Monday, November 12, 2012

 Draw:  Madison went to the Chazen yesterday and I worked on the pencil sketch attached of an expulsion from the garden of Eden scene that was a fresco painted on tile in 1634 by Giovanni Mannozzi.  I spent about 80 min drawing it. 

The pastel above I painted on Saturday in the wind atop the hill on Observatory Rd. west of Paoli.  It was so warm that even with the strong wind it was not cold.  Now the temp has dropped nearly 50 degrees.  It's a great spot to paint and I'll go back when it's a little warmer.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Finally, I've made some time for posting recent drawings. Lately, I've been on a kick with just using a black pen and lots of hatching. It just makes things simpler. The drawing to the left is from our visit to the Goodman Community Center on Madison's east side. They have a lovely little pergola outside the Ironworks Cafe.

 I did this drawing while waiting for the bus. I think working with just the black pen in a kind of rushed time frame is helping me be fairly selective about which details to include in the composition.

Looking forward to drawing with everyone tomorrow at Raymer's Cove!

Happy Drawing,

Monday, September 17, 2012

Draw Madison went to Paoli yesterday and it was a beautiful day for sketching.  Lots of folks out enjoying the great weather.  Very interesting current exhibit at the Artisan Gallery there and I was thrilled to buy a small painting by Kelly Hoppman whose work I've admired for a long time.  Her paintings are surreal in subject matter and painted beautifully in a fairly realistic style.  It was part of a series of paintings done in collaboration with a poet.  John Ribble and Chris Gargan collaborated on a great painting of a big brown bear as artist.  My watercolor sketch is of the Artisan Gallery and restaurant sketched from the other side of the Sugar River in a Strathmore Multi-Media Journal that is great for watercolor. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It took an hour to get an new Gooogle account as I am sure many others have had to do so now I can finally post again.  What a time waster these things are!  But fun and informative also.  Lately I have been working in my sketchbook doing little watercolors with some pen work and it's fun.  I have a page of images to remember the day with instead of snapshots and as we know painting a place fixes it in your memory much better than snapping a photo. This was done on our outing to Olbrich Gardens with Dana, Gretchen and Shirley a few weeks ago.  We all enjoyed the hydrangeas.  This journal is a Strathmore Artist's Journal with mixed media paper which I like alot for watercolor work.  It is pretty forgiving and doesn't buckle much even with alot of water.  I used artist tape to make the borders which is a easy way to design a page.  Paintings always look so much better when I peel the tape away.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Here are a few sketches from 3 of our last 4 outings.  Sorry I had to wimp out on Saturday at Farmer's Market on the Square but the heat did me in.  The first is the aerial view from the Target Starbuck's on University looking across the street.  The next is at Ground Zero where the coffee and company was excellent.  And the last was from Memorial Union Terrace on June 30th.  Always a great place to people watch and sketch. 

  What we really need to do is sketch a nice rainy scene and maybe some Sunday we will get the chance. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

A sketch from Carol!

Here's a sketch from Carol of the MG&E plant on Madison's eastside. From what I hear, our group enjoyed a decent view of the plant from the air conditioned comfort of Ground Zero Cafe. I really enjoy the color palette she choose. Thanks for sharing Carol!

Tomorrow, Saturday July7, we'll be at the Dane County Farmer's Market on the square in downtown Madison. It's probably still going to be super hot, so please stay well hydrated! If we get too hot, we can always retreat to a cafe on the Square.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dana's Forays into Watercolor

I finally found some time to post my recent sketches!
Monroe Street
Ride the Drive, Capital Square

With summer in full swing, we've been sketching outdoors more and more. Tomorrow (6/10/12, 1 pm) we'll be sketching on the Rooftop Garden at Monona Terrace.  The weather will be hot and sunny, but if we get parched we can stop in at the Lakeview Cafe, also located on the roof of Monona Terrace. 

I've been inspired by the summer colors to take my watercolor kit along to our outings, and you can see the resulting drawings posted to the right.

I love how much life watercolor adds to a sketch, especially for web viewing. Nothing attracts attention quite like color. 

Up until this spring, I had been avoiding sketching with watercolors. I liked the simplicity off just using a pencil or pen and a small sketchpad on our outings. And limiting my materials allowed me to focus on line, composition and value. While I can't say that I've mastered all those things (may be a lifelong project!), I felt like I needed a change, an added element to shake up my drawing style.

After using watercolors at a few sketch sessions, I've realized that they require a more conscious approach to drawing process than my pencil sketches. I'm most pleased with method I used on the Ride the Drive sketch and the Monroe Street sketch. First I used my gray Tombo pens to sketch in basic contours, then I added lighter washes of color and finally a few darker washes and accents in black.
Allen Gardens

With the Allen Garden and Olbrich Garden sketches, I did the base drawings in graphite and charcoal. I think I added more dark areas earlier with the graphite and charcoal in these drawings than I did on the other two. I think combining charcoal and watercolor might be more effective in a larger format, but in my little sketchbook the result is a little too fuzzy for my taste.

One thing I really like about watercolor is that it lets you cover large areas of paper quickly, so I think it might be a good medium to explore value with. I think I'll try using a limited palate of colors and a greater range of values at our next couple sketching sessions.

Happy sketching,

Olbrich Gardens

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

 Despite few downpours on Sunday morning, Draw: Madison enjoyed an lovely afternoon in Mount Horeb. We started out at Schubert's, which did have delicious homemade pie, as Pat promised. I did the drawing at left, while enjoying an apple raisin cinnamon roll, which must have been freshly made that morning by hand, it was so good. The atmosphere of Schubert's on Sunday was perfect for sketching -- relaxed and cosy, yet energizing and very social with of all the artsy types there due to Cynthia Quinn's art opening.

We progressed outside after the weather cleared up. We didn't have to go far though -- the building in this second sketch is right across the street from Schubert's. It's very old-worldish with detailed brickwork and masonry all over.

I take the bus to work most days lately. Some days I miss my earlier bus and have to wait for another that comes 20 minutes later, so my sketch book now has a number of bus stop drawings in it. Since I was sort of rushed, I didn't plan the composition of this one too fully, but I kind of like how it turned out anyway. I used a fine tip Sharpie pen to draw it.

Gretchen asked me to post this drawing from our visit to the Arboretum. I found the site, a marsh with a boardwalk through it surrounded by forest, to be very challenging to draw because of all the complex textures. Using charcoal helped me simplify the textures a bit, but I'm still not entirely satisfied.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mt. Horeb

The weather cooperated  for sketching in Mt. Horeb this afternoon and  we also enjoyed the opening of Cynde Quinn's new oil painting show at Schubert's restaurant where I had some great homemade rhubarb pie.  Lots of interesting architecture in that small town.  I don't know the name of this building on the main street but the bottom floor houses the Prairie Book Store.  Today was my first sketch day using Noodler's Lexington Gray ink in my Lamy Safari fountain pen.  I had been using Noodler's Bullet proof Black and like it alot but have read recommendations for the Lexington Gray which is also Bullet proof and will not bleed once it is dry so works well with watercolor.  The gray is more subtle and I love it.  Nina Johansson (Swedish Urban Sketcher) who I greatly admire uses it for her wonderful pen and watercolor sketches.  You can see them on her blog which is well worth a look.  Two more "new" sketchers came today which made a total of 8 of us for the day.  Many thanks to Dana for getting the ball rolling a few months ago and making sketching with Draw: Madison a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Here's a little sketch of the reflecting pool at Olbrich from last Sunday.  I painted this in a new 7"x7" sketchbook from Stonehenge with their heavy duty drawing paper.  It seems like 140lb hot press paper and did not bleed through and was very nice to draw on with ink.  The covers of these sketchbooks are very firm and are plain brown and ready to be decorated to taste.  I used a couple coats of acrylic paint which also makes them fairly waterproof.  Very nice sketchbooks for pencil or ink.  Nice to see a couple new sketchers this week, too!  Sorry I missed Amber but I got there a little late and did not find the group until 3pm.  Hope to see everyone next week in Mt. Horeb.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Here's a watercolor sketch I did today while sitting by the Sugar River in Paoli next to Artisan Art Gallery.  I went there to see Jonathan Wilde's new show of beautiful oil paintings.  Jon paints gorgeous landscapes and some bird paintings; some are portraits of the bird and in others the birds are  part of the landscape.  I was lucky enough to have taken a class Jon taught through the UW Extension on plein air painting and it was so much fun I have been painting outdoors ever since.  I encourage everyone to get to Paoli and have a look as his paintings. It's my favorite local gallery and many excellent artists have work there and they have a really good restaurant Wed thu Sundays for lunch. It's a beautiful area and you can sketch on either side of the river. Maybe some Sunday Draw: Madison will visit there to do some sketching.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Yahara Place Park
Here are my favorite drawings from the SketchCrawl. The first is of a cottonwood tree in the Yahara Place Park on Lake Monona. The second drawing is of Monte's Diner -- I just happened to have the perfect selection of colors along to capture the look of Monte's. I love their funky, 1950s styling.

I posted a link to our blog on the SketchCrawl forum. SketchCrawl's blog is a bit difficult to navigate, but I recommend visiting their forum to see what other sketching group's were drawing all around the world.
Monte's Blue Plate Diner 

SketchCrawl 35 - Larry's Drawings

 Cafe Zoma
WW SketchCrawl 35 was great fun for Draw: Madison. The weather was sunny and crisp, the sites were intriguing and the company sparkling.  Here are Larry's drawings, one from each site.
Lake Monona 

Jamerica! Restaurant

the Barrymore Theater 

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Had a great time doing the Worldwide Sketchcrawl today!  Thanks to all for showing up and to Dana for mapping out a great route with lots of choices for sketching.  It was esp nice by the lake.  I'll post my sketches of the Barrymore and Willy St. Coop. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Here are a few of Larry's drawings from the last few weeks. I've ordered them chronologically starting with the Chazen Museum, then Union South, then the Zoo, and finally the Arboretum.

In my landscape architecture program, I had a drawing professor who encouraged her students to develop a "confident wiggle" in our drawing style.  I think Larry definitely has it, and I like how it makes everything look loose yet fairly controlled at the same time. He's a landscape architect too, so maybe that's why.

Thanks for sharing Larry!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Here is our schedule for the SketchCrawl on Saturday. 

Feel free to print it off and post it around town if you have time -- it would be great to let more people know about the event. There are lots of interesting buildings and urban character along Willy Street, so I'm sure we won't lack things to draw. 

Feel free to come along for the entire day, or just for a portion.  The purpose of the schedule is to let people know where we'll be and when, so that it's easy to participate in some or all of the Crawl as you schedule allows. 

Sketching at the Arb on Sunday was great! Larry sent me some of his sketches -- I'll get them up asap!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I had a great time with Dana, Greg, Larry and Gretchen sketching on the boardwalk in the marsh. This is a soupy watercolor of Curtis Prairie that I did while Gretchen sketched Prairie Smoke (wildflower). Seeing Sandhill Cranes in the marsh was a real treat. Hope to see more sketchers at the Worldwide Sketchcrawl next Saturday on Willy St. It will be nice to stop and look at Willy St. instead of just driving by. See you then.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Elsie sent me a few of her drawings from the Henry Vilas Zoo and the Chazen Museum to post. Thanks Elsie!

Giraffes are such fun animals to draw. Their proportions are so unusual and they stand still very well.  And, did you know that giraffes can touch their nose to the tip of their tails? Oh the things you learn while drawing.

I'm looking forward to participating in WW SketchCrawl 35 with Draw: Madison.  We're 'crawling' in the downtown / State Street area on Saturday, April 21st.  I'll post about our exact route once it is determined.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Chazen Museum

We had a few more sketchers join us as the Chazen on Sunday. It was great sketching with you all. I enjoyed sketching on the Bridge, and people explore a number of other galleries. Chamber music from the "Sunday Afternoon Live at the Chazen" concert series combined with good company and a beautiful setting made for a fairly magical Sunday afternoon.

This is my drawing of the view from the Bridge down East Campus Mall to Lake Mendota.  I forgot to write down the name of the artist who made the glass sculpture in the foreground. I drew it with graphite and added color in Photoshop later on -- I think the color really helps distinguish the foreground and background. I've also posted the drawing before I added the color.

Do people think it's okay to post drawing's modified with Photoshop? I like this aesthetic, but is it cheating?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Elsie sent me two of her sketches from the last few weeks.  The first one is the view from the Overture Center looking east toward the Capital. I believe it was done with Tombow pens, which have water soluble ink that can be blended with a watercolor brush. I really enjoy how playfully she used color and line.

This drawing was done at Victor Allen's on Monroe Street on March 4th.  It's a combination of watercolor and pen.

Thanks for sharing Elsie!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

It was great to meet Jane, Linda and Greg. Linda, as it happens, is organizing a contest called "Wisconsin in Winter" on Fine Art America. The contest is open to any medium (photography, painting, drawing, etc). The artists don't have to be from Wisconsin but all images should be of the Badger state. The deadline is tomorrow (sorry for the late notice!) but anyone can vote for their favorites after all the entries are in. Check it out their website.

I enjoyed drawing with my Prismacolor markers again today at the Overture Center. I used a few more colors that last week, but I'm still enjoying the limited color palette. What do you think?

Overture Center

This is a view of State & Dayton from the Overture Center. We had a great time sketching today with 3 new sketchers! Welcome Jane, Linda and Greg! Hope to see you next week at the Chazen. The staff at the OvertureCenter was very accomodating and found a table and chairs for us.

On this sketch I used a Pentel Brush Pen, Gelly Roll White Pen and Neocolor II crayons on Stonehenge Kraft Brown Paper.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday March 4th

My sketch of Dana was done on Stonehenge Kraft Brown paper using a Prismacolor pen and Caran d'Ache Neocolor II watersoluble crayons. First time I've used these crayons and they are nice for getting color down fast. The paper is great to draw on and colors really pop but it tends to crack on the fold so isn't ideal for handmade sketch books. Thanks to Samara for coming to interview our little group and hopefully other sketchers will join us in the weeks to come. Drawing can be a pretty solitary activity and it really is fun to have some company. Pat
As foretold, a reporter from the State Journal came and interviewed us today at Victor Allen's on Monroe Street. Look for a story about us in the paper tomorrow on page 3. Hilariously, the interview, combined with a second cup of coffee for the day, made my hand very jittery, as you can see from my drawing below.  I was using the fat tips of my Prismacolor markers to explore the use of positive and negative space. The color fields seem to add a lot of interest and depth to an otherwise fairly jittery/wonky drawing. I think I'll keep exploring this technique.

Friday, March 2, 2012

I just learned from Pat that the State Journal is going to interview Draw: Madison at Victor Allen's this Sunday! I'm thrilled -- hopefully they run a story about us. It's great to see our group gaining momentum.

Here are some of Elsie's sketches from last Sunday at Memorial Union. The first shows people ice fishing on Lake Mendota.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Draw: Madison met this week at Memorial Union.  It turned out to be a great location for sketching because there were nice views of Lake Mendota and lots of students studying too intensely to notice us drawing them.  Pat did this lovely little watercolor that captures both the intense studying and the lake.  I'll post more drawings from Sunday as soon as I get them/scan them.