Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sketching with Myrna Wacknov

Myrna posing with our sketches

I was fortunate enough to meet up with an internet friend, the talented and accomplished artist and teacher, Myrna Wacknov of Creativity Journey, while visiting my family in California. We met at the Cantor Museum at Stanford University and had a great time discussing art and creativity, looking through each others sketchbooks and sketching materials and sharing thoughts and ideas. With a bottle of ink in the middle of the table we experimented with drawing instruments while sketching each other in the warm California sun.

I sketched Myrna with a natural bamboo pen and ink. Then used the dreaded waterbrush to add watercolor.

Myrna sketched me with a wooden coffee stirrer and then added watercolor with a sable travelbrush along with a container of water. I had major brush envy...

Thank you Myrna for an outstanding creative sketch/visit.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Walking in the Maine woods

Walking through the woods to the lake, there is a spot where the ground is covered with a thick soft layer of pines needles from a grove of Eastern White Pines. We can not hear our footsteps and these lovely pine cones are scattered everywhere. I gathered as many as would fit in the hood of my parka.

Portrait of a friend.


Every week I communte to Potomac Maryland for work. An hour plane ride and on a good day it is only 45 minutes from the Baltimore airport to work. The traffic in the greater DC area is unbelievably conjested and the slightest drizzle can turn an hour commute into 2+ hours. You can imagine what it must be like when it snows. Last winter some of my collegues had an 8 hour commute home. I, on the otherhand, was stranded and not getting home at all.

It is always wonderful when I look out the window and see this view. The islands dotting the Casco Bay and Portland harbor. A beautiful sight and a sigh of relief, knowing I will soon be home.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A fall weekend in the country

I spent a weekend in the Belgrade Lakes Region in central Maine. Beautiful lakes dotted with cottages and surrounded by mountains to the north and west. We hiked the trails through the woods and along the lake on that warm November day. I haven't had much time to sketch at all recently with work and travel, so my drawing skills have taken a hit.

But I did learn to drive a tractor...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hiking in the White Mountains, New Hampshire

Living in Maine has given me the opportunity to spend wonderful times hiking in the spectacular White Mountains of New Hampshire. One of my favorite things to do is a long hike with friends and stay overnight at one of the AMC huts along the Appalachian Trail. Upon arrival, I usually race into the hut to secure one of the highly coveted lower bunks and then I can enjoy the rest of the day and the amazing views.

View looking east towards the Presidentials and Mt Washington

We hiked the Gale River Trail to Twin Mountain and stayed overnight at the Galehead Hut. A beautiful hike straight up a rocky trail to 4,000 ft along the Gale River. Warm early summer day at the bottom and quite cold and wintery at the top. Temperatures dipped into the 20's that night and we awakened to a dustimg of snow on the peaks.

Hiking with my wonderful friend Patti and her brother Peter. We had so much fun being outdoors, putting one foot in front of the other and enjoying the spectacular views as we acended to the hut. The walk back down the next day had the challege of being a little icy and slippery, but at the bottom it was warm and sunny and we were starving so we enjoyed a picnic before heading home.

These boots have taken me miles in the mountains and are amazingly comfortable, but it is always great to take them off at the end of a long day on the trail. I always bring something cozy and comfortable to wear around the hut at night.
I sketched as the siblings played cribbage.

Here I am at the top with prayer flags woven by my friend Sarah Haskell for her project Woven Voices—Messages from the Heart. Her amazing prayer flags are woven by a community of weavers from written messages of peace. They are hanging all over the world unraveling and releasing messages of hope, peace and renewal. The flags hung outside the hut overnight, however, I could not leave her flags up on the mountain because of "Leave No Trace". Soon, I will take these flags to another mountain...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Down by the sea

My little white dog, Sophie, absolutely loves the beach, but has never had much of an inclination to go in the ocean or any other large body of water. She will race up and down along the waters edge, roll in seaweed and any other unidentifiable beach debris, snatch and eat a sea urchin that the tide has pushed onshore and I have found her in a pile of mussel shells and seaweed chewing on the bone of a bird. Never much more than a toe getting wet, she can make the most of a walk on the beach.
One afternoon, my friend Patti carried her out and set her in the water and she swam like hell back to the shore. Her little legs started going before she even hit the water—hilarious!

Monday, September 5, 2011

End of summer blues

Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer. Here in Maine the days are still warm, but they are getting shorter and the sun is lower in the sky. There is that gold autumn cast to the atmosphere. The dreaded end of summer blues have set in...

Not all has been blue this weekend like sushi and champagne at Miyake on Friday night.

