Holbein WIP 4

3/29/2010 03:26:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 31 Comments »
Every time I scan my drawings and compare them to the reference drawing, I see things in them that I totally miss when I'm in the process of working on them.  I wonder why that is.  I'm not talking about little differences,  I'm talking huge, glaring, jump-off-the-page differences.  Things like a totally wrong shape for something that's as plain as the nose on your face. ...... yes, I'm talking about the nose on Her face.  However, even in the face of that, I've decided that it's time for me to move on.  Mrs. Butts and I are finished with one another.  She's tired of looking at me, and all I can say to that is, "Ditto, Mrs. Butts, with the unfortunate name". .......  I can be soooo mean.

Holbein WIP 3

3/28/2010 07:15:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 21 Comments »
Soon we'll be going on a wee trip, so I've been slowly getting ready for it.  There were presents to buy and wrap, Easter cards to get ready to mail (and mail), groceries to buy, packing lists to do, etc, etc.  And, of course, I've been using the new treadmill 5 days a week .  (By dividing the number of times I've used it into the cost, so far each session has cost $44 - a number that is acting as a motivator for me, who Hates to Exercise).    We haven't told Abby (our dog) that we're going yet, because she'll be going to "camp" (the kennel), poor dear.  They love her there and do their best to spoil her, but she doesn't really like to go.
In spite of all the preparations (which aren't finished yet, I've also set aside a bit of time to work on my Holbein drawing..... not a lot, but some.  I'd like to finish it before we leave, because I know I won't be working on it while we're gone, but on the other hand, a break from it will probably give me a whole new insight as to what I need to adjust.  With that in mind, I won't be spraying it before we go so that upon our return, I can fiddle with it if I want.    Enough of my babbling .... here is WIP 3, followed by the reference drawing, as always.

Holbein WIP 2

3/26/2010 03:54:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 15 Comments »
I didn't have a lot of time again today to draw, but I did do a bit more on my Holbein copy.  I'm finding her mouth is posing a special challenge for me - there really isn't much mouth there to work with.  With just a few lines and shadows, Holbein was able to create a mouth that is just perfect for that face.   I'm having trouble with the line itself, as well as its angle.
As you can see from my version, I have been working with relatively hard pencils.  The softest one I've used on it so far is a 2B.  I'm not ready yet to move to the softer, darker, lead - I'm still feeling my way along with this.  I've only just started doing her headpiece.  I can say this about it, though, I'm Oh So Grateful that I don't ever have to wear anything like that on My head, aren't you?

Holbein WIP 1

3/24/2010 08:25:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 7 Comments »
Well, after a busy day and being away from the house most of the day, and then finishing ironing my sweetie's shirts (a birthday present to him - he irons his own shirts .... isn't that just the best?), fixing part of the dinner (he did the main course - a recipe of his own invention that was really very good), doing the dishes,  and giving the dog a bath, I finally sat down to do a bit of drawing.  A very little bit.  I still have a few things to do before hitting the hay.  So, here is the start of my newest Master's copy.  As usual, I'll post my WIP and the reference photo so you can comment and give me suggestions.  It's just a bare beginning, but what the heck - you go with what you got, right?  p.s., Of course, now that I can see it here in the post, I can immediately see what's wrong with  the nose, just for openers.... but, that's why it's a WIP!!

How Did I Do It?

3/23/2010 09:00:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 18 Comments »
When I was a young mother with 2 growing boys, I worked part time, was the president of a co-op nursery school, volunteered at my son's elementary school, was a consultant for a non-profit agency, and had time for my art .... not a lot, but still, I did it.  I sewed Halloween costumes, baked, cooked, wall-papered rooms .... well, you get the picture.  I was a normal American mom, doing the things normal American moms do.  Now my children are grown.  I volunteer at our county health department, but only one day a week.  There's only my sweetie and I and our dog, Abby, here at home, and for some reason,   all too often I have a heck of a time finding time for my art .  Why is that, I wonder.  It's true, I exercise every day now, but I'm finished with that most days by 7 AM, and I'm not locked into a schedule like I used to be.  We do go to bed early most nites (Sweetie gets up at 4:00, so of course, I'm awake then, too) so I don't have the evenings to work like I used to, but still .....

Here's what I think.  I think that one of the big obstacles (as well as one of the blessings in my life), is the internet.  I get tons of email - things I'm interested in, mind you, but still, it takes me a lot of time to visit all the blogs and leave comments on all the wonderful work I see others doing.  People send me links to interesting sites that I just have to check out!  I had every intention of doing some art after dinner tonite, but since I was gone all day, I had tons of email that I wanted to check (in part because I knew if I didn't prune it, by tomorrow it would take me most of the day to go thru.  I think I need to find a way to be more organized and efficient in my internet use.  I'll have to ponder that.

In the meantime, I've decided on another Master's drawing to copy.  This one is by Holbein,  and I like it because it's an older woman.  Her name is Margaret, Lady Butts, Wife of Sir William Butts, physician to Henry VIII; lady-in-waiting to Princess Mary.  It's done with Pen and brush ink reinforcement and metalpoint.  Mine will be done with pencil.  I'm planning on starting it tomorrow morning, but here is Lady Butts, my newest model!


3/18/2010 07:09:00 AM Posted In , Edit This 18 Comments »
I'd like you to meet my new fish.  I've been wanting some fish for a long time ... don't ask me why, it just seemed like a good idea.  It's been a cold winter here, and I've been waiting to get them because I thought that transporting them home in the cold weather would not be such a hot idea (even tho they'd be in the car, still it's been a tad nippy).   So about 2 weeks ago, I brought 2 goldfish home during a warm spell.  In preparation for their arrival, I bought a punch bowl to keep them in.  See, after finding out that each goldfish needs a gallon of water (yes, a Gallon Each!!), I didn't want to spend the $$ on an aquarium, so I bought this 2 gallon punch bowl at a second hand store - clear glass with "pressed glass" flowers around it.  I brought the fish home, put some gravel in the bottom of the punch bowl, a few plastic plants, room temp water, and then introduced them slowly to their new digs.  They freaked out and hid among the plants.  They stayed that way for days .... wouldn't eat, didn't swim around, just hid in the bushes.  It finally occurred to me that what scared them so  was  that looking thru those pressed glass flowers distorted their view so much that it scared their little selves half to death.
Another problem (I know this is long, but I can't help it) is that we're going to be gone for 5 days and I worried that they might starve while we were gone.  Then I found this magic fish food block that you just put in their bowl and it lasts for 7 days!  But, it works best if the water is moving.  So, back to the pet store to buy an aquarium, the fish food block, tubing, a pump, and a bubbler thingy.  (Now my $2.00 fish have cost me about $30).  I set them up in their new home, and guess what?  They're Happy!!  They swim, they come to the top when they see me, and they eat like little piggies!  I'm happy, too!

Here they are .... colored pencil drawings (which I'm not very good at and which I did on paper with too much tooth for colored pencil). 

EDM 8 and The New Giveaway Winner

3/17/2010 11:38:00 AM Posted In , , Edit This 12 Comments »
One of the groups I belong to and am active in is Every Day Matters http://tinyurl.com/yjv2mma  They have a long list of "challenges" designed to help get past the "I don't know what to draw" days.  The prompts also act (for me, at least) as encouragement to just keep in there working playing at making art.   (I just remembered about that crossing-out-a-word thing that my computer can do!).  So, today I'm sharing one of my drawings based on EDM number 8, "draw your watch or a piece of jewelry".  As you can tell, I'm not that good at following directions, so here are a few of my "jewels", rather than just one.

Oh, and Alex, I almost forgot ... the new giveaway winner is YOU!!    ..... I didn't really almost forget, I just wanted to tease you a little bit.

Greenhouse and Giveaway Update

3/16/2010 11:15:00 AM Posted In , Edit This 25 Comments »
Well, I haven't heard from Sabine, the winner  of the giveaway yet, and I've tried contacting her without success, so if I haven't heard from her by tonite, I'm going to draw again and  give the book to someone else.  I'm sorry to have to do that, but this is the 3rd day since I announced the winner, and I'd really like someone to have this book!  So, Sabine, if you're out there, please contact me! 

On another note,  because spring is almost here (yippee!!), I thought I'd share another watercolor painting I did of a greenhouse.  It's another one that I sold a few years back.   This one is the "Geranium House" at one of our local flower centers.  I have a hard time restraining myself when I'm there seeing all the beautiful flowers.  All too often I come home with what seems like just a few plants when I'm buying them, only to find out  they multiplied  in the car when I got down on my knees to plant them  (the little devils!).

New Toy

3/14/2010 08:04:00 PM Edit This 13 Comments »
Awhile ago there was a discussion on the Everyday Matters online group (I would put a link in here, but not only am I not sure exactly how to to it, but when I tried, the link was about 4 lines long - it's a Yahoo group, if you want to find it) about a toy someone had as a child that was a reflector gizmo that allowed you to copy pictures.  I had a hard time envisioning how it would work, but as these kinds of discussions have a way of doing, someone found one online that was for sale!   It's called a Reflecting Sketcher, and I got it  at  closeoutzone.com  (I tried putting in a link to it, but for some reason it wouldn't work)    The price was right .... under $10, including shipping, so being a curious bear, I quickly ordered one.  It really is a fun toy, although it does have its drawbacks.  For one thing, the far edge of what you're copying sort of disappears from view, making it difficult to copy that side.  It should be noted, however, that I did this at night using lights, so maybe the results in the daytime might be a bit different.  I did a quick outline with few details just to give it a test run, and this is what I got.

