Missed a sketching trip two weeks ago because of a terrible cold, but last week I was right back out there. I'd told a friend about going to the Academy of Sciences to draw, and how I hadn't gotten a chance to draw some of the dinosaur fossils, so he convinced me to go back there with him. Twist my arm...
Styracosaurus skull fossil. (styracosaurus albertensis, to be exact...)
I don't know about you, but when I was growing up I was OBSESSED with dinosaurs. I still remember the names of so many of them, long, complicated names I happily memorized when I was about 6. I used to sit around drawing dinosaurs, daydreaming about the inevitable invention of a time machine that would take me back to the Jurassic so I could hang out with all of them. UM, why hasn't this happened yet?!
Last week I went to a place I've seen from the freeway numerous times, and have always wanted to stop at -- the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos. Small but neat, with lots of beautiful planes, experimental aircraft, and a survey of aviation history with a focus on local aviation. The museum was pretty empty with the exception of a few moms with very small children, and the staff seemed delighted that I was sitting there sketching, and came by to chat with me. Now I have two free passes! I really want to go back there too -- there's way more cool stuff to draw than I had time for!
Biplanes are beautiful. This one was a dark red with black trim and a gorgeous varnished wood propeller. Sexy!
So, ever since I graduated from art school, my intention has been to fully support myself with art -- easier said than done, I know. For the first year or so, I did odd web contracts and worked part-time doing retail, trying to find time to work on the art thing whenever I could. Then in 2005, I got a contract doing intranet stuff at a company down on the peninsula three days a week. This situation was near-perfect, allowing me to make enough money to support myself, pay off some credit card debt, and eventually start saving (while still allowing me enough time during the week to work in the studio.) This contract was temporary, and I just hoped that it would last long enough to support me for a while after it ended.
Well, the contract ended on October 1st, and here I am. I managed to save a fair amount before the job was done, so I'm hoping to stretch it out for as long as I can. Meanwhile I will be scrambling to drum up as much work as I can!
So, it's been 2 weeks. Suddenly I am working alone in the studio five days a week, which is wonderful, but a little intimidating sometimes. The pressure is on! Make it happen or else! Being somewhat of a self-starter, I know that in order to make this kind of freeform work-week effective, I need to have some kind of schedule for myself. I've figured out various ways to structure my week, and one of the best things I finally have time to work into my schedule is a weekly 'sketch-from-life' excursion. So far this is happening on Wednesdays, and so far it's been awesome. There's nothing like drawing from life to sharpen your drawing skills and challenge you. It also helps me to get out of the studio and be around people and different environments... I come back to the studio feeling energized and excited to get back to work.
So I am going to try to post a sketch from each week to chronicle my adventures and kind of track my progress.
My first week I went to the temporary downtown location of the California Academy of Sciences. I didn't get to spend as much time there as I wanted, so I may go back in the next few weeks -- it's so convenient!
Among other things, I sat on the floor and drew this weird guy:
Apparently they live in San Francisco Bay -- I'd sure love to see one diving sometime! Look at that monkey face!