OMG ..2 in 2 Days!

12/29/2012 08:37:00 PM Edit This 9 Comments »
OK, it's too soon to say I'm on a roll, but I haven't done 2 in 2 days in ..... well, I have no idea how long!  Once again I did an ink sketch (as if you can't tell), and once again I have no idea who it is.  But, I can say that it was fun to do, even though I did it in about 20 minutes or so.  I think I'm afraid to spend more time on these pieces for fear that they will just get worse.  I'm just tickled that I actually drew something again today.  One day at a time.  I just have to keep reminding myself of that. 

Happy New Year

12/28/2012 04:01:00 PM Edit This 10 Comments »
Well, once again it's been a long time since I've posted anything.  It's been almost that long since I've done anything with art as well.  I've done a few (very few) little sketches on the fly, but nothing to speak of.    Today I sat down with a large sketchbook and my Micron pens and decided that I just had to jump in.  Jump I did.  I got an old Vanity Fair magazine from the bin, put on some good music, propped up the magazine and made myself comfortable.   Since it's been so long, I thought I would give myself a good scare (I was already scared, but what the heck?) and use ink.  The advantage, I thought, was that once the mark was on the paper, that was that.  I wouldn't have to stress about trying to make it perfect because I knew with ink it wouldn't be possible anyway (well, not for me, that is).  I drew the woman on the cover.  I have no idea who she is, which was another advantage.

I didn't have a whole lot of time to do it .... another plus!,  and I spent about 25 minutes on her.  No need to point out the flaws - they're obvious, but I don't care.  I'm just tickled that I actually did something and posted it!  My aim for the new year is to post to my blog at least once a week.  I'd also like to sketch something everyday..... no matter how tiny it might be! 

Happy New Year to you all, and may your coming year be filled with many blessings!

The Rooster

10/22/2012 04:08:00 PM Edit This 11 Comments »
Well, it's been a long time since I've posted anything.  One of the many things I've been busy with is making a Halloween costume for Oliver, our youngest grandson.   He is 20 months old, and his parents decided he should be a rooster for Halloween.  I got to make the costume!  I used to make the costumes for our sons when they were young and it was a lot of fun both to make them and then to see their sweet selves in them.

I've made several for our grandsons, too.  There's been a pineapple (yep, a pineapple!), garden gnome, cowboy, teddy bear, and now a rooster.  Since they live in Tennessee and we live in Michigan, it's always kind of scarey for me (I guess that's appropriate for Halloween!) because I never know until they arrive and are tried on for the first time if it's going to fit.    Anyhow, I finished it yesterday and mailed it off today.  It's supposed to arrive on Wednesday, so I'm keeping all my parts crossed until I get that picture on my phone of little Oliver strutting his stuff as a rooster.

So, here is what the costume looks like, sans boy.  An old teddy bear is modeling the hat for you.

I'm eager to start drawing again!   Which is not to say that the rooster got in my way .... it's more like I've been too chicken to do it.


8/31/2012 01:37:00 PM Edit This 8 Comments »
It's been mighty dry around here.  The farmer's field of soybeans behind us is turning yellow.  Corn is troubled, the grass is mostly brown and crispy, and flowers are dying despite my efforts at watering them.  But that's not the only dryness.  It's been a long, dry, spell for me artistically, too.  Oh, I've been busy with different things (including a wonderful week with our children and grandchildren!), but that aside, I've had trouble even coming up with something to draw.

So, I decided to return to an old standby .... copying portraits done by masters in pencil.  It's satisfying, challenging, and difficult for me, so it seems to fit the bill.  I've chosen to do William Warham,  by Holbein.  There's something wrong with my scanner and it takes an impossibly long time to scan something, so for now all I'm posting is my beginning sketch.  When I have more time, I'll also post the original that I'm working from.  One of the things I like about doing this is that I can sit on our front porch in the evening and do a bit of drawing while my sweetie reads the paper or plays with his iPad.  Even Abby, the dog, likes it!

So, here he is!

