Monday, November 12, 2012

Recent project and a give away (not mine! ha ha!)

Here's a photo of a project I did over the weekend.

It's for a family (with 2 bio children) who are adopting 3 siblings that they've been foster parenting.

The mom found this idea online.  Most often these thumbprint 'guestbook' trees are used for weddings.  Guests stamp their thumbprint onto the branches as a sign of their attendance to the happy occasion.  In the case of this 'family tree', it will be the all the guests, family and friends at the adoption celebration and our fingerprints will represent all the extended family who love and support them.  Sunday is national adoption day, and this is the day their adoption becomes final.  Cool, huh? Anyway, the mom is a friend and she asked if I'd paint them a tree for the occasion this is what I came up with after she showed me some she liked.  I included the little 'kiddie' birds to represent the children and mom and dad bird are in the heart of the tree.  ;)

Can't wait to see it with it's leaves soon. Some appropriate calligraphy wording will be added at the bottom too. Then it will matted and framed.

Thanks for stopping in and here's the promised give away link!  Hurry, winner will be drawn tomorrow!  We are gluten intolerant around our house and I just happened upon this today.  You can win all kinds of goodies to make some wonderful gluten free holiday treats.  Hope others will enter too!

Have a lovely day.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thankful for Blessings ~ November

A small pastel (Neocolor II) done as a gift for my little sister. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

pumpkins with book ~ finis

Finished the watercolor version this afternoon. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Painting October

I enjoyed my pastel still life of pumpkins so much I decided to do a similar one in watercolor.  I've just begun it tonight...

This is all I've got so far.  The process is different, I'm laying the color directly on the page (the Neocolor IIs) then wetting it and blending with the brush.  They tend to dry so much lighter than my other wc paints, so I thought I'd try this method to get richer colors.  So far, not bad. 

Happy Fall. 
Happy October... my favorite month.  

Autumn being my favorite season. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Potpourri (i.e. a lame title when you can't think of something better)

Life is busy... duh.  Lots of variety and unrelated busy-ness eats up my time, and I sometimes just forget I have a blog.

We went camping last month.  Hallelujah!  Though it involved a bit of rain, a dog bite, and a final night of hearing a pack of wolves close by (following elk, most likely, but we were the only people in the campground) which prompted dear hubby and dear son staying up all night by the fire to be on the safe side, it was SO worth it!  (How is that for a run on sentence?) Beautiful late summer weather, pristine air, aspens just beginning to glow gold, wind in the pines, and a little lake practically all to ourselves (see photo above)!  It was just too short.  Here are a couple quick sketches done while on the trip...

Done on the drive to camp of the passing scenery (above).

And this one of a Great Blue Heron, which circled slowly over the lake then landed in a huge pine.

Back at home, drawing and painting classes have been chugging along, here are a couple photos of demonstrations I did step by step which the students emulated...

(Neocolor II wax pastels on black pastel paper of a fall still life.)

Chair by Open Window.  Lesson on watercolor techniques and use of masking to retain bright whites.  This exercise can be found in 'Watercolor Workshop' a DK book.  Students were pleased with their final paintings, which was their first painting of a complete composition, start to finish.  We use the Neocolors for watercolor as well, since they are water soluble, the colors aren't quite as fresh as professional tube watercolors, but work well for classes.  Easy portability and can be used in multiple ways.

Here is a photo of the students' just turned in homework assignments...

So there is a potpourri update of Sept. & Oct. happenings.
Already thinking about the holidays and all that needs to be done in preparation for them.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Clay pots at the DBG

 I photographed a few large clay pots that are displayed at the Desert Botanical Garden.  I used the photos to sketch from, for the 75 Day Sketch Challenge...

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Smattering

A smattering of my ink only sketches for the 75 Day Sketch Challenge... which I SHOULD be done with, but am not.  Alas, it has not been as successful as I'd hoped in a couple of ways, yet it has been valuable and instructive.  It did NOT jump start my art and reinvigorate my desire to sketch... over time, quite the opposite.  It's become a bit of a drudgery, what is GOOD about that is I have learned that sketching in ink is not my preferred method.  I prefer pencil (not because I can erase, but because I can get more subtlety, texture, mood and details with pencil...and more quickly!)  This has been good for me to realize.  It did improve my ink sketching though, I think, and help me to not fear jumping right in with ink and no way to 'erase'... although that wasn't a huge hurdle for me anyway.  It helped me learn new ways to get ink to be more versatile (colored inks, trying new styles etc.).  But it is not as inspiring and easy for me to turn to as pencils or watercolor.  So it won't become a media tool I use 'alone' as often as pencils or paints.  I hope to crank out the last few sketches so I can at least say I completed the challenge and receive my 'artisitic license' from the artist who thought the challenge up.  It's a valuable challenge, and I recommend it... but you might be surprised at what you learn from it, like myself, the things I learned were not exactly the things I had set out to learn or hoped to achieve, but even that showed me some things!  So here are a few sketches from here and there. 

With this sketch of a Gaillardia or blanket flower, I was SICK of mono-color inks, so I used my Stabilo 88 fine water soluble COLOR pens (kinda like fine point markers) to sketch the flower then added water washes to make the sketch more of a painting. 

This day I fished a drowned grasshopper from the pool, and sketched it with 3 different colored inks on grey paper.  It made a rather 3d effect which was fun. 

