Monday, December 27, 2010

Sharks' Cap

Ian's Favourite Cap
Plain ol' pencil on paper

This portrait of Ian in his favourite cap came together easily probably because his happy face is so familiar. Ian's smile brings to mind some of the childhood stories he has told me.  When he was a wee boy in his birthplace, Arusha, now part of Tanzania, he had a male nanny who taught him to speak Swahili and gave him the nickname Chaloo, meaning "happy one".  Indeed, his pre-school years were happy ones spent playing on the edge of the jungle with his brothers (his sister came along later). As adults, Ian and his brother Mike have an ongoing rivalry about their chosen South African rugby teams: Ian backs the Sharks, Mike, the Bulls. The Sharks cap is part of that whole thing.

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Friend

Summer Evening Fun
Pencil on Paper, about 8 x 10

Clarissa, the subject of this drawing is the same friend I painted over a year ago. My main concern this time was getting the likeness. That is the toughest part. I do see improvement on that score, although not yet perfect.  She is a pleasure to draw, such an unassuming beauty.

Best wishes to all of you for a peaceful Christmas.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

SAM and Pablo

Ellie on the Train

Last Sunday I travelled on the Amtrak train from Vancouver to Seattle with seven creative companions to see the Picasso exhibit at SAM (the Seattle Art Museum). We met at Terminal Station at 6:15 AM, coffee in hand, sleep in our eyes, but anticipation in our hearts. Once through customs and onboard, we snuggled into our adjacent seats, two sets of four, armed with sketchbooks, cameras, and art magazines. I was so excited to be amongst this company of fellow 'seers' that at one point I burst out to my immediate foursome "I think I'm over stimulated!".  I was trying to look out the window at the Pacific Coast rolling by, share the discoveries in International Artist magazine with Mauro, sketch Ellie, and chat with Catherine. On top of that I wanted to take out my camera and capture everything "on film". Like a kid at Christmas.

I managed to find my adult reasoning and calm myself to enjoy each experience one at a time. The four hour trip felt like an hour, we piled off the train and walked through the deserted Sunday streets of downtown Seattle. A quick lunch at the gallery cafe and we headed into the exhibit. Aaaah, the exhibit. Dozens of Picasso's paintings, drawings and sculptures from the artist's personal collection and on loan from the Musée Picasso in Paris. We explored separately and then together, talking about some of the pieces, sketching others, choosing our favourites. We stayed for hours sharing our awe.

After a stop in the SAM gift shop for Picasso books and show catalogues, we stuffed ourselves with enchiladas and quesadillas, washed down with beer and Marguerita's, then dawdled back along the streets, now dark, but festively lit with white strings of lights wrapped round tree trucks along the boulevard.

The ride home was no anticlimax - it was equally fulfilling - the camaraderie unmatched. Once again, our laughter dominated the car, but no one else complained. My guess is they would have joined us if there had been room. Many thanks to our art teacher, James, for organizing the trip and to all my fellow travelers for a day I am still savouring.