Final January Sketches

Here are the last of the sketches I did during January. I created several on the 25th to make up for missing other days. Click on images for a larger view.

For the word prompt ‘selfie’

For the next few sketches I selected my own subjects from around the house. This pin cushion is dear to me because my friend Susan made it for me.

I had a single stem of anthurium for several weeks in January and it begged to be sketched.

Another fun evening of doodling.

Another angle on the anthurium.

The word prompt ‘landscape’ inspired this sketch.

And finally, the word prompt ‘glass’ gave me an opportunity to sketch a favorite rooster. This colorful piece is perched on my kitchen counter and always brings a smile to my face. This is my first two-page spread, a sort of break through for me. This guy just seemed to demand it.

So, that’s a wrap. I enjoyed the sketching I did in January. And though I had hoped that it would create a new habit for me, I did fall off the wagon in February. However, I will go back to sketching here and there. Meanwhile, I have fiber art that I’ve created and more fiber work in mind. I’ll keep you posted here.

And More January Sketches

The word prompt for the 18th was ‘pair.’ These dice have provided many hours of laughter with friends while playing Farkle. Click on an image for a larger view.

The next sketch responded to ‘cover.’

I participated in the Portland Women’s March. It was a powerful, exciting event. Here is my favorite photograph taken that soggy but uplifting day.

And my simple response to it:

The New York Times had an article which included a Turmeric Tea recipe that I couldn’t resist trying. It was a great excuse for a sketch and the tea is quite satisfying.

Stay tuned for the final sketches of the month.


More January Sketches

I played catch up a few times during the month and created more than one sketch in a day — I wanted to end the month with the equivalent of one sketch for each day. Here are the next few (click on an image for a larger view):

“Quote” was the prompt for the 13th and I like Beverly’s blunt take on giving up:

I used a photograph of Cooper to create a sketch for the prompt “Pet” on the 14th. Here’s the original photo taken on the 12th

and the sketch.

“Craving” led me to sketch some blooms.

I think my sketch is appropriately “Ridiculous” for the 16th.

I made up for not sketching on the 17th with this sketch.

More to come very soon.

More Sketches

Here are a few more of the sketches that I created in January. The Sketchbook Skool prompt for January 8 was ‘movie.’ Click on images for a larger view.

I went back to this page several times to respond to ‘metallic.’

On the evening of the 10th I had fun with this ‘doodle.’

Here is one of the last Riviera pears we had. A great snack!

The prompt for the 12th was ‘hair.’ I took a picture of myself at the salon getting my hair colored. Not my best effort but you get the idea.

Thank goodness this sketch doesn’t look like me!

Web Site Fixed

Several important features of my web site have been broken for quite some time.  Getting it fixed finally rose to the top of the list. During the fixing process I also had many other changes made to the site — all with an intent to make it function easily and be more user friendly. I hope you will take a tour of the site and let me know what you think.

Now I can’t wait to share a bit of what has been happening in my corner of the world since the new year. I committed to taking a challenge of creating one sketch each day during the month of January. I blogged about that here and here. I’m please to say that I followed through on that promise to myself. Here are the next five sketches that I did. Many of the sketches I created were inspired by a word prompt that was supplied by Sketchbook Skool. You can see that the sketch below was a result of the prompt ‘place.’ Click on images for a larger view.

This sketch was inspired by a lovely flower arrangement I had.

And here’s ‘breakfast.’

This photograph was taken on January 2nd. It’s a bit blurred but I couldn’t resist trying a sketch.

Not bad for someone who thinks she can’t do portraiture.

Here is my sketch for the prompt ‘resolve.’

Many things have happened since this sketch was done and I will be sharing highlights with you in the days to come. It’s nice to be back. I hope you’ll stay tuned and that you’ll share your thoughts with me.







Happy New Year

I managed to create a few sketches during the last days of 2016. It felt encouraging to me. It felt good to create. Mostly it felt healing to just sit and focus. Perhaps the cold weather shifted my mood to spring. (Click on image for a larger view.)

More outdoor thoughts, this time with more color.

After I kicked off my boots I decided to sketch one.

This morning I read about a month-long sketch challenge from Sketchbook Skool. I’ve taken several on-line classes from them and always enjoyed the classes and the results. Today’s prompt is ‘rest.’ So I started sketching…

The air is quite chilly and snow is predicted

but right now it’s beautiful outside and the sun in streaming into my studio. It’s a new day. It’s a new year. Make it what you want it to be.

Blessings of the Season

Among the hustle and bustle, here are a few quiet moments I’ve experienced lately. The holiday boat parade on the Willamette River. It is fun to share in the joy of these boaters’ inspiration. Click on image for a larger view.

Some quiet moments with my sketch book to gather myself.




What are you doing to center yourself during these busy days?

Sketch Time

Aching for a bit of peaceful creative distraction, I took out my sketch book — the one only suitable for pen or pencil work — and enjoyed capturing some Dusty Miller leaves.


I love the shape and color of this leaf.

What are you doing to focus on something positive?

A Few Sketches

I opened a new sketch book in March and I have shared some of the new sketches I’ve done, but not all of them. This particular book is turning out to be a lesson for me. I found this book at an art museum bookstore and I loved the size, the square shape, the ribbon page marker and the elastic that holds the book together. The book was sealed in plastic wrap with no open book on display. And, unfortunately, there was no information about the weight or quality of the paper. I remember looking for that information and not finding it. I decided to take a chance. So there’s the lesson. The quality of the paper is not good enough for using watercolor paints, or any paints. Images bleed through to the other side of the page and ruin one, if not both sketches. I will relegate this book to sketching with pencil and pen only and purchase another sketchbook for sketches that I want to enhance with watercolor.

Here are the pages I’ve done in the last month. Click on an image for a larger view.

08-01-16 red flowers

This sweet flower was sketched and painted from a greeting card.

Here are some succulents that are in my strawberry pot.

09-01-16 succulents

You can see the bleeding through of the sketch and watercolor that is on the other side of this page, a hawk that I found in a jewelry advertisement of the Sunday paper.

09-03-16 Hawk

The hawk in the ad had quite a bauble dangling from its mouth. He also looked every bit as stern as he does in my sketch.

I do try to heed encouragement from teachers who have urged sketching from live subjects but posing hawks are difficult to come by and these charming red flowers are not always in season when you want to sketch them. I was inspired by those images and decided to pick up a pencil. I’m glad I did.


Here are two sketches I’ve done in the last couple days. The pear is done with pen and watercolor. Click on image for a larger view.

07-07-16 pear

This blackbird is done with watercolor only. I painted the entire page and let it dry before painting the blackbird. This was inspired by a wine label.

07-08-16 black bird

And here is one just for fun. Pen and watercolor.

06-26-16 Best Friends

What inspires you?

More Sketches

A couple weeks ago I began experiencing intermittent computer issues so my posting has been sporadic. Those issues have been resolved so I have full use of my computer now. Enough said.

Here’s a sketch done in response to an assignment from my recent Sketchbook Skool instructor, France Belleville-Van Stone :  Sketch something with wheels and use cross hatching to create light.03-13-16 piano sketch

France has an obsession with sketching vehicles. Me? Not so much. So I had to smile to myself about this sketch. This is my restored ca. 1840 Schott fortepiano. My proportion is a bit off, but I’m working on that. In fact, I’m taking a class from an architect which addresses this issue and others. I’m looking forward to more sketches of this beautiful instrument with more realistic proportion and perhaps more detail in the future.

And here is a sketch I did just because shoes can be fun to sketch.


03-12-16 shoe

What are you creating just because it’s fun?

More Sketching

Another exercise assignment from Sketchbook Skool: without looking at the page, put pen to paper and sketch a portrait. I used a photograph of myself with David for this blind contour exercise and sketched us individually. The results were pretty funny.

03-08-16 Blind Contour DrawingIf you’ve ever seen Harry Nielsen’s The Point, David might remind you of the evil Count. Onward. . .

I have been wanting to get a closer look at Portland’s newest bridge, Tilikum Crossing. The bridge is devoted to commuter traffic only: streetcar, train, bus, pedestrians and cyclists welcome. On the way to my destination I was passing the Blick store so I took the opportunity to stop by and pick up a couple supplies Lapin, my current instructor, has in his portable sketching kit: Sakura Gelly Roll #08 in white, yellow ochre water color paint and a Copic multi-point marker, #3 cool gray.

03-10-16 new supplies


Lapin uses the white Gelly Roll pen to add highlights when he’s completely done with a sketch/watercolor page. His results are impressive.

I took the streetcar and snagged the only inside table left at Flying Elephant Deli. The weather was overcast and grey with intermittent showers. Here was my view from inside:

03-10-16 Tilikum Crossing

Not ideal, but with a bit of leaning this way and that, I managed to get a reasonable sketch.

03-10-16 Tilikum Crossing 2

I used the new Copic marker on the bridge and pole. A side benefit to this excursion was the yummy tea I had — so good that I brought a box of it home. I’ll be enjoying this tea again soon, remembering the fun I had discovering it.

