Sneeeeeek Peek into my sketchy thinking

There were no art classes – because of the holiday – for over a week.  For some unexplained reason I began to wonder why I was taking drawing classes.  Previous to retirement the only “extra-curricular” activities I did had a purpose – professional enrichment, teaching others, meeting requirements etc.  I have no desire (we won’t talk about talent) to exhibit or sell nude drawings . . .  For some reason, simply seeking personal enjoyment seemed strange at best and hollow at worst.  

I’m still not sure why my disquiet and only share it wondering if you, too, have questioned just doing something simply for self-enjoyment?

  *      *      *

This model was known for his muscular, regal bearing.  He has lost weight and thee is a vulnerability that wasn’t apparent before.

20 Minute sketch, conte crayon

10 minute sketch, charcoal

20 minutes sketch, charcoal

Sneak a Peek into My Sketchy – Life’s Not Always Black & White

As a psychotherapist I knew that one of the biggest pitfalls of all relationships* was  “seeing” others through the clouded lens of our own eyes.  We humans tend to think everyone feels as we do and should understand what we know.  It’s hard to take someone else’s position because we live in the bubble of our unique experiences and interpretations.  In psychological terms it’s called projection.  I was surprised to see this phenomena in artwork.

During the breaks in life drawing I noticed that many (not all) drew the model in “their own image”:  Short students tended to draw the models legs too short; stocky students drew her a bit too stocky and; muscular students created muscular images.

Although all art, whether dancing, singing, painting etc. is  ultimately a “projection” of the artist I’m wondering if what sets apart renowned artists from amateurs is a true reflection of the artist rather than an “accurate” rendition of the subject?

Charcoal, 20 minute sketch

Conte Crayon, 20 minute sketch


Each sketch, 20 minutes

To read about the pitfalls of relationships click here:  

*6 Factors that Can Predict Divorce or Separation 

Mervin the Mole Rat sez: “Her art is a projection of wishful thinking . . .”

Sneak a Peek into my Sketchy Life – The Art of Perspective

The challenge I had as a therapist  (not to mention as a human being) was to look beyond surface presentations, what I “thought” I knew and see my client’s situation/feelings/thinking not only from their perspective but within a larger framework.

Being a therapist was a gift.  It forever helped me understand that perception always informs and colors my experiences, to look for larger patterns and see beyond what appears “obvious”.  Most of the time I can see blessings behind every tragedy, and opportunities created with every mistake & mis-step.

Drawing, too, is about perspective.  This session the class was so crowded  I had to sit closer to the model stand than usual.  It forced me to draw what my eye actually saw rather than what I thought I saw.  For example, In the first drawing the foot (or my outline of the foot) is as long as his head – simply because his foot was closer to me.  

Bet you can tell what was eye-level to me in this next drawing!

This last sketch was a 2 minute quick warm-up which always begins the drawing sessions to help our hands loosen up and draw what our eyes actually see not what our brains think we see.

The art of perspective is not limited to art.

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – with a Capital V

My head has stopped throbbing, my nose has stopped running, my bronchials have stopped bronchialing, and I’m no longer contagious.  Finally got back to life drawing classes just in time for my favorite model.  She’s VOLUPTUOUS has long red disheveled hair and fun to draw.

These are all 20-minute poses done with conte crayon.  The first and last drawings are my favorites.

And I thought I was her favorite?

Sneek Peek into my Sketchy Life – BS*


The bad news: It’s 3 weeks and I’m still coughing my innards up

The good new (for my friends):  Talking triggers the coughing

Here are my last life drawing sketches *Before Sick

Assignment was to  focus on the shadows

Charcoal on cardboard cereal box

Watercolor on cardboard muffin mix box

Baby Fiona sez: “The bad news is her FOCUS is more on eating the contents of the boxes than drawing on them”


Sneak a Peek into one page outa my Sketchy Life.

This model always poses with “warrior” gear – helmets and swords and leather belts, fake arrows and red capes.  

I undress him with my eyes cuz I don’t like helmets and swords, leather belts, fake arrows or red capes.

