"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind". - Henry James

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More Quick Sketching

Black & white colored pencil on tan Mi-Teintes paper
Okay, here we are back in winter :-D.  This is an exercise from Kate Johnson's Quick Sketching Techniques - 2.  I am surprised by how much I like colored pencils!  The idea here is to (quickly) capture a range of values.  When one starts with toned paper, the middle range is there.  By adding darks with the black colored pencil and lights with touches of the white pencil, it really is quite fast and easy to arrive at a range of values.  I only spent about 10 or 15 minutes on this sketch.

I have some more colors of this Canson Mi-Teintes paper and I like that it has one side that is more textured than the other.  I think I used the more textured side here (see the snow on the roof).

There are possibilities here!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cattle Under a Tree

Cattle at Gibbet Hill Grill.  Daniel Smith watercolor & Lexington Gray Noodler's ink on hp watercolor paper, approx. 5 x 7 inches.
I'm so winter weary that I've been going through reference images from spring, summer, and even fall.  This is from high summer, although it scanned more yellow than the original.  If I knew how to work with Photoshop, I could adjust the color...  One more thing to learn!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Sometimes It's Just About the Joy"*

Watercolor and Lexington Gray Noodler's ink on 140 lb. cold-pressed Arches watercolor paper., 5 3/4 x 7 1/2 inches

I bought a nifty folding travel palette from Daniel Smith and it arrived yesterday!  I filled the 12 full pans with my favorite Daniel Smith watercolors and pulled out a reference photo I've been wanting to paint a sketch from for a while now.  I've been working toward drawing and painting more quickly and developing a more loose and impressionistic style.  And one of the the reasons I love watercolor so much is that it lends itself to that freshness and looseness.  Some artists produce the most beautiful sketches in watercolor.  I particularly love Kate Johnson's work. See her on her website and her Flickr photostream.  I am especially inspired by her sketches, Cooley Lake and Urban Ruins.  Beautiful!

Ricë Freeman-Zachery wrote a terrific post about finding the joy in what we do, *Sometimes It's Just About the Joy and it served as a wonderful reminder of why I paint and draw.  I love it!

I may add a figure moving down the path.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Amazing and Wonderful Ricë Freeman-Zachery

Ricë posted some lovely pictures on her Voodoo Notes blog of a painting I had sent to her.  Go have a look.  Thanks Ricë!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Facebook Scares Me (a Little)

I know practically everyone in the whole wide world is on facebook and that email will, in the very near future, be obsolete, but facebook is giving me fits!

I took a workshop on Saturday at Sharon Arts Center with the talented and informative Melanie McDonald called Facebook for Artists.  I was relieved to see that I wasn't the only one in the room who is somewhat mystified and a little apprehensive about facebook.  It feels intrusive and clunky and I find it visually unappealing.

Much of the concern among the artists in the workshop was, naturally, about privacy and the wish to keep personal life and professional life somewhat separate.  I think many of us fear being "invaded" in our private space.  So that is the question:  How do you have a presence online and yet retain a little privacy?

One good outcome is that I reconnected with lots of wonderful people!  And it was such fun being accepted as a "friend".  I have to admit I liked hearing back from people!  Maybe that is the appeal.

What I don't like is the awful ad with the woman pulling her skin off her face!  Good heavens!  And why do ads for getting rid of belly fat keep showing up I want to know?  And how to take 20 years off my face, etc.  I'm okay with being over 50.  Really.  What's the alternative?

Also, I haven't figured out the whole wall/message thing.   I responded to messages from friends and some of them showed up on my wall and others are in my messages.  How did that happen?  Is there a tutorial somewhere that teaches facebook for reasonably intelligent but frightened people?  I don't want to be rude and violate some facebook etiquette (is there such a thing?) and respond via the wrong avenue.

I also added a "Page".  I still don't get that, but my page is for me as an artist.  I tried to link my "page" to this blog.  I don't see how to do that.  I tried to add a "like" button here and all I got was a big white box.  I don't know.  I don't think facebook and I are "friends" yet.

I think I'll go draw for a while.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cathy Johnson's Mini-class: Quick Sketching Techniques

In my quest to learn to draw faster, I have signed up for Cathy (Kate) Johnson's Mini-class:  quick sketching techniques.  I love the very first illustration on the first page - a variety of birds in various media.  Beautiful.  (I would post the drawing here, but I want to ask Kate's permission first).

Kate is a wonderful artist and teacher.  I took an online class with her a year ago last fall and it was great fun.  I hadn't taken an online class before and didn't really know what to expect.  I made several online friends and learned so much about materials, techniques, and keeping a sketchbook.  It was great!  When Kate offered this new Mini-class, well I couldn't resist!

She gave us some photographs to work with to try out some of the techniques she demonstrated.  I used a General's Woodless Graphite 9 pencil.  It's quite soft, but makes lovely darks and smudges well for a range of tones.  The top image is from a photograph she took of a beach in California and the bottom one is her cat, Ellis.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Embracing Imperfection

I did this small (approximately 5 1/2 inches by 7 1/2 inches) on a piece of 90 lb. hp watercolor paper from a pencil sketch I did a few days ago.  I used ultramarine blue and burnt sienna, both from Daniel Smith.

My idea was to work quickly, with the minimum of fuss, from a sketch.  I'm fighting the urge to go back and fix things such as the slightly wonky windows and roof lines or to add darks or pull out whites.  It is really a sketch, so I want to leave it looking like a sketch.  I want to embrace imperfection!

I think I'll do another one and make the places dark where I want to add darks and to leave the white places where I want to pull out whites.