This evening, to beat the back-to-school blues I prioritized painting. This is NOT to say I am not enjoying the chaos and excitement of being back in my library with all the new students and returning students… just that I need this part of my day to keep me sane and to recharge.
Dragon was enjoying her favorite window ledge snoozing spot and I enjoyed listening to the rain coming down as I painted. My best friend from high school entrusted me with her precious yellow tea cup years ago and it is my watercolor painting vessel.
I enjoyed a long walk this morning and into the afternoon, camera, sketchbook and watercolors on hand. I packed a sweatshirt in case there was cloud cover or I had to sit for an extended period of time in the shade. I often listen to a book on tape while I walk but today I wanted no distractions. I was on an “art date” and mission for inspiration. I focused on shadows and alleys, piles of junk and animals. Sometimes I just look for mobile homes, or trucks or adobe architecture.
Here are two sketches for the “Portraits of Portales” series. I’ve added this series as a “gallery” on my website dodington.us but it will likely take me some time to scan in and upload all the paintings and sketches I have so far, so check back every few months.
My new studio space has proven to be a wonderful spot for watercolor. Here’s a hint of a study I did last week.
I’m also happy to report my new position as an elementary school librarian and computer teacher which, since school started Aug. 14th, has been a bit hectic. My love of libraries has been life-long, and I’m so excited to get to spend time with all the young people as they develop their interests, skills and character. I’m sure this will influence my art life as well, although my posts here may be even more sparse. You’ve been warned.
I’d like to give you glimpse some of the sketches I made yesterday from around town.
While I sketch I either listen to the radio or a book on CD. Right now, it’s “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.” hahaha. I find the strangest things at Goodwill.
I’ve decided these works will be best displayed in published book form, rather than hanging on any gallery walls. This also means I’m free to work on both sides of the pages in my sketchbook, without worrying that later, one will be hidden in the back of a frame somewhere.
It also means I am not uploading the best quality photos on my blog. Nor am I posting all of my drawings, only some. Otherwise, what reason would you have to buy the book?
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’m in the midst of a 5 week road-trip madness adventure extravaganza, only the road trip part of it is complete. I’ve been staying with dear friend and using my travel watercolor set on a little 2 x 3 foot desk that has become my workspace. My mind is on birds; their immense migrations, their delicate frames and the subtle hues of their plumage.
I have gotten a bit off track today but since I make the rules here… everyone wins! The drawing challenge yesterday called for a comic, and today called for hmm… something equally neat to draw but for some reason I just couldn’t muster the motivation. That leaves me two days behind on the challenge with other drawing projects piling up on the side. So, today I focussed on one of those side projects instead. Pencil still hit paper, so I forgive myself.
My side project is a bit difficult to explain. Essentially I am part of a knitted-monster swap wherein I knit a toy and embellish it along a certain theme and mail it to a stranger along with a few other fun things to match the theme. In return, I will soon receive a package in the mail with a knitted monster embellished in ways that would please or delight me.) My partner loves the movie Fantastic Mr. Fox so I set out to knit a character for her and wanted to include some “character studies” drawings as a fun thing to include in her package.
Because you probably want to see the actual knitted toy component itself, here sits the villainous rat and a little bandit monster companion for the fox thieves. Note: Bandit hat is removable to reveal big scary white felt teeth. Bandit also comes with knitted black cape.
Here are today’s sketches I’m going to include in the package… probably with little matt frames and plastic, as one might buy a print.