What is a true eclectic to do when her passions lead her in different directions?
This is a blog for the unfocused, the round pegs in the square holes, the short-attention span types, and all those who just can't bring themselves to join the ranks and adhere to a single category of activities or interests...whether sketches, drawings and comics, fixing an old farmhouse in Oregon, or whatever else strikes my fancy.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bacchanal at the Art Museum (12-06-12)

As part of its Body Beautiful exhibit, the Portland Art Museum put up a show that was definitely very Portlandia-style: a vaguely Greek-evoking Bacchanal party featuring actors (?) in vaguely S & M leather outfits and poses, standing still like statues.

In other words, a fun opportunity to draw scantily dressed people!

The Bodies Beautiful

As with any party, there was music. But truly, this was a rather sluggish and tame party scene overall.

Just about empty dance floor

On the dance floor

Saturday, November 17, 2012

IPRC Event (11-17-12)

For a while now, I had been wanting to see the new space where Independent Publishers Resource Center (IPRC) had moved to and I took the opportunity of an event scheduled there last night to stop by and check the place out.

Local indie bookstore Reading Frenzy was promoting some recently published Portland zine writers and artists who read or presented some of their work (including that of a woman who related how she biked to the hospital to deliver her child while in labor!). One thing that caught my attention was the hand-drawn Collective Tarot Deck, intriguing in its sizable black package.

The event was well-attended, and the space was open and welcoming. I liked the charm of the old space they rented downtown, but later improvements to the building ruined it for me; charm is elusive and best not tampered with. Anyway, the new space in a warehouse is functional and optimal to house printing equipment.

About the pano sketch above: I really like the challenge of working in my 5" x7" sketchbooks in a way to make things match from page to page (in this pano, the junction between the two double-page spreads is somewhere in the middle; the fact that it is not really noticeable makes it a successful sketch as far as I am concerned).
I usually clean my double-spreads in Photoshop to get the distracting page folds out but in this case, I just moved the page middles a bit to hide the shadows and didn't bother with any other correction aside from joining the two spreads.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Open House at SE Antique Store (11-15-12)

One of my favorite local antique stores is Bernadette Breu Experience.

It is one of those magical dreamy places where odd and delightful objects of every provenance are displayed in bohemian artistic displays. There is so much to discover that one must make the time to slow down, to look at every one of the many treasures inside.

So what a fun opportunity it was to be invited to do some sketches of the early Christmas event at the store! Many people were present visiting and talking at what seemed more like a social event than a sales event.
So many people!

By the snacks table
Faces in the crowd

I worked on some sketches of the crowd, but my attention was focused on a display of beautiful shoes covered in gorgeous fabrics and the fantastic west wall near the sales counter.

My unfinished watercolor
The model scene

I love it when a sketch works out!
The west wall

Saturday, November 10, 2012

cre8camp Creative Workshop (11-10-12)

I attended the cre8camp workshop, which was informative, despite laden with creative industry jargon ("...We must foster the idealism-based drive that our clients bring to the table, in a way that will compound the idea-to-solutiont-to-impact components we can add to the creative conversation..."). Gosh, there are days when I want to hit my head against a wall...

Anyway, it was informative, especially since the subject of "comping" artwork came up, and the concept of exploiting artists by holding a carrot in front of them, under the guise that they will have a portfolio piece, and never mind being paid for their work. Hmmm... We haven't experienced something like that with a large local arts organization that purports to support artists in the region, have we? (Someone's work was used in a publication, but not paid...).

Attendees at cre8camp

Monday, November 5, 2012

About the Election (11-05-12)

I did not vote for the Count Dracula and Eddie Munster ticket.

In a world wrought by lack of compassion, I could not relate to a candidate whose allegiance rests with the rich, a candidate who voices arrogant disdain for 47% percent of his own countrymen, underlining a fundamental inability to serve and represent all of his countrymen, whether they rely on financial tax shelters abroad, or not.

In a world wrought by poverty, I could not relate to a candidate whose income is so far out of the realm of comprehensible that, as much as I personally can't understand what it means, I know that the same works in reverse: this person does not know what it means to not be able to pay of food, housing, schooling, student loans, and healthcare costs...

