Monday, February 28, 2011

Evening Sky

While riding home yesterday with my (sweet & handsome) husband,
look at what we saw as we topped a tall hill in South Carolina!

(these photos were taken out of the window of our car while cruisin' down I-85 at about 72 mph)

I just loved the way that the sunshine was highlighting the clouds.

I think we're in for storms today and tomorrow but yesterday the temp was up to 82 here!
Sometimes it feels like we completely miss spring and jump right in to summer weather.
I'm sure that we are in for at least one more frost but the warm weather was really nice yesterday.

All the warm weather makes me long to be kayaking...
I can't wait to get out, to be doing things that we enjoy in nature.

I love seeing all the birds so active, singing so early in the mornings.
They sound happy that spring is on the way.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The last post that I did, I spoke of a new piece that I am working on.

Last year, at one of the (many) baseball games that I went to
with my sweetie (who is a college umpire), I came across an old cemetery in Forest City, NC.
It's not too big, off the beaten path
and has several graves of young children in it.

The first thing that I noticed were the angels.
There are oh, maybe five or six of them.

Small, yet striking in their sentinel poses,
as they stand guard over their tiny charges.

Quiet and unimposing they garner all the grace
needed to soothe the hearts of the grieving
and the souls of the lost.

They really touched my heart.
I just couldn't get them out of my mind...
they made me sad yet, at the same time, I felt a subdued joy for the lost little ones.
They were welcomed into the arms of their eternal guardians...
safe through time.

We all should believe in something...
Don't you think so?

And believing in angels in a good place to start...

Here is the original photo, with the contrast and brightness pumped up so the shadows would be darker.

I love the way that the rosary and cross cast shadows on the arm and dress.
If you notice, the right side of the angel (her left side) has very few shadows.
Her right side has very crisp shadows.

This is an example of what I talk about when you're drawing faces (or anything ftm).
You have a light source on one side, casting shadows on the opposite side.

You really need to pay attention to that when you're drawing/painting.

I'll be posting a photo of the piece in a few days.
I'm really enjoying working with this new transfer type technique that I happened upon.
It's so, so easy and the results are just fantastic!

Monday, February 21, 2011

"Blue Point" Zinnias

"Blue Point" Zinnias come in many colors, including orange.
Oddly enough, they come in all hues, except blue...

I decided to create one in black and white, well...cream...canvas color...

 The inspiration for my thread sketch was this photograph by Pete Krumhardt
in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine (May 2010).

I may or may not paint this.

Today I am working on a thread sketch of an angel that I took a photograph of last year.

She is from a young child's grave in an old cemetery.
Such a sad sight, holding her rosary...
standing watch over her young charge.
The afternoon sun was shining on her smooth face,
casting shadows over her right side.
The rosary created dark shadows on her dress.

It made me sad but
at the same time,
it made me feel such love. 
I saw such beauty in her face , in her stance
 that I couldn't help but recreate her in a piece of artwork.

Have you ever been so touched
by something you see that it continues to haunt you?
It pops up in your mind time after time after time?

That memory, that scene that is pulling at you -
it's asking you to honor it.

It will continue to follow you until you do.

No one may be as touched by it as you are
but I can assure you that you will feel such a release,
such a freedom if you do this.

Follow your heart.

And allow your artwork to follow your heart also.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sketchbook Journal Tutorial

There are times that I just want to sit down and draw something...
I may have nothing in particular to draw - I just want to put pen (or pencil) to paper and make some marks.

While sitting at sporting events
(it IS baseball season, you know)
(fyi my sweetie is a college umpire)
is a perfect example.
I find it extremely difficult to just sit any where...
especially during a slowwww, uneventful baseball game that may last for up to three hours (!).

So, I take my sketching kit with me to every one that I go to.
I did a post on the Sketchbook Challenge blog about the things that I carry with me.
I may add a thing or two to the kit but I never take anything out of it.

Back to the original topic - aimless drawing...
Sometimes I just want to make marks but have no idea what I want to draw or what to actually draw.
Yesterday I was in that particular mood.
I tried some pencil sketching but found that it was one of my "off" days with drawing realistically.
I don't know if everyone is this way, but there seem to be days that I just can't draw anything.
Even the odd little things that I make up to draw.

I don't want to just completely waste paper when I fulfill this need to make marks
so I try to doodle something that I can add to later or  put to use later.
So, I came up with a simple solution for this issue.

I draw very elementary shapes that are joined together with  lines. Like the shapes above.
Something that anyone can draw, right?
Yes, you included.

