Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Strangest Pencil

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! We have been without Internet for a bit, due to a bad cable modem, and are finally getting back up and running. Now I'm busy cleaning up all the holiday mess -- there's a Christmas tree to be hauled out back (when I can finally let it go -- as it gets older it smells more and more wonderful!) and furniture to be returned to it's regular arrangement. Art supplies can be pulled back out and painting resumed. Of course, there is a trip to Florida in the making, so some delays are inevitable.

All the gifts I received were delightful -- just what I wanted! Exercise clothing and gear, computer gadgets, music, and art supplies (or the cash to purchase them!) I just have to show you all the most unusual gift of the year, though! This is a graphite sculpture -- or "graphite object" as you may prefer -- designed by Agelio Batle in San Francisco. It was from my sister in Phoenix, selected on the advice of my thoughtful niece. It can actually be used to write or draw; I may do ONE drawing of a seahorse (from a photo from the Aquarium) with this, but then it will be display only! Pretty neat, huh?

You can see more of this type of graphite sculpture here.

And the end of the year is here -- which means it is time to review last year's plan (and how it did NOT go off as planned!) and make a plan for 2007. I've been mulling a few things over in my head for a few weeks now, and am nearly ready to finalize those goals ... we shall see.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Happy Holidays!

Saturday -- the last watercolor class of the year. I went in with nothing in mind, saw a poinsettia on a table, and, remembering that this week's Everyday Matters challenge was to do a holiday card, vowed to paint the entire thing in one sitting. Well, I didn't quite make it, and now the feeling is gone ... so here's what's left. What to do with that upper right corner, and exactly what was I thinking on the upper left??? If this gets finished it will be next year's Christmas card*.

Of course, we all know what the month of December means, don't we? This is probably the last serious post of the year. Christmas is irresistibly fun, in my book!

*This sketch from last December is what I used for a card this year, in a limited quantity. I ordered them through Qoop (via Flickr) -- and they really turned out nicely.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

EDM Apple

This is probably showing up larger than life! It is actually about 2 1/2" x 2 1/2". I was playing around with colored pencils on Colorfix paper (a sanded pastel paper) after seeing Maggie Stiefvater's amazing work in this medium. The whole drawing took 5 minutes or less -- the paper just pulled the color right out of the pencil! It was really like learning colored pencil all over again -- the paper made it a brand new medium! I think I'll grid off this whole sheet and work on all those EDM challenges that I'm behind on...

Note -- I got the paper in a pack from Jerry's Artarama. A full sheet runs about $7 or $8 -- BUT they had warm or cool color sampler packs in quarter sheets for $13!! It was a fun way to try something new. It wouldn't work at all for a sketchbook or journal -- the paper is thick and sanded, but it is a fun surface for colored pencil. I may have to grid off several sheets and do a sheet of veggies ... a sheet of fruits ... a sheet of flowers ... a sheet of leaves ... the list could go on and on! ;-)

And an extra big Happy Blog Birthday to Lin who has drawn every single day for a year. I bow at your feet, oh dedicated one! You are a joy and an inspiration! :-D

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Peggy's Cove

Started as a "sketch" in watercolor class while I waited for paper to soak, but I've become rather fond of this. Mostly I'm fond of the idea of going to this gorgeous place -- Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia. Anybody been there?

(There's still work to do on the water ... and it photographed terribly!)

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Still working on planning a painting of people on a beach, when I realized I'd NEVER successfully painted skin with watercolor. So, I found this photo of a boy in the sun and gave it a try. Sadly, this is the best I've ever done with skin tones (the improvement is good -- but where I'm still at is NOT!) Portraits themselves are not the problem -- it is rendering the smooth transitions and varieties of colors in skin that has me stumped.

I tend to dislike being a formula paint-mixer, but if anyone has suggestions for good skin tone mixes, please share! Meanwhile I'll keep working at it.

What I used -- base was a thiiiin mix of raw sienna, cad red, and a little cobalt. Then thin glazes of burnt sienna, some cad red, some cobalt, a quick streak or two of viridian and cerulean (not mixed), a little new gamboge or winsor yellow (can't remember which) to lighten it up in the sunny spots, I think a little indian red, and maybe even some winsor violet in some of the really dark darks. I did it all on 300# hot pressed Arches paper -- expensive paper to be practicing on, but it is what I THINK I'm going to be using. I started out soaking the paper for a LONG time per my WC teacher's instructions, since the very saturated paper helps the colors mingle better.

I'm not looking for critiques of the portrait itself (yep, there are flaws in the upper lip -- big time!) or the background (just a quickie to get it finished) -- I'm looking for ways to make that skin look really sun struck, with a nice deep summer glow in the shadows, and bright highlights, yet still smooth. Maybe I'm looking for too much! :-D PLEASE -- you wonderful portrait painters out there -- share your secrets! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 29, 2006

EDM Wings

A quick little study for a watercolor painting I'm considering. Fits right in with the Everyday Matters Challenge this week for "draw something with wings." All this painting and less drawing is beginning to take it's toll -- I had a tough time sketching a portrait (also as a study for the painting) because my drawing skills have gotten so rusty. Which clinches it for me -- it's important to draw SOMETHING everyday!

