strange sunsets

I’m not much of an early riser in general. If left to my own devices, I’m more likely to stay up late and wake up late. So it’s no surprise that in general, I’m a stranger to sunrises.

In fact, even the word “sunrise” seems to be unfamiliar to me: today when I was downloading the images to gather for this post, I named them all “sunset-1,” “sunset-2,” etc. Oops!

Obviously I’m much more familiar with sunsets! I enjoy the colors and the play of light amidst the clouds as the sun falls to the horizon, and I often can’t resist taking photos of sunsets, such as these:

sunset-clouds

sunset

For the past week and a half I’ve been up before the sun rose to get myself to Annapolis where I had an on-site freelance gig. When the sun began to rise, the skies were breathtaking, and I was inspired to snap a few shots during my morning commutes.

pinklines-2

sunset-glow

sunset-trees

misty-morning-2

Whenever I get up before dawn, I relish the soft glowing light of the morning. Despite the difficulty of having to get up when it was still dark outside, the sunrises I got to enjoy were a real treat.

magic scanner

Before the end of 2011 I bought myself a new scanner.

My old HP All-In-One scanner/printer got the job done, but scanning was always frustrating because it never quite captured all the detail or accurate color of my art. I’d do my best to edit the images, but I knew it could be better.

I did a ton of research and decided that the Epson V-750 was the scanner for me. Most of the comparisons I saw online showed scans of slides and photographs, but I was encouraged by the detail that it picks up, even in photos, so I felt confident it would do my art justice. I wasn’t disappointed!

I won’t go on and on since the images speak for themselves.

Each of the following scans are minimally edited, mostly just cropped and a little dust clean up. In the images below, the HP scan comes first, followed by the same image scanned with my new Epson.

Kaleidoscope Drawing
HP Scan

Kaleidoscope Drawing
Epson Scan

Kaleidoscope Drawing
HP Scan

Kaleidoscope Drawing
Epson Scan

Isn’t the difference amazing? For me, the Epson really shines in the lightest areas. It captures the detail of every mark I make; even light pink colored pencil, or delicate graphite. I’m sure I could bring out the color in the Epson images, but I was so impressed by the quality right out of the scanner that I wanted to share them without any editing at all.

The Epson V-750 has been a dream come true so far. It’s fast, it’s quiet, and the image quality is impressive. I actually look forward to scanning. No more frustration!

**Update**
I almost forgot! I made these two drawings for a couple mail art exchanges to Kati Driscoll and Rhya Tamasauskas. I just love the way Rhya described the mail art I sent, mentioning that “the collection of colours and textures reminds me of the beach at sunset…running in sand as the landscape changes in big sweeping gestures right before our eyes.” Isn’t that dreamy?

portrait : landscape

A few months ago I signed up to take part in a very cool collaborative traveling sketchbook that Kimi Kobashi was organizing. The name of the project is “portrait : landscape”. The basic idea is that each artist gets a total of 4 pages (2 spreads) in the sketchbook. The first set of pages are for a self portrait, and the second set is for a landscape of the artist’s town or neighborhood.

My turn finally came when the sketchbook arrived in my mailbox after Carol SilverFeather had finished her pages. Of course it arrived just when life was getting busy, so I took a little longer to finish it up that I probably should have.

portrait pages
Portrait Pages

landscape pages
Landscape Pages

Here’s a little secret: I really do not enjoy drawing self portraits. Just the thought of it makes me nervous. To save myself some grief, I instead decided to include a couple of self portrait photographs I’d taken with my iPhone.

Portrait, Left Page

For the page facing the photos, I unabashedly stole an idea from Paulette Beete, a talented poet and writer I’ve gotten to know, thanks to the magic of the internet. I had read her post Portrait in objects? back in January. What she wrote has stuck with me since, perhaps because a list of objects naturally has a visual element to it? A list of objects can tell a story without giving away too much, and so, leaves quite a lot to the imagination which appeals to me.

But I digress; when considering what to include for my portrait pages, I sat at my messy desk and realized I should write a list-poem, so I did. I wrote down the objects in the order in which I noticed them, which in my mind adds another layer to the “story,” but maybe that’s just me. You’ll have to determine for yourself what my poem says about me.

Portrait, Right Page
If the writing is too small to read in the photo above, view this image a little larger on flickr.

I gave the landscape pages a lot of thought. I don’t live in a city or town. I live near cities and towns, but my immediate surroundings are very neighborhoody with a few farms scattered here and there. The more I thought about how to portray this, I realized the best thing to do would be to capture the feeling. One afternoon I sat on the steps of the back deck and sketched my view.

landscape sketch

My sketch turned out a little odd, but I was inspired by the shape of the hills that I’d drawn.

From there I decided to simplify the drawing and make an abstract interpretation of the view. I created texture and pattern to symbolize trees and fields. I drew the hills with marker only and used watercolor for the sky.

Landscape, Left Page

Landscape, Right Page

The sketchbook is now on its way to the next artist on the list, Anna Jane Searle, in the UK. From there it will travel through many countries and eventually make its way back to the US where it will live with Kimi.

There are already so many different styles and scenes in the sketchbook, that I’m eager to see how the book will evolve from where I left off. If you’d like to take a look at the other pages that have already been added, view the portrait : landscape project page on Kimi’s blog.