Monday, February 18, 2008


I just learned that I've been tagged by Fannie who has 2 exciting blogs. Her information about Caran D'Ache Neocolor II pastels inspired me to use mine for the underpainting of my work I posted for Illustration Friday - Theory.

Here are the rules for the tagged:
1. When tagged place the name of the person and URL on your blog
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write 7 things about yourself
4. Name 7 of your favorite weblogs
5. Send an email letting those bloggers know they have been tagged!

Seven things about me that I don't normally write about here:
1. I designed and self-published 2 quilt patterns.
2. I was so moved by seeing the Impressionists' paintings the first time my husband took me to the Chicago Art Institute that I cried.
3. I LOVE to sing and am blessed to sing alto in my church praise band.
4. I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Home Economics Adult Education.
5. Favorite trips with husband of 26 years -Germany & Netherlands, Estes Park-Royal Gorge-Mesa Verde-Grand Canyon-Petrified Forest(long trip), Black Hills, Central Coast California.
6. I love my garden & flower beds, but my activity there is limited due to back issues.
7. I love to Sudoku before I go to sleep.

Seven weblogs -
1. Brandie - LIttle Pieces of Art - Inspired me to start blogging. Thank You!
2. Tera - Beady Girl Beads - makes AWESOME lampwork art beads & jewelry ~ groovy ~
3. Kimberly - Natural Dye Journal - you should see her naturally dyed fibers
3. Joan - Shades of Joan - beautiful, strong woman
4. Tanya - Tanya Maguire - more beautiful lampwork glass art
5. Chris - Crafts by Chris - wonderful polymer clay beads
6. Leah - Creative Every Day - the name says it all - VERY encouraging
7. Misty - Misty Mawn - art & photography that inspire & touch me

OK - NO OBLIGATIONS if you've been tagged, but it would be fun to see your responses.
Blessings to you.

Illustration Friday - Theory

Another week, another challenging topic for Illustration Friday. Theory. First thing that came to mind was a line from the song "Speed of Light" by Bruce Carroll that goes:
"When I add up Mr. Einstein's calculation, The theory of relativity say E=MC squared..."

I know next to nothing about physics. Scientific theories that I've heard of didn't inspire me. So I stuck with with a topic that interests me very much. Color theory.

If you google that term, you'll get plenty of hits and find lots of info.

The relationship of complementary colors interests me, so I came up with a project where I would layer complements in a way they could not blend.

After reading some blogs last week where artists were using Caran D'Ache Neocolor II watersoluble pastels for underpaintings for colored pencil work, I came up with an idea for adding texture to the paper so I could build up plenty of color.

Neocolor II pastels were used on Crescent Illustration Board for the underpainting. I started with a loose sketch of an imaginary sunflower that I colored in with scarlet red on the flower and vermillion orange for the background. Just a touch of olive green was used on areas of the center of the flower. I used a wet fan brush to blend the pastel.

To add texture and seal the underpainting, I applied Liquitex clear gesso using the fan brush and horizontal strokes. Clear gesso is very gritty compared to regular gesso. It reminds me of a cat's tongue. Once dry, I was ready to apply colored pencil.

The background was filled in with Prismacolor Ultramarine Blue. You can see the underpainting coming through because of the textured gesso. The complementary colors (blue & orange) play off each other and make the background exciting compared to a monochrome or analagous color scheme. I love Van Gogh and this reminds me of effects seen in his paintings.
The petals were worked in shades of yellow and red with white accent. The center was done in olive, red, yellow & white.
One undesirable outcome of this method is color smudging. I tried working the color in with a stencil brush and rubbing some excess off with a tissue. Due to the nasty cold weather, I didn't take this piece outside to apply workable fixative. I want to explore this technique more and will try the fixative in the future.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Earrings Listings on Etsy

I added 2 pair of earrrings to my Etsy store tonight. Not that I've been making jewelry... I found out yesterday that the pain I'm having in my hands and arms is from tendonitis. I hope to be back at my jewelry table soon. I started physical therapy & have a brace for my right wrist.

I've marked more photos to prepare so I can add more Etsy listings. I hope you'll come back to see what I list.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Coneflowers - Colored Pencil on Black Paper

Yesterday I started this drawing of coneflowers on black paper that I based on a photograph from my garden. I began the under drawing using a white Col-erase pencil. Once established, I added more white with the Prismacolor pencil which is a brighter white and covers the textured paper better. Next I added color with Prismacolor pencils, building layers of color. About this photo - the actual work is not as bright as it shows up on the computer.

I'm still not feeling my best, so colored pencil is a good medium to work in. I can sit on the couch, and it doesn't take a lot of energy like painting does. Sometimes when I paint, I get so caught up in it that I almost get breathless!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Illustration Friday - Choose

"Choose" - what a challenging theme for IF this week. My first thought was that I wouldn't be posting for this topic, but it wouldn't leave me alone. I kept thinking of all the choices we make every day. As artists, we make millions of choices with the accumulation of the marks we make. What subject? What medium? What support? What color? etc. etc. etc.

As a jewelry designer, it gets even harder to choose. If you don't believe me, just attend a bead show sometime where there are thousands of items to choose.

It occurred to me to take a more literal interpretation of the concept "choose" for an artist. Maybe paint/draw a palette of paint, a box of pastels... Another thought was more abstract - a door, a place you choose to go through or not.

But I decided to use one of my favorite subjects, the bird of paradise. I chose to work with Col-erase pencils, a fairly new choice for me (I got a set for a bargain $1.39 because the packaging was ruined!). Inspired by an artist I found last week, I chose to work on black paper. That was a new experience for me, too. While working on my sketch, I remembered another time I chose to paint a bird of paradise. It was a couple weeks after Dad died and I was feeling so very sad. In a moment of inspiration, I chose to paint instead of sink into that sadness. I wasn't sure what I would do as I headed for my art area, but it just came together for me. I painted that one in bright colors. In fact, the painting isn't done, or maybe it is. Maybe it's as far as it was meant to go. I don't know. But somehow it makes me remember Dad's sense of humor. He was known for his goofy puns. I don't have a photograph now, but I am posting a digitally altered photo that inspired that painting.

So as much as possible, I try to remember to choose to do something uplifting.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Illustration Friday - Blanket

I didn't think I'd get an entry done for this week's IF topic, blanket. But I've spent plenty of time wrapped up in one this week. I'm not feeling well & it settled in my throat, so I can barely talk and can't go to work.

So.... I was thinking that I haven't drawn or painted any flowers recently & they are one of my fav subjects. It occurred to me there is a beautiful flower whose common name is "Blanketflower." Gaillardia aristata is the Latin name.

I used the "Artist's Photo Reference Flowers" by Gary Greene since I didn't have any Blanketflower photos in my collection.
The flowers were drawn with Col Erase pencils. The background is mostly Derwent watercolor pencils that I blended with a water brush. The postcard sized piece was done on 90# cold pressed watercolor paper.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Watercolor Workshop Recap

I really enjoyed the women who participated in the workshop I led on Saturday at Swinging Bridge Studio. They were good sports about all the information I shared and I kept them busy all afternoon. Dear Hubby came to help me set up and stayed all afternoon - which I had not expected. He was an excellent assistant and he took the workshop pictures I'm posting today.

I still need to finish typing my workshop info sheets to get to the studio. Yesterday was a wash for me, because I picked up some bug that left me without energy, a sore throat & no voice. I'm feeling a little better today, but the voice is still mostly gone.