Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Flora and Fauna

New York City Public Library Lion
from one of two bookend that guard my front studio door

I tend to start working in one sketch book and then put it aside to be discovered at a later date, half filled, begging to be worked in again. So it happened recently that I came across a big red sketchbook in just such condition and proceeded to work up a dozen or more landscape sketches.

Going through the earlier pages, I was reminded of my development since moving into my studio almost two and a half years ago. I've done a lot of work since then. As I pause to regroup for what may turn out to be a new phase, I thought that I'd share these sketches from August 2006 through the present, mostly from my big red sketchbook.

When I moved into the studio, it had been over a year since I'd painted. Between the move to a new house in a new state and designing and building the studio, there was simply no time and no space. So, in August 2006 when I finally sat down to the drafting table in my brand new studio, I picked up where I'd left off... with flowers.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tutti Tipped

This is a sketch from earlier in the year but just after I noticed that I'd never posted it, I saw Tutti looking just like this sketch. So it must be time to post this little pencil study (9 x 12") of my youngest cat, Tallulah. She's my studio muse and you can see photos of Tallulah at Post Your Dog or Cat.

Friday, December 12, 2008

from the Mansion

For the last class of the session (and the year), I brought the class into the Cheek Mansion to either copy a painting or drawing, or make a vignette of one of the rooms. In between checking on each in their various locations, I looked out the window and made a pencil sketch of the view over the Frist Learning Center and installation wing. Unfinished, I doodled with it at home with watercolor pencils and ink while talking on the phone. I really thought I'd ruined it but scanned and posted here, it doesn't look so bad....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Only three students showed for today's drawing class (too much turkey?) so I had enough time to actually work up a drawing of my own. Today's lesson was drawing from photos, choosing compositions and so forth. This is from a photo by Marion Brenner from the October 2005 issue of House & Garden. Very William Morris-y, I think.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

after Twilight

copy of Twilight, 1917
Edward T. Hurley
Rockwood Pottery Plaque

I set my drawing students to copy the painting on this Rockwood Pottery plaque at Cheekwood last Wednesday as a value and composition study before we looked out at the actual landscape. I made my effort in a favorite little sketch book and rather like it.

Monday, November 17, 2008


After I read the Supreme Court's decision supporting the Navy's use of Sonar — Whales, Dolphins and every living thing in the oceans be damned, I turned around and drew this blue whale.

Friday, October 24, 2008


One of my drawing students loves to draw dogs (she lives with six of them) and aspires to write a children's book. This morning, I set up two still lifes with bears. One, a polar bear propped on an ancient bottle of Canada Dry ginger ale, the other a couple of brown teddy bears. We concentrated on large, charcoal drawing on 18" x 24" sheets to loosen up the drawing limbs and gain a bit different perspective. These are two demo sketches of mine made in a minute each on ratty newsprint to illustrate an approach.

See my paintings at Landscape into Art.

My songs and CDs

Monday, October 13, 2008

Walnut Tops

There really are some leaves still dangling from these walnut trees, but not many. Mostly nuts. And when they fall, they fall without warning and have a cascade effect on each other. There's one tree dropping in my yard. If one walnut hit Tallulah, it might kill her. Gosh, if one fell on my head, I'd be knocked out. Neighbor discovered in yard after being knocked unconscious by a walnut. But I digress...

I (obviously) edited the remaining leaves for this little line drawing.

Say, does anyone remember seeing an early Dick van Dyke show episode with Danny Thomas as a guest star? Danny Thomas was really an alien from another planet where all the inhabitants looked like walnuts. At the end of what turned out to be a dream, Dick van Dyke opened the coat closet door and Danny Thomas fell out with a ton of walnuts spilling out of the closet, over Dick van Dyke, into the foyer. Unforgettable. What did those writers have for lunch that day?

Thursday, October 9, 2008


One of my drawing class sessions centers on looking at flowers in glass vases. This session, we had Alstromeria and poke weed for models.

Visit Landscape into Art to see my watercolors. That's where it's really happening.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Very unfinished, massively interrupted process but, hey!, I was teaching. Still, I love the balustrade on the side porch of the mansion and what lies beyond...

Visit Landscape into Art to see my watercolors.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thumbnail Fun

More from the Cheekwood Japanese Garden. Here are a few thumbnails I made to give the group an idea on composition and value.

Come see my daily watercolors at Landscape into Art.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Garden Slope

I've been meaning to post some sketches from my Cheekwood drawing class. I usually do a very quick demo or draw along with my students in a mad, distracted and often interrupted way. But sometimes the results are fun.

This one is of the slope in the Japanese Garden. I've posted other drawings here from that location - a favorite stop for each session - including the bamboo gate, one of the stone lanterns and some trees at the edge of the garden.

