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Final January Sketches

Here are the last of the sketches I did during January. I created several on the 25th to make up for missing other days. Click on images for a larger view.

For the word prompt ‘selfie’

For the next few sketches I selected my own subjects from around the house. This pin cushion is dear to me because my friend Susan made it for me.

I had a single stem of anthurium for several weeks in January and it begged to be sketched.

Another fun evening of doodling.

Another angle on the anthurium.

The word prompt ‘landscape’ inspired this sketch.

And finally, the word prompt ‘glass’ gave me an opportunity to sketch a favorite rooster. This colorful piece is perched on my kitchen counter and always brings a smile to my face. This is my first two-page spread, a sort of break through for me. This guy just seemed to demand it.

So, that’s a wrap. I enjoyed the sketching I did in January. And though I had hoped that it would create a new habit for me, I did fall off the wagon in February. However, I will go back to sketching here and there. Meanwhile, I have fiber art that I’ve created and more fiber work in mind. I’ll keep you posted here.

More Sketches

Here are a few more of the sketches that I created in January. The Sketchbook Skool prompt for January 8 was ‘movie.’ Click on images for a larger view.

I went back to this page several times to respond to ‘metallic.’

On the evening of the 10th I had fun with this ‘doodle.’

Here is one of the last Riviera pears we had. A great snack!

The prompt for the 12th was ‘hair.’ I took a picture of myself at the salon getting my hair colored. Not my best effort but you get the idea.

Thank goodness this sketch doesn’t look like me!

Happy New Year

I managed to create a few sketches during the last days of 2016. It felt encouraging to me. It felt good to create. Mostly it felt healing to just sit and focus. Perhaps the cold weather shifted my mood to spring. (Click on image for a larger view.)

More outdoor thoughts, this time with more color.

After I kicked off my boots I decided to sketch one.

This morning I read about a month-long sketch challenge from Sketchbook Skool. I’ve taken several on-line classes from them and always enjoyed the classes and the results. Today’s prompt is ‘rest.’ So I started sketching…

The air is quite chilly and snow is predicted

but right now it’s beautiful outside and the sun in streaming into my studio. It’s a new day. It’s a new year. Make it what you want it to be.

Blessings of the Season

Among the hustle and bustle, here are a few quiet moments I’ve experienced lately. The holiday boat parade on the Willamette River. It is fun to share in the joy of these boaters’ inspiration. Click on image for a larger view.

Some quiet moments with my sketch book to gather myself.

 

 

 

What are you doing to center yourself during these busy days?

More Sketches

A couple weeks ago I began experiencing intermittent computer issues so my posting has been sporadic. Those issues have been resolved so I have full use of my computer now. Enough said.

Here’s a sketch done in response to an assignment from my recent Sketchbook Skool instructor, France Belleville-Van Stone :  Sketch something with wheels and use cross hatching to create light.03-13-16 piano sketch

France has an obsession with sketching vehicles. Me? Not so much. So I had to smile to myself about this sketch. This is my restored ca. 1840 Schott fortepiano. My proportion is a bit off, but I’m working on that. In fact, I’m taking a class from an architect which addresses this issue and others. I’m looking forward to more sketches of this beautiful instrument with more realistic proportion and perhaps more detail in the future.

And here is a sketch I did just because shoes can be fun to sketch.

 

03-12-16 shoe

What are you creating just because it’s fun?

Sketchbook Skool: Stretching

Sketchbook Skool is an on-line sketching and watercolor school that I have taken several classes with. While I was away, I received an offer for a class that had just begun at a price I couldn’t resist. When I got home I was eager to check in and take the first class with  Jonathan Twingley.

Jonathan is an American author, artist and illustrator. His work is regularly exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States. One of the exercises that he invited us to do he calls Reaction as Action. For those of us who have the paralyzed-at-the-sight-of-the-blank-page syndrome, this exercise is a way to kick-start some creative juices:

  • Stain a paper towel with some ink.
  • Close the sketchbook on the paper towel.
  • When the ink is try, draw/sketch/doodle

Here is the two-page spread of the exercise.

03-06-16

I was completely surprised at how quickly I picked up my fountain pen and began drawing around the ink blotches on the right-hand page. I used a neon-yellow hi-liter marker to color the pedals of the flower and watercolor paint for the stem and leaf. Try to imagine the zap of color that high light marker created on the page because scanning didn’t do it justice. I used my chop to sign the page. I like the spark it added. If you’re new here, you might want to read about how I acquired my chop here.

How are you stretching to develop skills this year?

Last Sketch in the Book!

I’ve just returned from a wonderful visit in Nevada and Southern California. I packed my traveling sketch bag along but didn’t think about the fact that I had just one empty page. Lesson learned. Happily, I had a few watercolor postcards in the bag so I was able to do more than one sketch. I was sitting on the back patio looking around to see what struck my eye for a sketch. There was plenty to consider! The patio looks out onto Lake Mead, some terrific hills, desert, etc. But I have been feeling rather ‘rusty’ at the fine art of sketching so when my eye landed on the pillow in the chair opposite me, I decided to give it a go. It was fun to just relax and let the pencil flow. I followed up with my fountain pen and then watercolor. I went back again with the fountain pen to deepen the accent lines.

02-28-16 birdie

Now I’m ready to break the seal on a new book. Kind of exciting really! The book I just completed measures 5″ x 8″; my new book measures 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″. I remember purchasing it in the gift shop of the De Young Fine Arts Museum in Golden Gate Park. I couldn’t resist the shape and size of it. It has 128 acid-free pages with an attached elastic band to hold it neatly on the shelf.

03-05-16 End-of-one-book,-new-one-ready

I didn’t notice until I opened it — just moments ago — that there is also a ribbon for marking the page. That will be very handy.

03-05-16 Ribbon-to-mark-pages

It will be interesting to see how the new shape and size influence my sketching, if at all.

Now it’s time to close the first chapter and start the new one. I’ve completed that for volume 1

03-05-16 Vol.-1-dating

and I’ve made the first marks in volume 2.

03-05-16 First-page-done

When the first sketch is completed, I’ll add the starting date for volume 2. No more excuses!

Happy Creative New Year

My last posting was on Christmas Day. From there daily events took over and I missed my usual schedule of posting. It happens. I’m over it.

I’m on to the new year now. I know it’s official because I just took the first images of 2015 and created a folder for them. Here is a peek at what is moving and shaking in my world.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned the revision that I made to Hand of the Artist. I’m a member of a critique group which meets monthly. I shared this piece with them and one of the members suggested a slight change in arranging some of the beads. I played with the idea and liked it a lot. Click on image for a larger view.

Hand of the artist, changesThe change is rather subtle: a number of the turquoise beads have been moved to form small clusters. You can see the original design by clicking on the link above.

I put the final touches on Black Oak and printed a label for it.

Black Oak label

And just in time, too, because it goes to the photographer tomorrow (along with Hand of the Artist).

I’m working on a piece that was begun in Lorie McCown‘s class in Tahoe. I removed the original straight-line stitching (you can see the white marking line which is not permanent) and stitched large free-motion loops over the surface. Then I started cutting out circles.

Work in progress

Right now I don’t know which end is up on this piece — literally. I’m simply putting down one thing, then the next, making decisions as I go about color and stitches. I’m enjoying hand stitching and the go-with-the-flow approach I’ve adopted for this small piece. I’m keeping the stitches simple

Work in progress, detail 2

and will let the work tell me what it needs.

Work in progress, detail 1

I have been seriously missing sketching and watercolor work. Somehow I let the time for that creative pleasure vanish. I’m resuming the on-line class with Val Webb for sketching cats and dogs later this month (I had to drop out of it because I was over committed. I know that doesn’t happen to you!). I’m so looking forward to her instruction and getting back into a regular habit of sketching.

I have also signed up for an on-line class on blogging with WordPress. Yes, I’ve been doing this for a while but I know that I’ll learn from the class and it will also help me get back into the swing of regularly writing.

Some of the artists that I follow have a practice of adopting a single word as a mantra for the year — an interesting prompt. I’m not sure that I’m ready to do that, but if I did, my word (at least for now) would be DAILY. I am a person who thrives on order and schedules. The kind of habit I seek is not only good for my psychic well-being, it means that I am productive in the creative areas I choose.

New lessons don’t begin for a few days though, but there is no reason not to pick up a pencil and paint brush now. This charming teacup was a gift from a dear friend many years ago.

teacup

I’m off to sketch!