Graphite pencil

Don’t tell my husband I’m learning to undress men . . . he thinks I’m learning to draw.

FAITHfully Yours – Anne Frank & Reflection

 “One hour’s reflection is preferable to seventy years of pious worship


“How noble and good everyone could be, if every evening before falling asleep, they were to recall to their minds the events of the while day and consider exactly what has been good and bad. Then, without realising it, you try to improve yourself at the start of each new day; of course, you achieve quite a lot in the course of time. Anyone can do this, it costs nothing and is certainly very helpful. Whoever doesn’t know it must learn and find by experience that: “A quiet conscience makes one strong!”

Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank: The Revised Critical Edition

Cat ‘n Mouse journaling by Peggy

“Prayer is like the spirit and material means are like the human hand. The spirit operateth through the instrumentality of the hand. 

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Baha’i World Faith


One Human Family 

The conviction that we belong to one human family is at the heart of the Bahá’í Faith. The principle of the oneness of humankind is “the pivot round which the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revolve…”

During the month of November, Baha’i Blogging is hosting a post-a-day-or-so something related to or inspired by Faith.  Because so many of you follow both this blog and CATNIPblog Peggy & I will post our “dailies” here and Sunday “retrospectives” on

The hashtag is #bahaiblogging.

FAITHFULLY YOURS – Boundries, man & dog

“God has created the world as one—the boundaries are marked out by man.”

Earth by God.  Woofer by judy

The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens”  

“One of the great reasons of separation is colour. Look how this prejudice has power in America, for instance. See how they hate one another! Animals do not quarrel because of their colour! Surely man who is so much higher in creation, should not be lower than the animals. Think over this. What ignorance exists! White doves do not quarrel with blue doves because of their colour, but white men fight with dark-coloured men. This racial prejudice is the worst of all.”

“The Old Testament says that God created man like unto His own image; in the Qur’an it says: “There is no difference in the Creation of God!” Think well, God has created all, cares for all, and all are under His protection. The policy of God is better than our policy. We are not as wise as God”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith

During the month of November, Baha’i Blogging is hosting a post-a-day-or-so something related to or inspired by Faith.  Because so many of you follow both this blog and CATNIPblog Peggy & I will post our “dailies” here and Sunday “retrospectives” on

The hashtag is #bahaiblogging.

FAITHfully Yours on this day of giving Thanks

“Shed the light of a boundless love on every human being whom you meet, whether of your country, your race, your political party, or of any other nation, colour or shade of political opinion. Heaven will support you while you work in this in-gathering of the scattered peoples of the world beneath the shadow of the almighty tent of unity.”

Baha’u’llah, The Baha’i World Faith,

“All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.” 

The Dalai Lama

“But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

 1 Corinthians 13:13

Sending all of you much love,


During the month of November, Baha’i Blogging is hosting a post-a-day-or-so something related to or inspired by Faith.  Because so many of you follow both this blog and CATNIPblog Peggy & I will post our “dailies” here and Sunday “retrospectives” on

The hashtag is #bahaiblogging.

FAITHfully Yours – The Heart of it All

“God does not look at colours; He looks at the hearts.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, (Baha’i World Faith)

Soul Mates by Peggy & Judy

We think it fitting to start our November blogging challenge*  with”Heart”.

A Bit of Baha’i 

“Every human being possesses an immortal, rational soul that passes through this world for a brief time and continues for eternity to advance towards God. Our life’s purpose is to progress spiritually by serving our fellow human beings. In doing so, we acquire the divine qualities we will need in the life to come.

*During the remaining month of November, Baha’i Blogging is hosting a post-a-day (or so) something related to or inspired by Faith.  Because so many of you follow both this blog and CATNIPblog Peggy & I will post our “dailies” here and Sunday “retrospectives” on

 The hashtag is #bahaiblogging.

Sneak a Peek into my Sketchy Life – Cheeri-oh

I didn’t eat all the Cheerios in this box.

Conte Crayon on Cheerios Box

Charcoal on tinted painter’s paper from Hardware store

You can see the corrections in the left arm.  Drawing is about making LOTS of corrections, just like life.