Faber Castel Watercolor Pencils

7/27/2012 04:58:00 PM Edit This 13 Comments »
After ordering the wrong thing and erroneously sending them back (I wish I had kept them ... the return postage was ridiculous!), I ordered the right thing and was really looking forward to trying them out.  I watched a video about them (sadly I can't give you the link because I have no idea where I saw it) and was completely intrigued.  In the video the artist sort of made a palette of them by thickly applying them in squares on a piece of watercolor paper, and then using them like pan watercolors.  I was intrigued, but also a tad nervous about using them.  I know, that's really silly, but there you are ... somebody let the wicked critic out of her cage and she wasn't happy.

So, finally I sat down and did a quick ink sketch in the sketchbook I'm zeroing in on to complete.  I was on the front porch and drew one of the chairs.  After that sat for awhile ... OK, a pretty long while .... several days, if not a week,  I finally decided to just jump in and outcome be damned!  To put it mildly, the piece is busy, but that's because I really wanted to just fiddle with these pencils.   They are fun .... they are easy to use, although I have to learn how much to put in my square, and they mix well.  As you can see, I chose to mix mine on a separate sheet of paper rather than in the sketchbook since the book isn't very big.  I bought them online from Dick Blick - 25 in a very nice tin, along with an instruction book and color-mixing wheel.   BTW, I don't know if the above link will work .... I had trouble with it and I'm not very good at trouble shooting this sort of thing ... well, really anything having to do with computers.  Anyhow, here's the experimental, very busy, piece.

The blue on the posts is actually burgandy, but I wanted to try out a different color.  I will play with them again ....  maybe soon!        Thanks for dropping by, and I'd love to hear from you!!  

Beginning watercolor

7/12/2012 04:52:00 PM Edit This 10 Comments »
It's been really hot and dry here in the mitten.  The only things growing in our "lawn" are the weeds.  I can't help but wonder why it is that weeds never seem to mind the weather ... not the heat, not the drought, not heavy winds or rain.  Even frost doesn't kill them - they just fade away until the next growing season.  Their roots  settle in for a  long winter's  nap, and in the spring pop right back up, bright eyed and bushy tailed.  Ditto with the crab grass, quack grass, and other grasses that have nothing to do with lawns or gardens.  OK, I'll try not to complain anymore and look at the bright side.  Yes, there is a wee bright side.  I don't have to mow quite as often.  Enough said about all of that!

So, the other night I sat on our front porch with my sketchbook (it only has 5 sheets left!), my little Windsor &  Newton travel sized watercolor set, and my waterbrushes.   I'm never quite sure what you call them - the ones with the tubes to hold water with a brush on the end.   While I like to use those brushes for this kind of casual playing, I like to have a container of water to rinse them off in.  That way I don't have to keep filling them up.  Anyway, what I ended up doing was painting the yard in front of me.  I haven't finished it yet, but you get the idea ... yellow grass.  So far the trees seem to be doing OK.  The gardens, flowerpots, and hanging baskets are all we water because of the size of our yards - hence the dry and dead "grass".  Maybe tonight I'll be able to add a bit more to it, although the truth is that this view doesn't really have much more in it.  Evergreens, trees, and dead "grass".  sigh.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you have a second to leave me a wee comment - I love hearing from you!

Watercolor sketch

6/15/2012 01:58:00 PM Edit This 9 Comments »
Last night I sat on the porch with my sweetie and did a quick little watercolor sketch.  I did it in my old sketchbook that's almost filled up (I'm going to quit saying that because I'm planning on continuing to use it until it's all filled up ... which I hope will be soon!).  I used an old set of Pelikan pan watercolors that I've had for about 100 years.  Ok, so that's an exaggeration, but I've had it for at least 30 years!  Clearly I don't use it all that often, but each time I do I wonder why I don't use it all the time.

Sweetie got home really late last night - it was almost 7:00.  Since he usually leaves for work at 4:30 AM, getting home at 7 made for a long day.  I settled on the porch to wait for him with my painting things at the ready when our son, Andrew, called me.  We talked for over an hour about lots of interesting things.  I loved every minute of it!  It did, however, leave me a tad short of time for painting, hence the abbreviated little study.  I didn't do any sketching first, just dove right in with water brushes and the paint.  It was fun, even though the results are less than I would have liked.

