(LC) Support, Composition and 3 words

First decisions need to be made.

For me, the first decision was an unexpected one. I sketched a rough horizontal view of my subject, a landscape taken from Cairn H on Carnbane West. The landscape was meant to flow diagonally from the dark, open Cairn H tomb on the lower left, to the grey and misty peak of Carnbane East and Cairn T in the distance to the upper right. A cloudy sun would lighten a predominantly dark, morning sky, with the undersides of the clouds giving me some texture and helping to grey the distant landscapes with a bit of mistiness. A feeling that the tomb was open, and you were moving upward. Death as a part of the living landscape.

Cairn H, Carnbane West

Cairn H, Carnbane West

Lots of horizontal with a gradual uplifting of diagonal lines to the right and some faint indications of trees and roads to keep you from wandering off the page.

And I really didn’t like it.

It reminded me of another scene, a more interesting scene, from a reference photo for a tomb atop a hill on Howth, near Dublin. I didn’t want it to remind me of Howth, I wanted it to be absolutely clear where I was.

So, at the rough, layout sketch stage, I was already starting over. What made Carnbane West so powerful for me?

There we go. Time to develop the three words for this piece that will keep me focused. First, my walk up the hills to Carnbane West was wreathed with mists and silence. The ‘famine rows’ cut horizontally into the sides of the hills to plant potatoes in the 1800s, tripped me up over and over again. My boots would catch them every time. I shall choose the word ‘bleak’ to cover the grey, February morning. Damp and raw. A word to work with the greying of distant peaks and the emphasis on monochrome, with only a hint of warmth.

Death seemed to rest here. The bones of a small creature were gradually disappearing into the ground, pale against dead grass. Usually the dampness would bring out a freshness of color in the air, but not today. Sometimes Irish weather will bring out a silvery, misty light of sun on fine rain, but not today. ‘Heavy’ might carry all the silent, ancient baggage I require. Heavy clouds, dark holes in the ground, damp and earthy smells.

As I reached the crest of the hill, an odd thing happened. I had been suffering from a case of Dublin’s infamous coal-smoke aggravated bronchitis for about two weeks before this trip. Nastiest case I ever had. And I refused to let the remnants of it cause me to lose out on getting to Carnbane West. A two mile hike uphill. At the crest of the hill, as we felt the freshening breezes, just as my chest loosened up, my deep breaths were snatched away from me. The air was moving upwards. Lightheaded, I stood and felt the odd currents. Due to the position of the site, air currents were pushing up along the wide face of the hill. What an odd effect. My hair lifted from the top of my ears, and hair on my forehead floated a bit. An electric sort of feel, enhanced by the heavy weight of the clouds and mists, pushing up.

So, with “Bleak” and “Heavy” I offer the word “Vertical” to the three-word tradition. Heavy and vertical. I re-drew my very rough draft to reflect the new orientation. I would start low, with a dark, open tomb. I would climb upward through the composition to the distant peak, lightly lit by a pale sun. The tombs were originally faced with quartz, so perhaps a few bright highlights would be in order.

Carnbane West, Cairn H

Carnbane West, Cairn H

I had been studying composition and the way the eye sees about seven layers within a given landscape. Some of my reference photos from earlier in the day showed a lovely brightness just at the line of mountains, before the heavier clouds weighed down the sky. A method of defining and breaking up the grey midtones would be to have a line of lighter sky under the clouds, along the edge of the mountains. Perhaps a bit of toning in the gesso would help with that?

Bright white gesso seemed inappropriate, so I had planned to tone the gesso with grey graphite or another soft pigment. But with the thought of the colors coming through the graphite I was using to render the distant landscape, I considered a soft, yellow ochre to bring in the morning warmth behind the mists and clouds.

I had already decided to create this piece on a panel, so I could experiment with the technique of scratching back into the gesso to create sharp and fine detail for the copious amounts of long, dead grass. A gesso toned with yellow would prevent the scratches from getting too bright, but would lighten them within the shadows of darker ground.