(technical stuff: Graphite & Cretacolor AquaMonoliths on Fabriano Studio paper with a litle water added)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Fun Friday in Fall

I took the day off from work today and went to Dollywood to work with my friend Marcia who has a booth there selling jewelry during the Arts and Crafts festival. Since it was raining this morning, with a forecast for rain, high winds, and cold all day, she advised me to bring my sketchbooks along, as business was likely to be slow.

Well, it rained sure enough, and sales were slow to start with, but we had plenty to do, and then it got a little busy, and I never got the chance to sketch a thing. Still, I managed to sneak out and take a couple of photos...

It's been years since I've been to Dollywood -- too many crowds and all that for me, but who can resist a place that has a carousel with a dragon on it?

... or a lovely deer?

...and, of course, I fell in love with this all together different kind of ride!

I know, I have to get back to work painting tonight -- the piece I've been working on for watercolor class is something I'm not real happy with -- it was an exercise in something and served the purpose, but now I'm starting something I really want to do. I promise to faithfully update! And there's STILL Venice .... and carousel horses ... and Diahn and I go to a silk-screening workshop tomorrow, so who knows what will become of that!?!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Wish I Was There

A quickie of the fishing pier on Okaloosa Island in Florida where my daughter lives -- watercolor done a few months ago based on a sketch I did last April. Next time I go to the beach, I really need to look at the waves -- I had the hardest time remembering what they MIGHT look like! :-)

Meanwhile, I got to enjoy my daughter and son-in-law and grandpuppy for a bit last week when they came in for a visit. The week before that, my in-laws were in and we had a great time running around with the neices and nephews. This weekend my parents are in and we've really enjoyed their visit. It's been a busy and fun month -- lots of family, which is great!

Mom tells me I need to update my blog more often -- and she's right. Again, I've let it go too long, although it only feels like last week that I put something up. I'm playing with bigger and bigger pieces, which means fewer things to show -- but still -- stay tuned -- I may be taking a virtual sketch crawl of Venice soon, courtesy of we-all-know-who!

Oh, and I'm going to try and switch over to Blogger Beta, which means this will all republish -- apologies to Blogliners! If anyone knows of any potential BB problems, PLEASE let me know before I switch! :-)

(Technical bit -- watercolor on 140# cold pressed WC paper)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Patrick Sullivans

A quick change from all the watercolor to a small colored pencil sketch of Patrick Sullivan's Saloon in Knoxville's Old City. Inspired by Janey's suggestion to use a 5"x7" Itoya Art Profolio, slipping loose sheets into the pockets. Also inspired by recent comments on the EDM list about a "bonus round" of travel drawings and drawings from your home town. Seems like we also had a challenge to re-do a previous challenge using a different medium? Anyway, this Knoxville landmark is one of my favorites. Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 04, 2006


This still needs some tweaking, and the pinks and greens just don't photo well, no matter what I try! :-)
Still -- I HAD to do something bright and cheerful, so this is it. Sorry for the long absence, but I found I really needed a break from it all, including keeping up with e-mails, etc. and decided that I would just take the month of August OFF.

But now I'm baaaaaaack......

(technical details: watercolor on Arches 300# hot press, 28"x16")

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Maybe gone too far -- something brooding about this one. There are several things I would do differently with this if I were to do it over -- less grey mixes, cobalt rather than cerulean in several places , the list could go on! I'm going to scrub out a little of the splatter at the bottom of the waterfall, and take another look at it tomorrow. Any suggestions for small fixes would be much appreciated, but I'm ready to be done with this.

NOW I'm ready to do something bright, and fun, and cheerful, and silly!

(The technical schtuff: 22" x 30" watercolor on 300# hot press paper) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Creeks and Such

I've been working the past few weeks on a full sheet watercolor of a mountain creek. It has turned out to be an ambitious project, and I've been at several "Oh S..." points on the painting, if you know what I mean! Tonight I was thinking of how I miss all my "blogland" friends and thought of this simple little WC sketch I did nearly two years ago -- much smaller than what I'm working on now, but still...

IF this monster turns out okay I'll share it with you guys.
IF you NEVER see it, well, you'll know that I've carried it down to the creek for a good ole Southern-style baptism ... 'nuff said.

I miss simple sketching. There has to be a way to find time to do both! Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 23, 2006

Passing Fancies

Just a thought...
Happy Friday to all!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Magnolia Bud WC

Posted by Picasa

This little watercolor is based on an ink sketch I did here in my Moleskine. It kept "calling my name" as they say, and I just had to do it. Since DH thinks I really ought to do SOMETHING to fund my art (and I have to agree with him, even though I have a full time day job) I'm going to be putting it up for sale (so if you're interested let me know ;-) .

I'm asking what you guys think about it -- what, if anything, does it need to make it feel more complete or better?