You put the original on the side of your non-dominant hand, and your paper on the other side of the plastic divider.  Then you look at the reflection of the drawing on the plastic and "trace" it with your dominant hand.  I know it sounds odd, but that really is how you do it.  I had trouble keeping the reflection lined up with the drawing I had done (note his ear), and I didn't try to add in all the details, but you can get a rough idea of what you end up with.  And, you will notice that you get a mirror image of the original.   So, here are pictures of the device, the original that I copied (a rather plain Rubens drawing), and the copy I did of it.  I think I'll just keep this thing as a toy for my grandniece and other children who come here to play.

And The Winner Is ....

3/14/2010 11:22:00 AM Posted In Edit This 1 Comment »
Thanks very much to all of you who left comments on my blog post about the book I'm giving away.  We were out quite late last night, so I didn't check my email to see if there were any additional comments.  I just did it, went to one of those "random number selection" sites online, and came up with a winner!  So, (pretend you hear a drum roll) the winner is Sabine!  So, if you'll email me privately with your snail mail info, I'll get the book in the mail as quickly as I can!  To everyone else, I wish I had enough copies of this book for each one of you to get one.  Maybe next time, you'll be the winner ...  I hope so! 

Another drawing

3/12/2010 08:42:00 PM Posted In Edit This 26 Comments »
This is a picture I copied from a National Geographic Magazine.  It isn't a "quick sketch", nor is it a marathon drawing.  It's sort of in between the two.  I spent the day today cleaning the house (ugh), and it left little time for drawing.  So, I decided that rather than embark on some new project (i.e., another Master's copy or my "timed sketch" experiment), I'd just do what felt comfortable, which is to just sit down and draw.  This is my one and only version of her .... no going back to correct or improve.  I'm not happy with her nose, but then, I'm not that happy with my nose either!  So, here she is, imperfections and all .....

Quick Sketches

3/11/2010 02:54:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 16 Comments »
These are a couple of sketches I did using a ballpoint pen.   I can see issues with both of them, but the one that bothers me the most is the girls mouth.  Ink isn't real forgiving, that's for sure.   Quick sketches aren't my strong suit, although when I see what others can do quickly, I'm inspired to get better at it.  I read about artists doing collages and they say, "I just sit down with all of my scraps of paper, paint a background, start stamping and gluing and this is what I did".  Others say things like, "I sat in a coffee shop and this person kept moving so I had to finish him in about 3 minutes".  Collages can take me days and days .... an ATC can take me an entire day as I worry and fuss with it.  Drawings take me a long time ... they just do.  So, I think I might start setting a timer, do a sketch, and when the timer goes off, bang!  The drawing is over.  I'll pretend the model just walked away .... even if it's my cup of tea that I'm drawing. 

P.S.  Don't forget to leave a comment on the "giveaway" post if you want to be in the drawing.  You have the rest of today, tomorrow, and Saturday, then I'm doing the drawing thing on Sunday.  Be sure to check back to see if you won! 

DaVinci WIP day 3

3/08/2010 07:25:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 20 Comments »
OK, this time I really mean it!  This is the last version of my DaVinci copy.  I darkened the values, although it still isn't quite right.  But ol Yeller and I are parting ways.  It's time for me to move on to something else .... not sure just what yet, but definitely something else.  He was a good model (you know, he Never Moved At All!!), but I'm a tad tired of him.  So, one last look ....



p.s., don't forget to leave a comment on my "giveaway" post to win the book.  You have until Sat. 3/13!

Time for a Giveaway!!

3/06/2010 02:37:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 32 Comments »
Well, when I had 4,000 visits to my blog I decided to give something away when I got to 5,000.  Well, I missed that mark, and so I decided I'd do it at 6,000.  Then, I missed that  one too, so decided I'd do it at 7,000.  The thing is, I missed that one too!  So, rather than wait any longer, I'm going to do it now.  I'm so appreciative of all the support, encouragement, helpful  suggestions, and generous comments all of you have left for me, that I want to give a little something back to you.

So, here it is.  It's a North Light book of Painting Techniques.  It covers a variety of media - oil, watercolor, and pastel, among others.  It has tons of really clear photos showing lots and lots of different techniques.  The scan I did of it isn't the best.  The book is a tad big for my scanner, so a bit of it is a bit blurry, but I think you can see enough of it clearly to give you the idea.  It measures about 9" x 9" and has 208 pages.

