Wax On Wax Off

using a kneaded eraser to remove layers of colored pencil

Wax on wax off. The title might seem unusual, but it truly applies to this post. I use mostly Prismacolor colored pencils in my drawings and they are a wax based pencil. Sometimes I add pencil layers, sometimes I take them off.

In this post I want to explain in step-by-step detail how I approached the plaid fabric in The Highlander. Continue reading Wax On Wax Off

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Tentatively Titled “The Highlander” WIP

Finally a new work-in-progress. Albeit, very slow progress. It’s so hard to get any artwork done during the summer. So in between freezing corn, canning tomatoes and digging potatoes, I started a new colored pencil work.

I’ve drawn everyone in the family except my husband, so he is the star of this work. It isn’t really a portrait, I’m just using him as my model. I am working with a variety of reference photos to put together the final piece that I “see” in my mind. Continue reading Tentatively Titled “The Highlander” WIP

A Summer Day

A Facebook friend of mine posted a photo she had taken of her sons at the lake. I loved the photo so much that I asked her for permission to use it as a reference for a painting.

I’ve held on to the reference photo for a couple of years or so and finally got around to using it.

I started the piece by sketching the boys on tracing paper, then transferring the sketch to a sheet of Oil Pastel Card by Sennelier.

sketch tracing paper
First sketch of the boys on tracing paper

They look kind of creepy with no legs or faces.

Once I sketched in some basic outlines, I began with an underpainting of complimentary colors. I chose to create this piece in oil pastel and used oil pastels for the underpainting as well. I had considered using a thin wash of oil paints, but chose to do the entire piece in the pastels.

oil pastels, painting, underpainting
Underpainting in complimentary colors

Next I used a brush and odorless mineral spirits to blend the pastel colors around and cover more of the paper. The pastel didn’t move as much on the paper as I had hoped. I was rethinking my decision to use only pastels and not oil paints.

underpainting3.jpg
Oil pastels with a wash of mineral spirits

I began layering colors much like I do with colored pencil, carefully working around the areas of the boys.

SummerDay1

detail

And…the finished product.

20170531_143057
Photo of final work on display.

I’m still considering the oil pastels an experiment. I have fun working with them, but I’m not always sure how much I like the final results. I’ll just have to keep playing with them.

Artworks Gallery

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, my artwork will be on display at Artworks Gallery in Kokomo, IN through the month of July. Here is the link to the newspaper interview I also promised in that post:  Kokomo Herald/Perspective article.

I recently spent the evening at the gallery for a meet and greet event with the public. This event was for all of the downtown businesses, not just the gallery. Artworks Gallery is a very nice space. They have two levels and some small classroom space. They featured work by quite a few talented artists. The monthly featured artist works hang on the “gray wall” on the lower level. I took this photo from the landing area upstairs during a slow moment in the evening.

Artworks Gallery

My work featured on the gray wall.

The gallery staff provided guests with tea and lemon water, cookies and pastries. It was a lovely evening with the doors left open and the sound of music from down the street. Even though I am very uncomfortable meeting people at events like this, it really was a very nice event and I appreciate the effort the staff put into the evening.

I am really anxious to get started on another drawing. I’ve drawn everyone in my immediate family except my husband. He’s up next. Now if I can just get the 4H projects, the weeds in the garden and landscaping under control, I’ll be able to get started on his drawing. I am hoping to have more artwork on display for the month of August. I’ll let you know if this works out as soon as I can.

Have a great day.

 

A Busy Spring

Wow! Spring absolutely flew by and now it’s summer. Not my favorite season. I don’t care for hot and humid, I’m more of a fall/winter person. Anyway, in between weeding garden spaces and trimming landscaping, I thought I’d better update you on what’s been happening this past spring.

I entered the Kokomo Art Association’s Spring Art Show in May. I entered Colors of Flight, and Woodland Nymph. Both are colored pencil drawings on textured black paper.

colored pencil drawing, feathers
Colors of Flight, colored pencil drawing
colored pencil, fairy, flowers
Woodland Nymph, colored pencil drawing

I am pleased to announce that Colors of Flight received a 2nd place rating in the Class II Professional division, and Woodland Nymph received Best of Show. These works were on display throughout the month of May at the Kokomo Art Center, Kokomo, IN.

You might remember from an earlier post, Woodland Nymph also received Best of Show at the Logansport Art Association (LAA) Spring Show in 2016. As a result of that win, I was invited to be the featured artist for the LAA Spring Show for 2017. As such, I had a small room off the main gallery space to display as many artworks as I wanted.

