October 31, 2010. There's no way I can even begin to capture the amazing colors in Kandern today. In all the years I've lived here, I don't think I've ever seen it more beautiful and more colorful. (Maybe I say that every year.) The powerful golds, sparkling yellows, and rich reds are unbelievable. I have attempted to capture just a hint of the beauty today with this little tree.
October 23, 2010. So here's the other side of the Blumenplatz in Kandern. The last sketch was looking the other direction. This is the little paper goods shop to the right and on the left is the little youth bistro in town. As I was sketching this, a couple teenagers came running up to the cafe and grabbed some brooms and began sweeping up the leaves. The lady from the paper goods shop was rolling out the newspaper stands for the day. Kind of fun watching the town wake up on a Saturday.
October 19, 2010. When I think of Kandern, this little scene comes to mind. The Blumenplatz is the center of town, around which everything revolves. Here is where the pottery market and the festival of booths is every fall, the open air evening Christmas activities, the New Year's fireworks show, the carnival parade, and pretty much anything of significance. The grape vine above the flower shop there is changing colors now, and this week brought our first few snowflakes.
October 18, 2010. The practice continues... working on another one of my students today, trying like crazy to push through this wall. I notice I am definitely getting faster at putting down the marks, laying on the pencil, finding the location of the eyes and nose. I'm still seeing quite a bit of distortion, but things are definitely better than before. The process of trying and failing is unbelievably valuable, I'm finding. You find yourself celebrating even the tiniest of improvements. Note: I'm going to have to redo Faline, as this portrait doesn't really capture her as well as the others- something about the eyes and smile... live and learn.
October 17, 2010. One final sketch for the day- another go at a student portrait. This one I dove into a little too quickly and had to redo some parts. I'm trying to capture how I see the kids, more than going for exact detail. I like there to be somewhat of a cartoon feel if I can manage it to still look like the kids.
October 17, 2010. I don't use chalkboards anymore. In fact, I think I only used a chalkboard my first year of teaching before changing over to white boards. The world of smooth. No more scraping chalk. And, I can use bright, colorful dry-erase markers. The other day I wrote some words on the board in black marker, but wrote the verbs with a red marker. Someone asked if verbs are always red. I replied that all words are read.
October 16, 2010. I'm getting to the age when I can't remember the most basic things. "What are little boys made of? Snips and snails and puppy dog tails..." Well, this is an attempt at drawing another of my students, Brett, and he's all boy. I'm surprised I even attempt these things. I'm not a very patient person, and definitely not a perfectionist, so trying these portraits is a real challenge for me. I don't like to sit still for long periods of time, and I don't like to spend more than a couple hours on any one sketch. But, like some of you have reminded me, it takes lots of practice...
October 14, 2010. This is Kate. She's one of the students in my class this year. I really didn't intend to start drawing the kids; it just sort of happened. Kind of like when the dog eats your homework. Now I've got a line up of kids who want me to draw their angelic faces. It's good practice for me, I admit, because drawing people isn't my forte. It's just that drawing the entire school would be entirely impossible. I'm not even sure I can get through my own class. I drew Kate's brother a couple years ago when he was my student. I should've learned my lesson.
October 12, 2010. Many prayers are answered as the 33 Chilean miners are preparing to climb into that tight metal tube and be hoisted out of that dark hole that has been their home for 69 days and nights. Here's a sketch of a Pennsylvania miner from 1940 to celebrate tomorrow's rescue. God's speed to those guys!
October 11, 2010. Every now and then I get to come home for lunch, and when the weather is warm enough, like today, eat outside on our back patio. My wife is teaching a cooking class this weekend to some local German ladies, so she was trying out an egg recipe on me. Of course, it was fabulous, and, I had enough time to do a little sketch before heading back to teach. These poor potted plants aren't doing too well, but they became the center of my attention.
October 9, 2010. A beautiful day today, and I had a chance to sit down by the Rhine River and sketch the Middle Rhine bridge. Quite a few people stopped by to watch behind my back now and then. I had the sense today that the days of warm weather sketching are nearing an end for this year. As I see the fall colors beginning to make their appearance, I realize that I will soon be wearing gloves, coats, and hats, and outdoor sketching will be more of a challenge. Fingerless mittens and long underwear become just as important as bringing enough pencils and pens.
October 3, 2010. I'm not sure I like this sketch at all. I was actually sitting in the blazing sun, drawing the shadows across Riehentor Street in Basel. I got home and realized it needed to be much darker. Now it's ridiculously dark. Oh well, it captures where I was. I picked my wife up from the airport today after her trip to the States. Very good to have her home again.
October 2, 2010. So here's the big yellow house I walk by about every day. It's a great house, but no one has lived there for years. It's just a few hundred meters from my house, and there are a couple of huge California Sequoia trees on the lawn. Someone comes and takes care of the place, but the windows are always dark and the gates are always locked.
October 1, 2010. I really need to look into getting some kind of collapsible stool to sit on instead of my jacket rolled up on the sidewalk. I spent almost 2 hours on the ground sketching this out, adding some color, then came home and finished it up. My knees just don't like being folded up for that long, and it took me a while to stretch them out just so I could walk across the street to my car.