Listen to the road

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Commission paintings and a helpful idea for Cretacolor oil crayons

 I was happy to begin the first stages of these sweet dogs on commission.
Drawing, especially on toned paper, has bumped up my skill level a bit.
Drawing daily is a big joy. These two paintings need more work but I'm
happy with what's happening in the first stages.

In Oct and Nov I was working with watercolor washes over ink 
drawings. The hatching was not working and I've moved away from it.

Early this month I began using Cretacolor water soluble oil pastels with
a waterbrush and love the smooth, less transparent oil pastels on toned paper.

I went back to some old drawings and added cretacolor highlights.

Even with the hatching it builds form more naturally.

 Working with it feels somewhere between oils and watercolor.

The only downside is this jumble of choices that slowed me down in

I cut a small end off each oil crayon, leaving the paper on, then
glued each into this shallow case. This way I can dip into them like pan watercolors.

My new favorite tool.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

More dogs and two new tools I love

 I've continued practicing watercolor washes over ink drawings.

 Less concerned with realism-trying to get personality.

 Backing up a bit on ink-working more layers of watercolor.

And trying out new creatures as subjects.

 Leaving more white unpainted for highlights.

 Adding Chinese white gouache when paint slides and darkens what I want to stay white.
I know this is my skill level showing. But the eyes above were flat before a bit of white.

This ink seems to slide off the pen nib, a joy to use. No skritchy feel.
 I highly recommend Jetpens for hard to find stationary items. This
 Platinum Carbon Ink is truly waterproof. Pricey but worth it. They offer
free shipping if your order is $25 or more.

Another great tool, 2mm lead sharpener. It holds the graphite shavings until you empty it.
I researched these tools and the good reviews helped with my decision to buy. I like how
 spare my supplies are after the great clear out/donation this fall.

 Cool design.

Opie 'riding' the big yellow table. Yes, he sits there while I work. He barks at
critics and loves all that I make. The best kind of a studio buddy!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Big joy and back to basics

Big joy! 

Daily drawing has become a solid habit. I love sitting at my big yellow table with paper and pen.

Backed off watercolors for this week. My water brush order came in. All the different brushes had
good qualities EXCEPT the Niji brand. These leak and rather than an even flow of water tend to
'blob' water into a standing pool on the paper. I'm surprised as they had rather good reviews.

The few drawings I've painted I'm also adding prismacolor pencil and pastel pencil.

I've been noticing how eyes which aren't quite 'right' give either a (above) wonky personality 'clue' or

something a bit more sinister. Don't think I'd pet this guy.

Hey look, it's not a dog!

Found I was going in circles with water color so checked this out from the library. Will work my way thru the basics again. ('Beginning again' is a good motto for me these days.) Actually, this book has
lots more to it. Rather complete lessons on ink and graphite drawing. I ordered a copy for reference.

Autumn is coming in fast now. Critters are on the move. Lots of big spiders in the house. Nature's
tucking life in for a good long sleep. Leaves are dancing and birds are hunkering down in the wind.
Lovely season. Take care.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Koi Water Brushes, found art supplies, etc.

 I found my old technical ink pen while clearing out my
studio. Also (finally) found my good set of pan watercolor
paints.  By happy coincidence I'd ordered a Koi Waterbrush.

So daily painting/drawing has a solid place in my schedule.

I took a class in w/c 30 years ago and wasn't impressed with
my results. I think the water brush picks up a small amount
of paint and so keeps any overworking to a minimum. Or
maybe I've grown old enough to know when to stop!

Here is Friend Fox with fall leaves.

 I like the way you can layer pastel over w/c, in this way
showing the sweet, old eyes of a dog with soft, cloudy, age-wise eyes.

You can use pastels, water soluble pencils and most other
drawing tools with pen and (permenant) ink. I use a sepia
color and it blends well with paint.

 I like that it only takes a bit of color with line to suggest

These are mostly on Strathmore series 400 "all media paper"
(thick and doesn't warp) which was on sale at my local store.

I really like this paper.

I'm trying to loosen up my tight style of personality in a fun way. Use line as expression.

This is on tinted drawing paper. Kind of like starting
out with a tinted canvas-easier to punch up lights.
So this is how I'm beginning fall/winter. At least 30 minutes
each day drawing/painting. It's one time of day I can count
on to enjoy. I hope you're enjoying the change of season.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Changing colors

I discovered my palette was too transparent to get strong
colors in the first layer. I changed my palette and discovered stronger
first layer colors to build on.

Another under painting I'm happy with. Titanium white is working so much
better than the (more economical) Permalba white I've been using all summer.

For painting dogs and cats my new, improved color palette includes;
Titanium white, Gamblin's Warm White, Naples Yellow Hue, Yellow Ochre,
Red Ochre, Gamblin Asphaltum, WN Charcoal Grey and Gamblin's Chromatic Black.
The Charcoal Grey is the exception here. It's a transparent dark grey perfect
for where coats fall in shade or when the fur is just tinged dark at the end.

Outside my window Cardinals are feasting on the Dogwood berries and 
fall is showing her own colors. A dear family member is very ill.
All life seems so precious. Painting helps me to recharge and take
a more grateful attitude back to my daily routine.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cat practice

Several people have asked me to paint cats. This is the first layer of my first attempt.

Head structure very different from a dog's.

And I think this, (finally) shows Opie's character.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Today was lovely

Today we shared with the grand boy.
It was very hot and humid. After a tractor ride there were inside adventures.

When it cooled and shade covered the yard we took the basket out and
picked ripe tomatoes,

shared them with the rabbit family (his idea, such a nice one),

and played with Opie until his mom came to take him home. 

Now we are tired but happy.

Most happy days aren't expensive or complicated. Happy days have
more to do with who you spend them with.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

More dogs and pc problems

Lately the word processor part of my pc has gone mad. Probably
a program conflict. It' frustrating to type what I want to say. 
Screaming with irritation I watch entire blocks
of text turn blue and disappear and letters rearrange themselves
like ants on the page. So, first thing, if anyone has
a link or some way to fix this I'll be in your debt.

This is my immediate problem and I'm wringing as much positive as
I can from it. Other than that, I'm noticing several  bloggers I
read questioning the value of blogging. Must be something in the air.

The first photo is of me and Big Dog about 12 years ago. I'm going to paint him.
I finally got the first layer of Opie's  portrait so it shows his attitude and
personality so I think I may be able to tackle another special dog from my life.

So this is what I'm thinking about blogging in general. I keep seeing
techniques on 'monetizing' your blog and promoting what you make
to sell. Yeah, this is what we need to do in a crummy economy to some extent. 

But there's a point when this gets in the way of what I enjoy;
meeting other artists and crafts people who may be on the same road.
Learning from their experience, sharing what I'm doing and
pushing to learn new skills is the main goal. It's not that
don't have friends in the real world. It's that blogging and meeting others
online have resulted in knowing folks I never would have met otherwise.
So, for now I'll put up with the spook in my pc and type the same sentence
six times because I know there are good folks out here.

 Lately I've been painting...

and not thinking so much about selling. This may change but I doubt it.