Monday, December 31, 2007

Monday, December 31, 2007 - The Last Day of 2007!!!

I'll be drawing the New Year In with my brand-spankin' new Moleskine Sketch Book. Testing this baby out to see what all the fuss is about.

In the meantime, here are the last sketches I did in my Exacompta Sketchbook. The first page and the pears were inspired by photos in Shirley Trevena's book. With the pears, I was playing with designs and working with "odd" formats per the Robert Kaupelis drawing book.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007 - Art Books to Study

I have several new books that I haven't studied yet. Oh, yes, I have opened them and looked at every painting and picture in them, but haven't sat down and read and applied some of the lessons yet. I need to do that because they are all great books:
1. Master Class in Figure Drawing by Robert Beverly Hale

2. Experimental Drawing byRobert Kaupelis

3. Expressive Portraits by Jean Pederson

4. Taking Risks with Watercolor by Shirley Trevena


5. Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Painting by Ewa Karpinska

So, on this dreary, bleak, cold winter day, I'll snuggle in with some beautiful art and new techniques and, hopefully, learn a few new things. And, of course, I'll take a break from the books and visit some of my favorite blogs today, too. Seems like most of them are back from the holidays and are posting again - which I love to see!

BTW - I only got one comment on the new blog layout, colors and style (thanks, Myrna!) so I'm assuming it's fine with the changes I made :) So this is it until spring maybe when I want something a little more warm and green (green, did I say green???!? ha-ha)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007 - Drawing My Day

Drawing my Day:

Out of bed at 7 am.
The moon was still shining in the dark sky. Only just past half full right now (the full moon was the 24th).

Put on the coffee and waited for it to brew and fill my favorite handmade cup.
Then to the computer to connect to the world.

An Elegant Writer and a Tombow pen for sketching.
Smudge fed and in his favorite place, under the end table.

My new pedometer - I put it on each day and count my steps.
The last set of colors for the December 3-color challenge are Lemon Yellow + Olive Green + French Ultramarine Blue.

And here is the painting - no photo, just a quick sketch and painted on a small piece of Fabriano Artistico 140#. Pears and Grapes.

And did another - still no photo or drawing, just outline and color put in - in my sketchbook so it's part of Drawing my Day. But couldn't leave it so muted and needed to see something bright with color - so just put in some cherries! Yay, red!

And this is all just AM stuff. Plus helping Jerry reformat and print out spreadsheets and doing 2 loads of laundry and fixing lunch wonder I feel like I need a nap! ha-ha

In the afternoon/evening:

Finished reading Jodi Picoult's
latest book, Nineteen Minutes.

Watched Smudge sleep in my spot
on the sofa (didn't want to wake him).

Watched the much anticipated game between
the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.
It would be nice if they could both win so NE could have a perfect record and NY could win tonight - hey, what can I say, I like any team with a player on it named Plaxico Burress! (I once was a Tennessee Titans fan because they had Yancy Thigpen on their team!)

Friday, December 28, 2007

2nd 3-Color Challenge Slide Show

The 2nd of the 3-color challenges. This may be the last for the year. It sure has been fun, though! Now to take these small paintings and the color combinations and see what I may want to add to my palette for 2008 that I hadn't used much before. I definitely am adding Rhodonite Genuine!

Friday, December 28, 2007 - Another Day in the World

Last night, I intended to do some sketching but just doodled.

I intended to do a portrait of Benazir Bhutto, the previous prime minister of Pakistan, who was assassinated Thursday in a rally of supporters. I printed out the pics and took them to my sketchbook. But it was just too sad. I did one today, though. It doesn't make it any less sad.

I read most of the evening. And ate homemade fudge. And wondered what will happen next.

Jerry is reading Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. I'm reading Jodi Picoult's latest, Nineteen Minutes. I just finished reading Divisidaro by Michael Ondaatje. Not as good as The English Patient which I will read again. Have you read it? Have you seen the movie? Do you remember the part where Almasy asks his friend, a physician, what that certain part of a woman's anatomy is called: that dip at the bottom of her throat. It's called a suprasternal notch.

