Wednesday, January 25, 2012

untitled ~ watercolors, gouache and casein paint on 3" x 6" kraft tag

i was only going to paint a face but one thing led to another... first i painted the outline of her head with a fairly heavy layer of white casein paint; once that was dry i painted on top of it with watercolors and gouache. it's a lot of fun to do this because you can use the casein to cover up or mute the watercolors and gouache. or, if you don't brush them on too vigorously, they just sit on top of the casein.

i found this when i was cleaning out the closet in my art room a few days ago... i probably painted it in 2006 - every face that i painted then had a hard stare! even though i really wanted to paint faces back then i didn't paint them often. every once in a while i'd sorta sneak up on one from behind to see if it would turn out differently... slowly slowly (2 years?) i began to realize that i could soften the gaze by either raising the pupils or lowering the upper eyelid.

i'm going to take a blogging break...


this winter quiet...

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Henri Matisse in his studio in the south of France, 1948
(thank you artist and studio)


Saturday, January 21, 2012

madeline ~ waterolors, inktense pencil, gouache, casein paint and old wallpaper on book page

madeline turned out to be a wild and free soul...

before she got to be so wild and free... ; )

i thought she was done at that point so i was going to make a pogo print of her.... wow, going to amazon to get the link i see that they have pogo printers for $24.95 today! click on the link if you're interested, although the price may be higher by the time you read this. it can fluctuate a lot but i've never seen the price lower than $29.95 before...

back to madeline! she's one of the few things i've done outside my 'daily book' lately; sometimes ya just gotta get jiggy with the paint... her hair is courtesy of an amber inktense pencil...


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

eleanor ~ watercolors, gouache, oil pastels & casein paint in fabriano watercolor book

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“Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk.”

~ Edward Weston via tumblr


Saturday, January 14, 2012

stillman and birn sketchbooks

gouache, prismacolor, inktense, and derwent 8B pencils in stillman and birn 4" x 6" gamma sketchbook

i am teetotally in love with a stillman and birn 'gamma' sketchbook as my new 'daily book'... you can truly do light washes in it, pencil and pen are beautiful on the paper, and calligraphy ink does not bleed through to the other side of the page.

this post is mostly about the 4" x 6" 'gamma', but towards the end i'll also say a few words about the 'delta' sketchbook (extra heavy paper). they make a series of five different books (i.e. different bindings and types/colors of paper).

the info that came with the 'gamma'...

the ivory paper is *beautiful*... a colored pencil face on the left and a watercolor face on the right. most of these pics were taken in full sun when i was out walking/drawing...

the left page is another colored pencil face, and on the right page i used mostly inktense pencils (with water). the rays coming from the heart are ivory mccaffery's penman's ink, which is a dense ink that didn't begin to bleed through (or buckle) the page.

j. herbin's 340th anniversary ink 'rouge hematite' here... my sister just gave me a bottle of it with a glass pen! woo!

the back side of the page with the anniversary ink on it - as you can see it didn't bleed through. if you look very closely you can see a hint of the writing on the other side, but it's faint.

prismacolor pencils and an .005 pigma micron pen... the paper has a bit of tooth, but the pen moves across the page beautifully.

and, maybe the most important thing, the book lays open flat no matter where you are in it! yes!

getting ready to walk home, the book resting on a tuft of grass... i'm using a sari ribbon to keep it closed while it's in my pack.

watercolors, goauche, oil pastels, and inktense pencils in stillman & birn delta sketchbook

the 7" x 7" spiral bound 'delta' is the only other stillman and birn sketchbook i've tried... mostly i wanted to see how watercolors did on the 'extra heavy' paper. i wondered if the colors would be vibrant and if the paper would buckle. the colors were fantastic and the page didn't begin to buckle. you could use plenty of water on this paper with no problem. i think this paper can handle *anything*!

both the extra heavy paper in the 'delta' and the heavy paper in the 'gamma' (my daily book) have the perfect amount of surface sizing for me. you can move paint around easily with little or no staining, and the surfaces are resilient - they don't disintegrate easily.

