Sketchcrawl #44, UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Center Street Entrance, ink and watercolor, 5x8 in

UC Berkeley Center Street Entrance, ink and watercolor, 5×8 in

I had a great time at Sketchcrawl 44 on the University of California, Berkeley campus. I missed the starting meet up at 11:00 because I stopped at the entrance to do the sketch above (and to be honest, because I arrived an hour late due to my seeming inability to get out of the house on time in the morning no matter how hard I try). Most of the students are gone for the summer but there were hundreds of visitors from all over the world and families doing campus tours with their high school students and large groups of teens in summer programs on campus.

UC Berkeley Sather Tower Campanile, ink and watercolor 8x5 in

UC Berkeley Sather Tower Campanile, ink and watercolor 8×5 in

At lunchtime I met up with Cathy and some other sketchers, and had lunch sitting on white chairs set up for a wedding in front of the Faculty Club. Then I sketched at our meet up spot, Sather Tower, aka “the Campanile,” a tall clock tower in the center of campus. I rode the elevator up to the top and was going to sketch the panoramic view when I noticed someone looking up at the huge bells just over my head. I would have totally missed that sight (until the bells sounded excruciatingly loudly at 2:00 as I was drawing the one bell above). I skipped drawing the panorama since it took so long to understand and draw the bell. Then I took the slow elevator back down and sketched the tower. I only got the top 3/4 in the sketch on the right so added the base with a statue and stairs on the left.

Gary Amaro, Pete Scully and Me

Gary Amaro, Pete Scully and Me

At our 3:00 meet up time I was delighted to spot my friends and fellow Urban Sketchers Pete Scully and Gary Amaro. It was such a treat to see them again and get a chance to look through their amazing sketchbooks. I told Pete I wish I could live in the world he draws. I so love the light and depth and detail in his sketches! Gary’s gouache and ink sketch of a campus building is really gorgeous in person.

Living Room with 2 Rolls of Shredded Paper Towels

Living Room with 2 Rolls of Shredded Paper Towels (my couch isn’t really that yellow…ick)

I’ve missed going out sketching all the time like I used to. 2014 so far has been the year of the dog. Unfortunately, having been rescued from the streets of Taiwan, Millie is not fond of urban environments, making urban sketching with her rather difficult. She shivers and shakes on busy streets so much that her teeth chatter. Even though she did get into trouble while I was out (see above) in the hour before the dog sitter came to take her to the park, I’ve really enjoyed the time I spend with her and she’s becoming a great studio dog (see below).

Studio Pup Millie

Studio Pup Millie

Oakland Aviation Museum Sketches

P-51 Mustang. Ink and watercolor, 5x15 inches

P-51 Mustang. Ink and watercolor, 5×15 inches

A visit to the Oakland Aviation Museum was a great opportunity to sketch. The museum was the site of the original Oakland Airport and is full of interesting history and planes. This one was a 3/4 scale replica of the P-51 Mustang, a World War II long-range, single-seat fighter plane. This is the plane used by the Tuskegee Airmen.

I recently read several books about World War II that had parts about fighter pilots including The Caine Mutiny and Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (both brilliant and fascinating). Seeing these flying tin cans up close brought home how terrifying their flights must have been and how courageous those pilots were.

Hiller 1099 Helicopter and N45LE Plane. Ink and watercolor, 5x15.

Hiller 1099 Helicopter and Sea Plane. Ink and watercolor, 5×15 inches

The people who work/volunteer at the museum were really into old planes and their history. They were enthusiastic about sharing information with our group. I’d like to go back and sketch there again.

Change Is…

Stege Marsh, ink and colored pencils in pocket Moleskine

Stege Marsh, ink and colored pencils in pocket Moleskine

I started to title this post “Change is Good” and then I thought, yeah, but change can be difficult too. As I thought of all the things change is (hard, exciting, scary, growth) I realized that if nothing else, change is constant, it just IS; thus the title.

So what about change? Well, the most obvious change is my blog’s appearance. I’ve begun the process of converting it to a website that will host both this blog, JanasJournal.com, and my art portfolio website, now at JanaBouc.com. It’s a work in progress so please, if you notice any bugs, let me know.

