Tag Archives: Sketchbook

King Protea in the ‘hood

I’ve been captivated by a neighbor’s garden where king protea are blooming. Whenever I pass by, I am drawn to the flowers like a bee to honey and I just gape at them. This has brought me to paint them, of course. Here’s the series I completed.

KingProtea

Most of these were created with potato and carrots to stamp shapes in watercolor, with brush embellishments. I got really into the stamping technique.

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Protea

I was trying to get to the basic elements of the flower here. Thin line details were completed with watercolors in a dip pen.

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SketchbookProtea

This was the first one I did. Pent up desire to draw/paint these flowers just came out in one go.

 

Playing with colors and shapes

When I can’t go out, I go in. And usually, that means making art.

I discovered the fabulous Esté MacLeod on Instagram and she quickly became my favorite artist on the platform. She starts with letters or numbers and turns them into beautiful paintings. When I saw that she was offering a free course on playing with shape and color, I was all over it.

The first part was to draw numbers 1 – 9 and turn those digits into leaves, real or imagined.

When I tried to think of ways to do this, I got stuck. But when I just let my pen move and got my head out of it, I ended up with some interesting patterns and shapes.

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The next step was to put them into more plant-like formations and paint them with watercolor. She encouraged the class to use a dip pen with the watercolor applied by using a brush as well as brush painting. I’d never used this method before and was delighted by the effect.

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The next step was to employ potato, carrot, toilet paper roll and other items found in the house, to create flower shapes and then embellish them. Once again, I had trouble because at first they all turned out looking the same and I kept thinking about how I could do it. But when I tried not to think and just moved my hand to draw and paint lines, curves and shapes, the results surprised and delighted me.

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HappyMothersDay

I made this one for my mom since she LOVES flowers and today is Mother’s Day.

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These were all my favorites. I will use them elsewhere, I’m sure.

Studio

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My workspace

The Eyes Have It

Mitch said to me, “My left eye is cloudy—as if my glasses are dirty but I’m not wearing glasses.”

We were boarding a flight to San Juan, P.R., our destination alternative to a Hurricane soaked Big Island. Thus began a four-month ophthalmic odyssey involving around a dozen eye and retina appointments, two nasty procedures, two surgeries and the terror of temporary blindness. It’s been a tough year for my sweetie.

CoverWe got to know most of the doctors at the UCSF Ophthalmology department. With nothing to do but worry, I kept myself busy during the appointments by sketching.

Recovering from retina surgery is an ordeal. The patient has to keep his face down/parallel to the floor 90% of the time for four days. We rented a massage chair thing and apparatus for sleeping as well. 

The planets were aligned against us, as two weeks following the left eye surgery, the right eye retina tore as well. What are the odds? This took us…

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2Opthalmology-3

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The ordeal—two torn retinas at the same time: blind man’s bluff for 4 months. The sketches are all from eye #2. And it doesn’t include the appointments in Puerto Rico. 

Thanks to the incredible Ophthalmology staff at UCSF for restoring Mitch’s sight! Now for a new prescription…

India: on to Manali and the Pavarti Valley

Manali is a starting point to the Indian Himalayas in the state of Himachal Pradesh. We had heard that the best way to get there was to take an overnight bus from Delhi. We investigatedt other options but none of them much reduced the number of hours of travel. So, we flew from Jodhpur to Delhi and situated ourselves on the overnight bus.

DelhiManaliJourneyMap

The seats on the bus reclined and elevated our legs but there was no bathroom aboard. I dubbed the ride “the Kishkaville Express” because the last half of the trip, on rocky, unpaved mountain roads, bumped and jumped in the early morning. After 13+ hours, we arrived in Manali.

On the bus, we met Alaka and Dev, a friendly couple from Delhi, who told us about a local festival that was happening that day, the Manu Festival.

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ManuTemple

You can tell that Manali was probably a sleepy hamlet twenty years ago. Its beauty and location an all to familiar blessing and curse as it’s become a tourist haven of the north and jumping off point for mountaineering. Most of the visitors are Indian, coming for adventures and ganga, which is smoked pretty freely in the old section, despite being illegal. There are a myriad of outdoor outfitters lining the main road and over a hundred guest houses and hotels. During high season (late May and June) the traffic can be complete gridlock.

We stayed a few days in Manali and then took a car to Tosh in the Pavarti Valley.

TOSH

I was awestruck by the views from Tosh. The stunning snow capped mountains in the distance and homes tucked into the steep hillsides reminded me of the picturesque villages of Nepal.

