Nostalgia Tour

While my home area in Washington State has constant rain, heavier than usual, I’ve enjoyed 3 days of perfect sunshine here in Michigan!   This is another day based in Traverse City.  My first stop this morning was to attempt to see a Tall Ship just outside of the city but it was locked up.

So on to my nostalgia tour. First stop, Interlochen.    This is a world famous summer arts camp which, during the school year, is an Arts Boarding School.  We used to camp in the state park right next door when I as a teen ager.  I would walk a path through the park
into the campus and hang out.

My parents couldn’t afford to send me to the summer music camp.  But we would attend performances.  Though I as a flute player, I didn’t hang out around flute areas.  I hung out in the dance building, watching class and rehearsals.  Today, I found that building exactly the same as it was 48 years ago!  The class room has a beautiful view of Green Lake, with windows on three sides.

What seemed odd to me today was that I could just walk on to campus and sit in a classroom.  No security.  No checking at the office for a visitor pass.  Very different from public school!  Maybe because they are in the remote wooded countryside of northern Michigan they figure it’s not an issue.

I sketched a Pan sculpture.  The air here is so fresh and scented with pine.  Ahhhhhh.

Next stop, Gwen Frostic‘s studio.    To me at 20-something, she seemed old when I met her in the late 1970’s. She was born in 1906 and died in 2001.   She was a nature artist who
worked in linoleum block prints.  Her shop produced her prints on all sorts of paper products, using old fashioned Heidelberg printers.

I shopped and bought some cards.  I also did two sketches.  Her building is a work of art in itself.  It has nature inside and out but, unfortunately, has deteriorated since her death.

I met and talked with the current owner, Greg.  He said Gwen gave $11 million to Western Michigan University.  There was no money for upkeep of the building as she intended it to rot away and return to the earth.  However, she was not mindful of her fame and artistic legacy that others want to keep alive.  They are still using her carved blocks and those Heidelberg presses!  They are trying to raise money to restore the building.   The income from the business is not enough to do so.

Inside the building was a small waterfall with a pond.

She was ahead of her time with a green roof in the 1960’s.

My final destination was something new.  I do not think I’ve ever been to Sleeping Bear Dunes on shore of Lake Michigan.  I made a couple stops and finally found some dune.

I’ve been experimenting with paper.  The studio interior of the pond was done on Arches cold press 14o #.  The other two are Fabriano cold press, also 140#.  I’m not sure I really like either of them.

Lots of photos are here.

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Color tour on the peninsula

It was a colder morning than I’ve experienced in many years.  It doesn’t often get to 29 degrees in Seattle!  There was a very heavy frost to scrape off the windows of the car, even at 8am!

After breakfast, I drove off for a color tour around the Old Mission Peninsula, north of Traverse City.  Because it was so cold, it was a clear, bright, sunny day.

I did 3 sketches before 1300!  But none the rest of the day.  The 1st and 3rd were drawn on location but colored once I was inside and warm.  The 2nd was drawn from inside the warm car.

The first sketch was a classic Michigan barn.

Next, the view of Grand Traverse Bay from a hill on the Old Mission Peninsula.  In the foreground are the vines of a winery.

Finally, the Mission Point Lighthouse, which was the furthest point of my drive.  It’s very near the 45th parallel, which is half way point between the Equator and the North Pole.

I made a lot of photographs, which are all here.

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Clare Michigan

After arriving at Detroit metro airport and picking up my car, I drove straight to my friend’s home in Clare.  Ann and I were college room mates and have kept our friendship over the intervening 40 years, though we live so far apart.

The rental car has so much electronics I had some difficulty figuring it out.  Initially, I couldn’t get the gas cap open!  But I’ve solved that mystery.

The autumn color in the trees is very pretty on the drive north and around Clare.

While Ann went to teach a class (Tai-chi), I went in to Clare to see a place I’d read about that is also listed in the quirky website, “Roadside America”.  It is Cops And Doughnuts bakery.  It has been a bakery since 1896.  However the business was near to closing in 2009 before being rescued by a group of local police officers.  All 9 members of the local
police department banded together to save the business.  Since then they’ve be recognized with many awards.  I’m told that during tourist season, they serve 8000 people a week, have expanded to 3 store fronts in Clare and have 21 official “substations” throughout Mid-

I liked the sign that is a police badge surrounded by a doughnut….

