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. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

"Stretching" Week 3

Last week our assignment for Sketchbook Skool was to draw something with wheels - right up my alley.  Earlier in the summer I had taken a photo of this chunky green dump truck just before I went on vacation.  He had been parked in a field right at the end of our neighborhood with a "For Sale" sign in the window.  I wish I had a reason to buy him.  I wanted to go sit in the field and draw him, but it was scorching hot outside, and I am a wimp.  So I took pictures before we went out of town.  I am so glad I did because he was gone when we got back.
The assignment was to draw with an ink pen, using hatching for shading, and adding some color.  I loved doing this one. The second part of the lesson was to draw the same vehicle from a different angle with a different medium and to draw it fast and loose.  I tried to do a digital drawing over and over.  I have done digital work before, but I failed to do anything presentable. So at the last minute I grabbed a brush pen and drew it quickly on the paper. After all my failed attempts on the computer and the iPad I really really understood this truck.  I was able to knock this one out much faster than I expected.  And I actually fell in love with the brush pen.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Big Head People

Last week's assignment for Sketchbook Skool was from Lapin, a French Urban Sketcher who is living in Barcelona.  He taught us to draw big headed people with small bodies.  This was a fun lesson.  We were to draw from a live model.  My husband was my first model.  The results are very funny, but I didn't get his body small enough. For my second attempt I sat in front of a full length mirror and drew myself.  In this drawing I look sort of like Paula Deen .  I wish I were holding a pie or a piece of fried chicken.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sketchbook Skool Part 2

I started another course at 2 weeks ago.  This one is called Stretching and the name describes it perfectly.  We are taking what we know and applying it to new techniques and new ways of thinking and doing.  The first week was with Jonathan Twingely.  Our homework assignment was to draw as much every day as we could - from our imagination, from our dreams, from our life.  THEN we had to cut all the pieces/objects out and glued them onto a piece of paper or to our sketchbook and make something new.  This was so so difficult for me.  Here is a photo of most of the pieces I drew.

I drew my dreams - an old bus, people getting on a bus, chairs, a Vespa, my parents when they were young.  I kept watching the instructional videos and drew the instructor many times because his face was so expressive, and he was so likable.   One day I was uninspired and drew the scissors sitting on my art table.  Then I cut them all out and looked at them for hours and days.  I was uninspired.  I arranged and rearranged and worried and got angry and fretted.  Little by little an idea grew.  I loved the face of the instructor and wanted to tell a story.  This is what I ended up with.

After gluing on the three faces of Jonathan I added a hand to the scissors and attached that then drew the arm, the background blinds and the light.  Then I looked back at my cutout pieces and played around with the words I had also drawn for the assignment and added "mistakes."  

But that is not the whole story, or even the correct story.  I did a larger collage first, hated it, felt it was too much, too busy, and trimmed off some parts of it.  Here was the original:

This lesson was a killer for me.  I don't even know how many hours I spent trying to come up with this arrangement, idea, story.  I worried over it so long that I don't even know how I feel about the final product. But even for the difficulties and the struggles, it was a huge learning process and makes me appreciate what my students go through when I give them an assignment that is difficult for them.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Last Piece for My Class

This is the last week for my "Beginnings" class at This piece is another one done in the Tommy Kane "slo mo" method which I love - lots of detail, lots of layering, pen, watercolor, and colored pencil - media that I love! (Or is it mediums.  I think it's either and I like mediums better.  Media means TV news.)

 After I finished my kitchen drawingI knew I wanted to do the “Tommy Lesson” in my garden.  This has taken all week because I could only handle the heat for short periods of time. (Near 100º every day.)  I worked early mornings and late evenings originally but wanted better light for color and shading.  The sounds and smells were wonderful – bees, butterflies, lots of hummingbirds, nearby petunias and herb garden, sweat dripping off my face.  One hummingbird kept zooming around checking me out and then sat on a tomato cage and watched me draw. I hate the heat of summer in the south, but love having the flowers, the colors, and the smells.

Watercolor, ink, and colored pencil
5" x 7"

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Slo Mo Drawing

This week's lesson at is to draw our kitchen with all the detail.  Tommy Kane is the teacher and suggested we spend 3-4 hours on this piece.  So I followed his instructions and spent 5-6 hours on this drawing/painting.  I had to "mess up" the kitchen to make it interesting.  My kitchen is pretty tidy and free of clutter and was uninteresting.  (There is clutter elsewhere in the house but not in the kitchen.)  This was drawn in ink, painted with watercolor, and enhanced with Prismacolor pencils.  I also added a few spots of white paint. I wish that I had used a finer point pen and different paper. The paper was not friendly to the colored pencil.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is my favorite college for the study of the visual arts.  I encourage all of my students to consider this outstanding institution when visiting colleges with their families.  I have just spent 6 days at SCAD participating in their Educators' Forum, a workshop for educators of any discipline, but expecially for art teachers. Participants choose 2 classes out of the dozens that are offered and attend each class for 8 hours over 4 days.  I took travel sketching and exploring temperature in portraiture.  Both were outstanding.