A practice piece would be necessary before the project could be finalized.

 


Loch Craobh/Loughcrew (LC) background

Loch Craobh/Loughcrew, Oldcastle, Co. Meath, EIRE

I’ve collected a lot of information regarding the tombs of Loch Craobh over the years. I’ve compiled it here, and I’ll put a list of the books and links into a section of my growing bibliography, accessible through the ‘Page’ section at the top left of the current view.

I’ve found the Wikipedia entry for ‘Loughcrew’ a bit less than accurate, but it is a simple overview of the history of the area. Works by Martin Brennan and Elizabeth Twohig are far more interesting and comprehensive; and the online sites of www.Knowth.com and www.Carrowkeel.com (Martin Brennan) are more useful.

The tombs of Loch Craobh are ‘passage tombs’. They are also known as ‘passage mounds’ or ‘chambered tombs’. They consist of a passageway that leads to a central room with small radiating chambers, all of which is covered with a mound of earth. The oldest of these tombs in Ireland exist on the western side of the country, with gradually increasing sophistication and size evident in the examples as you move east to the massive collection of tombs in the Boyne Valley.

Through carbon dating and excavation of artifacts, it is believed that the oldest examples of passage tombs are those found in Co. Sligo at Carrowmore. Nearby, in the Bricklieve Mountains, lie the tombs of Carrowkeel, considered slightly more recent, with more sophisticated structures and even an early example of a ‘lightbox’ which allows sun into the inner chambers at specific times of the year. The lightbox is built into the entryway and controls the amount and angle of the sunlight entering the tomb. Excavations at Carrowmore and Carrowkeel continue to push the dates of these sites back, with some dates as early as 5400BC for sites at Carrowmore, and possibly 5800BC for a cairn at Croghan Hill in the Ox Mountains. (Martin Brennan)

Individual examples at Sheemoor and Sheebeag move into Leitrim and Longford to the east of the larger, multiple tomb complexes of Sligo. Loughcrew is the next major site, in Co. Meath, and further east is the larger complex of the Boyne Valley. Newgrange, located between Slane in Co. Meath and Drogheda in Co. Louth, is the most famous of the monuments there, though the mound nearby at Knowth is larger and has the longest passages for this kind of tomb in the world.

Passage tombs are not unique to Ireland. Maes Howe, built at Orkney, Scotland, and dated at roughly 3000BC; and Bryn Celli Ddu on Angelsey in Wales are just a few of the examples of nearby tombs in Britain. Highly decorated passage tombs are also found in Brittany

Loughcrew is dated within a span of 3000BC to 4000BC. The complex of structures seems to have crowned four peaks at one time, though only two of the hills currently show multiple tombs with recognizable structures intact. Sliabh na Cailli, or “The Mountain of the Hag” is the central peak, often referred to as Loughcrew itself, or Carnbane East. “Carnbane” comes from “Carn Ban” or “White Cairn” referring, it would seem, to the practice of putting white quartz over the mound of stone. The quartz pieces were usually the first of the stones taken from the cairns over the years, and few cairns have any of the glittering stones remaining.

Carnbane East contains a number of cairns and carved stones, with the largest monument, Cairn T, still roofed. Other tombs lay nearby, open to the sky, showing clearly in some cases, the passageways and chambers once roofed with stone. Passage tombs often have a ring of large stones around the base of the mound, known as a ‘kerb’ of stones. The only decorated kerbstone at Cairn T, known as the ‘Hag’s Chair’ has a flat top, and does look like a rough chair or bench.

To the east of Carnbane East, lies the peak at Patrickstown, where many of the tombs have been destroyed. Little remains for the casual visitor at this site, though some carved stones, including what is described as a ‘calendar stone’ lie here. The ruin of what may have been another large chambered tomb lies on Sliabh Rua, the Red Mountain, between Carnbane East and Carnbane West.

Carnbane West, on a peak roughly two miles from the car park near Carnbane East, is also referred to in many sources simply as “Carnbane”, especially when the sources refer to the central complex of tombs as “Sliabh na Cailli”. It also has a large number of tombs, with one large monument, Cairn L, still retaining its roof. Inside Cairn L there are seven radiating chambers and an interior standing stone, unique in Ireland.

Throughout the area, on all the peaks, and on other small knolls and hillsides, there are standing stones, other rings and later monuments of Iron Age and Norman times. Bone slips carved with Iron Age art have been found here, and a mound showing the remnants of a Norman motte, which may have been built on an older, Neolithic passage tomb monument which has not been yet been excavated. The large mound at Knowth shows the square foundation of a Norman fortification, and it is likely that the motte nearby may also rest on an older site.

The land was owned in more recent times by the Plunkett family, whose most notable member was St. Oliver Plunkett. Their family church still stands at the current site of Loughcrew Gardens. The family was displaced by Cromwellian forces and the lands given to the Naper family. The isolated nature of the property led the area to be used as a place of Catholic worship during Penal times when it was illegal to practice Catholicism. A Mass Rock, used as an altar for secretive Catholic services, still stands on the slopes of Sliabh na Cailli, though is no longer hidden by trees as it once was.

Currently, only Sliabh na Cailli, containing Carnbane East, is owned by the Irish government, and permission is required to visit any of the other parts of this complex. The central cairns, Cairn T and Cairn H, have padlocked gates to protect the contents from vandalism. Keys are required to gain access, and a torch/flashlight is essential to see any of the interior features. A key is available most days for Cairn T, from Loughcrew Gardens, though access to Cairn H and Carbane West should be carefully researched beforehand, and may not be available. Information is available for this large site through Loughcrew Gardens, and a visit to the Gardens is recommended in order to obtain books, maps and keys, as well as a cup of tea.

KJN

 


Horizons Project

I took a short hiatus from projects for a while. It has been very hard to start up something new in the middle of the summer, so after some input from friends and other artists, I decided to reset my project clock to the Fall and Spring. I am much more energetic at those times of the year. For those of you new to my “project clock,” I usually start six-month projects in January and June, focusing on different themes in order to keep myself organized and moving forward.

So, the new project actually started on 22 September, 2010 and runs until 21 March, 2011. The Derrybawn Project was successful in some ways but not so successful in others. I created more new pieces in the span of the project than I have ever done at one time before, but they are neither ready for sale nor headed to the printers yet.

But with a new project comes new goals. I will revisit the Derrybawn artwork soon, and document the t-shirts and prints when they are available.

The Horizons Project is primarily a collection of landscapes. They are part of my study of the concept of a “Place of Resurrection” as described in early Christian writings. A place the soul goes to, a place so part of you that you will wake up there at the sounding of the horn on the Day of Judgment. Each place I have selected for this project is important to me for many reasons. They are “Thin Places” or places where the veil between the visible and invisible worlds is thin. They are places with strong memories for me. I hope to bring out more than just lines in the distance as I create these works of art.

I’ll address aspects of each place as I go. I selected these places using some rather arbitrary criteria, so while all these places are special in some way, they are not the only places I find special. I also selected places in which the landscape was a large part of the experience. Thus Dysert O’Dea is not yet on my drawing board, as my reference photos are targeted towards the serenity of the carved faces in the church structure, and less about the surrounding countryside.

Another reason I did not include Dysert O’Dea is that I plan to complete an entire project solely on sites in the Burren later. I am also saving the sites of Glendalough for a full project. So, in general, I also was looking for places where my own, personal reference photos reflected interesting landscape opportunities.

I started with a list of places that mean something to me, whether through the beauty or history of a place, or because something happened to me there that brings the place to mind. I sifted through those sites to find appropriate landscape photos, sketches and impressions from my writing, to bring together as much as I could for each place. In the case of Knocknarae, my photos are quite poor, but my writings and sketches are very powerful, so I am not sure what the final result will be.

My six selections, some of which may possibly change as I go along, are the following:

The hilltop tombs of Loch Craobh, or Loughcrew in Co. Meath.
The entryway of the passage tomb Brynn Celli Ddu, on Angelsey in Wales.
The ruined temple to Poseidon at Sounion in Greece.
The view of the strand below Maeve’s Tomb from Knocknarae in Co. Sligo.
The view of the countryside from the caves of Kesh Corran, also in Co. Sligo.
The Wicklow Mountains near Bray, Co. Wicklow.

I will be posting my preliminary work for Loch Craobh soon.

I’ll post what I can of sketches and my own reference photos as I work. This Project is also about improving my skills in landscapes, and learning how to render distance and atmospheric effects. It is primarily a Project of drawing, with a bit of painting thrown in. I hope to use pencil, ink, silverpoint and watercolor in this six-month span. Perhaps some colored pencil.

I hope you stay with me, this should be fun.

KJN

 


ATC

So, what do you do with a spare pad of paper and a free hour or two? Artist Trading Cards?

Well, I’m trying it. I participate in a forum on Yahoo, ‘Drawing Together 2′ in which we discuss various drawing techniques among other things. A great group and a good way to get some advice and critique in a gentle format. Some of the artists who write the books I’ve been studying are on the forum. I wonder if they’ll autograph my books.

So in July I did my first ATC ever. They are a regulation 2.5 by 3.5 inches in size, fitting into a protective sleeve the size of a baseball card. I had to stay in my comfort zone for content, but definitely went outside my comfort zone in size. We submit our names to the organizer, and she pairs us with another artist. Names are hidden until the art arrives in the mail. The receiver of art then posts the ATC to the forum for everyone to enjoy and review.

Summer birds

Summer birds

It was fun, and I received a lovely little piece in return. My newest one, ATC number 2, is again a bit of comfort food for content, but much smaller than my standard, this time a pencil and ink sketch of a Gypsy Vanner draft horse named ‘Strega’.

ATC of Strega

ATC of Strega

Working small is a challenge. The temptation is to sacrifice detail as you begin to develop a composition. I specifically promised myself that I would work up something small with the same depth and attention to detail that I put into an 8×10. I have always loved the details in illuminated manuscripts of the Medieval period in Europe and the Middle East, so I may have to throw in a few attempts at illuminating the initials of the people with whom I am exchanging ATC’s.

I also need to move out of my comfort zone and try a bit of landscape art in miniature. Keeping an interesting composition at that size will be a challenge.

KJN

 


Continuing on…

The Derrybawn project is sluggish, as you may have noticed. But not dead yet. Sketches for Arkay Sonney and Bloddeuwedd are still in progress, though not complete.

I have two small pieces ready to be made into printing plates, but haven’t done that. I haven’t gotten some of my new 2009 photos of Ireland reproduced yet either. Lots and lots of potential, but little real progress.

However, I have provided four black and white designs to a printer for professional reproduction. The images are fuzzy, as I was in a hurry and only trying to get quick images done.

Maeve’s Spear is a simplified, smaller version of an original ink and watercolor piece I created a few years ago. The original is a very large piece and the design is the one most people have asked me to create as a print.

Maeve's Spear scratchboard

Maeve's Spear scratchboard

Spiral Raven is a simple, but dramatic design, and may be destined for t-shirts or other items.

spiral raven scratchboard

spiral raven scratchboard

The Kells Bird is an older design, created for notecards. It has come out of the archives for a new breath of life.

Small scratchboard print plate

Small scratchboard print plate

The Key Panel was originally made for notecards, but never was used. Out of the archives and into the market, it seems. This design was made with a lighter, crosshatch technique to add texture to the flat design.

Key Panel Scratchboard

Key Panel Scratchboard

I have also widened my circle of possibilities through writing some articles about my travels and possibly getting them published. Working on that, anyway.

Daily sketching continues. I have some interesting pieces done as projects for a sketching class in D.C., which I will provide when I get my scanner back up and running.

