Mixed Media And Shari’s Wheelbarrow

Recently I decided to work in a different medium, in fact a couple of them.  Now that my arthritis is kinda-sorta under control we’re doing more gardening this year and it was time for me to restore and old, rusty wheelbarrow we have.  It got sidelined with a broken wheel and it was left outside our cave.

Here’s the result.  I painted with most of it with Rustoleum, but used Minwax oil-stain on the wooden parts.  Once I fashioned a new axle it was smooth sailing.  Much easier than watercolor.

Most urban sketchers know Shari Blaukopf, or at least her art and most of those people know about her wheelbarrow sketches.  Most of us really enjoy them and I was quite disappointed when she announced that her wheelbarrow had broken.  Funny how you can get attached to things you’ve never seen in person.

Anyways, now that I have a wheelbarrow it seemed only proper for me to lean it against a tree, Shari style, and draw it.  It was fun to sit in the back yard with a pen in my hand.   It’s blistering hot here right now but the breeze kept it tolerable as I drew.  Urban.. + Sketch…, yep, this is a real live urban sketch (grin).

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), DeAtramentis Document Black, Wing Sung 3009

 

Is This Thing On?

I’m hoping this blog is finally working again.  I think my blog got COVID or something because several things broke all at once.  People could access what was there (I think), but I couldn’t post.  I think I’ve gotten things straightened out.

Our “spring” took about two days and we went from frost warnings and wearing coats to a heat wave.  We’re now wearing shorts and sweating a lot.  Go figure.  We’ve been doing work outside, trying to fix things that broke during winter, and encouraging trees and other plants to produce some leaves.  It’s sort of weird to be hitting the mid-80s and not have the trees in full leaf yet.

Mostly, though, this is a test of my blog with fingers crossed that it’s working again.  I’ll post a few pages from my “try this” sketchbook just to give you something to look at.  Hope you can see it (grin)

Living With Adjusted Family Sizes Because Of COVID

For many one result of COVID isolation has been housing reorganization and behavioral adjustment.  Some households have seniors who have been moved home by the kids while others have adjusted their family situation by having kids move home with us seniors.  Pro and con, adjustment is the best descriptor of what we all must do in such situations.

When the virus hit Quebec and we shut down our activities, the first thing we did was a rapid drive to Montreal to pick up of our daughter. Given that Montreal is the hot spot in Canada for COVID right now, we’re feeling pretty smug about our decision.

The result has been a social adjustment to having a 22-year old living with us.  Truthfully, it’s mostly positive but it means spending more time talking, cooking, baking, and generally doing family stuff… and fewer alone activities like art.

My daughter wasn’t the only thing we brought back from Montreal though.  We crammed the car full of her plants and together with our plants they turned our house into a jungle.  Every flat surface is covered with plants and we rarely eat dinner at our dining table because it’s just too darn much trouble moving all the plants (grin).

I see this as a good thing because I have new sketching subjects.  One of her plants was a sad little Fiddle Leaf Fig.  It only had two leaves, hanging onto a single short stem.  But, we’ve been in isolation now for nearly forever and so it’s grown.  It now has four leaves and a fifth is beginning to sprout.  I decided I should draw it.  I probably did it too quickly but heck, it only has four leaves.  Here she is, in all her youthful glory.

Aside from isolation, how has your family life changed?  We don’t talk about that enough.  Has it affected your art in any way?

Doodling My Way Through Isolation

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been doing a lot of doodling, trying ideas and approaches.  I’ve also mentioned that most of these “great works” have found their way to the garbage can, mostly because I’ve been grabbing any old piece of paper on which to doodle.

In explaining my process I started to feel silly about it.  Why not centralize the paper choosing, setting up a sketchbook for that purpose.  I did just that.  I have a SM-LT “watercolor #authenticbook” which is a very nice, softcover sketchbook with a dozen sheets of 10×7 paper.  I like it a lot and I’d like to get another one if I ever get to go back to Montreal where I got this one.

All that is to say here are some doodles from the past 3-4 days.

I’m still doing my daily walk sketches but it’s still not warm enough here for extended drawing sessions.  Weather says it “feels like” 1C right now and I believe it.  I did notice that the trees are showing bud break, though, so maybe they know something the weatherman doesn’t.  Hope so.

A Dog’s Life In A COVID world

I had an interesting conversation the other day.  I sat down with my brother’s dog to paint him and he opened up to me about how a dog’s life has been during the COVID pandemic.  Here’s what he had to day.

“Humans are right when they talk about a “dog’s life.”  It is pretty good.  Most of the time my brother and his wife keep my house clean and maintained so I don’t have to worry about that.  They drive my car when I need to get stuff at that store and they pay for everything.  They feed me often and are always giving me the treats I demand.  Yep, a dog’s life is normally pretty good.

With all this social distancing stuff, however, it’s different.  They spend more time watching the news, time they’d normally spend with me.  And when they take me for a walk they avoid other humans and never stand around talking to them.  So, I never get to rub noses with dogs kept by other humans.  I don’t get to meet up with my friends and I never get to run around off my leash anymore.  I’m more isolated than humans because at least they have that thing they call the internet where they sit and talk to computer screens, laugh while watching videos, and stuff like that.  I just lay on the floor hoping for a better tomorrow.”

His name is Opie and when he was done talking, I had a new appreciation for what dogs are going through right now.   We need to show them more empathy, maybe showing them a dog video or three.

I painted Opie in gouache, a medium I’m trying to learn.  The notion of “painting” anything is new to me.  Opie liked the result and said I made him look regal.  I call the painting “A dog’s life.”

Winsor & Newton gouache