Old Friends at Work

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of Two Old Friends Working Together

Old Friends at Work

My husband and I have been visiting Denmark. One of its attractions is meeting up with our many old friends. The first Dane we ever met was in grad school 1975 and since that time I have often sketched this particular friend and my husband talking together as they work. I enjoy half listening to the two of them and am glad they don’t mind my scrutiny and products.

Today’s sketch captures a characteristic pattern of the way these two interact. The talker, who is usually speculating about something, looks off into space while the listener looks intently at the speaker. There is little eye contact during this phase of the interaction. I think that this is the body language that happens when ideas are being co-constructed.

This sketch was made using Procreate on my iPad.

Posted in Body Language, People Learning, Telling a Story | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Under the Influence of Münter and Calder

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of children playing under a sculpture by Calder

Under the Influence of Münter and Calder

I was delighted to see that the Louisiana Museum in Denmark has a retrospective exhibition of Gabriele Münter’s paintings and photographs. It is an impressive collection and covers the 50- 60 years of her work. It was an opportunity to look at her brushwork and saturated colors up close and I made the most of it. I especially liked her paintings that included bold outlines.

Afterwards I sat in the museum’s Calder sculpture garden and watched people enjoying the sunshine against the view towards Sweden across the straight. I got a kick out of the children, dressed in their museum best, who raced around under the sculptures. I did not have my sketchbook with me but later used a few photographs for reference to make this sketch, while still under the influence of both Münter and Calder.

Posted in Groups Interacting, Landscape, Telling a Story | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Woods Near Vaerelose Denmark

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of a Woods Near Værløse, Denmark

Woods Near Vaerelose Denmark

There is a woods near where we are staying in Vaerelose, north of Copenhagen. It is full of tall trees whose lines are partially emphasized with sunlight in the late afternoon. It is a beautiful place and one I would like to return to if ever I have the chance.

This is a gouache, pastel, and watercolor pencil sketch on black paper.

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Where the Seas Meet

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of where the Baltic and North Seas Meet

Where the Seas Meet

I drove up to the tip of Jutland, to the small town of Skagen, and then beyond Skagen to its northernmost point, Grenen. I went to Skagen to see the town where the Danish Impressionists gathered in the summer to paint, particularly to see the house of Anna Ancher. But I was most moved by standing on the tip of the beach at Grenen, and seeing where the North Sea and the Baltic Sea meet. You can actually see a difference in color between the two seas, something that surprised and delighted me. I tried to capture this experience with this little sketch that I did while standing on the beach. It is a gouache sketch across two pages in a small Moleskine sketchbook.

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Odds and Ends

We drove north from Bonn late this afternoon and stopped much later in Flensburg for the night. Since this was not a good day for sketching, I decided to post some sketches from the past week.

One of the pleasures of travel is there are so many novel scenes to sketch. However, travel also requires sticking to a schedule, which for me results in many unfinished sketches.

All but the final sketch are drawing I began with pastel lines on black paper and then had to stop before I finished. Several had nothing more than some simple lines and a few also had some unfinished gouache paint.

As I sat in the passenger seat today, I imported each of these into Procreate where I added color, turning each of these into a sketch that combines both traditional and digital painting.


The Mud Maid, a Sculpture at the Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, besides having many varied and wonderful walks, has several sculptures. The Mud Maid is a sculpture of a sleeping woman whose hair and clothing is made of living plants and mosses. She is an organic part of the garden and I wanted to convey her beauty and meaning.


Saint Michael’s Mount at Low Tide

Cornwall’s Saint Michael’s Mount at low tide is as close to a fairy tale castle as I have ever seen. I wanted to draw this so people could get a sense of some of the dramatic magnetism that the castle radiates.


Street in Marazion

The narrow streets of Marazion twist around long standing buildings and leave a minimum of space for cars.


Cornwall Hillside

This is a view of the hills above Marazion. I drew it from the lawn of Saint Michael’s Mount. I love the look of the old stone buildings rising above the shore.


Street Cafe in Bonn

I sat at a sidewalk cafe in Bonn and started sketching while waiting for my group to join me. I liked how the couple leaned back in their seats while they watched people go by. I was able to jot down some simple lines and then even add some paint on the right side before I was joined by my group and needed to leave.


Bonn Bicyclist

This is the only sketch from this group that I actually completed without adding digital paint. I liked the lines of the trees and sidewalk and the movement of the bicyclist and the day was ending and wanted to show it in this sketch.


Posted in Cityscape, Interior, Landscape, Telling a Story, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Bonn Beer Garden

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of a couple at a Beer Garden in Bonn

Bonn Beer Garden

We are in Bonn visiting an old friend. The weather is gorgeous and we took a long walk through the pedestrian area in the city center. Later we stopped at a beer garden for a drink and a sketch.

This is a 12 X 12- inch gouache sketch on black paper.

Posted in Cityscape, Groups Interacting, Telling a Story | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Looking Towards Marazion from St. Michael’s Mount

The Cornish countryside is really special. The way the shapes of fields and hillside fit together is mesmerizing and I wish I could stay here and learn how to paint them. Today I sketched Marazion and its surrounding hills from the slope of St. Michael’s Mount, just across the bay.

We spent an afternoon at the Lost Gardens of Heligan a few days ago. The gardens are lush and the story of the gardens is heartwarming and encouraging. I am going to post a sketch from there, perhaps tonight, but notice that a sketch from the garden is somehow posted on some versions of this post. So if you are seeing a sketch of an odd blue structure, that is from the Lost Gardens and not Marazion!

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Along the Cornish Coast

Along the Cornish Coast

Although the climate in Cornwall is relatively mild, I tested the water and found I lacked the courage to join the many enthusiastic swimmers at Marazion’s coast. As I sketched instead, these three sisters caught my attention and made me remember how much fun I used to have playing in the water as a child.

This is a 8 X 5 inch gouache sketch on black paper.

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St Michael’s Mount

St Michael’s Mount

We have stopped for a few days in the small Cornish town of Marazion, known for St Michael’s Mount. St Michael’s Mount is a small tidal island topped off with a large castle. This sketch shows it during high tide. During low tide most of the water between the island and shore moves out and people walk back and forth between the island and town.

This is a 12 X 12 inch gouache sketch.

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Between the Azores and Brittany

Last Sunday evening our ship left the Azores Islands and this morning we docked at Brest on Frances’ Brittany coast. Here are five sketches from the last five days.

Watching the Azores Islands Disappear

It was still warm as we left the Azores and I was able to sketch comfortably on deck. I love the way the passengers attentively study the sea during departures and arrivals. Each stands alone yet companionably, and I wanted to capture a bit of this feeling with this sketch.


Azores Sunset

This sketch is also from our departure from the Azores but a bit later in the evening. Both of these two sketch are with gouache in a 9 X 9 sketchbook with black paper.


IPad Sketch of Two Musicians

I had my iPad and sketched a bit while I was listening to some of the performers on the ship.


Bow of the Prinsendam

This and the next sketch are of the Prinsendam’s bow. Although my California bones are finding it cold here in the Atlantic, I was able to sketch the first one while standing up on the deck above the bridge. Later, I retreated to the warmth of my cabin and made a second painting of the bow, using the first sketch and some photos. Both are gouache sketches in a large 12 X 12 sketchbook with black paper. The one below is my favorite because of the shapes and colors.

Bow of the Prinsendam ll

Posted in Interior, Landscape, Telling a Story | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments