Friday, July 31, 2009

Baubles of Flesh

Couldn't get to sleep again. Found this squinty-eyed preacher man on early morning TV who had the most interesting wrinkles around his mouth. He stayed in the same position long enough to get a decent sketch.

I think the U.S. flag lapel pin is a de rigueur accessory for preachers nowadays. Heaven forbid someone think them unpatriotic.

Showed the sketch to Hubby. He said, "Oh! Walter Cronkite!"


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mow Down Your Thirst

Another one-minute sketch while Hubby went inside. Dang these efficient convenience store clerks!

I didn't catch what the poster for "Mow Down Your Thirst" was advertising, but I think it's odd the guy has a backpack leaf blower instead of a lawnmower. Advertising Fail?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Four in the Morning

It was one of those nights where sleep was elusive.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lunch in Copenhagen

Showed this sketch to Hubby. He said, "Oh! Benjamin Franklin, how nice!"


Photo "Lunch in Copenhagen" by gabrioladude
Used with permission.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Attack of the Sleep Monster

Today the Sleep Monster got me and wouldn't let me go. Slept most of the day. I guess I haven't been getting enough shut-eye.

Betcha didn't know Sleep Monsters were purple, did ya???

Friday, July 24, 2009

Childhood Treasures

I thought it would be a neat idea to do a series of all my treasures. The first one I wanted to paint was a seashell. I've moped around for four days now doing everything but painting that little seashell. I couldn't get motivated. I did other things, drew other stuff. Something just didn't feel right.

So today I gave up on the whole treasure series idea and started putting everything back in the treasure box. Then the monkey spoke to me (figuratively) and I sat down right then and drew and painted him and his buddies.

I guess the little seashell didn't want to be drawn or its story told. Sometimes that's just the way it goes.

Process notes:
Painting has improved; composition has tanked. :(

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Smudge Study

Daddy was away overnight so Smudge and I piled up in bed with all manner of art supplies and watched Sherlock Holmes and Bob Hope movie marathons on TCM. We stayed up all night long (or maybe that was just me) while I cut and pasted bits in my big leather sketchbook and then doodled a bit.

Smudge was sleeping like log at the foot of the bed so it was a primo opportunity to draw her. When I finished the first sketch and was looking around for something else to draw, she awoke, gave a big stretch, and rearranged. Goody! A new pose.

But now she could sense me looking at her and wouldn't be still. Oh well, cats have never been known to be good models. The second and third poses were a bit rushed because she was antsy and I was trying to "git 'er drawn" before she moved again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Albert the Dog-Nosed Fish

I was deleting photos off my computer the other day and found one of my fish lapel pin. "Wow" I thought to myself, "That's a really great design!"
(Maybe that's why I bought it in the first place, duh!)

I guess the fish theme got stuck in my head because pretty soon I had a little nagging voice in my brain saying, "The Adventures of Albert the Dog-Nosed Fish." Arrggghh! Last time that little voice nagged me I drew a bunch of hotdogs.

The more I tried to draw something else, the louder the naggy little voice became. So with a big sigh I picked up the doodle sketchbook in an attempt to draw the mess out of my head.

I started sketching, trying to figure out how to turn the pin shape into a cartoon fish that was cute, plus quick and easy to draw.

You can see the exact fish in the pin, then my creative process working down the right-hand side of the page and across the bottom, then up the left side a bit as I tried to perfect it.

A lot of the tries made the bottom tail separation look like a mouth. Even when I drew a cartoon mouth, it still looked like a mouth...a fish with two mouths.

I couldn't get him quite "jowl-y" enough so I decided to go digital before I drew 1,000 not-quite-right fishes. I colored in the ones that were closest to my vision, and let the boo-boo fish be in the blue background.

I liked the little guy in the lower right-hand corner the best. I really liked how his tailfin looked, so he was my model when I started the digital drawing.

Worked on the shape and colors, and the fin separation on the back tailfin. Here's the final Albert, all ready for an adventure.

Done in Microsoft Paint using a Wacom drawing tablet

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chinese Chop

Woot! Proud of this one!

As I was drawing this I kept hearing Danny Gregory's words in my head:

"...people who have nothing better to do than to hunch over a little book and fill its pages with lines and colors..." and "...the simple visceral pleasures of hypnotic crosshatching."

Monday, July 20, 2009

At the DMV

A quick five-minute (if that) sketch in the new little pocket sketchbook. Our DMV is so efficient that's all the time I had.

Hubby has no patience when it comes to letting me sit and sketch, even if it's for a minute or two.


