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Two Boca Artists…and Friends!

Blue garden door. Welcome!

A few weeks ago we were invited to a local home to draw in the garden! When Lena told Michelle that they’ve been invited to a stranger’s house via the internet, she was pretty hesitant. But it turned out that Lena actually knew her, so it was a go! And we are so glad that we went.

The owner created this garden from scratch and takes very good care of it each day. After a tour of the property, we chose a spot right where a sign said, “Stop and smell the roses”. All of the rocks and stepping stones and benches were painted a beautiful dark pink/purple color. It was like sitting in a dream. There were butterflies and birds singing, an owl flew by, and it just felt so peaceful, like how a garden should be.

Please stop and smell the roses!
These flowers are beautiful!
Garden decor 💓 Rocks, benches and walkways were painted pink!
Sketching time.
Michelle at work.
This is so cute!

Of course we were so inspired to paint. As we sat there, it really felt cozy and peaceful. It’s easy to feel both at peace and in awe. Hopefully we captured that through our depictions of the garden.

Garden Glory/Lena’s first painting
Lena’s second version.
Michelle’s painting. 9″ x 12″ watercolor.
Pink garden door.
The combination of the colors is gorgeous!
Garden angel.
This garden is beautiful and filled with lots of pretty details we both want to draw!
We loved to hear birds singing in Wendy’s garden.

Botanical garden

Today we found a beautiful, yet seemingly hidden, garden: (Why have we never been here before?!)

We were in awe at its beauty and really, there are no words to describe it, so we’ll leave you with these beautiful photos. Enjoy!

Lena’s painting of flowers.
Lena’s sketchbook.
Boca Raton artist
Michelle drawing a tree.
First step: Contour line drawing.
Second step: Add watercolor paint.

Art lesson:

Although you’re in awe, aim to capture nature’s beauty in your drawing.

Starbucks in Mizner Park

Starbucks is a great place to practice some gesture drawing.

Hello! This week we decided to draw in Mizner Park. We went later in the day to avoid the very, very cold morning. We ended up sitting inside Starbucks with a hot Americana and Chai Latte (yum!).

Coffee time!
Michelle’s sketch is complete with simple watercolor washes and black colored pencil over the graphite.

This week, Michelle decided to create quick, loose drawings. Last weekend’s erasing fiasco will not happen again and ruin another Sunday! (To fill you in, last week she went home without much of a drawing at all – insert sad face- because she attempted to draw the gate in the Morikami with precision and detail on her LARGE watercolor paper, only to over think things and start over three times!!) You see, when you have nice and expensive watercolor paper, you obviously don’t want to mess up and waste the paper. Art Speigelman said to treat your nice paper like it’s not nice at all to avoid being intimidated by it (this is paraphrased, Michelle can’t seem to find her copy of his published sketchbooks to quote it). But now she remembers that sentiment, because it is true that if you are not careful, your confidence can be lowered significantly by confronting a big, bad and expensive sheet of Arches watercolor paper. So this week, there would be no more precise drawing at all; quick gesture drawing is the remedy to perfectionistic overthinking. Even if the gesture drawing is created on Arches watercolor paper!

Lena drew what was in front of her.
Here is the final sketch.

Lena also drew with very loose, gestural marks, which helped captured all of the activity in Starbucks!

Anyway, while we were inside drinking our coffee, we watched the craft fair and Sunday market in full swing through the window. We decided that why don’t we set up a booth and join them! We can start selling our prints and some original paintings. We sent in our application and now we will be busy this week preparing. We will see you next Sunday in Mizner Park!

Art Lesson:

Get inspired by events in the downtown area.

Michelle’s Book

Michelle in her studio with I Heard You Can Draw.

Hi there! I post about my plein air paintings with Lena, but did you know that I also wrote and illustrated a book? Let me give you a little background about this project, one which is so close to my heart. As a kid, I loved to draw. I would draw everything that I saw and everything that I remembered. I drew illustrations for stories that I wrote, and like many kids, I copied cartoons for fun (back then, my first cartoon characters that I copied were Fred and Wilma Flintstone). In school, the kids knew that I could draw, and I would often draw things for my classmates. At one point kids would bring in plain t-shirts and I would take them home, and then draw their favorite cartoon character on them with puffy paint (see below).

I still have one of the shirts that I made in elementary school. My classmates would bring in t-shirts to give to me. I would take them home and with puffy paint I would draw cartoon characters on them! I love this Ninja Turtles shirt that I still have.