PS ... due to our rapid fire internet speed, it took me longer to download this picture than it did to paint it.

Watercolor pencil tryout

6/12/2012 08:34:00 PM Edit This 11 Comments »
Last evening I sat on the front porch and played with my watercolor pencils. I have a small set of Derwents and a larger set of Inktense, neither of which I have much experience with. (By the way, I'm trying to do this on my iPad, which I'm just learning how to use, so please overlook the goofs ... Thank you very much!).

 Back to the pencils.  Anyway, I decided to do a rough sketch of a begonia plant ... I thought I'd better tell you what it is so you wouldn't have to try to figure it out. I first drew it with an 01 micron pen (or maybe it was a 005, but then who cares?). After that I colored it in with the pencils, starting with the Derwents, then adding the Inktense colors later. After that I used my water brushes to wet the colors to see what happens. Clearly I have a lot to learn about this medium, but I was happy to be drawing again and it was fun to play with my toys!

Since I wasn't able to download (upload?) the picture from my desktop, I have to finish this at home.  (I bet you were wondering about that, weren't you ... Not!).  So, here is the begonia plant:

Thanks so much for stopping by!! 

A Friend's Art and Life Drawing

6/01/2012 05:09:00 PM Edit This 7 Comments »
I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Kathy Staron.  She is a wonderful artist who lives and works in Florida, and I've been in awe of her work for many years.  She works in watercolor, oil, and acrylic, and continues to learn from and study with excellent teachers.  Unbeknownst to me, she did a watercolor painting of our dog, Abby, and gave it to me for my birthday!  And to top it all off, she had some note cards of it made for me too!  This is one of the note cards ... the painting is too big for me to scan.   It looks exactly like Abby, and she's in one of her favorite spots on our sofa with a soft pillow to rest her head on.  If you would like Kathy to paint a portrait of your beloved pet, you can reach her at  It's a wonderful gift!

Yesterday for the first time in ages I went to a life drawing session with my friend, Vicki.  It's been years since I've done full body drawings like this, and the quality of these attests to that.  I had a great time and am looking forward to going back again.  So here area my humble offerings of the day.


I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and thanks so much for stopping by!

Slow Day

5/09/2012 09:40:00 AM Edit This 11 Comments »
Some of you may remember that I volunteer at our county health department one day a week.  For a variety of reasons (including a flood that did a lot of major damage), things have been a tad slow there at the reception desk.  I expected that yesterday could be a bit slow because I knew that several of the staff would be off-site at a conference.  So, I went prepared!

I took with me my little "I've been drawing in it for years" sketchbook along with a little box of pencils, a National Geographic Magazine (I decided I would draw some mouths to go with the eyes and noses I drew earlier), along with a couple of puzzles from the newspaper.  I also take the coupon inserts that come in the Sunday newspapers and spend part of my time clipping all the coupons out for the people to sort through while they wait with their children.   The clipping takes me quite awhile as I usually have 5 or more of the inserts to clip. 

Anyhow, when I finished clipping and filing, I got out my drawing things and got started.  (Mind you, I do the "playing" in between answering the phone, greeting and directing the visitors, and anything else they might want me to do, lest you think I sit there doing nothing most of the time!).  A gentleman came in wanting to go to the VA office that shares our building, but he had to wait as they were closed for lunch.  He sat in our tiny waiting area with his iPad, so I got out my "waiting room" sketch book and did a really quick sketch of him.  Usually I'm the one waiting when I use this book, so it was kind of fun to be on the other side of the waiting game!  So, here are the two things I did.   As you can see, the mouth in the lower left isn't finished ... I don't remember whose mouth it was, so it will just have to stay that way for now!

Silly Little Sketches

5/07/2012 04:13:00 PM Edit This 11 Comments »
In an effort to draw something Almost every day (notice how I made no commitment to draw Every day in writing, though that's what I'd like to be doing), I took my smallest Micron pen, 005, and did quick sketches of wee things I found in the kitchen.  They aren't very good, as in I really screwed up the screw for example, but nevertheless, I did something.  Some days that's saying a lot!

