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Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Travel Story by Lynn Cohen

A week ago we took a drive to Portland, Oregon to visit family.
(My son, his wife, and his kids)
 We drive out 505 and for a while there's nothing to draw but the cars and trucks in front of us.

 It gets more exciting when we reach Mt. Shasta and Lake Shasta. There was a little bit of snow, not much, on top and the lake was surprisingly and distressingly low this year.

Our first stop was Ashland, Oregon where we met up with my friend, Elizabeth Flanagan, who I met in Sketchbook Skool. This was our second meet up. We met at the same Sesame Restaurant and ate the same Imperial Salad. We drew each other on card stock and then drew each other again so we could both go home with a portrait of our selves and the other.

Elizabeth is so much fun. We laughed and drew and drew and laughed and ate and talked and drew some more.
It was hard to say goodbye. But we know we'll do this again!
Oh, and we were both wearing our T-shirts with Sketchbook Skool logos!!! You can get them on Zazzle!

We spent our first night in Eugene, OR where we slept at the Motel Six. Got there in time to get a quick dinner and then crawl into bed and get ready for the second leg of our trip to Portland the next morning!

The next morning we had breakfast at Starbucks. They are now serving Whole Grain Oatmeal made with Steel Oats and Old fashioned oatmeal mixed, nuts and seeds, and FRESH Organic blueberries.
It was so good. DH got his coffee and an egg and turkey bacon on a roll of some sort.
In the morning in  Eugene, Oregon  we always stopped at Cabela's, the outdoors store. It's a good place for a pit stop, to walk around, stretch our legs and shop! I found an awesome bright eggplant purple rain jacket made out of polypropylene and it's as light as a feather. But guaranteed to keep me dry and warm!

I also got some polypropylene long johns that are guaranteed to keep me warm under my clothing.
(just in case I run into intrepid weather anywhere this fall and winter) OH and a pair of kids size 4 shower shoes!

Finally we arrived in Portland! The prize is lots and lots of time with our little, just turned three, grand daughter, Allie. She is getting more adorable by the minute. Her vocabulary and ability to string meaningful sentences together, to carry on a conversation, and to tell us what to do is daunting!

Allie loved drawing with me and then she got into telling me who to draw! And I did!
Sometimes she helped, as you can see here; and sometimes she drew on her own paper creating full pages of awesome art of her own. I gave her two new sketch pads and a water brush and new markers.

She told me to draw Papa drinking his coffee and reading his book ...

She told me to draw her big sister, Kaeli, who was filling out forms for a house rental.

When we moved outside to eat our breakfasts on the porch she told me to draw Michael and Kaeli, then her mom and her. I did.

The next day she told me to draw  her with her belly button showing ... I did!
Then she told me to draw myself ... and I did!

The next day she told me to draw her dad ... so I did.

And to draw her again, and I did! She told me to use markers and I did on her drawing.

The next day she told me to draw Matt Daly and Leslie, friends of her parents, who were visiting from Seattle. They came down in a rented red VW camper van and slept in the driveway.

And finally, on our almost last day there, she told me to draw Papa again! So I did.

We finally had to say good bye as hard as that was. We decided to drive through Crater Lake.
While stopped there I thought I might draw the scene in front of me. It's always absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. I was washed with thoughts of "No way can I do this place justice!" and then people who were walking by seemed to be making remarks about my drawing, and the critical voice in my head turned them into negative quips. I was starting to have an emotional "I can't do this!" melt down. So I just did a quick pen sketch.

And then
I did an even briefer sketch of the island in the lake and the water around it and the hills surrounding it. And retreated to the car.

I really did a number on myself, and was truly bummed out. So I quickly slapped some paint on the second drawing and shut my book. It wasn't until I got home that I took them out again and used water soluble colored pencils and water brush and watercolors and more ink pen to get these two drawings. Now I can look at them outlined darker with more ink and say I like them both very much and I am a good artist! But for a while there it was touch and go ...

... Do you have a monkey like this that sometimes says you aren't good enough? How do you shoo it away when that happens?

I reached out to my peers in Sketchbook Skool and got lots of reassurance and support. That group is worth it's weight in gold! I just signed up for the third semester called "Story Telling". I think I just told you a story so I may be a bit ahead of the game. Anyone can sign up for any one of the three semesters: "Beginning", "Seeing" and/or "Story Telling". The teachers change each semester, Four new ones and two who repeat (Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene) the other teachers hail from all over the globe. The students number over 3000 now and also are from all over the world. We meet up in a Facebook community and share our art and inspiration and encouragement, tools, advice, friendships, etc. etc. etc. Look into it if interested @

Happy Paint Party Friday! And remember to hop over to see what we are posting at Paper, Paint, Pencils & Pens!

Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments,
as they mean the world to me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Drawing Every Day Just Keeps Getting Better & Better", Lynn Cohen

The second semester of Sketchbook Skool came to an end. I'll be signing up for the Third semester (of six weeks/six teachers) in September and it starts October 3rd. Anyone can sign up for any of the three semesters I wish to then or in any multiples. But my recommendation would be to do one at a time just because they are a bit labor and time consuming. And it's all fun.

Meanwhile, at my other Blog, "Paper, Paint, Pencils & Pens" we are drawing Selfies this week and then Drawing Each Other as well. This is my fun drawing of fellow blogger, Ann Hyde and her wonderful dog William. I've drawn William before now. I think he is the cutest thing!

And again, between semesters in Sketchbook Skool we hang out and play in the Facebook Playground. We assign "Klass Klown" status to two Klassmates who in turn come up with an idea of a theme to draw to for all of us for the week. At the end of the week they in turn appoint two more Klassmates to take over the task and another theme is dreamt up for another week of drawing.

This week's challenge was to draw things that go ...
First I drew my treadmill, as I get on it and go almost every morning ...

Then I drew these people who GO to Starbucks and captured them all standing in line waiting to order their drinks and eats on a Sunday morning.

Also there were these two young women who I believe were studying, while sharing an iPod and I imagine listening to music.

And I guessed this pair to be a brother and sister looking at some techie device perhaps playing a game, while their dad was getting his morning java.

And lastly on that day, I started to draw a woman who got up and left after I only had the outline of her face and hair. So I adlibbed and made up the rest of her. I colored these there with colored pencils and Tom Bow pens. Six months ago I never would have dreamed to color in a public place. Two years ago I wouldn't have dreamed of drawing in a public place. Now I do both.

Back home I drew this part of a  truck we saw in Alameda, CA and took a photo of as my husband was enamored with the old 1949 Dodge pickup. I don't know why but I enjoy drawing old trucks. You know the one in my header already.

And then the next day I drew it again in all it's glory!

Here's another Selfie I did for Paper, Paint, Pencils & Pens!

And this one is also for that blog of two more PPP&P artists. You know everyone is invited to draw there. Just leave me your email address and I will send you an invite. We change challenges every two weeks. You can draw as often as you wish.

Happy Paint Party Friday this week!

The owl I wrote about a week or so ago is doing well and will be released back into the wild soon.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Last Week of Second Semester at Sketchbook Skool

I did one more painting for Cathy Johnson's class. These are the redwood trees in our back yard. The lesson was to mix paint to make different greens, I think I did more mixing of browns and yellows!
This started with a pencil sketch, something I don't normally do.

Liz Steel was the teacher in this the sixth week and final week of SBS for now. I believe a third semester will begin sometime in October TBA. Liz is obsessed with tea and drawing tea cups. She is also an architect and gave us great tips on how to draw thumb nail sketches first before starting a larger project. You'll see that further down here. I drew Liz while she spoke about her art journals (over 100 she's filled in the past seven years) on her teaching video.

I posted more fine china last week I'd done before her class started. This week I drew these "Toby Jugs" that my mother collected and I acquired after her death. They have wonderful expressions. I was able to get a "portrait" into a cup!

Then I started using her architect design model of thumb nail sketches before drawing this Lenox china box of my mothers too. I drew the little University of California mascot bear that resides inside it that was hers too. She went there one year before the Great Depression caused her to have to quit and go to work.

Finally, Liz had us drawing buildings and I went outside and drew my house again from a new angle this time. It really did help to do the thumb nails first.

Lastly I have started my next travel journal. It's fun getting ready. I can't say exactly when I'll be gone, but hopefully I'll be able to stay in touch and you won't even notice!

An update on the Barn Owl we rescued a week or so ago: DH called the Wild Life Center and learned that the owl was doing really well, had gained weight and they thought that this coming week she would be released back into the wild.

Have a creative week. I'll be posting on Paint Party Friday. Be sure to visit the other wonderful artists there via the icon on my side bar. Also come see us at Paper, Paint, Pencils & Pens and join in the fun of drawing to a new theme every two weeks. Tomorrow or the next day we start drawing SELFIES!!!
That should be fun.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My Artfilled Week by Lynn Cohen

I still have a day job, but my time in Sketchbook Skool fills more of my time and fills me up in wondrous ways. This first picture was NOT an assignment. I just had a strong urge to draw another portrait. This one is of one of my Klassmates there.

Our teacher this week is Andrea Joseph, who does amazing art using ballpoint pens. I am a definite beginner in this arena. I felt the same way at my first attempts using colored pencils with
Koosje Koone. Both mediums can be layered light to dark. I do not even begin to have a handle on either of these tools both new to me; but I like what they can do and am happy to know that with practice I could get better at both.