Charcoal on paper

Here’s what 1-2 minutes warm-up sketches look like.  Suppose to catch the “essence” of the pose – like movement, body position.

Charcoal warm-up sketches


Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – Twofer

Here’s two life drawing class sketches for the price of one.  Aren’t you lucky? . . . or what?

Above drawn on the back of cereal box.  Hey!  art supplies are expensive.

What a 2 minute warm-up sketch looks like (it’s what the sketch looks like, not necessarily the model)

I wonder if she ate all the cereal while she was sketching.

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – “Goldilocks & the 3 Bears” Model

This model was:

Not too tall, not too short

Not too thin, not too heavy

Not too beautiful, just lovely

20 Minutes sketches with charcoal on tinted paper

Her literary allusions border on illiterate DELUSIONS

Sneek a Peek into my Pooped-out Sketchy Life

I’ve hit a wall – the fibro has flared it’s ornery self and striped me of energy.  My creative output is a bit puny.

The PROBLEM? –  No one can tell and I ain’t getting no sympathy.  I try not to be a whiner because I am sure others are as tired of my being tired as I am. This is the one place I can moan and grown cuz I know most of you won’t read it and are only interested in pictures of nude people . . .

charcoal sketch, 15 minutes


Sneak a Peek into my Sketchy Life – clothing optional

Just another day, just another nude man . . .

Charcoal Sketches on painter’s cheapie paper

10 & 20 Minutes poses

10 Minute pose – pencil sketch

(. . . and yes, he was wearing a turban and earrings)

“Nude?! Humans have no shame . ..

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – new semester

Drawing on recycled paper or using ink that can’t be erased are ways of releasing my expectations and loosening up.

These were done on hardware store “painter’s paper” with charcoal

(the kind you spread on the floor to protect it from paint)

Leaning on a chair – didn’t draw the chair cuz I didn’t want to!

1-2 Minute ink sketches in a very small sketchbook


There’s a Freddie Giveaway on CATNIPblog!


Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – another day . . . another nude . . .

This is the best of the lot.  What?  You didn’t think I’d post my sketches that look like they were drawn by a monkey?  

                                  Charcoal sketch

I’ve figured out (pun intended) two things:

  1. I prefer drawing women or men with a bit of flesh on the bone.  There are more curves and lumps which make it more fun to draw. Most of the models, like the one today, have beautiful “hard bodies”.  
  2. Everything I do lately points to my limited concentration span.  While others bemoan not having enough time to finish drawing during the 40 minute poses (two – 20 minutes with a break in-between for the model.  Try sitting perfectly still for 20 minutes) I have done two or three drawings.  I would prefer to think it’s not concentration span but it’s because I don’t particularly like “realism” and am not interested in getting an exact likeness . . .

“Ouch.  We monkeys have talent, not to mention  feelings. . .

Sneak a Peek into my Sketchy Life – back in the saddle . . .er studio

Fall semester for the Emeritus classes just started.  Found myself a bit rusty after not drawing for a few months . . .but nudity has a way of waking the senses .

Ink, Warm-up sketching



As I posted these sketches I realized the model did not have a hair on his body ANYWHERE . . . except on his chin.  Just goes to show how intently one looks at contours, lines and shadows when drawing, “nudity” isn’t the focus.

My favorite

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – last ditch efforts

Last day of life drawing for this semester.  I’ve missed several classes, something I would have been loathe to do in my high school and college years when I never ditched nor dropped a class.

I distinctly remember the first time I stopped attending a class simply because I no longer enjoyed it.   Wish I could say it was a daring and rebellious move . . .  it was a community college class that I was taking  just for enjoyment.  I was in my 40’s and high time for a bit of rebellion . . . don’t you think?

But I digress . . .  here’s the best of the last sketches . . . in my opinion

Starting with my favorite

Caught the likeness of both his front and his back . . . 

All these sketches were 20 minutes or less.  I’ve discovered that my attention span is smack dab in the national average of 20 minutes.  Ah . . . the things you learn in drawing class.