Very blue hydrangeas at a friends house in Georgetown Maine.

Sketching on the beach today at Pupit Rock in Cape Elizabeth.

Here is the rock that Pulpit Rock derives its name. While sketching it, I looked up and remarked to my friends that I didn't think it was very pretty. I believe I heard the word "ugly" mumbled. Here I was sitting on a private beach, looking at the shipping channel into the Casco Bay and the many islands downeast, sketching a big ugly outcropping of rock and I couldn't have asked for a lovelier place to be on the planet.

As always the "end of summer blues" cast an unsettling shadow as I watch the sunset over the rooftops of Portland and the close of another wonderful summer in Maine.

Farewell summer!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Somewhere over the Rainbow"

Weston B. Haskell 111 1953-2011

My dear friend Sarah's brother Weston was killed in a tragic accident last week. Her family is devatated by the loss of this amazing man/brother/son/father/uncle and friend. Though, I only met Weston once at a party on the island, I felt as though I had known him forever. It is always hard to know what to do to console people in their grief, except to tell them that you care and that you are there for them if they need you.

I decided to do this portrait of Wes and bring it to the service. I asked Sarah's husband Ben about the polka dot hat and should I use that image as reference and he said "Yes, Wes loved that hat". Sure enough, at the lovely touching service today, over half the people were wearing these crazy polka dot hats while we all sang "Somewhere over the Rainbow"

Some where over the rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

And then everybody danced to the music of the Fabulous Icons Blues Band and the winds of Hurricane Irene.

Godspeed Weston.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lisbon folding sketch book

I spent 3 days in Lisbon before the Internationl Sketchers Symposium, sightseeing, sketching and eating the most delicious food. I happened to take a folding sketch book with me and decided that I needed to complete it before the Symposium started. It was a very different process for me but found I enjoyed the challenge.

A fellow sketcher took this photo of me with my crazy fold out sketch book during one of our workshops. I did not have time to put color into it until I got home. I have been so busy with work that it has only been worked on sporadically. Tonight it was finished and then I had the arduos task of figuring out how to post it...

It is not exactly the way I would like it. Funny crops etc. but for now it is okay. I really need to research this process a bit more...when I can find the time...

Friday, July 29, 2011

International Urban Sketching Symposium—Lisbon

I am back from attending the Urban Sketching Symposium in Lisbon Portugal. What an amazing experience! I arrived early and spent three days exploring the city, eating the most delicious food and sketching. Then three days sketching with close to 200 very talented people. Lucky me!!!

Sketch Crawl: On the last afternoon of the Symposium we gathered at the Praco do Comercio for the 32nd World Wide Sketch Crawl. People sketching everywhere.

Shopping: I noticed many people wearing Birkenstiocks for walking the steep cobblestone streets of Lisbon so I joined in with a pair of a fashionable black pantent style. The talented Omar Jamarillo was working his watercolor magic with a large squirrel hair brush so I had to give that a try. Maybe I can paint like Omar—HA!

Food: Lisbon has the most delicious food. All of which I would not normally eat. Most meals started with bread, cheese, olives and a dry cured ham called Presunto. When in Lisbon...

Stuff happens: I played hooky from one of the lecture/presentations one afternoon for a delicious cup of coffee in the shade of an umbrella near the school—I needed a pick-me-up. When I walked back in to join the workshops, it was pointed out that I had a huge smudge of something that could be pencil or charcoal on my nose. I wonder how long that was there...

More to come of my amazing trip to Lisbon

Saturday, July 16, 2011

OMC—Oh my cod! I'm going to Lisbon

Months ago, deep in the heart of the dark cold winter here in Maine, Lisbon Portugal seemed like a wonderfully warm destination. The Urban Sketching Symposium—three days of sketching with many talented artists in a beautiful city—wow, who could resist! So, I signed up and now it is time. I am on my way to Lisbon for a week of sight-seeing and sketching.
See you in a week.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Gone to the dogs...

Blogging has taken a backseat to working. I still manage to sketch but not as much and I am way out of pratice. I never find time to scan and post. I have been keeping a bit of a dog and cat journal during my travels and thought this was a good time to post since my blog has Gone to the Dogs.

Pampered in Paris
This little guy was one of many dogs that were living the good life in Paris. Paris is the land of the little dogs with coats. Even the dogs are fashionable.

Looking for food in Bali
My heart has always gone out to all the homeless Bali street dogs. The beauty of Bali was contrasted by the mangy starving dogs that roam freely in the streets, on the beaches and in and round the markets and restaurants. Rabies is an epidemic that has spread throughout the island. Too many dogs and cats that never get spayed or nuetered and this perpetuates the problems. I saw things that still haunt me.

