Monday, May 6, 2019

X, Y and Z

WikimediaCommons (Tadrarto1.jpg )

"X Marks the Spot"

A point of interest is usually placed in a particular spot in a composition
to make the overall image more pleasing to the eye.

You can find these spots by dividing the composition
into threes - vertically and horizontally.

A best spot for the focal point is where any two lines intersect.

This spot is also known as the sweet spot or
X marks the spot.

Of course,  rules are meant to be broken.

Watercolor Batik / 12X16 (30.4X40.6cm)

If you want to emphasize symmetry,
if you want your subject to confront the viewer,
or if you just like the way it looks,
break the rule.

. . . . .

"Y is for Yupo"

Yupo paper has a slick, non-porous surface a lot like glossy photo paper.
If you have control issues, it might not be for you,
but it is loved by the alcohol ink crowd.

Alcohol ink on Yupo

Alcohol ink on Yupo

If you want to see how to make ink silhouettes,
click here.

. . . . .

"Z is for Zebra"

Watercolor Batik / 8X10 (20.3X25.4cm)

Zebra - a favorite wild thing.

If you want to see how to make a watercolor batik,
click here.

. . . . . . . . .

I'm going to southern California in a few days to visit family until the last week of May. 

Since our dog Cobie is too old to board at a kennel, 
Tim and a friend will be dog sitting at home - 
just the guys for a couple of weeks. 

Hope you have a safe, happy month!  

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

W is for Where

"Look Into My Lips"
Pastel / 12X12 (30.4cmX30.4cm)

W is for where.  Where to look.  I just wanted you to look at her lips :)

Saturday, April 27, 2019

V is for Vintage

Sketchbook Revival / Mixed Media / 7X5

"The question isn't who's going to let me;
it's who's going to stop me."
Ayn Rand

Another Sketchbook Revival lesson; this time from Australian artist Toni Burt.
The lesson was a mixed media vintage girl.  She doesn't really look that vintage to me, but that's okay.  I loved the assignment.

I'm a little behind in the lessons because the sun was shining and the Oregon coast was calling.

These are a few photos taken yesterday.

 Hope you're having a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

U is for Unusual

Sidewalk crack drawings

These silly figures were inspired by a couple of books written by Seattle artist Carla Sonheim: "Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists" and "Drawing & Painting Imaginary Animals."  

 The drawings haven't been "embellished" yet, but they're kind of interesting starts.

The animals were made while doing one of Carla's exercises called "Exploring Sidewalk Cracks."

What you do is take some photographs of cracks in the sidewalk or street and bring them home for a look.  The object is to find pictures or images in the cracks just like you found pictures in clouds when you were a child.

These would make great cards or art pieces (nursery art, mixed media, ACEOs, ...) once finished.

I also signed up for the free annual online Sketchbook Survival workshop.  And guess who was teaching on the first day of instruction?  Carla.  And guess what Carla was teaching? Yes, sidewalk crack animals. 

Might not be too late to sign up, if you're interested.  The classes started just a few days ago and they feature two artists per day.  The free video tutorials have been running about 30 minutes each & will be available for the duration of the workshop (ends May 4th).  Lots of fun.

Carla can also be found on her blog.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

T is for Tube

... as in YouTube.

An out of town friend is here for a visit.

Hope to see you soon.

Monday, April 8, 2019

R is for Rhinoceros

Rhino / 5X7 / Watercolor

When human beings were granted dominion over animals, I doubt that meant we have some self-serving right to torture and exploit them.

I was thinking of doing something different for the letter "R" until I read a story in the New York Times about consequences; human consequences for poaching.

The headlines read, "Rhino Poacher Killed by Elephant and Eaten by Lions, Officials Say." Here's the story if you care to see it:  New York Times.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Q is for Quick Ones


These faceless females are quick & fun to paint (the less detail, the more fun).

The point of doing something (anything) creative is to make a deposit into your creative bank account. This way, when you need to make a withdrawal, there are enough creative "funds" to spend.

Or, it is like filling up a well.  When the time comes to drop the bucket, you've put enough down there to dip into.


Years ago, in a weekly watercolor class, I told the teacher I just didn't know what to paint. She said, "Paint anything.  Paint an apple."  I wondered what the point in doing that was; she already taught us how to paint an apple.  I figured she meant to practice a lot.

Well, I see more value in painting "anything" now because it also means making a deposit into that creative account (or filling that well).


Talented illustrator, Jake Parker, explains this in one of his YouTube videos:

He's made me look at creative practice in a new way.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

P is for Prophet

Graphite & pastel on paper / 10X8 (25.4cmX20.3cm)

This drawing was done by first smearing powdered graphite onto paper with a cotton ball.

The lights on the face & hair were removed with an eraser.  The drawing was then enhanced with some white pastel and charcoal pencil.

. . . . . . . . .

The Old Testament Bible is rich with prophecies made by men who were divinely chosen  by God.  It is written that God called women into the prophetic ministry as well.

My favorite prophecies are those predicting the coming of the Messiah - perfect for a
Christmas series. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

O is for Oil Paint

The Kiss
Oil on Ampersand Gessobord / 6X6

Many oil paintings are created with a loads of buttery paint, but this one was just the opposite.

"The Kiss" was done with a big stiff brush & a little paint thinned with turpentine.  It was meant to be an underpainting.  While it was drying, a visiting artist friend told me to sign it and leave it alone, so I did. 