My Sketchy Life – hatch, hatched, hatching

Ai yi yiii – ever look up a word in the on-line “Urban Dictionary”?

I looked up “hatch” and was “blown away” by the uses . . . many of which I can not put in print on a G-rated blog . . . most of which I had never heard of nor heard spoken.

Why look up “hatch”, you wonder (or not)?  In art class the focus was on hatching – an art technique where lines are drawn in various forms & intensities to create shapes & shadow.

These two quick sketches were done prior to Easter.   Eureka! I thought: Hatching and eggs were perfect for an Easter blog post.

Then I got “hatched” – another fibromyalgia flare-up and I missed a week’s worth of art classes.

I’m still not feeling good and not pleased health issues keep hatching . . . but this chick got off her fibro-inflated rear and went to class this week.  

HatchVerb – To lose it; to get wound up over something; to be upset.

I’ve been hatching . . .

P.S.  Thanks Peggy A. for doing all the scheduled posting on CATNIPblog!  

The HeART of Spirituality Workshop – Finding Balance

How can we find balance in the chaos that surrounds us?  This was the question at the recent HeART of Spirituality workshops held at Tapestry Unitarian.

“As ye have faith so shall your powers and blessings be. This is the balance—this is the balance—this is the balance.” – Baha’i World Religion 

The participants picked images that represented spiritual balance and spiritual imbalance and made collaged Contemplation Cards.  Similar to tarot cards or vision boards these cards can be used in many ways.  

Can you tell which cards represent BALANCE and which represent IMBALANCE?  See all the cards on  CATNIPblog.

To see all the Contemplation Cards,  a picture of the participants and directions how to make the cards click HERE.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 3:1-8

  1. 1 To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
  2. 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [that which is] planted;
  3. 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
  4. 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
  5. 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
  6. 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
  7. 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
  8. 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Sneak a Peek into my Sketchy life . . . my favorite model

She is almost more attractive nude than clothed . . . which none of us students can say about ourselves!

A few 10 minute and 20 minute poses

 She is Rubenesque and fun to sketch.  I think she has the most sensual body of all the models we’ve had.


Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life, G-Rated

The art teacher instructed us to focus on whatever gets our attention and then exaggerate it.  Tall order . . . . .  especially since this blog is G-rated for General Audiences.

(These are just for you Rick C.!)

Can you tell what “caught” my eye in each pose?*

The three sketches are all charcoal “quickies” – about 10 to 15 minutes each. DSCN6865


“Quickie?  What’s a “quickie”?


Sketch #1 – focus, the shadows (last pose, I was tired and they were what I responded to)

Sketch #2 – focus, his arm (exaggerated proportion – he has large muscular arms)

Sketch #3 – focus, his chest . . . this one’s fairly obvious.  

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – Suburban Sketches

There’s a phenomena going on in the sketching world called Urban Sketching.  People, from all over the world, gather in public places and sketch whatever is in front of them .  

You sketch fast, just trying to get an impression rather than an exact likeness.  Coffee shops are a favorite place for Urban Sketchers because the people aren’t moving quite as quickly as on the street or a football field.

I live in the suburbs where life is a bit slower and so is the sketching. Here’s a few of my

suburban sketches.


Students in my drawing class


Woman waiting and waiting and waiting . . .


Whoops, wrong suburb

Sneak a Peek – getting in the mood for Valentine’s Day

No further explanation needed . . .


20 minute pose, Water-color pencil


20 minute pose, water-color pencil


15 minute pose, water-color pencil

"She's got to be kidding"

“Getting into the mood! She’s got to be kidding . . . an explanation is definitely needed . . .”

Sneak Peek into my sketchy life – not the best . . . not the worst

Had a hard time concentrating and my arms were hurting when I tried to draw.  I’m blaming it on the rain . . .  a convenient fall-guy (pun intended).  When my drawings don’t turn out as well as I would like I usually blame it on the model.  

You can see some of the structure lines & corrections in these 2 minute sketches.


The model held onto a rope in the poses.  We were suppose to concentrate on the angles.dscn6842

These below were 20 minute poses but I could only draw for about 10 minutes.



