Monday, February 27, 2006

Moleskine 2

Posted by Picasa I just get fonder and fonder of this little sketchbook! Downtown Knoxville, sketches from going to and from work on the weekend -- dated Saturday, although it really spans Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Those little squares stamped onto the paper (Friday night) helped break the page up into workable bits for a busy person. * The "bike route" rubber stamp and red postal cancellation is left over from a darker period, one of becoming fascinated more with the art that was being included in some rubber stamp lines than the whole rubber stamping thing itself. I've had the date stamp for years, and have used it on and off in journals when it seems to fit ... there's something satisfying about "whamming" one of those little date stampers!

If you look really closely (or double click the image to enlarge) you'll see places on the left page where the Dr. Ph Martin's watercolors seeped through the paper -- but only on those few places where the paint was worked heavy and wet.

*I was going to draw a grid in ink, then I saw this post by the Mistress of the Moleskine, Amanda of Craftmonkeys fame. She's truly an original and an inspiration -- and if you've never visited her, go now!

Friday, February 24, 2006


Dear Daughter,

I am sorry to report that I continue to spend your meager inheritence on art supplies. One day I'm sure I will have enough of them, and will be able to stop.


I stopped by the art supply store today and picked up a long coveted set of Dr. Ph Martin's liquid watercolors. The colors are truly INTENSE, but I'm delighted to say that they work well on the Moleskine sketchbook paper!
(They also worked great with a dip pen ... oh, the possibilities...)
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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Lemon Tag

Still working on yellows, so here are some lemons. You guys are right ... a little purple wash, very light, is just the thing for the shadow side of the lemons. Posted by Picasa
And, by the way, I've been tagged by Patrick. (go see his drawings of Stella ... what a sweetie!)

Four Jobs I’ve Had
1. waitress
2. selling clothes in the mall (for two whole miserable weeks)
3. paratrooper
4. art director ... oh no, wait, 3 & 4 were Patrick's answers ... bookkeeper and therapist would be my answer! (One of my patients once called me his "physical terrorist"...)

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over
1. any of the Lord of the Rings movies
2. The Usual Suspects
3. The Fifth Element (I know it's crazy, but I love every single character in this movie -- it is the PERFECT science fiction movie in my opinion!)
4. I can't think of another one ...

Four Places I’ve Lived
1. Miami, Florida
2. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
3. Tyler, Texas
4. Knoxville, Tennessee

Four TV Shows I Love
1. Lost
2. Survivor
3. Gilmore Girls (reminds me of my daughter!)
4. The King of Queens (reminds me of my hubby...!)

Four Places I’ve Vacationed
1. Mexico -- the Yucatan
2. Colorado
3. Nevada
4. Canada

Four of My Favorite Dishes
1. Good, fried fresh caught walleye -- (especially the cheeks! yum!)
2. New York Strip Steak, coated in my very own secret Cracked Pepper rub, cooked medium rare
3. Falafel from Vic and Bill's deli on North Broadway!
4. Cantaloupe (okay -- nearly any fruit)

Four Sites I Visit Almost Daily
OKAY, now -- there are a lot that I visit nearly daily! How do I list just four?
1. Laurelines - because I always learn something from her work! (but don't we all?)
2. Patrick's Blog - because he is always outdoors, doing cool stuff (and I love his dog pics)
3. Diahn's Blog - because she's my local drawing buddy and I love her stuff!
4. Karen's blog - because she's my baby sister who never used to think she could draw, because some cheap slob who called himself a high school art teacher was a *insert series of words of your personal choice* and now she's finally realizing that of course she can do whatever she puts her mind to and is actually pretty doggone good at it! Go see it. Tell her hi. Tell her that her big sister loves her, (but remind her that I can still kick her butt anytime I want to.)

Four Places I Would Rather Be Now
1. Florida, visiting the dear daughter and her sweet hubby! oh, and the puppy ...
2. Arizona, taking a botanical drawing class with baby sis
3. But, hey, I kind of like where I am right now ...
4. Hmmm... did I mention Colorado?

