February 15, 2018

Mixed Water Media Class at Flicker Street Studio

I am teaching a class at Flicker Street Studio in March and April called Mixed Water Media. This is a three-week class about working with a variety of water-based media and techniques to create a finished painting. It is inspired by what I learned from the late Bonnie Beaver.

I took mixed-media painting from Bonnie Beaver several times when working toward my art degree at the University of Memphis. She was always so full of energy and ideas. What sticks with me the most is the way she would coax art out of a mess of sprays and stencils and shapes.

These two paintings were from a series I made in Ms. Beaver's class some time in the mid 90s. I would put down a base of colors and shapes and then step back and see what the painting wanted next. It was fun to explore the materials and see what I could make happen.

In this class we will use water-based media such as watercolor, liquid watercolor and inks, Neocolor (water-soluble artist crayons), water-soluble graphite, Inktense sticks, maybe a little gouache, maybe a little gesso, and anything else that wants to be mixed with water. We will use stenciling, spraying, salt, and other ways to make texture. We’ll work on big paper (22” x 30”) moving from experiments to a finished piece.

I hope you’ll join me!

Click here to sign up at Flicker Street Studio.
Mixed Water Media with Elizabeth Alley
Thursday Evenings
6:00 - 9:00 pm
March 22nd - April 5th | 3 Sessions
$150 + $25 Materials fee | Beginner and up | Ages 15 +

February 01, 2018

Assignment for Myself: One Week 100 People

Since Sunday of this week I've been trying to sketch 100 people to warm up for sketching at Mardi Gras this weekend. I love this assignment because it gets me looking for people to sketch, and if there aren't any I end up sketching a car or a tree - the point is I end up sketching something.

I only made it up to 59 today... I wonder how many I can sketch in New Orleans over the next few days!

(Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook)
(click images for more detail)

January 25, 2018

Two Stories of Iceland

For the last year I've been working on this project, Two Stories of Iceland, a narrative exploration of Icelandic stories and landscape in small paintings and drawings.

It consists of a series of 16 ink drawings that tell the true story about a young woman who disappeared from Reykjavik last January, called Story of a Girl. I drew the version of the story - the search, investigation, and the impact this event had on the community - that lived in my head as I followed the developments in the Iceland Review.

Another series is of a trip I took to Iceland in 2015 with my best friend, who is Icelandic, and our families. As I tell the story of the trip in small paintings and drawings, I relive the trip obsessively.

I did most of this obsessively, as that is my modus operandi, plus I can't figure out how to do things any other way.

I hope you'll come see the show at Crosstown Arts (in Crosstown Concourse). It'll be up through March 11.

I also hope you'll come back here to see if I post more sketches - I hope I do! I plan to do another #oneweek100people next week, but just on my own and will try to post my sketches :)

October 03, 2017

Caught Sketching!

After I attended the Society for Technical Communication annual Summit in Washington DC in May, the good people at the STC asked me to write an article for their magazine, Intercom. I was honored but nervous. They asked me to write specifically about the sketch notes I was making at the Summit, so writing about sketching made it a bit easier. I have great editors available to me, so that eased my mind as well. I guess I felt so at ease that after I turned it in I sort of lost track of it until I came across it last week!

Here's the article - if you click on it you can see it bigger and read it.

September 10, 2017

Me and My Sketchbook View the Eclipse *

On Eclipse Day I was headed to the Dixon Gallery and Gardens to participate in the viewing from their lawn, but then I saw the Clark Tower and knew that's where I should be. It was like a party - there were food trucks and people milling around outside with their eclipse glasses and yelling "Wooooo!" whenever the clouds moved out of the way of viewing.

(* With apologies to Lee Smith - I could not help myself.)

September 09, 2017

Symposium Day 7 - Bonus Sketching!

After a morning meeting of the Urban Sketchers Advisory Board, I had hours and hours to sketch before my flight! What a treat!

I sketched the Art Institute as though it was a completely flat box.

I got to use some gouache! This is my favorite sketch from the trip.

I love the differences in my sketch and Orling's - I described them as quiet (mine), and expressive (hers), much like our different personalities.

Then it was time to go and all of a sudden it was just me after spending six days with 500 people!

I sketched on the airplane until my last Pigma Graphic ran out of ink!

September 08, 2017

Symposium Day 6 - The Last Day!

On Saturday I took Mike Daikubara's workshop Draw Now Think Later. I wrote about it and the big post-symposium change that came from it here.

This workshop was so fun! We all sketched the hot dog and then the skyline. Putting the hot dog down first made the skyline so much less intimidating, it was amazing!

After a rest and a quick lunch with some other sketchers, I went to Grant Park for the final sketch crawl. I again took a long time to start my sketch and was busy visiting and passing out macarons, so I didn't have time for much sketching. But the truth is, the Urban Sketchers Symposium isn't always about sketching!

We gathered for the final group photo - almost 500 sketchers!

Everyone at the Symposium was inspired by Maru Godas who taught a workshop called Gouache Like a Child. I was blown away by her sketches, and inspired to try gouache and to use a large sketchbook. These are the colors she used in her workshop for future reference.

And then we found out where it will be next year! See you in Porto!

September 07, 2017

Symposium Day 5 - Business and Perspective and Demonstrations and Thai Food and Pens

Friday morning a few of us took a Lyft to the bank to take care of some Urban Sketchers business. It was my final official business as a board officer! It was also really fun for a trip to the bank, because of the lovely people I was with.

Then we had a delicious lunch at the Revival Food Hall.

My afternoon workshop was An Urban Sketcher's Guide to Figuring Out Perspective with Simone Ridyard.

I have been using the concepts of perspective for so long without really thinking about it anymore that it was nice to get to know it again, and to work with pencil, which I tend to eschew.

I wish I'd had more time for my final sketch - I took too long to start! Or maybe I could have used less paper? Nah. It was fun anyway.

Rita Sabler gave a great talk about sketching demonstrations. She has really put herself out there to document rallies and protests, and has amazing sketches to show for it.

After Rita impressed us, Hugo Costa charmed us with his talk about making a sketch a day.

Then a big dinner at Thai Spoon while passing around sketchbooks and testing out pens. This might be the best part of the Symposium.