Usually, I use large drawing paper and stand at an easel.  This session I drew on a smaller sketch pad and sat down.  I figured if the model could sit

so could I . . . 

"Excuses, excuses . . . "

“Excuses, excuses . . . “


Sneek Peek into my sketchy life – from sea to shining SEE

Sneek Peek into my sketchy life – from sea to shining SEE

I am enjoying sketching the human form much more than inanimate objects or landscapes.  It stands to reason that I chose to be a psychotherapist rather than a landscape architect.

Here’s my latest sea-scape


Pen & Ink


and here’s my latest See !


Charcoal sketch

He kept moving his right arm . . . 


Charcoal sketch

Sneeeeek Peeeek – Back to the drawing boards

First week of art classes.  It’s amazing how “rusty” I felt after just 4 weeks of not drawing.  The model had not ONE ounce of fat anywhere on his body.


Charcoal, warm-up sketches

I decided to push myself a bit and drew a few quickies using pen & ink.  Ink is a bit intimidating since I can’t ERASE.

Pen & Ink sketch

Pen & Ink sketch


Pen & Ink Sketch


Charcoal sketch

I drew him to look like an old man!  . . .  in my defense his head was shaved . . .

Not only didn’t the model have an ounce of fat anywhere on his body  he didn’t have an ounce of hair anywhere  . . . at least not in the places I saw . . .

Sneek a Peek into my sketchy life – Heads UP!

The last class for this semester –  I continued to play with water-color pencil.  



I tend to draw the heads too small . . . or . . . another way of “looking at it” . . . I make the bodies too big.  Then again, he is a big guy.


The uneven jaw line is reflective of his beard and mustache.dscn6801

Bob Blobfish sez: ". . . I p"

Bob Blobfish sez: ” Until art classes start again she can practice drawing larger heads by drawing me in the  nude”

My Sketchy Life – porn it ain’t

During the break in the life-drawing class a few of us talked  to the model.  She said most people had no idea what life drawing was and believed that nude modeling was akin to porn!   When  asked what she did for a living her answer was “posing for people who were learning anatomy”.

First, It never occurred to me that most people weren’t familiar with life drawing.  Second,  her answer made sense.  When drawing a nude model students are intensely focused  on the anatomy, the line & shading that emphasizes or de-emphasizes the muscle structure, the curve of the spine and the “personality” of the pose – not on nudity.

It’s a bit like reading an engrossing story.  Your focus is on the plot line, the images created, the messages conveyed, not whether the” book” is hard-covered, paperback or on a tablet.

I was pleased with this sketch as it catches the likeness of the model.


Water-color pencil

Wasn’t so pleased with this sketch so I took out colored crayons and just scribbled.  Still not pleased but it was fun!

Water-soluable crayon

Water-soluable crayon


My Sketchy Life – inky dinky, dilly Dali

New model – not an ounce of body fat on the boy.  The majority of students are well into their 60’s.  I made note of how many of the women asked him to return to model ! . .  I myself prefer the models with a bit of ballast around their belly.  Gives me more room for error.

This class I ventured out of my comfort zone,  put away eraser and went for it with  permanent ink and no preliminary sketch in pencil.  


Sharpie Pen, 20 minute pose


Water-color pencil, 20 minute pose

Notice the box?  I keep trying to draw within the box so the figure doesn’t run off the page.  Here’s my result!


Ink with splash of water-color, 20 minute pose

Salvador Dali

Dali sez: “She obviously needs a bigger box . . . obviously.”


My Sketchy Life – why the nude still shocks

If you are an art buff or interested in the psychology of nudes read this article Why The Nude Still Shocks.  Not only is it interesting it underscores my past reluctance to put up the sketches of men as opposed to women. (see Equal Opportunity Nudes)

The model this week was male but he was wearing this warrior “get-up” that the men in the class seemed to enjoy drawing , . .  must be a testosterone “thing”.  I say “TAKE IT OFF!”