Golden Brown ink in a Noodlers Flex pen of a little mushroom I discovered growing out of the dead and weathered remains of a fallen saguaro.  Very rare to find mushrooms growing in the Sonoran desert!  It was the result of a few days of monsoon rains creating the right conditions.  

This sketch of 'The Old Red House' was drawn loosely based on a picture in an Oregon travel magazine I brought back from Portland.  I used a rust colored Pitt or Zig pen.  Though I don't usually enjoy drawing buildings because of the need to get your perspective correct, or have a very wonky structure, I did enjoy this Victorian house... if you could see the actual photo, you'd see how off it is from reality!  ;) 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Under the Deep Blue Sea

Several things... I am back from CA, and mom's surgery went perfectly.  She had a rough couple days in the hospital while they worked on giving her the right pain meds... most were too strong for her and made her rather loopy.  She's home now and doing well.  :)

Since I've been home in AZ we've had our hottest spell so far this summer, a string of 116 degree days.  Yikes!  I've been busy with life, but was inspired by some photos taken by my niece, who is doing a marine biology project in the Philippines this summer.  There are sea slug looking creatures, called Nudibranchs, that she has photographed several of.. they are amazing!  Bright colors, fancy doo-hickeys coming off of them.  Fascinating and beautiful.   I painted a small watercolor page compiling a couple of her photos into one scene...

There are several others of the same species that look completely different, and she also took a photo of a emerald green shrimp, with various other bright colors on it's eyes, antennae etc... it looks like something out of a cartoon!  I may paint it too.  

Friday, July 27, 2012

What's the Story, Morning-glory?

Just a quick update... I was out of town last week.  My kids sent me to Oregon for my birthday to spend some time with our son and his wife that live there.  That was wonderful!  Maybe I'll get to upload some more photos... later, but maybe not, because....

I'm getting ready to fly to CA to care for my mom as she recovers from hip replacement surgery.  I'll have limited internet access, and no access to my photos...sooo, not sure when I'll be able to get a post up here in the short term.  But I wanted to let you all know I'm just busy, haven't given up!  I'll be back soon.  :)

That's the word, mocking-bird.  (anyone know where the title and this last line are from?)  ;)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

31, 32

Monday, July 16, 2012

29 & 30

Sunday, July 15, 2012

26, 27, 28...

Back to the 75 Day Sketch Challenge... 

 Day 26, done late at night again as nothing had inspired me to draw all day.  I flipped open a book on the masters and van Gogh's self portrait with it's beautiful paint technique in my favorite hues (yellow and blue) was enjoyable to see.  So I did a very rough, very quick sketch... following the lines of his brushwork.  

27. Another evening sketch (noticing a pattern here!)  This time of a 9 inch high wood carved squirrel who resides on our hearth with a couple of other squirrel friends.  I used golden brown ink and tried to follow the grain lines of the carving, which you can see behind my sketchbook.  

Day 28, if you could see the original photo this was drawn from, you'd see my proportions were WAY off.  Maybe that 'sketching at night' thing is to blame?  Heh heh. 

This next piece has nothing to do with the sketch challenge... it's a page in my little nature journal I happened to paint last night (the date on the journal page is when I took the photo of the dragonfly) The daily sketches are a good exercise, but I don't want to stall in my desire to practice watercolor. 
Happy and blessed Sunday to you all!  May the coming week be filled with natural wonders and beauty. 
God bless!

Student's Before and Afters!

 Interrupting my somewhat boring string of daily sketches... I thought I'd post some of my students drawings from last years class.  The first photo in each set is the self portrait that student drew on their first day in my class, the next is their self portrait drawn again, on the last day of class.  The photos are of poor quality, unfortunately!  I scanned the students original drawings, then took a photo of the scanned pages to upload... not the best way to show their drawings, but you can at least see how their understanding of form, shading, proportion etc. had grown over the class terms (classes are twice a month for the school year calendar)  A few of these students are returning for a second year, where we'll work in C O L O R... should be fun!  I absolutely love teaching art and am so thankful God has blessed me with the opportunity.

(Tip: clicking on each picture will let you view at a larger size with better resolution)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Catching up...

So I've fallen behind in posting my sketches from the 75 Day Sketch Challenge.  So here you go!  Some are downright terrible... but this is practice, discipline and so, that's okay. 

Day 18: Noodlers flex pen with golden brown ink...
Day 19: Black Tombow marker... a terrible choice for my subject
Day 20:  Black 05 micron
Day 21: Black 05 micron

Day 22 was not the micron, maybe a Zig millenium, first just the ink sketch, later I added a bit of color with watercolor washes.

Days 23 (stabilo markers) and 24 black ink (as you see I really only did my sketch out of duty that day)

Now we're up to date with today's sketch, day 25, I drew some Mesquite seed pods I picked up outside of Fresh and Easy market.  Some day I want to gather a LOT of mesquite pods, dry them and grind some mesquite flour to make tortillas and pancakes.  ;)  I only added detail and shadow to the pods on the left... just to show the process.  As usual...Click on the photo to see a larger, sharper image. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Monday, July 2, 2012

15 & 16 etc.

(click on the photos to see a better / larger image)

Here's a page from a different journal, I finished last night.  Not part of the challenge, just felt like painting birds.  ;)

Not much else going on... slowly recovering from what is believed to be Valley Fever.  Ron and I were given a pair of tickets by our children to see Cirque du Soleil's KOOZA on was absolutely amazing.  What a treat, we were in the front row too!