Monday, January 3, 2011

The Sketchbook Challenge: Sketch #3

For today’s Sketchbook Challenge sketch, I chose as a subject this beautiful creamer and sugar bowl of pale blue and gold given to me by my mother-in-law, Janet Armstrong Knapp. 

Here is what I wrote in the background: They belonged to her maternal grandmother. She was given them after she stayed with a neighbor to help out after she had a baby. They are fine hand-painted porcelain. Janet is in a nursing home and is not doing well. I am thinking about her often. I cherish these beautiful objects because they were a special gift from her. They are in great shape and have been cherished by generations of women. 

In looking at the sketches from the hundreds of people participating in the Sketchbook Challenge, I find that I am drawn to the ones with text in the background. I have always loved the work of Susan Shie, too, and maybe this is part of the reason why. So I decided to try it out. There is something graphic and elegant about beautiful handwriting. And I love the idea of telling a story or keeping a diary that is both visual and verbal; it appeals to the journalist in me. It might be a good thing to do this year during the Challenge. 

I’m being kind of chicken; I only penciled in the words! Perhaps I will be braver tomorrow.


  1. Beautiful Sketch! I love the text in the background. I think it makes the sketch even more interesting to know the story behind the creamer and sugar bowl.

  2. Great job so far! keep it up!Can't believe you didn't go to art school!

  3. Love these. So very pretty. You are fortunate to have them. Are you using colored pencil, watercolor or what? Great job!

  4. Susan, these pieces are beautiful and remind me of the set I have (made in Germany) from my Grandmother Lettie Sawyer Armstrong. Do you think there might be an Armstrong connection? My grandmother moved from PA to IL in the mid 1800's.

    Linda Armstrong Ploehn

  5. Interesting, Linda? Do yours have any marks? Mine have a small hand-painted gold mark inside each piece. My mother-in-law's family is from the Arkansas/Kansas/Oklahoma area, but perhaps they are related way back!

  6. Jane, I'm sketching in pencil, refining lines with a black fine-tip marker, then using watercolors.


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