy portraits in a Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketch Book – A5 portrait)

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.