Water-color pencil

Water-color pencil


My Sketchy Life – no mo nude

Clothed!  The model was clothed!  I actually found it easier sketching nude people with no distractions . . . like folds of fabric and print patterns and color.  

The model had on an elaborate costume with intricate patterns and gold threads. I tried to eliminate all the “distractions”.  Here’s my first attempts at using water-color pencil.


Water-color pencil, 20 minute pose

Water-color pencil, 20 minute pose

Water-color pencil, 20 minute pose

Jokingly, I asked the model if she would take her clothes off.  She replied, “Will you?”    tumblr_mdzmtrd5du1qargfho1_500


Irreversibly Front & Back

My friend Peggy and I are working on a new project to share our stash of  therapeutic strategies, tips and tricks on the internet.  In my exuberance,  “playing” with  settings for the new web-site, I mistakenly changed the theme setting for this blog  . . . and  can’t figure out how to change it back again .  So Curious to the Max has a new look, in case you didn’t notice.

And in case you didn’t notice we had a new model in class.  All these sketches were 15 minutes done with water-color pencil.

There are two “fronts” and two “backs” (She was sitting on a poofy cushion).


Water-color pencil 15 minute sketches

dscn6764 dscn6765 dscn6766

AND in case you don’t see the connection between my blog change and my sketches: Clicking a button on the computer and irreversibly changing the blog template is like drawing with water-color pencil.  I can’t erase or correct either of them.

"Excuses, excuses . . ."

“Excuses, excuses . .”

My Sketchy Life – from start to finish

My Sketchy Life – from start to finish

Take a peek at the entire class from the beginning 2 minute sketches to the 20 minute poses.  


Charcoal, 2 minute poses

Tried water-color pencil for the first time.  Discovered it doesn’t ERASE so the first go over needs to be very light. 


Water-color pencil

This model was great.  She was more voluptuous than most and I didn’t have to draw muscles!  


Water-color pencil. Ended up with 4 breast because I couldn’t erase!

In the sketch below I used an old piece of cardboard backing.   If you look you can see the water stains from years past.


Water-color pencil on cardboard

For the last pose the model put clothes on . . . probably because I couldn’t get her breasts symmetrical!  


Water-color pencil on water-color paper

I may take these drawings and experiment some more with the water-color.

"Food for thought . . . "

“I think she’s experimented enough already . . .”


A Peak into my Sketchy Life – Bigger and Worser

(Well, not actually “worser” but I try to avoid trite phrases like “bigger and better”.)

 In case you’ve not noticed . . .  my drawings all go off the page.  I don’t mind the aesthetics of that but I want to be able to do it “by design”.  I try framing, measuring, planning . . . as the drawing progresses the limbs or head (or both) end up off of the paper.


17″ x 13″ Charcoal sketch on painters paper from Home Depot.

The life drawing teacher suggested I get a BIG board to work on a BIG piece of paper  to get the entire torso on the page.  So much for bigger . . .


36″ x 36″ Charcoal sketches (Model was wearing a weird hat with a huge veil that trailed down his back. And he has a beard and mustache . . .)

(Showing my hand on the paper to give you a sense of the scale).


36″ x 36″ paper


17″ x 13′ paper

"She'll do almost anything to avoid drawing hands and feet . . ."

“She will do almost anything to avoid drawing feet . . . or beards & mustaches”

Happy Halloween! Duds to Dudes

Since my “vertigo episode” I’ve been in a fibromyalgia flare-up, complete with exhaustion.  Today I peeled myself out of bed, put on my best duds and went to class to draw a dude.  Can you guess which one is me?




After spending 3 hours drawing a nude dude this is what I looked like . . .


My Sketchy life – dinosaurs and dames

My Sketchy Life – wonky, wacky & wobbly

Ten days into walking like a drunken sailor without the drink or the sailing.  My husband drove me to art class.  It was nice to get out of the house.  The vertigo is much better but I’m still a bit wobbly.

At first, looking back and forth from the model to the drawing pad was a bit disorienting and I was very tired after class – probably because my brain was working hard to compensate.

The focus for this session was using brown wrapping paper, black and white charcoal.




