IFJM and a Little Blog Housekeeping

I started blogging here near the end of 2013 and haven’t changed a thing on this site since then.

Well it’s about time!

If you’re a newish reader then you might not know I actually have a second blog where I keep all the “fake” journals I’ve created the last few years… well, they’re real journals, but each one has been kept by a persona I take on for the month of April.

April is International Fake Journal Month… IFJM for short. Roz Stendahl is the brains behind this activity and I wholeheartedly join in by adopting a character and journaling as this person, all the while posting images of this work daily, or nearly so.

I make references to this blog… Skylark Karma… when I lead up to April but ’till now I’ve never had a sidebar widget of my own.  When you’re on the home page you can see the image of a crow on the right; it’s done in gouache and marked up with my blog address. Just a simple click of the image and you’ll be whisked off to browse my current and former fake journals.

I had a great time creating this image.  First, I drew a rough outline on a prepainted acrylic background in my Pentalic Aqua Journal before going in with gouache.  There are passages where the line drawing shows through and others where the gouache is applied thick enough to hide and correct the misdrawn lines.

I love this full spread but a closeup of one of those faces would make a great image link. But which one? If I used the one on the left, he would be looking away from the body of this text.

… and it’s blurry, especially behind the eye.

But the crow on the right… that’s the one!

I love how the blues, greens and purples all combine to say – black.

I ran it through my photo processing software to add the lettering and… Voilà! … I have a permanent link to my Fake Journal blog.

Please visit and see who “I am” and what “I’ll be creating”.  The magic starts this Saturday, April 1st.  Join the fun!

Old and New

Yet another version of some of my favorite subjects.


Faber-Castell PITT artist pen on an acrylic prepainted background on 300 gsm (140 lb.) paper in a Pentalic Aqua Journal.

Note… this may be my least favorite journal.  I’m finding the cold press texture of this paper to be a little too regular and predictable for my liking.  One good thing… this paper has a different texture on each side and Pentalic has made the effort to collate the papers ensuring the textures are matched across the spread.

Water, Water… Not Everywhere

Wednesday was World Water Day.


It’s commemorated each March 22nd to focus interest on the world wide water crisis.  This year’s theme was “wastewater“.

I can’t stop thinking of how fortunate I am in the United States to have such a glut of clean, potable water that I can afford to have it all with just a turn of my hand. I can wash my car with it and even flush my waste with it.

That’s crazy!

There’s not much I can do about that but I can take small steps. One of my favorite water saving tricks is the temporary shutoff valve I’ve installed in my shower.  It’s an inexpensive ($10 or less… here’s just one example) insert which allows me to turn the water off or at least down as I lather and wash.  I then just turn the lever and I have a full stream of water to rinse.

It’s just one little thing I can do to keep clean water flowing. 


I bet you have some tricks too… I’m all ears!

Cloud Illusions

Ah… the ability to paint believable clouds… that’s my ultimate goal, but for now, it’s a struggle. 


As you can see… the frustration was getting to me. 


It’s important to just keep working. 


Clouds are all about the mix of hard and soft edges and decreasing their size as they near the horizon.

So… I’ll keep practicing because… with apologies to Joni Mitchell… I really don’t know clouds at all.


(I may be concentrating on clouds but this might just be my best tree yet!)

Update to Going Negative

I remembered where I got the idea to do multiple views of a subject using its negative space. Yes, it was Koosje Koene, but it was in the recently updated Free Sample class on the new Sketchbook Skool site.

If you haven’t yet taken a class from Sketchbook Skool, this is a great way to taste what they have to offer… and did I mention it’s FREE?!?  Just sign up and give it a whirl.

And if you took the Free Sample course a few years ago, sign up anyway.  As I said, it’s updated with brand new material.

stool1

 

Going Negative

Today’s practice was drawing this stool four times with four different media but each time using the negative space as my guide. The negative space is all the gaps created by the intersections of the legs and rungs. 


From left to right… Fountain pen with Platinum Carbon Ink, Koh-I-Nor Magic Pencil, Derwent Medium Wash watersoluble pencil, and Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle watercolor pencils.

I was inspired by Koosje Koene’s negative space video… try it yourself!

Ooops! I can’t seem to find a direct link but you can check out her blog for other cool stuff!

Sunset Series Saga

It’s February and even though it’s been fairly warm here, we have had just enough cold and snow to remind us it’s still winter.

I’ve been dreaming of warm sunny days, walking the beach, and watching the sun go down over crystal blue waters. A vacation or holiday… I don’t care what you call it… realistically, I have months to wait before that’s even a possibility. 

Several years ago I found myself in the same situation and found Laure Ferlita and her online classes where I took her watercolor class: An Imaginary Visit to th Beach. Fortunately, I’ve been following her blog, Painted Thoughts, and saw a link to her online watercolor sunset workshop at a very reasonable cost of ten dollars

So began my sunset quest.

My first… painted along with the video. 


Then a few days later I thought I’d try going it alone. I used different pigments and tried to be faster. It’s okay but I see too much color blending (the green) in the water. 


#3 was better but I didn’t leave enough skips as I painted the sun’s reflection in the water. 


I thought I had enough but all these masked off rectangles were just screaming rigidity. I needed to try one more… fast and loose in a vignette style. I made too much use of my Signo Broad white ink pen for my liking but I’m still pleased.  I’m less sure about the vignette style.  Now that I’ve done it I think I prefer the masked rectangles instead. 


I enjoyed my practice and now feel comfortable enough to try these methods on some of my own sunset photographs in preparation for the days when I again can paint plein air as I wriggle my toes in warm sand. 

In a Slump

When I feel uninspired and have stopped creating for a few days I rely on a few trusted methods for breaking out of my slump. I often try out new tools or pre-paint some journal pages, but the most reliable slump-buster is to draw a prompt from Danny Gregory’s EDM list

Whenever I feel blocked I remember my plan to eventually work through all 328 prompts.

This is No. 121


I’m not out of the clear yet but I’m going to keep at it. As Pablo Picasso said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

Sketching the Sketchers

Our local college, Dartmouth, has closed its Hood art museum for two years as it renovates and expands. In the meantime they’ve created an exhibition space in a previously empty storefront downtown… cleverly named Hood Downtown. Last Thursday night they had a “Sip and Sketch” event featuring noshes and drinks. (White wine, ginger ale, Perrier…nothing with color in case there were was an “incident”.) 

The museum had set up two beautiful 360 degree still lifes for us to draw. I briefly thought of sketching the objects but instead decided to sketch the sketchers. My subjects were so intent on their own work they never knew they were models!




The Hood, like many other museums, has a policy of allowing only pencils for drawing in its exhibition space. That’s okay by me… the humble pencil is a powerful tool!

If you’re in the area be sure to see the current exhibit, Bahar Behbahani’s Let the Garden Eram Flourish. It will be on view through March 12, 2017. 

Here’s just one of Ms. Behbahani’s stunning works… Adorned With Pillars (mixed media on canvas).