This showing in Logansport ran through most of the month of June.

About a week after the LAA show closed, I delivered nine pieces of work to Artworks Gallery in Kokomo. I delivered seven colored pencil works and two small oil pastels for display. As a result of receiving Best of Show at the Kokomo show in May I was invited by Artworks Gallery to be the featured artist for the month of July. I was also interviewed by a reporter for the Kokomo Perspective about the show. Nice to be able to get a little extra publicity for myself, the Kokomo Art Association and the gallery. I will update a link to that article once it becomes available.

I will be posting another work-in-progress post as soon as I get my photos in order. Until next time, make it a great day!

Art in the Capitol

Hey there! It’s been a while. We took a vacation to Washington, DC and I have pictures to share. We were lucky enough to be there during the Cherry Blossom Festival and all of those blooming cherry trees were absolutely beautiful! However, I’m curious about how they handle the mess when the trees start producing fruit. I’m envisioning sidewalks covered in smooshed cherries with hordes of hovering wasps and bees trying to suck up the sweet nectar.

I was also impressed with the number of statues throughout the city as well as the beauty of some of the government buildings we toured.

Continue reading to see a LOT of photos of interesting and beautiful things I found inspiring at our capitol. Continue reading Art in the Capitol

Photography Backdrop

My daughter is a photographer. No, she is an amazing photographer! You can view some of her work here.  She’s asked me to paint backdrops for her a few times and I just never got around to doing anything because most of my work was in colored pencil and very detailed. I didn’t think I could create something that would lend itself well to being reproduced in such a huge format…until now.  Continue reading Photography Backdrop

Time to Loosen Up

I love my colored pencils. I really do. But sometimes you just have to do something a little different.  Colored pencil drawings are usually very structured and “tight.” Part of the reason I love the medium is because it is so easily controlled and detailed. Most drawings will take anywhere from 15 to 30+ hours to complete, so it can be very tedious and time consuming. But I needed a change. I have some lesser quality, inexpensive soft pastels that offered just the change I needed. I watched a couple of instructional videos online for the beginner pastel artist and then jumped in to my first painting.

One of the most exciting things was that the entire painting was finished in just one day. Wow! Can’t say that about colored pencil.

I started with a reference photo of red poppies on a hillside by June Artz. June Artz Photography free reference photo

I chose to use Strathmore 80lb toned Pastel Paper. I used a tan colored paper on the textured side. I don’t think the color really mattered since I covered the entire paper to start with. The videos I watched were through Artist Network and were taught by Richard McKinley.  In one video he demonstrated various underpainting techniques including pastel with water, water color, and very, very, VERY thin oil paint. I was intrigued with the oil paint partly because I’d never considered using oil paint on paper, and partly because I’ve got a bunch of oil paint that rarely gets used and it’s taking up space. I need to find a use for it. I was also interested in trying the oil paint technique because he promised that it would not buckle or warp the paper like watercolor so often does. This has been a frustration for me every time I have attempted to use watercolor. Honestly, I just really do not enjoy using watercolors for any purpose at all. Period.

So, here is my oil underpainting. He was absolutely correct. The paper did not buckle or warp at all. Fabulous! I used odorless mineral spirits to mix with the paints. You need to mix it to the consistency of tea. It needs to be very thin so it will dry quickly, but yet have enough pigment to color the paper. I should also note that this Strathmore Pastel Paper that I used specifically stated that it could handle oil pastels, so I figured it could handle the oil paint as well.

Underpainting done in very thin oil paints on pastel paper
Underpainting done in very thin oil paints on pastel paper

I didn’t take the time to sketch out a plan, I was too anxious to jump in and get messy with it. I do like the tactile aspect of using pastels. Most of the underpainting dried within 30 minutes, but I let it sit for a couple of hours while I took care of other chores and it was thoroughly dry when I came back to it. I forgot to take pictures along the way; It came together so fast. I’m declaring it finished even though there are things about it that I think need to be changed. For my first attempt I wasn’t displeased. It got me thinking and creating on a different level that I truly enjoyed. I needed to get this out of my system, or maybe I needed to get it into my system. Hmm, I’ll have to contemplate that point, meanwhile, I think I’m ready to tackle another tight, tedious colored pencil drawing.

First serious attempt at pastel painting
Red Poppies, 11 x 14 on Strathmore 80lb Pastel Paper. First serious attempt at pastel painting. (Reference photo by June Artz Photography)

I’m Back!!

I’m back! I know, ’bout time, right?

