Tag Archives: creative process

Sketch Animals and People as They Move

In March/April 2022, I took an online sketching class at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, PA. I was looking for an opportunity to get myself back into drawing. My eye problems of summer and fall 2021 into early 2022 had shaken my confidence in my ability to see well enough to do pen and ink drawing, and I thought a regular schedule of sketching would be good to start me moving again.

The class was a lot of fun, the instructor was great, and my goal was met – I did a lot of drawing and I enjoyed myself. I’ll show you what I worked on in a series of posts.
Thanks to my instructor, Zoungy Kligge, and my classmates for a good experience.

In this session of class, our assignment was to sketch animals and people in motion, the hardest thing for our last class! During class, we peeked in through several webcams and observed cows in a field, sheep in a barn, and people walking on a beach. Take a look.

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This picture shows you a couple of cows. I did some sheep pictures too, but to be honest, the sheep looked like anything but sheep. It’s not that easy to draw animals in motion!

This picture is a lady walking on the beach. I did a lot of people pictures. I found it hard, once again, to work fast enough to get anything good. I will need to practice this skill.

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I will end with a stationary subject – my cat, who slept through each one of these classes in a chair by my side. Yes, he did. Here he is, semi-sitting up and asleep.

Well, that’s the end of my tour through my sketching class work. I hope to be able to do another class along these lines. It is a lot of fun to sketch with other people and to try subjects I might have otherwise ignored or felt hesitant about attempting.

Happy Sketching!

Sketch Nature

In March/April 2022, I took an online sketching class at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, PA. I was looking for an opportunity to get myself back into drawing. My eye problems of summer and fall 2021 into early 2022 had shaken my confidence in my ability to see well enough to do pen and ink drawing, and I thought a regular schedule of sketching would be good to start me moving again.

The class was a lot of fun, the instructor was great, and my goal was met – I did a lot of drawing and I enjoyed myself. I’ll show you what I worked on in a series of posts.
Thanks to my instructor, Zoungy Kligge, and my classmates for a good experience.

In this session of class, our assignment was to sketch nature. Nature! What a big subject. I decided to choose a couple of images of things close to home.

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This picture shows a group of imaginary trees drawn in class. We practiced capturing the forms and shapes of trees as our instructor gave us tips on how to do so.

This picture depicts a real tree – I liked the tangled branches it has. It’s located near a walking path in Plymouth Meeting, PA.

This picture is a stylized tree. I was just enjoying making shapes and forms inside a tree structure.

This picture is of some of my favorite flowers – dandelions.

Sketch Personal Memories Part Three

In March/April 2022, I took an online sketching class at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, PA. I was looking for an opportunity to get myself back into drawing. My eye problems of summer and fall 2021 into early 2022 had shaken my confidence in my ability to see well enough to do pen and ink drawing, and I thought a regular schedule of sketching would be good to start me moving again.

The class was a lot of fun, the instructor was great, and my goal was met – I did a lot of drawing and I enjoyed myself. I’ll show you what I worked on in a series of posts.
Thanks to my instructor, Zoungy Kligge, and my classmates for a good experience.

I continue with the images I made for this session of class, in which our assignment was to sketch personal memories. In doing so, we record feelings in tangible form.

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This picture depicts the manual typewriter used by my mother in college in the 1950’s and then by me in the 1970’s (though I eventually got an electric machine). I learned to type on this typewriter. When my mother died, I asked to have it and now it’s here in my own house, a treasured old friend.

This picture depicts a display of books I chose for our local library. I won a raffle to choose the theme and volumes for a month-long presentation on this kiosk. If you want to know more, I wrote a post about the experience and show photos of the display here.

I love to read and I love the library. This image symbolizes for me the infinite pleasure there is to be found in reading and learning. And a thank you to the people who help me do that at every library I go to.

Sketch Personal Memories Part Two

In March/April 2022, I took an online sketching class at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, PA. I was looking for an opportunity to get myself back into drawing. My eye problems of summer and fall 2021 into early 2022 had shaken my confidence in my ability to see well enough to do pen and ink drawing, and I thought a regular schedule of sketching would be good to start me moving again.

The class was a lot of fun, the instructor was great, and my goal was met – I did a lot of drawing and I enjoyed myself. I’ll show you what I worked on in a series of posts.
Thanks to my instructor, Zoungy Kligge, and my classmates for a good experience.