Stop over to Landscape into Ar and see my watercolors.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Looking Southwest

After drawing class at Cheekwood this morning, I was so hooked into drawing that I continued to do so, on and off, for the rest of the afternoon. When I manage to get the right sketch books to the scanner, I'll show you one or two. For now, here's the last I made in my back yard, as the sun was setting. If you've been following my blogs, you'll recognize this scene. It's a section of my favorite view from my favorite spot at the back of my studio. See more drawings of my back yard.

The bugs were biting and an opossum wandered out of the pokeweed, which was odd because it was still quite bright and the sun was still shining. I looked in on her and though I couldn't see her perfectly, it seemed like she might have some babies in her pouch.

I have a great group of drawing students at Cheekwood this session. I forced them to use pens on our first foray into landscape at the Japanese Garden. A challenge, but they were good sports about it. You can see some drawings I made in the Japanese Garden from last year.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Two Pears


These are some quick studies I made for one of my drawing students this morning as we ran through exercises in different mediums. Now, I can put them out to eat!



Pen and ink with wash

I did not get around to moving the pears before the afternoon sun, now in it's dramatic autumn slant, bathed them in a gorgeous light. (The morning light was very subtle). Come see my photograph of the pears in all their glory at My Great Day.

Come see my watercolors at Landscape into Art.

Friday, September 5, 2008


My private drawing student is working on birds so I worked along on one with her this morning. Lots of graphite on the page here and I had to give the scanner glass a good wipe down after scanning. Lots of hand washing, too. But fun.

Monday, September 1, 2008

after Pissarro

I am about to start new drawing classes and lessons and think that it's about time to put my own self back in the saddle in any way I can. This is a quick, edited study of a Pissarro that came to hand about the same time as my sketchbook and pencil.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


The most wonderful corn I've ever eaten. At the farm drop, one of the guys said, "Eat it right off the cob, just like that!" I thought, you have got to be kidding me. Without cooking it first? Sure enough, the next morning, I ripped off the leaves and silk and sunk my teeth in. Yum. I haven't cooked an ear since. But I brought home so many last week, I'll have to learn how to freeze the kernels.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I belong to an organic farm out in Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee and pick up my share at a drop off location about five minutes from my house on Monday afternoons. Monday evenings I spend washing, preparing and storing my vegetables. I don't do much with eggplant, frankly, but thought these were worthy of a little sketch. Here I filled in the ink with watercolor pencils on rather unforgiving sketch paper. Every once in a while, I reach for colored or watercolor pencils and am always a bit dismayed with the results. I suppose that if I used them more frequently, I might be happier. But the pale color of the vegetables begged me to put in some color.

Monday, August 4, 2008

White Chiffon

Back to the present and a quick line drawing from my garden. This is a beautiful white blossom from a freshly planted Rose of Sharon hibiscus along the side of my studio. I bought five plants of three varieties on clearance a couple of weeks ago at a local garden shop. Two of these white chiffon, two more with violet blooms and one with a deep blue bloom. Originally $20, I paid $1.95 for each. (I love a bargain!) A local friend calls them weeds which gives me hope that they'll all thrive.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tombstone Tree

This 1999 sketch is of a headstone in the Charleston Unitarian Church cemetery yard. The roots of the nearby tree have become one with the tomb of Ephraim Seabrook Mikell, "A favorite with all who knew him". Wouldn't that be a nice thing for someone to say about you after your death?

So ends my little series of lost (no more) 1999 sketches from Charleston.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Unitarian Church

When I lived in Charleston, I frequently cut through the Unitarian Church side yard. The King Street entrance was overgrown, lush and mysterious, giving way to the cemetery yard and finally to the treeless, glaringly bright Archdale Street entrance.

This 1999 sketch is from the cemetery yard.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

St. John's

This sketch from 1999 is of St. John's steeple in Charleston, South Carolina.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

St. Michael's and the Post Office

Here's another of the 1999 Charleston sketches I unearthed the other night. They will make up my posts here this week.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Four Corners of Law

I was rooting through some boxes for family photos last night and came across a few pen and inks from Charleston that I made a little over 9 years ago. Since I'm still posting Charleston paintings on The Grand Tour, I thought I'd post a handful of these steeple sketches.

This must have been the preliminary sketch for The Four Corners of Law.

Celebrate Beatrix Potter's birthday at My Great Day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sunflower Patch

If you follow My Great Day, you might remember that I lost a large mulberry stump and an 80' Hackberry tree this past year. In April, I planted some sweet broom, red-tipped photinia and elaegnus along the naked space. A neighbor up the street gave me extra sunflower seedlings that I planted along the wire space. Here you can see that they've shot up mightily, banked by another hefty patch of pokeberry and fronted by some volunteer squash from the compost pile I moved to make way for the new shrubs. So far, one of the squash vines has produced what looks like a decorative gourd and the large leaved squash at the bottom of the drawing might bring forth pumpkins. Time will tell.

