Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What I've been doing in the absence of my creative muse.

Okay, so my creative muse decided to just up and leave me; perhaps I stepped on his foot once too many times while dancing? Nevertheless, I've decided to keep going and I'll apologize profusely the next time I see him. What to do when nothing is working and nothing is inspiring?Well, I did this horrendous self-portrait. It was from a picture which wasn't so good to begin with, but then I proceeded to accidentally get out of lines here and there; and then it started looking a bit like a villain from a Batman movie. I'm posting it though, to prove that I can take what I dish out to my loved ones. I now think I understand why they run from me when my sketchbook is in hand!

You may recall, if you've been around long enough, that last year around my birthday I got a full-pan set of Yarka professional watercolors (above). I was asked my opinion of them and never got around to answering. I cannot say, with any real knowledge, how they compare to other artist quality paints, since mine were all student grade prior to this. I have since purchased a few tube paints, some Sennelier, some Dick Blick, and I do like both of these brands a little better but it could be due to them being tube paints. My biggest complaint about Yarka is the palette. If you have carried them around, it is very likely that when you open them again that the pans have come loose and scattered. They are set into some cheap plastic that can easily crack. And the 24 color, full-pan set is enormous. Not great for urban sketching.

Solution:I found a company called Kremer who sells empty palette boxes for a reasonable price. I could have ordered the large one for only three dollars more, but being more interested in portability, ordered the small one which holds eight full-pans. In my mind, this meant it held sixteen half-pans, but not so; I wasn't considering the width of the pan sides! It holds fourteen. I stayed with this format for about a week but found myself missing some favored colors, so I made a few modifications and now it holds 21 half-pans. I LOVE this setup! It is tiny and I can take it anywhere! (I filled most of the half-pans by cutting out half of the full pans from my Yarka set. It was a tedious process, but I'm happy.)

I also replaced my cheapo waterbrush (on the top) with some kuretakes from jetpens. The difference in quality between these two brands is incredible. The cheapo version was just too stingy with the water and my hand would shake while trying to paint and squeeze at the same time. It was frustrating and I couldn't see why everyone loved waterbrushes. The ones from jetpens are perfect. The plastic is soft and squeezable. Don't waste your money on the cheaper version (even if it is all your art supply store carries!)...for only a little more you get something that works the way it was meant to work! I will not be leaving home without them!

Okay, I'm off in search of my muse. Take care!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

And the winner is....

You're probably wondering where I've been lately. Well, did you read that post by Dan, comparing art to dancing? It was interesting, but I was merrily stepping forward without having any ideas at all about dance, just enjoying myself and making progress here and there. Well now I'm dancing and all the steps seem to be going backwards. I felt like I was doing great for awhile and now everything keeps going wrong, and not by just a little bit. No worries though; I know I'll get over it, just keep painting. Oh, and I just removed the stupid games off my computer so I stop playing spider solitaire for hours. Yes, I just had to do that; I was too addicted. And it was getting beyond stupid. But it's gone now. So I know I'll be feeling better soon!

So on to the drawing. I put everyone's name into a bowl, the old fashioned way, and pulled out....

So Pamo, just drop me an email with your address and I'll be sending you Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Blogaversary Giveaway!!

I'm going to be ONE next week!! And to show my appreciation for all of the wonderful comments and support I have received, I'm going to do a giveaway. Anyone can play, just leave a comment to be entered into the drawing, and be sure to check back next Saturday, March 27th. There will be one winner who will get to choose one of the following three books:

Everyday Matters: A Memoir by Danny Gregory. Most of my readers probably already own this book, since it is the origin of our yahoo group and the start of this fantastic journey for so many of us. But, if you have not read it, and do not know of it, it is a memoir of the tragic event in Danny's life which started his search for meaning in life and essentially brought him back to art. It is handwritten, and full of his wonderful sketches of everyday things. Thousands and thousands of people all over the world now keep sketch journals because of his inspiring story.

Fast Sketching Techniques by David Rankin. If you are a slow sketcher, you might want to read this book! There are some key techniques in it that are beneficial for sketching on location, where it's important to get the basic information down quickly! Being able to do perfect drawings is wonderful, but sometimes it isn't practical. Have you ever tried sketching at the zoo and the animals wouldn't hold still long enough? Fast sketching is a skill all artists should have in their arsenal. (My opinion, of course!)

Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil by J.D.Hillberry. This is the exact opposite of Fast Sketching and I have a lot of admiration for people who have the patience to do this type of drawing! This is the slow, perfect drawing best done at home, in your studio. It too is a great skill to have, even if you don't wish to use it often!

Okay, so if you would like a chance to win one of these books, please leave a comment, indicate which book you would like, and make sure you check back next Saturday! I will give three days for the winner to contact me and if I do not hear from him/her, I will draw another name. Good luck everyone!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Where did the beginning of March go?

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. It isn't that I haven't been drawing-I have! But, a lot has been copying the works of other online artists whose work I enjoy. I can't post those. Plagiarism and all.

Another thing slowing me down is the writing part of blogging. It makes me procrastinate. I wrestle with words; we have a tumultuous relationship. Sometimes they come easily, sometimes they don't. I do better when I'm reading a lot, but that hasn't been the case lately. Too busy sketching!

Yesterday I drew a very loose pencil sketch of my husband tilling the soil in our garden. It had energy and I was excited by the results. I sketched it in my exacompta sketchbook which takes light washes fairly well. Then I started adding a little watercolor. Starting with my husband, things were going fine. But then I came across a portion of the page which must have had something on it because it didn't want to accept paint. I wish I had left just my husband, the tiller, and the dirt painted because I couldn't fix the sky and the fence after that fiasco. I went over my pencil sketch with a micron pen in sepia because the loose pencil lines got lost in all the mess. The paper will fall apart if I do any more, so it must stay this way.

This little girl is Sarah, my uncle's Mexican chihuahua. She's taller the most chihuahuas you see in the US, and doesn't have that roundness at the top of her skull. And unlike most chihuahuas, she rarely barks. That's my kind of dog! This is done in my moleskine sketchbook in pencil, with a little bit of colored pencil added. I don't like the way it scanned. In my sketchbook, it doesn't appear to have the dark dark outlines. I think it's because I did a little with black colored pencil, which scans better than the graphite pencil. This was done from a photo, fairly quickly. I tried not to get too fussy with it.

These two sketches are also in my moleskine sketchbook. (You probably remember the watercolor dude-thing, whatever he is, he got taped in here a while back.) I drew the girl from imagination with my Lamy Safari fountain pen and noodler's eternal black. After it dried, I added tone with a uniball micro which is water soluble, and then brushed with water.

The cat is Eddie, the one that adopted us last summer. We couldn't let him in our house because of our other cat, so we found him a good home with one of our neighbors. He is now a very happy, and spoiled cat who refuses to take one step out their door! I think his previous owners may have abandoned him and he's afraid it will happen again. He's done in 3B pencil.

This month marks the end of my first year of blogging and being a member of EDM. To celebrate, I'm preparing a give-away. I have three books and the winner will get to choose the one they want. I should have that post up in the next day or two. Hope you'll check back soon!

Oh, one more thing! For those of you who haven't already heard, Dan and I have started a new blog to showcase a project that we've started together. We are mailing a sketchbook back and forth from Florida to Texas. Our purpose is to challenge ourselves to improve, and stretch ourselves as artists. There is something about doing these exchanges, which pushes you to do your very best. It will be nerve-wracking at times, but that is the very thing that makes me try harder. We hope you'll stop by to visit, here.