Resting Next To A Friendly Birch

I’m trying to get back to a daily walk routine.  It’s been hard this spring/summer because of all the rain and a bunch of house stuff we’ve been doing, but I was out the other day and stopped to sit in a park near my house.  There was a birch tree there to keep me company and I decided to draw it, or at least its feet and legs.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6 softcover), Kaweco Lilliput pen, DeAtramentis Document Black, Daniel Smith watercolors

Our New Strawberry Field

Once upon a time, someone got the bright idea to plant a bunch of bamboo as a hedgerow between our house and the one next door.  When done it probably looked like a good idea.  The problem is that over time, the bamboo takes over EVERYTHING because its roots propogate the plant(s) into a persistent monster plant.

So, ever since we bought the place we’ve been fighting it by cutting it back continually.  We seem to be winning the battle as this year we don’t have much of it along our driveway (its last stand), leaving a sort of grassless, bamboo-less area.

What’s happened, though is a big surprise.  We’ve got a “field” of tiny strawberry plants.  There are hundreds of them, most less than two inches high and sporting 3 distinct leaves.  Normally we’d be mowing and/or planting something but I’m going to let things go to see what happens.  I don’t think that these plants are going to get much taller and I could find only a couple flowers.  But I did find one plant that had two microscopic strawberries.  They even tasted like strawberries, though you’d need a couple hundred of them to make a handful.  I had to draw the little guy.  Full size this plant measure just over 1″ high.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6 softcover), Micron 01.

The Beauty Of Ink On Paper

In another venue I commented that if not for the internet I might well never use color.  I met a friend for coffee in a park and saw this scene.  The next day I returned to sketch it.  I just couldn’t bring myself to mess it up with color.  The plants seemed to speak volumes, at least to me.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (8.5×5.5 softcover), Kaweco Lilliput, DeAtramentis Document Black ink

Un Petit Hommage: Vicky Williamson

I was hunting for something in my sketch bag and found one of those tiny Hahnemuhle fan-fold sketchbooks.  I’d never used it.  My first thought was of Vicky Williamson, a sketcher who has done some wonderful sketches in such a book and probably the reason I bought it.

Vicky has always been special to me.  I’ve never met her but I’ve followed her sketching for years.  She’s something of a “tiny” specialist.  She owns half of the small palettes on the planet and most of her sketches are small.  5×8 is a large sketch for her.

Each of her sketches is a little gem and she always has a story to tell about them, whether it’s of a hospital scene, travel sketch, or just a flower or two.  Each shines brightly.

And so I thought I would do a tiny sketch in her honor.  We were putting some odd-shaped (at least to me) marigolds in our garden so the subject was easily chosen.  Only one thing was missing, my Kaweco Lilliput pen.  Vicky uses one often. Hers is copper and mine aluminum, but it seemed appropriate for the task.  I loaded up some DeAtramentis Document Black into it and started drawing.

 

I used a Micro-Palette that I attach magnetically to my sketch bag drawing board and a simple clip to hold the sketchbook in place. This is my standard on-the-go system and it worked just as well with the tiny sketchbook as it does with my 8×10 S&B books.  I can see why she enjoys sketching small.  The results somehow seem brighter than if done in a larger size.

 

Vicky writes in her sketchbooks but I’ve always preferred doing that on my blog, so my sketch lacks the complete presentation like Vicky’s sketch pages.  Nevertheless, I was happy with the result and it was fun to walk in her shoes, if only for a while.  Here’s to you, Vicky, for all the inspiration you’ve provided over the years.  Say hi to Bill, Tater and Tot.

Pointy Devices Do Weird Things Sometimes

As a street sketcher I feel more than a little lost in our modern COVID world.  Our plein air group had to cancel its season of outings and the portrait group has moved to Zoom (my French isn’t good enough for that), and cancelled their outdoor sessions as well.  I try, very hard, to get excited about drawing at home but I guess I’m just not built for it.  Mostly I’m dabbling with watercolor, gouache and even oils, trying to learn something about paint while largely not producing anything of significance.

The portrait group decided to do monthly prompts just to get us doing something and this week the prompt was “chair.”  Most of the time, when one of my pointy devices gets near paper, I draw something that is in front of me.  Somehow, this time, this dripped from my pen.  Maybe it was because I was using my Kaweco Lilliput that has a high cute factor.  This was a lot more fun than I thought it would be so maybe I should do more of it.

Hahnemuehle Cappuccino sketchbook, Platinum 3776, DeAtramentis Document Black