Saturday, December 26, 2009

Been keeping busy this Christmas season...

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas (if you celebrate it). The new year is approaching and it's time to start thinking about our resolutions. How about you? Do you make resolutions or are you one of the ones who makes resolutions not to make any more resolutions? Me, I think resolutions are good, like goals are good. And I'm going to put a lot of thought into mine this year. I have a week left to get a good list going, which I'll post on the first.

You may have noticed that I've not been around much lately. I've been very busy and haven't had time to surf through the blogosphere. When I have surfed, I haven't really had much time to comment. Some of it is because of the expected hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, but mostly, I've been submersing myself in the drawing tutorials online (linked at right). I really think it's a great program for the money (very cheap) and highly recommend it. It focuses mostly on figure drawing, a class I've always wanted to take and can never seem to find in my area.

This giraffe was sketched from a morguefile photo. I was getting a little frustrated with my figure drawings and wanted something easy. It is done in black prismacolor.

These are sketches copied from Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life. It's a book that Matt (from the tutorials) suggested. I'm not sure I really like the book, but have to admit it is helping me see the human figure more in terms of volume. So, I guess I would still recommend it. What I don't like about the book is how little it does in the way of explaining. It's more about showing, but I don't always understand.

This last sketchbook page has a couple of quick gesture studies, in continuous line and a sketch from one of the online poses available on Matt's site. I was having trouble with her legs, so I brought out her musculature a bit more than she had in order to help me understand the volume. I'm guessing that it took about fifteen minutes, but you know how time goes when you are sketching; so, I couldn't swear to that!

I really struggled with writing this post. I suppose that it's obvious, with the awkwardness of the phrases and the dullness of the content. I think it's time to pick up a good book to read. That always helps. Although, if I read a good Steinbeck novel and then write, wow! That is funny! I once wrote a letter after reading Of Mice and Men. When I read my copy of it (the letter) now, I laugh. I am so easily influenced! I would be one of those people who come back from Britain, and suddenly have a British accent. Oh whoa, I went off on a tangent there. Sorry.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Card idea...

Tonight, as the family watched Christmas with the Kranks-again-I was doodling ideas for Christmas cards in my sketchbook. Unfortunately, no one understood this one. They thought it was cute, but didn't understand what was going on. So, I'm looking for advice on how to exaggerate the action here. And in case you're wondering, one snowman is alive and is poking the other one to see if he is too.

moleskine sketchbook, blue col-erase prismacolor pencil.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Final

This is the piece I did for the art exchange. It is simpler than the first attempt, but after days of languishing, being indecisive, I felt like I really needed to get something done. Part of my problem is that I try to do things that are beyond my current skill set, and then I get frustrated! So, I opted for simple and I like the results.

Okay, I have a question for my readers, who I know are, for the most part, artists themselves. I know we all suffer from sudden art supply buying frenzies; but, when you buy those supplies, does all of your work come screeching to a halt, while you wait for the supplies to come in? I will be drawing like mad, every minute I can spare, things going great; but once I order supplies, I fall into limbo while I wait. And wait. And....why can't it all be here already!!??

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Attempt for Art Exchange

Here is my first attempt at the art exchange. Don't ask me what I was thinking when I chose this particular image to work from (, btw). The sketch wasn't terrible, but the colors that I chose were dark and gloomy. It wasn't at all what I had imagined! Having made this disaster, I was a bit frozen for a few days. I doodled with my ball point pen and played with the watercolors...doing thumbnails, etc. Just doodling my way past the block. (The sketches below are small ones, the smallest a little over an inch squared. They were all on the same scan, so you get an idea of the size of the other two.)

This was a scary moment for me. My confidence was shot! I didn't think I could do it and wished that I had not agreed to the exchange. Then, one morning I woke up, said I HAVE to get this done, and I did it. It surprised me how easy it was. I'll post that picture once I know the recipient has received my picture.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Sketch(non)crawl 25

I had intended on going out on Saturday to have my own Sketchcrawl 25. I just didn't feel like the one hour drive to Houston, or the two hour drive to College Station to participate.

The weatherman had said we would have a wonderful day with cool temps and sunshine. My favorite weather! But, I woke up to rain, gray skies, and wind. So I wimped out, stayed home and sketched the cat. I suppose a more dedicated person would have braved the weather. I could have gone to a mall or something.

Anyway, Ollie was a great model for me and remained relatively still as he too moped around the house. These are small sketches scattered about two pages of my sketchbook. The originals are in pencil; color added in Corel Painter that evening. I did them over several hours of watching television. Putting down the sketchbook, picking it back up to sketch some more.