So here is today's humble offering.

Shirley and I

5/06/2012 07:41:00 PM Edit This 12 Comments »
Shirley is a wonderful, multi-talented artist whose blog I love.  Recently she suggested that we send each other master portraits that we find interesting and/or challenging.  In that same email she added a drawing by Van Gogh.  I love this portrait!  It's done in charcoal, which I intended to use when I drew it, but today the weather didn't cooperate and I so wanted to draw it.  I thought maybe I could stay in my studio and do it with charcoal, but I really hate to use it inside because of the dust.  I have a few health issues that make it sort of stupid to use pastels or charcoal inside, if I can avoid it.

So, I used a No. 9B pencil and did the best I could.  Charcoal would have filled in the tooth of the paper much better, but aside from that, I'm fairly comfortable with the way it turned out.  So, here they are - the Van Gogh first, and then mine.

So, it's taken me 3 days (YES, 3) to upload these  pictures because our internet speed is so slow!!  Thank you, Verizon Wireless!!  
Thanks for dropping by, and as always, I love your comments! 

A small portrait

5/01/2012 05:18:00 PM Posted In Edit This 6 Comments »
This is a little drawing I did in one of my small sketchbooks that I'm determined to fill up.  I've been dropping in on this book from time to time over the years (yes, Years), and I've decided that it's time to wrap it up.  I've never dated any of my sketchbooks .... I think because it would depress me to know for sure how long they've been languishing.  I actually have some that are over 30 years old that still aren't finished!  I can tell about how old they are by some of  the drawings in them.  They're of folks I haven't seen in many years.  I don't know if I'll go back to those oldies but goodies or not - I sort of like the history and may not want to add up-to-date things in them.  Maybe I'll just remove the blank pages and use them in a handmade sketchbook.

The model for this drawing came from a National Geographic Mag .... I think that magazine may be becoming a favorite source for models!

Sargent Series

4/30/2012 01:32:00 PM Edit This 9 Comments »
While the Tigers were busy losing to the Yankees (sob), I was busy copying another Sargent portrait.  This one is of Gabriel Faure, the composer.  I would dearly love to achieve the ease and looseness with which Sargent created these lovely portraits.  Maybe with about 100 years of practice I could come a bit closer.  But in the meantime, I must content myself with my humble approximations of his work.

So, without further adieu, here they are ... the Master first and then mine.

A Nose for Drawing

4/29/2012 11:28:00 AM Posted In Edit This 10 Comments »
Well, while the Tigers were busy Beating the Yankees (yea!!), I sat with a National Geographic Magazine and drew some noses.  Noses are very hard for me to draw, as you can tell by this crop.  Speaking of cropping, since I lost Photoshop with the installation of the new software, I can't do all the things I used to do that makes my drawings show up better, such as adjust the values and contrast.   I did find a free on-line photo editing site, but it doesn't do the job that does.  There's probably other ones out there, and I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you may have for me.

Today while the Tigers play (and win again, I might add), I'm planning on starting another copy of a Sargent portrait.  I'll post it when I finish it, OK?

The Eyes Have It

4/28/2012 04:28:00 PM Posted In Edit This 8 Comments »
I decided to take a wee break from copying Sargent's portrait drawings and drew some eyes in one of my many, little, unfinished, sketchbooks.  I think I mentioned drawing eyes in a previous post, saying that my "models" came courtesy of Newsweek Magazine.  The models are perfect, they never complain, no matter how long it takes me, they remain very still, and they never even blink!  What could be better?

Today I just might draw some schnozzes to accompany them while I watch the Tigers play ball.... I sure hope they do better than they've been doing lately!

Another Sargent Portrait

4/24/2012 08:31:00 PM Edit This 10 Comments »
I spent a bit of time today doing another Sargent portrait.  This one was a really quick one (you'll be able to tell that right away by the quality!).  I'm determined to fill this sketchbook up with copies of portraits done by masters .... is Sargent considered a master?  Maybe not, but his work is masterful in my mind, so I guess for my purposes, he is.  As before, the original will be first, followed by my version.

