Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wildwood Nature Center

A couple more sketches from my trip to Illinois. I went out on my own for a couple of hours to sketch at the Wildwood Nature Center in Park Ridge, a suburb of Chicago. When I first arrived I was completely taken with the huge weeping willows hanging over the lake. But as is often the case, my sketch subjects were dictated by where I could find a suitable place to sit out of the direct sun.

Swan grooming
I was surprised at how long this swan held this position, grooming its feathers. Long enough for a sketch, anyway. I guess he (she?) was pretty serious about personal hygiene.

A path through the woods
I am always attracted to a winding path. I think there's something deep in our psyches that wants to know where a path leads.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Barb's Sketches from Dar Louisa

Here are Barb Barry's latest sketches from Morocco. She writes:

Phyllis just walked into my "office," saying "no sketch, no can capture the way this place FEELS." Well, we're doing our best. Last nite, after dinner we had mint tea and I loved seeing the tea pot and glasses on a wicker chest before beautiful African cushions and tapestries. I wanted to capture TEXTURE. 

 This morning, up before breakfast, I wanted to capture DIMENSIONS so I sketched the swimming pool in our interior courtyard. 

Today we'll walk to the town of Tourandannt, see the souks, meet some locals. The Moroccans are super sweet and accepting. The women wear head scarves for traditional reasons, not religious. The Tourandannt women wear blue haj's (spelling?)... head scarfs and very colorful patterned caftans.

Big Day of Sketching in Little Edison

We couldn't have asked for a better sketching day in the charming village of Edison, population 133. We found everything we were looking for and more. Great weather, great views, great characters, unbelievably great food, and even an outdoor sketching venue serving wine with view of a slough!

Tweets Cafe Co-owner and Chef David
David again

Tweets Cafe was the big find of the day. The food was SO good and the decor so artful and inviting and sketchable. Faye and I had both lunch and dinner there plus dessert AND sweets to take home... Faye gave hers to Truman. She's a better person than me.
View from Tweets deck.

Tweets Cafe deck
Eventually we explored the rest of the town and ended up at Slough Foods patio for Spanish wine and cheese (before we went back to Tweets for dinner of course!). Slough Foods is on the Edison Slough although the water doesn't show up in my sketch. We enjoyed chatting with artists Tom and Elizabeth from Sequim.

Slough Foods patio view

Todd on the patio of  Slough Foods

Don't ask me what is going on with the lower part of this chair. I think I got distracted by our conversations and got lost. It happens.

From Phyllis in Morocco - Part 3

More sketches from Phyllis in Morocco. They are now at Dar Louisa, in the walled city of Taroundant.
Phyllis' room and balcony

Poolside at Dar Louisa
Some excerpts from her delicious daily reports:

This place is so beautiful it is hard to describe. There are jasmine vines and lots of other vegetation on the walls. The birds come into the courtyard at night to sleep and make a great wonderful racket. In the morning they wake up and start to cheep and sing about the same time as the first call to prayer which is around 5:30. I was too excited to sleep last night so slept very little. But who cares? I can nap or not.....whatever. Adbelilah is our chef. For about $18.00 a day he will make us 3 meals a day. We asked for 2 meals with a small snack of fruit and stuff for the third. We are eating everything that is put before us.....including vegetables and fruits, we are drinking the tap water, and we have only seen real toilets (no squatters), so we are traveling very first class. All of this because Suzie and Bill traded our casa in Mexico for these delightful riads. Fatima is our housekeeper, and she quietly goes about keeping everything beautiful and clean. It's a bit decadent, I know....but oh so delightful. This riad also has a private hammam. We can be scrubbed, manicured, pedicured and massaged. Which we will do. Anyway.....I will for sure. We have mint tea everywhere and often. Everyone wants our money, but they are mostly very, very nice about going about getting it.