Then I outline (or echo) my original drawn line with a second line - but I vary the distance that I draw it next to that original line.
Like this -

Simple so far, right?

Then I add short lines inside this space.
My friend Denise calls them "zippers".
I'm not sure what to call them...
other than space fillers.
They look kinda like this -

I do this all the way around my odd shaped designs until I'm tired of it, the game is over
or some little kid comes to my seat wanting to draw with me.
But the great thing is that I have a page for my sketchbook journal that I can write on later.
It looks fairly interesting and I can paint it  if I am so inclined.

This is the page that I finished at the ball game.

Another easy peasy sketchbook journal page and no experience required!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sketchbook Color, Mojo and Young Women

As I said in an earlier post, I've been playing around with texture and color, both on paper and fabric.
I've really enjoyed the mindlessness of it all since I can't seem to find my mojo since that dental surgery...oh and the bout of  bronchitis to go along with it.
I suppose that I could excuse it away by saying that just one of those two could zap my energy but add them together and whammo.
Anyway -  playing around in the studio is the only way that I can get back  in the swing of things after a few days away.
Or a good looming deadline. I work much better under a little pressure.
I guess that is why I functioned so well as a nurse in an intensive care unit for almost two decades...
But, believe you me, I'll take an art deadline any day over a 12 hour NICU (Neonatal) shift...

Well, I got off subject there, didn't I? 
Which is not unusual for me now is it?

 I did sell one of my prints in the most gratifying manner.
Last year, I participated in the West Greenville Arts Festival.
I had a lot of traffic through my booth but one young lady in particular stands out.
She was middle school age, there with her mom and sister.
She loved two of my mixed media tree paintings and the handmade books that I had out.
I told her that I taught classes on making the books and she said that she would love to take one of them.
I got her mom's email address and gave them my card and promised to email when I had local classes coming up.

Well, time went on.

One day, out of the blue, I got an email from this young lady's mom.
She (the young girl) had mentioned my artwork several times since the show and her mom wanted to buy a print to surprise her with.

Now just how cool was that?!

What a cool mom!
And what a cool young girl that would want artwork - not teen posters- for her room!

So, her mom and I met last week. She will be surprising her daughter with a framed print for her room on Valentine's Day.

Two things that I love about this story.
1. This young girl is already honoring her style, her love of art.
2. Her mom is honoring and encouraging her daughter's individuality.
and ,okay a third thing I love about it -
3. Mom kept my business card and followed up with me. I really was so taken with her support of her daughter. What an awesome mom!
I will definitely work towards getting a local book class for this young girl.

So, you just never know who your art work will touch.
Please share it with others, show the world what you love to do.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Reunited (and it feels so good)

Last year, maybe the year before, I responded to a call for entries from Lark Publishers. It was to be a book called "Stitched Stories" and included artwork that told a story and included fiber.
My submission was accepted and I spent many hours working on the mixed media piece.
It is called "Rapunzel" and is about the story of , well, Rapunzel.
I had so much fun experimenting with the fabric paper background. I added several different mediums, used actual  portions of the printed story and incorporated it all into a cohesive mixed media background for the application of the rest of the story.
I wanted the sky to represent the stormy, turbulent mood of the piece and I think that it is really spot on with this.
I love the way that little snippets of the story are visible in the sky.
I think that the background is my favorite part!
I was saddened to hear that the book will not be published as a "regular" book but  I believe that the plan is to publish it as an "e-book" later this year.
It will include step by step instructions on how I made the background.
I've included a peek at a small portion of the piece.
I hope to show you the entire piece later this year.
I'll wait until the book is a "go" or "no-go".

I just got the artwork back today after being gone for many, many months.
I was a little unsure of the success of the piece when I took it to the offices in Asheville, even though I really liked it...I guess that I just wasn't sure if anyone else would like it.
Now, seeing it after all this time, I really like it.

I'll let you all know when and if the book is published.
I must give props to my hubby for the blog title.
Thank you sweetie!
Now he needs to get back in that kitchen and finish making that homemade pizza!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jane LaFazio, Keys and Secrets

I decided to re-visit the Jane Lafazio key drawings.
I really liked the sketchy type drawing itself even though it needed a lot of work.
No shadows, just kinda plain.

So, I decided to "Carol Sloan" it,
more commonly known as "doing it my own way".
Which is what we ALL need to do!
I added some of those beloved little dots, my trademark zippers (!),
(my friend Denise calls the lines around the edge of my drawings "zippers")
and a different word.
It's been my experience that a key almost always hides a few secrets...