After I did this one, I returned to another old, unfinished sketchbook, grabbed a Newsweek magazine, and started drawing eyes.  I might post them another time, after I've finished the page.

I'm having a devil of a time with my scanner.  We think it's because we installed new software on my computer.  Whatever it is, it's driving me Crazy!!!  I couldn't crop the one I drew, among other things....sigh ... at least I was able to get on here!!


4/23/2012 09:21:00 AM Posted In Edit This 16 Comments »
The Detroit Tigers lost a game yesterday due to a bad call by an ump (no really, the replay showed the call was Wrong!!).  Anyhow, while the game was on TV, I sat with a sketch pad that I've only used for copying the drawings of masters, a box of pencils, and a book entitled "Sargent Portrait Drawings, 42 Works by John Singer Sargent" by Trevor J. Fairbroher.  It was published by Dover.  These were the first drawings I've done in a long time, and it felt good to be back.  I only intended to do 1, but once I got started, it was so enjoyable that I just kept on going.

Once again my scanner wouldn't work, so my sweetie scanned them on his to a thumb drive, then took them to work to send to me in an email because our speed here is so slow.  I'm going to get me a new scanner, just you wait and see!

So anyway, here they are ... originals first  and then my copies.  Thanks so much for looking!

I have to say that it never ceases to amaze me how all the faults jump right out at me as soon as I post the pictures.   Of course, I could see a lot of them after I finished them, but many more presented themselves to me when I saw them on the screen.  That said, they were intended to be rather quick sketches.  Most of them took me about 20 minutes or so to do.    Maybe I'll pick one and spend more time on it .... but probably not! lol  p.s., for some reason while the pics are side by side on the "working" screen, in the published post they're all mixed up.  You won't have any trouble knowing the originals, though, I'm quite sure!

Easter Sunday

4/08/2012 08:42:00 PM Posted In Edit This 8 Comments »
Mark HillHappy Easter and Happy Spring to all!!  We had a wonderful Easter today because we celebrated it with our son, Andrew, his wife, Carrie, and her mom, Jackie whom we love dearly.  They're always a lot of fun to be with.  Along with all the fun and funny conversation, we watched the Tigers beat the Red Sox in the 11th inning ... it was a 3 game sweep .... Yea, Tigers!!!!   My sweetie grilled a butterflied leg of lamb as well as some fresh veggies which had been marinating in a spicy sauce, and we also had oven roasted potatoes, tossed salad, and an angel food caked layered with lemon filling.  There were also delicious appetizers of special cheeses and a very tasty, unique salami brought by the guests.  mmmmm.   Even Abby (our dog who thinks she's our daughter) had a special dinner of bratwurst mixed with her kibble, which didn't stop her from wanting some of ours, too.  (no such luck, though)

On another note, I recently got a wonderful gift in the mail that I've been eagerly awaiting from  Mark Hill.   He is a wonderful artist who does the most amazing work.  Among other things, he's been doing absolutely beautiful drawings on envelopes and mailing them to folks who ask for them.  Of course, I asked for one of them, and it came on Thursday or Friday (I've sort of lost track of the time).  If you go to his website (and I urge you to visit it), you'll be blown away by his work.  Here's a sample:

Is that cool, or what?  Thanks again, Mark!


3/28/2012 07:39:00 PM Posted In Edit This 14 Comments »
Here's the first of the "stuff".  We've been in Nashville visiting our grandchildren and their parents.  Now, don't get me wrong - we went to visit their parents in Nashville long before there were children, and we love seeing the grownups just as much as ever.  That said, there's nothing like being a grandparent and hanging out with the babes.  (Our almost-four-year-old wouldn't like being referred to as a "babe" at all, so please don't tell him).  As always, we had a wonderful time with everyone, but especially the boys (one 4, and one just 1).  I won't bore you with all the fun things we did with them (like many, many, trips to Kroger - one of the 4 yo's faves), but suffice it to say that I would go back in a heartbeat just to hug those little guys one more time!