Color added at home.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Paint Doodles

Playing with paints on a notepad with sister quotes, letting the thing become what it wants. I'm just along for the ride.

This last one was originally my paint mixing test pad while I was painting another sketch. Then I started playing around with various color combinations and liked how it looked. Added a few more splotches, then simply drew around the shapes the paint made.

I like the scribbly-scribbly look of this.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Art Supplies 3

$8.79 for a 5 ml tube of Winsor & Newton watercolor is ridiculous anyway. I can get the 14 ml tube elsewhere for $11.00. Sheesh.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cat Toy

The little bird probably was blown from the nest during the hellacious windstorm earlier in the evening.

I never know quite what to do in these situations....intervene or let nature take its course.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Paintbrush Holder

Hubby was smart, he came inside in the cool to drill the holes. He made me go back out in the 107° heat to do all the sanding. I decided not to paint or stain the block. With the way I splatter paint the raw wood should develop a pretty interesting patina after a while.

Yesterday I read a blurb from a watercolor instructor who said the biggest mistake beginning watercolorists make is they use too much water. It makes the colors dull and pale. So today I got the paint just wet enough to spread and flung some bright, bold color. I like it a LOT! If I could just get my scanner to show it. Sigh.

I still have to find the correct formula for shadows that my scanner will recognize! They are a nice purpley-gray in my journal today but came out this weird sandy brown color in the scan. Ugh. In the last few journal entries the shadows scanned just fine. Some mixtures scan correctly and some don't. I guess I need to do a color chart scan test.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Magnifying Glass

EDM #232 - Draw the last thing you bought

I have come to the conclusion that my style of drawing is cartoony.

Oh sure, I can do other styles and I will, but day to day it's probably going to be cartoony. That's just how it seems to come off the end of my pen.

I'm not gonna fight it any more.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cicada Husk

(click to embiggen)

Uncle Buck is a native Texan currently living in a high-rise in downtown Chicago. He is a blogging buddy on the non-arty side of life.

We talk about how we're fixin' to do stuff and tumping things over. He's the one person I talk to who knows about tanks and bar ditches. LOL!

We whoop and holler and get our Southern on.

Edit: For any non-Texans, a tank is a small body of water where cows get a drink. The rest of the world calls this thing a pond. I just realized some folks may think I'm talking about the military vehicle with the big gun on top.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Soccer Crazy

I had only the line of the front bumper and roof of the SUV drawn when The Neighbors came out to leave. Ack! The nerve of some people! LOL!

I leapt from the porch to catch the details that had been hidden behind my tree. I stood in the yard madly scribbling as they prepared to leave.

As they passed by I tried to capture the wheels, wheel wells, and side details. As they turned the corner I tried to catch the rear window, cargo hatch and rear bumper. Some things are a guess on my part.

I'm pretty sure sketching in public isn't supposed to be at 15 MPH as it rolls past!

Luckily the houses stayed put.

Mansion House 1 & 2

These are the first sketches in the new Hand*Book Journal. I was horrified to find that the watercolors bled through. Argghhhh! That doesn't happen with my cheapo daily journal.

These are details from a historic house here in Our Town. The fruit swag is one of a matching pair of plaques on the western wall. "Plaque" is probably not the correct architectural term for it, but it's the best I can do.

Next is a leadfree sketch of the western entrance. I'm having trouble finding the correct watercolor formula for the side of the building in the shade. Mine keep coming out waaaay too violet. Any suggestions?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Right Brain - Left Brain

Days like today I struggle to find my creativity. Real Life keeps giving it a punch in the jaw.

The day started with Hubby saying, "The credit card bills and the electric bill came (Ow!); I think the truck clutch is going out (Ow!); there's no food in the house (Ow!); and I don't have any clean underwear (Ow, Ow, Ow!)."

I replied, "Honey, I think you need to go play golf....all day long."

Thursday, July 9, 2009


It was a giraffe kinda day I guess.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Einstein's Solitude

Some days solitude is what I need.

I held up my journal and asked Hubby, "What is it?"

He said, "Looks like Albert Einstein."


Drama Queen

Vicksburg National Military Park
Vicksburg, Mississippi

Statue of Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman, C.S.A. - Commanding First Brigade of Loring's Division - Killed May 16, 1863 near the close of the Battle of Champion's Hill, Mississippi.

I was drawn to this statue because of the sweeping gesture and the wild horse. The gesture is a bit melodramatic, don't you think?

There's probably a special place in hell for southerners who make fun of Confederate war heroes, but meh, there it is.