Adopted in California
I met Rudy when I visited my parents in California. He is the cutest little dog that was adopted by a wonderful family. He has a great life now.

Snacking on Uni (sea urchin) in Maine
Sophie likes nothing better than to find a sea urchin washed up on the beach. She manages to crack it open and devour all the meat inside. The spines don't seem to even phase her. She has chronic fish breath...

Seems like I live in the airport

I travel every week from Portland Maine to Potomac MD for a great consulting job. That means Portland to Baltimore. Not a bad commute—one plane for one hour, but there is a lot of time waiting.

This little girl was coming back from DisneyWorld with her family. She had just been to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and climbed on the plane in full princess make-up and clothes. She immediately fell asleep. It must be tiring to be a princess.

Sometimes this is my dinner...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Every Day in May/EDM challenge—catching up again

EDM # 123 a bellThe bell on Monhegan Island.

EDM # 131 a spray bottle & EDM #126 a sponge

EDM #125 a bird. I live amongst the seagulls here on the waterfront in Portland.

EDM # 127 a cityscape—Portland Maine. The view from my living room.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Catching up on Every Day in May/EDM challenges

So busy with work that I haven't had time to keep up with the challenges. A cold foggy Sunday gave me a chance to catch up...sort of...

EDM # 121—a coin.
My beautiful gold Chinese coin necklace is a wonderful reminder of my time in Bali. These are the coins they use in Balinese offerings—except not in gold.

EDM #116 something green & EDM # 120 a flashlight

EDM #118 some hair
This a sweet rescue dog named Rudy belongs to one of my mom's "dog park" friends. I would have taken him in a second, but his new family isn't giving him up. Just what I need, another dog...

EDM #117 something round
This pin cushion has been with me forever.

EDM #115 a basket.
An L.L.Bean pack basket used to carry the groceries up the six flights to our place in Portland. It weighs a ton when it's empty, so it is easier to use recycled shopping bags.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Every Day in May—EDM #112 something fresh

I love avocados and in California they grow in abundance. Growing up they were always a part of meals—salads, sandwiches and guacamole. Our favorite way to eat them was when my grandmother would cut avocados in half, leave the skin on, cut out the pit and fill the hole with her homemade vinegrette. It was like a bowl of avocado deliciousness eaten with a spoon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Every Day in May—EDM #111 a bowl

Quick sketch of small bowl of stawberries for EDM #111. It had forgotten how hard it is to keep up with the Every Day in May challenge. Only 20 more to go...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Every Day in May—EDM #110 something with a flame

I love rocks! The beaches here in Maine are filled with amazing rocks and I usually end up with bulging pockets after a long walk. The cliffs along the coast here are shades of gray which these wonderful granite votives were made. Up north or "Downeast" Maine the granite is a wonderful shade of pink—spectacular. Maine is so beautiful and a wonderful place to live...especially if you like a good long winter...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Every Day in May—EDM #108 light bulb & EDM # 109 a clock around the house

Busy day tomorrow with travel to my consulting job in Maryland, so I had to get a day ahead. Keeping up with this challenge can be a little overwhelming.

EDM #109 a clock around the house
I actually did this sketch on the last day of my California visit. Sitting in the kitchen, while my mother fixed dinner, I sketched and painted this clock that hangs in my parent's rustic California ranch house between the open kitchen and living room. It's been there forever.
This old clock, that needs to be wound with a key, was a major part of our lives as we checked it all day long. Like making sure it was true when we were told "it is way past your bedtime", or when we had to dash to catch the bus and when our favorite TV shows were on. It's most important function now is to let everyone know when Jeopardy is on and the 10 to 15 minute window to get the glass of wine ready.
What fine wine does my father drink while watching Jeopardy?
What is Two Buck Chuck!

EDM #108— a light bulb
Some of these challenges are hard to make interesting.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Every Day in May—EDM #107 How I get my news

Day 7—Simple and easy way to get all my news. I seem to go here for everything.

Sketching on the plane this wayward 5th generation Californian travels back from sunny and warm San Francisco to not so sunny and warm Maine. It was a lovely week visiting my parents in the house I grew up in.

My parents Jim and Jackie Lawson—84 and 85 (that's me in the middle and I am not telling my age). Their day starts at the gym, then the dog park with their dog Freddie Brown (my adopted youngest brother), reading the San Francisco Chronicle and the Wall Street Journal, catching up on the market and Fox (UGH!) and then in the evening we all yell out answers to Jeapordy with a glass or two of Two Buck Chuck. They are amazing!

I love you mom and dad.