Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Quick Value Sketch

A value exercise

Life has been hectic lately. More on that another day, but time and energy for daily sketching has been hard to come by. On those days when I'm feeling brain dead and tired but want to sketch, I'll select a project from one of these books - Mendelowitz's Guide to Drawing (I've had my copy for a while) or The New Creative Artist: A Guide To Developing Your Creative Spirit. This time I selected a value exercise from A Guide to Drawing and used one of the thumbnail drawings in my sketchbook. It's different from my typical drawings and there's not much to it but I like the general idea. I may develop this idea further. Maybe being tired is good for my inspiration.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Needle felting

I've been doing something completely different this weekend. I've been needle felting these little items. The sunny face is the one I was working on this weekend. They are all small. The sunny face is about three inches in diameter. The animal is a ferret and is somewhat poseable. We have ferrets so that's why I chose that subject. I still have a little more work to do on all of them. I enjoy seeing the transformation while I'm working on these.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ornamental gourd sketch

I bought some ornamental gourds or squash the other day at the grocery store. This is a quick sketch using a Micron ink pen and a little bit of watercolor.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

ArtRage Paint Software

I have been playing with ArtRage software lately. I'm a rank beginner when it comes to digital art and I'm not even sure yet how much I like it. This program suits me perfectly. The registered version is a whole $25 US and they have a limited functionality demo that you can download. I discovered it from a mention on Nancy Stahl's blog (scroll down). For me it's an inexpensive way to try out digital art. It works best with a drawing tablet. I have an inexpensive Manhattan drawing tablet that works well. Drawing with a tablet is like starting over again though. I found I had to spend some time just developing my hand-eye coordination. There's some good information on starting with tablets at as well as a number of links to tutorials. It's been a fun experiment.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sea shell watercolor sketch

Originally uploaded by mockingbirdworks

I'm getting back in the groove of sketching and painting. Actually I think the break did me good. Maybe my brain needed to work in the background for a while.

I have a small bowl of sea shells and sponges sitting on a table by the front door. I grabbed a couple of things and did a quick watercolor sketch in my watercolor moleskine. Overall I'm pleased with it.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My How Time Flies

I'm not sure what happened. I got busy with life and suddenly months passed without posting. I haven't really done much art either. So I decided that the way to get back into a routine was to jump in with a painting. I have this birch tree in my yard that I've sketched and photographed several times. It's a large healthy tree right outside by office / studio window. The beautiful peeling bark on this tree inspired the painting below.

Tree Bark, acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14 inches.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Where does the time go? One minute I was sketching along and the next minute I was caught up in family stuff. Things seem to be settling out finally. I could use a week of just staying at home but things aren't that calm yet. Enough wishful thinking though. I did manage to play with some techniques. The picture to the left is ATC / ACEO size (2.5 by 3.5 inches) in watercolor and ink. I experimented with several methods. This one turned out the best. I'm definitely going to do some more work with this.

Monday, April 09, 2007

EDM 112: Something Fresh

I'm behind on my Everyday Matters Challenges. This one is "Something fresh". Unfortunately we've been busy so there was nothing fresh in the house - food or laundry. Outside everything was frozen. I had to wait until we went to the grocery store to get something fresh.
This is a watercolor in my Moleskine waterbook book.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

SF: Greed

This week's topic for Friday April 6th: Sin #2: GREED!

This is an ugly one as well....uuuuh! What is it you are greedy about or feel greedy about? Is it material or is it a behavior? Are you greedy for emotions? Do you hoard? How do you want to change for the better? It can be small steps or do you rather take a big step to change?

Sometimes when life gets very busy, I get greedy for time - time by myself, time to rediscover myself. Mostly though, I'm greedy for supplies. When it comes to my knitting, I want lots of yarn and knitting needles. For my art, I want lots of supplies just in case I want to try something new or just in case I run out of something and need it right now.

Cheap supplies, expensive supplies, it doesn't matter. Tiny bits of paper, ancient tubes of paint, they're all stashed away somewhere. In my mind, I can see a use for all of them.

Unfortunately, I also have supplies that I've hardly used, like those colored pencils or oil pastels I bought, just to see if I like using them.
My goal is to finally throw out those old dried up tubes of paint and to actually use some of these supplies I've been saving before I go out and buy more. Now about those inks I've been wanting lately....

