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.

Monday, July 14, 2014

At a Wedding (07-14-14)

I was invited to the wedding of a coworker, Erika G., and did these two quick watercolor sketches. It was informal, lovely, at a secluded picnic area at Bella Organic Farm on Sauvie Island.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dr. Sketchy Event (01-26-14)

I hadn't attended a Dr. Sketchy event for a while, so this was a nice opportunity to work on figure drawing. The model was Angelique Devil, a sculptural beauty with long, gorgeous legs.

I, of course, got there late, so got to task immediately. The first images were quick 2-minute poses.

I like the center image, with the more casual, relaxed pose. I also like that I managed to catch the shoe soles and give them some volume.

The pose on the left is the once I consider to be the most successful of all. The center pose was the most challenging one; I was sitting in the front row, and being that close is a challenge in itself.

None of the figure sketches catch the model's facial features or expressions; I was focused on the body, not the face. This portrait is more or less closer to what she looked like, but not quite...

Another challenge: how to draw a body so that the parts touching the floor don't look flat?
 Same here: I feel as if the crossed legs are a separate entity from the torso.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sketchnoting Workshop (10-26-13)

After the Sketchnoting workshop, we went to an interesting storytelling event about race at Hipbone Studio, ranging from discrete black-on-black discrimination, childhood memories, to blatant job discrimination, to end with civil right era memories.

Here are my "sketch notes," as done listening to the speakers, Willie Welch, Donna Kelly, Paula Small, and Judith Mowry. My conclusions about the experience? I still rely on portrait sketching to get an insight about the person, while jotting down some abbreviated notes and using devices (arrows?) that somewhat follow the ideas of sketch-noting.
At left: the organizers; at right: Willie Welch

At left: Donna Kelly

At left: Paula Small; at right: Judith Mowry

Sketchnoting Workshop (10-26-13)

I attended an interesting-sounding event sponsored by TEDxConcordiaUPortland I found on Eventbrite: Sketchnoting. Of course, I got there late, despite my good-willed attempts at being on time, just for once...
This part of the workshop taught at On Your Feet was instructional, with a few exercises tossed in. The practive part will involve listening to people telling stories about their lives. So far, pretty straightforward stuff: create small and neat visual devices to shorthand the spoken word. Heheh...fun for someone who likes drawing!

Here are the notes and exercises from my sketchbook (Notes on pages 1, 2, and 5 copied off workshop instructor Doug Neill's notes on the board).

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sign Painters and Large-Scale WeMake Event (10-12-13)

Busy afternoon and evening today, as part of Design Week PDX!

I watched an excellent documentary about sign painters at the Hollywood Theater in the afternoon... Never mind that I got there a half an hour late. There are times when getting late because I feel anxious is really a drag. This film consists of interviews with some old-timers, such as members of the Letterheads, as well as present sign makers. It was ironic to hear about the 70s as if it were a quasi-Prehistoric very long time ago, the "Golden Age" of sign-making, etc.

On to the WeMake SketchXchange organized by Yvonne Perez Emerson. This month's featured speaker was Nelson Lowry from LAIKA animation studio… There were over 300 people at this very enjoyable presentation (I was very glad I could attend since I had been wait listed). We saw photos of various stages of sets buildings from Paranorman, paintings, small models of monsters, etc. I particularly enjoyed the animation figurines on display.
From Paranorman animation story

The opportunity to hear an artist talk about his or her work, struggles, successes, thought processes, etc., is invaluable to people like me. Creative work is a solitary pursuit, and it is just plain "nice" to be in a room and to enjoy the openness and willingness of participants to draw in other people's sketchbooks...

Nelson Lowry drew a little creature in the small format sketchbook I used for sketch exchanges. However, the space was too big, too noisy and distracting to find anyone to exchange sketches with this time.
Nelson Lowry

With nothing else to do for a while, I tried out a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet… I had never tried one before (the small one I had many years ago does not count because I never used it even once). I liked how it worked, despite the sales rep exclaiming in fake wonder at the results, the same way he probably does for everyone.

…And the day ended with the WeMake Put a Bird in It party during which very imaginative interpretations of birdhouses made by various designers and creatives were auctioned off.

