Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Sketches -- from IPad to Watercolor

"Big Sur"
4" x 6" Watercolor Sketch

Concept created on IPad

"California Poppies"
4" x 6" Watercolor Sketch

Concept created on IPad

We just returned from a couple days at Big Sur Lodge for Christmas. With children grown and scattered, we celebrate in non-traditional ways. I used a bit of a very rainy afternoon to attempt a couple small watercolor sketches for the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society Holiday Party card exchange. This year we can bring a 4" x 6" watercolor and volunteers will help us adhere it to a card. These will be displayed at the party and then each partipant in the exchange gets to draw a card out the box.

I used my new IPad and stylus with a free program, SketchBookX, to create a couple concepts. Then I painted them. In some ways, I really like the simple IPad sketches the best. I'm not very good yet at varying opacity and selecting a variety of colors yet. With the Poppies, I was going for a modern twist, so after I painted the poppies, I added some geometric shapes and painted them in light, greyed down colors.  I like the poppies with less line added on a plain white background better than my watercolor rendition. I can always try again. My son Jason sent me a lovely brush kit for the IPad, and Myrna Wacknov recently gave me some tips on apps she likes to use and I will purchase them. I plan to do more preliminary sketches with the IPad.

Meanwhile, we had big storms in Big Sur (and at home). We arrived between storms to find a sign warning us the road was closed 30 miles south of Carmel. We calculated that with the lodge at 26 miles and Nepenthe at 29, we were okay. That evening we met a man from Long Island staying at the Lodge because he was headed for Esalen and as he drove south on Route 1, there were huge boulders in the road. He wisely decided to retreat for the night, and then Caltran closed the highway for maybe 30 miles. He's feeling a bit bedeviled by nature with the hurricane damage and rains on his annual CA trip. The next day he planned to go north and take an alternate route.

On Christmas Day we shared gifts in the morning and had a lovely lunch at legendary Nepenthe. We do the same thing every year -- tradition. Bob looked very dapper in his Christmas top hat.

The view from Nepenthe is always impressive. It was raining lightly. You can take their link and then use the Weather Cam on the right side to get the current view.

Soon the deluge hit. I actually began to wonder if we might get stranded and was picturing being removed by helicopter with our car left behind for months. We decided not to putter this morning. As it is, one section between Carmel and Big Sur is one lane because they are rebuilding the washed out cliff-side lane. This morning, we had to wait exiting Big Sur while they cleaned up a slide in our lane, then we followed the pilot truck through. Fortunately, that was the worst of it. The day has been filled with strong downfalls of rain followed by minutes of clearing and sunshine. There was a fabulous rainbow that disappeared into the ocean, but I was unable to find a good spot to get a photo. We are not easily deterred and I made reservations for next Christmas on our way out. Turns out I can save a lot of money reserving early -- who knew?

My granddaughters were happy to receive small prints on canvas of the collages I did of them recently. I used, which is quite reasonable, but I see that many places like Costco now offer this service. With my web order I was able to send them directly to the girls in Vermont. 
Jamie, "The Graduate"

Kelly, "Gymkhana"

Jamie will hang hers in her room at Smith College and Kelly will hang hers with her horse show ribbons.


hw (hallie) farber said...

Wonderful use of the iPad, Mary.

Jessica said...

I like the big sur, it seems it has a deep meaning for me.

CrimsonLeaves said...

Have to admit that I like the real watercolors better than the computer app pieces. My daughter does amazing work using a Wacom tablet on Photoshop. I haven't a clue and haven't played much with the Photoshop program she installed. I feel like I need a manual or a course to use it well. Your Christmas looks like you had an awesome time, Mary!

Christiane Kingsley said...

What a Christmas holiday full of adventure! I am glad that you made it back home safely.
I love the collages!
All the best for 2013!