Since the first week that Memphis' "Safer at Home" started, I've been catching up with sketcher friends in San Jose, CA, where they were already in more of a lockdown. We chat about our week, about sketching, and inevitably about the pandemic as we sketch our desks, the view outside of our windows, and each other.
The sketch above is of my studio table - always full of art supplies and usually a La Croix can. I did this in a bigger Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook (8 x 10) because it was one of those times I wanted to draw EVERYTHING.
This sketch is of my work desk and all of my little treasures, and is in the small Stillman & Birn Alpha (5.5 x 3.5). I can fit a lot on a small page!
On this Sunday I was feeling uninspired, so I just sketched my watercolor kit (from art-toolkit.com). I love that I always have my sketch gear around to sketch it.
On this Sunday I set up outside and sketched EVERYTHING again in my big Stillman & Birn sketchbook. Before I could finish, the sky opened up and I ran for cover in the carport. I never went back to finish because I like the unfinished look of it.
So I sketched the car. Back to the small sketchbook for this one. I'm enjoying going back and forth between the big sketchbook and the small one. The adjustment for scale is a good exercise.
The last time we got together (we skipped Memorial Day Weekend) , I just felt like painting so I worked in gouache in the big sketchbook, painting the fatsia outside of my studio window. The text is notes from that day's USk Talks, which you can see on Instagram Live on Sundays. I write up the summaries for the Urban Sketchers website.
Check out all of these fine folks on Instagram:
Urban Sketchers @urbansketchers
Art Toolkit @arttoolkit
Suma CM @suma_cm
Suhita Shirodkar @suhitasketch
Uma Kelkar @umapaints
Stillman & Birn @stillmanandbirn
My house came surrounded by these bushes called fatsia japonica and I love them! These bushes are outside my studio, and sometimes I draw them from the studio. This is from several weeks ago, so they are even taller now!
This sketch is a combination of gouache and watercolor - a really good combo for fatsia!
I sketched this from my studio, too. There is construction going on across the street and on this very muddy day a forklift carrying a palette of building materials got stuck in the mud, and the flatbed truck tried to pull it out. Very exciting stuff.
And here's the back yard! Another fatsia to the left, an azalea still blooming to the right. I started this one with watercolor and when back over it in pen - such a good way to tackle both organic and non-organic shapes! I think There is some gouache on this one, too.
Oh look, more fatsia! Inside, in some water.
Backyard fatsia. I was going to start this one with watercolor and then move to pen, but I had too much fun just with the watercolor and left it like that.
A week into self-isolating, I took a small sketchbook (Stillman & Birn Alpha, 3.5x5.5) and a couple of HI-TEC-C Coleto multi-pens on a walk one afternoon and tried to quickly sketch a house as I was walking (top left), and then quickly sketched another as I stood on the sidewalk. Prior to that I had been self-conscious about sketching on my walks, but now I am just that weird neighbor and I'm okay with it.
On that first outing I made three sketches, so the self-consciousness melted away pretty quickly.
I sketched in the rain that day!
The red trees were an accident but I went with it.
I was trying to show the scale of these trees - they are huge!
Included something I overheard a neighbor say. She was on the phone so I only heard half of the conversation. And we'll never know what happened to the person in question!
Sketched more than houses on this long walk.
I liked the accidental red trees so much I made some pink trees on purpose.
Finally sketched my own house! Look at the lower right - that brown squiggle - that's me being honest about having a dead yew in my front yard.
Over the past few weeks I've been sketching less on walks but taking more pictures and videos that I post in my Instagram stories (@elizabethalley). But I still take my sketchbook and pens with me just in case!
Sketchwork is sketches and work about sketching - teaching, making art, art supplies, books, sketchers, artists, Urban Sketchers, Memphis Urban Sketchers, and traveling.