Sketchbooks on Peaks Island

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Art Classes, drawing, Maine College of Art, pastels, Peaks Island | 4 comments

On Saturday I partnered once again with MECA colleague Judy Labrasca to lead a Peaks Island Sketchbooks Workshop through Maine College of Art’s Continuing Studies Program. Every year the weather’s a little different, the day unfolds at an organic pace, and I meet the best artists with whom to spend a day drawing.

Judy meets students at Casco Bay Lines and I greet them on island, where we make introductions and discuss materials for making books.

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Judy brings such bounty! I brought pre-cut pastel papers. We share the philosophy that sketchbooks are not precious, but vehicles for experimentation and discovery. We began at Ferry Beach, where there is plenty of subject matter. Everyone picked a spot.

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We had a bonus guest, who kept the endeavor wild.

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Judy did a demo, using a viewfinder in the same ratio as her watercolor paper. She discussed using a brush pen and a limited palette of lemon yellow, alizarin crimson, and cyan.

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I made a quick pastel in a sketchbook Judy made for me in 2013, when we first taught the class.

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We moved past the Peaks Island Road Race pack forming at the corner of Island Avenue, and ducked down a woodsy path to the Brackett Cemetery, This is a quiet spot with a spectacular view of House Island and Portland Harbor.

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Richard shared a tool he uses for framing ratios. Half the fun is learning tips from each other.

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Here Adriane is trying soft pastels with Canella as witness.

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Wendy and Marilynn made rubbings from some of the gravestones.

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I sketched another sketcher, Kelly.

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We moved again, walking to nearby Sandy Beach, where a flotilla of kayaks was passing by.

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Adriane rescued a starfish stranded by the tide.

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I drew rocks.

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We walked on to the Fifth Maine Museum.

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The back porch offers welcome shade, tables for laying out our sketchbooks, and more ocean views.

Judy shared her sketchbook and methods of trying different techniques.

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Wendy brought out the sketchbooks she made. Wow! I want them all.

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Marilynn shared pages of lyrical drawings in ink, this one from the cemetery.

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Richard’s descriptive pencil sketch uses a variety of marks in a scene looking across at Fort Gorges. This really reminds me of the sketches John Muir made in his travels!

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Heidi, a MECA illustration major, worked in both colored pencil and pastel. She captured Canella perfectly in this one.

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Kelly is an arborist with a keen interest in pattern. She worked in Micron pens, with crisp detail that becomes mesmerizing abstraction.

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Adriane also teaches at MECA, this fall in the MFA program. She relished getting dirty with pastels; her drawing of seaweed is alive with earthy strokes of dark color.

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I did a quick demo in pastel of Marilynn and then it was time to head back to the ferry.

Jamie drawing Marilyn

photo by Judy Labrasca

 

photo by Judy Labrasca

photo by Judy Labrasca

A day of drawing goes fast!

We stopped at the Gem Gallery first, where Blood & Whiskey Studios is exhibiting silk screened wares made on Peaks Island.

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I headed home full of good cheer, the kind that comes from drawing with a wonderful group of fellow sketchers! Drawing from direct observation keeps my eyes fresh. It’s as much about the looking as it is about the product. Thank you, Judy and Continuing Studies!

4 Comments

  1. Jamie
    These are all wonderful pictures. And sounds like so much fun.
    If you offer these classes next summer as well, I want to join up.
    Put my name on the list for 2016 !
    Thanks !

    • Thanks, Gunnel! MECA has offered it every July for a single day. Next time, I will give you a heads up!

  2. Awesome! Let me know when this happens again because I need this so so so much! I love this!

  3. Wonderful. Wish I could join too.

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