Gardening day

Day 25/31- #WorldWatercolorMonth

Yesterday was gardening day. It was the perfect day, cool (by summer standards), slightly breezy and partly cloudy, and the day after a summer shower! So perfect! Lots of pruning, dead heading, and light weeding.

‘Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade’ said Rudyard Kipling and he was right! But in between the work I did take time out in the Shade – to sketch. I’m rarely in my garden without my sketchbook or pad so I’m never caught off guard when something catches my fancy.

I had some hostas I planted years ago. Interestingly the deer don’t seem to want to eat them and the hummingbirds love them. They have large pale purple flowers and the hummers are always at them, dawn to dusk. So, today was the day for sketching hostas. It was a lovely time, the birds were singing and some were busy scratching for food, the day was cool and sketching was peaceful. ‘How lovely is the silence of growing things’ – unknown.

I spent quite some time studying the dark shadows between the leaves and flowers. Heres one sketch thats all about shadows, while the other two sketches are more about the flowers. The photo doesn’t due justice to the depth of the shadows, but I thought I’d post it anyway.

Tropical Patterns 

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 ōkubi-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 ōkubi-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 Windows 

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 Mall 

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…

US Capitol – Ready for the 4th!

Day3/31- #WorldWatercolorMonth – today’s post is a really quick sketch of the US Capitol Building from the distance.  

Baby it’s cold outside!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanza, Happy Holidays to one and all.

img_7965

 

Night Of a 1,000 Lights 

The night before last night was the last night of “Night of a 1,000 Lights” at Longwood. It’s Longwood’s Asian-inspired lantern celebration of thousands of floating and hanging lights or Chinese lanterns all aglow. For four nights (the last 2 consecutive Fridays and Saturdays) the Conservatory is open late and you get to enjoy this lighted show after hours in full view of the Chrysanthemum Festival. More on the chrysanthemum festival in a later post.  The event was spectacular last year and didn’t disappoint this year either! Here are a few of the images I managed to capture.

These were the lovely display at the Conservatory entrance.

img_0255

The floating lanterns in the Exhibition Hall, the gentle sway and the soft reflections on the water were quite mesmerizing.

img_0257

These orange lanterns lined the Acacia Passage in a continuous stream and the feathery acacia fronds that entwined them added a sense of mistique and an ethereal atmosphere. And these multi shades of blue lanterns lined the ceiling of the cactus room.

Stay tuned, more sketches from this event on the way…

Fall trees

This time of year I love sketching trees. The changing colors, the negative space, and just the fun of capturing them as they go from green to yellow to shades of oranges, reds, purples and on to just bare with blue skies takes only a few days and if you miss it you’ve got wait a whole year. Here are a few that I’ve done so far.

This is a view from my window…and a special tree in my backyard.

Another view of the same trees as they change colors done just a day later…

These trees are a view from my dining room window…

This one is from a hike at Longwood…

From my sketchbook

A short trip to LA in October gave me the chance to visit Long Beach and the Los Angels County Museum of Art. The visit to LACMA was too short and I have to go back again, bit I did manage to do some sketches both outdoors and in. My favorite by far of the outdoor sculptures was Chris Burden’s Urban Light comprising 220 vintage lampposts. I managed a quick pen and ink sketch while I waited for the museum to open.

 

Indoors, the highlight for me was the Lazarof collection of Piccaso, Degas, Pissarro, Kandinsky, and a whole room filled with sculptures by Alberto Giacometti. Here’s a quick sketch of Giacometti’s Monumental Head.