I've been struggling with the internet company for the last two weeks, so I'm way late being able to post, but here are a couple of compilation sketches from last Sunday's outdoor concert by the Side Street Steppers. I did all of these super vertical in my tiny square sketchbook, opened up to 11x5.5" across the fold. I put them in a couple of overall pages to post more easily. These sketches are all done in one of my new favorite inks, De Atramentis document fog grey (the "document" means it's waterproof) with a fat blue watercolor marker over the top.
I also did a few sketches of the audience.
Several sketcher friends showed up for the outdoor concert by the Side Street Steppers today. We had so much fun drawing them and having a pen and ink convo. I was trying various samples of ink I had ordered. It's all De Atrementis document (waterproof ink). Above is the fog grey, I think my favorite, with a splash of red watercolor. Below is brown (on the left) and urban grey, with a bit more fog in the center. That was testing out a new Kawecko pen, but I liked the broad strokes of the dip pen best.
My last page was Henry sprawled out with a sweet young girl. I did a quick still life this evening to test one more ink, a Diamine Eclipse that's the darker of the two on the right, along with the fog grey I'd been using. I think I really like it. Half grey and half purple.
I started the day with this watercolor. It's done with Diamine golden brown ink, which is my absolute go-to. But after that I couldn't resist the new samples and switched over to just line drawings afterwards. It was such a fun afternoon, and I'm glad they'll be doing it all month.
Henry and I went out to spend the afternoon with my dad yesterday. We had a nice walk and the dogs romped and we had tea, and then the farrier came to do the hooves of the horses. It all happened super fast, so these are not as skillful drawings as I would like, but it was good to get some practice on people anyway. I've drawn a lot fewer people over the last few years. And it's always good to have the reminder of a good day in your sketchbook, even if the drawings themselves aren't ever quite what you hope they would be.
The talk at Dixon was amazing. I was honored and thrilled that 70 fantastic people showed up, midweek at lunchtime, to hear me talk about my creative life and influences. I make art on my own in my house most of the time, so getting to go out in public and share the things I love and things I've learned was exciting and greatly fun. I had another hour's worth of conversations on my way out, and I loved hearing people's own experiences or what book or artist they might want to look into after hearing my favorites.
After working hard to put that together and spending the entire next day doing checkup and regular screening tests, I was ready for a couple of slow days. Henry and I took walks, went to the farmers market, had second tea, and spent a lot of time quilting or mending on the sofa and watching some British tv. It was lovely. I'm grateful for the pace of my life that lets me push when I have deadlines but also take time off afterwards. Here are a few sketches I did just to get back into art for pure enjoyment.
The top one is neocolor crayon with watercolor, and the bottom tested two new samples of De Atramentis document ink (waterproof and silky) and the four leaf clover in my classic Diamine water soluble ink that moves and melds with my watercolors. The watersoluble comes in a nice range of colors, but it stays really firm and almost harsh when I paint -- kind of like making your own coloring book. I'll try some more sketches with it, but I think I still love the soluble ink best. I've had fun with the crayons too, and I like the added texture, but I miss line in that top one. It's good to branch out and experiment but sometimes it ends up reinforcing your already favorite things.
...But this one a good friend's. My friend Melissa Bridgman, potter extraordinaire, and I share a birthday week. Last year she came down to my WAMA opening and celebrated with me there. So perfect. This year she brought me a beautiful plate. She has made urns for my two most recent dogs, which means so much. She lost a dog recently and has a new puppy, and after all her kindness when I lose dogs, I decided to do three small sketches of Ajax (now gone), Buddy, and the new puppy Sissy. It was such fun to go through her facebook dog photos and do these small, quick sketches.
Henry has been looking ridiculously cute today on his back on the sofa. These are both done with a big, fat, watersoluble graphite crayon. It's fast and fun and loose to use.
The hyacinth really reached up and bloomed out today, so I decided to sketch it again. It really is fun in the new crayons (with a little paint on top).
Then (of course) I also sketched Henry. No water or paint, just black and light gray crayons.
Here are a random batch of sketches from about a week ago. I've had a super slow week, doing print and commission work in my lap on the sofa, so no really recent sketches. But I had a ball meeting a friend at this gorgeous Tudor revival for an estate sale and drawing a house we wouldn't otherwise have had access to.
Next was a misty morning at Shelby Farms with a pair of great blue herons flying overhead. After several passes, one sat in the top of a tiny tree and posed for me. Henry was patient while I got my sketching things out. He's learning to be an art dog as we go along. He would always rather walk, but he's getting more used to the stops.
Finally another graphite sketch of Henry from one of our sofa sitting sessions.
Soon after getting Henry I was excited to have a dog hanging out on the sofa with me again, and I wanted to take full advantage of his modeling opportunities. So I bought a 7x10" multi media spiral bound sketchbook, nothing fancy but pages thick enough to take a little water. I have a big, fat, graphite crayon that I love to play with, and it's water soluble, so you get a lovely depth when you brush water over it. With a water brush (almost a pen, but with a brush and a reservoir of water inside), it's a quick, not at all messy, easy to grab way to sketch, so I've got those three things (and, of course, some other sketching stuff too) within easy reach on my coffee table. I've filled up half a sketchbook at this point, and I woke up early today and scanned a bunch in. You can see from the shadows that the paper has buckled a little with the added water, so it's not totally flat on the scanner, but I didn't fiddle with these to get that all smoothed out. I just wanted to be able to share the progression. Here is the first batch of my favorites (plus one watercolor), starting from early September.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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