What are you doing to get 2015 off to its creative start?

Wordless Wednesday

Click on image for larger view.

Shari's bird

Sketch

This sketch was inspired by a notecard that I received which bears Hannah Borger Overbeck’s (United States, 1870-1931) rendition of the blood root (Sanguimaria canadensis), a somewhat rare woodland plant once used by Native Americans to dye their baskets orange-red.

Blood RootMy challenge for this sketch was to be able to match the colors she had used. This meant being patient and experimenting with my blue and yellow selections until I achieved at least the sensibility that she created.  I started with a color wash on the page and then I did the sketch. My wash color is cooler than hers was — that’s another challenge I can take up. I was able to get the tones of green and brown that I was looking for rather quickly. The final job was the white petals. There was simply no way around it, I had to buy some white watercolor paint.

Overbeck created her piece using watercolor and pastel. I used a Faber-Castell PITT artist pen and watercolor.

This posting has been shared with Off the Wall Friday. Go over and check out what’s happening with those artists.

First Aide

Last week I was thinking about what I have in my medicine cabinet (perhaps I had a headache?) and what I would like to have there. My mind immediately began racing with possibility. I grabbed a Tombow pen and my watercolors and started sketching. Click on image for larger view.

First Aide

While I was working on this sketch I was thinking about phrases we use with each other that are metaphorical.

Humble PieHow do you cure what ails you?

SBS with Liz Steel

This week has simply vanished into thin air. I haven’t completed viewing all the lessons that Liz Steel has in store for me in Sketchbook Skool but I am plugging away. The process of watching the videos, contemplating the lesson and doing my best to get into a new mindset are fun but also a bit daunting at times. Liz is a teacher today but her education and career were in architecture. The analysis that she brings to creating a sketch is very organized and thorough — I like it a lot!

In our first lesson — Seeing patterns in complex objects — Liz drew her favorite subject, a tea-cup. Before getting to the cup, however, there is much thought and analysis that goes into knowing the cup and saucer well enough that you can overcome what may look daunting and then draw what is really there, not what you have in your head. I used her technique to break down the elements of my favorite cup and saucer by drawing a few thumbnail sketches of particular elements. Click on image for a larger view.

SBS with Liz SteelThe first thumbnail captures the overall configuration of the saucer including placement of the floral pattern. #2 attempts the floral pattern, or at least a good likeness. #3 shows the essence of the cup. Once all this prep work is done, Liz’s style is to do a sketch very quickly. This was quite a surprise to me, actually, considering the exacting nature of her career life and the preparation that goes into the sketch. However, now that I’ve done just one sketch using her techniques, I can see where the preparation work allows for more confidence once pencil is in hand. I also like her view that ‘circles are wonky in sketches, so just get over it and keep moving on.’ What a relief that is for someone who tends to try to be exact. Note to self: This is supposed to be Fun.

I still have more to learn from Liz. The next lesson is about drawing a building. I can’t wait.

 

 

Junk Mail Artist Book Done

I’ve completed the final lesson of Carla Sonheim‘s Junk Mail Artist Book series. There was more painting, more drawing. . .then changing of the mind involving more painting and more drawing. At some point one has to say it’s time to stop. Done and done. And here it is. Be sure to click on an image for a larger view and clearer understanding of the page overlap.

CoverPages 2-3

Pages 4-5

Pages 6-7

Pages 8-9

Pages 10-11

Book BackThis brain-teaser was a lot of fun. Who doesn’t have a near-endless supply of junk mail? And I had all the other art supplies in my studio.
See the progress of this project here and here.

 

Sketching

Last week I snipped a couple small branches of my friend’s black oak tree to do some sun printing. The black oak is a native California tree and will fit nicely with the art quilt series I’m working on. I am quite taken with the shape of the leaf. It has so much character and grace with those very deep lobes and multiple points on the edges. The leaves are very soft and supple, bending gently to the breeze. I couldn’t resist sketching one of the leaves along with a feather found during a recent walk. Click on image for larger view.

Black Oak and Feather SketchI was a bit nervous about sketching my first feather so I started with the more familiar leaf shape first. I painted the leaf with 5 layers of watercolor paint to achieve the look I wanted. Between layers of green paint for the leaf I sketched the feather. I used the same multi-layer approach and 2 micro pens to capture this Scrub Jay feather. I feel like I’ve broken the ice with this sketch, so I won’t be as nervous about attempting a new feather in the future.

