Pandemic sketchbook: my (very brief) Blue Period

Drawing of an iris
Iris, watercolor pencil
Wild Aster drawing
Wild Aster, watercolor pencil
Drawing of a house finch
House Finch, watercolor pencil

I have been drawing nature finds and things growing in my garden for quite a while in the Before Times or BC, Before Corona virus. I think of my style as not very precise botanical drawings. So I kept drawing things from the natural world in my Pandemic Sketchbook, things I spotted on my daily walks when the lockdown was very strict here in the New York metropolitan area. Everyone was walking and walking in the neighborhood, partly because everything was closed and sitting at home was making people stir crazy, I suspect. Leaving my sketchbook aside when I found several pieces of blue card stock in a file cabinet, I drew some flowers and a visiting House Finch with watercolor pencils on the blue background. The paper could take a little bit of water with a small brush and some blending with a tortillon . I also realized I can wet the point of the pencil to get texture. After three drawings, I ran out of this color and moved on to something else. I’ve been trying different styles and techniques in my sketchbook and trying to use up the supplies I have in my studio rather than succumb to Pandemic online shopping syndrome. I see Amazon boxes piled on every door step on my daily walks. Now there’s a topic: delivery man carrying a teetering pile of boxes! It’s hot and humid summer now so people are back indoors in the air conditioning. Shops and things are opening up and traffic is increasing, and my extremely Blue Period is over for now. Let’s hope it doesn’t have a resurgence. (Metaphor alert there…)

Pandemic Sketchbook: self-portrait with bandana

Charcoal Portrait of a woman in a bandana
Self-portrait with bandana, charcoal pencil

This self-portrait is based on a photograph taken by a friend a couple of weeks ago. We were sitting on my front porch where I have two chairs spaced six feet apart. She wore a mask and I wore a bandana out of an excess of caution while we talked.

Small-Town Protest

Small town protest drawing
Small-Town Protest, pen and ink wash

In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, the USA has a crisis within a crisis. After the murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day, May 25, by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, nationwide protests brought out people demonstrating for Black Lives Matter and racial justice. From big cities to small towns, like the one where I live, there were demonstrations. I drew this pen and ink drawing in my Pandemic Sketchbook because our collective attention is now on more than just the coronavirus.

Pandemic sketchbook: collage

Collages of potted plants
Aloes on the deck, collage
Geraniums, collage

Trying new techniques while sketching only what I can see while staying at home is a good way to see my surroundings with a different point of view. Collage is a technique that for some reason takes a little less concentration than a realistic sketch. It is less bound to reality, I suppose. I included crossword puzzles from the newspaper to remind me of new activities people are doing to pass the time. You can also spot a wrapper in Chinese from a bar of soap and a photograph of Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading infectious disease specialist in the U.S. So hints of the pandemic lurk in the collage inevitably.

Pandemic sketchbook: what’s blooming now?

The flowering trees were beautiful in April and May. I am using my sketchbook to try different mediums and styles. The top painting is a close-up of a dogwood blossom in wet on wet watercolor. The sketch below is done in oil pastels, applied thickly in layers, blended and scratched through with a palette knife .

Dogwood blossom, watercolor painting
Dogwood blossom, watercolor
Tulips and lilac blossoms, oil pastel painting
Tulips and lilacs, oil pastel