I sketched this outside at a table in 40 degree weather!  Here is my sketchbook to prove it.

An example of the fall color

Brilliant color in the sun!

All the photos from the day are here.

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Sewing Academy Sunday

I’ve been traveling the past 2 days, having left early Monday morning (20 Oct) for Michigan.  I’m behind in my blog posts but catching up in the hotel room tonight.

The final day of the Sewing Academy at fort Nisqually.  I must admit, I was a little bored during all the fitting sessions.  I’m just not there yet in my understanding of the period clothing.  So I sketched one of the fittings…..

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Pending flickr problem

I have 3 days of posts pending because flickr has suddenly eliminated the ability to share photos, which is how I put my sketches here.  Stand by.   I am on a trip to Michigan.  The autumn colors are beautiful and I’d like to be able to show them to you.   I’ll keep writing my posts in draft and at some point you will see a flood of them once flickr fixes the problem!  Grrrr.

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Sewing Academy and WWSCD at the Fort

I’m attending the Sewing Academy this weekend at Fort Nisqually.  Elizabeth Clark is a well known expert in the  interpretation of mid-18th century.   Fort Nisqually brought her to teach her Sewing Academy this weekend.  I’m learning a lot but I’m starting from zero.

We started Friday evening.  Liz is very organized so there was a delightful bag of information and supplies for each person.  It’s a small world… in the bag was this packet from Hedgehog Handworks.  I knew both of them in the SCA in Caid.

Friday evening’s content was two foundational lectures about interpreting history.  So there was no sewing to be done.  I did a small sketch of the two people in front of me.

The next morning started before the Fort was open to the public.  It was about 0815 and the fog was heavy.  Since it is also the 45th World Wide Sketchcrawl Day, I had to get in at least one location sketch!  So I sketched the foggy scene.  I attempted to represent the fog with a glaze of white gouache but it didn’t quite work.


Saturday was a long day… 12 hours 0900-2100.  But Liz is a very entertaining and animated speaker.  Here’s a bit of humor…. her daughter as a “butt head”…. she’s wearing her bum roll on her head.

During the lunch break, I walked around the Fort.  I saw this thing…. is it a beet?

The brick oven was being rebuilt.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera when they were actually building it but here it is finished and curing.

During our dinner break there was a beautiful sunset.

To bed early and then it starts over tomorrow!

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Southdown Abbey

At AFK Drink and Draw:  Finally, a model from a fandom about which I know lots of details.  Of course, it helps that she’s a friend of mine!  This is Amanda, dressed as Sister Charity, OSC.  With the apron and overcoat, she becomes a nun of Southdown Abbey.  This is from Firefly.   Shepherd Book, one of the main characters, is a priest and comes aboard Serenity after leaving the Abbey.

Starting with 2 minute sketches:

Moved on to about 5 minutes and I used a bit of watercolor pencil and wash in the sketchbook.

The reference to a strawberry is from a particular episode of Firefly.

Finally, a sketch in watercolor in the good Pentalic Aqua watercolor sketchbook.

Oh, and the service dog is Griffin.

Then we had CAKE! for Stan’s birthday.  Thank you LJ and Happy Birthday, Stan!

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Arc sketchbook and journal

Recently one of my posts about disc bound sketchbook was reblogged by “Calvin was Right” blog.  I then read through all of the entries there followed by the Arc it blog.   (Arc it is now on hiatus but there is 2 year’s worth of entries to read).   This got me inspired to try using a discbound system again.

Discbound systems are mostly either Staples’ Arc  or Levenger’s Circa.  While both Circa and Arc offer just the covers, I thought I could also make my own.  In my local Staples, they don’t have any Arc individual covers I like.   (FYI:  If one does a search, it might also turn up Rollabind.  I’ve recently read about the company not shipping orders and I wouldn’t recommend them.  I did place an order before I read these reports.  It’s been a week and I’ve so far  not even had an acknowledgement, though my Levenger order placed at the same time has already shipped).

So…. I found these plastic pocket folders at Staples. I made a pattern for the Junior size from another notebook.  Then I cut it down and punched it.  Here you see it with the pen holder and neoprene zipper pouch outside the cover.  This is configured for journal writing.  I’ve printed letter sized paper with the all over dots template from “Calvin was Right”, cut the sheet in half and then punched it with the Arc paper punch.