03-10-16 Sanctuary Tea

Don’t you love the box? A real keeper. The company has been here in Portland since 1949 — in fact, just a few blocks from where I live. And that darling little flying elephant, in addition to being the logo for the deli, is a temporary tattoo — indeed, we’re not in Kansas City anymore. The children who come in love it; I was charmed and couldn’t resist bringing it home.

It’s fun being a tourist in my new home town. When was the last time you were a tourist in yours?



Sketchbook Skool: Stretching

Sketchbook Skool is an on-line sketching and watercolor school that I have taken several classes with. While I was away, I received an offer for a class that had just begun at a price I couldn’t resist. When I got home I was eager to check in and take the first class with  Jonathan Twingley.

Jonathan is an American author, artist and illustrator. His work is regularly exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States. One of the exercises that he invited us to do he calls Reaction as Action. For those of us who have the paralyzed-at-the-sight-of-the-blank-page syndrome, this exercise is a way to kick-start some creative juices:

  • Stain a paper towel with some ink.
  • Close the sketchbook on the paper towel.
  • When the ink is try, draw/sketch/doodle

Here is the two-page spread of the exercise.


I was completely surprised at how quickly I picked up my fountain pen and began drawing around the ink blotches on the right-hand page. I used a neon-yellow hi-liter marker to color the pedals of the flower and watercolor paint for the stem and leaf. Try to imagine the zap of color that high light marker created on the page because scanning didn’t do it justice. I used my chop to sign the page. I like the spark it added. If you’re new here, you might want to read about how I acquired my chop here.

How are you stretching to develop skills this year?

Last Sketch in the Book!

I’ve just returned from a wonderful visit in Nevada and Southern California. I packed my traveling sketch bag along but didn’t think about the fact that I had just one empty page. Lesson learned. Happily, I had a few watercolor postcards in the bag so I was able to do more than one sketch. I was sitting on the back patio looking around to see what struck my eye for a sketch. There was plenty to consider! The patio looks out onto Lake Mead, some terrific hills, desert, etc. But I have been feeling rather ‘rusty’ at the fine art of sketching so when my eye landed on the pillow in the chair opposite me, I decided to give it a go. It was fun to just relax and let the pencil flow. I followed up with my fountain pen and then watercolor. I went back again with the fountain pen to deepen the accent lines.

02-28-16 birdie

Now I’m ready to break the seal on a new book. Kind of exciting really! The book I just completed measures 5″ x 8″; my new book measures 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″. I remember purchasing it in the gift shop of the De Young Fine Arts Museum in Golden Gate Park. I couldn’t resist the shape and size of it. It has 128 acid-free pages with an attached elastic band to hold it neatly on the shelf.

03-05-16 End-of-one-book,-new-one-ready

I didn’t notice until I opened it — just moments ago — that there is also a ribbon for marking the page. That will be very handy.

03-05-16 Ribbon-to-mark-pages

It will be interesting to see how the new shape and size influence my sketching, if at all.

Now it’s time to close the first chapter and start the new one. I’ve completed that for volume 1

03-05-16 Vol.-1-dating

and I’ve made the first marks in volume 2.

03-05-16 First-page-done

When the first sketch is completed, I’ll add the starting date for volume 2. No more excuses!

Fountain Pen Sketch

I purchased a Lamy fountain pen over a year ago and have done little to become acquainted with it. I purchased the pen after taking a course through Sketchbook Skool with Liz Steel, an Australian architect-turned-sketcher who regularly uses her fountain pens to sketch. She discusses fountain pens extensively on her site here.  The pen has been noted as good for beginners on several sites I’ve visited and it is a reasonably priced pen for a novice; I also purchased Noodler’s ink, which is permanent, a must for those who may wish to add watercolor to their sketches.

I decided that today was a perfect day to capture a sketch of one Parrot tulip I’ve been enjoying for several days. These tulips are brilliant orange with yellow, frilly edges and when they begin to bend and lean it is hard to take your eyes off of them.

02-18-16 tulip sketch


It was fun to capture this single flower and revisit the focus of carefully viewing what I want to sketch. I’m looking forward to sharpening that skill with more regular use.

Ginkgo Sketch

I never tire of these beautiful leaves.

01-29-16 ginkgo sketch


I ironed some dinner napkins and a small stack of hankies yesterday and was inspired by one of the hankies to open my sketch book. Here is the last sketch I had done — I’m not sure why I haven’t shared it here before.

01-26-16 holly berries

Here is what the hankie inspired:

01-26-16 Dogwood

When was the last time ironing inspired you to create art?