Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sage Stossel

A great cartoon for a glimpse of how we've changed in the last 10 years.

Sage Stossel in the Boston Globe

If the link takes you where you don't want to go, these two items are sufficient to see her point.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Isaac Asimov said:

"What militates against creativity most of all is peer pressure. By definition, that is creative which seems new and novel to most people. People distrust the new and novel, and prefer the tried and true.

Therefore, the creative person is a pain in the neck. any person with tendencies toward creativity quickly finds out he is having trouble socially.

Since many people would rather be popular and one of the boys than anything else, they stifle those tendencies. And creative people *are* irritants and pains in the neck. How many of them do we want?"

I found this Asimov quote in some notes I made years ago. I see the truth in it, but I also know creative people who would rather make and create than please any group of commentators around them. And many creative people attract a social circle of admirers.

There are degrees of strangeness, of course, but I wonder if greater tolerance now and internet-audience acceptance makes more people than in Asimov's time dare to be new, novel and fearless of social condemnation.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

the underside of a clamp

Filling a sketchbook page. Pencil.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Everything!

Whatever holiday you're celebrating, from Solstice to Christmas to Surviving 2009, enjoy the coming Light and warmth of the season!

w/c and micron pen on Strathmore drawing paper

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

practicing fabric folds

This is an eyemask that I folded and held with my left hand as I drew the shadows and creases.

Pencil on Mead Academy paper.

Monday, December 21, 2009

layering the cover

Rolling color onto a boring sketchbook cover. I covered the inside with shades of phthalo turquoise.

This book had a 50 pages of 130# paper. I replaced the spiral with a smaller one and have made two books of 25 pages. Much lighter to carry.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

the freedom of mixed media

Collage, acrylic, Stayz On stamp pad ink, and lots of gel medium. Oranges and greens are calling me now.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

bear back

I was flipping through an Arches spiralbound book of 140# paper and found a watercolor sketch of the bear. Adding a background made it postable.

As I switch between mediums now, I can see progress in the various techniques each medium allows--wet-in-wet flow, etc. I'm happy with what 2009 has brought me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

blue armwarmers

One more project finished. I started these probably 3 years ago, had the first one done a long time before I started the second.

And the last 4 inches of the ribbing for the hand end waited almost a year to be finished. Just in time for a 2010 winter!

This is the embossed leaves sock pattern that was so popular several years ago. This is the fourth pair I've made, the first ones I'll keep.

If you don't like heavy wool socks (I don't), knit the great sock patterns into arm pieces!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

a hat a day

Six hats in six days last week! That's a record for my knitting production.

Each one is different. I started the top left one with a band of simple cable, then picked up along the side edge to make the ribbed top.

I dug into my half-finished projects drawer and found the 3/4 done silk scarf. Finished it in about 30 minutes. It's been waiting about four years.

There are at least five other half finished projects to consider, unless I start another hat.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gorey shadows

Maybe none would agree with me, but this quick sketch with a Wolff carbon pencil reminded me of works by Edward Gorey, a favorite of mine.

Remember his illustrations for the PBS series, "Mystery"? Gothic and Goth, too.

The carbon pencil is not erasable, so I use it like a pen--just keep moving forward with whatever lines I've made. I like that it doesn't shine as graphite does, and isn't as dusty as charcoal.

Monday, December 14, 2009

in progress

I drew the blocks freehand, and first, this time, then filled in the colors. The verticals are slightly aslant here; part of that is my crooked scan.

This piece is in progress, though. Sponge and finger painting so far.

Transparent red oxide, azo gold, hansa yellow light, jenkins green acrylic on 140# paper.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

painting in a series

This might be the first in a series of abstracts corraled by grids. Maybe.

This is a page in the journal where I kept putting the last bits of paint from other pieces. The green/gold from the brayer, overlaid with a bit of titan buff, then daubed with some transparent red oxide.

By the time I'd added some more yellow and filled in open space with some conte pastels, I began to see a composition of blocks.

I emphasized what was emerging, then mixed jenkins green and red to make block lines--which scan as black here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

knitting fast

Given the 9 inches of snow we got on Wednesday, these are ready for cold heads.

The purple and orange ones are destined for a friend's twin granddaughters, due any time. The multicolored one, and 3 more on the needles, are destined for a Christmas basket to a local charity.

General hat pattern: I used size 10, 16", circular needle. Cast on 72-80 stitches depending on child or adult head size. Go around and around, doing cables or ribs of any sort (gives good stretch).

Knit until the hat is 6 to 7 inches tall. Decrease at least 10 stitches per round, as it fits your pattern, for the next 6-7 rounds. End when all the stitches are gone!

Since we already have large mounds of snow and have had a snow day for the schools, it's time to knit hats!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

basement stacks

I'm not a packrat, but there are things worth storing. I stood in the basement and did a quick sketch of the main storage section.