Two of the birdhouses caught my attention. One had a roof made of peacock feathers and bird feet, but my favorite was the one by illustrator Rory Phillips, with carefully painted details; it was lovely.
I now wish I had taken more photos of some of the other birdhouses, especially the lucite see-through birdhouse. And a photo of the Beetlejuice-style birdhouse... Or the wood drop birdhouse...
Rory Phillips birdhouse
Baba Yaga inspired
One of the Design Week-related item that caught my attention was the clever poster for the event. How close can one get to say something without saying it?

And it's funny... how one can ultimately feel alone in a crowd.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Designing Women and a Fancy Auction (10-10-13)

All right, a Ladies' Happy Hour for Design Week PDX! Driving all the way from Raleigh Hills during rush hour isn't for the fainthearted, so I arrived at PNCA when drinking was well underway on the mezzanine and the mood was chatty.

I am not naturally outgoing, so rather than make small talk with strangers, I walked around the room looking at the PNCA alumni artwork hanging on the wall. One large a monochrome landscape in reds immediately caught my attention, and I regret not having noted the artist's name. Carl Annala's tree in a decaying forest also caught my attention.

After much socializing, we all moved en masse downstairs for the Designing Women Panel Discussion co-sponsored by the Museum of Contemporary Craft with Bitch Media.

This was a well-attended events, with mostly women present. I was curious about what insights we would gain from the panelists (Julie Beeler, Kate Bingaman-Burt, Sara Huston, and Carrie Strickland).

In the end, a lot of time was spent, so it seemed, with each women presenting herself as "so-very-normal-and-down-to-earth-for-Heaven's-Sake" type.. And, no matter what, the rebel in me considers that the person sitting on a stage, by the very focus of being on a panel, is NOT normal and average, and no assurance about growing up "poor" or "disadvantaged" convinces me otherwise. This went on for a while, and started to reach a level of slight absurdity that almost mimicked the "We Had it Tough" mood of the famous (Four Yorkshiremen) Monty Python skit where four well-to-do guys try to overdo each other in describing their hard early lives.

I drew a few of the women sitting in the crowd or on the stage while listening.
My scanner is on strike

And on and on the panel went on, and then it was over, with no revelation that would have somehow enlightened us all, or made us feel embraced in our shared commonalities.

While Q&A was underway, I got impatient and decided to walk a few blocks over to Good Mod where the Portland Design Auction was taking place, one of those Pearl warehouse-style set-ups, with trendy mid-century furniture stored in the back of the huge space.

Beautiful people, creative types, and money-types were present and busy bidding. I won't bother trying to describe anything Art or Design here because I don't understand contemporary stuff. Well, okay, an ottoman covered in what looked like flocked made me puzzle over the final destination for such a piece.

On a final note, good food was served: figs, capers, almonds, Swedish crackers, pâté, olives...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Tepid Party to Start Design Week (10-07-13)

As part of Design Week PDX, ADX was the host site for the launch of the Design Museum, and a tepid affair it was. So tepid that I didn't even fell like pulling out my sketchbook.

The "museum" site consisted of, from what I saw, a smallish room with a custom mini trailer finished in wood, a couple of sleek wood and metal tables and three or four paintings on the wall. Very nice workmanship.

There was free food and drinks. I can't speak for the beer, since I didn't taste it, but the pizza from Hot Lips Pizza was disappointing, barely lukewarm, quasi-impossible to cut with a fork, and consisted of a hard crust topped by a thick bread cushion topped with a thin layer of meager toppings. It was like biting into a pillow.

Despite the nice mixes by DJ Gregarious, people stood around looking bored; frankly, I have seen more animation in a cemetery.

Let's be positive and tell ourselves that other Design Week events will be more exciting.
Bore me to tears...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A wedding (10-06-13)

My daughter Moso asked me to accompany her the wedding of one of her friends, Chrysta F. It was lovely in everything. The bride's dress, -made by her grandmother-, was elegant and fir the 1930s theme well.