It seems like everyone is doing cats lately! Alex just made a post of a kitten that looked very similar to Ollie. Kate Johnson posted one of her cat going to the vet. Wendy has one up. Her cat has a GPS collar! And of course, Janey can always be relied on for cat sketches.

PS Hats off to those who compose their posts like this all the time! This was a booger!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Blog Award

Alex has very kindly given me an award! Thank you so much Alex!

The rules are:
I need to pass this award on to five people, post on their blog to let them know I left this award, and then I need to answer a list of questions in ONE word.
So here we go:

1. Where is your cell phone?…river
2. Your hair?… wavy
3. Your mother?… AgathaChristie-ish
4. Your father?… McGyver-ish
5. Your favorite food?… sushi
6. Your dream last night?… colorful
7. Your favorite drink?…coffee
8. Your dream/goal?… illustration
9. What room are you in?… studio
10. Your hobby?… sketching
11. Your fear?… crowds
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years?…ahead
13. Where were you last night?… here
14. Something that you aren’t?… serious
15. Muffins?… banananut
16. Wish list item?… laptop
17. Where did you grow up?… Texas
18. Last thing you did?… watercolored
19. What are you wearing?… Sweater
20. Your TV?… downstairs
21. Your Pets?… cat
22. Friends?… Awesome
23. Your life?… interesting
24. Your mood?… relaxed
25. Missing Someone?… sister
26. Vehicle?… Corolla
27. Something you're not wearing?… tutu
28. Your favorite store?… art
29. Your favorite colour?… Green
30. When was the last time you laughed?… today
31. Last time you cried?…month
32. Your best friend?… spouse
33. One place that I go to over and over?… HEB
34. Facebook?… nope
35. Favorite place to eat?… Home

I leave this award to:
1. Barbara Weeks
2. Ellen
3. Krista Meister
4. Martine
5. Phyllis

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Portrait of a Friend

It isn't often that I come out and say that I really really like something I've done. But, for this one, I'm jumping up and down, patting myself on the back, chanting well done, well done! I don't think I've ever done a more true portrait. Most of the time I can see things that have gone wrong-- the eyes, or the mouth usually. But dang it, it's in my sketchbook! I wish that I had done it on a single sheet so that I could mail it to this friend! This man, I'll call him Mr. D, and I had some great conversations! A terrific person, Mr. D! One of those people who are always able to make you laugh!

I have so much to do right now and I'm feeling the pressure. I'm beginning to think about homemade Christmas cards and gifts, I have a portrait to do for my husband's grandmother (she doesn't read this), and I'm participating in the art exchange. The person I'm to send to is a fantastic artist! What to do, what to do! I'm near panic stage since I'm supposed to mail out by Tuesday and I haven't even a clue on what I'll do yet!

Mr. D is done in Prismacolor pencils, in my Moleskine sketchbook. I plan to add some lettering to the left of the page, but since I'd blur it out anyway, thought I'd go ahead and post it.

Oh yes, you noticed the banner! Well, this is temporary. I just couldn't look at my last banner another day. It's been on my to-do list for a long time, so finally I just took a portion of an experimental doodle that I did the day I received my copy of Corel Painter X, added some text, and voila! Temporary banner! I never deleted this little experiment because I loved the colors so much!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It wasn't like I did absolutely nothing...

Okay, so I did do something while I was gone. I found this tin at a garage sale. It is about seven inches by three inches. Almost an inch in height. It cost me three dollars! I know, a lot for a used tin, right? But, the woman was attached to this tin. She got it in London! When she found out that I intended to use it for a wc travel kit, she almost didn't sell it to me. I had to promise I would only paint the inside lid white. It is funny to me that she would sell it in a garage sale if she loved it so much! Anyway, I put my wc paints in plastic lids and then used double-sided sticky tape to make them stay in place. The inside lid is painted with white enamel paint. I'm not sure what I'll take in it, I just threw in some supplies to show how well it could work. Right now it is loaded with Kate Johnson's muted primaries, and then my favorite complimentary pair, orange and blue. Things may change, not sure.

And these are random doodles from my sketchbook. It would appear that I watch a lot of television, which isn't really the case, except for maybe lately.

You might recognize Ron Paul above. The woman in the black dress was from a movie, but she didn't turn out looking like herself, not even the same nationality! The mannequin sketch was from memory. And I really don't remember who the other people are supposed to be!

