Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I'm Hosting a WDE at WetCanvas!!

This is my first time to host, so I'm really looking forward to it, even though it happened to fall on the same weekend we are moving. I scheduled my spot before we even sold our last house, so it's just a fluke that it will be the same weekend. Anyway - I'll be ready to upload the photos and I think everything should be fine for it!

If you want to drop by and participate, here is the link for the invitation - it explains the process - oh, and you'll have to sign up at WC, but it is free and it is a wonderful community of artists.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What is up with that?

Sorry for the ambiguous title, but this is about the 5th time I've tried to post these! FINALLY it is working!
More sketchbook work in pencil - I really like how it feels in the Moleskine. I do tend to erase alot, though...
These are all done from photos of my sons that I have taken at various times. The only one that is really representative of the actual child is the bottom left. That's D, who is 6 and the drawing looks like him, or will in about 6 years :).
I've been trying to do noses in profile from life with very little success, so I am pleased with how these profiles turned out, and hoping that I can now translate that to drawing from life.
Only 9 more days of orange, folks - I'm really going to miss it. Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 20, 2006

WDE 3.17.06

Found a little time today to play in the Moleskine. I had already washed these pages in red, yellow and orange watercolors. I used a 2B mechanical pencil on top, then added the ultramarine wash at the end. The portraits were old - lovely and soft and fun to try to recreate. I've not posted an enlargement of the French doorway due to copyright issues - the image was for use in the WDE only.

Each of these images took about 10 minutes to do. It really is remarkable what all this sketching and drawing over the past year has done for my skill and confidence. What took 10 minutes today would have taken an hour a year ago. I am finding that I am placing my marks more quickly and without so much self consciousness - what was a long and drawn out process has started to become more intuitive. I guess practice really does help after all :)
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Saturday, March 18, 2006

O'Fun on an O'Date with the O'Family

Okay, I'm not very Irish (just a smidge) but we decided to go out to eat on St. Patrick's Day at O'Charley's. It really wasn't an Irish consideration - kids eat free at O'Charley's...

Afterward, we stopped in the next door Starbucks for a cup of cafe americano and some hot chocolate for the kiddos and everyone had a sketch. Wow - I really need to work on perpective and circular shapes...ouch.

DH did a nice job with his cup, and D struggled a bit with it, but then came through nicely. J scorned all life drawing and stuck with the imagination...angels, space monkeys and Linda. Yes, that's Linda, of Quotidian Curiosities fame. No, he's not met her. We had been talking about her earlier in the day. J and I went out looking for suitable sketchbooks for he and the big brother and really couldn't find anything to suit us both. The Moleskine Cahier journals came the closest, size and price-wise, but he wants a black cover and elastic closure like my Moleskine. Well, $16 for a kid who goes through paper like, well, paper, is a bit much. (especially given that he's 4). I want to encourage his artistic efforts, but I'm not made of money, you know. So - I had told him that maybe we could make one for his and D's use. He wisely asked if I even knew how to make sketchbook, and I told him that I did not, but maybe I could ask Linda. he's eager to meet Ms. Linda and get his sketchbook put together. You see he jumped from me asking her about it, to her doing the whole thing. It's like he doesn't trust me or something. Could be the fact that there's a little gray stuffed cat in my sewing box, with a hole in the side of it's head. It's been sitting there for about 3 months now...Linda...HELP!!
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Thursday, March 16, 2006

The "How" of the Pugsley Collage

A few people have asked how I did the collage of Pugsley, so I thought I'd run through my steps. If I had known ahead of time that anyone would want to know, I'd have made pictures during the progress!
I used a 10 x 7 inch water color pad I had lying around - 140 lb cold pressed cheapo paper. I sketched Pugs as she sat on my board - just a quick contour with some shading indications. I scoured through the Pottery Barn catalog for my colors and shades. I'm still in my orange month, so Pugsley turned into an orange tabby, even though she's really a blue. I looked for plenty of light, mediums and darks - really concentrating on those three values - no sense in getting too complex, you know! Then I looked for background colors - especially in blue as a nice complement to the orange.
When I had all my colors ready to go, I coated the sketch with a layer of acid free paper cement and let it dry. I picked out my background and coated the back of the catalog paper and let it dry. Once it was dry, I started cutting and fitting the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle. I did all of the background first, paying attention to where her shadow should fall, then started on the body.
For the body, I picked out my values and cut them into strips that would be the size I needed for length of the hair. I started at her back and overlapped the triangles, trying to pay attention to the direction of hair growth, length and value. I added the whiskers the same way.
The key to it, for me, is the paper cement dry mount technique - you can leave it and come back the next day without having to recoat with more glue. Oh - and did I mention the insomnia?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What do you get when... mix insomnia, an obnoxious cat and a brand spankin' new Pottery Barn catalog? Well - - - this, I guess. I was scouring the catalog for anything remotely resembling orange, when Pugsley crawled up on top of my drawing board (as usual) to lay right in the middle of what I was doing. A few late nights and paper cement fumes later, we have this collage of shiny paper - a first for me. I must say I was pretty pleased with the way the shadow turned out...
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Monday, March 13, 2006