Anyhow, I did manage to do just one drawing while we were there.  It's a drawing of a table in their front room (which used to be my husband's parents), using a sketchbook I haven't used in years (literally) and a Micron pen.  When we got home I tried to scan it and post to my blog.  I can't even begin to tell you all the problems I had with the scanner - suffice it to say that I'm grateful that I still have hair on my head!

So, even though I have a lot of grandchildren stories,  I'll spare you and just show you the sketch.   For some reason it's reversed, but after all the trouble I had, I wasn't about to try to fix it...


3/13/2012 09:12:00 AM Posted In Edit This 15 Comments »
So, since nothing was calling out to me to draw and I am trying to keep at it, I decided to return to jewelry.  My sweetie buys me the coolest things.  Some of the pieces are whimsical, some are amazingly crafted, some are beautiful, and all are loved.  He spends a great deal of time choosing what to buy, and he often goes to a wonderful store in Ann Arbor called 16 Hands.  Everything in the store is handmade.  Besides jewelry, they have some clothing, ornamental pieces for inside and out, baby things, paintings, and so much more.  It's a real treat to go there just to browse, if not buy something wonderful.  These are some sketches of four of my necklaces.  I used a 005 Micron Pen and colored pencils.    I'm sorry now that I didn't draw the back of the square one with the colors - it's pretty cool too, and can be worn either way.  Maybe next time!

Since we've updated the software in our computers, I've lost Photoshop and I'm still trying to figure out the best way to fix my scans.  This is my third attempt at this with a new program (new to me, that is), that I'm still learning.  It's better than the first two, that's for sure! 

Back to the Mayor's Wife

3/07/2012 04:41:00 PM Posted In , , , Edit This 10 Comments »
Well, she's been sitting for a long time waiting for a bit of attention.  Fortunately, she is a very patient woman.  So, today I picked up some pencils again and did a bit more on her.  I'm not going to tell you a fib..... the only reason I did it was because I left her so unfinished the last time she was here on the blog that I felt compelled to do Something for the poor thing.  That said, this is the last version.
It has a number of problems, but I have to say, she has perhaps the weirdest hairstyle I've ever seen.  I kid you not, that's what it looks like.  OK, not exactly ... the back of her head isn't in the picture, so you can't see what it does there.  I wonder how she did it!

So, without further ado, here she is:

No More Excuses

3/01/2012 01:32:00 PM Posted In Edit This 15 Comments »
It's been way too long since I've posted to my blog, and I have no excuse whatsoever to offer.  I've found that for me,  maintaining my blog has at least two things in common with exercising.  The first is that when done regularly, both are satisfying and make me feel better.  The second is that once I've "fallen off the wagon", so to speak, it's extremely hard to climb back on.  The longer I went without posting, the harder it became to do it.  I didn't know what to say ..... nothing seemed right or interesting.  Anyhow, here I am, and I'm hoping that this first post will lead to many more.

In the meantime, one of the things I've been doing is making a mobile for a soon- to- arrive new baby.   She (or he, we don't know) will be born to the brother and sister-in-law of my daughter-in-law.  I made a mobile for each of my grandsons, and in January I was asked to make one for this newest member of our growing family.  I will be going to a shower in a week or so to celebrate the event and give the mobile to Aaron and Melanie, the soon to be new parents.

I had to think about what sort of theme to use.  The first mobile I made was jungle animals; the second one was sea creatures.  For this one, after much thought, I decided to use the circus as a starting point.  Once I had that settled, the rest began to fall into place.  I wanted to anticipate as many challenges ahead of time as I could  to avoid surprises (I was reasonably successful, but as always, things cropped up I hadn't thought of), so I thought about it a lot before I actually began making it.  Everything is hand-sewn, and some things are both sewn and glued for safety.  I have a few pictures (because of the nature of it, it is difficult to get a photo that shows the whole thing in focus, hence the several shots).
I would love to know what you think!

This is what it looks like: