Thursday, September 26, 2019

Am I lazy? Or is this my style?

Pen/ink and watercolor
Stillman and Birn Sketchbook, Beta Series

I’m still wrestling between wanting to get better at painting realistically with watercolors vs. wanting to just catch an essence of something with minimal lines and color. The more I try the realistic approach with careful planning and layering of paints, the less I enjoy the process—and the more I’m apt to mess up the composition.
Is this just because I’m relatively new at realism and need to buck up and climb that steep learning curve even though it is not fun?
Or is it just my inclination and to paint and draw more minimally?
Am I lazy? Or is this just my style?
If learned how to render a scene perfectly, part of me thinks I would not as elated as I was when I finished this quick sketch of the palm in my neighborhood. (Or is that a tricky mind trying to keep me trapped in status quo?)
For this sketch I used my new Sailor calligraphy fountain pen with indelible ink to draw the palm, enjoying the loose strokes and twisting the broad nib to vary the line widths. I let the ink dry, then put a light wash down for the sky, then a light wash of yellow for some of the leaves, a sap green/yellow wash for others, and a little darker blue green wash for the ones in deeper shadow. Yellow highlights on the brown trunk, and viola.
I’d forgotten all about this painting during a recent three-week trip, but yesterday, when I opened my sketchbook to this page, it brought me joy.  
That's worth something, isn't it? 

Monday, September 23, 2019


Iowa Oak
Ink and watercolor
Dylusions Creative Journal

Loving our new California landscape but also missing the sights and sounds of the Midwest, so the three-week trip back home was fortifying, visiting family and friends in various places, listening to the sounds of the prairie and woods: hissing grasshoppers, chirping crickets, buzzing cicadas, scolding katydids. Those warm September days and cool nights. That humidity. Those beautiful puffy clouds and lovely sunsets. 

Yes. All very fortifying and renewing. I have returned with an eagerness to resume my learning curve in art so that I can draw and paint and wonder over nature's beauty no matter where I am. 

Bring it on.

More About the Sally Project

I met Sally forty years ago when I was twenty and she was the one in her sixties. I was a waitress at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant on...