Saturday, December 31, 2005

The emerging year

This guy represents the events and activities of 2005. He formed and grew like a stalagmite, adding layers of learning. Now he's looking around the corner at 2006.

I'm looking with him. And we're going traveling, visiting relatives who aren't (gasp!) on the web. I'll be drawing, chatting, knitting, and looking forward to all the EDM group's art that awaits our return.

Process: colored inks stamped onto Moleskine sketchpaper, tech pen drawing, watercolor added.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Abstract time

At regular intervals it relaxes my right brain to do an abstract, though in this case a sort of landscape emerged.

W/c on 90# paper.

People practice

When I don't have a specific thing to draw, I draw imaginary things, and a LOT of imaginary people.

This is last night's visitor. I named her Sheila. She seems to have terrible jaundice and eyebrows like a lot of my Santas.

Process: I've started keeping a little palette of Yarka w/c open by my favorite family room chair. They're super soft and always available for a quick wash over the tech pen. On lightweight drawing paper.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

scribbled dove

After all the painting and shaping, time to relax with flat shapes. Filled in with a Pilot PreciseGrip bold gel pen in a Moleskine. It slides really smoo-oth.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Sleeping cats

Rarely I can catch the cat's position fast enough before s/he moves. Drawing directly with paint is working better for me as long as I ignore fur markings and go for a mere suggestion of the shadows.

This cat is mostly gray, so fur markings don't confuse me, but I dipped into brown for this sleeping moment.

Process: w/c on Paperblanks (super white) blank journal paper.

With pencil and my tiger cat, it's easy to get confused between contour lines and fur markings. This time his position lasted just long enough to get some obvious ones down.

Pencil on very smooth paper in a top-spiralbound book. I haven't a clue who the manufacturer is, but I love the paper for dry media.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Just one more Santa

In spite of being urged to do more, including my favorite smashed can Santa (a very rare and irreplaceable collectable), this is the last Santa drawing for this year, as Christmas is over.

This ornament is a sand dollar, whose very faint shell shadowings are difficult to indicate. Same process, and now I move on.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

More Santas

A tiny wooden Santa mug and a flat-heart Santa.

Same process as the last three. Dipped pencil (lead only) is almost like paint in small spaces. It's working smoothly for me now.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Long-bearded Santas

Between the big hat and the big beard, there's not a lot of space to show personality.

Tech pen, colored pencil on Moleskine sketchpaper.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Santa star

I have a small ornament collection of Santa faces. It's time to draw them before they go back into the attic for their long hibernation.

Process: water-dipped pencil and washed pencil for color on a frame of tech pen.

I could have planned differently, doing this in a small Moleskine, but now I kind of like the seam there. Adds flavor.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Colorful cat

A quick painting before he moved, so accurate color was the least of my concerns. Impressionistic, for sure!

W/c in a Robert Bateman sketchbook, new for me. Nice paper for light water.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Dipped pencils

Using w/c pencils dipped in water has never been successful for me. In this case, I had a long sharpened point and stroked it on the side. The water carried by the wood section erratically dissolved the pigment. This random spiral shows the texture that emerges.

Prismacolor pencils on Aquabee sketchpaper. I'm waiting for my Palomino w/c pencils to arrive and I'll see the difference.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Seasonal celebration

I designed a Christmas card for the first time in years, choosing Light as the one element that all spiritual people include in their practice. May the solstice bring us longer days and the holidays bring us joy and shared caring.

W/c on Strathmore cards.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Imagine #1

Imagined (wo?)man imagining that face on the moon. First experiment with oil pastels in a Moleskine sketchbook.

Imagine #2

A second profile and it turned out to be a woman. Funny how the slightest difference to features makes a gender implication.

Nu-pastels in a Moleskine sketchbook. I prefer the oily ones to the chalky ones.

Playing with faces

Practicing faces. The top 3 are imagined, the bottom 2 are real, my cat Chaucer and my friend Crystal.

Ink, pencil or w/c, in a random collection of sketchbooks.

I have 6 going at once, all different papers.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Unplanned, unexpected, unworried

There's a joy in swirling color and letting forms emerge that surpasses all more restrictive attempts at representation or intent for the image.

