Pandemic Sketchbook: October, month 8

Oil pastels are perfect for catching the brilliant colors of autumn foliage. In the landscape below, I applied the color as thickly as I could, using quite a lot of pressure and building up layers, then blending with a paper towel and scratching and scraping with a palette knife. The sketchbook paper held up surprisingly well to all that energetic scribbling and scratching!

Landscape of fall foliage
Autumn foliage, oil pastels

In the sketchbook page shown below, the oil pastel drawing of a grey sky contrasts with the red and yellow colors of the leaves. Below the drawing I wrote about the onset of ‘Pandemic Fatigue,’ just as Covid cases begin to surge in my town and almost everywhere else in the world.

Sketchbook page of fall foliage
My sketchbook at week 33, oil pastels and comments

Painting rocks and putting them out for neighborhood children is completely different from drawing in my sketchbook. The craft is creative, but does not require as much close observation or concentration as a realistic sketch does. I did not put polyurethane on most of the rocks, because if the weather fades them, they will just go back to their original state eventually which is fine by me. Smooth rocks hold the paint pretty well, but porous rocks do not. By spring, I wonder what will be left? And will my Pandemic Sketchbook turn back into a regular old sketchbook in a normal world?

Painted rock house
Fairy Village in the Fall

Pandemic Sketchbook: September

Charcoal drawing of a rabbit
Rabbit in my garden, charcoal pencil

Sketching wildlife in black and white brought me back to my Pandemic Sketchbook in September. There seems to be more critters in my yard and neighborhood, or maybe I just have more time to observe nature these days. I did not get to the beach this summer, but painted a gull from a photo I took years ago.

Watercolor of a sea gull
Gull on New Jersey beach, watercolor

Pandemic Sketchbook: thumbnail sketches

During the first three months of staying at home, I drew in my sketchbook almost daily, but then I slowed down. To break through the ‘artist’s block,’ I recently made some thumbnail sketches of what’s blooming now in my garden. The small format is very easy and liberating and got me back to the drawing board.

Sketches of flowers
What’s blooming now, thumbnail pencil sketches
Small sketches of a small blue flower
The Blue Flowering Weed, thumbnail sketches

Pandemic Sketchbook: Zinnias, collage

Collage of zinnias
Zinnias, multimedia

Zinnias on my deck, collage and oil pastels.
Underneath the layers of glue and hand painted paper is the television schedule from the newspaper. That little bit of a Pandemic Past-time reference got covered up. Whoops. Can you find the paper towels I use to blot my watercolor brushes? Or the glossy advertisements for patio and landscaping companies? ‘Safer at home in the suburbs’ – maybe that should be the title. Try collage as a ‘way in’ to your artistic subconscious.

Pandemic Sketchbook: the Return of Fleur the frog

Drawing of a frog
Fleur the Frog looks at her Portrait

I have found it difficult to draw during this fourth month of staying at home, so I started painting rocks in June instead. Rock painting seems to require less concentration. I finally got back to my sketchbook today thanks to Fleur, my old froggy friend. In this drawing, Fleur the Frog looks at a painted rock featuring her portrait. An explanation of sorts is required. When I used to blog book reviews in my former life as a librarian, I recruited Fleur, an area frog from the local swamp, to ‘write’ for the blog. It gave me a break from the task. She reappeared on one of my recent painted rocks. Then, as is her rather ‘meta/ironic?’ habit, she just popped up in this still life today (above).

Mono print of a frog
Fleur the Frog, monoprint
Drawing of a frog
Fleur the Frog, pencil

Fleur appears in my art from time to time: in the monoprint from 2019 and in the original drawing which still appears as her avatar on the old library blog (above) In today’s drawing, I used a small plastic toy as a model in the still life. Thanks, Fleur, for posing. I needed the inspiration and bit of whimsy that you always bring to my work.

Still life with frog
Box of Rocks and Frog, pencil