Something different.

. . . . . . . . .

We are blessed with long spring and autumn seasons in the Pacific Northwest.  This is what the neighborhood looks like today - a little overcast, but no complaints.

Hope to see you in a few days.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

N is for Notan

Notan is a Japanese term used to describe light-dark harmony.  Many artists reduce their sketches to simple notan designs to see if they have strong compositions. 

Sometimes painters use color & brushwork to create interest instead.  I usually rely on notan patterns when doing batiks to help avoid disappointment with values (tones) when the wax comes off; regular painting not so much.

. . . . . . .

An estate sale score this weekend:  $10. for a plastic bin containing a nice variety of professional grade materials (lots unused) and some student grade stuff.  This and hubby bought lunch - a happy day!

 Hope you're having a great weekend, too!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

M is for Markers

For the idea journal

Markers are good for blocking in large dark areas in your drawings.  They bleed through paper, though, so they are not so great for using in some sketchbooks.

I'll cut and paste these into the idea journal.  Standing alone, the cleaned up images would make great cards, but I'm hoping to use them for something a little different.

Still thinking...

Friday, March 15, 2019

L is for Landscape

Just a few Oregon landscapes today.

I spent a longer than anticipated visit to the dentist yesterday & am still a little 
under the weather.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

K is for Knife Painting

Oil on Ampersand Gessobord / 6X12 (15.24cmX30.48cm)

If I had to choose only one art technique to use for the sheer enjoyment of it, knife painting would win.

Using a knife loaded with oil or acrylic paint is like icing a cake. There is no water to spill, no brushes to clean, and no wax to burn your fingers. You can paint fast and loose or slow and deliberate. You can create wildly textured areas and very flat planes.

My preferred painting surface is Ampersand gessobord. It is a hard panel made from Aspen, it is moisture and warp resistant & its covered with an archival fine tooth gessoed finish.

Stretched canvas (fun if you like bounce) and flat canvas panels are good options, too.

. . . . . . . 

Here's a YouTube demo created by my knife teacher Leslie Saeta, if you're interested.

Friday, March 8, 2019

J is for Jazz

"If You Have to Ask"
Pastel / 10X8

"If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know."  Louis Armstrong

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

I is for Inspiration

Heading Home
Oil on canvas / 11X14 (27.9cm X 35.5cm)

What inspired this painting?

A few years back, Tim & I sat down to watch the old 60's movie, "Spartacus." As the opening credits began, a few frames of a boat like this flashed on the screen and then faded out.  I rewound the video, did a quick sketch, and painted the first version of the boat (5X7) for one of those painting challenges. This is #2; yes, I'm a painting repeater.

If you're not in the right place at the right time and need some inspiration, it helps to have a creativity journal.

These are a few of the "Things to Paint" items in my journal: 
  • a dream
  • a prophecy
  • Biblical themes
  • a landscape from the viewpoint of an animal or insect
  • arbitrary use of color
  • statues (make them come to life)
  • a rainy day in the city
  • a favorite childhood memory
  • minimalist landscape
  • good and evil
  • your culture
  • favorite fairy tale
  • someone who inspires you
  • things you are grateful for

You can also get great ideas from writings (poetry, novels, myth & legend), magazines, music, food, and movies.  I remember someone doing a series of landscapes based on her favorite films ("Out of Africa," "Death on the Nile," ...).

My inspiration journal is also full of quotes:
  • "Behind every dancer there is someone who broke her, a song that moved her, a moment that inspired her and a dance floor that healed her."  Hope Alcocer  
  • "Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim." Nora Ephron
  • "An elegant woman is a woman who despises you and has no hair under her arms." Salvador Dali

It's full of painting title ideas, lists of favorite artists' birthdays, & ideas for creating a series of paintings.

A creativity journal will not only motivate you, it make you a better observer and help you develop ideas. 

Hope you're inspired to keep one, too.

Friday, March 1, 2019

H is for Happy

Oil on 6X6 Ampersand Gessobord Panel

About 10 years ago, I took a live oil painting workshop from artist Dreama Tolle Perry.
There were about 25 students in class.

On the last day of the workshop, Dreama gave everyone one of her personal reference photos (varieties of cupcakes, flowers, ...).

She then announced we were going to play "Musical Easels."

Dreama pumped up the music and told us to begin painting from the photos. After 90 seconds, she shouted,  "Stop,"and we moved to our neighbor's easels.

We painted on our neighbor's panel using their reference photos, their brushes, & their paint for 90 seconds, and so on and so on until we returned to our own easels.

At the end of the exercise, everyone had a special painting to take home.

This was mine.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

G is for Gesso Pull

Gesso Pull on Yupo

Gesso Pull on Yupo

Gesso Pull on Yupo

I've been wanting to learn more about abstracts
 so I was happy to find a book by artist Jo Toye called
 "Abstract Explorations in Acrylic Painting."

One of the many techniques Jo demonstrates
 is something called a gesso pull.

In this, gesso is dragged across wet acrylic paint / ink,
and then spritzed with water
for limited color blending.

The results are kind of cool
and will become landscapes with a few tweaks.

Since I'm taking an online class with artist Jeanne Oliver right now,
I'll put these on the pile and go back to them later.

. . . . . . . .

I know - no sympathy from you guys,
but we got well over a foot of snow the last few days.
Our turn.