I knew when we bought a new house and were packing to move last summer that I would not have time to do hardly any artwork until after Christmas. Since this is just after New Year’s and I haven’t even started un-decorating my house from Christmas, it will be another week or so until I start a new drawing. However, I WILL start a new drawing soon. I’ve been mulling over this in my head for quite some time. I’ve had months to think about all of the artsy stuff I want to do, so it’s time to get started.

But first, let me show you a little of what I did over the past few months. No, I’m not going to show pictures of sorting, packing, moving, unpacking, sorting again, organizing, etc. I’m not even going to show you pictures of all of the gardening and landscaping we did, or pictures of all the soccer games, garden harvesting, canning produce, or freezing corn. I will show you a quick pic of the new sheep we’ve added to the little homestead. This is Mario, Tess, and Tiffany.

Left to right, Tiffany, Tess and Mario
Left to right, Tiffany, Tess and Mario

I just love them. I’ve wanted some sheep for awhile, but we just didn’t have a space for them until we moved to the new place. They’re not pets. They’re too skittish and timid. We got them for breeding. Maybe their offspring will be more people friendly.

Anyway, back to art stuff. Most of my drawings take 25+ hours to complete and I didn’t have that kind of time available these past few months. So to keep from going crazy I had to do small little creative projects. I made cards. I had a blast making cards and I plan to continue doing so as little “fill in” projects between drawings. Here are pictures of my cards.

Pre-cut card front from a card making kit I found at a yard sale, striped background paper, rubber stamping text, and 3D presents glued in the corner.
Pre-cut card front from a card making kit I found at a yard sale, striped background paper, rubber stamping text, and 3D presents glued in the corner.
Argyle scrapbook paper, metallic gold tape, white cardstock, clear background foil sticker.
Argyle scrapbook paper, metallic gold tape, white cardstock, clear background foil sticker.
White cardstock, rubber stamped ornaments, rubber stamped text, colored gel pens.
White cardstock, rubber stamped ornaments, rubber stamped text, colored gel pens.
This is one of my favorites. Cardstock paper, scrapbook papers, sticker, gold gel pen.
This is one of my favorites. Cardstock paper, scrapbook papers, sticker, gold gel pen, and black stamp pad edging.
Cardstock paper, scrapbook paper, ribbon, Christmas sticker.
Cardstock paper, scrapbook paper, ribbon, Christmas sticker.
Front from an antique Christmas card, scrapbook paper, cardstock paper, ribbon, wax seal, rubber stamping.
Front from an antique Christmas card, scrapbook paper, cardstock paper, ribbon, wax seal, rubber stamping.
This is another favorite. Cardstock paper, antique postcard, scrapbook paper.
This is another favorite. Cardstock paper, antique postcard, scrapbook paper.
Inside of the antique postcard Christmas card shown above. Parchment paper, rubber stamps.
Inside of the antique postcard Christmas card shown above. Parchment paper, rubber stamps.
Pre-cut card from cardmaking kit found at a yard sale, plaid fabric ribbon, metallic gold tape, gold gel pen, rubber stamp
Pre-cut card from cardmaking kit found at a yard sale, plaid fabric ribbon, metallic gold tape, gold gel pen, rubber stamp.
Pre-cut card from cardmaking kit found at a yard sale, scrapbook paper. I later outlined each letter in gold gel pen.
Pre-cut card from card making kit found at a yard sale, scrapbook paper. I later outlined each letter in gold gel pen.
Interior of the JOY card. This is a page from an old hymnal.
Interior of the JOY card shown above. This is a page from an old hymnal.
Cardstock paper, rubber stamps, and colored gel pens.
Cardstock paper, rubber stamps, and colored gel pens.
Cardstock paper, scrapbook paper, page from and old hymnal with scorched edges for an antique look.
Cardstock paper, scrapbook paper, page from and old hymnal with scorched edges for an antique look.
I call this "Creepy Santa". Santa was cut from an automobile ad from an old LIFE magazine. I used part of an older road atlas and specifically chose Fairbanks, Alaska because my son lives there. I also used scrapbook paper in the background. I thought the words fit perfectly with the Creepy Stalker Santa picture. I also chose to use a font style that I thought was kind of spooky looking.
I call this “Creepy Santa”. Something about this Santa made me think of the CHUCKY doll. Santa was cut from an automobile ad from an old LIFE magazine. I used part of an older road atlas and specifically chose Fairbanks, Alaska because my son lives there. (I sent this card to him.) I also used scrapbook paper in the background. I thought the words fit perfectly with the Creepy Stalker Santa picture. I also chose to use a font style that I thought was kind of spooky looking.
Inside of the Creepy Santa card shown above. Before mailing, I outlined some of the letters with red gel pen.
Inside of the Creepy Santa card shown above. Before mailing, I outlined some of the letters with red gel pen.
This card is eight different scrapbook papers cut to fit. For the nativity scene, I rubber stamped the image on the back of black glitter paper, then cut out only the holy family with an x-acto knife. I loved how this one turned out.
This card is eight different scrapbook papers cut to fit. For the nativity scene, I rubber stamped the image on the back of black glitter paper, then cut out only the holy family with an x-acto knife. I loved how this one turned out.

