Painted Circles (and MM scraps)

I was experimenting with a technique I found on YouTube called painted circles.  I wasn’t overly thrilled with it, but I do think it has promise for another time.   When I was finished, I glued it into my humble Canson sketchbook and called it a night.

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This is the result.   It’s acrylic paint, Neocolor II crayons, a torn book page (I hate to tear books, but this one was reallllly bad, so it was actually gratifying)….and that’s about it.    There’s some scraps from the painting I just cut up in there too. I’ve been in a “play with color” place lately, but I’ll be picking up my faces challenge again soon!

Enjoy your Tuesday. I hope you find time to play today. It’s good for you. Peace.

Little Dog Grieving (#23 & #24): 100 Face Challenge

Sometimes an image I find will grab me so hard that I must draw it immediately.   This image from Meg at Little Dogs Laughed was such a photo, for me.   I didn’t even make it through breakfast before drawing it once in colored pencil:

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and then again, this time in Copic 0.1 mm gray ink with Derwent Graphitint watercolor pencil overtop.

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Because what drew me to this photo so strongly was the expression on her dog, Hubble’s face. And I wanted to focus much more on it.  My goodness.    Such emotion!   Animals know so much more than we give them credit for.     And they can be much more intuitive than humans.   I want to thank you, Meg, for inspiring me with your lovely photo.   This one really knocked my socks off.

Peace, wags and whiskers to us all!  Enjoy your Wednesday.

Redbird …. or not? (#18): 100 Face Challenge

I want to thank Kathy at Backyard Bird Nerd once again for inspiring me with a lovely photo of a cardinal.    I almost didn’t add color to this, but I did think to take a photo beforehand this time.  🙂

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What do you think?   Better with, or without?  It’s nice when we can look back at an image, or see the stages along the way.   I often go into a creative trance and forget to take photos during the process.    I love color, but sometimes those pen lines look fine as is, and the color can be a bit much.   I’d love to hear your thoughts.   I believe this was Graphitint and Inktense watercolor pencil, and a General’s sketch and wash (water-soluble graphite) pencil.   With Copic 0.1 mm fineliner underneath.

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And I hope we are all joining the birds today in whistling a happy Friday tune!    Peace and pigskins (that’s football for my friends outside the States) to all!

Pine Warbler (#16): 100 Face Challenge

If you ever need a bright spot in January, just head over to Kathy’s place at Backyard Bird Nerd, where I was met with yet another stunner last week.

011316Birds were the first thing I became interested in drawing when I got started over a year ago, and I think they are still my favorite subjects.    I got help from Derwent’s Graphitint and Inktense lines of watercolor pencils with backup from a General’s Sketch and Wash watersoluble graphite pencil and a touch of Polychromos colored pencil to finish!    Not to mention an amazingly clear, crisp shot of a wing-ed masterpiece!

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pine warbler in real life.   Isn’t he a beauty?    Thanks again, Kathy!   Happy Wednesday to all.   May yellow birds of happiness follow you everywhere you roam today!    Peace.

Birdies in my Reader: 100 Face Challenge (#14)

There are many photographers here on WP whose work I’m privileged to see daily, and one of my very favorites is Kathy at Backyard Bird Nerd. Her recent post of three stunning bird closeups had me itching to grab a sketchbook.

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I’m focused on faces this year, but I really liked the perspective of the bird in Kathy’s photo, so I sketched a quick outline, then went back with Derwent’s Graphitint and Inktense watercolor pencils to liven it up a bit. I also used a General’s Sketch and Wash water soluble graphite pencil for a bit of depth in the eye and beak.   (I really like those pencils in particular just for sketching with Strathmore’s mixed media paper.   Lovely creamy feel to that pencil.)

I want to thank Kathy for her friendship and encouragement, and for helping me and many of the other artists here out with reference photos for Draw a Bird Day every month! So I’ll be featuring several of her photos this week.    I also want to thank my friends Kerfe and Nina at Method Two Madness for hosting January’s edition of Draw A Bird Day.   If you’d like your artwork to be included in the compilation this month, post a link to your work here.   We like to celebrate our winged friends on the eighth of every month!

Happy Monday, and just think…..the days are getting longer every time the sun rises and sets. Spring will be sprung before we know it! Peace and plumage to all.

100 Face Challenge: Study for Madonna with the Yarnwinder (#10 & #11)

I’ve been enjoying copying the work of other artists, and so I decided to try this sketch from the great Leonardo da Vinci.  I tried a quick preliminary sketch first, with a Caran d’Ache Technalo watersoluble graphite pencil.  I wanted to see the lines, so I didn’t hit it with the water at all.   I’m finding I really like the look of a sketch done with water-soluble graphite.    It gives an interesting depth, and almost gives the feeling of charcoal on my mixed media paper, without so much smudging.

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The original work was so beautiful that I had to try again, this time with just a B graphite pencil on the same mixed media paper (just different lighting).   I was much happier with this effort.

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I look forward to revisiting this one again when I can take more time with it.   Such lovely lines in the original!    I’m learning so much right now from the work of others.    What a joy to try and recreate!    I’m enjoying this face challenge so much!

Enjoy your weekend and I hope you dance!