Taroudant is a walled village. The walls are 800 years old. The tops of the walls look just like the castle walls in fairy tales. The merchants here do not hassle us like they did in Marrakech Still everything must be bargained for.The climate is more temperate here. The days are warm but not hot, the evenings pleasantly cool, and the nights not cold but cool enough to use a blanket and sleep well. Taroudant is much more tranquil than Marrakech, fewer tourists, easier to mange, still busy will all manner of vehicles. Lots of bicycles. Fridays are the day of prayer and the day for cous-cous. The shops were closed at 1:00 today for people to go to the mosques. We could hear the prayers throughout the city and from Dar Louisa. After prayers it is traditional to go home for cour-cous. Adbelilah made delicous vegetable soup for dinner, followed by Moroccan cous-cous smothered in vegetables with a small amount of lamb. Dessert was pears poached in a light sauce flavored with allspice. After we had a fire and mint tea in the salon. I'm feeling very, very fortunate, pampered, lucky and happy. This is a real vacation. So different from what I imagined or expected.

Never, ever have I experienced the sort of exquisite care, food, attention to detail as we have at Dar Louisa. I am almost embarrassed to tell about it. Abdelilah makes all of our meals, serves us drinks by the pool, builds fires for us in the evening in the downstairs salon, took us on a walking tour today and will take us to an oasis tomorrow. While Abdelilah is taking such care of us Fatima is making our beds, doing our laundry, sweeping, and such things. All of this is cheerfully done.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Day of Sketching in Edison

The Langley Sketchers drove up the up and off the Island today to meet up with Missy and the Anacortes Sketchers for a day filled with art, good food and friends. We met in the tiny town of Edison, where is air is filled with the wonderful smell of fresh baked bread. The open door of "TWEETS" restaurant was filled with all sorts of signs of the season - apples, pumpkins, Indian corn - and the most delicious scents of yummy food being prepared wafted out to the chair where I sat and sketched. 

Out behind "Slough Foods" a patio opens up and chairs and tables are set out right down to the water's edge. As we sketched the sun dipped lower and lower into the sky until it turned the still waters of the slough metallic silver, and the reeds along the shore, golden. And through the tall grass I spied a tiny house, sitting on the edge of the still waters.

It was a great day!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

From Phyllis in Morocco - Part 2

More fabulous sketches from Phyllis in Marrakech!

 Phyllis writes: So far I like this one best this is one of the sitting rooms in our riad. Today we move to a new riad in a small village.
Barb and I sat in a cafe yesterday and sketched. Very hard because things are moving so fast there. I would have loved to have gotten all the push carts and motorbikes and donkey carts and and and..........great fun. 
What a great adventure. I so wish I could be there, too!

Barb's Sketches from Morocco

From Barb Barry in Morocco:  

Here are two sketches from our gorgeous 800 year old home, Dar Allaimoun. A two story house, with a central dining room opened to the sky. Balconies, climbing flowering vines ... birds cheerfully chirp as they come home to nest at sun fall. No windows otherwise... a real fortress. Colorful tiles everywhere ... floors, walls, fountains... fanciful Moroccan lamps hanging from the ceilings, a rooftop deck with outdoor sleeping. Sweet, quiet neighborhood ... all the houses are fortresses with heavy ornate doors, near the souks in the medina. Lovingly cared for by beautiful Morrocan housekeeper, Fouzia.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Django Fest

Useless Bay Coffee was a wonderful location to enjoy the sounds of Django djammin' musicians.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Django Fest in Langley

We had a ball sketching all the impromptu jam sessions we could find around Langley. I had so much fun, I might have to go back again tomorrow for a second helping.

At Useless Bay Wines

At Useless Bay Coffee
In the Backroom at South Whidbey Commons

Jammin' Around Town

Django Fest is in Langley and that means fabulous sketching opportunities as musicians hit cafes all around town to jam.  Sketching stops today at Useless Bay Coffee garden and over wine at Useless Bay Wines tasting room.  What a blast!