In my quest for seeing new things, I went to the National Zoo on Tuesday this week. I tried sketching the animals as they went about their morning routines. I despaired of catching the sinuous slink of the clouded leopard, with his eyes as clear as rose amber glass in the early sun. I couldn’t keep up with the pair of small-clawed otters as they tried to get closer to the tourists watching them.

The red panda hid behind a branch, and the Giant Panda cared little for my efforts, as he continued to munch on his breakfast. I watched the cheetah watch me for a while. He stalked, loose-limbed around his enclosure, walking back behind bushes when he heard screaming children and coming back to pace close to the fence when they were gone. He watched me carefully, but seemed more irritated by the occasional click of the power generator in the corner of the enclosure.

I tried to catch them all. Much more difficult to catch than people drinking coffee.

Anyway, I’ve decided to continue a version of the Derrybawn project through 1-6/2010. The potential is there, and I still need to do everything I started out to do, but the early part of the year has fewer distractions than the summer and fall.

Bloddeuwedd and the Arkay Sonney will carry over to the new year, along with my small Brambleponies print and a print of a willow tree I began as a gift for a friend. I will also document the final result for the Maeve’s Spear, Spiraled Raven, Key Panel and Kells Bird pieces that I submitted for professional printing, as well as any new black and white art. Reproductions of photos will also be documented and any new plates will be shown.

My goal is to have at least 12 new designs in reproductions for the Potomac show in June 2010.
A secondary goal is still to gather up the threads of my grant proposal, which has gathered new steam as friends have mentioned they may obtain a Letterpress and have been discussing using it to lure me to Pennsylvania to make my prints.

Additionally, I will be using the new prints to revamp my Etsy website.

Hmm. Is that enough for one project? As always, biting off more than I can chew.

kjn

 


Frustration, Inspiration and Friends (bW)

So,
Back to the Derrybawn Project.

I was convinced to spend Tuesdays down in DC a few weeks back. I needed to get out of the house, I was frustrated in the lack of progress on a number of projects, and my house is a depressing wreck as my roommates and I struggle with home renovations.

One day a week, finding new coffee shops, wandering through museums and walking through new neighborhoods, is a good thing.

I start my Tuesdays early, heading out with my roommate when she leaves at 5 in the morning. I found a new coffee place to sit and sketch recently, near the DC Metro stop at Eastern Market. A waiter named Josh has the whole thing down perfectly. Check to see if my coffee (or tea) is low, and otherwise let me sit in the early morning sun and watch the world go by. I think he sneaks looks at my sketches when I’m not paying attention.

Then I pick a museum. Recently it has been the Sackler Gallery, near the Smithsonian. A display on early Chinese bronzes and jade has finally sparked a bit of inspiration in my quest to finish my work on Bloddeuwedd.

For those not familiar with the early Shang Dynasty in China, it is the first dynasty to be documented archaeologically in Chinese history. An earlier dynasty, the Xia, is not documented through archaeological finds, and is often considered a mythical construct. The chronology of these dynasties is provided in the writings of Xiu Lin, and in the Bamboo Annals. The Shang Dynasty is believed to have lasted from about 1600BC to about 1046BC, and was followed by the Zhou Dynasty.

The display of Shang artwork is really amazing. Early bronze vessels and jade pieces are wonderfully complex and dramatic. Animal forms are stylized and shaped in elegant curves. One of the primary motifs in decorating ritual vessels is the Taotie mask. You can search for information on this in Wikipedia. It is a style of mask-like face, created in bold relief, of stylized pieces which are filled in with fine, decorative line designs. Eyes, nose, mouth, wings and claws, all are reduced to bold shapes and contained in clearly defined spaces. The parallels to Northwest Coast Native American art were inescapable.

The Shang masks were primarily of unknown creatures, perhaps demons or spirits. But a few were definitely meant to be natural animals. My favorite is a pear-shaped ritual wine vessel, with a mask of an owl on it.

