Monday, August 17, 2015

notes from my studio

Still #drawingaugust!

Past the midpoint of the month now, and I have 15 drawings posted. I'm enjoying it very much, as there is no pressure or criticism, but enough of a community feeling from the many folks participating on twitter that it always feels good to "join in" and post a daily sketch. Without that incentive, I probably would have fallen by the wayside long before now. It's been a challenge physically as much as "artily."

Some days, I stay home and draw in my recliner, temporarily dubbed "My Studio." This ink sketch of Joe Pye Weed was drawn from a photograph taken while sketching in the woods the day before:

On days when Piper and I can go out, I wear a little backpack with sketching kit, water bottle, dog treats (of course), and bug spray, and carry a folded-up foam cushion under my arm. I don't walk far, but seek out a rock - or, more often, a large tree - at an angle that will support my spine in a leaning-back position while I plant my pelvis on the cushion. Sometimes I even find a place where I can wedge myself between a large tree for my back and a smaller tree in front that I can prop a foot against so I am being held in position with the least amount of physical effort. It's not exactly the "zero-gravity" position I absolutely rely on throughout the day at home, but for allowing me to concentrate on a ten- or fifteen-minute sketch, it is a gift and I am grateful.

A couple of times I've managed to stretch it out to 20 minutes, which is a heck of a long time for me to be in any one position without increased pain. This ink drawing made by the side of a tiny stream was one of those efforts. I reached a point where I was struggling with the drawing, and finally realized I was having trouble with the drawing because I was trying to ignore the pain.

So I closed the sketchbook and pulled myself up - another thing the trees help with - but was too achy and unbalanced to walk right away. So I played "look at me, not at the treat" with Piper (who had already enjoyed being a Wild Dog and was covered from belly to feet in muck), and then, because I couldn't yet lean down to pack up my "sketching kit," I tried an experiment: a very quick sketch while standing. I intended it as visual note-taking, to be looked at back home and perhaps turned into something with color.

And here is the result. On the left, the 3-minute standing sketch with color notes. On the right, the result of an evening session in the recliner, with a handful of watercolor pencils, q-tips (in lieu of a brush), and a pill bottle full of water.



Crazy fun!
Something Ms. Piper knows a lot about.

I hope your week brings you some crazy fun :)


  1. Prayers your aches lessen
    That is a beautiful photograph of Piper, frame worthy for sure! You sketch really well. Keep up the good work.

  2. Great sketches! I'm impressed.

  3. Despite the odds you're doing so well. And Piper is the embodiment of the platonic Happy Dog

  4. I'm so sorry that you have pains - a bad back is not fun I know. I am a firm believer in the wonders of a good chiropractor but don't know if that might be an option for you. And I love that wonderful fuzzy face!

    1. I do have a chiropractor, who is also a good friend. She has even come out to adjust a couple of the goats, with excellent results!

  5. Sorry to hear about the pain but I love your sketches. And that photo of Piper is gorgeous! :)

    1. Tammy! So good to see you! Thank you - I'm really enjoying DrawingAugust this year. And Piper is, too :)


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