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.)

When Do I Know I’m Done?

I thought I was done… scanned it and closed the book.

I was happy, at least I thought I was, yet I knew something was off. I studied it using what Roz Stendahl calls the “editing eye”. This isn’t some rash commentary from my internal critic but an honest review of technique and composition to determine what could be improved.

Although I lost the tilt of his head in comparison to the inspiration photo I could live with that. Instead I focused on how washed out my watercolors looked. Now that was something I could change.

Another layer of darker pigments for his hair and beard and a deeper orange glaze for his jacket and I was done.

Not perfect… but done.

#Arteza A4 watercolor book

Moving Beyond Adolescence

A few days ago my friend Bobbie Herron published “That Dang Adolescent Period” on her blog, Aloft with Inspiration. In it she describes the idiosyncrasies and unpredictability of watercolor and the importance of perseverance. Please take a minute to read it… I’ll be here when you’ve finished.

Finally I was inspired to revisit a sketchbook-painting I started… and abandoned… over a week earlier. It had hit the adolescent phase where inexplicably everything looked wrong. Not only were my proportions off but my colors looked pale and insipid.

It needed more layers… but where to begin? I was paralyzed. Instead I closed the book knowing it was unfinished.

The sketchbook sat on my desk all week mocking my indecision.

Then I read Bobbie’s post.

It took me less than an hour to add more hair to the crown improving her proportions. A few more layers of bold juicy watercolors and I called it done.

The adolescent had grown up.

A4 – Arteza Watercolor Sketchbook

Color Me With Watercolor

I spent July continuing my watercolor portrait practice. These two were inspired by fellow Sktchy member, Lauren Arno, who challenged us at various times during the month!

And… in just over a week I’m also going to take her online watercolor class through Sktchy. I’ve always felt there’s no better way to expand my repertoire than by taking classes.

Color me happy!

Portrait Retrospective

Where does the time go? This morning I realized I haven’t posted in over a month and yet I’ve completed 2 additional sketchbooks since then.

I guess I’ll start in by showing you a few of my favorite portraits from May and one from early June. All were drawn from photographic references posted on the Sktchy app by other creatives. You’ll see I often switch things up by sometimes forgoing my beloved ink lines and instead choose to sketch in pencil before I paint. There’s a different feel to each of these methods but I enjoy them both.

This month watercolor was my only constant.

A Chance for Redemption

Last October I drew a portrait of a Sktchy muse, Ania H. , for the InkTober 2017 challenge. After finishing I stepped back and noticed how far off I had gotten with my proportions, her eye in particular.

Today I was challenged to revisit a portrait and redraw it using the same reference image. Finally… a chance for artistic redemption!

After daily portrait practice, not only can I see facial proportions better but I can translate them onto the page.

I love seeing them side by side!

It’s all about her eye isn’t it.

Three Named Winter Storms

I know I’ve snickered at the Weather Channel’s recent habit of naming our winter storms but that hasn’t stopped me from documenting them in my sketchbook.

Here in New Hampshire, Riley arrived before Quinn. (Skylar was documented with written journaling and no drawings.)

I’ve been drawing from photos people upload to the Sktchy app I’ve referred to before. When the snow’s falling and you can’t or don’t want to go out it’s wonderful to pick an interesting photo and just play!

I thought we were finished with the winter thing as Toby, Uma, Violet and Wilbur went elsewhere, but I was mistaken. Along came Xanto. It didn’t fizzle out as I had hoped and instead inundated us with nearly an inch of rime ice.

Yes, Xanto got his own page!

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that I won’t need to document either Yvonne or Zoey.

I’m ready for Spring!