In a world wrought by lack of opportunities, I could not relate to a candidate whose fortunate background precludes any direct experience of life's challenges. Not all of us are born and raised within networks of well-heeled connected people; not all of us find doors opening at the mention of our family name, or the amount of money we make. Not all of us have access to the best medical care, nor do all of have stock options to sell off as the need arises...

In a world wrought by lack of balance, I could not relate to a candidate whose first agenda would be to dismantle the first real efforts at providing health coverage to people in this country, -however imperfect it may be-, and tear down the frail social safety net for the aged, without any aim for improvement, but just to make a point.

In a world wrought by lack of integrity, I could not relate to a candidate whose words ring hollow, and whose position on issues seems to change as the wind turns. A man of integrity is not a chameleon; he does not lie, but will open his heart and will be inspired to lead his nation by serving it, for the wounded need tending, the oppressed need relief, and the struggling need assistance.

No, I did not vote for cynicism and arrogance, because had I done so, I would have lost my self-respect.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Portland Pirates at Dr. Sketchy (10-28-12)

I met with some fellow local Urban Sketchers and British artist Pete Scully who was visiting from California at this month's Dr. Sketchy event at Crush. This is a wonderful opportunity to be around other artists and work on life drawings of people in various settings and/or costumes.

A fitting theme for this month centered around pirates; Portland pirates, that is...

Timed poses ranged from 5 to 20 minutes and were pretty challenging: elaborate scenes with several people, odd perspective due to proximity to the stage, colors...

I didn't feel confident enough to whip out my watercolors and start painting away, so I relied on soft oil pastels to add some color to my sketches. I also made the effort to use a brush pen; this was a big stretch for me, since I feel most comfortable with my trusted V-Ball Pilot pens...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Final Presidential Debate (10-22-12)

With the election a couple of weeks away, we're finally almost at the end of a long ordeal. And I can't even really complain: I don't watch television, so I missed all the ads. It's just been a long year, with constant reports about "the campaign this...the campaign that..."

So, while we were watching the last half hour of the last debate, I worked on a quick sketch of each candidate.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Alanna R. Wedding (10-06-12)

Alanna, a friend of mine and fellow local urban sketcher, got married at a Eagle Fern Camp, a lovely rural camp near Estacada.

 How wonderful to see that so many relatives and friends were present to offer their support on such a special day! Franky, I was stunned, since this is not anything I've experienced in my life in the United States, as people have been reluctant to even drive a mere 45 minutes out of their way for some of our important family events, so this was absolutely the best thing to see...

Alanna is great. She is the one who most often comes up with suggestions for places to meet and sketch, and the PDX Urban Sketchers group wouldn't be the same without her.

The dinner was fun, with guests treated to a delicious home-style meal, and I took the opportunity to draw faces in the crowd.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Anti-Walmart Protest (07-14-12)

Stunning news at a recent meeting of the Oak Grove Community Council: Walmart plans to open a grocery store in the vacant G.I Joe store on McLoughlin Blvd.

With A Fred Meyer, a Safeway, and a Grocery Outlet within less than a mile from the targeted location, a competing grocery store is the last thing Oak Grove needs (and why can't we have a specialty store like Trader Joe's instead? The nearest one is seven miles away).

So a protest was organized to give voice to the community's opposition to this project. It isn't that such action is going to suddenly make a company notorious for its rogue practices suddenly have a change of mind, but if we just let is pass without even doing anything, it's like they won already.

And why don't I shop at Walmart, you may ask? I hate it that the minute one walks in is that one feels as in a place full of desperation. i can't explain it; it's pervasive to the Walmart ambiance: cavernous interiors, cheap-looking merchandise, indifferent, tired-looking clerks, and the customers... Well, that may be the worst of it. I don't want to sound like I am being critical of people down on their luck, but really... Call me a snob, and I am sure it is a matter of taste, but it's a place for vulgar uneducated masses, as far as I am concerned.

Finally, I understand that Walmart is perceived by some as a more affordable place to shop, but so is Goodwill, and so is Dollar Tree. At least the latter stores offer a shopping environment on a more human scale, with consistent personnel.

So, there we were, signing pledges to not shop at the store when it opens, and waving our signs to passing cars.

Not in our community!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Meeting at RACC (07-12-12)

I attended a meeting at the Regional Arts and Culture Council today regarding the guidelines for project grants.

