Friday, June 29, 2007

June 29

An apron crafted from a pillowcase; another addition for the Christmas Boutique.

And a sketch done while waiting for my car to be repaired. It used to show a full tank when it was, in fact, empty. They fixed that, but then it started showing empty when it was full. Hopefully they've fixed that, too!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

June 28

So nice to walk in the cool of the after-dinner gloaming. I wandered into a previously unexplored cul-de-sac and perched on a retaining wall to draw the moon.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

June 27

Outside the junk shop.

My favourite pen is running out of ink. Hmmm ... you might see drawings that aren't green very soon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

June 26

I did some sewing yesterday.
The shirt I bought for Lauren in New York recently was too tight under the arms (what was I thinking, getting size 6-8 for a big almost ten year old?) So I cut off the sleeves and neckband and rebound the edges. She loves it. She thinks it looks like gym gear, thus the pose with the hand weights. (No, she does not usually pump iron.)

And this -- third time lucky -- THIS is my new bag. I made it from Beki's pleated tote pattern, using scraps leftover from my summer skirts with a few additions from the stash. The lining is cut from an apron I got a yard sale recently. Thanks for a great pattern, Beki. I'm not sure this photo really shows it off, but you can see more pleated totes here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

June 25

My choice of sketching subject is often dictated by the weather. Today, as on most summer days, I looked for somewhere out of the sun, preferably with somewhere clean to sit. I found the ideal location inside the front doors of a department store at the mall -- air-conditioning AND a roomy bench seat -- which is why you are being treated to an illustration of men's tshirts.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

June 24

It's hard to see what this guy is doing from my inept sketch. Actually, he was talking on his cell phone, on speaker (why was he holding a private conversation on speakerphone?) He was holding it at that odd angle people adopt, with the mouth hole close to his mouth but the earhole not.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

June 23

This morning Evie and I did Walk 18 from Walking L.A. in an area of Hollywood adjacent to the Hollywood Bowl. Many of the homes in this little neighbourhood are only accessible by stairway or by this private elevator tower ("High Tower", for which the area is known).

Later, Lauren performed in two dance shows at the beautiful Pepperdine University at Malibu, a matinee and an evening performance. Josh dropped her there for the matinee, then we both went back to share a picnic dinner with her then stay for the evening show.

We deposited her back at the stage door at 6, and had a couple of hours to kill. Her five minutes of fame wasn't going to happen till after intermission, so, rather than sit through several hours of bad amateur dance by a bunch of kids we didn't know or care about, we decided to go down the hill and find somewhere to enjoy a drink and watch the ocean till then.

Ha. Not so simple on a summer Saturday night. Half of LA was trying to do the same thing. Getting served at a beachfront bar or restaurant was NOT going to happen in our time frame. We even tried Malibu Seafood but standing in line for half an hour to buy a soda wasn't very appealing. So we grabbed some water from the car, found a bench seat at a nearby trail head, and Josh read aloud to me from Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire while I did the sketch below.

How ironic. Surrounded by all the beauty of Pepperdine and Malibu, and I end up drawing a trash can.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Thursday, June 21, 2007

June 21

The balconies inhabit a fantasy world that has its own laws of perspective.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

June 20

There was a road, a chain link fence, and a hundred yards between me and the object of my sketch, so I couldn't really make out all the details. But you get the gist. Hopefully they are going to replace a good amount of the cracked asphalt with grass.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007

June 17

I need to figure out how to draw leaves, when there's a whole treeful of them.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

June 16

Today Lauren and I spent the day at a Wild Foods Workshop in Topanga Canyon with Sunny Johnson. We had a blast. I'm no botanical illustrator; my sketches and notes are intended to back up my photographs, so I can remember some of the things Sunny taught us as we walked. The thing I liked best about the day (besides the learning, and the delicious food -- the miso soup with our gathered wild greens was to die for) was seeing Lauren just PLAY all day with a bunch of kids, running around in the bush, catching frogs, swinging in a hammock, riding a tyre swing, dressing up in a silly clothes, getting dirty and exhausted. It's what being a kid is MEANT to be like. No Disney channel anywhere in sight. Just real life. It was great.