The sketch of Stege Marsh above reflects another change in my life; it’s one of the first sketches I did while out walking my pup. I waited until after we’d walked about 3 miles through the huge off-leash dog park at Pt. Isabel (well I walked 3 miles, she was off leash and probably ran 10 miles running off and coming back). By the time we got to this spot she was happy to rest while I sketched this view along the Bay Trail. I carry a little bag of colored pencils and a small Moleskine sketch book in my bag all the time as it’s lighter than my watercolor kit for long walks so that’s what I used to color in the ink drawing.

Hydrangeas and the Last of EDiM 2014 (Fan and Remote)

Hydrangeas in Glass, ink and watercolor, 7x5 in

Hydrangeas in Glass, ink and watercolor, 7×5 in

My hydrangea bush is doing great this year, probably because it’s on the side of the house that is now a dog run and every day I empty the dog’s water bowl on the bush. Also it’s no longer competing with its two siblings that I removed because one never blossomed and the other had annoying teensy flowers that shed all over the table.

EDim 22 Remote Control, ink and  watercolor, 5x7 in

EDiM 22 Remote Control, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

These remotes live in the studio and operate a little combo TV/VCR, a DVD player and the stereo. There are another half-dozen that live in the house. I’m glad remotes were invented but they are ugly and annoying. I so wish I had this remote (a brilliant sketch and concept!)

EDim 23 Fan, ink and watercolor, 5x7 in

EDiM 23 Fan, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

As I noted in my journal above, drawing a fan seemed like it would be even more boring than drawing the remotes but in fact it was really fun. I was really surprised as I sketch to discover all kinds of interesting design features I’d never noticed before when just turning it on or off (without the using the remote that came with it, which I’ve lost).

So I didn’t make it to every day in May, just 75% of them. I went away for a 3 day retreat and when I came back had lost the momentum. Oh well.

EDiM 19, 20, 21: Rope, Pickle Fork, Close-Ups

EDiM 19-20: Dog Rope and Grandma's Pickle Fork, ink and watercolor, 7x5 in

EDiM 19-20: Dog Rope and Grandma’s Pickle Fork, ink and watercolor, 7×5 in

My dog’s favorite pull toy: a knotted rope for EDiM 19. The packaging asserts it’s good for their teeth, acts like dental floss. I don’t think that makes much sense, but at least it is one toy she hasn’t been able to shred, turn inside out and/or unstuff.

I think this little plastic fork for EDiM 20 was one that my grandmother used when putting out her fabulous dill pickles. It probably was a copy of a more elegant model originally made of ivory. It’s about the length of a dill pickle.

EDiM 21: Closeups, ink and watercolor, 7x5 in

EDiM 21: Closeups, ink and watercolor, 7×5 in

These close-up views of things for EDiM 21 are probably pretty easy to figure out: clockwise, a petal and leaf from a hydrangea, a spray bottle, an old pencil sharpener from the days when office products were all IBM beige, and a pliers from my toolbox.

EDiM 17 and 18: Hand Soap and Needs Polish (Silver Teapot)

EDiM 18: Needs Polish (Silver Coffee Pot), ink and watercolor, 7x5 in

EDiM 18: Needs Polish (Silver Tea Pot), ink and watercolor, 7×5 in

I bought this old silver-plated teapot at my local thrift shop. I’ve drawn it before here but now that it’s really tarnished it was even more fun to paint because of the pinkish tarnish.

EDiM 17 Hand soap, ink and watercolor, 7x5 in

EDiM 17 Hand soap, ink and watercolor, 7×5 in

I love the lemony fresh scent of this soap and look forward to washing my hands. Normally I’m overly sensitive to scented products and stay away from them but this one makes me happy. I used a green Pitt Artists Brush pen to draw this and then went over it with watercolor and a little black fine point Pitt Artist pen.

 

 

EDiM 14: Glass of Juice

EDiM 14 Glass of Juice. Ink and watercolor, 7x5 in

EDiM 14 Glass of Juice. Graphite, ink and watercolor, 7×5 in

I got confused and skipped over posting this glass of yummy Trader Joe’s Garden Patch juice yesterday, and numbered the two pics I did post with the wrong numbers, which I’ve now corrected. This is an odd glass, made by Bodum and meant to be used for tea as it’s double-walled for insulation.