These were really fun to make. I also made a birthday card for my sister.

Cut scrapbook papers, rubber stamps, and flower embellishments.
Cut scrapbook papers, rubber stamps, and flower embellishments. I need a LOT more practice using individual rubber stamp letters to write a name. It’s really hard to get them all straight.
Detail of card shown above.
Detail of card shown above.

Well, that gets you caught up to date on the projects I’ve done recently. I hope to add some work-in-progress photos from drawing projects very soon.

Happy New Year everyone!

Feed Your Creative Soul

I stumbled across this meme on Facebook a few days ago. Aside from the grammatical error of using “everybody” instead of “not everyone,” I like the thought provoking message.

Not everyone is a doctor or lawyer

This morning I visited the original post and scrolled through the comments people have been leaving. (This was not on my own Facebook page, but rather the page from which the post originated.) The comments were all over the map. Some commenters expressed appreciation for the artistry depicted in the photo, others took the opportunity to blast our education system, others called for fairer wages for traditionally low paying jobs, while some expressed a concern for the lack of respect given to skilled trades jobs.  And of course, there were a few success-hating-victims-of-the-system, trippin’ on an angry pill, foul-mouthed idiots who were only raging on about nothing in particular and calling everyone elitist Marxist (fill in the nasty word of your choice). I suppose there has to be at least one in every crowd.

Here are some of the comments that were attached to the post. (I’m not going to share the nasty, angry ones.)

AMEN , we need to pass on the value of craftsmanship and cherish those who practice it .I earn my paycheck as an engineer, but building instruments is my passion .  

Saying that someone should ‘do what he loves’ for a living is fundamentally backwards and selfish. Focus on making money for your family first. We should be taking care of our kids and parents before we take care of ourselves. Doing what I love is nothing compared to being able to provide and take care of the people who love me.  

Yes, and also teach them to still get involved in higher education. Take a few classes even if not getting a degree. Take pride in the brain that helps you get places with your hands.

 Nor does everyone want to be a Dr or Lawyer…I definitely think there is a lot of talented people out there in the world, they just don’t realize how talented they really are…I see it all the time…

In my opinion there is a much bigger problem that goes across every profession and that is that we’re teaching kids to be “the best they can be”, where we should be teaching that kids should always BE the best at what they’re doing, and challenge them to be better than they would ever dare dream of being on their own.

Part of the problem is that schools are evaluated on how many graduates go to college. There should be consideration for grads going to trade schools. Parents should be proud when kids want to be mechanics, electricians, carpenters, HVAC, MASONS, plumbers, chefs. These are great professions for great people. Not everyone wants to be bored behind a desk all day. And, these trade schools/professions are not for slouches. It’s time for high schools to let these kids receive the recognition for achieving these skills.

 Yeah, we sure went off base telling our kids they MUST HAVE COLLEGE DEGREES and be white collar workers or be looked down on for being blue collar workers. Europe admires anyone who has a job!

There were many, many more comments about this meme, this is just a small sampling. Most of the commenters referred to skilled trades rather than artistic skills when referring to working with their hands. In general, the comments left me with one question. Is it possible for the average person to make a living wage following their talent and doing what they love to do? Sadly, when it comes to artistic passions, the answer is probably no. (Myself included.)

Whether your passion is visual arts, music, writing, theater, etc. you probably will not make a livable wage just following your talent and passion. Sad, but true. Obviously there are some exceptions, but I believe there are millions of secretly talented people out there working “9 to 5” just to pay the bills.  To those people, I want to encourage you to be intentional about finding ways to use your talents and follow your passions even if it’s just in small ways. Sign up for that weekend workshop at the community center, turn off the TV and spend some time sketching, go to the local civic theater, teach your talent to someone else – do something to feed the creative soul within you. Keep the fire burning. I think you’ll find more satisfaction in life.