My creative goal for 2016: 100 faces!

Is anyone setting any creative resolutions for 2016? After a year of making art daily, I’ve learned that of all the subjects I’ve tried, I enjoy faces most. So I’m setting a goal to do 100 faces in ’16. For me, anything with eyes and a mouth counts as a face (yay, birdies included).   I’ve been sketching up a storm this past month, and really loving it.

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On Christmas Eve, I sketched a friend’s dog with a Polychromos colored pencil from a photograph. Sheldon was a challenging subject (and darned cute, to boot)! He was also lots of fun, and his owner was really happy with the drawing, which was very cool. So far, I’m finding dogs easier to draw than cats, and not sure why, as I’ve had a cat pretty much all my life, and haven’t had a dog since I was ten (still miss sweet Tippy, though).

Anyway……here’s my first dog drawing from a year ago, and I do feel I’ve improved some since then, so…..we’ll see where this goes. I’ll be trying faces in pen, graphite, pastel pencils, colored pencil, watercolor pencil, watercolor crayons and other water soluble media…..but I’d like to eventually work up to painting animals in watercolor.    I’m also planning to experiment with toned paper to spice things up a bit.  We’ll see what the year brings! Would love to hear about your creative goals for 2016!

Draw a Bird in December?

I couldn’t let December fly by without resurrecting Draw a Bird Day once again. I want to thank Kathy at Backyard Bird Nerd for a photo that just kept calling my name, and Ann at AnnChristina.com for a wonderful, emotive painting that just made me want to really try and capture a beautiful little wren!

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Wrens are such exuberant, lively singers, and they are so chippy and happy too. I fell in love with Ann’s recent wren painting, and wanted to try my own rendition with the same photo.   Ann gave me a great tip when I asked about her painting.   She sometimes uses colored pencil for the underdrawing, or to add depth to her work.   I really loved that idea, so I decided to try using watercolor pencil for the initial sketch.  Once I sketched in the wren, including the markings, and liquified the pigment, I let it dry before going back in with my Cotman travel watercolor palette.   Considering it was done with student-grade paint in my little mixed media art journal on my lap in front of the TV (vs. using good Arches paper meant especially for watercolor and sitting at a proper table with my full M. Graham palette), I was pretty happy with it. I have drawn many of Kathy’s lovely wren photos since, and I’ve even made some progress rendering bird feet since this painting was finished (which was kind of like my impossible dream, lol)!    I’m making the journey, people. 😀

I also wanted to share a few paragraphs from a book about drawing birds that I’ve mentioned before, “The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds” by John Muir Laws.   I have tremendous respect for this man, both as an artist and a teacher.   If you love birds as I do, and you’ve ever wanted to draw or paint them, let me assure you that you CAN do it.   It does take practice.   Just as you wouldn’t expect to sit down at the piano for the first time and play a symphony, you can’t expect to sit down and draw perfectly the first time either.   Drawing is such an amazing practice, much like meditation.    You will get back what you put into it, and I can tell you I’ve found rewards beyond anything I could have imagined when I started just over a year ago.

All my life I told myself I can’t draw because I don’t have “the gift”.   Well, often we believe what we tell ourselves, and in this case, I wasted over 45 years believing that!   I don’t want you to fall into the same trap.    Mr. Laws says it much better than I could here on page two of his wonderful book (please click the photo to enlarge):

I found this book at my local library, but if you have any interest in birds/making bird art, this may be one to purchase (or add to your Christmas list).    You may also want to check out the author’s blog and YouTube videos.    I promise you will be informed and entertained!    He is due to release a new book next month called “The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling”.   Based on my experience with this author, it’s sure to exceed my expectations.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season.   Hub and I set up his homemade nativity scene in the front yard over the weekend, and I’m looking forward to doing a post on it soon.   Until then, peace and joy to all!

Painted Art Quilt (progress post)

I have finally made some progress on my art quilt. You might remember the unbleached muslin panel I painted from this post. I added some layers of pigment to deepen some of the tones since then, cut it into three pieces (a scary prospect at the time), and I’ve finally assembled the quilt top!   (Click on the image if you’d like to see it more closely.)

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It is fairly small right now at 9 1/2″ x 12″, and I’ve added some hand quilting, but I haven’t bound it off yet. Not sure if I should add another border to it?     ***EDIT:   I’ve now removed the sculpture due to early feedback!***  The small white sculpture between the first two panes was made out of Sculpey (polymer clay) and fired, but not yet painted. I’m also thinking of possibly making small seagull beads from Sculpey and adding them to the top.   And might add a funky beaded fringe to the bottom.  Not sure if I’ll stop there or not!   The border fabric is a primarily dark green and blue batik fabric – not black, as it may first appear.   Here is the fabric next to an ivory piece, so that you can see the colors a bit better:

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I’d love to get your thoughts on this. As always, constructive criticism is helpful and most welcome. I would really like to open an online shop before Christmas and sell this kind of thing. I’ve wanted to do it for years, and just starting to feel the urge to really DO it. If you think it needs something added (or subtracted), please do let me know! Thank you so much!   Happy glorious almost Autumn weekend to all!   Peace.