These sunflowers are a great joy to look at as I sit outside the studio on breaks.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Walnut Trees

Home again. To walnut trees in full foliage. These are a trio that loom high from the yard across the back alley. I have three more on my property. Most, I think, planted by squirrels.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Green Airport

Waiting to leave Providence, Rhode Island. Ah, it was good to get away. I'll have to do this more often.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Big news in the Boston Globe over breakfast at the Brewster Coffee Shop. Pepe, the African Wattled Crane at the Franklin Park Zoo took no interest in his arranged mating with blind date, Kotze. I mean, really. What do they expect? That any member of the opposite sex will do? With people looking on?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Linnell Landing

My last morning on Cape Cod found me bayside at Linnell Landing in Brewster. High tide left only a soft, slanted path along the water's edge and I sank with every step.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Marconi Point

As a general rule, I make it a point to spend time on the beach between sunrise and 10 AM and then late in the afternoon through sunset. However, I had very limited time and only managed to get to the national seashore on Cape Cod around noon when the light was blindingly bright and I set myself up for a crispy sunburn on my back. Nonetheless, I was glad to be there and scribbled this bit of the massively impressive dunes and a few other beach goers.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Gropius House

I took a long awaited swim across Walden Pond just before a second round of severe thunderstorms. I made it back to my car before the torrential rains but had to pull off the road nearby because the roads were flooding. Fortunately, I was at the Walter Gropius house driveway and pulled in to make a sketch from the car. I had to keep the engine on and the windshield wipers going at full tilt. Unfortunately, someone had to pass up the driveway so I had to pull up to the house mid-sketch. I thought I was pulling it off until I really looked at what I was doing and saw that I'd collapsed the house in such a way that it seems to be missing a good length through the middle. Oh, well. I enjoyed the process!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Main Streets Market

Before a meeting at the Thoreau Society, I grabbed a sandwich at Main Streets Market in Concord and made this sketch while waiting.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tang Horse

The MFA Boston has a remarkable, larger than life painted wood Bodhisattva in its collection. When I lived in Boston, I used to go to the museum to just sit before the very strong presence of the statue. It's been in storage now for years but I always go to see if they've brought it back. Not yet. But they do have a nice collection of glazed earthenware horses in the same area. This horse from the Tang dynasty is among them. A detail from the saddle ornamentation is below:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Calderwood Courtyard

I put aside the first part of Saturday to visit my favorite museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. I put aside so much time, in fact, that I was able to take a leisurely coffee and muffin over this sketch in the cafeteria courtyard.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Woods Hole

I missed connecting with my friend mid-day so drove myself to Woods Hole for an extremely expensive sandwich. I made this sketch while waiting at the restaurant.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Mindy painting

On my way to the car, I walked by this woman painting away, gabbing to her friend who sat with two adorable dogs. I joined in the conversation while making this very scribbly sketch.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

On the walk back to town

I was stunned by the light as I passed a little opening in between houses. I stopped in my tracks on the sidewalk and made this sketch propping everything I could on my forearms and in between fingers. A man walked by and asked if I was waiting for the bus. There's a bus on this little street, I thought? Do I look like I'm waiting for a bus?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Falmouth Beach

Just as I had set up my field kit, some teenagers flopped down with their towels and frisbee directly in my line of sight. Oh, well, I thought.... It's more important for them to relax and have fun at the beach than it is for me to make a little sketch. But I proceeded anyway and sort of guessed a bit. It really was too windy to do much with lots of sand flying about.

This sketch kept reminding me of something ... Wow! I just realized what it is. Go see my mother's sketch from half a century ago at Nothing comes from nothing.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Quick Clouds

These may not look like clouds but that's what they are. When I saw what I'd done, I thought, O.K., closed the sketch book and headed to a more protected space for a little watercoloring.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


It was a very windy day with a strong drive from off shore — a little too intense for a small kite on a narrow beach.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Seagull & Cormorant

Two feathered friends off Falmouth Beach.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Looking for a flat rock

Just as I was getting settled on the jetty, thinking about what to paint, I was suddenly swarmed by a young family with many boys looking for flat rocks to skip on the ocean. This little crab hand was the first one out to the end of the jetty and moved incessantly. That seagull saw him coming and was just about to lift off.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Towards Woods Hole

The very first thing I always want to do any time I'm near the sea is to get right to the water's edge as quickly as I can. I found a spot on a jetty at Falmouth beach my first morning and made this sketch looking in the direction of Wood's Hole.


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