As an adult, I became an art teacher. Over my 15+ years of teaching, I would (every now and then) come across a kid that was the “class artist”, as I like to call them. This is the kid who loves to draw, and everyone goes to them for help if a class project involved any type of drawing. Sometimes the kids would commission a custom drawing just for fun.

One day, after a lifetime of both being the class artist and then noticing them in my classes, I had an idea to write a story about the trials and tribulations of a “class artist” – a very specific group of gifted children who are talented in drawing. And while their peers admire them, those peers also unknowingly start to take advantage of the class artist’s talent and generosity.

So after many years of thinking, planning, rewriting, researching the self-publishing market, and vacillating on whether or not to put it out into the world, (I know, I need to grow a thicker skin as they say), I was finally able to bring my book to life. My little book was published in 2013 and has been available for little artists ever since. I present to you now, dear readers, my book, I Heard You Can Draw: A Story for Class Artists Everywhere.

The cover.
A page from the book.

So, if you know any little artists who would totally appreciate this story and relate to its protagonist, Sarah, order your copy here on Amazon. I would so appreciate your love and support.



Morikami, to Relax and Reset

We found a spot near the gate that protected us from the wind.

Today we went to a new place to draw: The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. We’ve been talking about going there for a while, and today it worked out since we couldn’t meet at the usual 7:00 a.m. We were able to meet at 2:00 p.m. and there was a very long line to get in! Once we walked to the gardens, we found a little nook near the gate with a bench, and stayed there for three hours.

We were so cold! But we drew outside for three hours.
Sometimes we draw undercover. Nope, can’t see Michelle or her GIANT watercolor pad

Our conversation today mainly focused on what we are each working on separately, and how we both have many project ideas that we each want to work on back in our studios. We also want to collaborate on an art project with one another.

We’ve spoken about collaborating on an art project in the past, but we’ve set that idea aside. We decided that today would be a day to relax, enjoy drawing in the beautiful Morkiami, and just focus on today’s drawing.

Lena’s illustration captures the people walking through the gate this afternoon. Many stopped to take pictures of each other standing in the doorway.
Hey, there we are!

That was of course a very sneaky way for us to get into the right relaxed mindset to…come up with an idea of how to collaborate! We finally decided on a project that we are excited about, and it is already in the works. (Nope, can’t say what it is yet!)

That excitement made up for the fact that Michelle restarted her drawing of the gate three times! She started from a two-point perspective of the gate, then moved to the ground to lean her really large watercolor pad on the bench so she restarted from that lower point of view. She decided to move to a new spot altogether, turned the paper the landscape way, and faced the gate from the front since she could see the view from the opened door. She completely erased the drawing of the gate in order to start over each time.

See all of Michelle’s erased lines? So. Much. Erasing. Sometimes that happens.
Michelle chose this view of the gate.
Still can’t find Michelle!

Art Lesson:

Sometimes you have to hit the “reset button” on your creative work. If something is not going as planned, just pause, take time to reflect, and start over or start something new.

Always Have Something Cooking in the Studio!

This Sunday’s plein air drawing plans were canceled and we each worked from home. Weren’t able to meet because Lena came down with a cold! That is okay, though, because we were happy to spend time on our individual projects. So peek inside our home studios and see what we have both been working on!

In Lena’s Studio:

Lena is painting the ocean.
She did this watercolor sketch a while ago and decided to turn it into an acrylic painting.
Here is the progress Lena’s making on her Life Guard tower.

“Despite the fact that I was not feeling well and stayed home last Sunday, I had a lovely and productive day. I was able to stay home alone and work on this acrylic painting. I didn’t use any reference here. Both, the watercolor sketch and the acrylic, were painted from my imagination; but it was definitely inspired by the beautiful beaches of Boca. I want this artwork to bring up happy emotions in the viewer. I am going to add some colorful flowers to make the painting more romantic. The flowers will be sheltered by the wild greens from bad weather. I hope you will like the finished painting.” – Lena

In Michelle’s Studio:

What’s on Michelle’s drawing table: She is working on a new book.

