Through the fires of this year, we’ve occasionally considered moving from the Golden State. However, our trip to the coast reminded me how incredibly beautiful it is here in California.
The weather was glorious and clear. We saw whale spouts out in the water, shooting stars in the clear night sky and ate fabulous food.
We were treated to a tour of the Mendocino Stone Zone, a place where host Peter Mullins brings in stonemasons from Scotland, Ireland, France and New England to create art within his property in the hills. Peter is a font of knowledge about stone and informed us of a seam of basalt in Windsor, not far from where we live.
We stayed at Roseman Creek Ranch, which provided a fantastic, huge kitchen. We paid a little extra for the big wood oven to be fired up so we could make pizza and other yummies. What a treat it all was!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
And we hosted a birthday party at our house for our friend Seth.
I have become a big fan of Instagram. Through that app, I’ve found wonderful sketchers, illustrators and artists and I’ve been sharing my work (@susanstanger5995—when I picked the handle, I didn’t know you were supposed to pick something more descriptive—I’m still learning). In early March, I learned about a challenge to sketch 100 people in a week. You might have noticed that I love to draw people so this was a no brainer for me. But it wasn’t easy. It was really 100 people in 5 days and by the end of the week, I was pretty much burnt out on drawing people.
On the other hand (so to speak), my drawing became more facile and quicker. I also started using other media, like a sharpie pen and colored pencils. One day, I banged out several sketches that way in just half an hour. Really quick and half from memory as my subjects moved through and out of eyeshot.
I posted on Instagram every day but the drawings were out of order and sometimes incomplete. I knew that eventually I would post them here so I could show them all in order (somewhat—though it seems that I’m missing a couple) and write more details about what I was doing, if I wanted to. So, here they are, my sketches of 100 people…
These first few sketches were done at the Mill valley Community Action Network meeting
These first sketches were done during a meeting of the Mill Valley CAN (Community Action Network) meeting. A group that is doing fantastic political action!
The ferry is a wonderful place to sketch people because they seldom see me drawing them. Most are reading something, as this sketch shows.
Here’s where I start doing those really quick sketches with the Sharpie pen and colored pencils. These were created in the lobby of the building where I work, 201 Mission St. on the corner of Beale in SF.
Back on the Ferry
A few of my colleagues:
More quick sketches with a sharpie. I sketched first and colored in later.
Finally doing a few just with paint. It was really fun and interesting to mix it up and do things a little differently.
I miss my wonderful former colleague, Dominique. She’s a talented illustrator and we used to go out to sketch in the financial district of San Francisco at lunchtime on Wednesdays. She’s freelancing now but I’m trying to keep the tradition going on my own.
This week, I did a quick sketch of Coit Tower (minus the traffic, trolley lines and streetlamps) from the Embarcadero.
I just spent a day with Dominique and Robin in Oakland at Robin’s. Her house is beautiful and her studio is every artist’s fantasy – wonderful light, space, and all kinds of fantastic supplies. I couldn’t resist drawing one wall of the space, chock-a-block with treasures.
I am also fascinated with the Grand Newsstand on Market which sells a variety of ZINES. It’s such a cool kiosk type of thing and of course, I love zines!
I can get really bored on a 5 hour plane ride. Especially when we have an extra 1.5 hours to stop to refuel (in beautiful Salt Lake City). Started these pen and inks at the Museum of Natural History in NY and at the Metropolitan. Painted them on the plane. I got a little carried away but it was fun.