I cut the plastic folders such that the outside edge remained on the outside.  This meant I preserved the pocket function on the inside.  These are some discs I bought in a bag at Staples.  They are too large and I’ll replace them once my smaller ones arrive from Levenger.

This is a Martha Stewart brand notebook.  It has a hard cover with a strap that is perfect for a sketchbook.  On the inside, I first have a sheet protector with my contact info and a few business cards in the holder.

What I like about this system is I can fill it with single sheets of different kinds of paper.  A standard 22×30 sheet of watercolor paper tears down to a size that fits well in the Junior book.

Spiral bound paper can even be torn out and inserted in the Arc discbound book.  This is a page from the Strathmore Visual Journal line.

In the back is a pocket with a couple more items I use.

My next project was to make a clear plastic cover.  I found the perfect sheet of plastic at Artist and Craftsman Supply.  Here is the sales receipt….. it is called “team film sheet”.  It’s 22×30 and costs $5.85 a sheet.  I found this in the physical store in the U district of Seattle.  Unfortunately, I can’t find it on-line.  That item number comes up as a tube of oil paint on the website.  It’s thicker than the plastic folder but can still be punched in the Arc paper punch.

I found if I cut it along the short side, I can get more covers out of it.  I like to put stickers on my sketch books from places I go to draw.  So I have a sheet of heavy black paper at the front on which to put the stickers.  It is Jet Black Canford Card Imperial made by
Daler-Rowney, also found at Artist and Craftsman Supply.  The clear cover doesn’t photograph well, so you’ll just have to imagine it.

Circa does have translucent covers available for order but I didn’t find them until I wrote to them about it.

I’m going to use the discbound sketchbook for the next few weeks.  I’ll let you know what I think.  I’ve not yet decided how I will store the pages once the book is full.  I do like that I can keep a few finished sketches while adding in blank pages.  I think I might store the loose pages in an envelope, as Roz Stendahl has suggested (that was in her Sketchbook Skool Klass).

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Mad Campus

Ad Hoc Friday Sketchers  met at the University of Washington campus to sketch the sculptures of the Mad Campus exhibit.

One of our number had been before and offered information and suggestions about the choices.  I first sketched 2 of the Six Swans by Tory Franklin From the info on the map:  “A princess tediously labors to free her brothers as the fairy tale of the Six Swans comes to life in a large redwood in the Medicinal Herb Garden. These life-size puppets tell a story of perseverance, a quality Tory recognizes in her own artistic practice. She combines drawing and printmaking to create her many public installations.”

Next I found #3, the Lone Stranger (Inflated) by Piper O’Neill “Inspired by carnival prizes of the 1940’s, a 28-foot-tall inflated cowboy reassigns meaning to a relic of the past. Piper’s work  often explores the themes of nostalgia and inherited histories. In her words, ‘I am always looking backwards to make sense of what is in front of me'”

I still have enough time for one more quick sketch.  I’d noticed some color over a rise back toward our meeting place.  It turned out to be #5, Global Bloblem  by Paul Komada.
“A patchwork of diverse national flags brings into view complex issues, such as globalism, climate change, and international strife. Paul was born in Seattle but spent his formative years in Japan. In his studio work he uses knitted materials to elicit feelings of warmth and care.”

We met to share sketches.

Four of us had sketched the swans.

All the photos are here.

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Drink and Draw Star Wars

No Klingons!  I guess they had a war to make somewhere else.  So we had Sith instead.  Again.

Well, one Sith and one Jedi.   Daniel and Pixie are Revan and Mara Jade.  These are not characters you see in the 6 movies.  They are called “Extended Universe” or “EU”.  The EU includes books, video games, comic books and graphic novels.  We’ve continued to be fortunate to have such excellent models.

First is a group of the 2 to 5 minute sketches done in pencil and watercolor pencil in the Strathmore 200 sketchbook.

A single study of Mara Jade:

These next two are my favorites of the night.

Then one of Revan

The last was a little bit longer pose.  I used the good Pentalic Aqua watercolor sketchbook though I didn’t quite have time enough to finish as I would have liked.

Here is a photo of them:

Stan had an interesting piece of kit with him tonight.  It’s called the Arm-adillo and is pencil case that straps to the arm.  Looking at the website, it also can strap around a book or even a water bottle.


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