I continue with the images I made for this session of class, in which our assignment was to sketch personal memories. In doing so, we record feelings in tangible form.

***

This picture depicts our family’s stopwatch. Between the ages of 7 and 17, I was a competitive swimmer, starting out in a summer league and by the time I finished competing, I swam for a team participating in national-level events. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, before there was electronic timing, every family had a stopwatch to record their swimmer(s)’s splits and times as they watched in the stands. And, since all meets were hand-timed, that also meant the official timers (three to each lane and volunteers from the host club or spectators, usually parents) used their own watches.

The watch was run by my mother (my father was unreliable at starting or stopping it; you could not trust his results). I can picture her sitting in the stands with the other parents, holding a heat sheet and timing every heat. All the parents ran their watches all the time. In every event somebody’s kid was swimming, and if you wanted to keep up with the rankings as the event unfolded, you had to time the heats yourself. You timed their kids and they timed yours. This was especially helpful when you got excited at a close race and forgot to stop or start the watch.

When my mother died, I asked to have this watch, and it is here at home with me. It still runs perfectly.

Sketch Personal Memories Part One

In March/April 2022, I took an online sketching class at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, PA. I was looking for an opportunity to get myself back into drawing. My eye problems of summer and fall 2021 into early 2022 had shaken my confidence in my ability to see well enough to do pen and ink drawing, and I thought a regular schedule of sketching would be good to start me moving again.

The class was a lot of fun, the instructor was great, and my goal was met – I did a lot of drawing and I enjoyed myself. I’ll show you what I worked on in a series of posts.
Thanks to my instructor, Zoungy Kligge, and my classmates for a good experience.

In this session of class, our assignment was to sketch personal memories. In doing so, we record feelings in tangible form

Here are the results.

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This picture is of the bank branch in Conshohocken, PA, where I spent six months working in 1980-81. Just out of college, I was a trainee in the commercial lending program at Philadelphia National Bank (after many mergers and acquisitions, now part of Wells-Fargo). I did a rotation here with the small business lenders based in this office.

I thoroughly enjoyed this assignment, I loved working in a branch and with small businesses, and I received wonderful training and friendship from my bosses and the staff in this division of the bank. In fact, I went on to become a small business lender, something I did for the next 13 years, because of this assignment. So, this place is very important to me.

This picture is a view of the post office in Conshohocken, PA, across the street from the branch. Back when I worked here, I wrote a lot of letters to my family and friends living at a distance from me – the phone was too expensive for a lot of long-distance calling back then. I mailed a lot of those letters from this place, and it symbolizes to me the importance of the US Postal Service in my life.

This picture includes various items related to my old sewing machine. I bought it at a local shop in 1997 and used it for 24 years, until it finally could go no longer. The tag is from a repair, and I kept it because it was filled out by one of the owners of the fabric shop I patronized most often. The two owners, mother and daughter, became friends to me, and this tag is a souvenir from that time.

As for the item on the lower right, it is the throat plate from my old machine. We took it apart (I thought I might use the parts for other projects!) and I kept this piece for sentimental reasons.

(You can read about this sewing machine, what it meant to me, some of the projects it did for me, and see the photo I used for this drawing if you click here. )

Sketch Interior Surroundings

In March/April 2022, I took an online sketching class at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, PA. I was looking for an opportunity to get myself back into drawing. My eye problems of summer and fall 2021 into early 2022 had shaken my confidence in my ability to see well enough to do pen and ink drawing, and I thought a regular schedule of sketching would be good to start me moving again.

The class was a lot of fun, the instructor was great, and my goal was met – I did a lot of drawing and I enjoyed myself. I’ll show you what I worked on in a series of posts.
Thanks to my instructor, Zoungy Kligge, and my classmates for a good experience.

In this session of class, our assignment was to sketch interior scenes. In doing so, we make a record of a particular time and place.

Here are the results.

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This picture was done during class time. We sketched our immediate surroundings. I was working in my basement studio. You see the freezer, weight bench, and World-of-Tools-in Boxes-on-Shelves. Since this time, I have completed converting this whole area into Environment Claudia, so the tools are in the garage now (the freezer is my friend and has stayed. The weight bench is here on temporary assignment, maybe it stays, maybe it goes). So this is a picture of history, already.

This picture shows a section of our spare bedroom. I added color as I saw fit and what made the picture look nice to me, not what is actually there.

