Tuesday, November 15, 2011

International Quilt Festival in Houston 2011

I recently attended the International Quilt Festival in Houston for the second year in a row. Not that I have even the remotest interest in quilting, but because I go to meet up with Shirley and any other acquaintances from blogland that attend. This year I also met Melanie Testa, Ricë Freeman-Zachery, and Jane LaFazio. I also made new friends: Roz (not Stendahl, but I somehow didn't get her card so I don't have a link!), Cheryl Sleboda and Judy Coates Perez. I loved being around so many creative people!

Our first stop was the vendor section. I began perusing all the gadgetry and baubles and knickknacky-type stuff so popular with mixed-media artists. I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of it and by the crowd of people around me. And then I learned a big lesson from Shirley. I glanced over to where I had seen her last and there she was, already sketching. She had pulled this old lock out of a basket and wasted no time getting down to business. So I joined her. I added the paint and the border later at home.

It is quickly becoming a tradition with us to head over to the art-dolls for some sketching time. The above doll is called "Allergic to Dogs" and is by Neva Waldt. It was among the most popular of the exhibit. And as I stood in front of this one sketching, getting jostled about by others trying to get a better look, I felt a bit of annoyance with me for taking the best viewing spot. I stood my ground though, sketched quickly, so I could get out of the way.

I was worried about adding the paint to this. I've been working in a giant sketchbook with drawing paper in it which turns everything grayish. I was beginning to believe that I had forgotten how to paint with cleaner colors. But all fears were laid to rest with this. Though the scanner hardly does any justice to it at all, the colors are rich. I'm very happy with this one; I wish you could see it in person!

This was another very popular doll. Everyone's first response was to laugh, and then lean in to appreciate the wonderful face, which is made of cloth by the way. I sketched this one from a photo. It was only when I started writing in the information on the page that I realized it was also by Neva Waldt. This one is titled 'Myrtle Hits the Beach'. Isn't that t-shirt she's wearing a riot? I've seen them around and wondered who would wear such a thing, but somehow it seems perfect for her. I went back through my photos and realized that of the five taken of the dolls, three of them were from this artist. What talent!
I'm really disliking my scanner. I had to go in and darken the blue background and the gray of her hair just to get the colors to show. I liked it better before, but I'm still happy enough. I'm thinking about making the background darker so she pops out better. Think I should do it?

This one was done in that big sketchbook that turns everything gray. I never intended it to be the sketch of this doll that I post, but liked the way she turned out. It is called "Fine Feathered Friends" and is by Nancie Roach. The doll had such a pretty face!

And here we are! I think if I smiled any harder my cheeks would burst! I had such a great time, I hope even more of you can make it next year!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

You've been missed, my friends!

 Wow, did things ever get complicated around here.  Some of you know from our EDM group, or from comments that I've made, that I was in the process of moving to Idaho back in late May.  Well, I'm still here in Houston, having just gone through one of the worst (that would be HOT, HOT)  summers I ever remember.  Oh well, it is a very long story, but the short of it is, I stopped drawing, and when  I started again everything I did was really really bad.   I'm back on track now.  I finished up two sketchbooks and I'm over halfway through a third (huge one, 11 x 14).  It has been too hot to sketch outdoors, so the internet has been my friend. Of all those pages that I've filled, I only scanned twenty five of them because most of them are figure drawings and I don't want to have a blog filled mostly with sketches of nekkid people!   It took me ages to figure out which scans I did want to include in my first post back.  I'm afraid I couldn't resist picking out most of my favorites.  Not that I don't like the rest, but there's a little less color on the other pages. 

This sketch (above) is done directly in ballpoint, watercolor, and on regular drawing paper (as are all of the sketches in this post--in a sketchbook with 'drawing' paper).  The model was on the figure drawing tool here.  At least, that is where I thought I saw her.  I'm on that site a lot though, and I've not seen her again since.  Maybe they took that one off? 

 Hmmm...I can't remember where I got this photo either.  Probably the same site.  What I really like about this sketch, is that I did it directly in ballpoint pen and if you look closely, you'll see that I didn't make many mistakes in my first lines.  I didn't have much to correct.  Her right arm doesn't look quite right now that I look at it on here.  Yep, I think the foreshortening is a little off.  Even so, I'm really happy with it.  That dark looking shadow on her lower back is actually a tattoo. 
Well, since I can't be sure where I got this, here are links to the sites I go to for photo references:


 This giraffe was also done directly in ballpoint.  I was going a little faster with it, got tired of making the spots, so I just finished it up with the watercolor.  I like the sketchiness of it and would be very happy if every sketch turned out as well when done this quickly. 

I've sketched so much lately that I've been hitting that zone where everything seems to come easily, the first time.  On these days there is very little need for an eraser. Though I still get days when I'm just off, and everything is a struggle, and I erase, erase, and erase!  Happily, the on days now outnumber the off ones.   I recently went back through some of my older sketchbooks, and I can actually SEE some improvement.  This of course makes me want to sketch even more!  
 Okay, this is a truer idea of how most of my sketchbook pages look.  Mostly pencil sketches, not very much overlapping or unity of the page (I'm working on that!).  These are quicker sketches.  I especially like the two bottom horses.  The bottom right horse is actually a pretty good representation of how most of my sketches start.  Sort of a combination of contour, with gesture for arms and legs.  Then I go back and add in details, make corrections, etc.
 It was quite some time before I realized that the figure sketching tool that I linked to in the second paragraph also had an animal sketching tool.  That is where I got the references for these.  I really like the cat and horse to the right.  I can't wait to get back to a sketchbook that has actual watercolor paper in it.  I think (hope) they would have looked even better had I not had to fight with paper that dried almost as soon as it was moistened. 
Another one that I liked a lot.  Though I had to walk away a couple of times...those spots were driving me nuts.  It is pencil and watercolor