“I so look forward to early Sunday mornings! This is the one time during the week that I dedicate an uninterrupted block of time for drawing. Of course I was disappointed when Lena couldn’t make it this week, but I decided to use that time to stay home and work on my book illustrations instead of going out alone. My goal for this year is to complete book #2 in my I Heard You Can Draw! series, so when Lena told me she wasn’t feeling well around 6:00 a.m., I worked as much as possible in my home studio before my kids woke up!” – Michelle

This will be the art teacher. Like her outfit?

Art Lesson: Plans to draw with your drawing buddy canceled? No problem! You can work on your own artwork. Always have a project to work on.

“Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while working.” – Henri Matisse.

We will come back next week!

Please visit Lena’s Instagram here.

You can find Michelle’s Instagram here.

Rain or Shine? Both, Please!

We have really lucked out with beautiful weather each Sunday morning this year. It drizzled on the day that we drew the Adam and Eve sculpture in Royal Palm Place, though. We chose a spot that did not have a covering, so we moved from this spot, back to the bench, repeat, repeat. It kept drizzling, then stopping, then drizzling, etc. Well, you know how Florida is.

Michelle adding the first layer of paint.
Adam and Eve sculpture in Royal Palm Place.
Michelle’s final watercolor painting, 9″ x 12″

Each time we took cover to wait out the rain, we started chatting about our idea for the blog (the one you are reading, right here!) and our idea to create a set of prints.

It is raining! Michelle is hiding and doesn’t want her sketches ruined because of the rain. Lena is having fun with capturing this summer rain scene.

It gets very hard to talk and draw from observation at the same time (actually, not so much for Lena, who can do both!!), so on this particular Sunday, the rain gave us a chance to stop drawing for a bit and solidify our plans about how to go about our new ventures: What type of paper would we would need? Which blogging platform should we use? There were so many details to sort out so, thanks to the rain that Sunday morning, we had extra time to focus on the business side of things.

Art Lesson: Don’t let the rain slow you down; it could lead to the formation of some awesome collaborations!

Seize the Day! Draw What You Want!

October 31, 2021:

This weekend we went to Mizner Park to sketch the Amphitheater. We were surprised that a fence surrounded it, as it was blocked off for the Pumpkin Patch Festival which looked like so much fun! (Highly recommend for visiting!)

We ended up sketching a beautiful store and the apartments above.

Michelle is meticulous with her ink work. Lena is adding the first layer of watercolors to her sketch.
Boca Raton Mizner Park Apartments
Michelle’s finished watercolor painting.
The artists at work.

This was the first time that we’ve been to Mizner in a while, and we saw that Flossy’s Fountain was gone! The statue of Flossy and her dog was moved onto a concrete block – and out of the way from the flow of foot traffic on the sidewalk.

Flossy and her dog are still there, but the fountain is now gone.

About a year ago we drew the fountain – twice: once facing the amphitheater, and once facing Mizner (below). We enjoyed drawing the tiles and the fountain’s unique shape.

We were hoping to draw the unique and beautiful fountain again from another angle, but now it’s too late… it’s gone!

We are so glad that we chose to draw the fountain back then, because had we waited any longer, we wouldn’t have had the chance! A lot can change in one year. In our own way we were able to have captured a little piece of Boca history. 

Art lesson: Seize the day! What you’ve been planning to draw might not be there one day, so don’t delay!

Theme it!

Thinking about the new year, 2022, we decided to focus on different themes, rather than a more random approach to drawing East Boca scenes like last year (although that was fun too!). 

Theme ideas for 2022:

  • Coffee spots
  • Parks
  • Dogs of Boca
  • People of Boca
  • Art in Boca

We were both very excited to start the year with the Coffee in Boca theme!

First Stop:

Saquella Cafe. We sat outside and ordered cappuccinos and Michelle ordered avocado toast (with gluten free bread). 

Michelle’s drawing (and breakfast)

After we drew – and then ate – our breakfast, we moved over to the side to draw Saquella’s from another angle. By then, live music was playing and the place was filling up with the breakfast crowd. 

Lena drew the live music, happy breakfast-goers and Michelle!

Second Stop:

The next Sunday, we checked out Kixi Cafe, with its pretty rose decor. We sat outside again and Lena ordered another cappuccino and avocado toast, and Michelle ordered an iced lavender tea. 

Lena’s cute pink cup of cappuccino and Michelle’s lavender iced tea.
We both had a wonderful time at Kixi Cafe!
We were the first visitors of the cafe that day.

Art Lesson: Themes keep you focused. And if your theme is food and coffee, that’s great because you get to eat and drink your still life!