To join me on a virtual sketching trip, download a travel sketch-journal here.
I add tutorials to them so you can learn the techniques and details you see in the sketchbooks.

My former workshop students asked me to upload my workshop workbooks to make them available to everyone. So you can also download a workbook and give yourself a workshop! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Big Ideas Afoot!

I've been cleaning my studio!

For the last twenty years or so, I've been avoiding throwing stuff away, so walking into my studio was akin to entering an archaeological dig.  I'm not actually a hoarder, and I don't have anything dirty (well, dusty, mebbe) or smelly (I checked) hanging around in piles, but the piles were getting awfully high and it was becoming difficult to "swing the cat" as they say. I had been able to only s-q-u-e-e-z-e into some studio areas for years.

The view from my desk
So you haven't heard from me in quite awhile because I've been busy getting rid of stuff.  I've semi-donated about a hundred books to the Coyote Trails Jefferson Nature Center down by Bear Creek.  I say "semi-" because I actually sold them to the center for 50¢ each, but since some of them are worth $25-$30, that's pretty much giving them away. 

I found a home for my wildlife magazine clip files ~ seventy-six 3-ring binders, which took up a total of 140" of  library shelf space, to a wonderful wildlife artist in Eugene ~ Dan Chen ~ who says he will cherish and use them forever. I have been taking box after box of other items to the Goodwill store for redistribution.  And now, I can swing the cat in as big a circle as HE wants.  Wahoooooo!!!!!  It is incredibly FREEing!

And that leads me into my next topic, which showed up during the cleaning.

Tree Hyrax
Half a lifetime (my lifetime, at least) ago, I went to Kenya.  That was in 1977, and I took my sketchbook and journal and sketched and journaled for more than three weeks.  I rented a car and drove all over the place. I settled in Nairobi at the edge of Nairobi National Park, spending time there and visiting Mombasa, Lake Naivasha, Tsavo and Amboseli National Parks, and Aberdare Forest. It was my first trip out into the world all alone, and I had a scary, wonderful, enlightening time. 

When I got home, my life got busy, I divorced, built a house, supported myself giving school talks, remarried, became a nurserywoman, divorced, traveled and lived a lot of life ~ and the Kenya sketchbook and journal got shoved under a desk for decades.  Three decades.

Last week I pulled it out and scanned all the sketches into my computer, and yesterday I started typing up the journal.  Next, I plan to rearrange the journal and sketches into the format of one of my sketch/journal series with tutorial. 

Bateleur Eagle
My sketch/journaling was done differently then ~ the journaling was done in a separate ledger with lined paper, the drawings were made in a big 12x18" sketchpad on cheap paper (it's yellowing badly). But I will take information from the journal to enhance the sketches, change the shape, and do whatever is possible to create a new journal that is true to the old one.  So in a sense, it will be a fabrication, but in another sense it will simply be a distillation of my Kenyan journey.

As with my other sketch/journals, there will be a tutorial using the photographs I took during the trip. The photos I have are actually slides, and I will have to copy and import them into the computer to use them. To do that I've ordered a slide-to-digital converter  (which I expect to arrive this week).  

I plan to blog the copying process as well, because there are a lot of people with slides in their closets and no idea what to do with them.  I have more than 5000 slides, and almost all my 1980 decade images are on slides and thus missing from my photo archives.  My experience copying slides-to-photos is zero, and I've heard awful stories about machines that work poorly or not at this may get interesting. Maybe I'll get lucky.

Madrone flower page ~ this is #100!
I've also started spending an hour or so every day as I did last summer, sitting out in the woods sketching, trying to catch all the wildflowers in my sit-spot sketch journal before they fade (I only began sketching the woods in mid-July last year, so I missed them all then). It's been a chilly prospect, with temperatures in the 50s so far mostly, but to date I've captured Shooting Stars, Pacific Hounds Tongue, Madrone flowers, and several other little gems.  I just wish spring would come already!!!

I have several other things on my plate as well, including a safari to Crater Lake and another one to South Africa, which I will blog about soon.  

Big blog plans, huh?  I'll really try to keep up! Thanks for your patience with my spotty blogging!

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