Tuesday, April 15, 2014


'coral' ~ watercolors, gouache, graphite, gesso, and oil pastel on book page - approx. 5" x 7"

i'm still painting with watercolors more or less effortlessly...   sometimes adding oil pastel and gouache - or watercolors right out of the tube, which is what all the green is around coral. 

after matisse ~ watercolors, gouache and charcoal pencil - 31/2" x 8"

the long paintings in this post are in this book, which is my new watercolor book.  i really like the size - and the paper.

pencil and watercolors in pocket 'handbook' 

i abandoned the moleskine daily planner and started a new 'daily book' in one of these...   it was too frustrating not to be able to use watercolors in the planner.  i'll rip out the pages i drew on (in the planner) when i'm done with this book, and stick them together.

watercolors and gouache - 3 1/2" x 5"

effortless girls...  although the one on the right looks more like an indignant mother!

pencil, colored pencil, & watercolors in pocket 'handbook'

after van gogh ~ watercolors, gouache, matte gel medim, & oil pastels on book page- approx. 5" x 7"

inspired by Lisa DiNunzio's van gogh paintings...  and of course looking really *nothing* like vincent's, but so much fun to try.

after balthus ~ watercolors and gouche - 3 1/2" x 8"

pencil and soft pastels in pocket 'handbook'

'sally and her husband watch the rapture in their back yard' ~ watercolors, ink, and gouache - 3 1/2" x 8"

watercolors, watersoluble graphite, matte gel medium, and oil pastels on book page - approx. 5" x 7"

this is a painting that i just started, and i've put it here to show how easy it is to start a face with a few simple ingredients...


a water soluble graphite pencil,  a cream caran d'ache oil pastel, and three colors of watercolor paint: raw sienna, paynes grey, and vermillion.   i did the same thing that i do in my 'how i paint faces' tutorial in the sidebar.  once you draw the face with the watersoluble pencil, smear it around for instant shading, and go from there.    it's been a while since i started a face like this, and it blows me away how easy it is.   it took me two or three minutes to do this, and it gives me a good start...


on a completely different subject, did you see the lunar eclipse last night?  whoa!   i'm still under the spell of the starry sky and deep orange moon!   i'm thinking about how i want to have a tripod ready for the next one in october.

i think i've posted the following quote before, but it's a good one, and perfect for where i am now...

* * *

"To keep your process flowing, to feel the enjoyment of creation, you first need to go where it is easy.  Easy means ripe.  Go where you are attracted, whether it be toward a detail or a large shape.  While you work on the part that is easy, other parts will mature in you, and they will be ready and waiting.  You move step by step, from the easiest to the easiest.  It is never tedious or tiring because there is no need to force anything.  Depth resides more in surrendering to spontaneity that in hardworking struggle.

~ 'Life, Paint and Passion', Michele Cassou and Stewart Cubley

Thursday, March 27, 2014


'lavinia' ~ acrylic paint on hardboard, 5" x 7"

underneath lavinia lies almost all of the painting that i did for two weeks.  beneath her are two others that i spent hours - *days* on!   i have *glared* at this piece of hardboard, ha!  

watercolors and liquitex varnish in zecchi journal

i don't remember exactly, but i think lavinia was finished for a few days before i had any interest in painting again.  then one night i woke up and decided to paint in a little watercolor book that had a few blank pages left in it.  i looked at some of henry miller's paintings before i started, and then i painted what came to me.

watercolors and liquitex varnish in zecchi journal

i had so much fun!  effortless!   

watercolors and liquitex varnish in zecchi journal

houses, plants, and more houses...    

i've (carefully) covered these with liquitex satin varnish.  i like the way that it makes them look, and, no amount of water will make them run now.  i ordered kamar spray varnish to use in the future (after much going back and forth - to use toxic spray varnish or not).


i'm quite thoroughly under the spell of watercolors at this moment, and i think one reason is the isabey 3/0 squirrel mop brush that i got a couple of weeks ago.  it's a *joy* to paint with!


the small watercolor journal that is now finished.  i started it in 2010...


it was beautiful every day last week so i was out walking.  at this time of year i'm mostly looking for wet weather streams;  they're one of my absolute favorite things.  i like to walk beside them, knowing that in a few weeks they'll be gone.


 i was happy to see the first wildflowers!


 and tiny bones excavated from an owl pellet...


i think of last summer as the 'rust summer' because i found so many rusty cans for drawing on, but this spring/summer is off to a good start!

ruth

last fall i resolved to buy a good daypack - one with a hip belt and one that did *not* make my back sweaty!   i was determined to save up for one, no matter what, but i didn't have to because my sister gave me the pack that i wanted.  it's a mira 26, by osprey, and i've named her ruth.  she makes walking even better...


before i go, a couple of artists that have inspired me lately...   takatoshi sano and pablo auladell.

* * *

"Just as there are days when I can't talk or write French, so there are days when I can't draw at all, even a rectangle.  Itching to paint, nevertheless, I concentrate on color.  If I can achieve the color combinations I am after, to hell with the drawing (I can always go 'abstract' or 'non-quasi-modicus.')  So I begin mixing colors.  If i am in a quiet, patient mood I will lay down thin, transparent washes, working on three or four paintings at once, in order to permit each layer to dry before applying the next.  To work in this manner is a joy.  Though the procedure demands patience it also stimulates the flow of ideas.  One works cautiously and cunningly, as if stalking one's prey..."