I happened to keep a record of how it progressed, too -- so if you're interested you can see it here.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


The last few weeks, I've taken a break from the computer (sorry to have just disappeared!) and have been painting and painting and will be posting something tomorrow (I hope!) Meanwhile, this is a photo from a trip to Ijams Nature Center the other morning with the two wonderful nieces from Arizona and our friend Marcia. Yep. Sometimes it IS all about the equipment ...
:-) Now, to catch up on e-mails, etc ... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Humming Along

I've been BUSY AS A BEE lately!

On a new self-imposed "health program" of eating right (organic and natural), exercise, stress management, and getting extra sleep, and am feeling better than I have in years! Problem is, it is time consuming right now. BUT -- I'm finally getting back in the groove!

~~I'm back to painting with some projects in mind and in the works ~~
~~I have a possible / probable commission for a CP portrait ~~
~~ And, if you'll look at the photo, you might guess that I got a brand new toy! ~~

Thanks to you all for all your recent comments, support, inspiration, and encouragement!
New art to come soon!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Despite the wonderful colors of spring, I can't seem to stop working in black ink in this book.

The other day I went to this web site for Tazo tea looking for a certain tea (I'm hooked on their Giant Peach tea and Mango tea) -- if you love a beautiful and thoroughly thought out web site, go see this one. It's one of the best I've seen in a while. Be sure to have your tea leaves read while you're there!

(Technical bit -- 0.05 Staedtler black pigment ink in Moleskine sketchbook -- and it's my next-to-the-last page! There's something satisfying about finishing a book and starting another!) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Magnolia Bud and Branch

Posted by Picasa The magnolias are budding and will soon be in full bloom. When we bought our house years ago, one of the first things I did was cut a magnolia bloom from the tree in the front yard.
Posted by Picasa Bud losing its outer covering while the first petal opens outward.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

First Lines of Backyard Sketch

Several people have asked how in the world I drew the chipmunk in the previous post, and I have to be sure that nobody thinks I actually drew that much detail in one sitting. This is the original sketch, with the bird detailed quite a bit more than the original few lines, and the chipmunk's ears started. I scanned it at this point for my sister's benefit, because I KNEW she would ask -- it wasn't really intended for everyone to see, but since it's been brought up ...

I was fortunate to spot the little chipmunk just a few feet away from me while I was sitting with my sketchbook in my lap. He froze for a few seconds -- long enough for me to do a quick few lines blind contour style, and remember enough for a few more lines after he dived down into the hole. I found reference photos for the coloration from this point, and then went back to his hole to draw the ground. Now, if you look closely, you'll see that the chipmunk could as easily have been a squirrel if I'd "fleshed it out" a little differently ... and don't let an ornithologist get CLOSE to that bird drawing, because he would probably tell you it's not a bluebird at all, no matter what color it is! And, looking at the bird, you'll notice that there are several different lines for the ovals of the head and body, and I really have no idea what a bluebird's beak really looks like -- the bird itself is really pretty generic! :-D Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Back Yard

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Minnie the Mooch
"She calls it 'Hi-dee-Hole' "
(Chip Calloway)*

Bluebird and chipmunk in the back yard. I started with quick line sketches, and then had to look up reference photos for colors (ain't Yahoo Image search great?!)

*with apologies

(Further details: 0.05 Staedtler pigment liner & Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils in Moleskine sketchbook)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Nature Walk

Posted by Picasa This week's challenge for the Everyday Matters group is to go on a nature walk* and draw the things you find and pick up. This was an easy one to do and a hard one to stop on! I did the above page yesterday, and couldn't resist this little feather today. I always was one of those who had feathers and rocks and shells sitting on the windowsills -- my favorite 3-D art!

*all from my back yard, which is pretty woodsy!

(technical bit: 0.05 Staedtler pigment liner and colored pencil in Moleskine sketchbook)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Percy the Pug

Posted by Picasa Percy the Pug -- the "grandpuppy" -- who I fell in love with this past week. We had the best time playing fetch with an old beat up, chewed up, and well loved purple monkey.
Posted by PicasaWhen he finally gets tired, like most other babies, he fights sleep. In a desperate attempt to stay awake he will run madly around the apartment in a figure-8 pattern -- what they call the "roast beef run" (it's a long story ...) Finally, when he can go no further, he collapses. What a cutie!

(Note: Yes. He really DOES look like Yoda.)

(The technical bit: 0.1 Staedtler pigment liner in Moleskine sketch book; color added with Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencil)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Florida vacation

Posted by PicasaWe spent this last week in Florida, visiting the Dear Daughter and The Son We Did Not Have To Raise. How nice to be "away from it all!" I managed to draw every day, including some drawing in public.

Posted by Picasa
I did several drawings while we were at the harbor. I guess being on vacation helps get rid of the "oh my gosh, people can see me" willies!

Posted by Picasa Some drawings while lounging on the beach -- hard to keep up with the little running sand pipers.

Posted by Picasa The fishing pier on Okaloosa Island. We walked out to watch the fishing. The Cobia were running, and it was fun to watch how people don't so much fish for them, as hunt the things!

Stay tuned for pictures of the darling grand-pug -- my new sweetie!

(done with 0.1 Steadtler pigment liner in Moleskine sketchbook)