Saturday, February 28, 2015

the long downward trajectory of winter

As I was driving errands on a cold day  I saw this winter hardy goose standing in a resolute pose by the side of the road.
I write the most depressing posts in the winter. Every year I ask myself why do I live in the Chicago area when I hate cold weather so much? Why?
Well, I know the answer. I do it for love. Love of my family, no better reason.
I began the month of January with a show of courage and hope. This year, winter will  not get me down. Mid-January I am still feeling okay, I can do this, I'm coping with the snow and ice.
A month later, mid-February, all the bravery and fortitude is gone. Used up. I can't take another below zero day. This year, no relieving visit to Florida either.
February is almost over and it has been a long hunched-shoulders head down slow slog.
Complaining does not change a thing, we look forward to spring and know that the struggle to get there will make it all lovelier.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

on the train returning from a day in the city

This lady noticed me drawing her and pretended not to notice while I pretended not to be glancing at her and drawing her in my sketchbook. How could I resist her? She was so splendidly dressed and put together even after a long day in the city. (Which I heard all about as she called various people on her cell phone during the ride home).
As we were approaching our station she turned to me and brightly remarked that she "admires people who can just draw effortlessly like that".  Ah, so she did know I was drawing her. She then wanted to tell me about her two talented children who are able to "draw just so well and perfectly".  I congratulated her on the brilliance and talents of her children and that was payment enough for her modeling grace.
How about that cheetah print handbag, love it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

on the train into the city

People watching on the Metra to Chicago.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Every Sunday I drive my mother-in-law to Church. I sit with her and often want to sketch her because of her interesting gnarled features. Rather like gazing for a long time at an old weathered gnarled tree. She would hate to hear me say this. Fortunately she doesn't see my blog.
Today's Scripture lesson was from the Gospel of Mark 1:29. 29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. A tiny detail in a much larger story about Jesus healing the mother-in-law of someone he was visiting. And then she got up from her bed and began to cook food for them!
 Put this in my sketching in church category on my Sketchbook for Android app.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Gerhard Richter said "One has to believe in what one is doing, one has to commit oneself inwardly, in order to do painting. Once obsessed, one ultimately carries it to the point of believing that one might change human beings through painting. But if one lacks passionate commitment, there is nothing left to do. Then it is best to leave it alone. For basically painting is total idiocy". 
I found this quote here. I have also seen others artists use this on their websites so it must be commonly used. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

on the bright side

Okay, I will admit this a bit grudgingly. I don't always hate winter and it isn't really all ugly. In fact as many people have pointed out to me, (after I wrote this post) winter can be very beautiful.
I sketched this from memory after returning from a long walk on the Illinois Prairie Path which is right near my home. I had my warmest snow boots  and my trusty companion dog with me. As I returned home, I was struck by the golden lights on the snow as the sun was so low in the sky on a winter day. Contrasting this with the long blue shadows crossing the path in front of me.
This is almost exactly the spot and scene I painted and sketched here and here last fall.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lenten discipline #1

February 18th is Ash Wednesday.
Carnival, Mardi Gras, good times are over for 6 weeks. I already ate my last square of milk chocolate.
I post this every year, here and here, I really enjoy the season of Lent. It is a time for solemn contemplation and I always want that kind of time. I need that kind of time.
I also need my contemplation time in the studio painting and I am struggling to get what I need.
Lenten discipline: stay in studio painting. (paint with joy) (stop the busyness and contemplate)
Now that I have discovered the joy of painting in oils, I can't stop thinking about what to get to next.  Is it a discipline if you enjoy it? Or, am I fulfilling my act of discipline by giving my full attention to a long awaited gift of my God-given art?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

my valentines

I admit I used photos for reference. Sketches made using my phone Sketchbook app after visiting with my two grandchildren.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


A year ago I visited the city of Houston, Texas for the first time. I had a day to explore on my own and went immediately to my first interest, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, of course! I enjoyed seeing a special exhibition of Impressionist work, but I also found many great treasures in the permanent collection.
As usual I traveled with my sketchbook, here and here are a few of my other "Houston" moments from that trip. I spent a long amount of time gazing at this J.M.W. Turner painting. I had not spent this much time contemplating a Turner before this.
I did this sketch standing in the center of the gallery, somehow this was suspicious activity and the gallery security guard kept giving me hard looks. Perhaps the size of my sketchbook and the colored pencils I kept whipping out of my pockets? I added the color wash a few minutes later sitting in a courtyard by a small fountain.
The rest of this story continues with a Valentines Day date with my husband who considerately accompanied me to see the recent movie Mr. Turner. I really wanted to see this movie and loved every minute of the two and a half hours of it. The information about the life and times of Turner was memorable, many scenes filmed the exact location and circumstances of some of his great paintings. The actor Timothy Spall was excellent as Turner and the cinematography was beautiful. My husband did mutter something about the length and slow pace of the movie being like "watching paint dry." A good time for all nonetheless.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Turner and Sea of Galilee

Sunday in church sketching (while listening of course!) using my tablet/phone with Sketchbook app.