Monday, July 27, 2015

Figure Drawing at CHAW

After a long hiatus from drawing from the figure, I am trying to get back into it.  There is a group that meets twice a month just a block from my house at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop.

I am not too happy with how this one turned out, but I know now that I need to return to more sketching and drawing from life.  The group seems to be good, too.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Thank You, Sue

One of the hardest things about moving from Portland Oregon to Washington DC was losing the sort of week to week contact I had with my friends in Portland.  Thanks to Sue Pike, and many other welcoming people in Capitol Hill Village, I have found people who I love to call friends.  Sue and I are in the Cinephiles group and like to go to movies together.

She has been travelling a lot lately and just returned from a trip to South Africa.  I am anxious to hear about that.  Before she got too busy with her travels, she took me to Hank's Oyster Bar on Pennsylvania Avenue to help me celebrate my birthday.  I had heard good things about Hank's, and it was everything I thought it would be.  We had a great table, great service and the food was fabulous.  It was an evening to remember.

Thanks, Sue, not only for the dinner, but for the welcome as a friend.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


One of the very special presents I got for my birthday was a book by my favorite poet, Gary Snyder. It is particularly dear because the "centerpiece" poem is an expression of grief over the death of his wife Carole Koda, who died in 2006.  The poem is titled, "Go Now."  It brought me back to the grief when Howard died, when I knew there was no other choice for him to "go" and also for me to "go" on...and death from a slow disease isn't "pretty."  The "go now" in the poem advises the reader not to read it and turn back from the dark topic.  It is a sad poem.  

Of course, the book is very "Zen," and it is always good to be in the present moment....while still reflecting, as Gary says, 

"This present moment 
that lives on

to become

long ago."

The book cover is a woodblock print by Tom Killion and the back is a photo of Gary Snyder.  I didn't think I would be able to do either justice and remembered a cast bell I used to have that I called my "Gary Snyder bell."  This little painting is that kind of bell.  I have peaceful memories from when Gary Snyder was my neighbor in Mill Valley, and (as I recall) gave me that bell...and of the times, over the years, that I hung the bell in my kitchen.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Dragonfly Journal

I am still celebrating my birthday, reflecting on the very thoughtful gifts from my friends and family. I am truly blessed.

My friend Patty sent me a lovely journal in a rich dark blue, embossed with a deep blue dragonfly.  In the card I am sending to her, I changed the embossing to gold metallic ink....just so it would show up better.

Thank you Patty.  I look forward to recording special thoughts in that journal.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Coffee from Jan

No, not a coffee cup, but a gift card for coffee at Peet's.  And there is a Peet's right across from my favorite movie theater, E St Cinema.  I just drew the mug while I was there, and I think it worked out great....I can have more coffee other times and think about Jan.  And wish that she were there with me.  Maybe next time she comes to visit.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

June Flowers

One of the  really fun things I look forward to on my birthday is flowers from Virginia.  She does not disappoint,  This was a lovely bouquet from Caruso Florist, one of the nicest in DC.  They were really colorful and perked up my living room mantel.

The also sent me a very thoughtful card and a birthday bonus, which I always deposit into my art account.  I don't make as much money on my art as I did in Portland, so a cash infusion is a blessing.

Thank you, Virginia.  This little card is on its way to you.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cartoons at the Luce Center

I was able to make it yesterday for the weekly drawing session at the Luce Center in American Gallery of Art/Portrait Gallery.  I enjoy it whenever I do make it.   One of the interns usually makes an assignment.  The assignments can be very diverse, but always focus on using the art in the center as the subject.  We have made drawings showing perspective, dimensions, energy and all sorts of things.  I am probably not describing it very well, but this is a center that has a lot of art and so plenty of material.

Today, I arrived hoping for some classic drawing experience, but that was not to be.  The challenge was to create a cartoon with a story, based on something in the exhibits.  

I have been working from items in  a particular case in the exhibits to do my challenges.  It is some random items from the archives of Nam June Paik.  They include both his works of art and materials he wanted to have on hand to create art.  They are totally random to me, but had meaning to him. The case display is relatively small--about 12 feet wide, 8 feet tall, and 3 feet deep.  Plus, everything is behind glass....but I love it.

I wasn't particularly inspired by the challenge, but trusted the process.  I noticed that a small statue of Beethoven is close to a large bust of Elvis.  I got to work on Elvis, but still didn't have an idea for a story.  I wanted to make it cartoonish.

My first drawing was Elvis (above). It doesn't look at all like the bust, actually.  Next to that bust, is a small robot.  I looked it up on-line and found out it was a lamp.  It seemed like the lamp and Elvis could have had a conversation, but Beethoven kept interesting me.  Eventually, I decided on conversations between modern items in the case and Beethoven.  What emerged is silly, and that is what it was meant to be.  Elvis announces he is The King.

Beethoven responds, "...that is not my kind of music"   Above is my rather crude cartoon of the Beethoven figurine.

The Robot Lamp claims that it can light up the room,

And the same Beethoven (I did him on a separate sheet of paper so I could move him along the strip and not have to redraw him) responds that the lamp is not beautiful.

I had time for another drawing, which is an old Sony TV that Paik had identified as "12" with a strip of masking tape.

The TV brags about bringing the world to you.  Beethoven responds that he just wants a simple, beautiful life.

All this is rather silly, but it was fun at the end when we got to see how each person approached the assignment.  We had two totally new sketchers, with about 15 participating.  I love to meet people who haven't sketched and then just do it.

Apologies for the quality of the photos.  I have a new computer and therefore new referred to as apps.   I am having trouble getting used to it, but I think it will be good once I learn the tricks.  The paper was ecru, so that is why it looks a little yellowish.