2/27/2011 09:12:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 27 Comments »
OK, so technically this is still Day 2, but I couldn't leave this guy alone so I just kept at it on and off during the day.  I took Sandra's advice and softened the line of the hat - it did look like it was pasted on.  I also used my white charcoal pencil on his beard (btw, what's That all about anyway?  I've never seen white charcoal, have you?).  But I digress.  I also worked on the background a bit, but as it turned out, the paper didn't have much tooth left and so it wouldn't accept the charcoal very well, even after spraying it with workable fixative  (which is supposed to be used in 70 degrees or above, but not inside as it's a tad toxic .... clearly these folks don't live in the Mitten!).     Methinks perhaps that's just a wee hint that he's been overworked a bit; but then, I don't know anyone who hasn't been overworked at least once in their life, do you?

I think he and I will part ways for now - maybe forever.  I'm planning on spraying him tomorrow with something called Pym II.  It's an acid free acrylic protective coating that sort of "laminates" your work.  Once it's sprayed on, you can't go back with charcoal and add to it, but on the other hand, it really seals it well so that it won't smear anymore.  His fate may be sealed forever.

WIP Day 2

2/27/2011 12:48:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 13 Comments »
I've been pondering just how to do this man's beard.  Charcoal (at least at my skill level) doesn't seem to lend itself to small details like beard hair.  At first I thought I might use a sharpened charcoal pencil to do some of the finer work.  Alas, I don't have any (that I can find, nor do I have a memory of ever having them - which, of course, means nothing).  So then I decided that maybe I could just blend it all in and see what happens.  You can see what happened below.  I think I can work with this and maybe take it to a place where I'm reasonably satisfied with it.  In my search through my things hoping to find a charcoal pencil or two, I did come across a white charcoal pencil that just might come in handy.

Another problem I'm having is the hat versus the background.  I want it to blend in, but I'm having trouble getting the background dark enough.  I think I used to have a block of charcoal that might do the trick, but yep, you guessed it, I have not a clue where it might be.    The maddening thing about this is that just yesterday I was in a Utrecht Art Supply store, which is nowhere near my house (think about 45 miles), and it never occurred to me to buy charcoal pencils or a charcoal block!  I even had a 30% off coupon which I couldn't use because what I bought was already on sale.  (I left it at the store for someone more organized then I to pick up and use.)    Go figure.  I did, however, come home with a nice, big pad of newsprint to use at the life drawing studio. 

Work in Progress

2/25/2011 03:48:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 13 Comments »
Yesterday I finished the last of the projects for the new baby (due any day now).  I "made" 5 fleece blankets ("made is an exaggeration - I bought the material to size and then machine stitched a hem around each one).  They're quite big and have fun prints on them.  It took me a long time to do them because my sewing machine just wouldn't cooperate.  I'm taking it in to be cleaned and tuned up so it'll be ready for ... whatever!!

I've been also working little by little to get my studio back in some semblance of order.  It also needs to be cleaned (that's an understatement), but there's no way I can do that until I get more of it re-organized.  But, today, I actually started drawing again!!  Yippee!!!  At first I was going to do something with watercolor, but the truth is, I haven't painted in so long, I'm afraid.  So, I decided to start back gradually, and do a drawing. 

I also haven't used charcoal in ages.  I don't usually use it at home because it's so messy.  I sometimes use it when I go to life drawing sessions - they're used to the mess!  For some reason, though, I heard those little charcoal stix just calling my name in the most seductive way.  I had to look for them - it's been that long that I couldn't remember where I put them.  But find them, I did, found an old charcoal paper pad, set up my table easel, and jumped in.  So, here it is .... unfinished, but I'm pleased with how much I got done on it.

Thanks to all of you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave me comments.  I appreciate each and every one of them!


2/16/2011 05:29:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 9 Comments »
Ok, so as it turns out, the mobile wasn't quite finished.  I did add more shells to it (1 on each side of the shells already there, but on shorter strings so they hang closer to the blue ring), and I also did a satin stitch across the mouth of the blowfish.   Some of you may remember that I wasn't quite satisfied with that fish, especially the mouth.  The pieces just wouldn't cooperate with me and the points of the seams near the mouth  didn't suit my fancy.  So today I did a bit more tweaking.  I satin-stitched across the mouth and went over the offending seams.  I think it's much improved - the fish likes it too, because now it has lips!

