It was a gorgeous day here, so I took my camp chair over to the Greensward at the park and just settled in to paint. I did two different views in different media without even moving my chair. It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon. Merlin lounged around in the sunshine and had some meet-and-greets with other dogs, so we both had a ball.
I had a crazy busy day yesterday, but I had a little time in the late afternoon to take Merlin to the park to hang out while I did a quick drawing. This is one of my favorite trees (though I know I say that about a number of them). It rises up on the far side of Rainbow Lake and glows in every sunset. I truly love the graceful white sycamores.
It was glorious the other afternoon, and I walked to Overton Park with my pack and chair and did several more watercolor and gouache paintings on tinted paper. Above is my favorite, of the Brooks Museum.
I tried a gray paper for another view of Brooks, and while I like the color of it, it wasn't quite dark enough to give the same richness of tone. I also missed the mark a bit with the drawing.
Finally, I tried a lighter brown paper, and I'm happier with this one. I've been fascinated by tree shadows for a couple of years now but haven't managed much work with them that I like. I'm going to try more in this medium.
I took Merlin to the Old Forest today. I've been greatly admiring the art of Wayne Attwood, and through the miracle of Facebook, he advised me on his technique when I admired it. He bought one tube of white gouache and uses it with his regular watercolors, which is lovely, because it doesn't require buying an entire new set of something else.
I bought some brown paper and decided to paint in the forest. I've always been drawn to the woods, but I've had trouble doing work there that I'm happy with. This might be a medium that works. I'll definitely be spending some more time there with the brown paper and gouache.
Here's the Shumard oak that's at the entrance to the Old Forest trail.
A little opera
Dad took me to the Opera Memphis production of "Die Fledermaus" last night. It was marvelous. We have a new director with more of a theater background, and the comic opera was truly funny (not always the case). Just delightful.
I hadn't had the chance to draw yesterday, so I tucked my sketchbook and some colored pencils into my bag. It was challenging but also fun to draw in the almost dark. I added the color during the intervals with the lights up.
Another Dog Park piece
A friend pointed out that there are no actual dogs in this dog park sketch, but I'm often drawn to the horizon instead of the foreground. You can, however, see a skateboarder in the skate park just through the fence. And I'm still fascinated by the viaduct a bit further off. The sky really made this one for me. It was a lovely purple, with possible (but thankfully not actual) storms in the distance.
One of the many wonderful things about living in Memphis is our full-on celebration of all things pig, especially as relates to bar-b-que. My favorite Christmas decorations this past season were the flying rein-pigs at Central BBQ (which in my opinion is head and shoulders the best bbq in the city, though that's a city-wide topic of debate among locals). Fortunately they left them the pigs up a bit past New Year's, and I got over to draw them a couple of weeks ago.
Dog Park continued
Yesterday was just glorious, so I decided to spend enough time at the dog park to do a watercolor. I'd been really drawn to the viaduct as I was doing pencil sketches the day before. I've been doing so many house portraits of really lovely houses that I felt the need to do something a little grittier again. I'm going to try to put the "urban" back in my urban sketches this month.
I'm spending some quality time at the dog park this week. Normally I just walk in the lovely, large, half forest park by my home, but I'm dog-sitting for my dad for five days, and his energetic dog needs to really run and play.
Yesterday the weather was so nice, I decided to take my sketchbook with me. I don't do a lot of pencil sketches (or people), so it was a good opportunity.
Here's my dog plum tuckered out (while Abby runs on).
It was also good to get back to do a few grittier scenes. I've been doing lots of house commissions, which is great, but it's good for me to mix it up with some more urban views as well. The dog park has lots of lovely telephone lines and radio towers.
So I got an email a few days ago from the Brooks Museum store asking if I have any Valentines. I personally feel like I only just got done with Christmas. In this first year of having the letterpress, I'm still unused to the retail deadlines and seasonal changes.
I got on the press yesterday to catch up and printed two different Valentines. The first uses a vintage cut that I've borrowed from a friend. I'm going to do some cards for Bridgman Pottery (Melissa stamps all her pots with a honeybee stamp), and I thought this would make a fun, if not highly original, Valentine.
The second is the very first block I carved for the letterpress when I got it last year right about Valentine's Day. Printing it again brought back the exotic, historic feeling I had when the press first came into my home. I love being familiar with its ways and adept in its use, but it was fun to be reminded again of that brand-new, fizzy feeling of doing something new and being the new caretaker of something this amazingly cool.
_Last year I didn't have any type (nor any idea of how to set it), so I was writing my website by hand on the back of each card. This year I'm thrilled to have a nice collection of type I can use in all kinds of ways.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
Get studio email updates from Gideon and me.
To subscribe to this blog, by email: