Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Online Sketching Class Starts January 15th

I've been thinking for some time that it might be fun to do one of the online sketching courses offered by Sketch Book Skool.  Previously I had thought one could sign up any old time but it appears from their website that the next "semester" starts on January 15th and enrollment begins at 12pm EST on January 1st.  I'm planning on signing up for the "Beginning" class which seems geared to any level of experience and I especially like the work and blogs of a couple of the instructors for that one, Tommy Kane in particular.  Since winter has finally arrived, I felt this might give me some artistic inspiration and challenges without having to brave the elements until spring.  

Monday, December 28, 2015


I'm on break now and trying to sketch everyday.  This is Ann Bolyn, while watching "The Tudors."

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sketching with Fountain Pens: Liz Steele and Goulet Pens

Sketch by Liz Steele and some of her favorite pens for sketching
Urban Sketchers correspondent, Liz Steele (Sydney, Australia) is currently doing a series on sketching with fountain pens on her blog:  Her enthusiasm for sketching with pens is infectious ( I ended up buying 2 more Lamy Safari's and some new inks.)  She is not selling anything except her online sketching class called:  "Foundations" which I am guessing would be excellent for people new to urban sketching and also for those with some experience. Her series on pens started earlier this month and still has a few parts to go.  She really put alot of time into this and it is a wealth of free information. She recommends some specific pens in particular for the beginning pen sketcher.

Another place with a ton of free information on fountain pens for drawing and writing is Goulet Pens:  Brian, the owner, has done some great videos explaining just about anything you would want to know about fountain pens.  He keeps the videos short and it is easy to find the answer to just about any question.  Liz mentions Goulet Pens but is not in any sort of partnership with them.  Their website is easy to use and you can get a good idea of what the colors of the inks are.  They will send you small samples of the inks for a reasonable price.  I thought all their prices were reasonable and competitive.  My order from them was packaged extra carefully so nothing would break or leak in transit.  They do have some sort of partnership with Noodler's Inks but carry many other brands.  So far I have only ever used Noodler's inks but just got some "hand made" German ones from De Atramentis.  These are supposed to be "wetter" and not clog pens but I have never had a problem with Noodler's inks clogging any of my Lamy pens.

My personal favorites for sketching are Lamy Safari pens and Noodler's Lextington Grey.  It is a very dark grey and just a bit more subtle than black.  I have pretty bad arthritis in my hands but these pens are lightweight and for me the grip is very comfortable; I can write or sketch for quite awhile with a Lamy before my hand needs a break.  And they are very good value for the money.  You could pay alot more and not get a better pen.

                                                 Happy Holidays to Draw Madison!!!!!!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ella's Deli

The interior is populated with animated characters handmade by the owner, employees and local artists. 45 years of whimsy. During the warmer months...
a 1927 Parker Carousel features outdoor rides. Four of us sketched & enjoyed every minute of it...
By Gretchen

By Louise

By Linda
By Elsie


Thursday, October 29, 2015


Pastel sketch on pastel paper by Linda

Friday, October 23, 2015

freehand design  -  pen and ink with light watercolor wash by Louise

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


I have been very busy with a class I'm taking, but took sometime to do the InkTober sketch.

This is my neighbor's back porch.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Inktober at Pheasant Branch Prairie - Middleton

The prairie has been beautiful the past couple weeks with white and purple asters in bloom and cranes flying over.   I sketched mostly with the Pentel and Kuratake brush pens and added some color with watersoluble crayons.  It's  a challenge for me to stick with black and white and leave the color out of it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

InkTober Drawing Challenge 2015

I came across the InkTober drawing challenge in a recent email from the Artist's network.  It was apparently started in 2009 by artist Jake Parker.  You can find out all about it at: 
October is such a great month to be out sketching so I decided to commit to one drawing a week and will post it on Draw:Madison and if I get more ambitious do a Flicker page.  Several sketching tools are suggested on Jake's site among them the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen (below) a favorite tool of mine and other Draw:Madison sketchers.  Hope to see some more ink drawings on our blog next month.  Happy InkTober to all Madison sketchers!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

UW MADISON Eagle Height Gardens.
Perfect day for plein air sketching and painting. Louisa, Elsie, William, Linda, Gretchen & Louise took part in Draw Madison.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


I attended a drop-in portrait session.  Others were painting.  I had no painting supplies with me, so I drew.   11 x 14:

A sketch of aspens, La Plata County, Colorado.  7 x 10:

Monday, August 10, 2015

Allen Centennial Gardens/UW Madison Campus

Summer view beyond the bridge/by Elsie
 Queen Anne house overlooking the gardens/by Louise 
View overlooking Japanese style gardens /by Pat

Paoli Community Park/by Pat
Henry Vilas Zoo/by Gretchen

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Monday, June 22, 2015

Nathan Fowkes Materials List

Nathan Fowkes is a professional artist and illustrator who, for fun,  paints great small landscape paintings en plein air.  His materials all fit in a fanny pack and I find it amazing what he does with such limited materials.  He doesn't use much water with his paintings and often mixes watercolor paints with white gouache for really nice opaque effects.  He likes painting on acid free brown paper and his paintings really glow on it. You can see his work on his blog: .  He really is a master at capturing dramatic lighting effects esp at sunset.  He also has some great black, grey and white value studies on the blog including the very few materials he uses to do those. His plein air kit would be great for urban sketching, too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Linda's Sketch, Olbrich Gardens, May 31, 2015

The Thai Pavilion looked so lovely, but was challenging to draw.  I thought I might go back to Olbrich to finish the roof tiles, as they presented a perspective problem, due to the different facing surfaces of the roofs.  However, the weather continues to be pollen-laden and windy, not good for my allergies.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sunday sketchers at Rosie's Garden-part of St Mary's Hospital grounds...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 26, 2015

I haven't been outdoors sketching due to too many things to do and to my allergies.  The pollen this Spring has been awful.

Since classes ended, I'm glad to be back sketching.  This is Shep.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

Evening Performance with Madison Community Orchestra 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Every Day in May Sketching Challenge

As some of you may know there has been a worldwide sketching project every May for the last several years called Every Day in May.  There is a Flicker Group by that name that you can join and post your work and see others work.  I've never done it before but was able to figure out how to do the Flicker thing and so I'm posting a sketch a day.  You can read more about it on the art blog "Making a Mark" and the Flicker address is in the blog post from May 1st along with other info about it.  Below is the list of things to sketch each day and they are to be sketched from life.  This is a just for fun thing and it is.  It also makes me take time to do a sketch every day and that is always a good thing.  Hope you're all having a great spring and lots of sketching time.

1. A favorite food
2. A nearby tree
3. Curtains
4. Bottle(s) of herbs or spices
5. Something hot
6. Something with bristles
7. An envelope(s)
8. Something with a handle
9. Something with an interesting label
10. Something you can turn on/off
11. A hat, cap, or other headgear
12. Some stairs or steps
13. The last thing you bought
14. Something you use everyday
15. Something you could throw/give away
16. Ingredients for a favorite recipe
17. Something used for measuring
18. Lipstick/lip gloss
19. A cupcake
20. Your wallet/billfold
21. The spot you regularly sit to read
22. Something that hangs from or is attached to a wall in your home 23. A interesting detail of a building
24. Some keys
25. An apron, or something you wear as cover during messy activities 26. A sign
27. Something furry or fuzzy
28. A yard ornament or statuary
29. A faucet
30. A bird feeder or birdhouse
31. Eggs