The Fig Cafe

A Contour Drawing While Waiting for Dinner

The Fig Cafe was small and crowded and had wonderful food! The food was pretty upscale, but the prices weren't bad. I loved this place.

I think this is the first place I have ever hauled out my sketchbook and had my husband say. "You really think you should paint here!?" I said, "I paint everywhere." and he said, "You usually don't have someone DINING twelve inches from you." I assured him I was just going to draw. And it's the first time a waitress ever said, "Oh, what are you drawing?" They usually politely ignore me.

There was a fig tree growing outside next to the building - I don't think I have ever seen a fig tree. The area is full of olive trees, eucalyptus trees, and mandrones. Spellcheck doesn't like mandrones.

We had some sunshine here today, so I went outside and raked leaves for awhile. I think I will actually have something out for the leaf pick-up in a few days. I haven't put the garden to bed - I usually leave it to fend for itself - I would rather clean it up in the Spring when it MIGHT be a little warmer.

I did paint a little today, but it wasn't of the obsessive nature that I posted yesterday that I was hoping for. I'll keep at it.


The Jack London Lodge

In the Garden/Pool Area of the Jack London Lodge, Glen Ellen, California
Sitting with my sketchbook and a glass of California wine, enjoying the last of the warm sunshine before dinner.

Now ~ back in Michigan ~ my class came this morning, and I feel grounded again. We did some two-minute paintings of single objects, and then five-minute paintings of three object compositions. The class did a great job with this assignment. They turned out some beautiful little paintings!

I haven't obsessively researched anything about Jack London today, and I have only played BejeweledBlitz (or whatever) a couple of times, so maybe there is some hope of getting a few little paintings ready for the art center Christmas Show. I'll make that my next obsession. Some people have goals, I have obsessions. Whatever it takes, right?


Pacific Ocean

Sketchbook Journal entry at Fort Ross In California
This is what I was painting in the photograph in the previous post. While I was sitting there it became so foggy that I couldn't see those rocks at all.

I'm having a little trouble with "re-entry". I loved Glen Ellen, and really got into the history there regarding Jack London. I have been reading so much about him, that I actually feel sad that he died!!! Get a grip! He died in 1916. I've been going through my pictures and my sketchbook, missing the kids (!), missing the weather, and then I hear "California Bloodlines" on my mp3 player. . .

Tomorrow morning my class will be here - they'll get me back in the groove.


Painting in California

Sketchbook Journaling Along Highway 1 in California.
We have just returned from a great trip to California. While we were staying in Glen Ellen in the Sonoma Valley for a couple of days, we drove over to the coast and up Highway 1 because we had never done that. I do prefer the valley to the coast - just because I like cozy spaces, not wide-open spaces. However, there were some magnificent views!

I will post some of my sketches as soon as I get settled in a little at home - a trip to the grocery is first on my list. Wishing we had a Trader Joe's here . . .


Down the Street

Cottage at the Curve in the Road
It is cold and windy, raining, almost snowing here. As I was going through my summer sketch books I came across this painting of a cottage in Bay View. I painted it on our last evening of painting for the season. We sat down to paint this because there was a nice, bright, warm spot of sun shining on the front of the cottage. By the time we set up, it was gone. And by the time we were finished painting, we were cold!

My class didn't do very quick little paintings of autumn objects this past week. We did do autumn objects, but we got pretty wrapped up in loosely rendering them. I didn't have the heart to stop them and move on to the next. They were doing some really nice little paintings. There is always next time.


Lemons and Peppers

Multiple Views of a Still Life
In yesterday's class we set up a still life, divided our paper into four rectangles, and painted four different views of the still life. I was a little sick of it by the time I got to the fourth painting ~ the top left. I may try this again someday. The whole idea is to zoom in, zoom out, pan left, pan right . . . . I think I could have zoomed a little more and panned a little less.

Next week the class wants to do very quick paintings, just a few minutes each, using autumn related objects such as pine cones, leaves, squash, gourds, pears.

We had a pretty heavy frost last night. Goodbye summer. As always, fall is bringing out my nesting instincts, and I have been switching my upstairs studio space (which never really worked out up there) back downstairs. I think I had better make a few trips to the Salvation Army/Goodwill to get rid of all this stuff I don't know what to do with. My new philosophy is "if I don't know where to put it, I certainly don't need it". I know that this philosophy is not new to some of you. We'll see how this works out.