We had a rather exciting adventure this week. We were on a drive out the back roads of our town when we happened upon two bicyclists, who had stopped to exam a barn owl on the side of the road. We stopped too to see if we could help. The woman cyclist wearing bike gloves had picked up the owl that she thought might have been injured, as it made no attempt to get away and didn't seem able to fly. They were on bikes, we had a car, so it was decided that we would drive the owl to the local wildlife sanctuary thirty minutes away. The woman at the sanctuary examined the owl and said she was very thin and very dehydrated, but not otherwise injured. But that had we not brought her in she would surely have died. We felt good about being able to help. I'll be calling in a few days to see how she is doing.

I took some photos and then later at home I drew and painted her in Tom Bow brush pens and water brush.

I bought this tiny, 3 1/2" X 5 1/2" art journal by Moleskin at Barnes and Noble book store. I sat while husband drank coffee there and drew the people in my line of vision.

At Paper, Paint, Pencils & Pens we are drawing to the theme: "Cups and Mugs" this week. I, as usual stepped a bit out of the box and drew and painted my grandma's creamer and sugar bowl. I felt it was close enough to theme in the kitchen cabinet where I found them close to our cups and mugs!

Again, drawing to assignment for Andrea Joseph, "A Collection" of pens "in one color" done in ball point pen. However, it's me, Lynn, so I had to add one color for the one red pen!

On this day I got to be JUST ME drawing at Starbucks in Dixon, CA. This picture upset a lot of people because one woman looks like she is laying down on her face I thought I'd clear it up here before you all have the same reaction. She is standing up in line for her coffee but I fit her into an open space on my page under the seated people. Just tilt your head and you can see her correctly. Sorry for the inconvenience.

And finally back with Andrea Jacob, Queen of the Ball Point Pen, my attempts are very, very beginner-ish, so I highly recommend your looking her up on line and seeing how extraordinarily well she does it.

The final drawing is with ball point pen of things in my living room.
Hope you enjoyed my week in art.
I'll link up with Paint Party Friday.
I appreciate all of you who come visit me here.
I regret that I do not always have time between working and skooling and drawing
to return the favor. But I do appreciate your visits and comments.
Have a creative week!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

This week I drew, and Today We Remember ...

 At Sketchbook Skool we are under the tutelage of Cathy Johnson, a wonderful naturalist artist, writer and teacher. This page is from one of her lessons, plus one of my favorite burrowing owls from a photo I took a while back.

Our lives often include live music. Last Saturday night we went to a local farm in our valley and listened to a fav trio. They had added a bass player for the evening. My husband used to teach with the male guitarist/singer.

Two of the women sitting in front of me turned out to be artists too. One approached me when she saw me sketching.

On Sunday we went to visit Uncle Harry. He has added to his plate of grief, since his dear wife of 69 years, my aunt Mimi, died in May. He's now also lost his two sisters, the youngest, just a few days before we got there. So the visit was a mixture of sad and happy time.
I drew this first drawing after lunch when Harry had fallen asleep in his chair back in his room. He had one eye open and one closed. Tricky, but he can do it.

I love that he lets me draw him. He was wide awake for this one.

Then back in Sketchbook Skool I was still using my owl photos to draw birds, which was part of the homework.

As I said before I love these burrowing owls. Some of you may remember the photo I got of these two, which I called "The Loving Couple". It was in a juried art show last year.
Now I have it on a sketch too. And I've added it to my Zazzle shop where you can put it on a mug or t-shirt or card, etc. is my shop url.

Today I went to Tacos Jalisco for lunch where I drew these two gals. I thought it was funny that one of the women was holding her fork and knife this way. So I turned it into a cartoon.

Woman #1: "I'm ambride-knife and fork-terous!"
Woman #2: "Yeah? Kool!"

It's rare to see people at TJ's on their cell phones. When this couple came in her body language initially was to lean forward toward the guy as if to engage him in conversation, and he reached across the table as if to touch her hand or arm, but before he actually got there she had pulled out her phone and was looking down at it. I could only imagine his disappointment, and after a few minutes, he too pulled out his phone, and before I knew it, both were in other worlds looking at screens, not at each other.

Some of you may recall this portrait I did of my friend Patty. July 31, 2013 was the day she died.
Bringing to an end our 73 year friendship. Well, she is still my best friend.  I think of her every day, and I can be found talking to her too from time to time. I wear a piece of jewelry Patty gave me every day, not always the same one, I mix them up, but always something from her, to keep her close.
Just needed to share that today.

"I love you Patty"
"I know you do Lynnie, I love you too!"
"Friends Forever, Today, Tomorrow, Always"