Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sketches from Maine: Part 5 - Weather Vanes and Lobster

Aren't weather vanes cool?  I just love them and decided to start taking pictures of all the different ones I came across on our trip to Maine earlier this month. There are so many nice old ones on historic homes and businesses in New England.

(All sketches were done in a 9" x 6" Stillman and Birn Alpha series sketchbook)

For this page, I did all of the drawings in pencil from photo references, then inked them with a black Micron 01 pen. Next, I applied a watery background wash of Marine Blue and Quinacridone Gold, tilting the paper to allow the paint to run and blend. After that dried, the weather vanes were painted very simply, leaving them as silhouettes, to keep the page from becoming too busy.

It's okay to add photos to your travel journal pages...
In this case, I wanted to include a few pictures of the friends who were part of this trip, so I arranged a bunch of my photos in Publisher (part of Microsoft Office) and printed them out on matte photo paper. I trimmed the composite print to the exact size of my sketchbook page, then glued it down with Yes! Paste. Now I can see everyone's smiling faces every time I open my sketchbook.

This next page is a continuation of my June 10th travelogue. (Read the beginning of it in Sketches from Maine: Part 3)

On it I included some of the things I bought on the trip...

A reminder of our crazy Domino games...

And one of my favorite things about vacationing in Maine....LOBSTER!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sketches from Maine: Part 4 - Sea Glass

I'm hooked on huntiing for sea glass. Every summer when we go to Maine, I spend hours along the shore with my eyes trained on the ground, looking for the perfect specimen.

9" x 6", watercolor and pencil in a hardcover Stillman and Birn Alpha series sketchbook

Large chunks are exciting...

but the colors thrill me even more than the size of the pieces.

See the little green heart-shaped piece?

I can never decide which is my favorite - deep, rich cobalt blue or pale aqua. Oh, but I love the pinks and lavenders, too!

I picked out some of my favorite pieces to do this page in my travel journal.

The border was designed and painted first.  I masked off the border area with painter's tape, so I would have nice straight edges, then painted a wavy line down the center. Additional lines were added to fill in the space, using colors from the sea glass scattered across my table.

Don't those wavy lines just make you feel like you're floating on the swells in the ocean?

You can see how simply the sea glass was painted, just a light initial wash, then an added layer or two of darker color after the first wash had dried.

Collection pages like this are fun to do, and I love how this one turned out. It has such a happy, beachy feel to it. Sometimes it all just comes together.

Have you ever painted a collection in your sketchbook?


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sketches from Maine: Part 3 - Rain and Sunshine

I'm glad I took the time to keep a written record of our week. It's so easy to forget about everything that happens on a vacation if you don't write it down. I usually did my journaling in the evening before I went to bed, putting everything down on the page in pencil rather than ink, to allow myself the option of making changes to the writing or the page layout before it was finalized.

 (All pages were done in a 9" x 6" Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook with ink & watercolor)

The lettering was done with a calligraphy nib filled with watercolor paint
Some of the text pages were finished while I was in Maine, but others, like the one above, were finished at home.

My bedroom at Primrose Cottage overlooked the ocean, and it was wonderful opening my eyes every morning and seeing this scene, with the ocean right outside my windows.

Tuesday was a rainy day, but it turned out to be one of our favorites. Snug and cozy in our cute little house, we painted the day away.

When the sun came out on Wednesday, we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day, and what better place to enjoy it than on top of Mount Battie? That's Candy, one of my students, in the picture, sketching the panoramic view of Penobscot Bay and the town of Camden.

Just before we left to head back down the mountain, I painted this quick cloud study. The sun and wind were drying the paint almost instantly, so it was challenging but still fun.

I still have a few more pages to finish in my travel journal - I'll be sure to share them with you soon.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sketches from Maine: Part 2 - Exploring

Since we got to Maine a day before my workshop was to begin, we had time to play a little on Saturday before checking into our rental cottage. We sketched at Pemaquid Point in the morning (awesome!) then shopped awhile in the cute little village of Damariscotta.

 (All sketches were done in a 9" x 6" Stillman and Birn Alpha series sketchbook with ink and watercolor)

Our rental cottage turned out to be even prettier than it had looked online, with an oceanfront location that was so perfect we had to pinch ourselves to believe we would really get to spend a whole week looking out at that beautiful ocean right outside our door.

Birch Point State Park was just a few minutes away, so we made that our first stop the next morning. With its crescent-shaped sandy beach, rocky shoreline, sparkling water and off-shore islands, it was a great introduction to painting in Maine.

We went exploring in the afternoon and found the Vesper Hill Children's Chapel, a little gem in Rockport. The gardens were lovely and the whole place exuded an aura of peace and tranquility. What a perfect place to sit and sketch!

