25 February 2011

view down the street

A couple of weeks ago, the sunrise was intensely bright looking down the street from our front door. Everything else was gray except the back porch light of the house a block away.

Here, I was playing with gouache on toned paper that is way too thin --- a folded journal made from a scrap of Canson Ingres paper.

23 February 2011

# 30, 75 day ink sketch challenge

I have no backyard to participate in the great backyard bird-count. The only regular birds here are a family of house sparrows living in a crack in the brick's mortar of our small apartment building.

(Unless you count the pigeons next door, but they have been scarce lately.)

But I did happen to spy this strange species of bird perched on a small shelf in my bathroom. He says he was made in "Occupied Japan".

21 February 2011

sketching at church . . .

. . . while listening to the message. Drawing helps me concentrate on what is being said (rather than my eyes wandering around -- I'm such a visual person!) When I look through the sketchbooks later, I find myself remembering what was taught because I was more fully "in the moment".

(I add color later at home.)

Ours is a small, non-traditional church that started as a house-church. We don't sit in pews facing one way --- we sit in a circle. So everyone can guess that I'm sketching as I write down sermon notes.


18 February 2011

no more snow!

Just last week, I looked out the front windows and saw this view across the street. There were drifts of snow several feet high in places.

This week brought warmer-than-average temperatures and the snow appears to be gone, except for the odd weeping "mountain" in parking lots here and there from clearing the lots.

We are being teased with the hint of an early spring. Hope it continues!

In this sketch, I was playing around with some new Tombow markers and a waterbrush.

14 February 2011

75 day challenge # 21

I'm now beginning the second book set aside for the 75 day challenge of ink drawings . . . . I thought this thicker, hand-made paper would be easier to work on. But my favorite Lamy Safari pens and other art pens bleed through. So at the moment I'm using a BIC ballpoint pen. I could work on one side only, but I wanted to keep all 75 days of drawings in these two books.

The above puppy sketch is from a photo my Scottie breeder emailed me, of a little guy a few weeks older than mine. He had gorged on so much puppy food that when he struggled to get up from the bowl, he fell over backwards. After trying 3 times to turn over, he finally gave up and took his nap where he lay.

Often it is a struggle to choose something to draw each day. I like the simplicity of these continuous contour drawings (or sometimes mostly continuous -- there are times I get distracted or lift my pen when I didn't mean to). But eventually I probably should work on a few more detailed sketches. Some tonal studies or textures would be nice.

12 February 2011

testing gouache

Sometime before Christmas, I purchased a bundle of Winsor & Newton gouache tubes on eBay. After setting up a travel palette, I never got around to really testing them out. (Christmas tends to do that)

Now seems as good a time as any to see what they can do. I've already found some colors I could do without. (I got a really good deal on them, so I guess it's OK that some won't be used.)

After reading what Roz had to say on the Artist's Journal Workshop blog, I wish I had held out for the Schmincke or M. Graham brands, but this is what I could afford.

This palette is an old one from Winsor & Newton, the Cotman WC Deluxe Sketcher's Pocket Box --- I made some alterations and fill it with my own choices, attaching the pans with dabs of rubber cement.

10 February 2011

challenge sketch # 18

'Betty from Texas' recently posted a watercolor sketch of a pair of sneakers that looked so comfortable, I just had to look for them on-line. They arrived this week and they are better than comfortable! Wonderful support . . . they seem to energize me as I walk in them!

Mine are a different style than Betty's --- her's are suede and I chose some made of a hemp-canvas. You can check out her gorgeous sketch here.

Only one more 2-page spread in this 75 day ink challenge sketchbook, then I switch to the one with better paper.

08 February 2011

scribbling Bearcat

Not being able to sleep last night, I went into the living room to read. When Bearcat joined me and snuggled in, I grabbed my sketchbook and a Lamy Safari pen.

This ink is a mixture of Noodler's Seminole Sepia with a bit of Polar Black. The sepia has always run if water or watercolor was added, even though it said it was waterproof. I thought the addition of some of the black, which is usually waterproof for me, would help. Still runs a tiny bit, but not enough to make a wash of it.

06 February 2011

a spot of green

Another winter storm is on the way this next week --- how refreshing it was to see a spot of green, even covered with ice. I spotted this leaf on the pavement in front of our church this morning.

05 February 2011

eating out

On Friday the temperature actually rose to almost 32 degrees (that's 0 degrees Celsius) --- we celebrated by going out to eat in a near-by town. And of course I sketched as we waited for our food and talked.

A great thing about this elongated sketchbook format is having a large area to the side for writing text. I often like to write jot down quotes I've heard, insights from reading my Bible, or funny things to help me remember the day.

This Stonehenge paper can also curl somewhat if washes are too wet, though it does flatten out after drying. Even so, maybe I'll continue to keep sketches on the right side, text on the left. I like how it looks when flipping through the book.

In the above watercolor kit (made from a travel first aid kit), I moved the middle row of paint pans up from the center where they first were, This allows the 2 waterbrushes to fit in place better. These pans are easily attached with a drop of rubber cement -- easy to move as needed.

02 February 2011

next 3 handbound journals

I wanted to start using the square gray one next --- I plan on filling it with sketches of my new Scottie puppy after I pick her up. But the cover paper is not as sturdy as that on the other two journals.

So, while I figure out what to coat it with to protect it better (and embellish it a bit, maybe with some plaid!), I'm using the smaller red one.  

This journal is such an odd shape because it is totally made up of leftovers. The paper, odd ends of Stonehenge paper left after making the green & multi-colored journal. The cover bits & inner facing, left after making a journal for a friend.

A very awkward shape to work with . . . . but it seemed to work well for recording notes and a quick scribble at a prayer meeting. And it is small enough to fit in any pocket or purse.

Even the palette is from leftovers . . . . An empty first-aid kit filled with extra pans of watercolors I wasn't using. Two Koi waterbrushes and a flat bit of sponge also fit inside.

01 February 2011

# 8 of drawing challenge

With the blustery blizzardy weather today, it's nice to think of flowers.

This African violet plant has been blooming continuously since a few weeks before Christmas . . . . and it's still full of purple.
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