As I understand it, this type of grant seems best suited for established artists who already have contacts within the theater or gallery circuits. Let's say I want to propose a poetry reading; to be able to be considered for a RACC project grant, I must already have a venue booked up for this event.. This is also cool if I am, let's say, a painter, and a gallery is applying with the intent of booking me in the future... Otherwise, it doesn't look like there would be a way to make it work.
I may have misunderstood, and I will have to read all eleven pages of the grants guidelines paperwork, but the application process seems very complicated and restrictive...

Anyway, I gave myself the fun challenge of drawing people in the room...

Rapt audience listening to Helen Daltoso's presentation
And here are the panels in their original form, as drawn on four two-page spreads of my sketchbook, all connected later as the large panel above.

Don Colley at Muse Art and Design (07-12-12)

Artists all have other artists they admire.

My unmitigated admiration goes to Don Colley, a master at using Pitt Brush Artist pens to create gorgeous color spreads in his sketchbooks.

So when I heard that he was coming to Muse Art and Design in SE Portland, I made sure to attend his presentation.

Yet, even though I was fortunate to watch him work in person, I still can't figure it out how he does the shading, or the highlights...

Oh... the colors!

Skype Sketch (07-12-12)

Without going into any details, I did an interpretation project over Skype and had a couple of minutes to work on this quick sketch of two of the parties involved.
I tried to draw what I saw, but it was a challenge: very poor lighting and the computer screen image was blurred.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

New Sketchbook (07-08-12)

I started a new sketchbook, and decided to introduce some other colors than the usual black pen, and work on patterns for the signatures.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tutankhamen Exhibit in Seattle (07-07-12)

At the end of our cruise to Alaska, Gary and I went to see the Tutankhamun exhibit at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.

It was an amazing experience, to walk among precious Egyptian art treasures. I saw a sketch of a duck done in graphite, and admired its precise and smooth lines. Such beauty, so fragile, all that is left of someone who walked the earth many centuries ago.

I could have spent all afternoon lost among the haunting beauty of the dark exhibit hall, but was told that sketching was forbidden (!); so I only have this sketch of a small statue of Queen Hatshepsut.

A work in progress
  I find it difficult to explain the awe one feels, to be so close to artifacts tied to Tutankhamun one has heard about for years, to get a view of some of the contents of Tutankhamun's tomb... such as, -most worthy of mention-, gold sandals that were found on Tutankhamun's mummy, modeled on reed woven sandals with extravagant bows on top of the foot, so beautiful...
Gloriously beautiful sandals of a dead king

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cruise to Alaska: Craigdarroch Castle and Blue Fox Cafe (07-05-12)

A splendid day in VictoriaBritish Columbia

Gary and I walked from the cruise ship terminal into downtown Victoria, and from there on to Craigdarroch Castle, altogether about a 45 minute walk. Nice weather, many people. We took a self-guided tour of Craigdarrogh Castle, the most amazing and grandest house I have ever been in (Stained glass! Woodwork! Moldings! Marble!..). It put our local, usually impressive Pittock Mansion to shame. 
A Victorian dream house, found at last!
Afterward, on our way back to the cruise ship, we stopped by a very cool restaurant called the Blue Fox Cafe. From the sidewalk, we could see that there were many people inside, none of them obvious tourists, so we took this as an indication that the locals liked the place. And we were right about that: the food was delicious. I can't remember what Gary had, but the Moroccan Chicken Benny I ordered was delicious! What a pleasant meal we had...
Blue Fox Cafe

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Random Designs (07-03-12)

I was trying to work on some forms and shapes that would suggest fabric patterns; I used a black brush pen and a silver and a gold gel pen.

Cruise to Alaska: Tracy Arm Fjord (07-03-12)

The Inside Passage and Tracy Arm Fjord were the most beautiful part of the cruise... At the risk of sounding cliché, -and I am not one to start posting vacation photos-, but really... WHALES! We saw whales!

 The water was an exquisite opaque green, and looked like Jade-ite.

So I spent the day inside one of the ship's restaurants, trying to paint what I saw.
Tracy Arm Fjord in early afternoon

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cruise to Alaska: Juneau (07-01-12)

I used my old watercolor pencils to record my first impressions of Juneau as the cruise ship entered the city...(there isn't much).