Crazy week

IMG_1497I am back in New York  for a couple of weeks — I was tired of lovely weather and plucking tangerines of my trees each morning. I need rain, cold and bagels.

Jack is here until Monday, meeting with artists/mentors about the upcoming summer, and we have spent a lot of time talking about art and philosophy and other sophomoric matters. Such fun. I haven’t seen him since New Year’s and while he seems to be stopping at 6’2″, his brain keeps growing. I am super-proud of this boy.

I lost my wallet when I was here last, a real pain in the back pocket I managed to laboriously replace every credit card, my license and all the rest of the ephemera that seems important. Then, when I got back here and opened my bed side drawer, I discovered my old wallet and all its contents lodged therein. Grrr.

The upcoming week is gonna be nutty.

On Friday morning, we launch the first semester of Sketchbook Skool.  We are pulling together the last strands and it is kind of amazing.  I took Jack through the klasses and videos yesterday and he was surprisingly surprised by it. “It’s really rich. You shoulda charged them more.” True, tuition is cheaper than I pay for RISD (oy!).

Here’s a little summary of the semester:

  • I’ll be talking about why we need to be creative and what happens if we suppress the urge. How to draw expressively and yet accurately. How to choose art supplies. And much more from L.A.!
  • Koosje on taming your inner critic. On drawing better with colored pencils and on braving the frigid outdoors. And a whole lot more from Amsterdam!
  • Prashant Miranda on 20 years of journaling, on travel, on watercoloring and on discovering your family history through your sketchbook. And much more from all around India!
  • Jane La Fazio on mixed media, on how to uncover beauty and on turning sketchbook pages into developed works of art. And much more from sunny Southern California!
  • Roz Stendahl on how to draw animals of any kind, alive or dead(!), and what are the best media to use and why. And loads more from snowy Minnesota!
  • Tommy Kane on how to turn mistakes into masterpieces, and how to combine ink, watercolors and colored pencil to make rich, beautiful journal pages. And heaps more from deep in Brooklyn.

On Friday afternoon, I talk at the Thinking Creatively conference at Keane College.

Then on Saturday, I go to the Open Center for my workshop, Everyday Matters. I am excited to launch some new ideas for this class and to meet some folks in person.

On Sunday, I go back to LA, to work on my next series of presentations in Columbus, Boston, California….

It also looks like I will be doing an artist-in-residency in Beijing and Kuala Lumpur this fall. Details are almost nailed down.

Busy. Crazy. All good.

SBS Update: Roz!

Roz Stendahl has long been my friend and my teacher and I am really pleased that she’s a part of our fakulty.  I think her klass will open eyes and change lives.  If you what to learn how to draw animals of any kind, and, by extension, lots of other things, I hope you get a chance to see the incredible, rich and info-packed videos she’s put together.

We talked about them on Skype recently:

The art of friendship

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My pal, Tommy Kane and his wife Yun just spent a few days with us in California. It was so good to have them with us and we spent a lot of time eating in good restaurants, wandering through Venice and, of course, drawing.
I have known Tom for thirty years and we have drawn together for the last ten. Despite how close we are, when it comes to drawing we are quite different. Tommy is an illustrator, an artist who works toward beautiful finished pages, every one suitable for framing. His journals are immaculate, and each page is perfect from corner to corner. He just put out a lovely book of his work and it is a treat to have all that perfection in one place. The experience of looking at his journals is like looking at a final, published book—so immaculate, so rich.
My style of drawing is far more hasty, slapdash and impatient. And that can be a problem when we draw together. Tom expects to spend hours and hours doing a single drawing. He has a very specific way of doing a page, starting with his uniball pen, putting in loads of careful hatching, then adding watercolors and finally a layer of bright pencil marks. He’d prefer to do the entire thing on location, perched on his little stool. He has a patient wife/traveling companion and has drawn this way all over the world.
When we sit down together, as we did on the Venice Boardwalk and on Lincoln Boulevard, I find myself adjusting to his pace and do horrible overdrawn pages that don’t look like my normal work. I find it impossible with the way I draw to spend hours on a single page, Tom also compromises when we’re together and usually only manages to finish his line drawing before I start squirming and pacing and has to color his picture later on, from a photo.
I don’t begrudge Tom his slow and careful pace. He manages to capture so much detail and observation and yet keep his work fresh and bright. I draw, like almost everything else, at a neurotic pace, and the luxury of time just stirs up the mud.
Everyone has their own speed. Our friend Butch draws at a glacial pace, thinking nothing of spending ten or twenty hours on a page, D.Price, on the other hand, can knock out a drawing in three minutes. We have all drawn together and it’s like a tap dancer, a heavy metal guitarist, a tuba player and a sitarist trying to jam.
Whenever I go on a sketchcrawl, I have to adjust to the group, moving toward the mean of all the people drawing together. And it’s good to challenge that someotimes, to go faster or slower to add variation and stretch. In the long run, though, the work I do with others is never my favorite. It’s more of a fun, communal, social experience than a satisfying artistic one.
I’m not antisocial and I love to hang out with my friends.
But I’d rather pee, nap and draw alone

PS if you’d like to draw with Tommy Kane, join his klass at sketchbook skool.