Category Archives: Drawing

Big Ideas – Small Art

Feb-Mar2019_SMALL

I haven’t posted in a while, but I promise I haven’t been a slacker.  I couldn’t post what I was working on until recently because it was not publishable work.  There are lots of reasons a work of art may not be publishable… one was a commission for a birthday surprise and I can’t spoil the surprise, one was an 80% plagiarized watercolor I did for fun as a silly Valentine’s day gift for my husband, and another was a sketch of a young acquaintance that I can’t share because he’s a minor and I don’t know his parents to ask for permission. (He thought it was pretty cool though.)

Then I went to an art event at my friend Jake’s studio, and met A. R. Drew.  She describes herself on her web site as “a contemporary badass warrior artist.”  I bought one of her pieces – something I rarely do because I already have an excess of art at my house (occupational hazard).  It was a fascinating small figural sketch done in gold paint marker.  I also watched her sketching one with that marker and I realized that was the answer to my problem of always taking a couple weeks or more to finish anything.  With a big, bold marker, I can’t fuss over detail, and I can’t erase, so I’m forced to work confidently and “sketchily.”  Thanks for the inspiration, A.R — Crown On!

You see that onion picture above?  That one’s a photo, not a painting.  I took that photo while the sun pouring in the west window was perfect, intending to use it as a reference photo for a small oil painting, and I have actually started on it – the picture is sketched in pencil on a canvas – but then I stalled on that project because in order to paint with oils or acrylics, I have to have a significant block of time.  If I’ve only got half an hour, that’s just enough time to get paint on the brushes and then clean up.

When a local crafts store announced a moving sale, I bought a set of oil-based paint markers and I’ve been going nuts with them in a watercolor paper journal.  First I found some public domain photos and drew the lamb, the duckling, and the wolf in just marker, and then the parakeet in paint marker with a watercolor background.  Then I thought I should try something other than an animal, and I did a distant cousin, Elsie Grace, from an old photo circa 1905.  I’ve always liked that photo, and what I like most about the sketch is that it actually looks like Elsie, even though I only spent about five minutes on the face.  Drawing a person is easy – achieving a good likeness is hard.

If you live in the Elkhart, Indiana area, come get a closer look at these smaller works and my larger paintings too during Art Walk – April 10, 2019 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Businesses up and down Main Street’s “Arts & Entertainment District” will be hosting the event.  April’s event will also feature a lot of talented young artists.  More details on that and my exact location for the event will be in my next post.  Thanks for reading!

Snow Days Are For Making Art

January-February

It’s been a rough winter weather-wise and we’ve used up our allotment of “snow days” at the school where I work for my day job.  I didn’t sleep away my extra days off.  Well… not a whole day, anyway.  I did the taxes, and then I did art.

The picture on the left is three of my great-grandfathers sisters.  I never met them; neither did my father.  We only have the one photograph of them, but it caught my attention among all the other old family photos.  They seem like people I would like to meet.  They also seemed like people I would like to paint… and so I did — in ink and watercolors.  It had been about thirty-five years since I used that medium, but I think I’ve got the hang of it again.  I titled it, “The Smith Sisters, Circa 1935.”

The middle picture is the result of not being able to decide what to paint.  I eventually decided that I would ditch all of the possible reference photos I was mulling over and just paint a face entirely out of my head.  At first she looked a lot like me.  Then, for a while she looked a lot like the actress Leelee Sobieski.  I think, now that she’s finished, she looks a lot like one of those fictitious princesses created by a certain film company that also owns a few theme parks.  Because she’s monochromatic and I “carved” her out of paint and my imagination, I titled that one “Cameo.”

The fish is just a little sketchbook practice, made with Sharpie pens and Sharpie markers, but I had a lot of fun with him.   I drew the fishy and painted the fictitious portrait while listening to audio books from the Library.  I recommend Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman.  It’s an account of the lives of Vincent Van Gogh and his younger brother Theo, and of their very close relationship.  It was intense.  I mean the book, but their relationship was definitely intense too.

I will be going on a weekend road trip to visit relatives in a few days, and I’m taking my sketchbook along.  The family visit may be all that we do, but if there is some “down time,” I want to be ready with some art supplies.  I’ve never sketched in a moving car, but I might give it a try.  Artistic confidence comes from Practice, Practice, PRACTICE!

 

October Update

BestOfInktober2018

Here’s an update on the art I’ve been creating for the past month.  It’s been a month for drawing practice.  A painting doesn’t get very far if the artist’s drawing skills aren’t up to the job, and really painting is just drawing in color anyway.  Above are a few of the ink drawings I completed this month for the Inktober 2018 challenge.  I did them all in my miniature sketchbook that I carry around with me in my purse, so most of them are only about 3″ x 3 1/2 inches.

I’ve done other challenges — National Novel Writing Month (50,000 words of fiction in 30 days) for November and the National Poetry Month poem-a-day challenge for April — and those were interesting and fun, but also frustrating.  I think that’s because I write well, but I LOVE drawing and painting.  It’s my gift.  Also, because I’d never heard of it until November 1st and I jumped in on a whim, I didn’t feel guilty when, about two-thirds of the way through the month and I stopped and only did two more for the rest of October.  I just didn’t want to do any more.  It was a liberating thing, actually, to abandon it, because it was good practice for a time but was no longer of benefit to me.  Never keep doing something just because it’s what you’ve been doing.

Still Life With Gourds SMALL

Old man sketch SMALL

I did these two drawings in an art group that I meet with at our church.  The group leader stopped at a roadside produce stand to get the props to set up the still life.  The drawing of the old man was from a photo she clipped from a magazine, and the rest of the page was cut away, so I don’t have the information to properly cite the photographer.  I am particularly pleased with the hands, which are much harder to draw accurately than faces.

I finished two paintings in October too.  The first was the acrylic version of that still life.  I’ll share a picture when I finish the oil version, so I can unveil them together.  The other was the abstract below titled “Vineyard” which started out as just a loosening-up exercise, but it went well enough that I refined and finished it so it’s ready for framing.  I plan to paint three companion pieces in the near future titled “Orchard,” “Field,” and “Garden.”  If you are interested in purchasing “Vineyard,” see my gallery page for more information.

Vinyard SMALL

 

Still Life Revisited

Henry and Canvases

So that still life is still sitting on a closet shelf drying…or not drying.  The fingerprints just keep adding up.  I’ve been mulling over what to paint next while I put coat after coat of gesso on the next canvases.  (As soon as I make a sale, I’m going to start buying better canvases that are actually ready to use.)  I decided on … the still life.

Lots of famous artists painted the same subject many times.  Monet painted those haystacks so often that the farmers got annoyed and tore them down, just so he’d go away.  I’m making a few small tweaks to the composition and this time I’m using acrylics.  Maybe I’ll do another in watercolors or pastels.

My little supervisor in the tuxedo apurrrrrrrooves of that plan.  So far, I have the object outlines re-drawn.  I was kind of wishing I had traced it the first time, then I could trace it again.  Oh well, it’s like I always tell the students at school when they forget to save their work on the computer — it’s faster when you do it the second time.

That second canvas in the background is bigger, and I have plans for it too — inspired by looking out the window at the full moon last week as the sun was rising at the opposite end of the sky behind me.  More on that to come.