While making a concerted effort last week to work more in my sketchbooks – they are invaluable tools for artists: they help one learn to see, think, play, practice and hone… I could go on but it could turn into an inarticulate ramble so I will move on to my point.
I discovered that I have been really wanting to make a “Portrait of Portales”. A collection of drawings or paintings that describe the personality and character of my town.
This is a project I sort-of began over a year ago with small, “en plein air” oil paintings done from my car, of scenes around town. Let me jog your memory with a photo-collage:
Grated, the above could really be paintings of anywhere in New Mexico, so common are the scenes of yellowed grasses, cows and crumbling adobe structures. Many of my new works will be specifically Portales, its stores, real estate, lawns, animals, abandoned buildings and neglected alleys. And as the title of this post suggests, they are being worked in my sketchbooks.
So now I’m back to venturing around town in my little mazda, and at the risk of looking like a creep-o or a cop on a stake-out, parking and sketching from the car. It really does make me feel like a cop… or okay, more like Stephanie Plum…
It is SO MUCH FUN and really IS showing me more about where I live. Nothing makes me appreciate a place more than painting it. Here are some examples of my work so far. I will share more detailed/close-up pictures of them in the future. For now you just get a taste:
I’ve decided to try and refrain from painting on weekends to give my body a rest. I will share with you on those few days a week my more elementary practice of sketching. You’ll see more experiments, more works in progress and more simple observance or records of the life around me…
This first sketch is a true testament to my dedication. You cannot imagine how much I wanted to scarf the remainder of this blueberry bagel with cream cheese. But I resisted… just long enough to record it and then it was gone. Inhaled like kibble at a labrador’s schnoz.
This is the exterior of the cafe where said blueberry bagel was consumed with gusto. If it seems a little hastily recorded, it is because the morning was quickly heating up and I was eager to retreat to the air conditioning and rest my eyes from the bright sun of a New Mexico morning.
This light sketch was done in just a few minutes when this man grabbed a paper and sat down to wait for his sandwich “to go”.
I visited Nelson, British Columbia last fall and must say I could really use an annual visit to such a vibrant, unique place. The autumn was an especially nice time to visit as I got to experience the colour and the warmth of the town as it transformed into the crispy white of ski season.
Nelson they say, is a place that either sucks you in or spits you out. I was sucked in for a decent chunk of time and imagine I will always feel it tugging me back. What I miss most are the walks I took up and down the steep streets. They provided endless views of eclectic houses lined above the lake with a backdrop of bulbous clouds caught on the mountain tops.
I don’t have a bird painting for you today, but I didn’t think you’d be upset because I have a sketch of a chihuahua in a car. It’s just rough but really, how could that possibly disappoint, right? Right. Chihuahua… heh.
In my world amazing women get giant statues built to honour them in beautiful cities where tourists stroll with umbrellas to appreciate the simple things in the fountain-mist. The simple things like a garden well tended, a tea perfectly steeped, the gift of a good book, and the precision and beauty of a moment caught in a photograph.
This is a portrait-of-sorts of my aunt, who can appreciate all those things she does so well (along with so many other things), and whose presence is a gift to all who know her.