Friday, April 06, 2007

A Duck

I was able to squeeze in picture from the Wet Canvas Weekend Drawing Event. There are usually so many nice photos that it's hard to narrow down your choices. This was a fairly quick pastel picture (about an hour and 15 minutes) on greenish colored paper, 9 by 12 inches. I had fun with it.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

EDM 111: Bowl

This is an interesting little bowl. It has an ragged rim and it looks like they formed it over a ball. The inside is glazed but the outside isn't glazed or painted. This is a quick watercolor sketch I did in my Moleskine.


This week's topic for Friday March 30th: Sin #2: GLUTTONY!

What do you overindulge in during your days in your studio while creating? Food or drink? How bad is it and how bad is it for you? How are you planning on changing it?

Actually when I'm deep in thought or painting or drawing, I tend to underindulge. It's only when I need a break and get up to walk around that I grab something to eat and drink. I forget all about the need for food and drink. If there is anything I overindulge in, though, it would be coffee. I have to start my day with coffee but not just any coffee. It's usually Peet's Coffee, although I try other coffees from time to time. While it's probably bad for me, it's one indulgence I'm not planning on changing. Most of the time, I actually prefer food that's good for me, so this is my little daily rebellion.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Just Doodles

I've been busy the last couple of weeks, with very little time for sketching or painting. I did squeeze in a little time for some fun little doodles though. Inspire Me Thursday is all about wishes this week. Right now, I wish for the time and the money to pursue my art more. Actually I just need to remember that I can have that wish at any time. I just need to make the time for it. I just need a subconscious reminder to myself. That is where these doodles came to mind.

The first one came from an idea I saw on Teri's Painted Daisies blog. She had come across a blog where your name was hidden in the form of a Namelien. So while I had a little spare time the other day, I condensed my wish into a few words and turned it into a wishlien. Mine is very small and not that elaborate, but I like this idea. I might turn this idea into a bigger piece.

For the next little doodle, I took all of the letters from my wish and literally threw them on a page in my sketchbook. Then I colored each outlined segment. I like this general idea. Maybe I'll pursue it more one of these days.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

EDM 110: Something with a flame

Since our power seems to go out a few times a year, we have several candles scattered around the house. This is a pottery candle holder that is one of my favorites. Its shape isn't quite as wonky in real life. The painting is done in my watercolor Moleskine. I'm growing quite fond of this little book. Plus the shape was perfect for something like a candle. Overall, I'm pleased with the picture.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

EDM 109 - A Clock

I'm still lagging a bit behind on the Everyday Matters challenges, and every other challenge I like to participate in. Life has been a little hectic lately but hopefully I can get back into some kind of routine soon. I did get the clock challenge completed though. This is one of my favorite clocks in the house. It's not the most attractive clock. It's just a simple little travel alarm clock, but it's like an old friend. It's done with a ZIG pen with the glow in the dark bits done in colored pencil.

Friday, March 09, 2007

SF: Fragile

Mom in her younger days.This week's topic for Friday March 9th : FRAGILE!

What is the most fragile in your studio? What makes it so fragile? What would you do without it and where do you keep it so it is safe and won't break?

Other than my sometimes wavering self-confidence, the most fragile thing in my studio are my family photos. Some are particularly old and dog-eared. Most are irreplaceable. Of course, there are some current family photos. It's the photos of family members who passed long ago that I treasure the most. They keep me connected to ancestors and family members I have never met or only briefly met. A few are framed and placed on a bookcase. Most are carefully stored in a box in the closet. Every now and then, I will bring them out and wonder what it would be like to know them then. Would my parents seem like different people than the ones I grew to know through my perspective as their child? Do I really see a part of myself in that distant ancestor?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

EDM: Lightbulb and News

I was tired this weekend, plus I had to work today. I was determined to do the last two EDM challenges,though. So here are some quick and dirty sketches.

First up is EDM 107, where I get my news. Our mail box and paper box is built into this brick, uh, thing. So I drew in just the part that holds the paper. It's done in ink and watercolor pencil. The delivery person usually does a good job of shoving it all the way in the back of the box so you have to peer in there is make sure it's there.

Next is EDM 108, a lightbulb. This is an appliance or ceiling fan bulb done in pencil. It was the only bulb available without removing one from a lamp. It's a little wonky and misshapen. I discovered that the hard thing about drawing a light bulb is that they roll. So it has a little mixed perspective. I had fun drawing this though. I might have to try more light bulbs.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Abandoned Art

Rooftops by Sydney Harper This week's Challenge for Inspire Me Thursday was to search our studios for art that had been abandoned and finish them or to make a new piece of art from something that was abandoned. At first I couldn't think of anything because I really try to finish my pieces. Then I remembered this one. I probably started this around 1990. Talk about abandoned! Several times I was going to either toss it out or gesso over it. Then I decided if I'm going to throw it out anyway, I might as well experiment with it. I tried several things but ended changing some of the colors a bit, bringing some of the green down into the buildings, and painting in some smoke from the chimneys.