A few sketches from The Mummy. I never hit pause for these, so they were done in bits and pieces, not getting a great likeness. The houses on the right were done from imagination. I was practicing a technique, so basically I was just looking for some kind of roof-scape. Even though it is more of a symbolic type drawing, I like the way it turned out.

These are sketched randomly from commercials, and I think we were watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Also, a visitor fell asleep on our couch! He should have known better!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Trying to Get My Groove Back...

Okay, well, the last of the company left yesterday and I'm left with no more excuses. I have no one to blame for my procrastinating all the way until bedtime, and telling myself that tomorrow, tomorrow I will get going again! So, today, I stuck a movie in my computer, hoping something would catch my eye and make me want to hit pause. I actually forgot to hit pause though and at the end of the movie, I had to rewind. The lighting in this movie is really dark! I guess I never really noticed that until I tried to find pictures of the characters with enough light as to be recognizable. I felt out-of-practice. Like I hadn't held a pencil since first grade.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A quick update to let you know...

My apologies to those missing my comments! I am way behind in all things blogging. Not only did I have fourteen guests staying this weekend last, I have ten to eleven staying this coming. But, that is not the frustrating part, I do enjoy entertaining! The frustration comes from having to completely return my computer back to factory condition-TWICE-because of a computer virus. Have you heard of that Windows Police Pro? Yep...knocked me out completely! Needless to say, I haven't done much surfing the last two weeks or so. Not much drawing either! This is all I have to share with you, and if you notice the dates you'll see they're a good week apart. I think I nearly have things back in order now. I think! If I've missed you, please know I'll be coming back very soon! I should be back to myself by Monday or so.

I've never been a "cat person", but recently I was adopted by a scrawny black cat. I couldn't help but feed him, he looked like he was starving. He wasn't used to people and it took me a week before he'd let me touch him. Now he's the bravest cat I've ever seen. He doesn't hide when strangers visit like my mother's cat. I've named him Edgar Allen Poe, Eddie for short. I'm sure there will be more on Eddie here in the future. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Afraid to paint, at the moment

I'm currently taking Mark Mitchell's free color course. The problem is, I haven't gotten to the meat of the course yet (which thanks to Vicky, I know is coming) and now I notice a fear of painting anything because I might learn something in tomorrow's lesson which might keep me from screwing this up today! It's irrational, I know. That's why I'm going to actually finish this portrait today! It took me about 5 minutes to sketch this. About ten minutes to get up the nerve to put the background color in. Then I stopped. I figured that I had shown enough bravery for one day. LOL The photo is from morguefile again. Free use section, here.

And this is a lesson on negative painting by Sterling Edwards on the Jerry's Artarama site. Only, I didn't follow directions. I'm a rebel (family can stop laughing now) and did it the way I wanted to do it. (Mostly because I was too lazy to do it the right way!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sketching Movies

Okay, so last night when I wasn't feeling well, I sat in front of my computer watching movies...and sketching. This is my desk area. It is actually quite large, with the left side of this extending about eight feet, and that is where my slanted desk top is and all of my art supplies. (It's good that I left it out since it is always piled high with paper and books and pencils and just about everything else that will fit without falling off!) You'll notice that my mouse is on the right side, even though I'm left-handed. That's because everyone else in my family was right-handed and so I learned to deal with it. Besides, it's nice being able to write with my left while scrolling with my right. I had to turn off the little buttons on the wacom tablet that are on the left because when I use the pen (I use left-handed), my hand hits the buttons and causes crazy things to happen unexpectedly. Woe is me, right? Anyway, I watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the umpteenth time. This is the train scene when Harry and Ron are eating all that candy.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Feeling Green...

Whew. I'm not feeling well today. It didn't keep me away from the paints though. Practice, practice, practice. I really never liked these sketches (both done yesterday), and adding paint today didn't make them any better. But, I don't care right now; I feel yuck.

On a happier note, I was treated to a Texas Art Supply trip yesterday. Boy-oh-boy, did I have fun! I had heard they had kolinsky sable brushes on clearance, which they did, but I didn't get one because they didn't look very good. I've been told they should have a nice point on them and these did not, so I passed. BUT! I did get a 9"x12" pad of Arches Hot Pressed paper, a bottle of W&N masking fluid, and, drumroll please, a 24 color, full pan set of Yarka professional watercolors! And I do love them. They have a very nice color saturation that I often have to fight for in my other set. I can't wait to play with them some more, when I'm feeling a little better.
The first thing I did was, well what is this called, a color chart? I wanted to see how all the colors looked on paper and with each other. My favorite colors, which I did not have before, are the Golden (ochre), and the violet.

