We set out to drive east, this evening, on our way to Kansas City. It was nice to relax in the passenger seat with my sketchbook, after the hustle of packing.
I get a kick out of drawing while driving because it is an exercise in improvisation. You look down at your sketch for a moment, and when you look up, the vista has changed. It is kind of like cooking a favorite recipe while you change your mind about which ingredients to use.
I sketched this as we passed through the Laguna Mountains. There was just a bit of sun on the highest peaks and deep color in the shadows.
The counter forces of good posture and the need to drift off seemed to be battling for dominance in our Tuesday evening Zoom model. As the evening progressed, I noticed the model slowly shifting forward on his stool. His shoulders drooped. He kept reopening his eyes wide even as his facial expression slackened. Having had many such struggles during meetings over the years, I was glad for the chance to capture it on paper.
I gathered up my plein air pack and drove over to the Carlsbad Flower Fields, where Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers are blooming across acres and acres. The ranunculus beds follow the coastal hills’ contours, creating mesmerizing patterns, the kind you could spend a week painting.
Last Monday, I painted at Batiquitos Lagoon, north of San Diego. Later that day, I posted a small sketch of two birdwatchers along the path.
I also painted a larger piece focusing on the patterns in the reeds. But my original composition was awkward. Because I painted what was in front of me, I ended up with two-thirds of the painting being about the reeds and one-third about the path. The parts did not harmonize. Today I replaced most of the trail with water and reeds and like the painting much more.
I walked up to the college campus to make some quick sketches. Spring is in full bloom, the pandemic is receding, and the campus is regaining its previous energy. I like this sketch of two people laughing together because it has an exuberance that matches this moment in time.
It is interesting how much of a person’s character is visible in her body language. This week’s Tuesday night Zoom model had that mix of authority, humor, and feeling that so many educators have. She posed on her kitchen stool, far from a classroom, but her commanding strength came through in the way she held her arms and shoulders. And her facial expression showed a bit of fun and empathy too.
I am settling back into my painting rhythms from the days before COVID. I feel so lucky to be able to go out on Mondays and Fridays, see diverse San Diego County landscapes, and then try to capture something about it on paper.
This morning I went out to Batiquitos Lagoon in the northern part of the county. The weather was perfect, and I painted all day along the walking trail, not far from a vantage point for birdwatching. In this sketch, I caught two birders looking out across the lagoon. They were intent and focused, and I wanted to convey their emotional connection to the birds and lagoon.