This picture shows one of our upstairs bathrooms. Just the left back section of the room. I added a muted bit of coloring to the picture.

This picture shows an area in our dining room. I had a great time doing this image mostly because of depicting the various pieces of artwork we have in this room – both mine and that of some friends. I believe that if you know our house in real life, you will readily recognize this scene, and I felt great at accomplishing that. Plus, I love making all the little marks used to create shadows or details.

Zine Time

Last night I attended an online workshop at the National Gallery of Art called Virtual Studio: Zine-making with Sarah Matthews, Printmaker & Book Artist.

I was interested in this topic because I’ve enjoyed the zine form for some years. I have done one myself that you may remember: Mom Takes the Train to Pittsburgh, Has a Great Time, and Then Goes Home, from 2013. At the time my son lived in that city and the zine tells the story of a visit I made to see him.

During this trip I visited the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, which has a special collection of zines to be read in the library. I spent a whole day there, read zines, and talked to librarians (a couple of them gave me a really nice tour of the library, which I thoroughly enjoyed). From this visit I was inspired to write my own zine about the train trip (which I also loved). And…guess what, my zine is now in the library’s collection. To read about how that came about, check out this post from 2013.

The author and her work.

I have also done a lot of artist books, generally using a discarded library book as the base and adding paint and collage for the images, and then writing poetry to fit the pictures. You may remember some of these, too:

In November

Carefree Light-hearted Travel Outing

Today and Tomorrow and Today Again

and one that is very precious to me, a joint project with a friend, Sharon Mann, who is no longer living here on earth, but always in my memory, Nothing But Sunshine.

These days, I express my book making motivations with my various artist sketchbooks. Some have poetry to accompany the pictures and others, well, they just have lots of pictures! I usually post these books bit by bit. The current version, Large Artist Sketchbook 2021 , is now in progress with a page spread posted each week.

Here’s a random selection from a past sketchbook as an example.

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So – back to the topic of this post, the zine workshop! I was eager to see what we’d be doing. Sarah Matthews, our instructor, a printmaker and book artist (and an excellent teacher, I can say, after attending this workshop) gave us a simple list of materials we would need:

  • two sheets of any paper 8.5 x 11 inches or larger
  • various household scrap paper like newspaper, magazines, pattern paper, construction paper or wrapping paper
  • markers
  • scissors
  • glue stick or liquid glue
  • pencil

I assembled these items on my work table, plus a few others.

After some introductory remarks and a chance to look at some examples of artist books in the National Gallery’s collections, we got right to work. Sarah had a well-defined process for us to follow in this workshop and guided us with clear instructions and demonstrations so that we could end up with a finished tiny zine.

And, before I forget, this session was popular! There were 90 attendees from all over the US and some other countries too – I noticed Sweden and Argentina as we entered our home locations in the Chat on Zoom.

I won’t go through the steps of the workshop in detail – but basically, we took the large piece of paper and first covered it with a pattern – swirly loops, circles, whatever. I took out my India ink and a dip pen and did some asemic writing. I’m very fond of the rhythm of writing meaningless words!

Then we chose words (actual words) and wrote them over the patterns. I decided upon writing random words that popped into mind and went in alphabetical order.

By now a theme for my book was emerging – BOOKS! WORDS! and best of all, READING! If you know me, you know that I read a lot, and it’s my favorite thing to do. So it’s not surprising that I would make a book about…books.

All right. Next we did some folding of this paper and by making one cut with the scissors, we created a tiny booklet.

The last step was to collage or further enhance the interior. I did some tiny drawings with my pen and India ink and put them into the book along with some other papers.

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Here’s what I came up with. The book is a little thing, maybe 3 1/2 inches tall or so. This is the front cover.

Here are the page spreads.

Here’s the back cover. I’m not sure why this guy is so cross, maybe someone interrupted him in the middle of a good novel?

Well, that’s the story! Thanks for coming along with me. I enjoyed making this little book and I’d like to do more of them. And of course, I will continue with the book projects I already have going. Books!

Notes:

Look here for a previous workshop I did with the National Gallery involving poetry and art.

And if you want to try a workshop with the National Gallery of Art, Virtual Studio programs occur every couple of weeks and are free, but you need to register. Why don’t you check it out?

The website of the workshop’s instructor, Sarah Matthews, has a lot to show you. Take a look.