I took the opportunity to do a few sketches of things that caught my attention... such as the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, a vase of flowers, one of the bride's sisters (whose face, framed by feathers was very reminiscent of the 30s), the lovely draping of the wedding dress, a vase of lilies with a lovely phrase the bridegroom said during his wedding vows.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A new group meeting: Illustrators (10-06-13)

I was very excited to find a new group on MeetUp: PDX Illustrators. The first monthly meeting, organized by Tora Stark took place at Pappacinos on Woodstock. I got there late (a recurrent theme in my life), but nevertheless heard some valuable information to follow up.

Conference speaker (10-05-13)

I really enjoy working on caricatures and to draw out the odd elements in a plain face (in this case, the rigid pose, the small eyes and the felt-like hair).

Monday, September 30, 2013

A portrait (09-30-13)

Here is a portrait of a lady from my church, who has the most abundant, lush, curly hair. My drawing does not do justice to the the way it twists and curls in tight ringlets.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

WiPP Meeting (09-17-13)

This month, the Women in Portland Publishing (WiPP) met at Powell's Books for a special tour of the Rare Book Room.

Since I am late all the time, I got there at the end of the tour, but in time to take a look around the space, a wonderful square room on the third floor of the bookstore, decorated with wood paneling in the style of a 19th century library room. My impression, based on my memory of the last time I had been there was that with many books front-faced organized to fill the shelves, there are fewer books than in the past.

We went on to Deschutes Brewery, a very popular meeting place, to spend a couple hours trying to shout over the roars of the crowd.

I sat near artist Anne Connell and, bored with the inability to follow aor participate in any conversation, retreated in my sketchbook to draw her.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A not-so-good portrait (09-16-13)

This is what happens when I draw with my arm outstretched, rather than bring the sketchbook closer to me: the results are distorted and look almost caricatural.

Friday, September 13, 2013

What shoes to choose? (09-13-13)

Since the store group I belong to has had a 180 days' safety record, we get to choose a pair of Keen shoes. A difficult decision to make!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Monthly Ladies' Meeting (09-12-13)

A few of the women at our local monthly gathering. I like these quick sketches because they show the personalities well.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

And now, for something different... (07-24-13)

Here is an image that I created, reworked in Photoshop CS4. To not get too specific in details, this image was part of a large event board, with text underneath. I erased the text, copied the upper border, reversed it, reduced its size and added it to the bottom of the image, carefully erasing the text underneath.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hawthorne Bridge and the Blues Festival (07-04-13)

We went to the Waterfront Blues Festival planning to end the 4th of July with a concert by MarchFourth Marching Band followed by fireworks.

Major chaos! The crowd at the waterfront was so dense we barely were able to find a place to sit; Valérie and Patrick were forced to go someplace far from us. Not to be picky here, but although we were relatively close to the stage, it was difficult to hear the concert, to the point that I felt distanced and inattentive, When it was time for the fireworks, we realized the stage was blocking our view of most fireworks save those that were high up in the air...

There was no room to move or do anything, so I pulled my sketchbook out and worked on this watercolor of the Hawthorne Bridge.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Poetry Workshop with Paulann Petersen (04-27-13)

I had the exceptional opportunity to attend a poetry writing workshop with Paulann Petersen, as part of the Milwaukie Poetry Series, and for the benefit of the Oregon Cultural Trust. While I find it difficult to write on a specific designated subject, this served as a personal reminder to keep on writing poetry.

Image slightly distorted...
I drew our Oregon Poet Laureate while she was talking to us.

Friday, April 26, 2013

David Sedaris in Portland! (04-26-13)

After an (ahem!) embarrassing ordeal with a ticket purchase which I won't detail here, - and gracious treatment by the Arlene Schnitzer Hall -, we were able to attend the David Sedaris presentation tonight. Ah, to be lulled by the curious appeal of his voice... Some very funny poems.

Here is the quick sketch I did while waiting in line to talk to the author; not my best, but the view was limited...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stained Glass Window (04-21-13)

Valérie came up to Portland to sing in a fundraiser concert for the Oregon State Choir at First Presbyterian Church downtown. We sat upstairs at the balcony level and I had a close view of the beautiful workmanship in the interior woodwork (how different from the stone interiors of cathedrals in Europe!). Rather than draw the singers during the concert, this time I painted the south rosetta window.

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