Archive for June, 2011


How to be Carrie’s Apartment

June 30, 2011

Here is a drawing I did of my old studio apartment from when I was in college. This drawing is way too cluttered and has absolutely no variation of line quality, but I still love it because looking at it brings me back to some of the best times of my life.

This tiny little apartment was the first place I ever lived completely on my own. It was also where I lived when I first got really serious about my art studies, and when I met and began dating Richard. I lived there for three and a half years, and since I moved around a lot when I was a kid, that was the longest I had ever lived anywhere.

So basically this drawing and this apartment represents the years that I became an adult. Or at least as close to an adult as I am ever going to be.

My favorite part of this drawing is the chair.


Sketching vs Hiking

June 29, 2011

I am way into hiking and yet I have very few hiking-related sketches. Since I use my sketchbooks as a means to document the moments in my life, it saddens me that a huge part of it gets left out.

The problem is that hiking and sketching do not mix. For one thing, it’s just inconvenient to lug my sketchbook and tools up a mountain or down into a canyon. And for another, my hands don’t seem to work after a few hours of intense activity.

I mean, yeah they work well enough for me to unscrew the lid from my water or bring a sandwich to my mouth. But when it comes to smaller, more detailed movements, like sketching, it just doesn’t go well. It’s as though I can only operate in one mode at a time. Either it’s the high intensity, full body activity of hiking, or the mellow yet precise act of drawing. Switching back and forth rarely yields good results.

But perhaps I just need practice. A couple months ago I lugged my sketchbook up to the top of Mt. Wilson in Sedona and managed to draw this gnarly tree. I kind of like it, though I wish I wouldn’t have done such a poor job on the shading at the base.


The MIM part 2

June 27, 2011

A couple days after the symphony I went back to the MIM with my mom and grandma to check out the actual museum. I didn’t expect to last longer than an hour or so as I’ve never really been a big music person. But that’s a the great thing about sketchbooks. As long as you have one, you never really get bored. And the museum was great. There were thousands of instruments and they were all so weird and fun and crazy looking that I forgot it was a music museum and started thinking it was in an art museum. And in a way, I guess I was, because these instruments were definitely works of art.

We ended up staying there almost three hours.

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The MIM part 1

June 27, 2011

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A couple months ago my husband won some tickets on the radio to go see a symphony at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM for short). A part of me did NOT want to go because I’d had a really long day and was feeling pretty depleted, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go for free. Plus, I had never been to a symphony before.

Boy was I glad that I sucked it up and went. The music was quite nourishing and I had a fun time sketching the musicians. Drawing people with instruments is always a challenge so it was good opportunity for practice.

Also the seats were really comfortable.


Uncle Jeff

June 23, 2011

My uncle Jeff was killed in a motorcycle accident on September 11, 2000. He was a prominent doctor in my hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and a few years ago they commissioned an artist to sculpt a life size statue of him. The statue now sits in front of the hospital where he worked.

I thought the sculptor did a pretty good job of capturing his likeness, considering that they only had photographs to go by. Sadly I did not do as good a job of capturing the likeness of the statue, even though I was sitting right in front of it.

The task of making a statue look like a statue (as opposed to a real person) has been an ongoing struggle for me.

I did this drawing in 2008, the last time I went back to Sioux Falls. It is my plan to draw this statue next time (and every time) I go back, and someday, I will do it justice.


Lightbulb Moments – Disneyland 2008

June 19, 2011

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In October of 2008 I went to Disneyland with my mom, brother, and husband to celebrate my mom’s 50th birthday. The night before we went I attended a lecture at the library that was given by local artist Lew Lehrman. Like me, he also brings a sketchbook everywhere, but unlike me he is REALLY good.

His sketchbooks were filled with amazing watercolor paintings of things he’d seen on his travels. I was amazed at how he was able to complete so many finished works while on the go. He shared some great secrets on how to set up a portable studio. The thing that stuck with me the most was that he does his initial sketches in pencil, then later fills in the details with pen and watercolor wash. Some of the paintings he even finished later on in the hotel room or on the plane back home.

That blew my mind. Prior to then I had always subconsciously considered it cheating to use pencil or finish sketches at a later time. But if a “real” artist like Lew Lehrman could do it, then so could I.

The next day we went to Disneyland and I began employing the new tricks that I’d learned from Lew. Instead of trying to capture the scenes before me, which is impossible when you are constantly on the move, I created new scenes by sketching different elements at different times. I’d draw my family as we waited in one line, and then add a background later while we were at lunch. I created crowd scenes by sketching random people in different places and putting them together on one page. I added details and shading later as we rode the shuttle or waited at restaurants. Some drawings I completed at night in the hotel and used the photos on my digital camera for reference.

I buzzed with creative excitement the entire time. The resulting sketches were lightbulb drawings–a term I use to describe the products of those moments when I become enlightened by an idea and reach a new skill level. Lightbulb drawings themselves are not always the greatest works of art, but they mean a lot to me because of what they represent.

Those drawings–composed of different elements from different places and times–captured the spirit of the trip a million times more than any completely onsite sketch (or even photo) could have.

That trip and those drawings reignited my passion for sketching, and I have since gone on to enjoy similar creative highs on other vacations, and deepened my exploration of the ideas that first opened up to me on that trip. None of that would have happened had I not attended Lew Lehrman’s lecture.

By the way, Lew does this really cool thing where people send him pictures of their house and he paints them as if they were haunted houses. Check it out:


Drummers in Portland

June 16, 2011

I was in a square in Portland sketching this statue of Abe Lincoln when these drummer guys came up to me and looked at the drawing and told me a little background about the statue. They said that it was done towards the end of the Civil War when all the stress and pressure of the war and his personal life really started to show. In the statue you could see that he was more haggard and worn down than in most depictions of him.

Later on I did a quick gesture sketch of the drummer guy.


Just a quick nap

June 14, 2011

Never, never fall asleep around me…


Northern Exposure

June 13, 2011

These are from a snowboarding trip I took with friends. We had a great time and a lot of laughs. I don’t often put word bubbles into sketches, but I did this time because I thought they helped capture the spirit of the trip.


They’re Called Thestrals

June 10, 2011

My brother won this stuffed dog on the Santa Monica Pier in the summer of 07. He loves playing those games where you win a stuffed animal, but he’s more into the game than the prize, so he gave the dog to me. The summer of 07 was the summer of Harry Potter, and our vacation was planned specifically around the release of the 7th book, so I named it Thestral, after the skeletal horses that are invisible to everyone except those who have witnessed death.