Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lizard Toast


A green anole in his death throes, belly up on the doormat. Another victim of Cheezburger the Porch Cat.

Cheezburger brings us the remains of his garden hunting expeditions. He leaves them on the doormat for us so I always have to watch where I step when I go outside.

If they aren't quite dead yet, Cheezy will drop them in his food dish for safekeeping until they stop kicking.

Hubby found this one in the food dish earlier. When I asked if he was still alive, Hubby said, "Naw, he's toast" and threw him back in the garden.

Cheezy apparently retrieved him and left him on the doormat, again.

I was going to bring him inside to draw, but then he twitched. I felt sorry for the little guy but he was too far gone to rescue.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Playing with Primaries


The arty bloggers are doing primary color wheels today - cool, warm, bright, & muted. I'd never considered which primaries I had in my paintbox or if they were cool or warm. I just paint with the colors that make my soul sing.

These are my options for primary colors. I'm not sure Burnt Sienna is a red but I always refer to it as Brick Red.

I can see some combos I like:

The cool colors just don't melt my butter much.

(On the RSA BSA IND color wheel)
This didn't turn out very well. There's not enough contrast between RSA & BSA. Neither mixed well with IND.

(On the PLY MAG UML wheel)
These mixed well but the palette doesn't thrill me.

(On the GAM SCL CER wheel)
Love this warm palette but CER - SCL doesn't mix. Mud, mud, mud.
GAM - SCL makes a fab orange.

Hearts for these combos:
RSA - CEL; I like the greens but it would make a weird neutral.

Raspberries for these combos:

(In the middle)
Playing with paints seeing what I might learn. Not quite sure what I'm doing. Kinda gave up in frustration because I don't really get the point of color wheels. Then again, maybe I do.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day at the Farm


Lots of good food and family. Lots to be thankful for. Started the day with pie...ended the day with pie. 5 pies - 10 people - do the math. I'm very thankful for pie.

We came for the pie, we ate the pie, and, thankfully, we did NOT take pie home.

Between supper and seconds the men disappeared throughout the house to take a nap. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, the women gathered in the living room to talk about the men.

Sissy was snuggled in an afghan fighting the Nap Monster. I fetched my sketchbook thinking I would have an oblivious sketch target in a few minutes. Everybody laughed when they realized what I was doing and woke her up, dangit.

She wouldn't let me sketch her whole lovely self, so I had to settle for her legs and her itty bitty feetsies.

Yep, Size 6 is itty bitty. I wear Size 9. There's no fear of me tipping over.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Red Cat

This was supposed to be an orange cat but it got away from me. This is one of those instances where "it looked better 20 minutes ago."


This was also supposed to be more primative but I seem to have an addiction to shading and perspective. Now it's a weird mishmash of styles.

Le sigh.

If I could delete the red cat and the lamp it would be a pretty cute little sketch.

Oh well, it was just an experiment anyway.

Markers in big leather sketchbook

Doodle 11-24-09

What I do late at night when I want to draw but my brain is tired.

Black Sharpie writing pen
Colored Sharpies
Colored Sharpie Highlighters
Square Hand*Book Journal

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quilt Fever

Journaling says:

With all the talk of quilting recently I now have quilting fever. If not quilting, at least sewing.

Had to take my sewing machine in for repairs today because it was making a clacking noise. Hubby used it a while back to sew some heavy canvas and it hasn't been right since then. Grrrr....

(Below the quilt)
This is Grandma Icy's quilt pattern. Every quilt she made was just like this with royal blue connector strips and yellow corners.

She cut the pieces using patterns made from the thick paper of an old First Baptist church bulletin.

I would thread the needle of her old treadle sewing machine for her because she only had one eye and it had a cataract.

Grandma Icy was actually my great-grandmother. I would stay with her on snow days and the rare days I was home sick from school. She was about a hunnert years old and I was between seven and twelve or so.

We would sit together quietly, not a word spoken, for most of the day. She would sew and I would watch. I asked if I could cut out the quilt pieces but she wouldn't let me use her big shears.

She died the year before I got married.

I still miss her.

I TOLD Hubby not to use my sewing machine for the canvas because it's not designed to handle that kind of material. He said, "Oh, it will be alright. Don't get your panties in a wad."

Sure enough, it started making the clacking noise as he was finishing.

I could have wrung his stupid little chicken neck.