One of the other things I really find fascinating about the Shang artistic style is the line filler between elements of the Taotie masks, which are tiny spirals. It is extremely difficult to get detailed pictures of the fine designs, due to the emphasis of photos on the larger mask motifs. But I am hooked on the idea of the owl mask and spirals for my Bloddeuwedd piece.

I’m definitely working it out.

It is a good thing someone was kind enough to push me to leave my cave and limp down to DC for the day, forced to walk through museums until weary and worn…

Friends make it all worthwhile.

 


Sketching in Kalamazoo

Yup, my parents live in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I used to, but I have been living in Maryland for quite a while.

This is a sketch from the Barnes and Noble Bookstore on Westnedge. I suppose it can’t really count as another sampling of my mocha, as it is still a Starbuck’s and tastes the same, even though I’m in Michigan.

wifi but no coffee

wifi but no coffee

Broke my sketch pen while sketching at a church picnic, so this one is in pencil. It is one of the four cats who live with my parents. This is Avery, a Maine Coon cat, showing you his ‘happy cat’ face.

Avery showing the 'happy cat' face

Avery showing the 'happy cat' face

This is a quick value study of early morning sunlight on the small cemetery across from the church where my father is a deacon. I should note that three people who saw the sketch were quick to point out that I had not included the dead deer under the tree in the foreground. I replied that I had not seen it. They stated that it had been there quite a while and was probably hard to see from where I was sitting when I sketched.

cemetery across from the church

cemetery across from the church

Back on the train to DC, this is an early morning sketch in the observation car, where one man enjoys his tunes.

early morning on the train

early morning on the train

And here is a man searching diligently for a signal on his blackberry while we travel through the mountains. He had the patience of a saint as he searched. And searched.

hunting for a blackberry signal

hunting for a blackberry signal

kjn

 


Mackinac sketching

I’ve had a few people mention they’ve been enjoying the sketches, so I’ll put a few more in. Maybe I’ll eventually catch up with myself.

My trip to Mackinaw City for the Labor Day Walk across the Mackinac Bridge has reached the day before Labor Day, and we were enjoying ourselves at the touristy shops. This group of pictures is from the crowds at the shops, especially near the food court at the Mackinaw Crossings, and from Mackinac Island.

Note: Mackinac Island, Mackinac Bridge, but Mackinaw City and Mackinaw Crossings. All pronounced the same way.

This sketch shows a smoothie maker waiting for a judgment on his skills from a small smoothie drinker.

smoothie maker and critic

smoothie maker and critic

This picture is mom, chillin’ at the rocky beach at the hotel in Mackinaw City. Note the cranky seagull who swooped in behind her from the hotel roof. Mom did not see the seagull until she saw the sketch.

mom and the cranky seagull

mom and the cranky seagull

We went to Mackinac Island on the ferry. Note that there are no personal cars allowed on Mackinac Island, only police, construction and emergency vehicles. All other transportation involves walking, biking or hiring horses.

After Labor Day, Mackinac Island begins to wind down, and many of the horses are sent back across to the mainland to spend the winter at a farm. Here you see a quick sketch of one man taking four horses down to the ferry.

taking horses down to the ferry

taking horses down to the ferry

An example of the taxi service on Mackinac, though I didn’t leave myself room for the second horse.

Mackinac Island Taxi service

Mackinac Island Taxi service

This gentleman is hosing down the sidewalk, as one would expect, considering the large quantity of poo deposited there every day. You may have seen the ‘Dirty Jobs’ episode when Mike Roe did this job.

road cleaner

road cleaner

kjn

 


Labor Day trip and sketching

I started out on my trip from Maryland to Michigan by accompanying my roommate to DC as she went to work at 6am. My train left at 4pm. I sat at a DC Starbucks on K Street for an hour or so, then wandered a bit.

This man was a professional. Coffee in the right hand, briefcase with two fingers, and working his blackberry with the left hand. Not sure how well he communicated with the blackberry, but probably did well, as he was a professional.

professional

professional

I had a view over a shelf to the station where people added cream and sugar. I faced them as they pondered. A large, black coffee did not make this man happy, and he stood for a while, then moved on without adding anything.

