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Old 06-17-2010, 01:10 PM
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Jakesgram Jakesgram is offline
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My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

Hi Everyone!

I am blown away - I was on a trip for 2 weeks and got back to find this forum has EXPLODED with wonderful new journals and postings.

I'm so glad it has taken off the way it has and I want to thank those of you who are being so consistenly active. I LOVE this place and am glad to say I now have a couple of new threads to start. I have seen all the great work but due to my "grandkid sitting" duties, have not been able to comment since I returned 2 weeks ago. Once I get these postings done, I promise to get some commenting done!

First, a bit of current info: My 2 week vacation took me through Seattle, Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Whittier, Denali National Park, Mt. McKinley, and Anchorage. To those of you lucky enough to live in those areas - WOW, what beautiful, fantastic scenery / cities / sights to see!!! I came back with 1100 photos, which I am culling though and will probably get down to around 900. I'll be painting my Alaska trip for years!

I had hoped to do a lot of sketching along the way, but that really did not happen for a few different reasons. One of the reasons is that I am still pretty uncomfortable with plein air sketching. In general, my plein air sketching is not very good AND I am not comfortable yet with people looking over my shoulder when I sketch. I am determined to work on both of those things and this book, as well as the other thread I plan to start (the Celebration Play Journal) are all about drawing and sketching.

I am NOT one of those people who could always draw; who doodles incessently; who has "natural" talent for drawing. I was well into middle-age when I started to discover/uncover my creativity. It started with an oil painting class and the urge to create bubbled along under the surface through raising my daughter, caregiving for an ageing parent, busy, traveling work life, etc., etc.. etc. When I started watercolor painting a few years before I retired, I felt I had found my niche! I couldn't (and still can't) get enough. The teacher I worked with encouraged us to transfer photos if we were not comfortable with drawing them and this was a good solution for me, as I wanted to concentrate on mastering the watercolor medium and not too concerned about drawing.

Through these years, I had done some sketching, but never worked at getting good at it. When I discovered WetCanvas a few years ago, I started doing the WDE's and that has been an AMAZING help in learning to draw. I now feel comfortable free-hand drawing most things from photo references and I try more and more to draw rather than transfer. The next frontier is plein air

So - on to the "I Can Learn to Draw" journal!!!

I don't know what brand this journal is, but it is about 7" x 10" spiral bound, black hard cover with ~ 75 lb sketching paper. The paper can take a VERY light wash, but mostly I use pencil, pen, and Inktense Pencils.

I started it in 1998, but only did a few pages through January, 2009 when I started using it for WDE's, using pen and pen and Inktense. From January 2009 until August, 2009, I did most of the WDE's and most of them are in this book. In August, my daughter had twin boys and my life has been in "Grammy" mode ever since.

As I often do, I had left the first page blank as a way to help me get started in the new book, so I have gone back to make an opening page. Yesterday, I dedicated this book as the ICLTD Book. Here is the first page:




6/16/2010
ICLTD Book
Page 1
Micron Pen, Inktense Pencils, Gold Gel Pen


Skipping ahead to current work, the next pages are Alaska-inspired. I came back with a renewed appreciation of the Native Americans' work - specifically the totem poles and symbolic images.
I have 3 pages of playing with totems and symbols, all done in Micron pen and Inktense Pencils. They are free-hand drawings from my own photos and also photos in travel literature. Many of the images are my interpretation, rather than an exact copy of the reference image.




6/11/2010
ICLTD Book
Page 81
Micron Pen, Inktense Pencils






6/14/2010
ICLTD Book
Page 82
Micron Pen, Inktense Pencils





6/16/2010
ICLTD Book
Page 84
Micron Pen, Inktense Pencils

While on our trip, we saw a LOT of wildlife, but I don't actually have a lot of good wildlife photos to show for it. So once again, these are Alaska "inspired" and are drawn free-hand from photos in books and various bits of travel literature. We did see Moose, Eagles, and Whales in abundance!!!



6/14/2010
ICLTD Book
Page 83
Micron Pen, Inktense Pencils

This book has about 50 pages remaining. I'll continue using it for sketching from photos and will also begin doing some plein air work in it. In my next few posts, I will go back and pull out some representative work from the existing pages so you can see the good, the bad and the downright ugly!!!

C&C's always welcome and appreciated.

Jean
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:04 PM
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Re: My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

Jean, these are great! I love your title and it's certainly proved true in all of your current posted work. These are gorgeous, every one of them.

Awesome that you got out a sketchbook started long ago and revived it -- that's so cool. I've done that too, it's never too late to go back to one!

I know what you mean about not getting photos on a trip. But I think that seeing things in life affects how you do them later on from photos. The memory's there, and the photo just jogs it. The way you did the totem and totem pole drawings is great and I love the wildlife. Well done!
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:09 PM
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Re: My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

Hi Jean,

Glad you enjoyed your trip through my neck of the woods! It is a beautiful area - we've lived in the Seattle area now since 1979, with a 5 year working stint for me in Portland, OR, and wouldn't live anywhere else. You did pick a very wet and cool spring, however. We have had a grand total of ONE DAY where the high temp reached 75 degrees at Seattle's official weather site. But that's what keeps the area green...

Great job on the NW Indian art as well as the critters! Your drawing is just fine, and will get better. I came to art late in life as well, and was petrified to have anyone look over my shoulder as well. A couple things solved that - taking three drawing classes at college (two of which were figure drawing from nude models); and, having two situations come up where I was off in a corner sketching performers on stage at a concert where my band had played, and having someone who knew the performers ask if they could buy the sketch(!). I gave them the sketches and was in shock that anyone would want them except me.

The coastal native tribal art is amazing - my wife in particular loves it. One of the guys in my advanced figure drawing class at college that just completed is part Makah Indian and a Makah tribal member (we have a large number of individual tribes in the area). In addition to more traditional 2-D drawing and painting (he does some great expressionistic work), he carves and sells NW Indian cedar masks, and is represented in at least one gallery at present.

I'm looking forward to more of your Pacific NW work in this journal!
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:21 PM
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Vivien Maloney Vivien Maloney is offline
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Re: My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

This brings back great memories for me. My husband and I did a trip through Alaska a few years ago and loved it. An awesome amazing place! I agree about the sketching in public, I don't like it as well. Most people who watch you are great but you spend more time talking to them than sketching and they also expect to see a masterpiece the minute you put pencil to paper!
Look forward to seeing more sketches from you.
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:04 PM
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Re: My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

Jean - this is great stuff!! I've never been to Alaska, (was meant to for our honeymoon but didn't work out that way... long story! We did have a great honeymoon in the Carribbean instead!). i can imagine it being so beautiful that i'd not know WHERE to begin in trying to draw some of it!!
I think its great you've re-started your journal. I started one about 10 years ago now, just to draw native wildflowers. I wish I could continue it because I did like some of the sketches I did in it. However, it was just a plain, very thin papered journal, and I wouldn't want to use it now for some of my CP work and certainly nothing with water. I wrote on both sides of the page so the writing shows through the flowers from the back side... I can't even scan them without it showing up! Oh well, lesson learned. My new one will be much better hopefully!
Keep up the great work - look forward to seeing what else you add to this over time :-)
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:27 PM
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Re: My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

That sounds like such a great trip! Your totems and animal sketches are very good - and will be a great reminder of your trip. I hope you get many more opportunities to sketch on your travels, and that you will share them here.
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Old 06-17-2010, 09:49 PM
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Re: My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

Jean - Well you certainly did learn to draw. I especially love the totems in the first page. I have a brother who's lived on an island off the coast of Alaska for a few years and I've yet to visit him there.

Too bad you weren't able to stop off in the Portland area. While it's been very wet this spring, there has been no shortage of beautiful gardens, scenery and flowers. Today's Home and Garden section of the Oregonian had an article about Portland's Japanese Gardens and the photographers who have special memberships which allow them to use tripods in the garden and have exclusive rights to their photos. Their examples in the paper were most extraordinary.

Thanks for posting your interpretations of Native American art.

Carole A
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Old 06-17-2010, 10:14 PM
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Re: My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

I think a lot of us found art later in life. Love your first page. The totem poles are just great. Your sketches of the wildlife you saw are wonderful.
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Old 06-17-2010, 10:16 PM
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Re: My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

Great job, Jean. Glad you enjoyed your trip. Best wishes for your "I can (too!) learn to draw" project
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:28 AM
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Re: My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

Jean,
These are great! You can draw quite well so keep it up! We'll look forward to your sketch postings and paintings of your trip!

Reggie
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:38 PM
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Jakesgram Jakesgram is offline
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Re: My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

Robert: Thanks for your comments. Truthfully, I can probably unearth several more notebooks and sketchpads that got lost in the shuffle along the way. In my "mature" age, I'm not so picky about everything being perfect and I don't mind restarting something that got waylaid a long time ago. At some point, I will make a project of finding all the bits and pieces and scraps from my early years trying to draw and paint and somehow bring them together.

John: Thanks for commenting. I did love the Seattle area, but unfortunately we were there for a very short time. Got to see / do the Space Needle and Pike's Place Market and that was about it. I have some great photos from Pike's Place that I hope to paint sometime. I did especially enjoy the green and how lush everything was.

Vivien: Thanks for commenting. Yes, I am always so self-conscious trying to work in front of ANYONE except my painting "buds." I actually did a plein air today, which I will post later. I drove around for an hour trying to find a place that had both something to sketch and a non-threatening location to sit and sketch. Eventually I had to just force myself to do it and beyond a bit of initial interest, nobody even commented at all. Ha! Go figure!

Rachel: Sorry to hear about the failed Alaska honeymoon! Ah, well, I'll bet the Carribean was an adequate substitute?

I had done an Alaska cruise before, but this time, we also did a land tour into Denali and I have fallen in love with Alaska. I especially enjoyed the many people we met who were so nice. Most only come in the summer, but talking to the ones who winter-over was amazing!

Michelle: Thanks! If nothing else, I have a gazillion photos I want to do something with from past travels, so I should never run out of material.

