Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell to 2010!

2.5"x 5.75" pencil and watercolor. You may not believe it, but this makes me very happy! I have nothing to say that would pick this apart. I find this strange since I didn't spend a lot of time trying to get the sketch right. I was watching videos while painting it over the course of about three days, finishing it just this morning. Why did it take so long? Well, I definitely could have finished it in one sitting, but after I started and liked the direction it was heading, and because I didn't want to mess up, I would stop until I had a better idea of where to go next. Normally I'm much more impatient! I used a photo on morguefile by Scott Liddell as reference.

Last week I reorganized my studio. I have a new bookcase which has doors on it so I can hide the clutter. My desk now has space available! I don't have to balance everything on top of something, waiting for the first bump to make it all crash down! All of my scraps of watercolor paper were put into a tin. For some reason, I find it so much easier to work on scraps. When they turn out okay, I glue them into my sketchbook.

This woman on top was a copy of a painting by Don Andrews, which came on an insert in one of my Cheap Joe's orders. I liked the painting and put it on my bulletin board. The dove is from imagination. Both are pencil and watercolor. Sorry for the bad scan. I put my hand on it half way through and didn't realize I messed it up until putting it up here.

Not much to say here, except that he was from imagination. Obviously the chords on his neck wouldn't be so thin! (That is something I just noticed!)

So, how did you do on your resolutions in 2010? Me? Not so good! Not only did I not double the number posts of 2009, I didn't even equal them! I did sell something though. Though, it was for Ripple and the money went to a charity instead of me. I was close to being published, but unfortunately, that didn't work out. I'm really not good with resolutions. Something in me wants to rebel and do the opposite. Or is it that I make resolutions I'm not so sure I really want to make?

This is another sketchbook page that I've glued in some drawings done on scraps. The bird is from imagination, again. The woman was sketched while watching a video. The face behind her was a bronze statue. She was blond, the walls were white. Obviously I just made everything the way I felt like making it! (Gray box is just me blocking out some of the words!)

Well, I wish everyone a happy, healthful, and creative 2011!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Learning some fun-damentals...

The top picture here started as a simple sketch on some scrap w/c paper (scrap paper seems to be the one thing that gets me painting!), done while watching a video. One thing that always get me while sketching a moving person is that one side of the face seems to always be drawn from a slightly different angle than the other. The results are sometimes like this, with one side drooping. This doesn't bother me though. It is in pencil and if I had wanted to I could have corrected it. My main interest here was playing with my new brush and the newly reorganized palette. And practicing grays and browns. (I made that brown myself! So proud... Only, I don't remember how I did it!) The background was not sketched in and just sort of...happened. Even though the whole scene seems kind of STATIC, I do like this one. It seems like Uncle Fred just posed for a snapshot or something.

This one really makes me laugh. I had fun doing it, don't get me wrong. It's just that I approached it in true 'Raena' fashion. You see, it was an exercise in the book "The Complete Watercolor Course". One of those books that I've not read, only looked at the pictures. I decided to do the first exercise, and wouldn't you know it, I only looked at the pictures. So, I missed a few things and the results aren't quite right. I might try this one again, this time reading first!

Neither of these is very large, only 3"x4". They curled up as they got wet which made holding them interesting. And while they weren't very serious studies, I had a great relaxing time. This is how learning should be!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Enjoying My New Brushes!

I'm really enjoying these new brushes, especially the da Vinci Maestro! What a lovely feeling it has! This top one is based on one of our family favorites, a black and white photo of my dad. I guess he was about four or so. I began with a pencil sketch, adding the watercolor; but, I didn't like it for some reason, so I added the ink. I didn't spend a lot of time fussing with the sketch and probably could have focused a little more on the hands, but I like it. It would be worth revisiting for a more serious painting sometime.
This one is from imagination. I love the feel of the brushes so much that I picked one up and just started putting down some color. This is what came out. No pencil first and only added a few lines when it was done: a line separating the lips, two dashes for nostrils, and lines defining the eyes. May be a few anatomical errors, but it was actually fun to go in without the pencil. It felt more like I was sculpting her face, than drawing it. The results surprised me, and I may try doing this more often.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rudy's Crowd, Revisited

