Friday, September 16, 2016

Write On

Sketchbook page, ink and watercolor with some Inktense.  NFS.

  So if you read yesterday's entry, I went to the Mad Writers' Club at the Mad Raven bookstore yesterday and got inspired to write and make art to go with my writing.  I want to marry the two, maybe illustrate some poems and maybe write a children's book and illustrate it.  

   Our assignment for this week was to write about a color without naming the color (synonyms ok).  On my way home the moon was almost full and everything was shades of... yeah, blue, I'm sure you guessed that.  So yesterday morning I wrote this little piece to evoke the moody blue, and though the events described are fictional, I have certainly felt that way.  I love living in the country where the stars are alive.  Anyway, the whole thing went in my sketchbook today with the paragraph I wrote for the assignment and a wee watercolor painting to illustrate it.  

   Oooh! This is the first time I've broken out my fancy new Copic multiliners (I sprang for the good ones where you can replace the cartridges and the nibs both), although I only used them for writing.  They're mostly just hanging out till Inktober!

   Speaking of my sketchbook, I wrote this reminder to myself in the front of it, because I have decided that it's pretty important to me to master drawing people, my one gigantic weakness in art, and I've already got a hideous drawing in it that I'm not even brave enough to show you right now.  Maybe after I improve I'll share it to show the improvement, ha!  And, I want to do more plein air/urban sketching, which means some hasty doodles that are not going to knock anyone's socks off.  That's all okay, as long as I'm still making art.

    I hope you made something today, and if you love it, wonderful, and if you don't, I hope you make some more art tomorrow.  <3

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Watercolor & Inktense (blocks) on Canson Moulin du Roy 300# Cold Pressed Paper
$30 shipping included CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

My friend Marcy Bell (click on her name to go check out her beautiful jewelry) posted a picture of this gorgeous succulent that was flowering in her garden , and I immediately wanted to paint it.  It was a challenge!  I haven't done anything monochromatic in watercolor.  It makes me want to paint a pure value painting with a glaze over it, the same way I've done in oil, and watercolor would really lend itself to that.  Something to file in the try this in the future file.

This evening I went to the Mad Writers' Club at our local bookstore, The Mad Raven.  Back in the day (high school and shortly after... it was a long time ago) I assumed I'd be a writer.  It was what I did and what I was good at.   If you'd told me I'd be an artist I'd have laughed at you and said I had no talent (pay attention, people who say the same thing, it's not true!!).  

Lately -- for the last six months or so -- I've been thinking about marrying the two somehow.  Maybe illustrate some of my poems, or write a children's book.  It's an intriguing concept.  I was looking for inspiration at the Mad Writers' Club, and I found it.  More to come!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Just Wild

Trillium catesbaei
Mixed media on watercolor postcard
Will be for sale as part of a series

 The weekend looms... I have a craft show this weekend (jewelry and henna), and I'm preparing for the whirlwind of activity.  BUT!  I squeezed in my painting this morning.  Actually I didn't squeeze, it kind of took over the morning.  That's okay, it looks like I'll get my stuff done, barring any glitches.

Trilliums are easily in my top five favorite wildflowers -- some of them smell amazing, and some of them are so lovely and delicate, like this one.  They pop up in the dreary leaf-fall of an early spring forest floor and look so cheerful.  This is one of several southeastern US varieties, Catesby's trillium, which comes in white, pink, and a sort of variegated mix of the two.  

I expect there will be no squeezing in painting tomorrow unless you count henna (should I?  hmmm....), so I'll be playing catch-up next week, three paintings behind, but I should have plenty of time to do it.  

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Love & Wildflowers From Tennessee

Cypripedium acaule
Mixed Media on Strathmore Watercolor Postcard
Will be for sale in a series as originals and prints

Last April, I had the opportunity to participate in Chuck Sutherland's "Epic Photography Weekend" where he invites photographers from near and far to come and be guided to the most amazing places in the Upper Cumberland area of Tennessee to take waterfall, sunset, wildflower and other nature photographs.  They are hard core and on day one I slogged a mile up a creek with them, climbed a waterfall, and got some very nice photos.  It was a fantastic experience to meet with other photographers and share ideas and experiences, and make a few new ones.  Here's one of my photos from the weekend.