Junk Mail Artist Book

I learned about Carla Sonheim from my friend and fellow-artist Priscilla Read and I simply could not resist trying her Junk Mail Artist’s Book class! In just five lessons at Silly U I am turning junk mail — the stuff usually tossed straight into the recycle bin — into a book. I can’t see a down side to this project.

Each lesson begins with a drawing exercise designed to get us ready to draw in the book by lesson 4. Here is a one-line drawing I did — no lifting the pen from the paper until the drawing is finished. (Click on image for larger view.) These exercises are not intended to be cherished art — they are simply warm-up drawings.

warm-up drawing The painting comes next. Using a brayer, a thick layer of gesso is applied to both sides. Viola! Great texture.

junk mail with gessoThen both sides are painted with 2 layers of watercolor paint — 2 different colors.

two layers watercolor paintWhen everything is dry, the pages are turned into a book, ready for drawings. Here’s the cover.

CoverNote that the pages are irregularly shaped and sized. Pages 2, 3: (Click on the image for a better view.)

Pages 2, 3This means that the drawings will overlap onto pages underneath! Very exciting. Pages 4, 5

Pages 4, 5Pages 6, 7

Pages 6, 7Pages 8, 9

Pages 8, 9Pages 10, 11

Pages10, 11The back.

BackNow the real fun and challenge begins. Here is my first drawing on pages 2-3. Notice that the top and bottom of the sunflower extends to the page behind it — page 5.

Page 3, The drawing beginsThe partial sunflower  petals at the top of page 5 inspired the dinosaur.

Page 3 drawing goes onto page 5

I have no idea yet what the tail of the dinosaur or the stem of the sunflower will inspire, but something will come to me.

This is a very different way of drawing and painting for me and it’s just plain fun. So, back to drawing, then the final lesson. Stay tuned, there’s bound to be another layer of surprise.

Sketching for Fun

Roz Stendahl, one of the 6 instructors of Sketchbook Skool, focused on sketching animals. She particularly liked sketching live animals. She also realized that it can be quite a challenge to sketch a model that is moving, particularly if you are new to the discipline. She recommended going to natural history museums, state parks or other venues that would have taxidermy you could sketch.

Above all, Roz said that because sketching is something you want to do, it should be fun. So why not go to a toy store and pick up some fun models? I like her thinking. I went to my local toy store and picked up some dinosaurs. Click on image for larger view.

DinosaursI have to admit, it was pretty fun getting them placed just right for my sketching session. For this sketch I used pen, watercolor and then went back with watercolor pencils.

Roz’s parting gift was a set of Fun Factor Flash Cards that she designed using sketches from her journals and emphasizing points she made during her lesson. Points like “Sleeping pets make great models.” and “Never let a model down your shirt.” This one had a photograph of Roz, head tossed back laughing, with a parrot peeking out the top of her shirt. She knows her models and has fun! The tip I keep in mind is “The right time to start sketching is always now.”

This posting has been shared with Off the Wall Friday.

Sketchbook Skool

I’m in the middle of an on-line class called Sketchbook Skool developed by Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene. The idea behind this 6-week class led by a different instructor each week is to gain skills and inspiration which will lead to making sketching a daily habit. I am learning a lot and having fun, my two goals for taking this class.

This sketch was done starting with a cup of coffee — yes, the morning wake up cup. A bit of coffee poured into a saucer and the mug used as a stamp, then the sketch. What better than to use what is at hand — a watercolor kit. It was a very nice way to begin the day — focused and caffeinated. Click on an image for a larger view.

Coffee SketchKoosje suggests sketching things you love. Here is a watercolor of a plate that belonged to my mother-in-law. I have loved this little plate from the moment I first saw it. I treasure having it in my own home now.

PlateAnd here is the plate.

The PlateI would characterize my sketch as not bad as a first attempt. I will be sketching this again with a focus on better capturing the trees to the far left and right of the setting. My mistake with those areas was following the paint order used by the artist who painted this plate, forgetting that the paint order for that medium versus the watercolor paints I am using, is quite different. I can do nothing but improve!