Tender sketches from the beginnings of my adult life

Donald78I am going through stuff in my house, trying to reduce clutter. As a result, I found these wonderful treasures from my past.
This first portrait is of young love. We used to sit and gaze into each other’s eyes. True love. This is Donald, but a little stylized. Hey, I was in love!






oldchefBy the time I did this caricature of Donald, I knew him a little better. This sketch is stained and battered, it hung on the wall for a time because we both liked it. I guess I fantasized at this time of being a caricature artist. Working full time at Boeing, and mom to two busy little boys, that just never happened. From time to time, I’d drag out my sketch pad and pencil and draw a couple more pictures. That’s as far as it got.





dtom81This sketch is from a photo, It was when Tom first started to smile. All of the other sketches here were done from life with a pencil and an eraser.







popcornThis is a sketch of Donald with our two boys, eating popcorn. It was a pretty typical evening for us.









josiah8This last sketch is Josiah when he still went by the name Dan. He was an artist in his own right starting from a very tender age.

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Tom Hoffmann workshop – final day – Abstract

Our last lesson with Tom Hoffmann in Oaxaca started with him just painting colors. He talked about design, composition, and shapes. It seemed really intimidating, but once I started painting, it was fun. We were in a small forgotten corner of a huge Mercado. He explained that this was a perfect place for all kinds of abstractions due to the shapes and the colors of the tents and tarps surrounding us
As we sat in the shade and painted, we wondered how they actually sold anything here, almost no one stopped by. Most of the shoppers were in the huge crowded Mercado a block away.

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Tom Hoffmann workshop Mitla and the still


After a wonderful morning visiting the ruins at Mitla where a church was built right onto the walls of an ancient structure and painting for a while, we headed back to Oaxaca, eating lunch at a great restaurant which was also a mescal manufacturer. Tom got us permission to sit in the warehouse where they were processing the agave into mescal. He promised us it would be fun to paint the still with the beautiful landscape in the background. So I sat on the cool cement and painted the still. There was a little mollie mule there, she was pulling this immense wheel in a circle which was mashing the agave and separating the fiber from the juice. She always rested in the same corner, so I decided she was my next subject.


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Tom Hoffmann workshop – already Thursday

palmtreesTime flies when you’re on vacation. Especially when you are painting all day. There was so much to see, so many beautiful corners of Oaxaca and its surrounding that Tom showed us. Tom Hoffmann leads several workshops every year. I wish I could do more of his workshops!
On Thursday morning, we walked to a church yard, Soledad Basilica. To the strains of harmonica music; and later, a wonderful chorale from inside the church, we sat in the shade and painted. We learned how to paint palm trees without making them fussy. And we attempted to paint mountains in the distance. This clearly was going to take more practice from me. But we made pretty pictures.

After siesta, we went to the Rufino Tamayo museum where ancient statues were preserved from the Inca, Tolmec and Zapotec cultures. Tom told us to paint them. This was really fun! It was hard for me to choose just two of them to show you.

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Tom Hoffmann workshop, San Agustin


On the fourth day of our workshop, Tom took us to Etla, a little town in the hills. They were having a mercado, where we snapped lots of pictures. The women in particular were very winsome, most of the older women had two long braids with ribbons braided into their hair and then connecting at the bottom (in a U shape). This kept their hair out of their work.
I had the opportunity to try a sapote, a tropical fruit that I have never seen in Seattle. A nice woman carrying a huge basket of them cut one in half just so that we can buy lots of different fruit to try. Imagine more than a dozen banana varieties!


In San Agustin, we painted inside of a courtyard in monochrome. Then as the day got long, we were outside of a church where the unique available (natural) light made this white church look both pink and blue depending on where you looked. I did my best to paint it, but I was pretty frustrated. Among other things, as the sun moved, the colors changed… very quickly.

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