Process notes:

Broke out the Prismacolor colored pencils to add details to the quilt. Ohhhhh, it felt so good to use them again. I had forgotten how much I like using them.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Uncle Tony's Photo Album

Journaling says:

Worked all day on Uncle Tony's photo album because I wanted to include some genealogical information. Can't have a photo album without a family tree to figure out who all the people are.

Added the star paper as a background for the covers & spine. Added a triptych of Tony's pics on the front.
- First Communion - 1925
- Dashing young stud - 1940
- Balding & bespectabled - 1987

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Flowers in November

Journaling says:

This was the 25th Annual Worldwide Sketchcrawl, but it was too cold and nasty for me.

Found these potted plants in the garden thriving in the cold gray of November. The pentas I planted back in May and ignored through the drought of summer and monsoons of autumn. They're still putting out blooms.

The other pot had seedlings coming up that I thought were weeds but they have sprouted little cockscomb blossoms. Wonder where those seeds came from?

The pentas are amazing little plants. When I forgot to water them they just kept on growing. They are a full sun plant but haven't been in the full sun since late August. The blooms are still gorgeous.

I think I'll buy more of them next year. Woot!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bills, Bills, Bills

Journaling says:

Paying bills today. Somehow it takes all day to finish. I *hate* paying bills because my anxiety level always maxs out. This month wasn't too bad. We had a little bit left over at the end. First time that's happen in 18 months.

Listened to Fri. night football snuggled in bed in the dark. Our team won so we get to do this at least one more time.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Orphan Photos

I have become the unofficial archivist for all the childless people of the world. I love old photos and can't bear to think they will be tossed in the dustbin because no one is left to care....about the people, their lives, or the photos themselves.

In addition to Uncle Tony's album, I put together an album for Mom's aunt in California who had one son who died within six months of her. He never married or had children. I inherited their life histories in photos because no one else wanted them.

I also made albums for two of Mom's distant half-cousins who were sisters. One sister married but had no children. The other married and had a son, but he never married or had children. I found him living in the next town over about two years ago. I called him out of the blue to ask about some information in his maternal grandfather's obituary.

When he found out who I was and why I was asking, he said, "I'm an old man dying of cancer. I have a huge box of photos from Mom's side of the family. I have no children and the closet relative is a cousin from my dad's side. Nobody will care about these when I'm gone. Would you like to have them?" I nearly pulled a muscle getting out the front door.

So, for a while at least, the photos and the people in them will be honored. However I have no children. Who on earth will want my hoard of orphaned photos when I'm gone???

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wrapping Quilts

Each of the quilts for the triplets have a different color back to tell them apart. The back is the same color as the bottom strip of material on the front.

Mammaw Speck makes quilts for EVERYBODY. Half the pile this year are for nieces and nephews of her sons-in-law and daughters-in-law; kids whom she is not related to by blood or marriage. Golly, she's never even seen a photo of the triplets (I guess I need to remedy that.) The ballerinas are the second or third batch of quilts she's made for them and they're not even two years old.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lunch at Chinese Panda

Process notes:
Drew this in the emergency sketchbook while waiting for Mammaw Speck to finish. Painted after we returned to the farmhouse. Realized I should have extended the purple table surface further up the page. It looks like the plate is tipped up in the air. Oh well, live and learn.

I love how the stainless steel teapot turned out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

DePeeing the Workroom

I didn't stop and draw the yucky power strip of course. It went straight in the trash. I drew this when I got home.

I pulled the power strip from under Hubby's desk to use as a model. Discovered one of my cats had harched on it.


What is it with cats and power strips???

Damned cats.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Sewing Hoard

When I said "I gave her permission" it means she felt an obligation to hold on to those old fabrics simply because they were given to her. She thought she would hurt other people's feelings if their gift was given away. I tried to assure her that it would be OK to pass them on. They were given to her in the hope they would be used, so by keeping them forever she was dishonoring the gift in a way.

That may be some crackhead psychology, but she gave all that old crap the heave-ho. Mission accomplished.

All the quilting fabrics will go into tubs too as soon as we buy some.

Process notes:
I was going to call this "The Sewer's Hoard" but that just looked all kinds of wrong. :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Process notes:
I struggled with the composition of this one. I couldn't figure out where to put the people and ended up with lots of sky. Phooey. I considered fleshing out the figures more, or adding more people, but I thought it would make it go from bad to worse.

I painted in the sky first using wet-on-wet (which I hardly use in this journal) and realized no cloud in the sky tipped at a 45° angle. Sheesh, what was I thinking???? Painted the tree like a second-grader. Painted the tent and stuff under it, then took a frustration break.