Do you remember this sketch from last year, here. Well, I thought I had destroyed it when I went to add watercolor. I stopped before getting very far at all. Sometime during the last year, I realized that sometimes paintings go through ugly stages. I would probably have approached it differently than I did in this particular case, because of all I've learned, but I think I managed a save here. I know there are spots still not painted...but I liked them so they stayed. This has ended up in a frame on my wall. So, yes, it's a good night! (I should mention that the woman on the left was my Sketchcrawl partner, Cecelia. )

Also, I just received an order from DickBlick. I bought a da Vinci maestro travel brush, one piece of Fabriano Artistico 140lb cp paper to try, and a watercolor sketchbook, which I wouldn't have bought if it didn't come with a #2 escoda travel brush. (My first two pure Kolinsky sable brushes!) I'm WAY excited and I can't believe it got here SO fast! I have to give my kudos for DickBlick. There was a mistake in the address during my paypal processing, so it was shipped all the way to Idaho. Where I no longer live. They were so great about resending the order. They were pleasant to deal with, and I received it two days later!! Great customer service!! (Oh, and I've done a little playing with the brushes....LOVE!!)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Another doodlie-type post...

I know you're completely surprised to see a drawing of my hand--I just never do that! It is a modified contour that I went back and added some details and color to. Ignore the writing. I had some drawings above it that I had copied from other artists' sites. I really don't like posting stuff that I copied, so I cut them out. This was done on scrap w/c paper and will be pasted into my sketchbook. ('My Molie' is completely random. I'm not sure where it came from, but this is not a Molie!)

I actually don't remember where or how this came about. I often sketch while doing other things. I was testing out a technical pen I was just given and then testing the solubility of the ink. It's a simple sketch, but I like it.

This was done while watching a video online of how to paint trees with two colors. The two colors I've used are lemon yellow and prussian blue. I went back after the fact and added the lines with the same technical pen. This was an interesting exercise. Now, if I can just remember to do it like this! Sometimes I learn these things, then promptly forget to apply them.

This is a sketch of a sketch that I did. I was still playing with the technical pen. Messed up on the hand a little, but I liked the way the mouth and the nose came out. Splashed on the paint and called it Self-portrait #12 of 100. I'm moving along very slowly on this project. It's a good thing I didn't set a time limit!

All of these are on scraps of the canson XL 140 lb watercolor paper. I'm working on getting to know the paper a little better since I had such a rough start with it. I've got too much of it left to let it go to waste!

PS Thank you to all my new followers! I always try to find the blogs of all my followers, so I can follow you too. So, if I've not done that, it is because when I clicked your icon, it didn't give me a link. If you have a blog you would like me to see, please send me an email or a comment! I like to share the love!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Turtles and Sea Gulls

I did quite a few paintings this summer with sea gulls and sea turtles, during the Gulf oil spill. It has been awhile since I've looked at them, and now with fresh eyes, I see that the gull above needed more shading on the underside. I like the shadows under the turtle and the folds on his neck. This is just a piece of the whole, but the composition was still bad overall, which is a shame because I really love how the turtle turned out. Composition is really something that shouldn't be overlooked. (pencil and watercolor)

This one has better shadows on the gull, but I think the turtle's shell looks a little flat. It could use some highlights in there. You can also tell that I spent a lot more time on the turtle, and then just threw in the background. I'm pretty lazy like that! ;D Oh, and the tail of the turtle really does hit the edge of the page like that. Another composition mistake. I'm really learning some things this morning, aren't I? (sepia and black micron 01, watercolor)

I love the turtle on this one! He looks sad. He has depth. The gull again doesn't have enough form. (but of course, that is easily fixed!) And, he's right smack in the middle of this page. Anyone know any good books that deal with composition? It should probably be a picture book since I rarely read the words to any of my art books. *Sorry, laughing at myself here.* Do you know how many art instruction books that I have that I've only flipped through, looking at the pictures? One day, I should sit down and start to really tackle them. That famous 'one day'! (sepia and black micron 01, watercolor)