Picnic basket, laundry baskets, cat crates, and under the orange drape, an air conditioner we haven't used in years, given the relatively cool NH summers.

Colors are not accurate! But more fun this way. Why *don't* they make cardboard boxes in blue?

Pencil and w/c in the journal.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

TV sketching

I caught a good long look at a character on TV, then finished drawing a version of him.

Pencil in the Hand Book sketchbook.

Monday, December 07, 2009


With all this face drawing, I'm so aware of noses now!

The ones that have a long slant from tip to top of philtrum, the ones where the tip angles down to the top of the lip, flaring nostrils, flat nostrils.

Noticing adds a whole new dimension to waiting in line or sitting in an audience. I'm studying noses!

Pencil in the Hand Book sketchbook.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

best paint combos

I'm always playing with color combos to see what emerges.

Golden's transparent azo gold, phthalo blue, some glazing medium, rolled on.

I love how the green appears as the colors mix on the brayer. Now, what to put on for a foreground?

Friday, December 04, 2009

drawing before bed

Just to feed my drawing fix, a quick sketch of the bedroom rocker before going to sleep.

Pencil in Cachet sketchbook

Thursday, December 03, 2009

turning his back

The round cat on the square table caught my eye.

Pencil in a Hand Book sketchbook.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

waiting for my soup

There's a local restaurant that has great hot and sour soup (not sour at all, in a good way). The takeout window is in a little alcove, before the door to the table area.

With a bench, perfect for sketching.

In a 4x6 sketchbook, micron pen.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

General woodless pencils

A back view of chair I drawn so many times. Nice to have a different view of it and the inevitable cat.

I like the woodless pencils because I can use the side of the sharpened tip as a flat shader. I got that texture on the back by stroking on a masonite board.

It's not nearly as smooth as it seems.

2B and HB on 50# sketch paper.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

into a blues phase

Not music or mood, but the cool side of the palette.

Pencil sketch of cat, rolling on acrylic layers, then Sharpie poster paint pen to pick out the line. There were several weeks from sketch to further development. I'm liking that method a lot.

In the journal

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Nourish yourself

Happy Thanksgiving! May you have good food along with some creative-art nourishment.

This started with a newspaper image as a base. Over time I added w/c, the Nourish card from a Massachusetts restaurant, acrylic, stamping, charcoal, and a coat of acrylic medium for shine.

The owl calls for wisdom in making nourishing choices. Underneath is a map and a sailing ship for going forward to new adventures.

My art journaling goal is to play until the page stops calling me back.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Conte pastel sticks

I made an acrylic background, then didn't know what to put on it.

I finally came up with a stack of Conte pastel boulders.

In the journal

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the neon edge

This started as just a quick sketch of the cat. But over time I kept adding, just to play with color.

I've reached the "it glows" stage, so I'm done.

Staedtler Nexus pen, w/c, acrylic, in the journal.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

acrylic layering

I made a background with layers and scrapings, then randomly drew the mannikin in.

Just to practice acrylic layers.

Copic marker drawing, in the journal.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

playing with profiles

Imagining how features go together, I branched off into dishfaced and beaky ones. I'm fascinated by how many ways features can go together.

Forehead and chin slope are so significant in adding interest to a character.

Pencil on random paper, then glued it into the journal.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gimp leather

I drew the shoe, then after I painted on the backside of the page, the ripples appeared.

I decided to post the sketch anyway, and tried using a filler background color to reduce the look of the wrinkling. Instead I got a kind of shiny leather effect! Have no clue how, but I like it.

I really need to learn more about Gimp!

Graphite in the journal.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cretacolor chunky charcoal

This is from a set labeled charcoal, but to me they're colored chalks. I like the dull colors, golds, browns, sage greens. Very dusty, but fun to play with.

This is the part that would fit on the scanner, from the 12x18 original.

On sketch paper.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

DVD stop action

I was watching a documentary collection and stopped the action to draw this man. Just to draw.

He was in "The Laughing Club of India." Orange added later, because I'm currently hooked on orange, and it seems like such an Indian-appropriate color.

Pitt brush pen and w/c in the journal.

This is my 1000th post! I wasn't counting, but Blogger was.

Monday, November 16, 2009

faces I have to draw

The eyebrows and cheeks on this man sent me right to the drawing paper. He might not recognize himself, but I enjoyed sculpting his face in two dimensions.

Wolff carbon pencil in the journal, w/c added.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Just looking at this man's neck and back made mine hurt. I'm sure his do.

A reminder to keep taking calcium and doing yoga!

Pen and w/c in the journal.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Notice what you notice

In mindfulness practice, this title phrase means to really focus on what you might have otherwise dismissed. Then you can take action, or realize the significance of the noticed thing (without action needed), or you can integrate the heightened awareness into your broader knowledge.

That was the thinking that arose after I spilled sap green paint on the page.