We painted a lot during the week and the students worked hard on the lessons I had prepared for them, but we had a lot of silly fun, too, thus the "gin" page in my travel journal...

Watch for more Maine sketches coming in a day or two.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sketches from Maine: Part 1 - On Our Way

Well, after all the lead-in of photos and Facebook posts, are you ready to finally see some sketches from my sketching trip to Maine? Here's the first batch, with more to follow tomorrow......

Ink & watercolor + gel pen + stamping with watercolor

The sketchbook I took with me was a 9" x 6" Stillman and Birn Alpha series with 100 lb. paper. I love the size and the landscape format - it seems to suit me perfectly - and I like the fact that it has lots of pages, so it doesn't feel so precious that I might hesitate to play around in it. (Yeah, I still have hangups about ruining precious paper, even though I preach to my students that "It's only a piece of paper! Use it up and turn the page!")

My mom and I drove up to Maine with my two friends, Cathy and Candy. We made it a leisurely trip and allowed ourselves an extra day, so we could enjoy seeing some sights along the way.

Micron 005 black ink + watercolor

When I'm keeping a travel journal, I always start it as early in the trip as I can. I think it's important to dive right in and do something...anything! It sets a precedent and gets me in the habit of recording my days. So I worked on my first page (above) early in the morning on our second day, before we had breakfast and hit the road.

Platinum Carbon fountain pen and ink + Micron 02 black + watercolor

Micron 005 black + watercolor

Our first group sketching session came on the evening of our second day when we found a peaceful spot overlooking the Damariscotta River. After being on the road for two days and driving almost a thousand miles, it gave me a chance to rest, relax and switch to vacation mode. We were finally in Maine!

Micron 005 black ink + watercolor (Font for title lettering: DK Carte Blanche)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Back from Maine with Lots to Share!

I'm back from Maine, even though I wanted to stay there all summer, and I actually teared up when I had to leave! We had an absolutely amazing time. Everything came together to make it one of the best weeks I've ever had in one of my favorite places in the world.

Here's what made it so great...

1. The location was convenient, spacious, and beautiful...

Our cottage

Part of the expansive view from the cottage

Sparkling water on a sunny morning

2. There were lots of sights to see and things to do...

Visiting Owls Head Light
Sketching the view from the summit of Mount Battie

Taking a trip on the Schooner Olad on Penobscot Bay (Carol, Sharon, Judy and me)

Viewing the picture-perfect Curtis Island Lighthouse from the water

Walking the 4300' long Rockland Breakwater to see the lighthouse at the end (and then turning around and walking back!)
...plus searching for sea glass, taking walks on the beach, shopping, and seeing Andrew Wyeth's watercolor paintings in person!

3. We had plenty of time to relax...

Reading on a rainy afternoon

Time to paint to our hearts' content

Leisurely mornings on the porch with a cup of coffee
A cutthroat Domino tournament every evening

4. There were treasures to find...

Sharon and I had an ongoing competition to see who could find the best heart-shaped rock. She won!

A piece of geode I found on Cooper's Beach

Sea glass from Cooper's Beach

A heart-shaped piece of sea glass - how perfect!

5. My lessons were helpful...

Practicing painting simple figures

A paint-along demo at Birch Point State Park where I narrated each step of my sketching process and the students painted along in their own sketchbooks
Can you pick out mine?

6. Sketching opportunities were plentiful...

Scene at Owls Head harbor
Climbing hydrangea at Vesper Hill

Lupines in full bloom
Our last morning

7. The food was delicious...

Shrimp & Asparagus Risotto with Feta Cheese + salad with blueberries, shaved Parmesan, candied walnuts and homemade vinaigrette

LOBSTER night!
I couldn't have managed without the help of my mother, Saundra. All the girls want her to adopt them!

8. And the company was the best!

Carol, me, Saundra, Judy, Cathy, Candy, and Sharon

We went to Maine with the intention of painting together, but we came away with so much more. The memories of riding around in the van giggling and laughing over something silly someone said; Carol's daily devotions at dinner; staring in awe at a Wyeth masterpiece together; and feeling so happy that we were almost giddy with the deliciousness of it all - those are the things that come to mind now when I think about our week together.

My woman friends enrich my life in countless untold ways; each one of them, with her unique quirks and personality, is precious to me. I'm so grateful for them. And I'm so very glad that I had a chance to share Maine with a group of friends who understands why I gasp at the beauty of sunshine sparkles on the sea and why there's nothing that makes me happier than to sit with a sketchbook on my lap and paint this great big beautiful world.

Tomorrow I'll begin sharing some of the sketches from my Maine travel journal, so stay tuned!
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