Sunday, February 6, 2011


As you know, I'm participating as one of the 16 artists in the "Sketchbook Challenge" blog. This months theme is opposites. While I'm mending from a little dental surgery (yesterday's newest change was a black eye!) (it really coordinates with the purple and blue bruises across my cheek though), I've been able to sketch a little bit. I'm finding that my attention span while taking strong pain medications is fairly limited. So I'm just picking small tasks to tend to (or try to tend to).
Today, I choose a Jane LaFazio type sketch with watercolors. I tend to do more whimsical drawings with a few realistic ones thrown in here and there. But I really love the urban sketching style that Jane has. She has a cool looking class over at Joggles too. You should check it out.
I don't have online classes up and running yet but I plan on having a drawing/sketchbook class as one of my first workshops. I hope to have them going in a couple of months or so.
I am doing a "live" drawing workshop at Textile Evolution in Colorado Springs this year. It's called "Whimsical Mark Making". It's a one day workshop that is going to be a lot of  fun! No experience required.

Oh, I forgot to talk about the sketch that I did...the pain medications, I'm telling you...
The theme is opposites. I chose to do opposite color scheme on the painting.
I know, I know, it is a really easy one and I promise to do better.
Just gotta get past this rough spot.

Hope that you're all doing well, staying creative and drawing everyday!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Complete Ideas, Opposites and Villanous Happenings...

Thought I'd show you this drawing in its completed form. It was the one that I posted on Wednesday (I think) that wasn't quite finished yet. I may or may not add any color to this. I kinda like the starkness of the black and white.
I finished it while I was sitting at a sporting event this week.
When I write about looking around for drawing inspiration, I truly mean it and I do just that.
If you'll notice the little curvy dotted lines at the lower right hand side,
yeah, the ones coming off of the idea seed pod...
That is the "Family Circle"ish trail that one kid took with the basketball he was dribbling.

Find it everywhere.

I had a little dental surgery yesterday.
(I'll spare you the gruesome details...which involves a scapula, bits of bone grafts and my gums). 
Needless to say today I am feeling a little, um, non-creative.
Hey, I could use that in my "Sketchbook Challenge" sketches...which, for this month,  the theme is "opposites".
Day before yesterday I was feeling very creative.
Today I am not feeling creative.
That's pretty opposite if you ask me!

All joking aside, I was remiss in not mentioning the Sketchbook Challenge new theme on Tuesday.
This month a good friend of mine, Laura Cater-Woods, had the pleasure of choosing the theme. Laura is a fabulous mixed media studio artist that lives in Montana.
Her work truly reflects her oneness with nature- the ebb and flow of Mother Nature as it connects and interacts with Laura's life.
Go and take at peek at her wonderful collages for One (brainchild of Virginia Spiegel).
I'll begin working in my sketchbook today (hopefully).

Now, as far as the title of this blog post goes, I should explain something.
I'll bet you're thinking that the "Villainous Happening" was my dental surgery...
Well, villainous as it was
 (even though my doctor  is NOT a villain)
 (he's quite the OPPOSITE) (oh my! another idea)
that's not what I was referring to.
While sitting in that dental chair, I thought a lot about a new class that I am planning.
That is where the "villainous happenings" title comes in -
I'm working on a technique based class, not a project based class like I usually do.
It's going to be a mix of medias, a mix of materials and a ton of different ideas to alter  fiber and paper.
A "Mixed Media Miscreant".
Or  "Mixed Media Mayhem".

A lot of people ask me about the materials that I use, the substrates and the different techniques.
 I think this workshop will be a great way to introduce the  participants to the wide range of supplies that I use.
We'll play with a variety of different (and odd) materials, learn to question "What if I did this..?" or "Wonder what would happen if I...?"

You'll learn to look at things differently as you learn to let go of your artistic inhibitions...

Sound like your idea of fun?
Stay tuned for details.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ideas Revisited

I had so much fun drawing the "sprouts of ideas" on the previous post that I started a close-up of them on another page in my sketchbook.
I am trying out a couple of different drawing pens (all fine liner). I truly LOVE the Pitt Pens but I got to thinking that I might be missing out on other really good pens by not experimenting with different ones.
This is a mix of Pitt and Copic Multiliners.
If you look closely (and rest assured that I did!) you can see the difference in the thickness of the lines.
I love the thinner lines that I can get with the different sizes of the Copics but I haven't tried them to see if they are really as waterproof as they advertise to be.
I'll try them out and let you know what I find.