First Sketch from Morocco

Phyllis sent me her first sketch from Morocco. They are staying in a villa in Marrakech. She writes:

This is one of several sitting areas in our 3 floors and a roof terrace riad. It's hot, the birds are singing, supper is nearly ready, we've heard one call to prayer and will go out into this very beautiful city when it cools down. The sketching opportunities are endless and gorgeous.

I'm so jealous!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Summer Colors

This patch of orange was probably too the beautiful Smith Garden near Lagoon Point.
We are so fortunate to have these amazing places available to us for sketching!

      On a recent camping trip, we stopped to do a little sketch of late sky and the sand dunes at
      Cape Disappointment State Park on Long Beach. The Blowing sand made it a very short 
      sketch, just some spots of sand  filled color. Still sand on the page and in my little paintbox.

 Tide lands looking south from Oysterville on the Willapa Bay side of Long Beach. Afternoon.

And the same spot with a little more foreground. My quest
to simplify.... light a little later , some fog coming in.

Mom's Garden

Sketching at Mom's in Springfield, Illinois. She's all about the flowers and the creatures that visit her backyard garden.

Pink Petunias

Red Impatiens

 A Mighty Oak
Bird Bath
Redbud Tree?

Tiny roses on the kitchen table

Monday, September 17, 2012

Layers of color

We recently had the opportunity to sketch in a beautifully designed drought tolerant garden that was full of color, this late in the season.  Thank you Deb for allowing us to take over your space, enjoy the weather and do our best to represent the beautiful view you and Rob have.  Here are a couple of my sketches.
Beautiful layers

River of grass

Saturday, September 15, 2012

In a "Secret Garden" in Greenbank

 The Whidbey Island Sketchers met at Deborah's beautiful "Secret Garden", full of summer perennials, high on a bluff above the sparkling waters of Admiralty Inlet, on Smuggler's Cove Road in Greenbank today. See all the pictures HERE. This is the sketch I completed today. LOTS of new things - new medium (Daniel Smith Watercolor Sticks), new surface (the paper in the book I made in Sandra and Meredith's bookbinding studio workshop) and new pens (Micron).

Monday, September 10, 2012

RoseHip Garden

Two different views of the same scene.  Rosehip Red door is the back door, where I tried wet into wet painting on so so paper.  Not so good and required some doctoring up with gouache to make it even viewable.  Scene two; Rosehip porch entry with a bench outside. This time the paper is 140lb and took the paint in the most wonderful way.
So here you go:  For further comments, see my blog.... tomorrow!
Rosehip porch

I like this because of the shadow & red door.  Paper 8-(!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Late Summer Garden

A stunning day to sketch at the beautiful and bountiful Rosehip Farm outside Coupeville. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sunflowers every where

This is a wonderful place to sketch. So many plants, animals, and other farm related items.
Thank you U- Pick Beans.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Retro Lovelies

I've been on a bit of a retro + neon kick lately.  Nothing to do with Whidbey; everything to do with fun!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tuesday Morning in Coupeville

Sketching around Coupeville while waiting for Dan.
Front Porch of Caffeine Effect - odd name for a cafe.
Buff Backpack Guy

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Langley Night Life

Young Riley plays for tips at Langley's Friday Market

Boot Night: Moggie, Karen and Linda put on their boots and go out on the town.

A couple of the hardworking pizza makers at Village Pizzeria

Cows, Turkeys and Sunflowers

Not to mention, beans, chickens, ducks, a goat and did I mention beans - lots and lotsa beans. All this at a community garden on the side of the road. Just one of the many pleasures of living in a semi-rural community.

These girls posed for 2 sketches. This was my favorite sketch of the day.

Another great model!

He was strutting around, striking poses, displaying all his plumage and best moves. I think he was courting me.

Thousands of glorious volunteer sunflowers growing through the gardens. Lea says they came in with the compost.