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ToshBeauty

Although we had been told that it was “the best place to stay in Tosh” our guest house was a dirty dump. The transformer had gone out and we had no electricity while we stayed there (not the fault of the guest house).

SquatToiletThe latch on our door needed oil. It squeaked loudly whenever we struggled to pulled it over to lock or unlock it, the bedding was soiled and the combination squat/sit toilet seat was loose. I don’t want to talk about the rest of the bathroom.

That said, our balcony had a wonderful view of the mountains and gave us a great vantage point for watching the comings and goings of the village.

From Tosh, we walked along the valley to the Waterfall Café, where the tables sit in the gushing flow.

WaterfallCafe

Further on was Kulka, a tiny mountain “village” consisting of two guest houses, a small store, a babbling brook, grazing horses and a lovely high meadow with an awesome view. We would have loved to stay in Kulka.

Pulga
The next day, we took a car, which dropped us off near Pulga, another village nearby. The road is still being built there so we backpacked in. On the way, we met some travelers who recommended we stay at the #capitalcafe, a new guest house with bamboo cottages (and electricity)! The place was SWEET as was the young owner, Chetan, who spent time with us and told us his story.  It was a highlight for me to share my greeting cards with Chetan and his crew, who are all Nepalese. His cook recognized one of the places I’d drawn.

We took a hike in the dense forest there, passing a waterfall and a herd of cattle (right there on the path). To our surprise, we happened upon this shrine in the woods. ShrineInTheWoods

We wanted to stay another night there but had already made reservations at an Airbnb which was in Gargi

 

NYC long weekend to see the Michelangelo Drawings

The incredible show at the MET will only be there until mid February. My sister Tobie encouraged me to go since the drawings will only be shown this one time. We jumped on a plane and had a wonderful long weekend in the Big Apple. It even snowed all day on Saturday and accumulated 7″—what a treat!

Of course, I sketched. Here are the pieces I did.

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Found this great bar, the Fat Cat, with live Jazz

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Through the window at Tea and Sympathy in the West Village. While waiting for my old friend, Amy.

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Artifacts from the wonderful National Museum of the American Indian in the old Custom’s House in lower Manhattan

Doodle

Please excuse. A doodle to fill my time on the plane.

Family Reunion and Mini-Vacation

For the first time in over 25 years, my mother’s family had a reunion. I love my family and we always have great fun together. I’m very fortunate that so many live within 2-3 hours from San Francisco. But I don’t see the rest of the gang much at all.

So, I was excited that our family was getting together in Monterey, CA, only 3 hours from us. I designed the t-shirt and helped with some other details. Pictured below: My great grandmother, Bertha Soloveichik Tumpson and Albert Joseph Tumpson.

I_survived_the_Reunion_webWe drove down on Friday and ran into traffic in Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz, of course. It’s still so beautiful on the coast. We were blessed with incredible weather, sunshine and not too much wind.

The incredible Janet Takahashi taught me to sketch when I’m a passenger in the car. This is a great distraction when traffic is heavy. Even if the work is rough, it’s fun!

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The reunion was cousins galore! I caught a few:

The answer is, “At the Louvre.”

Following the big event, we got some needed R & R on the Central Coast in lovely Cayucos, north of Morro Bay.

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We caught some FUN waves.

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And on our second day, visited Morro Bay.

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The sign says, “Death from Drowning happens once in a lifetime. Undertow of surf can make return to shore impossible.” The waves were churning and there around 30 surfers were catching rides.

The rock itself is impressive and beautiful. On the other side of the spit, there were two dozen otters lazing in the water. Not shown here are the towering smokestacks of the power plant; an odd imposition on an otherwise picturesque location.

Back in Cayucos, we assumed the position.

Mitch

Sad to end our wonderful mini-vacation, I could only muster a weird doodle in the car.

NorthDriveDoodle

More Sketches of 2017

A few new sketches from Spring of this year.

 

March and April were busy. I went to the town hall to hear my Congressman Jared Huffman answer questions. I made calls to Georgia voters for Jon Ossoff in Georgia, marched for 45 to reveal his taxes, went to a climate rally and a Mill Valley Community Action Network (MVCAN) meeting. Sketches were created.

Down in the Baja

Año Nuevo State Park.

We saw a few of the famous Elephant Seals. They’re pretty funny looking. We learned that the Grizzly Bear and the Elephant Seal have a common ancestor. Pups are “weaners.” Elephant Seals spend most of their time way out at sea (3000 miles) They came to Año Nuevo Beach in California, to shed their skins and later, to give birth.

AnoNuevo

 

And we hosted a birthday party at our house for our friend Seth.

Seth