Paste Papers and Paste Painting

You may remember I’ve taken a couple of Zoom classes at the Kalamazoo (MI) Book Arts Center with Lorrie Grainger Abdo. She’s a great teacher, informative and fun to learn from. I also like the subject matter she presents – topics that stem from her work in book arts but are applicable to any artist’s work. (Look here for posts I’ve written on mark-making and circles/squares.

So when I saw that the Smithsonian was offering a Zoom class on paste papers and paste painting, taught by Lorrie, I was ready to sign up for two reasons. One, the teacher! and Two – I’ve wanted to try this technique ever since some students I taught in college classes showed me paste papers they had made. They were beautiful and quite different from the collage papers I make by simply painting with acrylic paints. I’d never had the chance to try the technique and now, here it was right in front of me.

All right. What is paste painting? Basically, it’s a surface decoration process that involves using a mix of paste and paint, applied to paper. It’s very amenable to layering and to texturing. I won’t go into much more detail since information is readily available on the internet. Let me tell you how we did things in the class.

The paste used is this product, Elmer’s Art Paste. It’s readily available and very inexpensive. This whole box can go through quite a few painting sessions, and once water is added, it lasts a very long time, so you don’t have to use it all up right away.

We needed to prepare the paste a day before the class, and it must be made with refrigerated cold water (to avoid lumps), which should chill overnight at least. For the class on Thursday, I started cooling the water on Tuesday and made the paste on Wednesday.

Here are Lorrie’s full directions on how to prepare the paste. I appreciated her thorough explanation.

I made half a box of paste and it just fit into a large plastic multi-serving container. I thought the paste would be white, but it’s actually clear. In fact I thought my paste had not gelled until I stuck my finger into it, between that and it not being opaque white, I had a bit of a fright, thinking I’d have to start over.

All right. Next, I gathered my materials and set up my work space. Lorrie had sent us a photo of how the materials might be arranged, along with written notes as to what was needed. Here is my set-up with her photo in the middle of the picture.

You see that I have craft acrylic paints for this session. Craft paints work perfectly well, but they have less pigment than better paints, so that you would use more paint. However, since I didn’t know if I’d ever do this process again, I just grabbed my existing assortment of $1.19 paint bottles and it worked out fine. For future reference, Lorrie used a student grade acrylic and I would think that if I kept up with paste painting I would do so as well.

You also see

  • plastic tubs to mix the paint and paste;
  • a variety of texturing tools;
  • foam brushes to spread the paste paint on the papers;
  • sketch papers, which is what I used in this session;
  • rags and water (the brushes and so on will get glued up if they don’t stand in water when not in use).
  • And of course the paste, in the yogurt container to the back right.

OK. After Lorrie explained the process to us, we got to work (our class was a group of about 10, and we were from all over the US). Basically, you glop paste into your container, then add paint until you like the opacity (this is where the use of better paints comes into play). If you want to mix a custom color, you just get the paints you want, mix the color, and add it to the paste.

Or, if you are me, you use up some of your color, red, let’s say, and then you add more paste and some blue paint and you get purple. Use that up, add more paste, add white, now you have lavender…

Once you have your colors, you spread paste paint on the paper with your foam brush (for overall coverage) or maybe with a palette knife or other tool (for mark making, usually in later layers, but…no rules! ).

The paste paint dries pretty quickly, so you can layer another color on not too much later. You can also paint in stripes, or blobs of color randomly scattered, or…really, do whatever you like.

All along the way, you can use your tools for texture. I was astounded by the transparency of layering possible, and the dimensionality this paste paint gives. You can scrape into the paint or you can add on to the top layer with stamps or a paintbrush, etc.

Let me just show you want I mean rather than using words.

The class focused on painting for the purpose of making collage papers or paper to be used in bookmaking. I also experimented with painting a “scene”:

I love the transparency and the layering. I’d like to try more things like this image. There is an ethereal quality to this image that I really enjoy. What did I use to make this image?

  • /Foam brush, both for spreading paint and for daubing straight lines with the end of the brush
  • plastic spackle tool
  • pencil eraser (at the end of a pencil)
  • plastic soap holder, flexible and grooved
  • plastic grout spreader
  • rubber-tipped tools intended for making marks into clay (I have a variety with different tips that make different marks)

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Well, that’s pretty much it. I’m thrilled to have learned this process, and I can see I will be experimenting with it and finding uses for it as time goes on.

Thank you to Lorrie Grainger Abdo and my classmates for a very informative and fun session!