This was another attempt at watercolors without ink lines. I caved at the finish and added the ink details to the two faces and a bit around the cuffs.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Art Supplies

I love it when a box from Dick Blick arrives on the doorstep!

The "Paint with Jane" watercolor starter kit included the little 10 half-pan watercolor travel box and mini brush, eight 5x8 greeting cards made of heavy watercolor paper, a how-to CD, and a black marker for $12.97. (On clearance - 65% off!)

Immediately threw the marker away - it was crap. The cards will be cut in half to make 16 sheets to paint on. The paints in the travel pan are student grade but I can use them for adding bits of color in my journal. May watch the CD if my computer will behave.

All I really wanted was the empty travel pan to put my own paints in. Purchased separately it would have been $14.53. It was cheaper to buy it in the kit plus I got 16 sheets of nice Fabriano watercolor paper to boot. The paper, purchased separately, would have been $2.99. I have to stretch the budget these days.

I have no explanation as to why I purchased different brands of watercolors. I had them in my wish list on DickBlick and dumped the whole list in the cart when I bought the painting kit. I suppose I had my reasons at the time.

Love the square Hand-Book journal. The square sketchbook I'm using now is spiral-bound and has micro-perf pages that are in danger of being ripped out if not handled gently. I've read good reviews of the Hand-Book on the performance of the papers under inks and watercolors so I'm hoping I love that aspect of it too.

A very good day! Yay!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Donkey vs Horse

Text reads:
Hubby said my majestic bronze horse statue looked like a braying donkey. So I drew a donkey to show him they don't look anything alike.

Then it hit me...
...he had a point.



Hubby also had some snide comments about the donkey.

I think the ink lines drawn all over the horse improve it. I knew it!

Green Horse Statue

More watercolor practice. Experimenting with watercolors *without* laying down black ink lines. It feels so strange.

I painted just the shadows in purple and was going to leave it at that. Then I got the bright idea to wash it over with patina green. It looked too cold, so then I washed it over with Raw Sienna. Thought it looked pretty good. Well maybe it looks OK. Finally darkened up the deepest shadows a bit to make them pop.

Meh, the jury's still out.

Hubby says it looks like a braying donkey.


Photo credits:
Charmaine Swart, photographer

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Firecracker 4th!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday!

TV Faces

Up late at night sketching faces from a TV show on Secret Societies for practice. Each face appeared for 10 seconds at a time so I could only capture an eyebrow, then the curve of the cheek, then the contour of the hair. It took the whole hour to get them completed.


#1 - Did NOT look like Michael Jackson, but did have two little ball structures on the tip of his nose.

#2 - Beside the obvious problems around the eyes I think this guy may be recognizable.

#3 - Captured him fairly well. Loved his wild eyebrows and the explosion of hair on the right side.

#4 - This looks nothing like the dude. This was the guy with the politician's smile that kept saying, "Of course there are no secret societies, that's just silly."

Damascus Blade

EDM #218 - Draw a Knife or a Blade

A Damascus blade is made by folding the metal over on itself multiple times, then grinding and polishing it to expose the layers giving the metal a visible grain pattern.

Making a Damascus blade is extremely labor intensive and considered to be a fine art among metalsmiths. My brother-in-law is a really sweet (and talented) guy.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Pink Hydrangea

(click on drawings to embiggen)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Riverboat - Tight vs. Loose - Two Sketches

First sketch - Tight - Fail

Worked on this first sketch for about 45 minutes and wasn't pleased with it. The proportions were wonky (drawing lead-free) and there was too much dead space on the top deck. The only thing I liked was the contour line of the trees. I did however enjoy the zen of all that crosshatching.

What drew me to this scene was the bright red smokestacks. That's all I really wanted to capture, but two red sticks and nothing else would look funny.

Found a quote by Andrew Wyeth

"If you clean it up, get analytical, all the subtle joy and emotion you felt in the first place goes flying out the window."

Exactly! I had analyzed all the joy out of this.

Started over just trying to capture the smokestacks and the essence of the rest. The second sketch took 2-3 minutes, tops. The proportions are still wonky, but they are joyfully wonky.

Second sketch - Loose - Joy! LOL!

I can see an improvement in my watercolor sky and clouds. I didn't fight with it so much this time. Practice, practice, practice! I like the way the distant riverbank came out gray and hazy. That's just lucky happenstance.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Watercolor Practice

Painting with abandon, smearing paint around to see how it mixes, flows and dries.

The little bird below started life as a pear. I showed the freshly painted pear to Hubby and he guessed it was a parakeet. I'll admit it looked more like a bird than a fruit, so I just went with it. Painted in some feetsies and a branch and Viola! a bird!