December 31, 2014

Happy New Year from All the Birds in my Yard!

Around this time last year we discovered that our yard is a very popular stop for migrating robins. When I came home from work today (early! woohoo!) I quickly realized it is that time of year again, and set to sketching the birds in our backyard.

Happy New Year from all of us :)

December 25, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things

Coffee, this guy, our anniversary, and sketching are all a few of my favorite things. This is a sketch from our anniversary in October - my other favorite holiday.

I hope wherever you are in the world, and however you are spending your day, that you enjoy a few of your favorite things.

Merry Christmas :)

December 24, 2014

Happy Christmas Eve

Wishing you a happy Christmas Eve with sketches from my other favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. Toby and I spent the day at home, but we still had all our family favorites.

First, sausage pinwheels. Mmmmm.

Later, at cocktail hour, drinks and snacks. Mmmmm.

Later in the evening I put our ravioli together. It can't be Thanksgiving without ravioli!

It was just the two of us, and it was a really lovely day. Hope yours was good, and that your Christmas is good, too.

December 18, 2014

Poetry Reading

From a poetry reading last month at Crosstown Arts story booth.

December 17, 2014

More Cute

One more of this cutie. I've been making tiny paintings of him as gifts, so he is just sitting here on my drawing table staring at me. His name is Brownie. We've been friends most of my life.

December 16, 2014

What I Talk About When I Talk About Sketching

I was invited to give a talk about sketching to art students at Arlington High School. I just love to talk about sketching, and show examples, and demonstrate materials, so that is what I did today.

Each of the students received either a black Faber Castell Pitt artist pen (fine), or a black Pigma Micron 05, and a grey Faber Castell Pitt artist pen (brush). I went to the Art Center and tested them all out, then bought them out of grey pens.

Studio night, playing with the pens.

Grey in front, black in back, for a change.

This morning my makeup and jewelry made a nice tableau.

I took half of today off, and finished putting my presentation together at lunch. I could have continued to tweak it and add images FOREVER. I talked about myself and my (long) history with sketching, and then gave them some things to think about while sketching (like layers and mark-making), and showed examples from so many of the great sketchers out there.

I had to get to the school early, because apparently there is really bad traffic when school lets out (this was an after-school event). So while I was waiting, of course I sketched!

After my presentation the students asked tons of great questions, then we all looked through my sketchbooks, and I demonstrated some of my sketching materials. After we handed out the pens, most of them sat down and started working in their sketchbooks. Success!

December 11, 2014

President Elizabeth

You know I have, like, four jobs, right? I'm a technical writer, artist, art teacher, and one of the hardworking members of the all-volunteer board/staff of Urban Sketchers. For the next year I'll be an even-slightly-harder-working board member of USk, since I'll be serving as president.

I don't know what it is about USk, but I love it, and I love the actual work. It's one of my top three favorite current jobs.

I am excited about this position, and hope to be able to make a bit of a difference in my own inherent-project-manager sort of way. We have a great group and great plans.

So, if you need me any time soon, I'll probably be working!

December 10, 2014

Sketching with Pencil in a Museum

I'm so hooked on pens now I forget how fun it can be to work in pencil. See more about visiting the Rodin exhibit at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens with the Memphis Urban Sketchers here.

December 05, 2014

Friday Night Fun

Know what I looove to do on a Friday night? Get a pizza from Little Italy on Union, put on my house pants, read a magazine or catch up on shows, and generally just hang out with my husband. Either that or art openings, but any night is better with a Little Italy pizza.

December 04, 2014

Fountain Pen and Waterbrush Pen

Some of my fellow sketchers like using the Kuretake waterbrush pen with a fountain pen or other water-soluble pen to soften lines and get a lighter value out of the ink. It works great! I need to work on the technique more to make it my own.

December 03, 2014

Studio Night Last Night: Now With Less Angst

After a few weeks of frustration in the studio, I finally had a normal night of painting. It happens. And I know it happens, so I just stayed there and tried to paint until I could paint. It worked!

This angsty sketch is from last week's Studio Night.

November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I hope wherever you are you have some good food and someone you love.

As I've posted before, my family has been having ravioli for Thanksgiving (in addition to the traditional turkey, etc.) since before I was born. Even though we are all spread out now, many in our family try to continue the tradition. Mostly because it is delicious, but also it doesn't seem like Thanksgiving without ravioli.

So how to make ravioli? Get your big brother and your sister-in-law to do it all, like I do. That gravy? They made it. The filling? Ditto. But then there are many of us to help with the assembly of the ravioli. My nephew Joshua helps Richard roll out the dough, nephew Calvin and niece Somerset have been assembling ravioli since they were each about 6 or 7. We have friends who come over to help, some years to make us do it in the first place.