Four Bloggers I Am Tagging
1. Jim ('cause he's been so doggone quiet lately)
2. Bonny
3. Lin
4. Robyn

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Watercolor Workbook

Posted by PicasaIn a recent discussion on the "Art Workbooks" list, I mentioned my watercolor notebook. Karen asked that I post some of the pages -- did she realize how terribly boring it would be? The first page of the notebook is a diagram of the palette used in my watercolor class, with each color listed and numbered.
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The next part of the notebook (which is a 9" x 12" Canson All Media book) has each page divided in half, with each half devoted to a color on the palette. There, I painted a good sized square of the color, never minding that I didn't get a good even wash, obviously! I now have a place to put notes about the color -- notes that I get from class, from various books, from comments on the mailing lists I belong to, or from my own experience. I'm very interested in how the pigment actually acts -- is it transparent or opaque? is it granulating? is it lifting or staining, and how staining is it? how well does it mix with other colors -- does it dominate or get lost in the mix? This is the kind of information that I'm trying to learn and know so completely that my color choices are logical and (hopefully!) intelligent, and based on more than it just being a "pretty color".
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The next section of the workbook is a growing number of color charts. So far there are green charts, brown charts, charts of darks and lights, shadow color charts, and so on. All these charts are based on assignments given by my watercolor instructor, who will give us a chart that she has done, and let us work on "matching" her colors at home. I've found that it's one thing to mix a green, it's quite another to exactly MATCH somebody's green. This has been really good practice for me -- the next step, though, will be to match up the how and why you use these mixes, based on the knowledge I'm learning about each individual pigment.

You'll notice on this chart that I really can't ever play completely by the rules. I had to go back on a bunch of the colors and play around with how well they lifted. It's like a compulsion!

Anticipating that there will be lots more charts and other exercises, color mixing notes, etc., I've left plenty of pages blank before I started the next section...
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I started this section at the back of the book and am working my way forward with it, which lets me be sure of plenty of blank pages to work on in the center of the book. This section is made up of all my other colors -- what I call my "illegal palette" (since they are not used in my class.) I still collect notes about them, and use them on and off ... several of them will become permanent additions to my palette once the class is over, I'm sure.

This cobalt violet is one of those colors that I never used to appreciate, and now think it would be fun to use in some background mixes for landscapes.

The manganese blue is an old tube of Holbein -- the real thing, not the new "hue", and is therefore precious. Since I've been learning about the behavior of the pigments, I really appreciate its very granular quality. Isn't that something?

Some of the pages are even less organized than this one, and there are plenty of notes referring to another color on another page (for example, Winsor Red on page 6 has a note referring it to Winsor Red Deep on page 46, and so on.) I have this notebook open when I paint now, and can flip around in it as I go, reading notes, as well as adding to my notes. I've only used the front side of each page, leaving myself the back of each page for room to grow.

And that, Karen my dear, is how I use my watercolor workbook! If anyone has any ideas about how to make it an even more useful tool, I would LOVE to hear them!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Oh Yaller

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Its fun to go to the grocery store at about 4 p.m. on Valentine's Day and just hang out in the floral department section. Lots of nervous looking guys wandering around clutching flowers and candy, obviously wondering if there wasn't something else they should be getting and wondering why they put it all off until the afternoon of ...

And why was I at the grocery store? Not getting late Valentine's supplies -- all has been covered (and thank you, sweetie for the early flowers :-) Nope, I was looking for yellow produce to use for color studies. Why didn't I think to make red the color for the month of February? It would have been easier!
There's still much to do with the color yellow. It is so hard to make yellow shadows without making mud! The forsythia will be blooming soon, and I have a funny feeling that they will be rendered in colored pencil or pastel, rather than watercolor, unless something clicks for me!

(ahem.) This also goes out to those in the EDM group who have been talking about posting our "failures" and practice sketches. Yep. That's pretty much what I would call these! But I'm learning from them -- I'm learning and having fun and that's what is important! So don't be afraid to play!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Strange Hiatus

It has been an unusual couple of weeks for me. Not busy or really bad so much, but more like a noisy case of the hiccups while delivering the State of the Union address (in other words, a memorable interruption of no great consequence). Anyway, I hope to be back on track very very soon. Right now, I'm off to try and UNPAINT a bathroom wall, then maybe I'll be able to get around to painting some of those yellow studies I'd planned on doing before the spring flowers bloomed! Posted by Picasa