I got a very nice comment from Perriette from

I entered her contest to win one of her great works of art - but I didn't win (I am definitely not lucky when it comes to contests or gambling). Check out her site - it's creative, unusual, interesting and a bit strange in the best possible way :)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thursday, December 27, 2007 - Man and Horse

I couldn't wait - I changed my template. Tell me what you think. I think it looks cold like January and February here in my part of the US so I'm okay with it - but I would like to know if you like it more, less, or don't care.
The next 3-color challenge painting using Ultramarine Violet + Indigo + Tigers Eye Genuine (this is a terribly ugly color and I guess I got it because it granulates but it's a terribly ugly brownish green color :( and I wouldn't recommend buying it unless you want an ugly brown-green color!

I used a photo from a magazine of the actor, Ken Watanabe (The Last Samarai, Memoirs of a Geisha) and a pale horse. Guess he's been riding and is sitting down for a rest since he has his riding boots on. I think I need even darker darks in places.

I may not do another painting but pull out my Virtual Poser cd and work on some sketches instead. I haven't been drawing as much as I should - just sketches on the wc paper before painting. Although I did pull a blue and a yellow this next 3-color draw so it may tempt me to do something else to finish up the year. Afterall, there are still 4 more days of the year left before I do my Drawing in the New Year challenge to myself (you are very welcome to join me on New Year's Eve Day and draw and draw and draw).

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - Kwanzaa + Boxing Day

Happy Kwanzaa + Happy Boxing Day

Christmas is over, the presents have been unwrapped and the enormous amounts of food have been eaten (well, we tried to eat it all, piggies that we are! :) I got artist things: a block of Fabriano extra white Artistico paper, Virtual Poser 3 (shows models on your computer screen you can draw, paint, or just print out for reference), and a Daniel Smith gift certificate - so I'm ready to rock and roll!!!

Back to the gym for me today with a brand new pedometer - counting those steps - and brand new shoes. Jerry got a ZenStonePlus (mp3 player) and we oldtimers finally figured out how to get it to work and downloaded some music from cds last night so he's ready for the treadmill. I figure between us, we need to work off about 5,000 calories from the 24th and 25th (and I didn't even have the chicken wings or the persimmon pudding with real whipped cream).

I finished the madrone tree today. I really needed a warm yellow for that central part that is smooth, where the bark pulls away and shows the red underneath the "peels" but didn't have one so here it is. I put the Periwinkle in the background as a thin, pale wash.

And I can't finish one without choosing the next 3 colors which are:

Ultramarine Violet
Tigers Eye Genuine

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 - Christmas Day

Yesterday, I pulled 3 more colors from the hat and began a painting using a photo taken by Susan Roper of a Madrone tree.

So, with Quinacridone Magenta, Periwinkle, and English Red Ochre, here is what I have so far.

I probably won't get more done today - places to go, people to see, presents to share... but maybe tomorrow. This is on 300# Arches coldpress paper which takes drybrushing well.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007 - Christmas Eve

Sharing these thoughts with you (from :

Kindness is an ideal that is easily accessible to all of us. We all know that a small kindness can make our journeys lighter and more enjoyable. Even bringing an instance of kindness to mind can put a smile on your face days or weeks later or perhaps even inspire you to share kindness with another. Though it may seem simple to the point of insignificance, many cultures throughout the world and history have recognized kindness as a powerful virtue. It may be the simplest way to experience and share all the grandest ideals of humanity. We can make the choice to act from the best place within ourselves at any time, while simultaneously recognizing the highest potential in another with the smallest of acts, nourishing the seed of hope in each soul we encounter. In a way, kindness acts as the oil that makes the engine of our world move more smoothly and with less friction. We can still get where we are going but the ride is more pleasant, and those around us can share in the ideal world that we help to create. We are all fortunate that kindness is limitless in its supply and available to everyone.

May you all share many kindnesses throughout the holidays and in the coming New Year.

And here's what I've been doing today.

1) Worked on the hair of the Pretty Hat painting. Now she doesn't look so much like she has Elvis sideburns behind her ear! You can lift the color but it took a bit of rubbing (I think because Phthalo Blue is staining and that was in the mix).

2) The Hay Doodles and Sheep painting - another 3-color challenge painting and the colors weren't very exciting (Burnt Umber + Quinacridone Burnt Orange + Zoisite Genuine), but I did my best.

And then the next 3 colors drawn out of the hat are:

Quinacridone Magenta + Periwinkle + English Red Ochre. I've forgotten how many of these I've done - is this # 7 or #8?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007 - Pretty Hat

Check out my slide show below this entry! It was really easy to create and download.