Friday, June 15, 2007

June 15

Lantana first entered my consciousness when, as a child holidaying in the seaside town of Kiama, I noticed it growing along the road between the campsite and town. Walking home in the cooling dusk after eating a dinner of fish and chips in the park, I would pick one of the pretty umbels and pull off the little trumpets one by one, first the outer circles of pink florets, then the inner one of yellow-throated white. I was always disappointed that they didn't have a smell that matched their beauty. Later in life, living in the tropics and subtropics, I battled lantana as a noxious weed, strong and prickly and voracious. That's why I find it so strange to see it growing in neighbourhood gardens here in L.A. As much as I appreciate its hardy good looks, I could never plant it in my yard.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

June 14

This is "the wash" (actually, a tributary of the L.A. River) behind our house. I drew it while standing on a footbridge which crosses it a few doors down from our place. I like having this little creek over our back fence, even though it's bedded in concrete and surrounded by fences. The local coyotes use it as a thoroughfare at night; we are often woken by their howls. They are the kind of noisy neighbours who help me to forget I'm in one of the world's biggest metropolises.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

June 13

Waiting outside Lauren's school this afternoon, I started drawing the house across the road. This is as far as I got before she showed up.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

June 12

Another side gate in my neighbourhood. Is America the only country where the national flag is used ubiquitously as an ornament? It certainly doesn't happen in Australia -- we don't see folk art flags on side fences everywhere. Does it happen in Germany? In Iceland? In India?

Monday, June 11, 2007

June 11

Yet another summer skirt. This one is made from a thrifted doonah (duvet) cover.
I've heard of "everything but the kitchen sink." Well this container in the parking lot of a nearby shopping center has everything including the kitchen sink. Any yes, it's poking out the top at that odd angle.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

June 10

I've always been fond of sun-face plaques, though I've never owned one. On today's walk I spotted this fellow on someone's side gate, and was attracted to its asymmetry. The rays were twisted metal, and the face ceramic, I think. It had a crazed surface which gave it an aged, patient appearance. I liked it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

June 9

A lot of the houses around here have their garage access via a back alley like this one. Out the front of these houses, there is only street parking. There's a kind of sad, abandoned feel in these alleys. Kids don't play in them ... they just sit empty most of the time.

Friday, June 08, 2007

June 8

I made another bag, from two tea towels and a remnant of a Martha Stewart design I picked up yesterday for a dollar (total) at the thrift store. The buttons I bought in New York recently. I thought it might be My New Bag, but it's not. Guess it's another for the Christmas Boutique.

Tonight Josh and I went to see a live taping of A Prairie Home Companion at the Greek Theatre. This is my third time attending this annual event; I always love it. During intermission Garrison Keillor invites those who don't need to rush off and relieve themselves to join him in singing a few songs. Tonight we sang Home on the Range, America the Beautiful (four verses) and .... our wedding song! I Can't Help Falling In Love With You. We slow waltzed in the aisle as we sang ... so romantic!

A few rows behind us, an elderly man was seated in a wheelchair with a blanket over his head (it was a bit chilly). He saw me sketching him and just smiled and kept singing. What a lovely evening.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

June 6

A few years ago Josh suggested we get the kids one of these for Christmas. Looking up and down the street, I could see at least five of them that rarely or never get played with. I suggested that we ask our neighbours if the children could shoot hoops in one of their's if the mood so struck them. While that suggestion was not greeted with enthusiasm, he ended up nixing the gift idea when he investigated the cost.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

June 5

There are lots of places to eat lunch near my work; this one's popular with the vegetarians/healthy eaters. I always bring my lunch so I haven't tried it myself.

Monday, June 04, 2007

June 4

I spent all day and half the night at the sewing machine, finishing this skirt (a new favourite) and a top that, despite multiple unpickings and redrafting of pieces, doesn't fit nicely, so I'm not going to show it to you.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

June 3

After having my sewing stuff out in the dining room all week (lucky it's been outdoor-eating weather), I finally completed a summer skirt today, and I have another one halfway done.

I went to Trader Joe's to buy bananas, but they weren't ripe, and the queues were long, so I didn't buy anything. Instead, I sketched the row of sunflowers in pots waiting to be purchased.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

June 2

Evie, Lauren and I did Walk 17 from Walking L.A., exploring the Carthay Circle and South Carthay neighbourhoods just south of Beverly Hills. These Historic Preservation Overlay Zones are filled with well-maintained Spanish Colonial Revival-, Tudor Revival-, and American Colonial Revival-style homes. Here's one of many entrance ways that appealed to me.

I'm really loving how, through this book, I'm discovering all sorts of beautiful and interesting neighbourhoods in this city. Not that I can afford to live in most of them. We spotted a small, unattractive fixer-upper in Carthay Circle going for a mere million bucks. One can dream.

Friday, June 01, 2007