Sheltering in Place, Part 9

5 Minute drawings from Wednesday, during the Draw Breath virtual livestream figure drawing group on Facebook I’ve joined; Platinum Carbon fountain pen in a Strathmore Windpower Drawing sketchbook

I guess the big news here is that, at least for now, we’ve “crushed” the virus and plans for a partial reopening of businesses are being developed. We’ve only had a couple of new cases in the last couple of weeks for a total of 54. No deaths, currently no hospitalizations. We are required to wear masks now when out in public and to observe social distancing. Our public health dept. is doing a wonderful job, not only in dealing with Covid-19, but in the quantity and quality of their public communications about it. Locals can currently take a survey on what businesses they think should open first.

We’re going out for groceries, but otherwise keeping busy at home. On Sunday we’ll swing by the North Coast Native Plant Society place to pick up an order of….native plants. The ordering was done using a plant list on their website to make one’s choices of plant and quantity, then you downloaded the order form posted on their website, filled it out, photographed it and attached it to an email back to them. This was only one of four ordering options they offered. We will drive onto the property being used for the sale at noon on Sunday, pay with a check and then load up our plants. Everyone has a separate pick-up slot. It’s all been very well-thought out and organized so that they can still have their sale, but keep everyone safe.

In art news, I’ve been doing extensive repaints on some older paintings I’ve done of African subjects. I’ve entered three in an online animal art show and will get the results on the 5th. Here’s one of them:

“Playtime” oil on canvas 20×30″ (price on request)

And for serious fun I was invited a week or so ago to join a Facebook group called “Draw Breath”. Since live figure drawing isn’t an option now, a group of mostly illustrators who also attended or teach at my alma mater, the Academy of Art University, have arranged Monday, Wednesday and Friday livestreamed “virtual” sessions from 4-6pm. It’s a three way split screen with the model in the middle and an artist on either side drawing in real time and chatting about what they’re doing and why.

3 minute figure drawings; Koh-i-Noor Versatil 5340 clutch pencil with multicolor lead, 12×9″ Strathmore Windpower Drawing pad; I posted about this very cool pencil with a multicolor lead in my previous post

And, here’s some photos of the garden I just shot this morning. Things are really starting to take off. We’re supposed to get “real” rain tomorrow which is great.

Rhododrendron and forget-me-nots
“Citrus Splash” rose

And down by the pond on an old chunk of stump…

Finally (I have to pay attention to what my last image is because WordPress’ or some algorithm uses the final image in a post for the preview on other sites) here’s another of my Kenya pieces, a warthog…

“Ready to Run in 3…2…1″ oil on canvasboard 20×30” (price on request)

Sheltering in Place, Part 8


It’s been an uneventful week for us since I last posted, which is a Good Thing. Our four days with no cases (as per my previous post) turned into six days. Then there was one new case a day for two days, bringing the total for Humboldt County to 52. We’ve now gone three more days with no new cases. I think we’ll most likely stay under the shelter in place order through the end of the month. When we went grocery shopping at the Arcata Coop on Thursday almost everyone was wearing masks and being distance-conscious. Despite the ridiculous, ginned-up by right wing donors, protests a few days ago it’s clear that order or no orders most Americans get that social distancing is working and that doing so and otherwise being mindful is the fastest way to beat Covid-19. Someone posted a photo on Facebook this morning of a beach in Jacksonville, Florida that had been reopened and there was almost no one there.

In art news, I finally got around to experimenting with a new, very cool drawing pencil, a Koh-i-Noor Versatil 5340 “Magic”, which is what I used to do the drawing of the mooose above, plus the ones below.

Koh-i-Noor Versatil 5340

What makes it special is that, as you can see, the leads themselves are multicolor. You can see in the moose’s head how the color changes as one moves the pencil. Below is the first drawing I did of a skunk who visited our backyard a few years ago. I simply scribbled to see what the pencil would do. This was fun but I think I like the effect of the more simple use in the moose.


