Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Last night, I decided to visit a place that a couple of my writer/editor friends recommended.  Since I seem to be overly verbose, I thought I'd explore a bit about what to do with that.  So I went to the "Open Mic Night" at THE WRITERS PLACE, in Kansas City, Mo.  I got there a couple of hours before the event began, so I could draw the historic building where the writers meet.  As often happens, people wander over to see what I'm drawing.  I had a nice chat with one of the neighbors who told me she had been trying to make herself get back to drawing since she was now "post kids".  That's always fun to encourage others to rediscover "the artist" inside...sketchbooks are a non-threatening place to "play".

Once the writers arrived, they went around the circle, reading poetry (either their own, or some of their favorite writers) .  I did not come prepared to do that, so I just drew the people as they read or listened while others read.  An interesting evening...but I don't think writing poetry is "my thing".  Drawing poets...now that's more like it.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

SKETCHBOOK: "Polar Bears at the ZOO"

This is "Day Three" of my weekend of sketching!  It's been like a "stay-cation"...wonderful weather all three days.  This morning I had the misfortune of seeing myself walk by a mirror after getting out of bed.  I thought, "You look like a big ol' polar bear."  DING!  There was the silver lining...that was a perfect catalyst for going to sketch at the zoo today!

I had not really taken a lot of time to enjoy the fairly new polar bear exhibit on my last couple of visits.  The sketch above was my first of the day.  The bear was pacing back and forth, so I had to catch bits of him each time he walked in the direction you see in my drawing.

Below, that bear was pacing in a different area..up to the window, then back to the far corner.  I had just started drawing the bear on a return trip, when it decided to go take a swim.  Dang.  So I figured I'd just keep drawing all the rock structures.
I went inside the building where they have bleachers to watch the bear swimming laps around the pool. Wouldn't you know it...just as I'm about to sketch him as he swam by...he decides to go inside the enclosure where the caves are in the back.  Double Dang.  So I just drew the water view. Eventually he came out for a brief appearance in the far distance.  I put him in the scene...on the left of the center window.  That's the thing about trying to draw animals at the zoo.  They move.
I had not really ventured into the KIDS area in a long time...they have changed a ton of stuff since I was there last.  In a couple of weeks, I hope to take Courtney and my grandson, Jackson, back to the zoo.  This was sort of like a scouting trip.  I could not believe this GIANT TREE for kids to climb up into!!  It was so cool...I would love to see photos of the process of building that thing (I think it was made of concrete).  Below is a photo of it from a different view from where I was sketching.
Guess the weekend is about done now.  It was great to have some quality time with the ol' sketchbook!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

SKETCHBOOK: "Nelson and the Lake"

This weekend has been full of sketching.  Today, I went to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art with several artists from the "Urban Sketchers Midwest" group. This was the largest turnout I've been to so far...about 20 or more folks showed up.  It was great to pass around sketchbooks in the cafe area afterwards, and see what everyone drew.

Since the security guards will only allow pencils to be used inside the museum (no ink pens or liquids), it forced me to break out the 3B.  But I rather enjoyed using the pencil and intend do it more. The sketch above is of an Egyptian bronze of "Horus of Buto".  The terra cotta portrait below is of "Jean-Francois Ducis", sculpted by Augustine Pajou in 1779.
I arrived early to do the sketch below of the sculpture of multiple commuters. It is outside the museum, so I could use ink and washes. The time ran out to go meet up with everyone before I could put details on all of the figures...but I think I like it with just the contour lines for the non-rendered ones.

These other sketches are from an outing to Shawnee Mission Lake yesterday (I took a vacation day to start the weekend early).  I rented a canoe, paddled to a quiet cove, tied up to a branch, and just enjoyed the breeze. I was a bit frustrated because my new sketch pen was clogging on me, and the ink blurred the colors of the watercolor washes. But it was fun, and I'll try this again sometime. I've posted these on Facebook, so apologies if you've seen them already.
I couldn't sleep last night, so I decided to try a self-portrait based on the "selfie" photo I took at the lake.  I haven't done a sketch of myself in a long time, but for some reason, this felt like I was drawing some other character besides me.