Then I added with some collage, w/c crayons, Sharpie paint marker, and gel medium. In the journal.

Click image to see the huge view.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wolff carbon pencil

Blacker than graphite, and not shiny, but not as dusty as charcoal. This was a 4B.

They don't come in as many grades as graphite, but not necessary. In the journal.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

long conversation

This woman stood still and chatted so long, I could capture her and put in the shirt colors, too!

Pants painted later :-)

Fountain pen and w/c in the Reflexion sketchbook.

Monday, November 09, 2009

listening to Malcolm Gladwell

I've not posted a left hand for awhile, but I'm still doing them. I do them fast--one like this in about 6 minutes--and they *are* getting better.

My artistic goal is to be able to quickly sketch full scenes with multiple people--to catch a moment in time and have it be recognizable.

I'm about halfway into my 10,000 hours of practice (see Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers ) since I started drawing in 2004. I've learned so much!

The best thing is how much I enjoy drawing every day. Success of a different sort.

4B pencil on Strathmore drawing paper

Sunday, November 08, 2009

doing the side stroke

With a 4B Derwent watersoluble pencil, making marks. It's not quite waxy, not quite like regular graphite. More drag than I usually like.

The feel of the medium's stroke--it's the literal feeling of the drawing, which contributes to satisfaction in the process.

On Strathmore drawing paper.

Friday, November 06, 2009

blue square

Playing with acrylics.

In the previous lined journal.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

eraser carving

I used stamps on this one. A fish one that I carved from an eraser, and a sun face--down in the bottom right.

Layering acrylics and w/c crayons, in the journal.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

pre-painted pages

Roz Stendahl, Minnesota artist, has beautiful sketch journals in which she pre-paints pages throughout a volume. Then when she gets to that page, she has to make it work with the drawing she's doing.

Challenging and fun. I have always pre-painted, but put too much on the page so that it becomes a full painted background.

This time I restrained myself to 3 strokes of orange. Then, yesterday, I happened to be waiting in the car, and drew this tree in the parking lot. Green added later.

Fountain pen with Noodler's ink, in the (new volume, unlined) journal.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

for Halloween leftovers

Daubing and filling pages with color in the previous lined journal. I wasn't going to bother posting it, but then I saw the green face.

Eyes, the long nose, and hints of ears--a freakish foxish animal is emerging. Right out of the pumpkin patch and autumn leaves.

In the previous lined journal.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

just in time for Halloween

I was glad my dentist was running late, so I could draw this unusual scarecrow in his office. It stands about 3 feet tall and reminds me of the birds in the old Heckle and Jeckle cartoons.

With a 9B Cretacolor Monolith pencil in the journal. Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Colorbox Cats Eye stamps

The rest of the alphabet, this time to play with mixing stamp pads, gel medium, and watercolor paint.

The small cats eye stamps that come in a stack (6 colors) are so convenient to daub on paper or . . . even stamps! I stroked gel medium over the dried letters, which lifted some color, but added to the grunge look.

Then a splotch of watercolor paint, which makes interesting patterns over gel medium. It all works for learning how the different media work together.

In the journal.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

stamping letters

I bought some letters for stamping BIG messages.

Stamp pad ink, then acrylics brayered on and monoprinted on (from waxed paper), then a line with a dip pen in india ink: "With 26 letters, you can write everything."

Of course, I only used 13 here. In the journal.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

shells for a sea movie

I was watching The Perfect Storm (George Clooney as the captain of the swordfishing boat) and amid all the crashing waves and boat scenes, I had to pull out some shells to draw.

4B on drawing paper.

Monday, October 26, 2009

green and gold collage

One of the collage techniques I learned online is to use torn strips of masking tape. Great for simple, paintable layering.

The gold strips were from another paper. I'm liking collage without imagery, just for texture.

In the journal, where all the lines are covered up.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

at life drawing class

Artists across the room, waiting for the starting time.

charcoal pencil on newsprint.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

lines and colors

Random acrylic swaths of color, Then roaming doodle lines to make a shape for focus.

I intensified the hues of various areas with added w/c pencil, undampened. I love the glow of this palette.

The journal lines do nothing for this composition . . .

Thursday, October 22, 2009

keep filling a page

I had painted on the opposite page and this one was all besmudged and spattered. So I covered it with graphite cats and filler watercolor.

Looking forward to getting out of the lined journal.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

complex layers

The base of this was an opening seedpod on a dark gray background. I added lots of colors by doing a form of monoprinting--putting paint on waxed paper, then using a brayer to roll the back of the painted paper onto the piece, or vice versa.

Random monoprinting transfers paint in erratic blobs and patterns. Great fun! The unexpected results make every roll an experiment.

Acrylics in the journal.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

graphite painting

Scribbling tonal shapes with a Derwent 8B watersoluble pencil, then it became a landscape when I swished on water and imagination.

In the Reflexion sketchbook.