Unhappy

Unhappy

After a good wander, I ended up for lunch at Kelly’s Irish Times, a pub near Union Station, DC. This waiter was quietly waiting for the lunch rush, which came shortly thereafter.

Waiting for the lunch rush

Waiting for the lunch rush

This sign was visible from the window at the front of the Irish Times, where I was enjoying my Bailey’s and coffee. Quite judgmental, I’d say.

Judgmental sign IT

Judgmental sign IT

I travel with my Canon Rebel camera, and I was sorely tempted to drag it out when I saw this man. But he was very nervous, and I figured he would notice the camera, but perhaps not the sketchpad. It was startling to sit down as I waited for my train and see this. A man with a rolling suitcase, and the suitcase sprouting LONG antennae. I looked around, but no one seemed to notice. So I drew him, in case the FBI wanted to know about him later. He had shiny, new headphones, and was listening to something….

Startling man and suitcase

Startling man and suitcase

I sketched as I traveled on the train from Union Station to Elkhart, Indiana. This woman wore a lovely yellow and black caftan, and she was a wonderfully commanding presence with a ringing voice. She used the ringing voice to dispense worldly wisdom to a relative or friend who was making bad life choices. Very bad life choices… I heard alllll about it.

lady in caftan dispenses advice

lady in caftan dispenses advice

My trip to Elkhart was only the first leg of the journey. We left from my parents’ home to drive north to visit family in Ellsworth, MI, and then onward to Mackinaw City. We then boarded a bus on Labor Day to get to the starting point to walk on the Mackinac Bridge. Photographs of all of this will be posted to Webshots soon.

This sketch is one of my mom, who posed for me at a loud, family restaurant called the Dixie Saloon in Mackinaw City, the evening before Labor Day. Lake Michigan Whitefish is one of my addictions and I only get to eat it when I’m in Michigan, so sitting in the Dixie Saloon to get my first plateful was worth the noise.

Mom and ? at the Dixie Saloon

Mom and ? at the Dixie Saloon

kjn

 


Traveling sketches

So, I visited some coffee shops to sip my fave mocha (skim no whip) and test various versions. Oh, and sketch too. Here’s a man waiting at Starbucks for his coffee, and staring at his blackberry. Obviously to avoid having to make eye contact with members of the great unwashed. At Starbucks. I was probably the only one even vaguely unwashed, actually. This particular Starbucks was on the route to DC, so was filled with people ‘in uniform’ on a hot August day. For the men that meant light-colored, button down shirts; khaki pants and brown shoes. And a tie with red in the pattern somewhere. This man had a red striped tie.

Man uses blackberry

Man uses blackberry

This young lady was a dramatic sight amongst the usual career ladies at the early morning Starbucks. Rather than the standard shortish skirt, power blouse with boob tucks and mid-level heels, this young lady was in a purple sundress with a black shrug to protect her from some powerful air conditioning. She was the only person who seemed to notice that I was sketching her.

lady in line

lady in line

So, I’m not much of a dancer these days, and it is very hard to catch dancers in a sketch. The bar wasn’t great. The Guinness ‘machine’ was broken, they didn’t serve cider and charged me crazy amounts for Bailey’s and coffee after giving me a funny look. Definitely not an Irish neighborhood. These people were obviously from a large group of ballroom dancing practitioners sitting around the live band, and they were enjoying ‘Volcano’ by Jimmy Buffet. Obviously better looking than I could manage.

Dancing under electric stars

Dancing under electric stars

Just a lazy, hazy summer apple tree sketch. Wee bit of color from the ink pencils.

apple tree

apple tree

Late night travel on the Green Line in DC, this middle-aged lady with earrings and glasses was comfortably reading a book while leaning on her black bag and letting the world go by. Peace on earth.

lady on the green line

lady on the green line

kjn

 


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