In other news, the weather has now warmed up so the 2020 gardening season officially began late last week. I got four varieties of beans started in six-packs and planted a few things that I’d started last year. It will be late May/ June before the ground is warm enough for the beans to be happy in the ground. Ditto the squash. I weeded the pea beds, which are a row on either side of a salvaged cyclone fence gate, and found a gopher tunnel running the length of one side. So we will be lining each row with gopher wire before planting.

I also potted up six packs of sweet peas yesterday, all heritage varieties:
‘Painted Lady’
‘Lady Grisel Hamilton’
‘Miss Wilmot’
‘King Edward VII’
‘Black Knight’
‘Spanish Dancer’
‘Prince of Orange’
‘Winston Churchill’
‘Spencer Supreme’

Sweet peas, like most plants, go in and out of fashion. For awhile it seemed that mail order nurseries either had none or just a few varieties. Last year there was a sudden splurge of choices, so I stocked up. I plan to let some of each go to seed so I’ll always have some on hand. One of my favorite seed suppliers in particular, Select Seeds, had a great selection and most of the ones listed above came from them. Also worth checking out for interesting seeds in general is an English firm, Plants of Distinction, which will happily ship to the US and at a reasonable price. Both are potentially dangerous to one’s pocketbook so consider yourself warned. :0)

Finally, here are two more of my “magic” multicolor drawings. I’m also back at the easel doing repaints of some older African wildlife paintings. Hope to post a few of those by the end of the week!


Sheltering in Place, Part 2

Late yesterday afternoon at the north end of our pond…a great blue heron.

Yesterday at 2pm the Humboldt County Department of Human Health and Services held a press conference and announced an official Sheltering In Place Order to begin as of midnight last night. A few hours later Gavin Newsome, the governor of California, announced a statewide version, pretty much the same as the county one. So, here we are for probably at least a year, maybe longer. It depends on when a vaccine becomes available. All travel cancelled which means no trip to Mongolia for me this year.

It is important to note that this is not a “lockdown” as has been put in place in countries like Italy and which means no one can leave their home, period. We can go out for “essential” reasons as defined in the Order. People who work in “essential” jobs can also continue on as normal. The important part in terms of “flattening the curve” (a whole new vocabulary we didn’t have even a few days ago) is “social distancing” which means keeping a distance of 6 feet between ourselves and others, the exception being family members, non-relative household members and those who are caring for sick or elderly relatives. We are encouraged to get outside and walk, hike, bike with social distancing. Shopping for groceries, going to the hardware store, going to medical appointments or taking a pet to the vet, are some of the allowed outings. Since we work at home and rarely go out more than one or two days a week anyway and are not recreational shoppers, this isn’t a hardship for us. We know of a number of places we can take ourselves and the dogs to go for safe walks.

New work! “Want to Play?” oil on canvasboard 12×16″ (price on request)- Siberian ibex I saw at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve, Mongolia

I think native Californians have a bit of a leg up with all these changes because we KNOW a major earthquake is coming, just not when, so we’re psychologically, mentally and emotionally always prepared For Something To Happen and a lot of us keep up to a few weeks worth of food and other supplies on hand at all times so we can….shelter in place if necessary.

Our county and state officials are doing a great job addressing the emergency in a calm, rational way. I was sad to see on one news site this morning that six states aren’t doing anything yet, which is a real disservice to the citizens who elected the officials and pay the salaries of the state workers.

New Work! “Meet Up” oil on cavasboard 22×28″ (price on request)- Gobi argali I saw at Ikh Nartiin Nature Reserve, Mongolia

In studio news, you’re invited to follow along as I participate in Inktober52, an event in which artists all over the world create pen and ink drawing a week for a year. We get a prompt on via email on Thursdays. I’m trying to get mine done and posted to Instagram on Fridays *checks watch*, but sometimes early the following week.

Here’s the link toHumboldt County’s Shelter In Place info.

Here’s the link to my Instagram page.

The two paintings have been entered in a juried art competition. Maybe they get in, maybe they don’t. I’ve been doing this for a long time with my first acceptance in 2003. I don’t sweat it or take it personally if I don’t get in. Stay tuned….