Here is my Pretty Hat lady. I'm not happy with the hair and will work on that a bit more.
(Susan, this is also SWAP sized :)

The photo looks blurry to me but I've tried taking a photo of this twice and it looked the same both times. Maybe it's the texture of the board that is making it look fuzzy? It doesn't look fuzzy in real life.

And the next challenge and 3 colors are:
1) Burnt Umber
2) Quinacridone Burnt Orange
3) Zoisite Genuine
The photo is by Jerry - 2 photos I combined of a field of hay doodles (hay bales) and cows plus a photo of sheep in a field. I cut off the cows and put the sheep there instead. And ready to start...I misketed the highlights on the haydoodles and misketed the sheep and put in the first colors.

3-Color Challenge Paintings Slide Show!

I decided to make a slide show of the 3-color challenge paintings - these are the best and I think I'm going to continue with this until the end of the year.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saturday, December 22 - Happy Solstice

Merry Solstice to all!

This morning I was up early to see Mother Nature painting - and she was doing a fantastic job on that sky!!! Bright oranges and reds and golds against stripes of pure, cerulean blue - so completely awesome (and I mean that word in the sense it should be used).

Yesterday, I was listening to to our local university (WNKU) radio station. They played New Orleans' style holiday music and I actually got in the mood to wrap presents! So I'm over 1/2 way done now.

If you want to take a break from the shopping and wrapping and baking, stop and see Rebecca Weller's newest show in Norwood. It's a series of paintings and drawings called "Coming and Going," and I know it will be worth your while. The pieces will put you in a meditative mood and slow down your heart rate and calm you. Her show is at the Speckled Bird Cafe, 1766 Mills Avenue, Norwood (check the hours online). Get a cup of something warm and sweet, view the paintings, take a breather from shopping. Or plan this after the holidays - it will be up until February 1.

And for those who wonder - what's the next 3-color challenge? I've chosen the colors from the hat and they are:

Quinacridone Red

Cobalt Teal Blue

Phthalo Blue (Green Shade)

And I can make a pretty good purple dark with these so no extra color to make my darks on this one. I'm revisiting a painting I did months ago - from a photo at Wet Canvas taken by yabby. I'm also going to work on a piece of Multimedia Art Board from Cheap Joe's ( that Gina Hall told me about. It is a fun and loose as yupo and Tygerag but easier to control. Before it dries, you can wipe it back to white but after it dries, I've found there is no going back. There are 2 sides - one side rougher and more textured than the other.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007 - LightStruck Hollyhock Finale

Everything is as it is. It has no name other than the name we give it. It is we who call it something; we give it a value. We say this thing is good or it's bad, but in itself, the thing is only as it is. It's not absolute; it's just as it is. People are just as they are.--- Ajahn Sumedho

Sometimes it's hard to remember this. To live it.
And sometimes it's easy and things are so funny because none of it means that much in the long long long run!

Enough philosophy - on to my LightStruck Hollyhocks - more glazing and 2 pics = it's done (unless you see something that needs more work).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007 - Free Rice + Hollyhocks Update

I just found this site from another blogger's site (
It not only challenges and improves your vocabulary, it gives free rice through the United Nations to hungry people around the world. Go there. Play. Do it. It's fun and it's for a good cause and it doesn't cost you a thing but a few minutes of your time. And says it's true - they get the donations due to advertising at the bottom of the site (which I didn't even see while "playing.")

I was going to glaze more color on the painting of hollyhocks today. But I worked out and after that, got a horrific migraine - took a pill - feel slightly better but still pretty awful so no painting today. And I shouldn't be online browsing blogs and sites but I refuse to lie down in a dark room (besides, my neighbor is blowing leaves with a loud, buzzing, annoying leaf blower - those things should really be outlawed!!).
Anyway, the plan was to make the shadows of the flower petals with Cobalt Violet Deep glazed over the Rhodonite Genuine and the shadows of the stem and leaves with Cobalt Violet Deep glazed over the Permanent Green Light. That's my three colors this time. So check back tomorrow and see if I'm able to do anything but whine about how bad I feel and how loud that leaf blower is right now......grrrr.....ouch....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 - Sketching And...

My big old fat cat, Smudge, is an excellent model - he rarely moves and sleeps all over the house in various positions. He is a "Cadillac Cat" or a "Tuxedo Cat" - and I think that means he's black and white and has a lot of room in the back end (which is true).