It's my favorite painting exercise, in spite of unpredictable results.

One has to be willing to accept disappointment (what?! waste the time, paper and paint?!)
in order to give Surprise a door to come in.

Daniel Smith w/c on 90# paper.

Friday, December 09, 2005


I've been practicing imagined faces, working with fast sketches and loose washes using water-soluble pen. This is no one's baby (aren't you glad?), just a generic infant face.

Random pen and #12 brush with water on 90# paper.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Lokta birds

After the inked birds showed up in my Moleskine, this flock appeared in another journal. I am exploring this new (to me) paper--lokta, handmade in India.

Part of the blueish shadowing comes from oil pastels on the backside.

I like the color, the eggshell-like finish, and the deckled edge. It takes light water without soaking through too much. I also spread thinned Golden Absorbent Ground on it for a whiter background experiment that created interest w/c effects.

I found these lokta journals online at Ollie's Paper. Lovely stuff!

PS: I found this paper description on their website. (I have no personal ties to this seller.)

Graeham Owens' Lokta paper is made in rural, mountainous villages with no electricity. The paper has to travel for 5 days and 5 nights, on the backs of donkeys, to reach the nearest passable road. From this point it travels to Kathmandu, where the finished products are made.

This paper is acid-free and tree-free (the lokta bush completely regenerates after harvesting). It is made today just as it was a thousand years ago. It is pure, rustic, long-fibered, strong, and beautiful. It is, perhaps, the most perfect paper on earth.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

EDM challenge #44--an animal

I've just started painting with inks. This started out as ink blobs pressed between 2 pages of a Moleskine sketchbook. Then I saw birds in one side and drew them in. The other half of the experiment awaits development.

I love the intense color of ink, but am wary of disastrous spilling.

Just color

After doing just pencil, I had to go back to pure color. Gardener had asked me for an abstract, and this came out. Don't know if it's inspired by wrapped gifts or a cross or an intersection from the air.

W/C pencil on Aquabee Super Deluxe.

Pencil, new and unsmudged

Finding the old carafe drawing briefly sent me back to do something with pencil. A little silk bag on a pocket Moleskine. I'm restraining myself from adding color.

Palomino pencils, HB and 2B, on Strathmore drawing paper.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Old reflections

Going through old art supplies, sometimes I find a few drawings in sketchbooks bought long ago. That paper is so much thicker than what we buy now for three times the price!

This is smudgy and picked up graphite from the facing drawing, but it's evidence I drew a little way back in 1979. I had time to draw when we lived for three months in New Mexico on (husband's) special job assignment.

I had long hair then, and I still have this carafe.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Griffin in the glow

I think my favorite after-trip image is the griffin. He's such a cool mix of powers--clawed strength, flight, and serpent's lash.

Tech pen and Daniel Smith w/c on Strathmore Aquarius II paper--the mix of cotton and synthetic that cockles very little. It stays almost soft, a bit like painting on fabric. I'm liking it more and more, though I can only buy it online.

Definitely the paper I'll use for my next custom-made (coptic-bound) sketchbook.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

And now, drawing from memory

This is an imagined scene. My hand, the Michael statue, and church stonework: reassembled.

After I draw a thing on site, I like to use it in imagined scenes, sealing the shapes into my memory so that I can draw them anytime with fresh lines.

Tech pen and w/c, of course!

on the plane home

Love those blue Air France seats! Did the woman in seat 26F have as good a time in France as I did? I'll bet she doesn't have nearly 100 sketches for souvenirs.

feet in the airport, leaving Paris

It's so much easier to avoid notice by my subjects when I draw their feet.

On the right side, those socks are much more colorful than the originals. Though one subject's socks (not posted) were bright orange and red. All the rest of his clothes, glasses, and hat were black. Fun to catch a glimpse of his colorful side!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Two more churches

This structure stands at one end of the upstairs space at Saint Chapelle, the church on the Isle de la Cité with the fabulous walls of stained glass.

While drawing this (instead of attempting a sketch of the stained glass), I saw what I'd not have seen otherwise, the tiny lizard creatures crawling head down at the corners.