This was sketched on site, yesterday, at the William Clayton Library. It's not a regular library, it's a genealogical research center. My mother had some things to look up before heading to the art supply which was nearby. I made so many mistakes in painting it, that I didn't even bother to finish. It is dim in my room right now (because it's gray outside), so I mistook the purple for green and then I mistook the green for purple. So, I have a row of purple somethings near the fence which did not exist, and the closer plant has dark, dark green on the underside of the purple leaves. And since I didn't like it so much, I went ahead and tried out my new masking fluid on the fence. This stuff will definitely come in handy!!

And this was from inside the library, where the walls were white and everything seemed to lack color. So I put some extra in. ;)

I haven't tried the hot press paper yet, thought I'd wait until I felt a little better. The masking fluid is interesting, and the bottle is so big that I probably have enough to last the rest of my life. And the travel set, I love it. It's a little large, but they didn't carry the half pans know, I had to get them!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Coffee on the patio.

I have to laugh at this one, even though I like the way it turned out. You see, because I was deep in conversation which required analyzing on my part, I wasn't concentrating when I did this sketch. I never went into "the zone" and I felt separate from the sketch. Does that make sense? Anyway, a lot of mistakes that I didn't even notice until I started applying the watercolor. Like on the second chair (the one behind), I forgot to draw the seat! And, I had already gone too far with the concrete, so I drew it in too far to the left. (Although, had I been thinking, I don't think that light color gray would have affected the chair if I had painted right over the top of it.) I also forgot to put the shadows on the concrete from the chairs and trees, and I forgot to draw what was seen through the glass table top. I know, I know. I shouldn't actually be telling you where to find the mistakes! I did my best to make up for them. What do I like about this? The composition. And the pot to the pencil cactus; it turned out well. I liked the shadows I had started across the chairs. They would make more sense if there were shadows continued on the concrete.

Thank you all for the comments on the last post. I've had a lot of good suggestions and even one email with words of encouragement. Sorry for not commenting very much lately, things came up and I haven't been around. I do hope to get to you soon!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Malloy & Sons

I really liked this sketch. And then I tried to paint it. I like the way it looks when its small, but goodness gracious does it look terrible in person and up close! That's okay. I'm not crushed! It's just a step toward my masterpiece, right?

Anyway, I've been thinking. I'm not working right now and I need to start some cash flow. There's monetizing, which yes I know is next to nothing, but it's something. I've also been thinking about putting together a pamphlet on basic perspective for artists. Do you think it would sell? I'm not ready for prints of my work. I think I still have a ways to go before that. But, one thing I do know is perspective. So what do you think? Do you hate ads? Personally, they only bother me if they are the flashing, obtrusive kind.

I almost forgot, this is the Malloy & Sons Funeral Home in Galveston, TX. Colored from photo that I took.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Green Is My Favorite Color

I bet, in looking through my work, that you would never have guessed that green is my favorite color! I know, I use it for everything. When I go shopping, my husband has to remind me to buy things in other colors! My purse and several pairs of shoes are green. I have green shirts of every shade, and even green pants. When I showed up for the sketchcrawl, Cecilia was wearing a green shirt and carrying a green purse, just like me. You would think that we had called each other and set it up in advance! We had a good laugh about that one!

This first sketch is from morguefile again. I love that site! It is great for reference photos (in the free photos section)for when I'm not out and about. I wish I hadn't sketched in the creases of her jacket in ink, though. I guess we do learn from experience! It is sketched in my micron 03 pen in a regular drawing (dry media) sketchbook. And actually, I think I like the way this one takes watercolor.

This one is quite messy. It was done very small and for some reason I failed to switch to a smaller brush! It just didn't occur to me. Then I painted her face too red and had to lift some of the color out. Another learning experience! This is from a personal photo, though I won't go into who it's supposed to be because I don't want to offend the parent with this poor sketch! It is sketched in pencil and done on 140lb w/c cold-pressed paper which I made into a pamphlet-style sketchbook. I'm having a terrible time finding a sketchbook that takes w/c in a way that I like! Any suggestions are welcome!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The only thing I did yesterday...

I didn't get a lot done yesterday, unless you count reading, looking at blogs, and watching videos. Which wasn't too bad, I suppose, when you consider that I was reading another Charles Reid book. And inspecting the work of others, trying to figure out their techniques. As for the videos, well, total waste of time!