The changes weren't that major but I feel better about it now. I still like the general idea behind it. I've always been inspired by rooftops so I'll probably try another similar painting one of these days. So thanks to Inspire Me Thursday, it didn't get thrown away.

Rooftops, acrylic on canvas, 9 x 12 inches.

Monday, February 26, 2007

SF: Quoted

This week's topic for Friday February 23rd suggested by Robyn: QUOTED!

"Quotes are so inspiring. They give us comfort in rough times or the push we need to overcome our obstacles or fears. They enlighten us and give clarity and "A-ha's". Some we keep around for a life time and let them guide us, others we forget about. We work with them maybe or pass them on to others."~ Robyn

I don't often remember to save quotes I like. This one inspired me because it seems so true of me. It's hard for me to be inspired when I'm overly self-conscious. Besides, I'm a fan of Aaron Copeland.

"Inspiration may be a form of superconsciousness, or perhaps of subconsciousness - I wouldn't know. But I am sure it is the antithesis of self-consciousness."
- Aaron Copeland

Another quote comes from one of my favorite, well worn little books,
The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler.

"At times Joy is elusive - she seems to disappear even as we approach her. I see her standing on a ridge covered with oak trees, and suddenly the distance between us feels enormous. I am overwhelmed and wonder if the effort to reach her is worth it. Yet, she waits for us. Her desire to walk with us is as great as our longing to accompany her."

Find more Studio Friday Quotes

Scissors and Lemons

I haven't been posting my sketches lately so I thought I would do a little catching up with some Everyday Matters Challenges. Things have been kind of hectic lately. First up are scissors for the EDM 105 challenge. EDM 105
It was done in pen and colored pencil. Next up is EDM 106 challenge to draw something sour or tart.

EDM 106I did this in my new Moleskin watercolor book. The pages are a strange size, long and narrow, but they seem to work out okay for watercolor sketches. I wouldn't want to use the paper for large paintings, but for sketches it works out well. I scanned these on the scanner whose color reproduction isn't so good. In real life, I made the lemons a little too green. Course on the other hand, they were a little green.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

SF: Drawing a Blank

This week's topic for Friday February 16th: Drawing a blank!

It's one of the most feared events in the life of an artist. Sometimes it can take a long time to overcome this sudden stop of the creative juices. What do you do? How do you act and react? How do you get back to splashing around in all colours? Do you fight it or work with it?

There was a time when I didn't do much art for several years. I'm not sure why; a number of reasons most likely. I had a very hard time getting back into a creative routine. After all, what if I had lost my creative inspiration and skill? Art supplies are expensive. What if I just end up wasting them all? So I started back slowly with some inexpensive art supplies for children, an inexpensive sketchbook, some colored paper, some pictures cut out from magazines, and some other collected items. With some collages and quick sketches, I slowly got into my creative routine again.

Even though I'm past that major hurdle, I still have times when I don't have any ideas. During those times, I'll try to get outside and maybe go for a walk. I'll drive a different route to work and back. There's lots of inspiration at thrift stores, dollar stores, galleries, museums, and artist web sites. It also helps me to look at the work of artists who use different media than I use. Last but not least, I get a lot of inspiration from the ideas and sketches in my sketchbooks. My sketchbooks contain not only sketches but also ideas, techniques, pasted in pictures of things I like, abstract drawings, and thoughts. I can usually find a subject to start working on. Before I know it, the creative juices are flowing again.

See more Studio Friday here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Inspire Me Thursday: Heart Art

In honor of Valentine’s Day, this week’s challenge is Hearts. Heart-shaped art… the symbolism of the heart… hearts folded, cut up, torn, broken… the anatomy of a heart. Be creative in your interpretation!

This is a quick little piece that I did for Inspire Me Thursday. I meant to post this yesterday but a little stomach bug delayed me.

