Tuesday, September 1, 2015

september begins

Yesterday was the last day of #drawingAugust, so from the moment I woke up, I was planning to head to the woods. It took 13 hours to manage it, but at last, just before evening chores, Piper and I visited a favorite place.

A path takes us near a little stream, once dammed and channeled with huge stones, and used to power a long-forgotten mill. We often come here. You've seen lots of photographs from this area, but drawing bits of it has been a new experience for me. I think if it was on my property, this very small section of a tiny stream could provide daily inspiration for a lifetime.

Welcome to yesterday's studio:

(It was a two-cushion day.)

Piper and I have been playing little games while I draw.
Can you tell the games include Very Good Treats?

(Hint: the blurry tail is a clue.)

The rocks where I made my not-quite-zero-gravity-recliner
are part of the stone-edged millstream
below the remaining stonework of the dam.

Much earlier, I drew a section of the top of the dam.
Here's that one:

But yesterday I was well downstream,
atop one steep wall of stone,
looking down into one small section of stream.

I began by drawing the stone wall,
then expanded into the midstream rocks below:

Sorry about the wonky shadows;
the light is very spotty under the canopy.

But the sun was going down behind my left shoulder,
so the lateral light got much better as time went on:

Piper and I made up a new game yesterday.
Piper learned that if I tossed a treat
all the way across the stream,
she would have to run upstream along the stones,
then cross near the dam,
then find the little treat on the vast forest floor
and gobble it up!

Piper was very, very good at this.
And she enjoyed it so much, she would then reverse her route,
come back and plop down right next to me,
and look like this:

The game allowed me to concentrate for a few minutes at a time,
and finish the sketch before we went for a walk.

But before I packed up my pen and sketchbook
and water bottle and bug spray
(and "furniture"...
gosh it feels weird carrying cushions into the woods)
I took this final snap to post on twitter:

It really has been fun.
I missed a day or two here and there,
but I think I posted 25 sketches.
Not bad for a photographer.

Although - ironically - the pictures I posted
are almost universally terrible.
I've never shared such awful snaps, ever.
Not in draft documents, not in emails.

Usually I was taking the pictures late at night,
by the bedside lamp,
and hastening to get them onto twitter.
But still.
It's very strange.
I'll have to think about the significance of this.
Now that #drawingAugust 2015 has ended,
perhaps I'll photograph the sketches properly.
Possibly I'll put them all up on a separate, single blog page,
just as a record of the experience.


  1. Very nice! You sketch like a pro, and the photos are good as well.
    The look on Piper's face after the jaunt to get a treat, that what looks like one eye on you is hilarious.

    1. You are very kind. Yes, Piper always keeps at least one eye on me when she knows I have treats in my pocket!
      I know you are a painter, so you may be interested in a similar twitter thing for daily painting during the month of September. Not sure if it's posting a painting per day, or posting the day's progress on a painting, but I imagine it's the latter!

  2. Nicely done!

    Piper's face in that photo ... a perfectly happy hound ... what a sweetheart!

    1. Thanks, Annie. Yes, Piper is a very happy girl :)

  3. Yeah, I'm with May - you make this look like you've been doing it forever, and it's easy! I LOVE Piper - she should be next on that sketchbook. XOXO

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I'm going to disappoint you ;) There are some subjects I would not even attempt to reduce to 2 dimensions, and Piper is at the top of that list!

  4. Piper is a great studio companion/distraction. I was out painting with me buds this morning, and made three little paintings, which I'm hoping to put up in #paintingseptember once I get in there. Right now it only takes me to an individual Twitter account which has nothing that I can see to do with the project! Waiting on ants to admit me, I guess.

    What a great month you gave me by introducing the idea of #drawingaugust! thank you many times.

    1. I'm so glad you've enjoyed it, Liz! I bet you'll have even more fun with #paintSeptember :)

  5. you're very talented artist, Quinn. you inspired me to take an hour off yesterday and take a drive just for the shear pleasure. it was a big circle, took about 45 minutes and was simply restorative. thank you.

    1. What a nice thing to say! Thank YOU, Sandra :)

  6. Enjoyable post; your pleasure comes through! I wish I could draw half as well as you can!

    1. Thank you, Mike! Goodness, I am blushing from all these compliments - believe me, no one could be more surprised than I am when one of my drawings comes out actually looking something like the subject!

  7. Your sketches are fabulous! I did laugh at your furniture you carried along with you into the woods and thought, "how on earth did she carry those?" However, being of the air mattress camping crowd as I've gotten older I understand completely. I've missed some of your sketches so must go back and poke around now, so...
    Later gater :D

    1. The cushions are the two I always have on the driver's seat of my car - not very big. I just carry them under one arm. But an air cushion would be an improvement! I used to have a square, inflatable travel cushion, which made the difference between three days spent amongst the sequoia in Yosemite and...not.
      Thanks for the reminder, Beth. Something else to add to my "fix or replace" list :)

  8. Wow Quinn - you are certainly gifted!! Stunning - and Piper looks like she enjoyed herself too :)

    1. Thanks, Dani, I dunno about that, but thanks :) And yes, it takes a lot to keep Piper from having a good time. There's a lesson there, I suppose ;)

  9. You did great in this challenge - I loved seeing your different sketches!


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