 This is pretty much the setup - roller in the corner; dough next to it; filling, flour, pasta cutters, forks, and paper towels in the center; and all of it on top of a plastic throw-away table cloth for easy clean-up.

The freshly made ravioli is put into pans with some corn meal sprinkled on them in layers between waxed paper, then put in the freezer. The sides can't touch! They will break when frozen. I usually inspect everyone's work to make sure it's right. We've had some attempts that yielded heartbreaking results when the ravioli weren't sealed right and they broke when boiled. So as long as everyone does what I say, the ravioli turns out fine.

After we make them, we cook some up for dinner as a reward for all of our hard work.

November 22, 2014

Lunchtime Sketch and Notes

November 21, 2014

Follow Friday: Melissa Dunn

Follow Melissa Dunn, and go see her show at L Ross Gallery. Here are all the reasons.

This is from Melissa's gallery talk a couple of weeks ago. Click image to make it bigger.

November 20, 2014

The Next Urban Sketchers Symposium

Speaking of the Symposium, I can't believe I never posted this picture! I did not go to the 2014 Symposium in Paraty, Brazil, (even though I worked on it) because we only had time for one major worldwide adventure this year. But look at what the lovely people of Urban Sketchers did for me! They sent me a goodie bag with a Moleskine sketchbook, pencils from Cretacolor, a Super5 pen, and wristbands from the Hong Kong Urban Sketchers. But that's not all! See the accordion book in the back? It is full of sketches by people who were at the Symposium! The sketchers there made them just for me in this little Laloran sketchbook. This is one nice group of people I've gotten myself involved with.

And now we have next year's Symposium to look forward to! It's going to be in Singapore in July and I'm so excited to be working on it again.

Starting a New Sketchbook

I started a new sketchbook recently, a Stillman & Birn that I got at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Barcelona.

November 19, 2014

Studio Night Last Night: Painting

It's been a while since I've worked on big paintings. (These things ebb and flow, I tell myself. It all goes in cycles. Blah blah blah.) So tonight I squeezed out too much paint (can never remember exactly how much bigger big paintings are than tiny paintings), and dove in there, on a painting that's been in the early stages for a couple of months. So I've been looking at it like it is for a couple of months. Which is never good! Because now it's so hard to change it. But I'm working on it.

Those are tiny pieces of paper for future tiny paintings.

Early in the evening with a very neat palette.

 That elusive yellow.

It is not really this dark in my studio, but according to the camera in my phone it is.

Some progress.

November 18, 2014

Drive Drive Drive

Thus ends our adventure inside my vacation head. Thanks for stopping by.

November 17, 2014

Newfoundland Trifecta

November 16, 2014

Last Room in Rocky Harbour

November 15, 2014

The Giggles

(click on it to make it bigger)

November 14, 2014

Rain Adventures

(click to make it bigger)

November 13, 2014


(click on it to make it bigger)

Cars and Quote

A quote from The Flamethrowers, our most recent bookclub book, and a line of cars I could not resist.

November 12, 2014

Studio Night Last Night: More Comics

Last night I finally finished my Inside My Vacation Head comics, which I started on our trip to Newfoundland this summer.

At first my plan was to finish them in ink, but I'm not ready for ink yet and it turns out I love making them in pencil! (For now, anyway.)

I call this one Newfies Messing With Us, because for a minute I really did think the nice people at the bed & breakfast sent us to a one room shack for dinner. Those Newfies - they'll mess with you!

I'm going to keep posting one a day. The rest should not require descriptions :)

(click the image to make it bigger)

November 11, 2014


Last month I taught a sketchbook class at Flicker Street Studio. For some reason this class is harder for me than teaching painting. Paint does what it does, but sketching can be anything! My theory for painting goes like this: just paint. My theory for sketching is long and involved and includes all of the senses, and everything I've ever done and everyone I've ever known.

Okay, not really, but the first class does involve me doing a lot of talking about What Sketching Means to Me.

The second class is mostly me talking while we play with loads of sketching materials, and I tell them about all of the great sketchers I know of out there in the world and talk all about composition and depth and layers.

Class 3: sketch, sketch, sketch, sketch, sketch. And snacks!

November 10, 2014

Memphis Monday - Clark Tower

Because I can't help myself.

Sketchwork Moved!

Please visit Sketchwork at . After 12 years with Blogger, I am incorporating my blog into my website becaus...