Weekly Drawing Event 3.10.06

I've been neglecting my Wet Canvas drawing event lately - just too much to do, I suppose, but that's not really a good excuse! I squeezed these into my sketchbook today, though - I find it much easier right now to work in a book, rather than trying to find space for my paint - 2 1/2 more weeks to studio space again...I'm ready for something a little larger...

These are around 4x6 inches each, pen and ink and watercolor in an all-media sketchbook.
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Poor little guy...

My littlest guy is sick again - he had the flu a couple weeks ago and started coughing and running fever again today - came home early from school and has been on the couch ever since. What's a mom to do? Sketch him, of course...boy, 4 year olds move a lot...

pen and ink, liquid watercolor, Moleskine
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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sketching away a Saturday

Linda and I were inspired to go sketching on Saturday - the weather was fantastic, clear and warm - the hubbies and kids were otherwise occupied - and by golly...we just had to go!

We started out at the corner of Church Street and Gay Street - at the mysterious sculpture of the Rowing Man - is he rowing up out of an alternate reality? Is he sinking into a patch of wet concrete? Who sculpted him...there's not a plaque or any kind of marker indicating the artist, and a Google search doesn't reveal anything. I'm intrigued...aren't you??? I hope the photos give a sense of scale - he's really monumental, highly detailed and gorgeous.
***update: The sculpture is "Oarsman" by David Phelps, installed on this corner in 1989.

update #2***I just got a nice comment from Mr. Phelps, who said the sculpture was installed in 1988. Thanks for the update, David - and thanks for your kind comment!

We wandered around a bit, looking at some of the architecture around town (some very interesting, others very shiny...) and ended up passing through the japanese magnolia blossoms at the entrance to Krutch Park. We did a little shopping in Market Square, where I bought a lovely little hat and then stopped in The Tomato Head for a Diet Coke and a sketch break.
That bird is supposed to be a pigeon...apparently I need to do a month on birds...the lady in the sunglasses was not as pregnant as I've made her appear, so I hope she never sees this ;). The other lady had great, enviable wavy hair casually swept up off her neck - I love hair like that. Mine is stick straight and no amount of persuading will have it otherwise. sigh.

The lamp post, from my chair, looked like it was getting a big hug from the tree next to it - a bit Narnian in feeling, if you know what I mean.
This sketchcrawling thing is getting kind of addicting - everything starts looking like fodder for the Moleskine, these days! I am looking forward to my next opportunity...
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Friday, March 10, 2006

EDM #56 - Self Portrait - in orange, of course...

I let the boys sleep in this morning, and while it was quiet, stole a few minutes in front of the bathroom mirror NOT tending to this unruly hair for a change. The Everyday Matters Group weekly challenge last week (yes, I'm late, as usual) was to draw a self portrait. So - I started on the left hand side of the paper with a blind contour self portrait just to warm up. I kind of like it's wonky appearance.

On the right is the self portrait I drew while looking in the mirror AND at the paper. It's much closer to what I really look like than the one on the left :-). It's not spot on, but for a quick drawing (less that 10 minutes) I think I've captured some of me. I could critique it forever (my nose is not really that wide, for instance), but instead, I'm going to focus on the positives. I drew it from life, in PEN, and in orange and still managed a reasonable likeness. That's huge, folks (especially the life and pen part). I didn't noodle it to death - just drew, drew over and moved on. Also huge.

Okay - time for you who know me to chime in. Does it look like me? My boys recognized it as me immediately (the one on the right, that is...)
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Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Rest of the Day of Aquarium

Don't know why these didn't come through below...But here are my remaining drawings from our Aquarium visit. The Lion Fish, which honestly looks more like a tiger to me, except when all those spines are raised up like a lion's mane.

Oh - these jellyfish...I don't know what kind of lighting they have in the tank - if it is enhanced in some way or not, but these are the only animals in this spread that are pretty true to the colors we saw in the tank. The blue water was great, but these jellies absolutely glow fluorescent orange. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. And, of course - perfect for March Mango Madness!
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The Day of Aquarium

The boys and I took off Tuesday afternoon, once all the school work was done, and headed out to Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We bought annual passes this year, so we will plan to go back often. For little more than an hour's drive (and most of that through beautiful mountains if you go the right way) we can escape to an underwater fantasy world.

