Monday, February 17, 2014

Bigger Baby, Same Poses

Amazing how this kiddo, even as she gets bigger and fancier and stronger, still strikes the same poses when she's nursing as she did as a teensy newborn.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Fractals, Points of View, and the Ghosts of Warehouses Past

There are some newish art installations along SE Grand Ave here in Portland which I've been enjoying every time I go by.

My impressions of them are mostly that they are an interesting experiment with fractal structures, much like how the bare branches and increasingly smaller twigs of winter trees make patterns against the sky. Of course, the metal rods being arranged at right angles give them a vaguely architectural air as well.

But when I was headed to this weekend's sketchcrawl this weekend--on foot in the steady rain, having missed the streetcar by a mere 30 seconds--I suddenly saw these sculptures from an entirely new angle. Wait--is that the shape of a building appearing out of what I had always just seen as abstract lines in a playful tangle?

 And, look, it's there in the other one as well! A burst of internet research reveals that artists Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo were specifically invoking the "ghosts" of old industrial buildings that once stood in this area of the city (an industrial district that's steadily converting to juice bars and yoga studios.)

Browsing further on teh interwebs, I also found images of their installation titled "Non-Sign II," which immediately brought to mind that delightful Talking Heads song:
"There was a shopping mall
Now it's all covered with flowers
(you've got it, you've got it)
If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawnmower..."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Out and About

We've been using stretchy cloth chest-carry wraps to schlepp the baby around town, whether on foot or by public transit.

A couple of times now I've tried sketching the view of the baby, snug in the carrier an layers of winter clothes, napping against my chest.

By contrast, when she's out of the carrier and wiggling around, it can be a lot harder to sketch her! I attempted this doodle with my non-dominant hand, while the baby was sporadically kicking that arm as she nursed, no less--adorable chaos.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Evening Watercolors

Our baby tends to need a feeding in the middle of the night--3 am or thereabouts. I've done a few experiments with sketching her in watercolor during these times. At first I was going about it in a more realistic way...
(That adorable moment when she's done eating but her mouth is still gaping open for a while...)
 ...but it has been much more fun to let the low light and the sleepy brain take the sketches in more abstract directions.
I may not do a lot more of these at this juncture, since it squiggs me out a bit to have the paint supplies out in the same time and space as feeding time. Rule #1--don't eat paint. We learned that quite clearly from Van Gogh already.

 But this has been a lovely excuse to bust out the beautiful travel sketchbook that my aunt Lois made for me. (Parenthood is a type of voyage, isn't it?) If you're reading this, Lois, I think the choice of watercolor palette is dead-on awesome and the whole unit works like a charm!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Baby Hands

Through a combination of innate reflexes and personal style, a baby's hands and arms can be very bold and expressive.

I haven't yet been able to capture the fleeting "jazz hands" reflex when our little peanut is startled, but I do have plenty of chances to draw how she drinks milk with her pinky up, as if sipping tea with royalty.

There is so much personality in those tightly-closed fists, too.

If it weren't for the chilly winter weather, I'd likely be sketching her tiny baby toes as well--but for now, warm socks are the priority. (A project for spring?)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Baby Face (Part Two)

As a new parent, there's a lot of data to gather about the tiny critter that's burst onto the scene. For the first weeks, I was keeping careful track of when she last ate, how many diapers she blasted through during the course of a day, etc in order to make sure all is good and healthy.

Thus, my pocket notebooks have become a strange medley of charts diagramming milk in/milk out, with elaborate baby doodles in the margins.

Not to mention the fact that, when struggling to stay alert for lengthy late-night feedings, sketching on any handy scrap of paper can keep my brain from shutting down entirely. (Sleep deprivation is a great way to loosen up the linework of one's sketches, as it turns out).

Whether it's studying her face as she nurses...


...or just trying to stay awake in the doctor's waiting room, I've been very grateful to have pen and paper on hand.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Baby Face (Part One)

I gave birth to a baby girl on Halloween morning, and was sketching her right from day one. (I actually packed my watercolor kit and a good squirrel mop brush in my hospital bag--laughable to see me pondering what brush is best for the occasion!--but have nonetheless only done pen sketches of her so far.)

Sketching helps me wrap my head around this momentous event. Who is this tiny human? What does she look like, how does she move?

A baby's face is such an odd thing--familiar in structure, yet with such different proportions than an adult face.

Simultaneously adorable and surreal, bizarre.

It it that it's rounder, taller, wider...? Still can't pin down the exact dynamics that makes a baby's face distinct.

But good job, evolution, on making baby faces absolutely fascinating.