"Food for thought . . . "

“Wobbly is the least of her worries . . . She’s always been wonky & wacky . . . “


My Sketchy Life – scritch, scratch and stretch

I have little energy and my hip is sore .  Usually, I stand at the easel when drawing but my hip is so sore this week I sat.  I’ve been stretching my hip and back every day but scritching and scratching at the art.



When the teacher saw this she commented that it looked like someone sitting at a bus stop!  She said it kindly and  I agreed.  So I quickly scribbled, skritched and scratched over the original.  At least now it looks like the bus has just arrived. 



This was an exercise on finding reference points in the room to draw the figure.  I spent so long finding the points that I didn’t have time for the figure!

I was fading fast and so were my drawings!



Hopefully, next class, instead of scritch and scratch I’ll stretch with the art.


My Sketchy Life . . . Albee it

Edward Albee died the other day at 88.  He was a Pulitzer prize-winning playwright.  He intensely disliked it when asked what his plays were about but finally explained:

“If anybody wants me to say it, in one sentence, what my plays are about: They’re about the nature of identity. Who we are, how we permit ourselves to be viewed, how we permit ourselves to view ourselves, how we practice identity or lack of identity.”  Edward Albee

Most of the models in the life drawing classes have been posing for a long time.  They come equipped with props and pillows and strike dramatic poses that I defy anyone in “real” life to take . . . unless you’re an exotic dancer.

Graphite pencil sketch

Graphite pencil sketch




Charcoal sketch

Art teachers explain that drawing isn’t about what the hand is doing it’s about training our eye to see what it actually sees rather than the internal image of what we THINK we see.

Right now my drawings are about trying to learn to view shapes and shadows, lines and limbs . . . and hopefully have my hands follow.  Someday, it would be nice to say the same thing Edward Albee said . . . that my drawings are about the nature of identity.

My sketchy life – failing my way to success

Sara Blakely’s embrace of failure has helped make her the youngest self-made female billionaire in America.  She invented Spanx (body-shaping undergarments – the modern version of the corset and girdle).

When she was growing up, her father would often ask her the same question at dinnertime.

“What have you failed at this week?”

I was AGHAST – failure!? What a horrible father.  Everyone knows we are supposed to focus on and revel in success.  She went on to say:

“My dad growing up encouraged me and my brother to fail. The gift he was giving me is that failure is (when you are) not trying versus the outcome. It’s really allowed me to be much freer in trying things and spreading my wings in life.”

What a novel idea! Embrace failure as a sign of taking risks, learning and growing. Failure is a victory not a defeat.

“The fact that I had never taken a business class, had no training, didn’t know how retail worked,” she said. “I wasn’t as intimidated as I should have been.”

I read her interview just before my life drawing class.  It was liberating!!  I gave myself permission to fail at trying to draw perfect likeness, perfect proportions, perfect shading.  

Graphite Pencil Sketch

Graphite Pencil Sketches



My new motto:  Fail Away! 

 . . . it’s never too late to become the oldest self-made billionaire in the United States.

I fail to understand her conclusions . . . that must make me a success . . .

She never fails to confound me . . .


My sketchy life – equal opportunity nudes

It’s been called to my attention that while I post drawings of female nudes front and rear I don’t post male nude drawings full front.  

I am  so used to seeing women bare it all in the media that I don’t think twice about my female drawings.  I wonder if, deep down, I’m actually a prude?

Charcoal sketches

Charcoal sketches



Graphite pencil sketch


Graphite pencil sketch

Here’s to woman’s liberation and male, dare I say, penile picture poses!


My Sketchy Life – Back to school

New semester for art classes just started.  Here are my best sketches (you didn’t think I’d post my worst, did you?).  I particularly am pleased with the first as I managed to catch the likeness of the model.


Charcoal drawing


Charcoal, scribble drawing


Charcoal warm-up drawing

"Obviously she hasn't learned to draw hands or feet . . ."

“Obviously she hasn’t learned to draw hands . . .  or feet . . .”

RATS! We Inhaled

At Judy Formato’s Painting on the Patio (POP) art group the topic of marijuana came up.  

