Virtual trip to Ireland, 11/15/2020 (violet ink and watercolor on watercolor paper)
Last Sunday I again participated in a virtual sketching trip with what has become an artistic lifeline to other artists and places I can only dream of visiting right now. And this time we were transported to Ireland by a member of our group that had traveled there a few years ago. She shared a fair number of photos of cities like Dublin that included several town squares and even a couple images of a St. Patrick’s Day parade. But it was the Irish countryside that she chose for us to sketch. I think we were all happy to imagine wandering through that green countryside, stopping now and then to take out our pens, watercolors and pastels to capture a far away place as an imagined moment in time. I’ve never been to Ireland, but it’s definitely on my “bucket list.” And I, like so many others I guess, are captivated by what appears to be more shades of green than any other place on Earth. I have some distant Irish ancestry connected to Northern Ireland. My mother was always quick to point that her people were not of the green Catholic variety, but rather the “orange” Protestants. However, if I ever get the chance to go to Ireland I don’t believe I would confine myself to one part or another based in the religion of the area. Right?
We did two sketches. The first thirty minute sketch was of a bucolic scene of green grass with a small tranquil pond and tiny church. It came out OK, but not OK enough to post here. We did this one for our second 30 minute sketch. I like the way it came out. I think I’m getting more confident with the way I use purple water soluble ink. Someone in our group said the dogs looked like border collies, and another said they looked like a couple of dark lumps. I once had a Border Collie Kelpie mix. She looked like these dogs—lumpish and completely black all over except one tiny dot of white on her chest. Her name was Trevor. You might say it’s a funny name for a female dog. All I can say is my son wanted to name her after a friend who had moved to Texas. His name was Trevor, and that was that. Anyway, she was the kind of dog who needed a job, like herding sheep. As I looked closely at these dogs, they put me in mind of older herding dogs that had once helped their master herd sheep. Now I imagine he doesn’t ask too much from them anymore. But they are still important to him and he takes them for walks at twilight. I like that image. It’s important to take care of the dogs and people we love.
One minute sketches, 11/1/2020
3 minute sketches, 11/1/2020
As I mentioned in the first part of my post, I really appreciate the artistic lifeline I have with my sketching friends. We have become a pretty tight community and I think we all look forward to seeing each other on a regular basis, even if it’s only virtual visits. It’s actually a number of the same people I would see at the Norton Simon on the first Friday of the month. As we are not going out to sketch so much right now and our online group can accommodate a much larger number of people than would normally move together unnoticed about the kind of “smallish” Norton Simon Art Museum. The Getty would be a different story as it is quite a large and could accommodate a large group. (Of course, both the Norton Simon and the Getty are closed right now. ) There are about 35 to 40 people who regularly sketch together. And we come from all over. Most of us are still SoCal people with many from the Pasadena area, the west side of LA, San Diego, and Long Beach. We have one member who regularly joins us from New York, and a westside friend’s mom who lives on the east coast also sketches with us from time to time. We have some from Northern CA and even one member joins us from Poland. Crazy, huh?
The day after Halloween we had a virtual costume portrait party. Portrait parties are kind of a common thing for those of us who go to the Norton Simon. Some evenings we would sit at tables in the cafe and sketch each other’s face, shifting from one face to another as a 1 to 3 minute timer was set. For this one we did the same thing, but used the Zoom “spotlight” feature to switch from model to model at 1 minute intervals and then a few took turns posing every 3 minutes. It’s a lot of fun and here are just a few of the sketches I did. It looks as though most of us wore hats to the party. (I had on a fishing hat with facepaint.) Of course, as we are artists someone had to show up with her scimitar. No one thought it odd. We have become so close. When we share our work at the end of our time together I can recognize many of my friend’s work by his or her style or medium. I love that, it’s kind of like an artistic signature without any words. For those of you who paint or are fond of painters, I think you know what I mean. Can’t you tell a favorite artist’s work without being told who painted it? I think it’s part of that artistic lifeline of familiarity that I so crave and enjoy, especially with so many unknown crazy things that seem to be happening right now.
Wishing Tree at the Descanso Gardens, 11/21/2020
I went out early for some sketching at the Descanso Gardens this morning. I saw this Wishing Tree in one of the oak woodland areas. As next week is Thanksgiving I have been thinking of what I’m thankful for. Those thoughts, ideas and people inhabit my real world of today. Making wishes involves thoughts of the future. That’s part of a whole different set of thoughts of possible positive outcomes as well as disappointments. A number of people were busily filling out his or her single “wish” card, then attaching it to one of the branches. Don’t know about you, but I need to think about this and come back when there aren’t so many people around. Maybe that’s my wish…I wish for a time I won’t have to think about getting too close to people. What would be your wish for the wishing tree?