Have you ever heard of horror vacui (vack' wee)? Apparently, it is a condition where you have a fear of empty spaces or emptiness of any kind. In art, it refers to the compulsion to make marks in any and all available space. Playing with that below - doodles filling space.

Missing color, I've begun my next 3-color challenge painting but it's going to be slow because I'm going to glaze the colors, letting each layer dry before going back to it. (If you have not purchased Daniel Smith's Rhodonite Genuine, you should. It is a gorgeous pink and can be as pale and soft as a baby's cheek or as deep and snazzy as a flamingo's feathers. The photo I took of the 3 colors didn't really do it justice - but I think this first glaze of color is closer to the real look of the pink.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - Change

More Blind Contour Drawings, SquiggleDoos and Sketches today...

It must be the time of year but I'm in the mood to change this blog and how it looks. I will hold off the temptation until the end of this year and next year I'll have something that looks a bit different.

Also, I have plans to have a birthday give-away (in January) of some paintings. (I just read several blogs that have done a Pay It Forward type of thing, offering freebies to the first 3 people to post a comment on their blog and then asking those 3 people to do the same thing on their blog and so on = Pay It Forward!) Doesn't that sound like a great idea and fun? It also rewards those steadfast "watchers" who post comments to your blog and let you know you're not alone! On the blogs I've seen, the items are small (most are ATCs) but I guess they can be any size - just something easy to slip into a padded envelope and send out. So...look for that in late January.

See what happens when I'm not painting? All these ideas come to me. I even got out the Moleskine sketchbook that's been sitting in my art room in a box for the whole year - clean, pristine, and ready to go. I was surprised to feel how sturdy and slick the paper is and also what a warm tone it is - not pure white at all. I'm determined to see what all the fuss is about with these, though - have you checked out the Moleskinerie blog? Those folks are crazy for Moleskines of all sorts, sizes, and colors.
Here is my new, pristine Moleskine sketchbook - haven't even written my name in the front yet! And the pens/pencils I intend to use in more plain graphite sketches for me!

Would you like to join me for a New Year's Eve draw and paint out?? Hmmm....another idea...
So many ideas! So little time!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007 - Drawings + Doodles

This morning I spent some time deleting old blogs and sites where the owners have stopped posting regularly. When you have so many blogs you check every week, you don't have time to view those who post only once a month or cleaned out about a handful. Then read Nancy Standlee's blog and saw that she tagged several folks I hadn't discovered yet, plus Nicholas Simmons (yep, he has joined us in the online insanity!) - so added a few new blogs to my checklist! ha-ha There is just so much talent out there!

No painting today - I decided this morning I'm not going to paint today. Taking a short break - for me, that means probably 1 or 2 days, tops :) Have to go out in the cold today for an appt. and errands and will doodle or sketch instead.

I'm reading and studying Experimental Drawing by Robert Kaupelis. Which means I'm back to using my sketchbook and doodling, drawing, creating lines while watching tv.

Here are just a few rough pages I've done over the past few days of blind contour drawings (you draw without looking at your paper but look intently at the subject matter and draw slowly) and SquiggleDoos (what I call just doodling things while watching tv so sometimes people, sometimes what's on tv - and usually moving so you get what you get. The first 2 are blind contour drawings - the second 2 are SquiggleDoos.

I've also decided to get out one of my Moleskine sketchbooks and watercolor sketchbooks for the new year = a present to me to help my art grow :) In fact, I'm thinking about starting this on New Year's Eve day - sort of usher in the New Year with the Moleskine? I've got to see what all the fuss is about with these things...
I rather like my little Buddha meditator...
And the last is a 3 hour drawing (from a 5-hour drawing challenge by Myrna Wacknov).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007 - Red Boat in Wales

The fourth 3-color challenge painting. This one is on yupo and it was quick and easy. I hope you like it! Since this one was so quickly done, I've picked 3 more colors for another painting! I sure hope I'm not getting addicted to this?!?!

Anyway, the 3 colors this time are: 1) Rhodonite Genuine
2) Cobalt Violet Deep and 3) Permanent Green Light

It didn't take me long to pick a photo for this one - hollyhocks. The photo is by CharM at WetCanvas ( and is copyright free in their Image Resource Library. Since these 3 colors won't darken much at all, I may have to use Lunar Black mixed with the other colors to get a good dark. I won't do that unless I need it, though.

This bottom color is the Rhodonite Genuine again - the top color looks too red and it's not red - it's a beautiful girly pink.