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.


“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.”




(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.)

Meditation – 16 March 2020

These ten commandments on seeing/drawing were revealed to me on a mountain, but also in a meadow, on a beach and even in the subway. For their revelation did not come all at once, but in this installments, as it were, over the years, and always while I was busy drawing, and invariably on holy ground. But that may be because, while drawing, all ground is holy: unseparated from the whole.

Frederick Franck
The Awakened Eye

  1. You shall draw everything and every day.
  2. You shall not wait for inspirations for it comes not while you wait but while you work.
  3. You shall forget all you think you know and, even more, all you have been taught.
  4. You shall not adore your good drawings and promptly forget your bad ones.
  5. You shall not draw with exhibitions in mind, nor to please any critic but yourself.
  6. You shall trust none but your own eye and make your hand follow it.
  7. You shall consider the mouse you draw as more important than the contents of all the museums of the world, for
  8. You shall love the ten thousand things with all your heart and a blade of grass as yourself.
  9. Let each drawing be your first: a celebration of the eye awakened.
  10. You shall not worry about “being of your time”, for you are your time. and it is brief.

Figurary – The Sequel

I participated in fast figure drawing for Figuary 2020 and enjoyed it so much that I’ve continued it into March by going back to the lessons and videos from 2019.

The typical session consists of three 1-minute poses, two 2-minute poses, and a single 5 minute pose.

Here’s a complete session which demonstrates how I can increase the level of detail as my allowed time increases.

After the session I add class notes to the page. I find writing it down helps my comprehension.

First 1 minute pose.

1-minute poses on left, 2-minute poses on right.

5-minute pose.

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.