This is a modified (almost blind) contour drawing of a pine cone done with my micron 03, to which I then added watercolor. It is actually quite small, only about 2"X 2". Well, I'm off to get something done for today!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Day for Experimentation

I did a lot of playing today. First I did some warm up sketches in pencil, then I moved on to doing a sketch directly in ink, in my moleskine sketchbook, which I then added watercolor to. (because I apparently love banging my head against the wall!) Then, I attempted a watercolor portrait on actual watercolor paper. There are a lot of things I wish I could fix, but because I was practicing techniques I won't complain!

I still haven't added color to the Rudy's crowd, but I've been looking at how others have handled similar situations and I think I'm learning. So, maybe tomorrow, heh?

The drawing were all done from morguefile photos, except the top guy on the pencil sketch page who was from imagination. Reference #s :159360, 159379, 575912, 184629

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's A Stormy Day

I don't mind that it's storming on my birthday even though it means that the trip to the zoo will be postponed for a couple of weeks and the mall will be postponed until tomorrow, maybe the next day. You may be thinking, "but you'll be inside at the mall", but let me tell you this isn't just rain! This is a you-might-have-to-disconnect-the-computers, and put-the-car-in-the-garage-to-protect-from-hail-damage type of storm! It's dark outside at 11am. Yesterday we had a funnel cloud and the weather guy said more of the same today. No worries though, I LOVE storms, as long as they don't hurt anyone!

So yesterday I spent my day practicing drawing with a pen. I have become dependent on my pencil, and its eraser! The first two drawings are from morguefile, reference numbers 209473 and 618871. The girl saluting was done with my Lamy Safari, non-waterproof ink, which I then added water too. She was backlit by the sun. The second was with my Pigma Micron 01 in sepia. I randomly placed the figures from the photo. Sketching with a pen is so unforgiving! And I don't really like my line work in ink. I'll keep practicing though.

Okay, on to today's confession. I tried, I really tried, to paint loosely. I just blobbed on the paint at first. But, I didn't get that loose look, I just got a mess which I then felt I needed to clean up. There must be more to this loose look than I realized! I really disliked the outcome and kept adding to it in hopes of saving it. I'm really disappointed with the ink line that I added. I don't think that helped at all! And unfortunately, this little experience has me petrified to add color to the sketch of people at Rudy's. Because I really like that sketch and don't want it to be destroyed. Even though I have it immortalized on the internet...oh, okay, it's just a sketch and I can do more of them. I'll never learn if I don't do!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

More people at Rudy's

I don't normally eat out a restaurants because there aren't many that serve organic food (yes, I'm a little uptight about that). So, when I do, I am overwhelmed by the number of people there are to sketch! Don't get me wrong, I will eat out at one if we are meeting people, etc., I just don't go as a general rule. When we were on vacation, we took a grill and a cooler full of food, and for the most part cooked all of our own meals!

For my birthday, my parents are going to take me to the zoo, and my husband is going to take me to the food court at the mall to sketch. They know me too well as these are the best presents they could possibly give me. More opportunities to sketch is all that I want! I don't need clothes or gadgets.

I am going to add watercolor to this sketch, so I wanted to have a record of the before, just in case disaster strikes! The lady at the far left is my sketchcrawl partner, Cecelia, added from photo.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sketchcrawl 24...Bryan, College Station TX

Well, I had a fabulous time, but I must admit I was a little disappointed that there were only two of us at my first sketchcrawl. It might have something to do with the home football game for the Texas Aggies. I met Cecelia and we had a wonderful day sketching. And luckily the weather cooperated. The first sketch was done on Main Street in Downtown Bryan. It is the Queen's Theater. Who could resist drawing a building with a giant crown on top. And something I hadn't noticed until I started drawing was that the facade was slightly scalloped. I've emphasized it in my sketch, but when looking at the building, which is badly in need of restoration, it appears flat. It only became apparent when I noticed the shadow at the top wasn't straight across!

This second sketch was done at Rudy's Bar-B-Q in College Station. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to complete it on site because we had a couple of errands which came up unexpectedly. I took a picture of the area for color reference, though the girl had left already.

It was great to meet a fellow blogger/sketcher and I do look forward to the next. I hope this isn't something that is losing its popularity!

Sorry, I'm not very chatty at the moment, I am still recovering from yesterday. In total, I think I spent about seven hours in the car. And I had to get up at 5:30! I might have to attend one closer to home next time.