I wish that I could show you my current sketchbook in it's entirety.  It is by far my favorite.  Unfortunately, it won't fit on the scanner.  It is even hard to look at in person because I used it landscape-wise instead of the portrait because of its size.  It is spiral too and I always had the spiral at the top, so every page has to have the book tilt in the other direction  to see it right-side up.  That is something I didn't think about when I started this one!  But I am proud of it.  It has less 'bad' sketches than I have ever had.  And I have NO pages that I hate, unlike every other sketchbook that I have.  You know, those pages that you just want to go away and stop reminding you how bad you were that day?

Well, I hope that I'll be posting more frequently now.  It was hard knowing what to say after being gone so long and having so much happen in the meantime.  My temptation was to come on here and start at the beginning.  But believe me, that would take a week of posting everyday...big, long, wordy posts too!  So, I've hit one giant edit key, and hope I can just take off where I left last time.  Oh, and thank you so much for your emails.  I'm sorry I didn't answer.  It was one of those frozen-because-I'm-overwhelmed situations.  I currently have over 200 edm emails sitting unopened in my mailbox.  The more they backed up, the harder it got to even check my mail!  I'm going to make an honest effort to get through it all.  I'll be around to comment again very soon!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Breaking through the dry spell...

Remember this bust? I got her in January 2010 and I'm just now getting around to sketching her. I've not been sketching much at all lately--there is always something else that needs my attention, like cleaning or cooking dinner. I know it is nothing but procrastination, but unfortunately, it wins sometimes. No, I'm not proud of that fact, but there it is. Anyway, today was beautiful, in the eighties, sunny. I don't enjoy Texas summers much, so I figured I needed to spend as much time outside as possible before it gets here. I mean, eighties!!... in February!? Since the backyard is in that ugly stage it gets after dealing with a week of hard freezes, I picked the Diana bust off my desk to draw and carried all my supplies outside. This is modified contour in my Lamy Safari fountain pen with watercolor added. Limited palette of cadmium orange and pthalo blue. The colors on the scan aren't quite right, the background being more of a greenish blue.
One thing happened on this sketch that you wouldn't think would make me happy...but did. It has been a long time since I've really gotten into a sketch so much that the outside world fades away. If you look closely at her chin, you'll see a little 'blip' in the ink line. My husband had come through the back door, crossed about twenty feet of the back deck (wood, never quiet!), paused a sec, and then spoke. The noises had barely registered in my brain, so it startled me! Seems strange, perhaps, to be happy about something like that!?

I did this one yesterday and it is fairly obvious that I hadn't been sketching much. I did it for Julia Kay's portrait party. This is "Stacey" of staceysketches on flickr. Again, the scanner didn't quite get the colors right...the background is more of an orange color than pink. I wasn't happy with the results, but considering how rusty I was when I did it, I'll be thankful for what I managed!

This evening we went to Baytown and met up with my first cousin, once removed, who I hadn't seen 1986. I took my sketchbook, intending to draw in the restaurant (there were five of us, total, so the focus wouldn't just be on me). The thing is, I was too embarrassed to do it. It is easier for me to sit alone and sketch in public. If I'm with family, it somehow feels like I'm showing off. Do you sometimes get that? I read so many blogs where the artists do this all the time. Am I just being insecure?

Monday, January 24, 2011

First post in 2011

2011 started off very good for me art-wise. I was drawing, I was painting--I just wasn't posting. The words make me procrastinate. They are this huge mountain, a huge, insurmountable mountain. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to post without words now and then. In reality I like it when others use fewer words because it is easier to get through the hundred or so blogs that I check up on daily. Maybe I exaggerate, but only by a little.

This gal here I thought was from imagination. But, over on Yevgenia Watts blog, Watercolor Hands, I see a woman very similar(on the sidebar, three pictures down below her facebook icon) and I think I may have remembered it when I drew this. It isn't painted the same of course, but I can't help but see the influence. It is small: 1.5"x 2", watercolor and ballpoint pen.

These two are my paternal grandparents. I never met them because they both died when my father was a boy. I think about them sometimes, wondering what they were like. These were both painted on scraps and glued into my sketchbook. The one of my grandmother has the most resemblance. My grandfather didn't turn out very well at all, as far as likeness is concerned. He was very handsome. I suppose that teddy bear belonged to my father. They loved photography and we have a lot of pictures of them, just not any with both of them. Someone has to take the photo, right? I think I may revisit this and try to set them both up in the same picture. She died when my father was four, and on her picture, my grandfather wrote, "My Darling". I love that he did that.

This was done from a morguefile.com photo posted by earl53, ref#179348. I loved the sketch, but felt like I ruined the painting first thing by using a purple for the shading on the lighthouse. It was very sloppy, with me getting out of lines here and there. (obviously not concentrating!) So, I went over it with a micron pen. It's growing on me now. Definitely glad I didn't pitch it in the trash like I was tempted. In fact, I almost didn't even continue the painting after the purple, and only did because I viewed it as practice. My thought at the time was, well, it is already ruined so it can't hurt any.

Every thing else I've done this month has been of the doodle-type. A lot is happening around here, some things I cannot tell you just yet, but I'm excited about it. Dang, I'm terrible at keeping secrets and this one will drive me nuts! I best go now, before I slip!