It is interesting to go back to your old work and look at things with a fresh, analytical eye. No, I don't have a problem with my inner critic. Inner critics have a purpose and as long as it isn't telling me to give up because I'll never be good enough, then I think it is working in my favor. When I point out mistakes, or things I struggle with, it is because I am learning from those situations. Inner critics can be your friend, if you let them. I am at peace with mine.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Trip to the Cemetery

That pressure of posting three times in three days has me going. I just couldn't let the day slip by and miss number four! Last year, as one of my new year's resolutions, I had decided to post twice as many times this year as I did last year. Well, that didn't happen for me. In fact, I need to post ten more times this month just to be even with last year. More than that though...and I BEAT last year! (trigger the Rocky theme song, please)

So, I did this yesterday. I went to a cemetery with my mother, who needed to take a picture for someone on a site called 'find a grave' or something like that. (She does genealogy.) I figured it would be a good sketching opportunity. Did you know that it only takes a few minutes to take a couple of pictures?? Well, I rushed through the sketch, sort of in a panicky way, knowing any second it would be time to leave. This rushing feeling made it hard to concentrate and I flubbed up on the folds of the robe. Wasn't happy with the sketch, but threw some paint on last night to see if I could make it work. It was really difficult to tell what was what (fold lines versus shadow lines) and I basically just guessed on everything. The gray color I used was a mixture of everything that was already on my palette. Thinking I was done, I wiped off the palette, only to see that some of the shadows didn't get dark enough.

One thing that I know I didn't get right, is that I drew the hands a little too normal-sized. His hands were HUGE! Big Fred Flinstone hands! But in the end, I like it.

There, four-for-four!! :D

Friday, December 3, 2010

Some doodles on scraps of paper

After making my last sketchbooks there was a few scraps of paper left over. The one above is 3.5"x6". My blog name and the quotes were written first; then I found an awesome photo over on morguefile and added it to the middle. (photo by keyseeker, ref. # 671269) I was watching a movie while painting this and didn't expect much, but I really like it and now it is glued into my larger sketchbook, along with the following sketch. Pencil with watercolor. (Though I used a black pen to do the pupils.)
This was also done while watching that same movie on another scrap piece of paper. It is about 3"x3". Used sepia pigma micron 01 and watercolor. I think she looks a bit like Nancy Drew. I mean, she has that there is a mystery to be solved, don't you think? Maybe the guy behind her on the right is one of the Hardy Boys.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Moleskine collaboration with Dan, Page 2

This was incredibly difficult for me; I really struggled with what to do. My imagination is a rusted out, 1967 model. The gears don't run smoothly. If Dan hadn't mentioned that he didn't think it looked finished (and I agree), I probably would have just started a new page. My first inclination, and don't laugh because it is REALLY boring, was to add floor tiles and ceiling fixtures.

I thought a lot about what Dan's wife had mentioned...that the dancer didn't really match the 'big band' type of music, so I thought I would make it about music itself. Music and it's ability to transport us, make us feel alive. I painted the music bars yellow to show that it can bring light into our world. I thought of writing a quote at the bottom, but couldn't find a single one that I thought would go well. If Dan wants to do something else with it he is certainly welcome. Otherwise, I'll keep looking around and add one later. (Any suggestions?) Maybe I should just add some grass or something??

One of the ideas behind our exchange is that we would challenge each other. This was certainly a challenge for me! Part of it was connecting the big band with the colorful girl. I thought long and hard on how to do that one! The other part was in the composition. Dan placed his band right smack in the middle of that space. I'm not sure how well I've handled that, composition being a weakness of mine, but I did enjoy, through gritted teeth, working through it.

You should see this in person. I have to say that Dan did an excellent job on that band. Each person has such a unique face. The details are impressive!