It's hard to imagine such fantastic creatures - they really do exist, though. The Leafy Sea Dragon is perfection in camoflauge - fits right into his environment and is difficult to spot if you don't know what you are looking for.

The Sea Turtle flies through the water - as graceful in the sea as he is clumsy on land. Magnificent animal - the tunnel at the aquarium gets you up close and personal with him and the other large fish. We saw a number of sawfish resting on top of the tunnel, their saw-like bills eliciting more that one "wow, cool!" from my boys!

The Sand Tiger Shark is a sight to behold in the tunnel with his many rows of sharp and crooked teeth. He's a favorite of D's - easy to identify and a little intimidating. "Tiger Shark" is what we call D when we're trying to get him to try a new thing and he's feeling a bit apprehensive.

Hey - where are my jellyfish pics?
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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Knoxville Mini-Sketchcrawl

Linda and I headed out yesterday on a mini-sketchcrawl around Homburg in Knoxville. We had great plans to work our way from there downtown, but we made it about 2 blocks. I think it was the impulse field trip to Jerry's Artarama that slowed us down! How convenient that it was just down the street from where we started! It was a great opportunity for me to pick Linda's brain on all things watercolor, though - I even picked up my very first piece of 22x30 watercolor paper, along with the instructions on how to wet and stretch it!

We started at The Orangery, which I had always thought was just a swanky restaurant in a cool building, but which turns out to be a shopping center of sorts - spas and interior design houses and art galleries. It is a beautiful building with a lot of character and what seems like alot of history - but with a little investigation by my DH, we found out that is the brainchild of a local design guru who built it in the 70s. Sigh - beautiful, but not so historical. But - it was pleasant and we had a nice time in hidden alcove sketching the little cherubs that line the crown mouldings.

After Jerry's, we stopped across the street from Toddy's, billed as Ktown's fun place to be thirsty. Seemed a little ironic to me - I think a tavern and liquor store would be more like a fun place to quench a thirst... My DH saw this one and said "Toddy's?" with a kind of funny look - like, why would you draw Toddy's? (Which is apparently pronounced "Toad-ees") It's a cool building - had character - so what if it's a seedy little bar?

The Biltmore sign in the top page is across from Toddy's. I didn't see the tourist court anymore - probably torn down like a lot of old buildings that seem to have no further use. Linda noticed a house that had been torn down on one of the corners - making way for another upscale designer shop, I'm sure. How did we turn into a society of disposable buildings? We just don't recognize the value in old and interesting architecture (she says with a smug look as she prepares to go paint the walls in her new box like cookie cutter house that's being built even as we speak...)
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Friday, March 03, 2006

Transitional Colors

I forgot to post this one - it was the last of the pinks, done on Feb 28, in the Moleskine. It includes the plan for the next few months of colors - green, blue, red and yellow. I thought that after last month's pink and this month's orange, we'd cool it down for awhile - plus April makes green a breeze - green is not a breeze, but finding green things in April is a breeze! (assuming this crazy east tennessee weather hasn't killed everything off by then...)

The second picture here is also in the Moleskine - my not-so-cheap watercolors don't dry so chalky...hmmm imagine that...this one is an example of this crazy east Tennessee weather - beautiful sunny day on the first day of March - high was around 72 - in the sunny areas it was very warm! The boys and I decided to take advantage, and spend the day outside. We went to a local park after school and they climbed and jumped and ran and slid and squealed while I drew the play structure. Yes - outside, in public, right out there in the open - not even one person (that I was aware of) looked at me funny.

This afternoon, Linda and are off on a Knoxville sketchcrawl. This time we are actually going to try and get some drawing done...and I'll try to post those very soon!
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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

March Mango Madness!!!

I've been looking forward to this all week!! The month of ORANGE!! My first orange drawing is of the mango colored leather chairs that DH and I drove down to Birmingham to pick up last weekend. We saw them on an anniversary trip in January, just couldn't quit thinking about them, and finally decided to just do it - how many times in your life are you given the opportunity to own such magnificent chairs??

Anyhow - they are currently languishing in the bedroom of this little apartment we are living in while our house is being built. As a matter of fact, we are all languishing in it - 30 more days - 30 more days...just a little mantra to keep me from losing it entirely...

They are positively gorgeous and just glow (and not in a scary fluorescent kind of way). I'm so happy to have found them. I have been constantly frustrated shopping for furniture in Knoxville. Everything is either curved, carved, oversized or flowered - which is fine if you like that sort of thing...but I don't.

Here's the real thing, too - taken while still in residence down at Peck & Hill's in Birmingham.

Oh - I have a question for all you watercolorists out there - do my watercolors dry "chalky" because they are a cheap set I bought on impulse one day, or do all WC dry like that?
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