If you want to play, just leave me a comment on this post between now and March 13th.  On Sunday, March 14th, I'll use one of those on-line random number thingys to pick a winner!  So thanks again, and good luck!! 


p.s., sorry the post is so long, and oh, one other thing ... please leave only one comment!  Thanks

Charcoal drawing

3/05/2010 04:39:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 22 Comments »
This is a drawing I did awhile ago that depicts some of the things that I love.  They are symbolic of some of my many interests.  Three of the items are self-explanatory, but two may not be as evident.  The ribbon represents gifts - the many gifts in my life, both given and received.  I've been so blessed to have been the recipient of so many wonderful gifts - special people in my life, circumstances, and of course, all the spectacular, one-of-a-kind jewelry that my sweetie gives me!  lol  The duck represents my personal history.  When I was 3 my father took me to a Halloween party for children.  I was dressed as a clown.  All the children (I think sort of by age group) went up on a stage while the crowd "voted" by their applause for the best costume.  We were up there alone.  Anyhow, I looked out over the sea of faces and I couldn't find my father.  I burst into tears, which of course, made finding him that much harder.  I won the contest - I'm sure it was because I was the only one crying.  The prize was this cast iron duck bank.  I still use it, and I love it. 

DaVinci WIP day 2

3/04/2010 07:38:00 PM Edit This 12 Comments »
What a day!!!  It was sunny and warm (well, warm for the mitten in March), and I got to spend most of the day with 2 friends, one of whom I seldom see because she lives in Florida .... she thought it was really cold here!  We were helping to pack up her mother and dad who have sold their home here in order to stay year round in Florida.  We had a lot of fun, and actually got some things done!

I didn't have much time to devote to art .... between spending time with my (new) treadmill (another really long story about a woman who detests any kind of exercise), settling the dog, feeding the birds, etc, etc,  I didn't do anything on my DaVinci drawing until the dinner dishes were done and the trash barrel was down by the road.  That said, I think I'm calling this one done ...  yes, I know, I don't have the shading just right, but I'm ready to move on to something else.  I'm going to give the Masters a rest from my efforts for now and instead do ........  well, to tell you the truth, I don't know what I'm going to do next.  I'll have to ponder it a bit, I guess.  So, here he is .... old yeller.   Ok, ok,  now that I see him here, I may have to have one more go at him.



Watercolor Painting

3/03/2010 07:29:00 AM Posted In Edit This 25 Comments »
I had a very busy day yesterday and have another fairly busy day today, so I thought I'd post a picture I painted some time ago.  We took a trip to northern Michigan one summer and I was really taken with this little wall.  In the picture it looks like it's quite high, but in reality it is only about 2 feet high.  I loved that it was made by hand with native rocks, and that the rocks had so many different colors and shapes in them.  I also loved the view of the lake in the background.  This painting took me  quite a long time to do, what with all the details in each stone.    The colors in the scan are more intense than the actual colors in the painting - the actual painting is more subdued and subtle.  But it's one of my favorite paintings that I've done ... maybe because it brings memories of our wonderful vacation with the boys, and also much of it was painted with a group of artist friends.  The group is no more - some moved away, some moved on.  But when I see this painting, I remember them all with love.


Next Master's Drawing - Day 1

3/01/2010 04:18:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 20 Comments »
My next copy is based on  a DaVinci study for The Battle Of Anghiari.  One of the challenges in this one for me is the many values in it.  Another is that it's a face (yikes !).  I find faces very difficult to do.  I have a hard time getting proportions right, correct angles, and the proper relationships between the various features.  So, this one seemed like a good one for me.  DaVinci did so many faces - many of them quite monstrous.  I'm thinking that at some point I will do some of them.   So, here is my reference photo, followed by my initial go at it. 



Concertina Book

3/01/2010 10:31:00 AM Posted In Edit This 13 Comments »
Yesterday my good friend Vicki and I went to Hollanders  www.hollanders.com (I don't know how to do that "click on it and you go there"  thing so I have to put in the url) which is a spectacular paper store in Ann Arbor and took a class on how to make a concertina book.  It was taught by Christine Reising and David Burkam ( moonmothpress.etsy.com ) and they were just wonderful.  The idea was to use a found book, remove the spine and replace it with an accordian folded spine, and replace the inside with new signatures made with art paper.  The paper we used for the new signatures is called Somerset (I think that's how it's spelled) and it comes from England.  I was initially going to bring my own paper to do the signatures because I want to be able to use watercolor in this book, but then I decided that since the cost of the paper was included in the price, I'd rather try out a new paper.   I knew I'd be making another concertina book and I can use my own paper in that one.  After I try out the new paper, I'll let you know what I think of it.

Besides being most excellent and patient teachers, they brought many examples of books they've made (and sell on their Etsy site), and I have to tell you, those books were absolutely spectacular!  One of them even had a beautiful handmade fabric bag to hold it that was just so lovely.  I wanted them all!

My book is very modest - I just couldn't find anything in my stash that was really interesting that I wanted to cut apart.  But, I don't really mind all that much since it's my first one and I didn't have to worry about ruining it.  So, here it is!



By the way, if you click on "Faint Heart Art" on the left under blogs I follow, you can see Vicki's wonderful book!