When I came back to it I realized painting just the main subject matter and leaving the rest black and white was a cool effect. I wouldn't have come up with that on my own, dangit. Added a bit of shading to the figure and chairs and called it done.

Sometimes less is more. Must remember this.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Grieving Process

Funeral doings are hard on the waistline. Oy.
(Drawn in the emergency sketchbook.)

Sometimes the best thing to do is snuggle a cat or two. Or six.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Death in the Family

Mammaw Speck began calling the extended family and I looked up the names and numbers of folks to be notified. Then, feeling about as useful as the hind tit on a boar hog, I starting drawing.

Once all the phone calls were finished Mammaw Speck started cooking. Here in the South we are hardwired to cook when somebody dies. It's a biological imperative.

Usually the funeral cooking gets delivered to the family. Since we *were* the family, we ate the pie. All of it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Celedon Ducks

I've looked forward to this trip for months. I have the honor of the world's sweetest mother-in-law. I cherish her friendship.

We giggle like schoolgirls, share secrets, bitch about men, and sit around in our pajamas chatting away the morning. It's splendiferous whenever we get together and make her son stay home by himself.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

WIP - Oil Production Station

Work in Progress
8.5" x 11" in big sketchbook
Pigma Micron 005 pen

I'm not quite happy with this. Something is missing but I can't decide what exactly. There needs to be more contrast, more blackness.

I can't decide if I want to mess it up with more pen ink, brush pen ink, a monochromatic watercolor wash, or a full color watercolor painting. Hummm...

At this point I think I should sleep on it and view it with new eyes in the morning.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Waiting for Chicken

Then she turned, squealed, and gave me a big hug. Uh Oh. Think, think, who is this girl???

When the squealing and hugging was over I had to confess to her I had no idea who she was. Turns out she was a workplace bud of Hubby's from a few years back. I had met her eons ago but didn't recognize her, only her name. Before all was said and done she squealed and hugged just about everyone in the place.

Process notes

While I was waiting for Hubby to work his way down the line, I was studying her french braid and soft tendrils of escaping hair. Oh, oh, oh, I so needed to draw that.

I calculated the pace of the line and figured I could get in a quick sketch of her and her curly haired companion before we got to the order window. They were engrossed in conversation and completely oblivious to me standing behind them. I had just pulled out my emergency sketchbook when the hugging and squealing started.

We all visited until we got our orders placed, then sat down to wait. Miz French Braid was chatting up a couple right by us, so I got a good view of her braid again. Filled in the curly haired lady from memory (she had since disappeared).

The guy leaning on the cabinet pondering his supper choices really had a pointy head like that. I drew it as I saw it but the drawing looked too pointy for reality. Did a surreptitious double check of the guy, then the drawing, then the guy again, and the drawing, and yep, his head really was that pointy. Yikes.

The young couple on the left had a new baby with them. The girl had the most beautiful long, sleek, black-almost-blue hair. Gorgeous.

The old guy sitting across the dining room waiting on his order realized I was drawing him and I think it made him nervous. Sorry dude, didn't mean to worry you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

15 Seconds of Fame

I was thrilled and honored to find my little sketch blog had been listed in a article "10 Inspiring and Idiosyncratic Sketchblogs." Woot!

Author Katherine J. Chen wrote:

"Speck’s artwork is surreal and imaginative, yet also grounded in everyday reality. On the same page, she can draw a purple Sleep Monster as well as a quick sketch of the local DMV. Her drawings and watercolors are usually labeled with captions that personalize her work, followed by her own scathing criticisms of each piece. Speck covers a wide variety of seemingly random objects that ultimately only enrich her blog, from giraffes to paintbrush holders to studies on Albert the Dog-Nosed Fish."

Very high praise indeed! Thank you very much Ms. Katherine!

I was doubly honored to find I was included with a group of professional artists whom I greatly admire: Anthony Zierhut, Andrea Joseph, and Bill Fehr. Wow! These are enormously talented people and then there's little ol' me. I stick out like a turd in a punchbowl! LOL!

Thank you Katherine Chen and for making my day a whole lot brighter. Now I'm going to dog paddle to the edge of my bowl, dry myself off, rub a few crayons on some paper, and try to live up to my newfound reputation.

The Art of Hand Sanitizer

Learned the coolest trick ever today...hand sanitizer rubbed over ballpoint pen makes a neat watercolory effect for blending and shading.

Good to know when doing bar tricks.