Carole: Thanks for your comments. I'd love to travel to Oregon and probably will do so someday on a longer road trip. I love San Diego, but having come from the midwest, I do miss the beautiful greenery and spring colors. As it happens, one of the highlights of the trip was the Van Duesen Garden in Vancouver. It was an unplanned, unexpected excursion that was so delightful, we spent the entire afternoon there. Can't wait to paint some of my flower / tree / pond photos!

Debby: Thanks for your comments. The nice thing about discovering your creativity "later in life" is that it gives you a renewed source of enjoyment / enthusiasm. Now that I am retired and able to devote a lot more time to my art, I am delighted every day by how far I have come.

EP: Thanks for your support. You know that you were one of the people who inspired me in the WDE. Most of the WDE entries in this book are pen and ink, EP-style, multiple boxes on the page, drawings. Thanks for your inspiration!!!

Reggie: Thanks! I'm sure there are lots more pictures from my trip and from my life to come.

(Did I mention that I LOVE this forum????)
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Old 06-19-2010, 06:04 PM
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Re: My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

I love the totems! Awesome work there. Inktense are cool too, reminds me to try them out sometime soon hehe.
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Old 06-19-2010, 10:32 PM
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Re: My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

Jean, that would be so cool. I'd love to see it. That's why I've got my Scribble Sketch Books thread, in case I find other sketchbooks and revive them.
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Old 06-20-2010, 01:43 AM
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Re: My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

Thanks Raymond. I'm actually toying with the idea of developing personal totems for my friends and family and doing a series, possibly as birthday presents. I want to try doing some in watercolor and see how they look.

Today I scanned in a few of the previous pages from this journal. I'm currently working on page 85, so you can see I have already done a lot of work in this book. Much of it is previous WDE's which have already been posted, but over the next couple of weeks, I will post a sampling of the previous work.

My first actual entry was done sometime in early 1998. It was done in a surgery center waiting room while I was waiting for a relative to come out of surgery. It never got finished as I got interrupted, but I actually like the look of it in its unfinished state. It was done very lightly in pencil, so I had to darken it considerably on the computer so it will show up:



The next was done from a photo I took at Carnac in France. The stones are thought to have been placed by the druids and the girl playing the flute seemed to be a new age sort who came to experience the atmosphere there. This was done in March of 1998, also very lightly done in pencil and darkened on the computer:



So those were the good and the not quite so good, but in the spirit of. . . I am posting the next one done to document a much needed, relaxing vacation at the beach in Sept., 2000. This is what working from my memory / imagination looks like:



Nothing more was done in this book until January, 2009. I had filled another sketchbook with WDE entries and moved to this one. I think these drawings were from Desiree's 1/22/09 WDE. The interesting thing I discovered was that once I started drawing in pen, I was much less hesitant and often much more accurate. That was quite a surprise to me, and now I am working on trying to bring that confidence back into pencil drawings. Here is page 23: (note, the bowl of cherries and a stack of jelly jars and a detail from the porch railing are sideways on the page.)



The next page was done at two different times. I am trying to remember to date and identify all of my current work as I do it, but at the time these were done, I was not always consistent. The top sketch was done in pen from somebody's WDE. Sometime later, I was doing some ATC cards and did practice sketches in pencil on the bottom of the page for two of them. You may be able to see the grid lines I drew and I was working very carefully on these. The one on the left was a reference from the RIL. The one on the right was my daughter at about 3 years old.



Finally, the sketch below is a plein air that I did yesterday, with a bit of adjustments at home this afternoon. This is still a WIP. I want to at least finish the boogie boards, but I would also like to put color on this one at some point, either in the sketchbook or by transfering it to watercolor paper.

As I have mentioned, I am very self-conscious about doing plein air work and I realize the only way to get comfortable is to just jump in and do it. I had 2 1/2 hours yesterday and I was determined to find a place to work and just go for it. I ended up driving around for over and hour looking for the right location where I would not feel too "exposed." sketching away.

Eventually, I settled on a casual seafood restaurant at the beach. It was mid-morning and they were just opening. I told the waitress I was looking for a place to sit in the shade and sketch and would like a diet coke. I asked if she would mind if I sat on their terrace for quite a while and she said "sure!" So, I went in and only the waitress and one other person even asked what I was doing. By the time I left, it was nearly lunchtime, so there were quite a few people there. The moral of the story is: It wasn't so bad. BUT, I have a long way to go to get comfortable doing plein air.

This is actually the ceiling of the patio, with a cart filled with surf and boogie boards that I put in from an entirely different location. I imagine the background to be ocean and sky (in reality it was street traffic) and I'm not too unhappy with the composition.



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Old 06-20-2010, 05:35 AM
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Re: My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

Jean this is really great. It is so interesting looking back on your work and seeing how things have progressed and how you feel about them. I love the totem poles and animals. The sketches from your Sept vacation are simple and relaxing, very nice too. Your pen sketches are awesome. I too have the same experience when I use pen. Freaky really. Love the jars and cherries. Good on you for trying plein air. And a great result. I look forward to seeing more of your work both past and present.
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