This was more fun to draw than to use since I prefer my tea in cups with handles, even if the glass doesn’t get hot. I love painting glass!

EDiM 15 and 16: Stapler (ancient) and Cookie (monster)

EDiM 16 Stapler. Ink and watercolor, 5x7 in

EDiM 16 Stapler. Ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

I’ve had this wonderful old stapler for as long as I can remember. Maybe it was my grandfathers? It’s heavy and has rusty spots but still works great. I enjoy using it every time I staple something.

EDiM 15 Cookie (Monster), ink and watercolor, 7x5 in

EDiM 15 Cookie (Monster), ink and watercolor, 7×5 in

I don’t eat cookies because I’m overly sensitive to sugar; eating one usually leads to eating the whole bag so I just don’t eat that first one. Drawing a cookie would have been too tempting so I drew a fellow friendly cookie monster.

EDiM 13: Cowrie Shells

EDiM 13 Shells. Ink and watercolor, 5x7 in

EDiM 13 Shells. Ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

When I was a kid I had a little shell collection and my favorites were Cowrie shells (though I misheard the name and thought they were called Molly shells. I still get confused and have to look them up. They feel so nice to hold, with their smooth, shiny surface and egg-like shape.

Since I was looking up the name anyway, I read a bit about them on Wikipedia and learned these interesting factoids:

  • The term “porcelain” derives from the old Italian term for the cowrie shell (porcellana) due to their similar translucent appearance.
  • Shells of certain species have historically been used as currency: The Ghanaian cedi was named after cowry shells and starting over three thousand years ago, cowry shells were used as currency in China and India.
  • The Classical Chinese character for money (貝) originated as a stylized drawing of a Maldivian cowrie shell.
  • Cowry shells are used in sacred Objibway ceremonies and the Whiteshell Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada is named after cowries.
  • Cowry shells are also worn as jewelry or otherwise used as ornaments or charms and are viewed as symbols of womanhood, fertility, birth and wealth.

EDiM 10, 11, 12 (Cracked, Found on Internet and Shelf)

EDiM 11 Water Bottle Found on Internet, ink & watercolor, 7.5x 5 in

EDiM 11 Water Bottle Found on Internet, ink & watercolor, 7.5x 5 in

I love Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottles. I keep a tall one in my car, the one sketched above lives on my bedside table, I carry a Kid-sized bright blue one on walks and keep a jumbo 64 oz. Klean Kanteen filled with lemony water in the fridge where it surprisingly fits nicely on the door shelf. I use it to make sure I get my 8 cups of water each day. The bottles are light weight and don’t leave a taste or chemicals in the water.

EDim 10 Cracked Cup, Ink and watercolor, 7x5 in

EDim 10 Cracked Cup, Ink and watercolor, 7×5 in

This drawing is just as cracked as the cup! This was my favorite coffee cup for a long time. Now it’s on my still life shelf waiting to pose for a painting.

EDiM 12 Shelf and stuff on it by studio sink, ink & watercolor 5x7 in

EDiM 12 Shelf and stuff on it by studio sink, ink & watercolor 5×7 in

I shouldn’t have even started this sketch as I was way too tired and it shows. This is a shelf next to the sink in my studio. I drew quickly and directly with ink and painted just as quickly. Sloppy but it’s done.

EDiM 8 and 9: Mirror Image (me in pitcher) and Shadow

EDiM 8 Mirror Image in Copper Pitcher, ink and watercolor, 7.5x 5 inches

EDiM 8 Mirror Image in Copper Pitcher, ink and watercolor, 7.5x 5 inches

This one was really fun to draw. It was a surprise to see that I was reflected twice, right-side-up and upside-down. I had to stack the pitcher on top of a box of kleenex on top of a box of rubber stamps.

EDiM 9 Mirror Image in Copper Pitcher, ink, watercolor, gouache, 7.5x5 in

EDiM 9 Mirror Image in Copper Pitcher, ink, watercolor, gouache, 7.5×5 in

I drew this in pencil sitting outdoors at a little round table in the sun.  I sketched in the shadow of the flower and painted everything with watercolor. By then the sun had moved and there were more shadows so I painted them in too. I didn’t like the way it messed up the composition so I brought the sketchbook into the studio and painted over table and extra shadows with gouache. It only partially hid the “mistake” but I decided I liked the way there’s a shadow of a shadow showing through.

I used rubber stamps for text on the page but got that wrong too (9, not 8) so just used the X stamp to cross out the 8. I love work that is fresh and just right on the first pass. This isn’t that, and shows a bit of the struggle. Sometimes that just makes things more interesting.

EDiM 5 and 7 (Hobby: Millie and Microwave)

EDiM 5 Hobby (Millie), ink on Stonehenge brown paper glued in Moleskine, 5x7 in

EDiM 5 Hobby (Millie), black ink and white Sharpie on Stonehenge brown paper glued in Moleskine, 5×7 in

I filled pages of my sketchbook trying to draw Millie from life but never got more than 1/3 a dog before she moved. So I pasted some brown Stonehenge paper over a couple of the dog scribble pages and then drew this one from a photo. She’s extra elegantly long in my drawing and seems to be prancing through the air (I forgot to add some shadows or a part of her bed so you could tell she was relaxing lying down.

EDiM7-Microwave in the studio beside the sink, ink and watercolor 5x7 in

EDiM7-Microwave in the studio beside the sink, ink and watercolor 5×7 in

I inherited this microwave from my son, left behind when I converted the grease monkey garage into my studio. When I use it to heat water for tea in the winter I just have to remember that if I have both electric heaters on, all the lights and the stereo going and a hair dryer blow-drying a watercolor, there’s a good chance I will shortly be sitting in the dark until I visit the circuit breaker box and flip the switch.

EDiM 6: Hand-Me-Downs from Mom and Grandma (3 tries)

EDiM 6-Relic: From Ma and Grandma's Kitchen, ink and watercolor 5x7"

EDiM 6-Relic: From Ma and Grandma’s Kitchen, ink and watercolor 5×7″

I wasn’t happy with the first two tries (posted below) for the prompt “a relic or something handed down from family” so started over with the simpler subjects pictured above: my grandmother’s yellow mixing bowl; a serving spoon with part of its pink handle broken off and my favorite spoon that I eat with all the time, both remnants of my mother’s 50s kitchen with their pre-plastic Bakelite handles. And last, my grandmother’s beat up old jar opener that she used to pop open her homemade dill pickle jars. I use it all the time to open jars and think of her each time I do.

EDiM 6-Relic: 3-hole vase and roses #2, ink and watercolor 7x5 in

EDiM 6-Relic: 3-hole vase and roses #2, ink and watercolor 7×5 in’

Above is my second attempt, some roses from my garden in a little vase my mother gave me. It’s really complicated with “arms” reaching around and circling three round-bellied vessels, all connected.

Below is the first attempt, sketched outdoors in blinding sun that messed with my judgment of color and value. Also below is an attempt at drawing what the vase looks like from a different perspective. Also a fail.

EDiM 6-Relic: 3-hole vase and roses #1, ink and watercolor 7x5 in

EDiM 6-Relic: 3-hole vase and roses #1, ink and watercolor 7×5 in

The color of the roses was so pretty…much nicer than anything I could paint.

Photo of vase and flowers I sketched from life

Photo of vase and flowers I sketched from life

EDiM Day 4: Thumb (A-OK)

EDiM #4 Thumb, ink, 5x7 in

EDiM #4 Thumb, ink, 5×7 in

A thumb by itself isn’t so interesting so I drew my hand in the scuba diver’s “OK” position (used to sign to your dive buddy that you’re doing OK). It’s Sunday and I’ve wasted most of it trying unsuccessfully to color correct in Photoshop a photo of a commissioned painting I recently completed and delivered (and as soon as I get it right I’ll post it here).

But I did a drawing of my thumb and I like it and it’s nice weather and my dog is healing and so I’m A-OK.

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