Saturday, December 31, 2005

Disappointing Brushes

With getting ready to move house, I haven't done much sketching. Any free time I have in my art room, I spend on these color mixing charts with my new paints. I'm getting very frustrated, though, with my sable brushes. These things weren't cheap, but they won't keep their shape. It doesn't seem to matter how often I clean them. Should a good sable brush do this?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Color Mixing

I bought myself a gift this Christmas of new paints from Daniel Smith. I am excited about the new colors and learning about how these paints compare to my Winsor & Newtons. Last night I started some color mixing reference sheets. It might look boring, but I found it very relaxing to play with the paints and see which combinations I like best. And now I'll have these sheets to refer to whenever I'm doing a painting. Also, this time of year, when everything is so brown and blah, focusing on these colors is rejuvenating.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Experiment - Day 5

Well, this one is slightly different - Cooper instead of Osiris. Cooper, the skinnier cat, chooses to sleep in the much larger box, as you can see. However, most of the time, even with all that space, he sleeps with his face pressed into the side or corner of the box. I'm happy with these sketches. I think I captured how funny he looks with his face stuck in the corner. Are all cats this silly?

Experiment - Day 4

Tired of seeing Osiris in his shoebox? I can't help but draw him. His positions are so intriguing and comical. They also pose a challenge for me - how to show him all curled up when so much of him is black.

The background here is me playing with watered down acrylics. The only acrylic inks I was able to buy were Pearlescent, so if I don't want sparkles, I'm stuck with acrylic paint.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Moi Pots

Our friend Moi Dugan is a wonderful potter and she made me these awesome bowls. I struggled with the best way to show her fun designs, so I photographed them upside down (right). I am so excited about these bowls! Please check out her website: Not only is she a terrific artist, but she's a great person too!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Experiment - Day 3

This is watered down acrylics as a background again with a .005 brown micron pen. I did pick up the black pen again, but decided to put it down. I'm glad I did.

You probably can't read the writing on this sketch. It says that there are two boxes for the cats in my art room - a good sized shipping box and a shoebox. For reasons unknown, Osiris always chooses to sleep in the much-too-small shoebox. It doesn't look terribly comfortable and yet he looks so happy to be in it.

Immediately after finishing the drawing in the center (thank you Osiris, for holding the pose), he curled himself up inside the box, burying his head in its corner. His head looked completely flattened. I hope I conveyed that well enough in the bottom right sketch. He looked so funny.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Experiment - Day 2

Here's my second day of experimenting with Roz's technique on a loose sheet of watercolor paper. I actually had to do this over two days due to running out of time Sunday night and not being home last night.

No, this is not a fish I actually saw. It's from a reference book. Of course, there's nothing like drawing from life, but I do love this book of strange and sometimes extinct animals.

I spattered watered down acrylics onto the paper and then drew with a .005 blue micron pen. I had meant to use black, but ultimately kind of like the blue, though I don't think it shows up in the scan as well as it does in real life. I should use colored pens more often and break away from just the black all the time.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Experiment - Day 1

One of the things that Roz Stendahl does is cut pieces of watercolor paper to a manageable size and then keep them loose, rather than binding them into a sketchbook/journal. She then keeps them together in a box or pastes them into a sketchbook later. She often pre-paints many of those pieces of paper. I was really intrigued by this idea, as I tend to only use my watercolor paper for serious work, never for sketching/practice.

I decided to use some paper my grandfather gave me. I don't know what brand it is, but it's a nice cold press, very smooth watercolor paper. I pre-painted it with watered-down acrylics last night and today tried it out.

I found using just the loose paper rather than a sketchbook kind of nice, particularly when drawing my cat, who would not stop moving around. It made it easier for me to keep trying different angles. And I really like how the background makes the page more interesting.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Sketching again!

It is wonderful to be back to art after a forced hiatus due to terrible morning (noon & night) sickness. I'm beginning to feel a little better and coincidentally found a terrific website by artist Roslyn Stendahl (Roz). Her sketchbooks are so inspiring, they made me realize how much I've missed my daily sketches.

Not only does Roz make her own sketchbooks (inspiring me to buy "Bookbinding for Artists" by Keith Smith, but she pre-paints many of her pages so that she's not always staring at that blank white page. So, I purchased some acrylic inks and gouache paints yesterday and attempted my first Roz-inspired sketchbook page. Clearly, I need some practice with gouache, but that's what my sketchbook is for. (The green swirl is the acrylic ink.)

This page, as you can probably read, is measurements for the shelf my friend Ken is helping me build for my new art room when we move next month. Teesha Moore used to have a photo of one in her amazing studio (she has since replaced it with other photos). I'm stealing her idea for a shelf that will perfectly hold all the smaller supplies I use, like ink bottles, rubber stamps (that's what the leaf is supposed to be), etc.