New Sketchbooks and some older sketches

Remember the sketchbook I made? The paper wasn't folded with the grain and as a result it was all a bit wonky. Also, I hadn't realized I knicked the spine, which began to fall apart after being carried around in my purse. It was very heavy! So, I tore it down and made these three sketchbooks. The material is just some I had laying around from an old project. The rings are 1", not the really big ones; and I used Yes! paste for the glue. The small one pictured with the cover open is identical to the largest one, and they all have an envelope glued into the back. These are incredibly easy to make--I made all three the same day! But what I really like, is that I have no fear because there is always the possibility of removing a page. Or adding. Or even selling one! I'm not embarrassed to have someone look through it and as a result, I'm taking it everywhere and actually getting it out to use!

This is a failed experiment that for some reason, I still kind of like. Paul Wang, Hong Kong correspondent for Urban Sketchers, had a few pictures of his pre-painted pages along with the finished pages. I love his color so decided to give it a go. Well, what was supposed to be a light red wash turned out much darker than intended because I was sitting in the sun on a dry day and as I touched the paper it seemed to dry on contact. A wash was next to impossible using my waterbrush. I left it with the red wash over my sketch for several weeks before deciding to add more color and see if I could make it work. Since this scan I have actually gone back and touched up the trees some. They look better, but I'm too lazy to rescan. The sketch was done while waiting in the truck at Lowe's, during all that recent construction.

Another sketch from Lowe's parking lot, done back in Sept; and a sketch of mom's car in her garage. Never went back to paint them, but I'm not interested enough to bother with that. Maybe one day I'll get the urge.

And of course, what sketchbook doesn't start with a page like this? (for me, anyway!)

These three sketches are the first three pages of the larger sketchbook pictured above. I've also added some loose drawings that I didn't want to get lost. So far, I'm really liking the freedom I feel with these sketchbooks! (The sketches in this post were all in the sketchbook before I tore it down to make the smaller ones.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Houston Quilt Festival

I'm not much into the quilting arts or knitting arts, or really, anything to do with sewing unless it is necessary in the scheme of things. (ie adjusting hems, making journal covers) I only went to the quilt festival because Shirley Levine was there and I wanted to meet her. But, I have to tell you...these aren't your grandmother's quilts! I was amazed at how far they've taken quilting. Some pieces were truly 'fine art'. I walked around for an hour and a half before Shirley and I were to meet, and still, I did not make it down every aisle.

We had a great time, talking almost nonstop, except while we were sketching. This was the first time I've ever had a crowd build around me. It was a bit nerve-wracking and all I could think about was how unfortunate that I let myself get out of practice! Yep, I did that again! But, I had all compliments and they were very nice, even though I was blocking the path a little! I wasn't watching Shirley, she was behind me somewhere, but I'm sure they made their way over to her too. This was a great experience for me. I don't think I would have had the nerve to pull out my sketchbook if I hadn't had a companion with me. Safety in numbers!!

So, where have I been? After we finished siding the garage, we repainted the exterior of the house. This is no small feat since we are in a tudor style home with very tall peaks! Picture me, teetering on a 32' ladder, stretching as far as I could without falling off, with a paintbrush! It took 20 gallons of paint and several weeks (because we had to replace a lot of wood along the way...completely rebuilding a bay window). Each night when I came in, I cooked dinner, and then collapsed in front of the television. I made a sketch here and there, but they were doodles really. And not very good ones. It looks like this completes our list of projects for this year. We only have two or three more, which we plan to wait until next spring to begin. Thank goodness! I'm really feeling my age at the moment!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Weather is Making Me Smile

I know, it's been eons since I've posted anything! But, if you knew how perfect our weather has been and how seldom we are treated to days like this, you would understand completely my need to be outside for every possible waking moment! I've been swamped with projects (just finished residing our garage) and loving every minute of it. I had a birthday back on Sept 22 and went absolutely nuts ordering things online. Most of it has arrived, but would you believe I am still waiting on one of them? I mean, really, THREE WEEKS? If it doesn't come today, I think I'll scream!

