Here's some color to brighten your February! Maybe your February doesn't need brightening. The days are appreciably longer now. Little green things are pushing through the ground. Here in the northern hemisphere, spring is next on the agenda. Cheers!
Illustrations by yours truly from the February 2013 issue of Walter: Raleigh's Life & Soul. It's a new magazine about Raleigh, NC ( you guessed that part?) and its fresh and lively spirit is reflected in the title.
I have long wanted to see Richard Thompson perform, and preferably, perform solo. Who knew when he'd be nearish to my part of the world again? As it turns out, he'll be HERE on March 30th! Oops. But I didn't know that way back when I was researching the subject. Anyway, he'll be the opening act for Emmylou Harris then, so it won't be the same. Am I going to see him again on March 30th, when he'll be only 8 miles away? Of COURSE! But that's a story for another day.
I had hoped to be able to sketch him while he performed, but the seats at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall are squished quite closely together. Plus, the woman in front of me with the Big Hair blocked all the light. So, sketches of Richard Thompon? No.
However, here are other sketches I managed to eke out:
Waiting at the airport is fun when you have a scene like this to sketch and some new italic waterproof pens to try out!
If you ever get the chance to have a meal at Palm Valley Fish Camp in Ponte Vedra, you should seize it. We had to dash in and out quickly to make it to the concert in time, but wow, what a delicious meal.. and what friendly, attentive service! The curly, leaning wirework of this basket and the mouth-agape fish caught my eye:
Fish mounted on the wall is mandatory decor for Florida. I believe there's a state law to that effect:
So now, back to real life and to the paintings waiting for me in the studio. Plus, the forecast here for today is for "ice pellets!" (What, as a great friend of mine asked on hearing this, happened to the perfectly good word 'hail?') Anyway, all that's a far cry from 70F and grilled gator!
Well, and eating there, too! Lucky me! Crook's is one of the premiere restaurants of the South. I had their Fresh Figs Bellevue – figs w/ country ham & a mint mustard sauce. It was surprising and delicious and fun.
It was twilight, it was August, there were, of course, pigs.
I've sketched here often over the years. It's fun to see how the sketches vary. Below are two from several years ago. And there are several more of Crook's here on Laurelines. Could YOU resist that pig's derrière?
My purpose-built painting studio is small and, me being me, messy. There I fling acrylic (and rarely, oil) paint and am generally pretty scattered.
This photo shows the studio... after I'd cleaned it up for company, i.e., YOU!
There's not room in this downstairs studio to make paintings AND to make more precise work, work on paper, work with ink or watercolor, without endangering their surfaces. So I have another room, an upstairs room ...one advantage of an empty nest...where I can work on illustrations and, in more contemplative moods, paint in my journal.
I'm in the middle of an illustration project that calls for pristine surfaces and rather quiet imagery.
I'm, in short, upstairs. At work.
I'll show you the illustrations when the job is done.
For now, here is a page from my journal... where I can still channel the chi (see post just below), albeit within the constraints of a journal page. My black and white, quieter work isn't threatened a bit.
And here are some glimpses of the upstairs studio. I like to start work there very early in the morning.
In less than two weeks, I leave for Tuscany and Umbria, where I will attend the wedding of my dearest, oldest friend's son, and where I will FINALLY get to meet up with fellow artist and blogger Robyn Sinclair, a cyber-buddy of many years' standing and a true kindred spirit.
Joy, celebration, food, wine, gorgeous countryside and sketches will ensue!
Yes, cold AND snowy Rome is right. That meant, except for the first day, all monuments and museums were closed the entire time I was there. A lot of restaurants and businesses were, too, but, as you'll see, I found a few places to eat and drink. I mean, what else was there to do??
I did brave the cold with my daughter Cecelia the first day (pre-snow) and the last day (after snow) to make some outdoor sketches. I'll post them in a couple of days.
I met dear Concetta Flore early on the day it snowed. We got some sketching done and here is one of mine from that day. More to come.
I'll be eking these out in smallish doses... only because, as was predestined to be the case, the life we returned to has been busy to the nth degree!
Copenhagen was the perfect choice for a short, celebratory trip. It's not too large, and it's not too small. It's pretty and lively. The food---and I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you, France-- is the best in the world now. There's a whole new and brilliant way of thinking about food and preparing and presenting it in the Nordic countries these days and we were lucky enough to be able to experience a tiny bit of it while we were there.
And though I always say this, there really IS more to come. It was indeed a short trip, but it was a sketched one.
I made this sketch on the grounds of Rosenborg Castle on our last day. It was the most tranquil time of our visit. Copenhagen is not the countryside, though one could be forgiven for thinking it is, while seated on a bench in the Rosenborg gardens.
I asked the bartender at the Nimb Hotel where this was sketched, what was the meaning of the mural featuring women and birds. 'Something to do with the history of Denmark,' said he. Oh, really? Wasn't that helpful.
A gorgeous covered food hall opened in Copenhagen this past winter. It's called Torvehallerne and I couldn't wait to see it. We went, we saw, we ate, and I sketched. Bicycles and good food... this is Copenhagen.
My great friend Sue Smith and I have joined a fledgling local sketching group. Yesterday it was so fledgling that we two and the group creator were IT for the April sketchcrawl.
We met at that den of delicious iniquity, Sugarland Bakery, to draw. And eat gelato, but never mind. Sugarland's offerings are various and sinful: espresso and fancy coffee drinks, pastries, cakes, gelato, and martinis! I call that One Stop Shopping with a vengeance!
Here are my sketches for the day. I did not realize how contemplative everyone I drew looked until I got home and looked at what I had done. Apparently, there's a lot of soul searching going on amidst all that imbibing.
I, however, ate and sketched and departed with my soul, on this particular outing, blissfully ignored.
Please click on Sue's name above and see what she has to say and show for our afternoon together!