Fish of the Reef !

Sketching at the National Museum of Natural History-ย Day 20/31 – #WorldWatercolorMonth

A trip to D.C. always entails a quick stop at a museum or two on the way back, and this time I had an hour to spare and decided that a visit to the Reef tank at the National Museum of Natural History was where I’d spend it. I’d forgotten it was summer and that the summer campers would be out there and of course the Natural History museum is top on the list. Not surprisingly getting up close to the aquarium wasn’t possible, for as when one wave of yellow kiddie tee shirts left, along came another group in green and then another in blue and so on…It simply was amusing to watch the kids arrive like a swarm of bees, park themselves in front of the tank, squeal and point and chatter on about Nemo and Dory, and then just as sudden as they arrived, they quickly moved on to the next exhibit.

it was impossible to stand close without blocking the kids, so I found a spot across from the aquarium and tried sketching the exotic salt water fish. They darted about so quickly it was hard to stay focused on any one of them. My only recourse was to skip about the page from fish to fish filling in details as the swam by. Of course this means the paint dried in between strokes! Oh well, I’ll get to do this again soon.

๐Ÿ”™Back from a short break ๐Ÿ’ค

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better – Albert EinsteinOne of my all time favorite quotes! 

Sometimes I just need to take a break from things to quiet the mind and focus ๐Ÿ”ฌon other stuff. So every so often I take a short break (at times it extends into longer than expected) – a break from social media ๐Ÿ“ต. Turn off all external noise and focus on all things not social media! This frees up quite a bit of timeโฑ. (Ever wonder how much โณ we spend on social media ๐Ÿ˜œ!

During these times I “do more things that make me forget to check my ๐Ÿ“ž๐Ÿ“ฒโŒš๏ธ”

I take that extra time to read ๐Ÿ‘“(read stuff not on social media) ๐Ÿ“š, or spend time looking, ๐Ÿ‘€really looking๐Ÿ”Ž, and sketching ๐ŸŽจin nature ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒป๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ„๐Ÿž๐Ÿ๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿ , or take time to converse with family and friends๐Ÿ—ฃ๐Ÿ‘ฅ(not just txt) ๐Ÿ™‡๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

Over the last four days I did just that. I finished two good books ๐Ÿ“š ๐Ÿ‘. I did lots of sketches ๐Ÿ–๐Ÿ–and studies en plein air ๐Ÿ•โ›ฐand quite a bit of gardening ๐Ÿƒ๐ŸŽ‹๐ŸŒพ- in the cooler๐Ÿ†’ hoursโŒ›๏ธ of the day of course ! 

I sketch and paint everyday regardless of whether I post or not. A lot of these sketches never see the light of day ๐ŸŒ• beyond my easel or sketch book. No matter, coz it’s the discipline that counts, right! 

If you haven’t guessed it already today is #WorldEmojiDay. I rarely use emojis! So it’s quite a comeback from a break on social media, wouldn’t you say!

Happy World Emoji Day or ๐Ÿ˜Š๐ŸŒŽ๐ŸŒ๐ŸŒ•๐Ÿ“† 

Here’s my favorite brushstroke done @hirshhorn of Roy Lichtenstein’s brushstroke!

Tomorrow I’ll post the stuff I’ve been working on over my break! ๐Ÿš™ (interesting, that’s the emoji that came up for break- car brake! Hmmm) 

Tropical Patternsย 

Day 8/31 – #WorldWatercolorMonth

Today’s post is about Patterns. At the US Botanic Gardens the tropical plants all around were luscious and very green. Only a few had blooms on them, but that didn’t really matter because the leaves were large, some of them even a 2-3 feet long and a foot wide and heavily patterned. Meandering through the pathways you didn’t really distinguish each leaf individually because the stripes and the colors just seemed to merge and flow into one another forming intricate patterns of yellows and greens in all shades. This is just one pattern that stood out and it happened to have a calyx adding an extra pop of color. 

Bijin ลkubi-e – Utamaro

Day7/31 – #WorldWatercolorMonth. 

Another sketch at the Sackler gallery of ‘Inventing Utamaro’ exhibit. I’m really loving this artist’s ability to portray the image of women with sensitivity and a certain vulnerability. Each one of his okubi-e paintings is different and essentially stunning. 

Utamaro is best known for his bijin ลkubi-e “large-headed pictures of beautiful women” of the 1790s. Essentially these are what we would call portraits of beautiful Japanese women, but they are so much more. 

I did this sketch inside the exhibit, and then added watercolor sitting outside while the colors were still fresh in my mind. 

Chagall – a small panel of America Windowsย 

Day 6/31 #WorldWatercolorMonth 

Paying homage to Marc Chagall – who was born on this day (well yesterday actually, but my site was acting up and it didn’t get posted on time for some reason!!!) 

The brilliant stained glass windows – America Windows or the Chagall Windows, as they are popularly know are a signature feature of The Art Institute of Chicago. They were forever made famous by their appearance in the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

For me the blue of these windows is just off the charts! 

I used one panel for this sketch and used YInMnBlue as well as other pigments made at Oregon State at Mad Subramanian labs. 

Fireworks on the National Mallย 

Day 5/31 – #WorldWatecolorMonth

DC put on a spectacular show at the National Mall last night. Fear of thunderstorms had the fate of the fireworks in doubt, but we lucked out and the storm and rain held out long enough for the eager crowds to get what they came for and then some! I managed to capture a few splashes of watercolor in my sketchbook in semi darkness. I did several of these and then I just had to put down my brush and simply watch, and oooh and aaah with the rest of the crowd! This one came out better than the rest so I refined it a bit. 

I might just post the other splashes, if I feel bold enough…

Circus Tent – Red,White and #YInMnBlue !

Day4/31 – #WorldWstercolorMonth

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the theme is Circus Arts. The Festival brings the rich history, mystique and diversity of American circus arts to life on the National Mall. There were circus performances, behind the scenes, emerging artists and contemporary visionaries, and coaches, costume designers, makeup artists, musicians, prop and tent designers, riggers, poster artists, wagon builders, and many others whose collective creative work brings the circus to life. 

While the crowds lined up all the way around the tent I sat outside the big tent and sketched the Red, White and Blue under a somewhat ominous sky! They were calling for thunderstorms tonight. 

Happy 4th!