So this first image above is just a sketch I did on some recycled printer paper while testing out one of my presents, a trail stool from REI . I was afraid to order this stool, thinking it would be another one of those things that just collect dust in my studio, but I'm so happy I did. I've already used it quite a few times and I love it! The view is of my neighbors house from my back patio, with the corner of our back deck showing. Not really a great view composition-wise, so it probably won't be developed any further than this. Other presents included two more books, Mary Whyte's Watercolor for the Serious Beginner, and Charles Reid's The Natural Way to Paint, six tubes of wc, a scrubber brush, a box of drawing pens, and an antique set of 100 pastels. which my grandmother passed down to me, and were her grandmothers, pre- WW2. Haven't played with them yet!

This is more of a doodle type page, I think. The woman is from imagination, the man from a photo at of Jody Dole, the photographer. The rest is just notes I was taking from reading the articles on the site.

These were studies done from photos of a clothed model that I got off Matt Archambault's site.
That is a wonderful site, though he has upped his prices to $19/month. (I am no longer a member, but do highly recommend!)

I debated whether to show this one. Nothing really great about it. The figures are once again from The cartoon skeleton, well, I was just being silly. The girl at the bottom, my only touch of color on this post, was sketched from the news, mostly from memory as she was gone just as I started to sketch. The quote is a comment that Winna made on someone else's blog. That person was also suffering from a block, so this hit me perfectly and I had to write it down. (Thank you, Winna!)

I hope to have more color for you next time.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sketchbook Miscellany

Finally there was a day when I could sit outside and comfortably sketch without feeling the oppressive heat suffocating me. My husband was working on a lawnmower in the garage. I sat in a camping chair out front, in the shade. Of all the things I was surrounded by, this dirty old gas can is what I chose to sketch! (well, technically, I guess everything out there is dirty!) I sketched it in pencil. Then I used tracing paper to transfer it to watercolor paper. I knew of this technique, but believe or not, I had never tried it. I think one of the advantages of it is not worrying about messing up the original sketch. Definitely something to remember if you've lost your confidence or if you would just like to try painting with different techniques!

Sketches from posemaniacs. I had just about forgotten this site existed until someone posted some sketches they did. I filled nine pages (9"x12" sketchbook) with 30, 60, and 90 sec gesture drawings. Then, I went to random pose and did these sketches, untimed. I'm not sure how long they took, 5 mins or so? And for the first time, I realized I could keep the same pose and sketch it from a different angle. (The two on the left are the same pose, rotated slightly.)

This was done mostly while watching Pirates of the Caribbean. I paused the scene at the pier to draw the two men. I loved the guy's face on the left. Very unique! Started as a blind contour in ballpoint, so his face is somewhat skewed, but I like how it gives it a caricatured look. Then I drew the skeleton, bottom left, from memory. I have a photo of a skeleton head that I drew from next, to see how much I had retained in my memory sketch. More meerkats, started blind contour, shading and texture then added. This page was fun to do. See the tilted girl? Do you do that? Seems like there is always at least one drawing on my page which somehow ends up cockeyed!

This is self-portrait #11 of 100. (A redo of it, actually, as the first one was a disaster!) After the first sketchbook I bound, I actually made another, thinner one, using a different paper. Easier to carry around! My first one is a little wonky and I discovered that I had folded the pages against the grain instead of with it. So, this book actually turned out much better! However, I've now made another discovery. I really DISLIKE the Canson XL 140lb watercolor paper I bound in it! (I think it might be their student grade. ) Everything I've done on this paper has turned out dull and sort of fuzzy. It doesn't hold up to scrubbing at all! Here, I had a sketch that I really liked. I made a small mistake near the chin area, and using a technique that Dan told me about, I tried to gently scrub it away. And, I emphasize that I was gentle! Terrible results! The paper disintegrated and nothing I did would fix it. I only realized that it was the paper, and not me, while reading Cathy Johnson's Creating Nature in Watercolor, which I just purchased. (I love the book, Cathy!) Suddenly I realized that I had not done a single painting on this paper that I liked! And really, I think it was this blow to my confidence which started the whole block I've been suffering lately!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bitten by the Dog Days of Summer

