Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Last Sketch from Maine: The Sisterhood

When you spend a week with someone, you really get to know them. Luckily, all the women I went to Maine with were absolutely WONDERFUL! Each one of them added something special to the group, and it was really hard to say goodbye to all of them at the end of the week.

Our time together had been "practically perfect in every way", and, with dreams of future trips together swirling in our heads, we enthusiastically named our little group The Sisterhood of the Traveling Paints. (For those of you who aren't familiar with it, there is a movie called The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.) So I just had to paint the Sisterhood in my journal!

Sharon, Judy, Saundra and Leslie

Everyone's holding art supplies except for me and my mom. She's holding a wooden spoon, since she was the chief cook during the week (and a GREAT job she did!) and I'm holding my binder that contained all the lessons for the week.

Candy, Cathy and Carol

We all have on the required uniform of the plein air painter: comfy clothes and a sun hat.

Off on our next adventure!

After giving lots of hugs that Saturday morning, and with promises to return next year, we headed down Route 1, on our way back to Pennsylvania and home sweet home. The hillsides were covered with fields of wild purple lupines and a bright blue summer sky beckoned us on. With a sigh of satisfaction, I settled into the rhythm of driving, but my mind kept wandering back to the sparkling water, splashing waves, and rocky coastline that I just can't seem to get enough of. I always leave a little piece of my heart behind in Maine and it's never far from my mind. I will return next year...I know it.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sketches from Maine: A Sailboat, Lighthouses, and More Rocky Coast

The end of our vacation week was fast approaching, and there were still so many things we wanted to do. A few of us decided we'd like to try a little sailing, so we booked our places on the schooner Olad out of Camden. It was a windy day with lots of sunshine, just perfect for sailing.

Ink & watercolor, 9x6 Stillman & Birn Alpha

As we headed out to sea, we passed some impressive summer "cottages" and the cutest little lighthouse you could ever want to see, the Curtis Island Light...

As we cut through the water and left the shore behind, it was fun to look back and see Mt. Battie, where we had sketched the view from the summit the day before, and the Camden Hills marching off into the distance. Love that aerial perspective!

To round out this composite page, I sketched some of the interesting details from the ship, like the brass turnbuckles that were part of the rigging...

and the fancy rope work covering many of the metal poles.

The next day was Friday - our last day. Luckily the weather was beautiful and we could spend the whole day outdoors.

We all walked out to see the Rockland Light, treading carefully on the massive granite boulders that make up the 3/4 mile long breakwater.

In the evening we had our last painting session, at Birch Point State Park, one of my favorite places. The water took on an aqua hue in the late-day light and the rocks glowed warm in the sun.

Sitting there together,
    focusing on the beauty in front of us,
        each in her own world,
            drawing lines,
                mixing colors,
                    painting with love,
                        recording it all
                            as a way to remember.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sketches from Maine: Heart-Shaped Rocks and Sparkling Water

I've just about finished my Maine sketchbook. There's one more page I want to add at the end to wrap it all up. Meanwhile, here are a few I thought you might like to see...

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

I've collected heart-shaped rocks for years. I have them from such far flung places as Alaska, Ireland, the Virgin Islands and Italy. Some of the best ones have come from the rocky coast of Maine, and this year I found plenty to add to my collection.

To paint them, I put down a variegated base wash using earth tones: yellow ochre, burnt umber, burnt sienna, and quinacridone gold along with ultramarine blue and cobalt. After that dried I began adding texture with more layers of paint.   

Layers of glazing

Spattering is a perfect way to get the grainy texture of some rocks, but when I spatter, it tends to go everywhere. I wanted my background on this page to stay clean, so I used frisket film to mask out the stones and protect the background. I simply peeled off the adhesive backing, laid it on my sketch and, with an Xacto blade, cut around the rocks, then peeled off the film. My background was covered with the clear frisket and I could spatter to my heart's content.



I used a natural sea sponge to add texture to a few of the stones.


On others, I dropped table salt into the first wash and allowed it to dry, creating interesting patterns.

Salt texture

On this next page, I tried out a different way of handling a text page...

It's kind of wild and crazy-looking, but lots of fun to do.

The most wonderful thing about our cottage in Maine was the panoramic view, particularly in the morning when the sun was low in the sky and the water shimmered and sparkled like diamonds.

To get the sparkly look in this sketch, I spattered on clear water, then dabbed in touches of blue, allowing it to spread randomly. Where the paper remained dry, I had shimmering highlights. Where I ended up with less white than I wanted, I went back in at the end, when everything had dried, and scratched out some highlights with a sharp blade.

Looking at this sketch brings back all the happy feelings I had on that June morning sitting on the porch with my pals, looking out through the geraniums to the sparkling waters of Penobscot Bay. Good times!

Update! New California Workshop Now Open for Registration

I'll be flying off to teach in California in less than two weeks!  After all the rainy weather we've had here recently, I'm really looking forward to sunshine. Lots of it! And palm trees and sandy beaches and the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean. Bring it on!

I'll be teaching at San Clemente Art Supply, a beautiful art store just a few blocks from the beach. I met Patti, the owner, at a trade show last year and she invited me to come and teach a two-day workshop this summer.

We had no idea the response would be so overwhelming. It filled up so quickly that I've agreed to change my travel plans and stay a few extra days to teach a second workshop for all the people who optimistically put their names on the waiting list.

Now everybody's happy - all those budding sketchers get to learn how much fun it can be to keep a sketchbook journal...

and I get to spend two more days in beautiful San Clemente!

"Sketch Your Life! An Introduction to Sketchbook Journaling" will be held July 28 & 29 at San Clemente Art Supply in San Clemente, California. This two-day workshop is jam-packed with great information to jumpstart your sketchbook journaling process or take it to the next level. (Read more about it here or register here.) This workshop is filling up fast, so register soon.

I can't wait to meet this enthusiastic group of west-coast artists - we're going to have an awesome time!

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