I was visualizing raindrops, or teardrops, turning to hearts in someone's hands. It's done in acrylic, 9 x 12 inches.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

SF: The perfect art book

This week's topic for Friday February 9th: The perfect art book!
"As I was talking about books so much lately... if there was the ideal book for you as an artist on studios and life as an artist what would be the absolute most important thing in your eyes for it to have in it? What kinds of topics, elements, images would you love to have in it? A few words from your favourite artist as well? What would inspire you, what would support you, give you courage? Would you like it to be a big book with tons of pages or a small book?"

Ah, the perfect art book. It would have to be a very large book encompassing the books I use most often. Some would say I have too many books. The book would need to cover techniques of all kinds. Sometimes the starting point for a picture comes from a technique I haven't tried. Other times, I just need to find a technique that will give the effect I need. The book would need to have lots of pictures from nature. To me, the patterns in nature are so inspiring. For those times when I'm not feeling so inspired, I would want some material on creativity. That would include some text on artists and creativity so I wouldn't feel so alone in my feelings and some suggested exercises to help get me out of my slump. Finally it would include some pictures from a wide variety of artists using a variety of media. Some of my favorites include
Georgia O'Keefe and Debbie New. It would also need to include artists that are new to me such as this fiber artist I found recently, Karen Kamenetzky who combines science and fiber art. Hmm, maybe it needs to be a self updating book.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

EDM 102

I'm still here. It's just that I've been busy and then our pet ferret, Balt, got sick and died. I haven't had a lot of spare time. Anyway, I joined the Everyday Matters Group a while back but I haven't participated at all. Then towards the end of January I had a little spare time at the office and did this weekly challenge to draw a power plug. I wrote down Jan 06 but it should be Jan 07 for the date. I still haven't adjusted to the new year yet. It's just a quick and dirty pencil drawing. Hopefully I can get back into the artistic swing of things again.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Fall Leaves

Fallen Leaves by Sydney Harper
Fallen Leaves, watercolor, 10 x 6 inches

I've had fall leaves on my mind since, well, fall. So I decided to do a little experimenting with watercolor techniques and a fall leaves theme. I had fun with this and I like how it turned out. What more could you ask for?

Friday, January 12, 2007

SF: Travels

This week's topic for Friday January 12th suggested by Hanne: TRAVELS!

"Travelling is a wonderful possibility to open for new inspiration and ideas. I´ll say it´s actually one of the greatest advantages to travelling!
A lot of new impressions and probably also new materials to bring home for future artwork. Maybe new friends - who knows? Anyway, I thought it could be very interesting to know where other bloggers travel. And if you don´t travel right now because of limited econonomy or other restrictions - I think we always travell in our mind: dreaming of somewhere in the countryside - or maybe a big city loaded with museums, galleries and flea markeds for new "input" for our studios and art."
~ Hanne
View of Grand CanyonThe first place I thought about when I read this week's topic was our trip to the Grand Canyon in Arizona year before last. Pictures just can't express that feeling you get when you first see it in person. Miles of ordinary desert landscape suddenly drop away into an immense canyon. I've gotten more inspiration from the Grand Canyon and its history than any other place I've visited.

Painted ceiling at the Grand CanyonWhen a major trip isn't possible, though I like to visit a museum.

Science museum in AtlantaSee more Studio Friday here.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Studio Friday: Changing Names

This week's topic for Friday January 5th suggested by Susan: CHANGING NAMES...

"I've been reading Twyla Tharp's book The Creative Habit and here's an idea from her book - " the ancient masters of Japanese art were allowed to change their name once in their lifetime. They had to be very selective about the moment in their career when they did so. They would stick with their given name until they felt they had become the artist they aspired to; at that point, they were allowed to change their name. For the rest of their life, they would work under the new name at the height of their powers." So let's presume we are at the height of our careers - what name would you choose and why? "
~ Susan

This is interesting. I am currently reading this book and I just finished this section. (It's a good book, by the way.) When my mom named me, she wanted me to have a different name. As a kid, though, I hated my name. It didn't help that at the start of school every year, I was always on the boys list instead of the girls list. My middle name just added to the confusion. I would spend countless hours thinking up new and "better" names. One of those names was Gloria. In my mind, I was Gloria for about a year. It seemed the complete opposite of my given name. But as time went on, I started to like my name. I liked the fact that it was different. I didn't mind the gender confusion. Now my name seems like a part of who I am, or maybe I am who I am because of my name. At one time I volunteered on a crisis line and I chose an alternate name for privacy reasons. It never did feel like it fit me. So while I can fully understand why someone would want to change their name, I'm happy with mine now.

Read more Studio Friday here.