~ Henry Miller, 'To Paint is to Love Again'

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


 'untitled' ~ acrylic paint, marks all pencil and graphite in old book, 4" x 6"

i was on a terrific parakeet kick for a few days...  

acrylic paint, marks all pencil, graphite, and oil pastels in old book, 4" x 6"

it was after i painted this girl and felt that i really wanted to branch out.  for a while, anyway...

acrylic paint and marks all pencil in old book, 4" x 6"

inspired by lisa graham's rooms i painted this.   oh good grief!  it felt like way too much work!   i have a new-found respect for painters of rooms...

acrylic paint and carbon sketch pencil in old book, 4" x 6"

of course i went right back to faces.  i never think of them as work... 

 acrylic paint and carbon sketch pencil in old book, 4" x 6"

 i'm coming to the conclusion that it's all about layers with acrylics... 

we've had a couple of weeks of rainy weather for which i'm *very* happy,  but it makes for an awful picture taking environment.  these pics are all a little weird looking - and dark.


from my daily planner and  the charvin journal.


i'm sticking with just colored pencil and pencil in both books.


this is what the charvin journal looks like.  kathy brought it back from france for me, but you can buy them online - although i'm not sure that any are *exactly* like this one. the paper is wonderfully smooth and (the best part) heavy enough so that you can't see through the paper at all, even when you use dark colors or press down hard.

'loves trees and rain' ~ colored pencil and pencil on bone

drawn yesterday on a piece of bone i found, brought home and sanded (320 grit, i think), then taken out again so i could draw on it.

hanging two years now...

i'm going back to replying to comments via email if i know your email address. otherwise i'll continue replying here on the blog.  it's nice to reply via email because it feels more personal.  the other thing is that by replying to all of the comments here, the comment count is really high.  it's like a false reading.   or something...

* * *

“I could paint for a hundred years, a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing.” 

~ Paul Cézanne

Saturday, February 15, 2014


'lil' ~ acrylic paint, fabric, and marks all pencil in old book, 4" x 6"

i started out last week painting acrylic faces, but became so frustrated that i switched to doodling simple girls in pencil.... one day i drew a puffy skirt (like lil's wearing), and then i was off drawing folk art girls inspired by laurie meseroll.  i dearly love laurie's paintings...

'belle' ~ acrylic paint, oil pastels, and graphite in old book, 4" x 6"

before that, endless messing...   i was unhappy with the right side of belle's face so i covered it up with white paint, which was much better.   also i tried *many* variations of lips before finding one she liked!

'madge'~ acrylic paint, oil pastels, and graphite in old book, 4" x 6"

next i painted madge, and she gave me no trouble...  as with the other faces, i used my fingers, a palette knife, and scrubber brushes.   i really *love* scrubber brushes.  thank you lisa for telling me about them!

untitled ~ acrylic paint and graphite in old book, 4" x 6"

this was the last face i painted before i went off on the folk girl track;  i got completely stuck on this one;  just could not find my way to a happy ending.  so, after a ridiculous number of layers i gave up.  notice i tried The White Paint On One Side Of The Face Trick to no avail...   if she weren't on a fragile old book page i'd scrape a lot of the paint off and see what showed up, but since i can't, i'll leave her as is. 

pencil and colored pencil in charvin journal, 5 1/2" x 8"

i distract myself frequently with colored pencil drawings - it's fun, it's easy!   some of these drawings were inspired by katherine dunn's book 'creative illustration workshop'.   i'm crazy about that book...
 
pencil and colored pencil on part of page in charvin journal

pencil and colored pencil in charvin journal

me talking to acrylic paint, ha ha...

pencil and colored pencil in moleskine weekly planner

 bits from my moleskine weekly planner...    since the space for each day is about 3" x 5", i usually draw small so i can fit a bunch in.   the girl on the far right is a little over 1" tall;  if you're a small face drawer you know that getting the lips right can be challenging.   you need a very sharp point on your colored pencil... 

tuscan red and poppy red verithin pencils

i now use prismacolor verithin pencils for tiny lips...  they're hard and they keep a sharp point for a long time...  i *need* deco pink and orange!

'delia' ~ acrylic paint, cloth, oil pastels, and graphite in old book, 4" x 6"

it's been great to draw legs and arms at crazy angles; to lay down the task of learning how to draw figures more realistically.   i'm not sure i'll pick it up again...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


'cornelia' ~ acrylic paint on 100# bristol

i went away on a big adventure for a month, and now i'm back...   i drew every day while i was gone, but by the time i got home i really wanted to paint messy.  so that's what i did with 'cornelia' and 'loraine'... 

'loraine' ~ acrylic paint on 100# bristol

i started painting 'cornelia' with my fingers, and finished 'loraine' with them.  i think that more than anything else i've done with acrylics, it helped me *know* just how much time i have before the paint gets tacky and stops moving easily.  it literally and figuratively gave me a 'feeling' for them. 

pencil and watercolors in pentalic bamboo journal

mostly i've been drawing figures - learning how to draw them.  it's not easy...  i seem to have no intuitive know-how on this matter!

pencil and watercolors in pentalic bamboo journal

but little by little i'm beginning to see how the shoulder falls or the foot sits...

pencil and watercolor pencils in stillman and birn 'gamma'

it's not as agonizingly difficult as it used to be.

pencil and watercolors in pentalic bamboo journal

and i don't want to draw perfect figures, but i do want to know how the parts of the body relate to one another.

pencil and watercolor pencils in stillman and birn 'gamma'

i've tried learning from books and that goes nowhere.  practice seems the only answer.


my new favorite drawing thing is a 2014 moleskine daily calendar/planner.   i love this! 


these two pages are last week... for someone who likes to draw small, it's perfect.  :)

* * * 

“Do anything, but let it produce joy. Do anything, but let it yield ecstasy.” 

~ Henry Miller