The sketching class spent two days at Forsythe Part, Savannah's most beautiful park.  We were given water soluble pencils, pens, and sketchbooks.  Here are a few of my sketches:


And a sketch of the apartment:

The portrait class was stretch for me.  We used pan pastels, which I have never used, as well as pastel pencils. We were only given a few warm and cool colors.  Also I do not consider myself a portrait artist.  We drew from a live model.  Here is my finished portrait:

Savannah is probably one of the most beautiful cities in America and has houses and corners and parks and porches and boulevards and alleys begging to be recorded in a sketchbook or on a canvas.  It is the epitome of "Old South" in style and in vibe.  But, surprisingly, it has a funky feeling as well.  I think the college has a lot to do with that.  SCAD buildings, both classrooms and offices, are spread all over the historic area.  They do not build new buildings.  They repurpose old buildings and do it very well. Many of their dorms are old hotels and motels.  I attended classes in two beautiful buildings, former elementary schools built in the early part of the last century. Both Savannah and SCAD are a great place to visit.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

More Sketching

I can't stop!   Here are the ones I have done the last few days.
Giant Rudbeckia hirte

Preparing my paint pans for a class in Savannah, Georgia.

I bought a large mushroom?

More from Florida

I also did a companion page in the sketchbook from our trip to Florida.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

My Drawing Pens

I have a lot of drawing pens, some I use, most I do not. So I needed to be familiar with the differences,  and I needed to know how they react to water.  Sometimes I want it to bleed and other times I do not.  So I spent most of the day working on this.  ( I saw something similar on line and thought it was a good idea.)  I might make a poster out of this to use in my high school art classes.  Many of my students love to draw in ink.
Pens and Inks and Watercolor and one Sketch and Wash Pencil

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Lesson 4 in Sketchbook Skool with Jane LaFazio

This one was a little outside my comfort zone but I just went with it as quickly as I could.  Jane said not to overthink it, so I had no plan. We were to create a 9 square grid and add some veggies or natural objects in the grid without making it just 9 squares of "stuff."  We could overlap squares etc.  I went to the market and bought some random veggies with no plan in mind, just wanting interesting contours and colors. I took photos of the veggies in front of the window and noticed there was some blue reflection from the sky outside.  I wanted a background of some sort so I used a blue wash with acrylic paint before I started the grid.  I kept saying in my head, "Don't overthink this!"  So I tried to be random.  After I completed the 2 peppers and the onions, I was sort of stuck.  I needed some other pieces of something, but I really didn't want to introduce another veggie, so I cut up the pepper. (Side note:  I did not know it was a habenaro!!!  Got in on my hands, rubbed my lips and must have touched my nose.  Yikes!!  I suffered for a while.)  So the whole thing evolved into something HOT and became hot like the 4th of July. I wanted some confetti or something Salsa-like and thought about splattering, but decided to repeat the seed shapes and added pieces of green onions.  Some to fhb squirrely lines were done to cover up some background stuff I didn't like.  I am pleased with the way it happened - without a plan in the beginning.  That is so hard for me. And it was fun.  I will do another one.
Watercolor, Acrylic, and Micron pen

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Today's Sketch

My grandchildren loved fishing off the pier every evening in Florida.  They all headed for the pier just before dark and loved reeling in whatever they could get to take their bait.  And there were some ugly fish pulled out of "Long River" which was the back side of Perdido Key, Florida.  I did these sketches from some of our photos.

Watercolor and Micron Pen on a Cachet Dahler Rowney sketchpad.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Another sketch

The second week of my online sketching class had an assignment to go out in public and draw.  That day I was traveling by car to Florida.  We had planned to stop somewhere along the way so I could sketch.  However, it poured rain all day.  We spent the night in Meridian, MS.  After supper my sweet hubby took me to the mall so I could draw in public.  This is what I drew with a Micron pen. It was the window display of the Buckles store. It was a really cool display with great draping and shapes.  And the shoes were all strappy and chunky.   And to make it even better, the mannikins were on a palette.

So after I got back from vacation I decided to add color from the photos I took.  Here is the result.

 I love pure contour lines and was hesitant to add the watercolor, but I do like it so much better with he color.  Now I have to decide if I should add some text.  It is very empty at the top of the page.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

More Sketches

I spent some time sketching before during and after our vacation in Perdido Key, Florida.  I am sketching with an 01 or 02 Micron pen and adding color with watercolor.  For the first time I really made a commitment to sketch on vacation without being distracted by activities and loved ones.  Here are a few.  I'll add more later.
Packing for the trip

At the Pier
Palm tree in colored pencil

Thursday, June 16, 2016

I've Been Gone

I haven't posted in 10 months on this blog.  But that doesn't mean I have not been making art.  Over a year ago I started on a new art adventure and you can see that at  But now that summer is here and I have a few months off I am heading back to the easel.  To kickstart my painting time I have enrolled in a class at Sketchbook Skool (  I am doing a lot of sketching.  Here is what I am working on now - documenting my week and journaling about it.  I'm leaving for the beach tomorrow and hope to do lots of sketching there.  I also bought sketchbooks for the grandkids so they can sketch with me.  When I get back I'm going to spend the rest of the summer in front of the easel.