On another topic, tomorrow our dog, Abby and I are going to visit the father of my friend, Judy.  He lives in Howell Medilodge (or maybe it's called Medilodge of Howell), but either way, that's where we'll be.  We've been wanting to do this for quite some time, but for one reason or another it just hasn't happened yet.  Abby insisted on having a bath today in order to  look her very best. (Ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration - what really happened is that as I was getting things ready in the bathroom, she wandered in to be with me and I shut the door behind her.  She looked horrified, suspecting what was coming, and then when I took off her collar, she just drooped and looked really, really sad.)  But she's a good old girl, behaved very nicely in the tub, and as always when I give her a bath, didn't shake until I had her out of the tub and completely covered with towels.  She sat very still while I blew her dry, then looked really happy when she got her well-deserved cookie .

I did a  quick drawing while I waited for Judy in a restaurant today, so I'll post it since I don't have any other work to show you.  So here's Abby, the fish, and the sketch.

Mobile 2 .. Mission Accomplished

2/13/2011 04:41:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 21 Comments »
Well, I did it!  I finished the mobile for my soon-to-be-born grandbaby.    Every knot is double-tied and glued, and it's ready to be shipped.  I had a hard time knowing when to stop adding things to it.  I have several other things to choose from, and each has its own charm:  very tiny (1/4") shells, a gold-colored locket in the shape of a clam shell,  a dolphin (which I haven't made yet, but it wouldn't be that hard), and a tiny, golden seahorse, which I thought I might put in with the fish.  This was a wonderful project - full of fun and interest, educational, and very entertaining.

I've already talked about some of the challenges making the various creatures for it.   While making them, I was also thinking about how I wanted to actually construct it.  I considered using wooden dowels and doing the balancing thing with an animal on each end of them.  I like how that type of construction is so, well, mobile!  They seem to be in constant motion, and I thought it would be very captivating for a baby.  Ultimately I decided to go with a similar method that I used for his brother's mobile - a ribbon-covered embroidery hoop, so I could add a few more things than just the critters.   I didn't want it to be exactly like the other one, so I decided to use 2 hoops, 1 above the other.

That proved to be way more difficult than I anticipated.  After covering the hoops and putting the beading around them,  I had to decide how I wanted to connect them, as well as what to use as the  hanger thingy.   I'm not a math whiz (a total understatement), and I found that lining up the 2 circles and then getting the connection ribbons just the right length so that they both hung evenly is difficult to do just by looking at them.  I had no idea how to figure it out using math, so I just went for it.  It was crooked, but the more I fiddled with it, the worse it got, so I decided to just leave it and view it as "that's how you know it's hand made".  I got it all finished - everything glued in place, and it was driving me crazy that it hung unevenly.  One connecting ribbon was about 1/4" too long.

Being a very stubborn bear,  I decided to risk undoing one end of the offending ribbon to see what I could do.  Of course, the knot was glued and it was rather tricky undoing it, but I finally got it undone.  Then, after much fiddling and muttering, voila!  It's not perfectly even, but it's oh so much better than it was!  All in all, I'm pleased with it.  The little metal fish at the top make a very pleasant sound when they gently tap against each other as the mobile moves.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to wrap it and pack well enough for it to make its journey safely to Nashville!  We're flying there next month, but my sweetie thinks (correctly, I'm sure) that with all the TSA rules & regs, it would really be a hassle to take with us.  So, USPS or UPS it is .... sorry Fed Ex - my heart belongs to the other two.

Looking at these pictures again, I'm thinking it might need a few more shells hanging from the main ring.  What do you think?

Another Waiting Room

2/04/2011 03:56:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 10 Comments »
As some of you may know,  cataract surgery a couple of months ago on both eyes.  One works fine, the other needed a bit of "tweaking" (the doctor's word, not mine), which I had done on Tuesday of this week.   As it turns out, it really was a kind of tweak.  He did it in his office, as opposed to an operating room where the first surgery was done), and it took about 5 or 10 minutes.  Since I had an astigmatism in that eye, he needed to make a couple of cuts in my cornea to make it round again.  I know, it sounds awful, but really, it was a piece of cake.    I can see better out of that eye now, it feels a bit scratchy (not itchy, but more like there's a bit of something in it), and I have had no pain in it at all.

As some of you also may know, I pass the time in waiting rooms by sketching the other folks who are also waiting for something or someone.  While I didn't do any sketching Tuesday (I got taken right in), I had to go back yesterday for my "post-op" check.  I did have a bit of waiting to do for that appointment, so I did a bit of sketching.  These aren't the best sketches I've done in similar circumstances (the light was dim and the room was crowded, so I had people right next to me, causing me to assume a rather awkward position to keep my drawing rather hidden).   But in the interest of Truth in Posting, here they are.  Oh, and by the way, I'm in the process of figuring out exactly how I want to construct Mobile 2, so I'll post a picture of that when I have something to show you! 

Unfortunately, as you can see, the paper in this book is quite thin, and you can see shadows of what's behind each drawing.  Also, my favorite Micron pen was nowhere to be found, so these were done with ballpoint pen .... not my fave!