so yeah, investigate stillman and birn sketchbooks if you're looking for a new and improved journal! for me it's a real joy to work in a book using colored pencils, ink, and watercolors without preparing the page in any way.

you can go to their website to see if there's a retailer near you, or here are a few online sources:



wet paint

jamie williams grossman has written extensive reviews of stillman and birn sketchbooks on her blog hudson valley sketches. here's part 1 of her review of the 'alpha', which is the same as my daily book except with white paper.

please feel free to ask questions if you have them!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

alberta ~ watercolors, gouache, casein paint, and oil pastels in fabriano journal

i was glad the page size was only 4" x 6", otherwise i'd have used my entire paint supply on alberta...

she's in a fabriano watercolor journal that kathy brought back to me from italy. the paper is nothing like the fabriano artistico paper that i've tried (and don't like). it's sort of like khadi paper except nicer, which is saying a lot because i adore khadi paper. a watercolorist would probably croak to know that i'm gobbing paint onto it!!

the binding is equally exquisite. no matter where you are in the book it lays absolutely flat.

the other side of alberta's page... deckle edges!

i've looked for them online and can't find them. if anyone knows where to buy them, let me know and i'll spread the word...

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What is an artist? He's a man who has antennae, who knows how to hook up to the currents which are in the atmosphere, in the cosmos.
~ Henry Miller


Friday, January 6, 2012

adelia ~ watercolors, gouache, colored pencils & oil pastels on old paper

adelia is the last gentle soul to grace one of these cards... i've got a few blank cards ready, but i've felt no urge to paint on them. i've painted a few faces in a watercolor journal that are the complete opposite of these, and i got a new 4" x 6" stillman and birn journal earlier this week that i'm working in, but nothing on the cards!

after i drew adelia she seemed so stark - i was seriously tempted to put some hair on her, but the inner voice was not in agreement. as i painted her such a sweetness came into her eyes that it surprised me, lol, the one painting her. it really made me stop and think about how little the analytical (she-needs-hair) mind knows...

the front and back of the pocket moleskine i just finished. i call these small journals my 'daily books' because i usually do something in them every day. and it's where i put all of the pogo prints... that's a pogo print of lunette on the back. it's really addictive to make pogo prints of your artwork... ; )

prismacolor pencils in pocket moleskine

one thing that i'd never done before is draw a face and only color (what i thought would be) the highlighted areas with white. then add color for lips, eyes, cheeks, etc, but not color the skin in all the way. these pics aren't great so you really can't even see what i'm talking about, but in person you can. they have a lot more 'movement' than faces with all of the skin colored in. (obviously this is not gonna work if you're using white paper, but you could do the opposite and only shade the darker areas while leaving the rest white)

prismacolor pencils in pocket moleskine

again, not a very good pic, but more practicing. besides the highlighting thing i fooled around with different kinds of eyes and lips - i learn a lot by doing these faces. they don't take long and if you don't like something you can (more or less) erase it and try a different way.

prismacolor pencils in pocket moleskine

another thing that i really like to do is not draw the outline of the face in until i'm finished with the eyes, nose and mouth. i've learned a lot about the relationship of the mouth, nose, and eyes to each other by drawing them without the hair and outline of the head.

just in case any of that might be helpful to fellow aspiring face painters. i know that i'm always looking for tips that can give me insight into what makes a face 'work'. and now onward to my next daily book, which is the stillman and birn journal...


Monday, January 2, 2012

francis ~ watercolors, gouache, and oil pastels on old paper - approx. 2 1/2" x 4 1/2"

what, what? 2012 you say?!!

i'm feeling as quiet as francis here, but there are a couple of things that i want to say...

the first is "thank you" for your love and support this past year. thank you for your comments and questions, the inspiration, and the laughter - which is more valuable to me than even art supplies or new books! from the bottom of my heart i say thank you for being who you are and sharing yourselves with me.

the other thing that i want to say is that i wish you all a positively brilliant 2012.

if i may be so bold as to say so,

this is the time to let our

heart lights