Saturday, April 1, 2017

Watercolor Sketching

I ventured out with the Memphis Urban Sketchers today.  The weather was glorious, one of those perfect days you dream about in the middle of winter - not hot, not cold, flowers bursting with color, clear blue sky.  It was good sketching weather in Elmwood Cemetery, the oldest active cemetery in Memphis.  It was originally built before the Civil War with the intentions of being a park, a garden, a gathering place for social events, and a cemetery. We don't think of cemeteries in those terms anymore, but the original plan has turned this landscape into one of the loveliest spots in Memphis.

Sunday, February 12, 2017


I love scratchboard.  It is a wonderful surface for those of us who like to draw. It forces me to study my subject and creates beautiful contrasts.  This is a piece I created for my son and his family of their much loved pet and hunting dog that passed away recently.  As I was scratching and creating the different kinds of fur around Tex's face, in my mind I could actually feel him. The fur on his neck was wavy and soft.  His muzzle was bristly and his ears were like velvet.  I loved this dog too. He was a sweet and gentle soul who loved his family and had a passion for hunting and running through fields.  My son took Tex out one last time a week before he died.  Tex was so excited  to be out in the fields and tried so hard to run and do what hunting dogs do, but his old tired body just would't cooperate.   There was a lot of love between my boy and his dog.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Draw It Like It's Hot

I started a new class in Sketchbook Skool before Christmas.  That was probably not a great decision because I am really behind.  The class is about illustrating food with creative lettering, directing us to create hand drawn recipes.  Here are some pieces that I have already done. 

We had to draw objects from our kitchen to fill the page. The were doodles of food related objects called Foodles.

Next we had to draw a meal we ate that day:

Then we had to play with lettering:

My Granddaughter gave me this prompt for one of my lettering practices.  She has become a master  at lettering at age 14.
Then we finally got to a recipe illustration. This is just a warm up for the grand finale recipe illustration, I think.

More recipes to come.

Monday, October 17, 2016

More Drawings for Sketchbook Skool

Last week's assignment for Sketchbook Skool was from a wonderful book illustrator  Jill Weber. She taught us how to make a little accordion fold book that was so very cute.  I was in San Antonio visiting the grandkids when I was given this assignment, and I was so inspired by their funny little dogs, Mac and Charlie, that I just knew I wanted to make the book about them to give to my granddaughters.  We were really supposed to make it about ourselves (which I hope to do in the future.)  I would like to make another little book about my sweet marriage of 48 years.

For this project I used some nice heavy drawing paper by Strathmore which I cut 3" x 17." Instead of cutting it with scissors I scored the paper and tore it so the edges would be a little deckled.  Then I folded the long sheet in to 8 sections by folding it in half and half again and half again. I took lots of pictures of both dogs, attempting to capture their personalities.  Mac is a little lazy and loves to sleep on the top of the pillows on the couch. His fur is a very white and is very soft.  Charlie seems to be a little worried all the time.  He likes to stay very close to your legs for protection.  Carlie's is not as white, has some buff colored and is a little more wiry.

I did the drawings in ink and then added watercolor.  I labeled each page with a torn piece of brown paper.  I painted a very rough design of polka dots on the back of the paper to repeat the dots in the drawings.  I used a limited color scheme to keep the unfolded book from being too busy.

I cut pieces from an old reference book to use as the covers. I liked the color and the texture of the old cover.   I painted on the front and back cover pieces with acrylic and added words and details with a white gel pen.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Practicing Some Lettering

I started a new session of Sketchbook Skool called "Expressing."  The first lesson is on adding text to your sketches to tell a story, to date, to title, to enhance, to journal.  I love to fool around with lettering.  I would love to have the time to perfect my skills.  First homework assignment said to find 2 fonts and play, so that is what I did late yesterday after a very tiring (but very good) week at work.  Lettering is so fun and takes me to another place in my brain (along with a glass of wine).So I ended the evening relaxed and happy.  Here is my first homework assignment.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Spiral Drawing

Miguel Herranz demonstrated "spiral drawing" in week 5 of "Stretching" in Sketchbook Skool.  He instructed us to find a scene and focus on one thing we found interesting and draw it near the center of the page.  Then instead of working out the entire composition we were to draw in a spiral or circle out from the center to the edges.  I think I must draw complicated scenes like this because this didn't seem strange or different.  I started with the "one way" sign and worked out from there.  This is really not the scene I wanted to draw but was the only thing I could find from a shady spot in the old Cordova neighborhood near my house.  I want to draw some of the older more interesting buildings from the early part to the last century.  But there were so many cars parked everywhere that I couldn't find a place to park myself without sitting in the very hot sun.  The vantage point that I chose was the back of a restaurant (now out of business) that had an interesting pattern of railings, walkways, and great shadows.  I didn't finish the entire scene.  I was satisfied with the incompleteness of the drawing.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Sketchbook Skool Week 5

This week's lesson was fun "child's play" presented by Fabio Consoli from Sicily.

The theme this week was to free yourself to be childlike in your approach to drawing. Children love to draw what is in their head and don't get hung up on whether their work is accurate or composed properly.  They just enjoy the process of making art and love the finished product.  They don't consider anything they put on the paper a mistake.

Our first homework was to allow a small child to draw something in our sketchbook.  I found a 6 year old girl in the after school care at my school and asked her to draw a forest in my sketchbook.  Keeping the childlike tone I had to draw on top of her drawing to make it my own.  The little girl drew trees that seemed to be floating between the ground and the sky.  She had added herself in the middle in a rainbow dress, of course.  I turned the trees into rockets and put a parachute on the little girl.

The next part of the assignment was to draw an object or scene from life in detail.  I drew my grandson's toys. 

Then we had to close the sketchbook and were instructed not to refer to our drawing for the second part of the assignment. From memory we were to incorporate those drawings into another  drawing from our imagination, approaching it as though we were a child, no worrying, not acknowledging mistakes.  We also had to use our non-dominant hand for part of it and paint with something that wasn't paint.  

My inner child wanted to use that road construction equipment to scoop ice cream.  I painted the chocolate ice-cream with coffee and wrote the words with my left hand.  I rarely draw from my imagination, but it was so much fun that I can't wait to do some more of this type of work.    I may go back and work on the background some more.  My inner child said I was finished, but my adult self wants some more refinement.