The Traveling Still Life Poinsettia

In my last post, I mentioned that one element of the still life I am working on in my teacher’s studio has to come home with me each week. I can’t leave the poinsettia because the studio cats might be tempted to nibble on this toxic plant. So the potted poinsettia gets tucked up in a brown paper bag each week and sits in the passenger seat while I drive home. So far the cold weather has not bothered it. It is so cold in my home studio that the plant is now on my dining room table where it’s nice and warm for this tropical denizen and also warm enough for me to draw it in my sketchbook today without freezing my hands. I sketched the plant loosely in pencil, then inked it in black. I erased the pencil marks, then added the color with a new set of watercolor markers that my daughter gave me for Christmas. The colors are vivid. The brand is ‘Primrosia.’

Drawing of a poinsettia
Poinsettia, watercolor markers

Fall Still Life: adding details and finishing: art lessons during a pandemic

Looking back on my painting progress and process, by early December, the pumpkin had rotted and was put out for the squirrels. The flowers were dead and brittle. The gourd was hanging in there pretty well, but I was frustrated. And cold. Very cold.

I was now working from a combination of a large printout of an old photograph, an iPad on a stand displaying the photograph of the still life as it originally was, and the sad remnants of the still life on the table. I was also a little tired of the whole thing after two months. Plus, with the Pandemic raging around us, I was masked, glasses fogging up, bundled up in layers, and leaving the studio doors open because three of us were working in the shared studio. We kept our distance, trying to converse through muffling masks across the space and hands frozen in medical gloves because we shared some brushes and paints. Well, this was an art class unlike any other in the past and I’m sure we will look back on it and be amazed.

Fall still life in progress, acrylics
Fall Still life in progress, acrylics

This was my first acrylic painting aside from a couple quick studies last fall. I plan to keep going with this medium in 2021.

Fall still life in progress, acrylics
Fall Still life in progress, acrylics, week after week progress

When I finished the painting, I disassembled the still life I had been studying for weeks. The gourd went out for the squirrels. The dead flowers were thrown out. The vase washed and put away. The battered silver tray returned to my kitchen to hold a bottle of hand soap and sanitizer. I folded the red flannel drape for future use in my studio. I’m ready to gaze at a new still life.

I finally finished my painting in the week before the Christmas break in our classes. I learned a lot. I could not have done this without the excellent and patient instruction from my wonderful teacher. Teachers rock! Happy New Year!

Fall still life
Fall Still Life, acrylics…finished!
Artist masked for pandemic
Artist at work during pandemic

Merry Christmas!

Chickadee , watercolor
Chickadee, watercolor

This year’s Christmas card is a watercolor painting of a chickadee. The birds in my yard rarely pose long enough for their portrait (ha ha) so my source photograph was taken by my art teacher and used, with her permission, as the model for my 2020 card. I finished the painting in the Fall of 2019 and I sent it to the printers this Fall in time to mail out my cards. However, the mail system is so overwhelmed during the Pandemic, that I am sending more digital copies than usual. Merry Christmas!

Finishing Volume 1 of my Pandemic Sketchbook

When I started drawing and writing in my ‘Pandemic sketchbook’ in early Spring at the beginning of the stay-at-home advisory, I might have thought that the pandemic would end before I ran out of blank pages. Sadly, that is not the case. The virus continues to burn through all the dry tinder of non-immune populations worldwide.

I have three pages to go in my sketchbook and a new, blank one waiting to be filled. The latest page is of tumbling leaves falling downward. I wet the paper with a natural sponge, then painted and splattered fall colors onto the damp page. When dry, I drew the leaves. Using dried leaves I had pressed in a book as templates, I traced around them, adding the veins and details later. I’m hoping that by next Spring, when I have filled up Volume 2 of my Pandemic Sketchbook, we have an effective, widely distributed vaccine and the Pandemic is subsiding.

Watercolor of falling autumn leaves
Autumn leaves, watercolor and pen and ink

USA Votes…and waits

Election Day collage
Election Day USA, collage

Yesterday, November 3, 2020, was Election Day in the USA, but counting the ballots will take days or even weeks, so as of right now, we don’t know who won the U.S. presidency. I made a collage from newspaper clippings in my Pandemic Sketchbook to distract myself and to reflect on this historic moment. I only have a few pages left in my sketchbook, but the pandemic is far from over…stay well everyone.