Several of the woman, who shall remain anonymous, (we are all well over the age of 50 or 60 or 70) admitted to inhaling in their youth.  It was a pertinent topic (for those of us well over the age of 50 or 60 or 70) relating to pain medication for maladies that come with maturity.

Is this a coincidence, or what? . . . I came home to read this new medical marijuana “MIND” study:  

Researcher Staci Gruber is “. . .  trying to determine the long and short-term impact of medical marijuana on cognition, brain structure and function, quality of life, sleep, and other clinical measures. 

“People drive two to three hours sometimes to get [here for] the study,” Gruber said. “They’re really committed. They really want to know what effect this will have on them.”

“As they wait for long-term results, MIND researchers have made a few interim discoveries. They have found, for example, that marijuana could possibly ease symptoms for people with bipolar disorder and that a medication for strokes and Alzheimer’s disease may reverse the cognitive effects of chronic recreational marijuana use.”

Perhaps our POP group could volunteer – we can drive and are VERY committed women.

I think we qualify.

Oh, by the way, here’s what I painted at POP.

Water-color on Yupo paper

Water-color & pencil on Yupo paper


I wonder why they don’t use rats for this study – they use them for all the others?


Stealth Sketching

I knew about people who do travel sketch books – instead of taking photos they sketch.  I knew about plein air painters who set up their easels and paint nature.  I didn’t know about the groups of artists who take to the streets all over the world and sketch.

They call themselves Urban Sketchers.  The supplies need to be portable and compact – small sketchbooks, pencil, pen and watercolor seem to be the main tools of the trade.  People and buildings are the main focus. 

You have to be fast and just capture the essence of what you see.  People move, get up, leave.   Sometimes I draw the arm of one person on the body of the other, furiously freeze a tiny moment in time hoping people don’t get up, come over and demand I stop staring at them.  Then I “clean up” the mini sketches – erase lines, add a splash of color.  

At the POP (Painting on the Patio) gathering yesterday I couldn’t get inspired to paint so I pulled out my mini sketchbook and “cleaned up” some of my sketches:  





Can’t call myself an Urban Sketcher cuz I don’t sit on street corners or stand by light poles.  I sketch people while I wait for doctors’ appointments, get my computer fixed or tires rotated.  

Since I live in the suburbs it seems a bit pretentious to call my self a suburban sketcher.  Stealth Sketcher is much more like it.


“Befores” and “afters”

Judy Formato collects people – from bus rides, parties, meetings and invites them to her “POP” gatherings – Painting on the Patio. Yesterday I met her collection of very talented and welcoming women who have been meeting for 3 years to paint, chat and share resources.

Most of the women were doing water-color.  I experimented with my newly purchased pastels to color two of my quickie life drawing sketches I had done in class. 

The afternoon was topped off with wine and snacks.  Judy served a verrrrry tasty egg plant dip that had zing from some delicious pepper sauce imported by the family fine Italian food company Formato Brothers.

Here are my “befores” and “afters”:


“After” – pastel


“Before”, Charcoal – 1 minute sketch


“Before”, Charcoal,  1 minute sketch


“After”, pastel

Hmmmm . . . looks like they are all "afters" . . . after drinking

Hmmmm . . . looks like all the drawings are “afters” . . . afters drinking wine . . .

The HeART of Spirituality – Journey from Dark to Light

The theme for July is “Journey”.  Held a special 4 hour – yes, count ’em FOUR hours of creative energy – workshop yesterday.  The participants focused on a painful experience, what strengths they developed as a result of the pain and how God’s love or “the universe’s grace” touched them.  

People could share as much or as little as they chose.  It was a wonderful group of women.  (All you men, where are you?!!!!)

Take a look at a sample of wonderful paintings and mini-journals the participants created yesterday!

To see all the paintings and journal pages click HERE!


Process painting, Journey from Dark to Light



“Everything in life ministers to our development. Our lesson is to study and learn… Tests are either stumbling blocks or stepping stones, just as we make them.” Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith


Mini journal – 2- page spread