Whew! It's been ages since I updated, longer if I go back to the last art I posted. This summer hasn't been great for me. I am not prone to sulking or depression, but I'm an outdoorsy type and Houston just had the hottest August on record. I do not like heat, especially with high humidity. It had me thinking about Boise, and wishing I still lived there. I lived right on the Boise greenbelt, which runs straight through the middle of town next to the Boise river. From the greenbelt I walked to Boise State University (not as a student), the library, the post office, the grocery store (when I only needed a few items!), 8th St marketplace, the zoo, numerous parks. You get the idea. I was outside all the time; lots to draw too. So, in my sulky state, I complained about not having anything to walk to...everything is spread out. Not that it matters because who would want to walk here?! And what the heck is one supposed to draw around here, a barbed wire fence? To compound my problem, after doing numerous remodel jobs in the house, which was exhausting but satisfying, I got out of the habit of sketching. I made a sketchbook, then another. But when I picked up my pencil to add the first sketch, I couldn't get into my groove and it turned out terribly and now I have to look at it every time I pick up my sketchbook. I have struggled with trying to get it back for several weeks now. (Upper left: morguefile photo: ref id# 208873 by LU311 done in pencil and watercolor; Upper Right: A very small gesture sketch of a fleeting moment, done in ballpoint. )

For Labor Day weekend, we had my brother-in-law's family come for a visit. My 7 year old niece, whose work I've posted here before, loves to draw. I gave her a sketchbook last year and in it we are writing a story and illustrating it. We drew tons this weekend, all of it from imagination (very unusual for me). I was really getting into the groove by the third day, feeling like that dreamy child again. In the story, my husband and niece and I are always getting captured and we have to use our super powers to get free and conquer the bad guys. After watching "The Spy Next Door" (Jackie Chan movie), we suddenly remembered we were Master Ninjas. I do wish I had remembered to scan in some of our artwork to show you! I know that you would have been impressed with her talent!

Here is a very quick sketch of my niece. She looks very serious here, but believe me, she is nothing but energy and giggles! I asked her to be my model and hold still. I laughed when she instantly went rigid with her arms straight down at her side, her eyes unblinking. After I got her a little more relaxed, with her arms folded, she asked me how long this would take, to which I replied that sometimes it could take hours. Her eyes went huge! This sketch might have taken five minutes; that is all she could take.

I have since filled six pages of my larger sketchbook, hoping to break this spell. I think it is working, I do feel lighter/less burdened. Left: Wishing at was at the Urban Sketchers Symposium. Pencil sketches from photos posted on their site. Orange background added in Photoshop. (It made the sketches stand out more.) Right: Sketches with my Lamy Safari using morguefile photos as reference.

And the heat has finally broken. We are only in the seventies today, as we are getting pummeled by Tropical Storm Hermine. It has been dark and rainy all day, but to me it is much preferred over August's weather. This is the view out of my studio window at the moment. Let's hope that I've gotten over my moping and that I remember next year, when it is summer and miserable again, to at least keep drawing as that is what normally keeps me happy!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A New Sketchbook

I'm very picky about what I want in a sketchbook. It can't be too small to sketch comfortably, or too large to carry with me. It must have watercolor paper in it. I prefer portrait format. Both sides of the paper should be the same. Preferably hardbound, not spiral. Again and again I purchase some commercial sketchbook, hoping that this will be the one to make me happy. Sometimes I dislike the book so much that I move on to the next without even finishing it, which is why I have ELEVEN sketchbooks going at the moment. Well, make that twelve now because I just made my own sketchbook a couple of days ago! And I love it, and wish that I had done so sooner!

So, here is how this came about:

I went to the art supply to see if I could use my 40% off coupon for a nice watercolor sketchbook, only they didn't have the one I wanted or anything else that I wanted to try. They did have a terrific sale on paper though, so I scooped up a bunch of paper and told my husband I'd make my own. Keep in mind that I had no supplies for bookmaking on hand. I thought I'd improvise. Because that's what I do.

I'll skip telling the hows and just send you to the two sites I used. I'd like to thank Shirley for the information she has on her blog, and for the inspiration--her journals are so beautiful! And Martha of Trumpetvine Travels for her instructions.

