The café tables are back on the patio at my favorite downtown haunt, and I’m once again luxuriating in a cup of coffee-someone-else-made as well as a uniquely New England hermit bar. My shoulder bag is loaded with all the usuals, but sadly no journal for writing because I swapped that out for a sketchbook years ago.
Still, I want to jot down a few notes for a blog post, so I rummage around and discover the solution: the back of a CVS receipt! I’ve often joked about how useful they’d be for unplanned sketching, etc., but I’ve never actually used one. And yes, when rolled up from both ends it could certainly pass for a modern-day scroll.
(I use a cross-body messenger bag as my everyday satchel, and every single time I try to swap it out for something smaller or more lightweight, I regret it. So now when I want it to be lighter, I simply empty the water bottle. Instant 16 oz. relief!)
Later. . . as much as I enjoy being outdoors, it’s now a few days later and the wind is whipping around, rattling my windows at 25mph with gusts to who-know-what, so indoors feels much better, even safer! Not much has changed in my little world for a while now, hence the gap in blog posts, but I do have some exciting news.
Some years ago I purchased two art courses from an artist in Australia, Liz Steel, who has since updated and reintroduced both courses. She’s allowed us alumni to join the latest batch of people taking this course for the first time, and there’s a delightfully interactive feeling to the forum she created just for students. I believe most of us alums are “drop-outs” like me: we got part way through the course initially, then Life happened and we each silently muttered, “Oh well, lifetime access, I’ll get back to that later. . .” Oh, those good intentions!
I’m thoroughly enjoying both classes, far more than I did in 2015 and 2018 when I originally purchased each course. Here’s the surprising part: every bit of the lessons sounds and feels brand new. How could that be? And even better, the homework I’m doing is much better than what I produced all those years ago. You can be told over and over again that “putting in the pencil miles” (as John Muir Laws calls it) is the only thing that will substantially improve your artwork, but to see proof with your own eyes (of your own work, not someone else’s), well, there’s nothing like it to motivate the heck out of you.
These are the classes: Foundations and Watercolour at Sketching Now, by Liz Steel. This woman over-delivers so although the courses are pricey, you’ll get more than your money’s worth from it.
Here’s the latest from that delightful day sketching outdoors recently. First, a very wonky cityscape where I used a funky little limited palette so ended up with much more exciting colors than I usually have! (Note the priceless piece of equipment shown in the photo, something that never leaves my bag: a light-weight 6” x 9” clipboard that gives the heel of my hand a great place to rest when sketching or writing, especially toward the bottom of a page.)
And here’s the second, of one of my favorite subjects, rocks.
Be sure to get outside and safely breathe some spring air this week—and while you’re at it, be sure to schedule in time to sit and stare. Look at That!