I am getting restless as we shelter in place here in San Diego, mostly because I am used to getting out and about and painting around town. The days are blending together but I think this is the fourth week now, with at least four more to go. So, my plan is to distract myself by trying out new mediums and repainting old sketches that I liked.
A year ago, we took a road trip that included a few days at Padre Island on the coast of Texas. I did a sketch there in very bright sunlight, which came out far too blue. I repainted it today with more subtle blues, more whites, and with the surfer facing to the left.
This is a 12 x12 acrylic painting on a black gesso surface.
This is the same composition as yesterday’s sketch. I liked it, but wanted to see what it might look like if I painted on a black surface. There is something about black irregular spaces between the objects in a painting that I like, and it felt good to get lots of them into this version.
This is an 12 x 12 acrylic sketch on a black surface.
We have been walking a lot up at the college. The grounds are open but, with the quarantine, next to nobody is there, an unusual occurrence at a university of 35,000 students. Our skies have been cloudy and windy with our California March rainstorms. I tried to get the feeling of an empty and chilly university in this sketch.
Last week my sister sent a photo of her newest grandson. It was an extraordinary shot of an exhausted new mom resting with her baby. Even in her sleep it was clear how protective the mom is of her child and how much love the two already feel for each other. And, strongly present but not seen, is the devotion of a young man who saw the beauty in this moment and recorded it.
Mostly I don’t work from photos because I can’t come close to conveying whatever moves me about it. But I had to try anyway with this photo. I did not succeed in capturing the emotion yet, but I like the sketch anyway.
We goofed yesterday. My husband had two colleagues over to work on some research. We thought that with a little care it would be fine to work outside in the fresh air. I made them coffee and brownies. They talked and argued. I sketched. It was a good afternoon.
But, after receiving some advice and projections from a normally laidback friend who is also a virologist and an immunologist, we won’t do that again until the rate of transmission declines. This virus has terrible potential. Everyone, and especially people our age, needs to stay as far from the virus as we possibly can.
We are staying put for the duration and are grateful to have each other and the safety of our home. I tried to capture this feeling of both resignation and togetherness in this sketch.
A backyard patio, blue gloves, lounge chairs set ten feet apart, and a portable whiteboard with designated markers, that’s all it takes to make a perfect setup for work in the time of coronavirus. And a pretty good setup for sketching too.
I walked up the hill to Trader Joes’ two weeks ago and, among other items, bought a bouquet of flowers. They were so pretty, especially in the transparent vase, and I kept telling myself that it would be fun to paint them.
But my days sheltering in place have been oddly busy and I never got to it. Today, though, I noticed that one by one, the petals were falling to the table, until there was just one left. It was clear that if I wanted to sketch them, it had better be now.