Archive for October, 2011


Life Drawing Gallery

October 27, 2011

A couple months ago I inventoried all my old artwork, threw out about 90% and photographed what remained. I thought I would post a few of those old drawings here because, well…I am a little behind on scanning my sketchbook. And also I really miss the college days, so why not take a trip down memory lane.

These drawings are all from around 1999-2001 (I think).

This drawing here is a quick five minute gesture drawing. We always did a few two or five minute gesture drawings at the beginning of class to get warmed up. I remember one guy once compared them to practicing scales on the piano. I usually just threw them away when I was done, but I couldn’t part with this one. I was really proud of it then and I still am now. I wish the drawings I did these days had that kind of line quality.

Here is another fairly quick drawing. This one probably took ten or twenty minutes. I wish I had done a little more work on the chair.

Here is a longer drawing. Black and white conte on toned paper. This one probably took about 2 hours. I remember the night I did this drawing. I was really proud of it at the time. Back then I was pretty obsessed with life drawing, but I was also really struggling with it. I was okay, but I had some really gifted friends that just put me to shame (and still do). At one point I was taking 6-9 hours of life drawing per day and rarely cranked out anything I liked. The night I did this one I felt like I was finally starting to get it. Incidentally I don’t really like this one so much anymore. Terrible line quality, and the hair sucks. I still can’t draw hair to save my life.

In this drawing we were told to make a box of some sort on the page and do a drawing that focuses on composition. So I went with the good ol’ triangle. I love triangles. Also, I always loved drawing the female models from the side when they had their arm up. The shadows would always fall in an interesting and beautiful way that was fun to draw.

Ah, here we have the elusive male model. In art school the ratio of female to male models was about five to one, and even when we did have a male model it was often a somewhat skeezy older guy. So on the rare occasion when we  actually had youngish male model it was pretty great. I remember that the checkerboard way in which the light was falling on this guy made for a fun but very challenging drawing.

Here is another female from the side with a raised arm. I could draw these all day. I’m not sure if I intentionally focused on the arm and head and let the rest gesture out on purpose, or if I just ran out of time and tried to pass it off as intentional.

Another black and white conte on toned paper. Not much to comment on this one except that I love the triangle shape that is created by the jaw line and underside of the chin when people tilt their head back in that way.

Here is another one of the same model. I think this one took me three hours. My teacher Jerry was big on creating shadow with marks. Hatching, cross-hatching, whatever. Mark making was very important. Only pansies create shadow by blending.


Carrie’s Big Adventure

October 18, 2011

Last March I went to the exciting metropolis of Cedar Rapids, Iowa to attend my little brother’s wedding. If you aren’t familiar with the reputation of this wild and crazy city, go rent the movie by the same name and you will get the idea.

I brought along my sketchbook so as to capture all of the important family moments.

Such as this gem that I did at the rehearsal dinner. By the way, I was drunk out of my gourd when I did this, so hey, not bad. I recognize some of those people. I also stole two glasses from the restaurant, and found out the next morning that I’d been unknowingly drinking doubles all night. Damn you, Annie!

Later that night the party moved to our hotel where we celebrated the upcoming union the Behrens way, by playing poker. Actually, I sat the game out. I was never allowed into the game when I was a kid, so by this point I figured, why mess with tradition? Also, I was still intoxicated.

Ah, here we are at the wedding. When I got married my friend Michael did a lovely little sketch of me and my husband saying our wedding vows that turned out to be the greatest gift we could have ever received. I had hoped to do the same for Brady, but alas, It just didn’t come out too good. That’s the problem with sketching. Or at least, that is the problem with me. I never know–or have any control over–when I’ll be on fire and when I’ll draw as though someone replaced my hand with a dead fish.

I did this one at the reception sometime after dancing the Macarena but before pocketing several fistfuls of M&Ms to ensure that I would have some food for the next day. Hmm. I really committed a lot of theft on this trip. I guess Cedar Rapids just brings out the criminal in me.

The day after the wedding most of my family left early to return to their various midwestern towns. But my flight didn’t leave until that evening, so I figured I had better take in all the Cedar Rapids I could while I still had time. I took a cab down to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, where I did sketched these three guys.

Fun Fact: Grant Wood, the guy who painted American Gothic (you know, the old farm couple with a pitchfork standing in front of a house) came from–you guessed it–Cedar Rapids! And while I was not fortunate enough to see American Gothic at the CRMA (it’s in Chicago) I did see another one of his major works: Woman with Plant.

By the way, in case you’re now doubting my skills (and really, I can’t blame you) I would just like to point out that in the real “Woman With Plant,” Grant Wood painted the woman’s black shirt to look extremely flat. Google it if you don’t believe me. My flat crosshatching of the shirt was an attempt to copy that. Also, does that poor woman look miserable or what?

After a few hours at the museum I spent the rest of the day walking across the entire city. I could have taken a cab, but that would have cost $20. And more importantly I would have missed out on an opportunity to experience the true flavor of Cedar Rapids. Some highlights include: Coe College, Mount Mercy Hospital, and at least two Hardees.

We have now reached the conclusion of the trip. I will close this post with a few scenes from the airplanes and airports as I journeyed to and from the great state of Iowa.


 Thanks for reading.



October 12, 2011

This past weekend I joined up with about 20 other people to hike the Grand Canyon from the South Rim to the North Rim. I brought along my sketchbook with the hopes of doing a few sketches to remember the experience by and came back with more than I expected.

As I’ve stated before, I have never been very comfortable with using color. This past year it has been my goal to work with it more, and I’ve made a few attempts with watercolor that came out okay, but I’m still having a tough time. One of the challenges is that I am usually drawing on the go: in restaurants, museums, on buses, airplanes, or at some kind of festival. It gets real tricky trying to do watercolors in these settings, especially since I am pretty awkward with it to begin with.

So this weekend I tried something different. A couple months ago a co-worker randomly interofficed a small set of German colored pencils to me, so I brought them on the trip and took a bold step into the world of color.

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These aren’t masterpieces by any standard, but they are definitely important drawings for me. I’ve written before about lightbulb drawings–the products of moments when I somehow become enlightened by an idea and reach a new skill level. These drawings represent the time I found my way into working with color.

The most important drawing from the weekend is this one that I did from the deck of the North Rim Lodge.


Not only is it in color, but it’s also a landscape, which is something else I struggle with. This is probably one of the hardest sketches I’ve ever done. The challenge was figuring out how to take a very complicated landscape and simplify it to fit within the limitations of time, color, and paper size, but also still make it recognizable for what it was. I actually started and abandoned two other sketches before I finally produced this one.

The whole weekend was pretty great. I did a ton of hiking, met a bunch of cool people, and had some fun times around the campfire. But coming home with these drawings ensured that it will be unforgettable.