I sometimes enjoy trying to draw a plant by carefully drawing each leaf while capturing the relationships between them. It’s a real challenge in relationships and proportions but it’s good training for my visual cortex. This was my attempt to do just that with a basil plant.
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).
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.”
In Quebec City we have a couple restaurants called Cochon Dingue (crazy pig). In the old city there is one that faces a main street but they have a back entrance on a rather famous pedestrian street full of shops to grab tourist dollars. Next to the the entrance is a rather plain window that looks in on this backdoor entrance. It seems I was not the only one interested in that window.
Since my daughter has been old enough to run around the house, every Easter we’ve hidden chocolate eggs for her to find. When she was young, her excitement could not be measured on any excitement meter, but over the years it’s become less and less as one might expect. Still, she’s always liked the idea, at least in part to relive her younger years.
Like everyone else, we’re COVID bound and she mentioned that this year she wouldn’t get to look for eggs. She’s 25 so the proper parental response would be “Come on, you’re in law school for goodness sake,” but that’s not how we roll. We had lots of Easter chocolate because my wife loves to treat our daughter as though she’s still her little baby and, more importantly, she loves chocolate too.
The moral of this story is that in spite of our isolation, we’re awash with chocolate. I’m a Peeps kind of guy myself but when I saw the chocolate chicken I just had to sketch it. It was a lot of fun. The head’s already gone and I’ll let them consume it while I eat some Peeps.