A Post Dinner Sketch

With company over last weekend and this week shaping up to be very full as well–we have a toddler starting a Mommy and Me gymnastics class and a husband who has started school again–I haven’t found the energy to post something lately.

“Playtime for Little Ones” – © Katie Kath 2022. Do not reproduce without permission.

So: for now, here is a quick sketch of M., happily stacking plastic rings after dinner this evening.

Good night!

A Bit of Opera

“Dreamland” – pastel on paper. Katie Kath 2022. Do not copy or reproduce without permission.

Tonight’s drawing of my snoozing son is inspired by a sweet aria entitled Evening Prayer from the opera, “Hansel and Gretel,” by Engelbert Humperdinck. (And no matter how beautiful the music is, I cannot for the life of me get over that name. What did his mother call him? Lil Dinkey? What did his friends call him? Bert? Did he have any friends named Ernie?)

I digress. To the point, it’s a wonderful lullaby and a dreamy tune, with lyrics which I will inscribe herein:

When at night I go to sleep, Fourteen angels watch do keep, Two my head are guarding, Two my feet are guiding, Two are on my right hand, Two are on my left hand, Two who warmly cover, Two who o’er me hover, Two to whom tis given to guide my steps to heaven.

Sleeping softly then it seems, Heaven enters in my dreams; Angels hover round me, Whisp’ring they have found me; Two are sweetly singing, Two are garlands bringing, Strewing me with roses, As my soul reposes. God will not forsake me when dawn at last will wake me.

Lora In Pastel

“Lora” – pastel on paper. © Katie Kath 2022. Do not reproduce without permission.

There is something about pastel to which I keep getting drawn. (Yes, yes, very punny.)

Maybe it’s because it is a drawing implement that you actually PAINT with, (and that is, in fact, its proper term–if you use pastel, you say that you “paint” with it, as opposed to drawing with it.) yet there is not water or brush involved.

It’s like the best of both worlds, sans drying time and plus portability.

I’m sure I will be painting with them more.

Sticky August Sketching

“Bethany And Her Daughter” – graphite. @Katie Kath 2022.

I got a nice opportunity this morning to do some sketching from life when my friend Bethany and her daughter, N., came over to feed our chickens some leftovers. The girls (the chickens) know them by now and will stampede them as they walk through our backyard gate like ravenous, feathery, pint-sized heat-seeking missiles that haven’t eaten for weeks.

It’s always an interesting challenge when drawing from life in a setting that is absent from the comforts of air-conditioned interior spaces with convenient places on which to sit–the act of being outside in sticky humidity only August can achieve, balancing a sketchbook with no lap for aid while swatting away mosquitoes and sweating in places you never even knew you could sweat somehow drums the drawing experience into your brain, engraving it into your memory in the way photos cannot: because I drew this series of sketches, I can promise you I will remember this day specifically, how hot it was, and that fact that it rained the night before.

That’s the power of drawing, folks.

Selfie in Sfumato

“Self Portrait” – conte crayon on toned paper. © Katie Kath 2022. Do not reproduce without permission.

No, I didn’t get contacts, I ditched those back in college. Drawing glasses can be a real pain and sometimes they just doesn’t look good in a drawing, so, there you have it: me, sans spectacles.

I wanted to make a drawing using a “sfumato” technique, mostly because a) I love how it sounds and b) I love how classical it always makes a drawing look, and I was in a classical sort of mood.

I actually just about gave up on this piece because I wasn’t sure if I liked the direction in which it was going (and am still not sure how I feel about the finished product) but I figured I got this far so I might as well finish the thing because any drawing is good practice.

Does It Make A Good Drawing?

“Two Girls Seated” charcoal, pastel – © Katie Kath 2022. Do not reproduce without permission.

Often, the most bland photographs make for the best drawings. (Likewise, the best photographs make the worst drawings. No one looks good in a drawing when they are smiling. EVER. And I stand by that!)

Take this one, for example.

As I said in a prior post, it is best to draw from life–especially if you aren’t very familiar with drawing the human figure–but this is not always possible once you step outside of art school. People generally have very little time or patience to sit for long periods of time like a paid model is willing to do.

This picture was just a snap shot, one of those you take with your phone that you’ll likely completely forget about soon afterwards. However, it stood out to me in a way that all of the other smiling family portraits did not. The composition of the figures, the positioning of the limbs and fabric (ok, I added the stripes. Artistic license.) and the contemplative look on both girls’ faces screamed to be turned into a drawing.

