Friday, July 11, 2014


'june' ~ acrylic paint and oil pastels on 140# coldpress watercolor paper, 5" x 7"

june's not happy about the hot july weather...  she remembers the mild, sunny days of, yeah, june...   but it was the hot weather that made me stay inside and paint her, so maybe it's okay after all.  ; )

watercolors and pencil in fabriano venezia

for a while now i've thought about doing a post about my drawing journey of the past year; this post  is about that...   i've been learning how to express myself better through drawing, and it has not seemed easy.

pencil and colored pencil in softcover pocket moleskine

i don't think i'm any better at drawing than i was a year ago, but i have learned a few important things.  one of them is that my people/creatures like wings better than arms.

pencil and colored pencil in sennelier journal

and hair - i'm just not into it.
 
watercolors, pencil and soft pastel in stillman and birn gamma

i thought that once i learned how to draw it (how it sat on the head) i'd put it on every head i drew. 

pencil and colored pencil in sennelier journal

sometimes i do, but not often.   and not so often with legs either.

pencil, colored pencil, and watercolors in stillman and birn gamma

i like bodies that aren't human.

pencil and colored pencil in softcover pocket moleskine

these don't sound like big revelations,

pencil and colored pencil in sennelier journal

but it's taken me a while to figure them out.

pencil and watercolors in fabriano venezia

The Critic likes to tell me that if i were a serious drawer i'd draw more arms, legs, and hair.

watercolors, pencil and soft pastel in stillman and birn gamma

no way.

pencil, colored pencil and watercolors in stillman and birn epsilon

i've found myself thinking at times that i can't draw.

pencil and colored pencil in stillman and birn epsilon

what could be a more ridiculous thought?!!  but i've come to see that it takes practice to draw what i feel, in a way that makes me smile.

pencil and colored pencil in stillman and birn epsilon

and this.  it took me a long time to get this: i am a dabbler, a doodler, a jotter.  i am not a drawer of big, complicated scenes; i like little glimpses...  i am a messer arounder...


last week i got a .3 mechanical pencil and i love it for tiny details.  otherwise i use a .5 mechanical pencil and a cretacolor 8B pencil.   that's another thing i've learned:  i like drawing with pencil best - not because i can erase, but because i can smudge.

* * *

“There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.” 

~ Georges Braque

Saturday, June 21, 2014



my friends, i wish you a happy solstice ~ summer or winter...  

may it be a beautiful one!

* * *

 “You know, they ask me if I were on a desert island and I knew nobody would ever see what I wrote, would I go on writing. My answer is most emphatically yes. I would go on writing for company. Because I’m creating an imaginary — it’s always imaginary — world in which I would like to live.”

~ William S. Burroughs, quoted in interview, The Paris Review (Fall 1965)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


untitled ~ acrylic paint, pan and oil pastels, charcoal and colored pencils and watercolors in 'daily book', 3 1/2" x 5"

it's been so long!  it's not easy to narrow things down, sum them up!  

pen, pencil, watercolors, colored pencil in pocket 'hand book'

i'll start with what i've been doing a lot of in my 'daily book', which is drawing/painting imaginary  flowers,

pen, pencil, watercolors, colored pencil in pocket 'hand book'

and these kind of people. 

pencil and colored pencil in pocket 'hand book'

i call them 'simple people' because there isn't much to them, but still, a few lines can convey a lot.


drawing and painting at home have taken a back seat to wandering, though.


it seems like a lifetime ago that i walked day after day on south facing ridges so i could smell the flowers on these bushes.  i'd love it if someone could ID them for me - i have no idea what they're called!  they smell like cinnamon buns with vanilla icing on top, and i will do just about anything to be out walking amongst them.


weeks - and many fragrant flowers - later, i'm entranced with a small patch of mountain lady's slippers.   this is the first time i've seen them here, and i visit them almost every day.  they smell like baby powder...
 

i've drawn on a lot of cans, sticks, and rocks, and left them behind...








for all of them i used a mechanical pencil and prismacolor colored pencils.


i've also been taking a small watercolor set with me and painting what i see.   first i draw with pencil without erasing;  if i don't like a line, i draw another i like better.  and then i paint it without being too particular about accuracy.   that way it stays fun, and i've loved doing it.


the arrow is pointing to the little watercolor book drying in the sun, and my watercolor set is in front of the chair, but what i wanted to show you is the chair.   it's made by REI, and it's called a 'flex lite' chair.  it weighs 1 lb. 12 oz., and it's super duper!!   if you're interested in a lightweight hiking/camping chair, check it out...


one more thing...   i took the table out of my tiny art room and made it into a place where i can sit and draw/paint/read.  it came to me one day that i've *never* liked sitting at a table to work, so why did i have a table in my art room?!  crazy...   i really love it the way it is now.


seen this morning - a gold beetle!  whoa!  

 nature...

* * * 

 “The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place; from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” 

~ Pablo Picasso (via tumblr)

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'