Mertensia virginica
Eastern Bluebell
You can see more of my photography at Great & Small Photography on Facebook

One of the highlights of EPW was spending an afternoon with Don Hunter, a naturalist and photographer from Georgia.  We meandered along a back road in caravan along a place Chuck knew in Jackson County, TN, where there were wildflowers in abundance (in April).  I learned a lot about flowers, and also about photographing them.

When I decided to do friends' Facebook photos for 30 Paintings in 30 Days, Don was the second person (after Chuck) that I thought of.  So I'm excited to finally paint one of his wildflower photos.  The hardest part was choosing one to paint, so I thought I'd do an entire series of Southeastern US Wildflower Postcards painted from his photos, a few of my own, and maybe (hopefully, since I want to do more of this) from life.  

I'm beginning to get a rhythm in the various media I'm using... watercolor for the background, Inktense pencils for any texture in the foreground, Inktense blocks for smooth foreground areas, and highlights in  white Sakura Gelly Roll pen.  Throw in some pen and ink first if that's the style I'm using, and I expect to be using it more since I want to do Inktober in October and I just bought a fancy series of Copic technical multiliner pens for the purpose.  

This is painting #6/30.  I'll be playing catch-up next week, since this weekend will be a little nutty.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


What's New Pussycat
Mixed Media on 300 lb. heavy cold pressed paper
$25 with free shipping

   I painted a 6x6 yesterday with no end of frustration when, once again, my paper tore where I was using the masking fluid.  The paper went straight to the trash and I headed to Hobby Lobby to buy the most expensive single piece of paper I've ever bought... a full sheet of 300 lb. Canson Moulin du Roy.  My plan is to buy Cheap Joe's sampler packs and find THE BRAND (and weight) that I love. I do love using paper that is heavy enough that I don't have to stretch it, so that's a factor.  Plus even when I cut it (with a probably fairly dull letter cutter) it gets those lovely torn-looking edges that I love on watercolor.

   But, not bad on this one.  The frisket (I am using Daniel Smith's masking fluid) pulled up the paper on a tiny spot.  I think maybe I'm getting too anxious to pull it up and doing it prematurely while there's still wet on the paper?  Anyway, this kitty's reference came from Wet Canvas and he turned out a bit orange but I still like him.  I did the base colors in Winsor Newton watercolor with inktense pencil layered over that, and then Sakura Gellyroll pen for all the white fur texture over that (which shows up better in person than it does in a photo).  Oh, and the whisker shadows are Copic fine liners.  I need more Copic fine liners in my life, my sepia set is awesome but I want black.

   I think I might be back on track, but still 2 paintings behind.  This weekend is going to be super busy -- I will be at Fall Fun Fest craft show in Cookeville TN selling jewelry and doing henna.  I'll share a couple of those with you then (does that count as a painting? .... hmmmmm).

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Paper Woes Continue

Cactus Flower, NFS

   Paper woes continue.  I had a photo I REALLY wanted to be square so I picked up that Master's Touch 140 lb. 6x6 paper that tore before.  Maybe it's my masking fluid, I thought.  NEWP . Stupid stuff tore again and MAN is that frustrating when you're an hour into a painting.  Never again.  I'm going to buy some good paper today and I'm never going back.  Blah.  I'd have worked this a lot more than I did but tearing up the needles quashed that effort.

   This is one from one of my friends' photos so I may give it another go, maybe try it on hard panel painted with Daniel Smith's watercolor ground, since I want to give that a try.  The quest continues!

Friday, September 2, 2016

I Gotta I Don't Wanna

Calm Evening
Original Inktense & Micron Postcard, $10

The muse is a flighty creature.  Yesterday I was utterly obsessed with painting, today there was this strange resistance.  I think it was because I was pressuring myself to paint things from my friends' photos rather than just whatever.  This same thing happened when I had commissions a couple of years ago (it didn't help that they were not paid commissions).  I don't know, some days it comes easy and some days it doesn't.

I'm still obsessed, but I thought I'd take it "easy" today and paint a simple silhouette scene.  I bought these nifty postcards at Jerry's Art-A-Rama.  They are Strathmore watercolor paper with the postcard stuff printed on the back so you can actually send them, and then your recipient can frame them, if they want.  I think I might like to do some original greeting cards, as well.  This particular scene was done in Inktense blocks & pencils, with the heron and grasses done in Sakura micron pens.  It's standard postcard size.

It doesn't help that I have a bad headache today, so maybe tomorrow I'll be raring to go again.  The important thing is, I showed up at the studio and I did my thing.

Hope your day is going easier.