This was much easier than I thought it would be! My book doesn't look great, but I learned tons my first time out! Remember the "improvise" I talked about? First, I didn't have the proper thread, so I thought dental floss seemed like a good replacement. It went together quickly and easily with that, but when I finished I realized I had put too many folios and it didn't fit very well. So, I tried to take one off and that is when I discovered dental floss wasn't as strong as I had believed. My only other option was some hemp that I had for making bracelets. So, I restitched the whole thing and when I got done, it was once again too fat. I removed the top folio. It was still just a little too big, but I glued it in anyway. This book is VERY strong, though it looks a little funny because the middle mushes out a little.

What I learned:
  • Don't use dental floss.
  • Don't use hemp. While it is strong enough, it is also so thick that it makes the spine of the book fat, while the other side is skinny.
  • If you're already having problems with the thickness of the spine, for goodness sake, don't cover the gaps left between folios with strips of paper, which makes it even thicker!
It really is not a difficult procedure and with the right tools, it should be easy to make a sketchbook just the way you want it! I'll be going for some bookbinding thread as soon as possible!
Buying the paper on a mega-sale, each sketchbook that I make will cost about $6. I have enough to make three 9" x 6" books of the 90lb Frabriano cp paper that I bought. (This book counts as one of them.) And I also bought some 140 lb Canson cp which will make three more. I'm set! Except maybe for the string. Definitely need that! Oh, and some pretty endpapers to dress it up some!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

EDM# 104 and An Idea for a Painting

I had an idea for a painting that I attempted to sketch out here. The plan was for a girl to be walking with little tiny elephants dancing all around her feet. Well, not really dancing, think Heinrich Kley. Then her feet went off the page and I really didn't feel like correcting anything. After this, my heart wasn't really into the drawing anymore. Not that it is terrible. I used two reference photos for this, both from morguefile. Here and Here.
And this is something I haven't done in a long time! EDM Challenge #104: Salt and Pepper shakers. In fact, I just turned myself into a liar because I recently commented on someone's blog that I don't do the EDM challenges anymore. (Not that they're bad or anything!) I think I said that today, in fact! But then I saw this salt and pepper set in my mother's china cabinet and couldn't resist. Not sure how I've missed these. They look quite old, with some of the shine worn off the ceramic. The sketch isn't very well observed. Have you ever been in that mood before? Where you don't really care to focus that hard? Just throw down some lines and let them be? That was me today. I just said, 'ah! Nobody will even notice!" Except, I'm a blabbermouth-- I forgot. It looked better before I added the ink lines, which I did because they actually appear on the birds that way. This was done on some very old paper that I found amongst my late aunt's things. The paper is pretty rough, and 300 lb weight. I had never used paper this heavy, and I love it! No buckling whatsoever! No taping down! Maybe it's a little rough for my taste, but I do love the weight!

(They are still sitting next to me. I just looked over and they have been pushed together in a way that it looks like one bird is whispering in the other's ear. Now why couldn't I have set them up that cute???)

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Brutal Self-Portrait!

Everyone in my family has a "specialty", and when there is need for that specialty, that person is expected to do the job. For instance, my husband cooks the meat, I am not to be trusted. I cook the side dishes and homemade breads. I am also the painter of walls and ceilings and cabinets. Because I am persnickety and I won't leave splotches everywhere or crooked lines. No, definitely no crooked lines. I have a half inch flat watercolor brush that I do touch ups with! Well, recently someone stepped through the attic floor/bathroom ceiling, and after it was repaired I was sent in to do the painting. I hate painting ceilings!! Seriously! Neck and just isn't good! Anyway, as I grumbled while applying a second coat, I heard a reciprocating saw in the next room. I came around the corner just in time to see the saw blade hit the drain pipe to the bathtub upstairs and see the water come gushing down. It was not my job to clean up that mess (TG!), so I got off easy there; but, guess what I'll be doing again in the next couple of days? Yep...another ceiling. Bummer!
This is me, in my painting get-up: a cheapo baseball cap to protect the hair, and an old reject t-shirt of my husband's with paint all over it. Now, this is not an attractive look for me in the least, but I'm just going to go ahead and let you know that I didn't do myself any favors here! It is micron pen (sepia) and watercolor on exacompta sketchbook.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Self-Portraits 8 and 9