I’m glad I did.

A Wyeth Twist

“Stepping Forth” inspired from “Trodden Weed” by A. Wyeth. – Dark field monoprint on Kozo paper. © Katie Kath 2022. Do not use without permission

A long time ago I was fortunate enough to see a special exhibit on Andrew Wyeth at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and it was AH-MAY-ZING.

They had just about every scrap of painting and drawing the guy ever did, all collated into one, huge, fantastic show. The opening picture, smack in the middle of the wall when you walked in, was “Soaring.” I could almost feel the wind whipping at the feathers of the birds depicted in the surreal landscape, as I felt somewhat sorry for the hundreds (thousands?) of gallery-goers in various museums around the US, sadly staring up at blank frame-shaped patches of wall once holding these beautiful works, now displaying a “temporarily on loan” sign in their place.

Ah, well. C’est la vie. Meanwhile, I feasted my eyes.

Tonight’s monotype print was inspired by one of my favorite Wyeth pieces, a painting entitled, “Trodden Weed.” (Feet modeled after yours truly.)

One of the things I love about Wyeth’s work is how his paintings cannot help but make you feel.

So, I leave you with this question tonight: How does this monotype make you feel?

Lora, Two Ways

“Lora” – trace monotype print, detail added. © Katie Kath 2022. Do not reproduce without permission.

You know how at some fine dining establishments they often have those dishes that are supposedly served “two ways?”

Well, here is my friend, Lora, who now appears on tonight’s blog in two ways!

The below image is a pencil sketch I made in order to create a trace monotype print (like the image from the last post), only this time I used standard Kozo paper (a good idea–the Strathmore was really too thick for it, and I knew that at the time, but I figured what the heck, why not give it a try?) and burnt sienna Akua ink to give the finished product a warmer tone.

“Sketch of Lora” – pencil. © Katie Kath 2022. Do not reproduce without permission.

I drew the sketch during lunch–dodging M’s spaghetti-flinging and meeting his rowdy, medieval tavern-esque demands for more milk–in the hopes that it would save me time on the printmaking end, which it did. Huzzah! This also means an earlier bedtime for me, DOUBLE-HUZZAH!

Until next time, folks, thank you and goodnight.

Tiny Bather

Y’all, I need some sleep.

M. has been waking up at those hours where no matter WHAT you do, you just can’t fall back asleep. (I’m looking at you, 3 and 4 am…) So, in light of this situation, all I’ve got tonight is just a simple, tiny bather, using a not-so-simple method.

There is a second kind of monotype printing process besides the dark field monotype (still my favorite) and I wanted to give it a quick go because why not?

In this type of monoprint, a thin layer of dark ink is rolled onto glass–much like what you do for a dark field–but this time, you delicately lay a sheet of paper down on top of it, practically letting it float on top of the ink. On top of this you can add a sketch, carefully tape it to the paper on top of the ink, and trace the sketch with a drawing implement (preferably a sharpened pencil or pen) bearing down upon the sketch so the paper underneath picks up the ink on the bottom. Peel away, and hopefully, the drawing comes out without too many smudges (or worse yet, just a big black blob).

These types of monoprint are really a pain. But I will say that they do give a very interesting-looking line effect that cannot be replicated by any drawing tool.

Get Your Friends To Sit For You

And I don’t mean babysitting!

“Connie Seated” – charcoal on Strathmore paper. ©Katie Kath 2022. Do not use without permission.

Many people erroneously think they would make terrible models.

“Oh, I couldn’t,” they say, and list off a myriad of excuses, “I’m not attractive enough. I’m too tall/short/old/petite, I don’t like my face/arms/flab/wrinkles/scars”…you name it.

But I’m convinced something magical happens when a person is drawn.

One of my college professors once told me about a figure drawing session in which the model, after taking a look at all of the artist’s studies of her, said, “Wow, is that me? I didn’t know I looked that good!” To which, everyone responded emphatically, “UM, YES! You do look that good!”

And guess what? The model was a regular person. not a swimsuit model, not a runway model, not a Maybelline model, not super young, not super fit, just….an average person with an average life.

We artists see the beautiful in the average. So go ahead, artists: talk your friends into sitting for you in a drawing session. They may be pleasantly surprised.