Tech pen in the W/N sketchbook.

In Orsay, this blue-doored church was our landmark for navigating the main shopping streets. The central structure of it was built in 1200.

There has been a settlement on this site on the Yvette River since 999.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Notre Dame, Paris

We spent about 2 hours roaming inside Notre Dame and I drew a lot of little items.

(Scanned with the setting on color.)

Suddenly bells rang and three priests came out to celebrate Mass. I happened to be sitting to the side behind a small candlestand and was able to draw the priest at the lectern.

Those tall candles were on thin supports that swayed a lot when, later, someone snuffed the candles.

Tech pen in W/N sketchbook. Scanned in grayscale, taking away that blue cast. Still learning about the software side of art.

Fun signs

Wandering the area around the Centre de Pompidou, near the Quartier des Horloges, I saw this comix bookstore.

This is a simplified version of their sign. The way they spelled Heroes caught my eye--Heros--who is actually a mythical god.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

This was the brasserie next to the train station closest to our B&B. I had tea there several times. The teapots were bright yellow and the hanging lampshades really were orange and yellow. The owner had his little dog there, as in most French restaurants, and it was a great place to hang out and draw.

Done in the sketchbook.

This was the wall and steps to the left of the Maison des Associations, posted earlier. Quickly drawn and colored on the spot, in spite of chilly air and a hard bench. Landscapes are not my thing.

Done on loose Aquabee sketchpaper. It's that blue wash again, too!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The starting point

In the square in front of Notre Dame is Point Zero, the beginning point of French distance measurements. The center is shiny copper, not accurately captured in a quick yellow wash, unfortunately.

Tech pen and Aquabee sketchpaper.

Drawing in the Musee d'Orsay

Usually the problem with sketching on site is the moving subject. For these, though, the problem was a continuous flow of people in the walkway between me and the statues, blocking my view.

And I wondered about the model for Schoenewerk, who had to hold that awkward head-down pose for HOW long?

Pen and shading wash in the W/N sketchbook.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Parked near the Jardin des Tuilleries

The tiny vehicles of Europe are endlessly fascinating, and so much smarter than our behemoth gas-slurpers!

The hill wasn't this steep, though some are. Just one wheel and a metal stand touching the pavement!

Same process as the previous sketches.

Paris statues

Archangel Michael, outside Saint Chappelle in Paris. I think he used to be on the roof, now he's braced upright on the ground.

He can fly off if he wants to, of course. He held still for me here.

Tech pen and wash on Aquabee sketchpaper.

A statue in the Latin Quarter, just off the Blvd. St. Germain des Pres.

I guess he's a griffin, but the ones I've seen before have lion legs. Does anyone know what you call a flying snake/lion?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Alimentation Generale in Orsay

Outside this food shop in Orsay, against the shiny tiled wall, hung glowing fruit and vegetables from black office paper clamps.

Fantasy foot

Random doodle.

Don't know about those toes. They don't belong to me. Do stable ballerinas have toes like that?

Ink and w/c on Aquabee sketch paper, with light leaking into the scanner.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Blue washes in Orsay

When I started with the roof of this Maison des Associations in the little town where we stayed, I was focused and warm. As I got colder (weather overcast and chilly), the bench got harder, and I got bored with architectural drawing, I really lost interest by the time I got down to the ground floor.

Good thing it wasn't a taller building!

Ink and wash on 90# w/c paper.

In Paris we'd seen a gallery with beautiful line drawings backed by a swoosh of color. So I came home and rendered my water bottle.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The rest of us on the train

Carol, done in 3 stops before we had to get off. Six minutes means fast hair and simple shapes. That's my excuse! And I don't think her nose is right at all.

Tech pen. I don't do any pre-marking or drawing with a pencil. I like the uncertainty and the serendipity of what emerges. My subjects might not!

Jim looking down, and on a separate drawing, what he was looking at, writing in his Moleskine.

In the Picasso museum we saw this same layout, using one sheet of paper for the head, another crosswise piece for the torso. Better than squeezing it all on one, Picasso and I say.

The head scan was with "color" and the hands with "grayscale." The paper doesn't have a blue-cast except where I added paint.