After my serious portrait attempt with charcoal left me feeling a little down, I decided I needed to try something a little more upbeat, fun. The charcoal drawing was laborious without the quality you would have expected for something taking so long. So, at the top of this sketchbook page I wrote, "unkempt me", because I hadn't showered yet, and I looked a little bedraggled. The shirt that I was wearing was actually just a plain dark blue t-shirt. I made up the stripes and the folds in the shirt and this actually turned out to be my favorite part. The drawing was done in five minutes (the best kind, if you want to know my opinion!) I like the colors I've used on this. Notice the name, 'unkempt me' has been cropped out here...I don't think I caught the slovenly part of my look. Plus, it looks like I have makeup on and went crazy with the blush, and who does that before the shower? I look serious, don't I? That expression makes me laugh. It is so recognizable in artists' self-portraits. This is pencil and watercolor in my exacompta sketchbook, which isn't for watercolor but works surprisingly well for simple ones. (you can see that the paper waves)

Eh, this wasn't intentionally a self-portrait. This was a doodle with a ballpoint pen that I thought looked similar to me, so I slapped on the glasses and watercolored. I'll never get to a hundred if I don't take these freebies when I can!

Of the self-portraits I've done so far, only #3 and # 8 (above) are from looking in a mirror. All the others, except nine, are from photos. Now, I really like #6, it is probably my favorite so far, but I think the two done from life are really good, and they were much easier. Both were drawn with relative ease. I will keep this in mind for the, um, 91 more that I have remaining!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Self-Portrait #7, and a Redo

You may remember this one from here. I really liked this sketch but ruined it with watercolors the first time. So, I redrew it from the prior sketch, and amazingly enough it looks MORE like him this time. I wanted a portrait similar to the one I did of myself (#6), so I could frame it and put it next to mine. (see it on the wall in the photo of my workspace?) Things didn't go as smoothly though, and even though I used the same paper, the mistakes couldn't be scrubbed out. The paper began to disintegrate. Can you see that dark spot under his chin? That would be one of the spots! I also don't like his pupils being that dark; they're distracting. This was sketched in pencil and the tone was added with neutral tint watercolor.

After seeing Dan's wonderful charcoal drawings, I decided to pull mine out and try using them. I had vine charcoal once upon a time, but I couldn't find it. I have these things, but don't confuse that with 'having used' these things before! Like my oil paints, they have been sitting in a drawer, unused. Now, when I did a quick sketch with the vine charcoal-- a couple of decades ago--I remember it being easy to smudge around. I didn't realize the pencils would be so different! If I had known it wouldn't be as easy, I think I would not have put in the tone the way I did. See all those lines in the background? I thought they would smudge out. Anyway, I struggled with this one and finally gave up. I knew something was off, but didn't realize exactly what, until I scanned it and accidentally hit mirror! Now do you see it? Maybe you saw it in the first scan and I didn't because my eyes weren't fresh, but when I mirrored it, it was so obvious!! There is a definite slant to the head that shouldn't be there. The good news is that I now know of a quick way to look at things anew. I'd like to try this again, but I think I'll pick up some vine charcoal next time I'm out, or perhaps locate the stash I have around here, somewhere!

There is a lot of talk amongst our group about how negative we can be on our own work. We see the flaws that others don't. I think about that a lot when I write my posts, but I just can't stop pointing them out. But, I wonder if that is really a bad thing? The way I see it, if I don't acknowledge the flaws, how can I improve? There is a lot that I like about my drawings too. I may not mention them as often, but I think if I didn't find some redeeming qualities, I would have quit already. Sometimes I am embarrassed to admit that I like them, almost like it is too immodest(?). Maybe, but perhaps by my picking out things that bother me, it might help you too? I can think of several occasions when other bloggers have pointed out things they didn't like, which I hadn't noticed or even thought about before. It was new to me, and I learned from it, and I can now apply that to my own artwork. What are your thoughts?

I'm moving slowly on these self-portraits. Number 100 seems so very far away!