Three Favorites

There are times when inspiration just isn’t to be found and you’re at a loss for an interesting subject. I know this intimately and I believe every artist goes through this at one time or another.

The essential question is how to escape the vortex. My tried and true models are always available to draw… I have three. My feet (slippered, socks, or bare), my hand (or hands), and my face (either a mirrored self portrait, from a photo, or from my imagination). Any one of these can spark an illustration and memories.

March was a month of reflection… but at least I wasn’t at a loss for a model.

Favorite February Portraits

March has been packed and I realize I haven’t posted my favorite portraits I drew from Sktchy! No big commentary ahead… just a few quick notes.

I love portraits, especially when I can draw hands too… it’s a double challenge.

In this portrait I used watercolor pencils… steep learning curve but so much fun when faced with a model with pink and purple hair. It turned out better than I thought it would… I shut that inner critic up!

I’m also trying to work on figure proportions… now I want pink and black striped socks.

… and see… there’s a portrait in there too!

Sktchy and Me: 2017 Edition

You’ve heard me talk before about how much I like the Sktchy app I have for my phone but maybe you’re not quite sure what it is or how it works.

Here’s a blurb from the Sktchy website:

What is Sktchy?

Sktchy is an artist’s best friend. Find drawing inspiration in an ever-updating gallery of reference photos. Upload your own photos so other artists can draw you. Discover and connect with amazing artists from around the world. Share your creativity in a fun, supportive community. Bye-bye, creative block!

What if I’m not an artist?

Even if you don’t call yourself an artist, you have creativity worth sharing with the world, and Sktchy is a fun, no-stress way to get started. The Sktchy community welcomes and includes artists of all skill levels, from gallery-repped professionals to amateur doodlers. No matter where you fall in that spectrum, Sktchy is for you.

Sktchy is definitely my go-to site for artistic inspiration!

After a slow start I ended 2017 by creating sixty five drawings of human and animal portraits along with a few landscapes. I was inspired to make a slideshow of my entire 2017 Sktchy work after a few of my friends did the same.

Just under two minutes of fun… I hope you enjoy it!

If the embedded video won’t play please use the link to view it through YouTube.

It’s A Dog’s Life

Today I realized I posted only once in November and I was in danger of not posting at all this December. Just laziness I guess because I’ve been working in my sketchbook daily.

Lately I’ve been drawing dogs using photos people have generously provided through the Sktchy app. I sit on the couch with my sketchbook after dinner and relax with my pen and paints… a little added journaling and I’m off to bed, unwound and de-stressed… and dreaming of dogs.

Summer Concert Sketching

Ah, summer.

Here in the Upper Valley summer means it’s outdoor concert season and outdoor concerts are perfect for sketchbooking.

Two weeks ago my friend Sonja Hakala, a fabulous writer and photographer, sat next to me at the Chad Hollister concert on the Quechee green. As we listened, I sketched the scene and assumed Sonja was focusing her lens to capture the crowd as usual.

Just imagine my delight when she sent me these great photos of the spread in progress and blogged about it too!

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dana draw 2

dana draw 3

Here’s the final spread… notice the stickers! I LOVE STICKERS!

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Thanks Sonja!  It’s been a great season.

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. 

Oddly Comforting

After this week of upheaval I again tried to put my life and these times into perspective. Enter Carl Sagan and his Pale Blue Dot speech.  Just hearing it again inspired me to reflect, revitalize and create a journal page honoring my… and I hope… our resilience.

Thank you Ken Takahashi and YouTube for this wonderful video.

 

That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

Thank you Carl Sagan.

EDM 112 – 115

Oh my!  I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve worked on my Every Day Matters challenges… I posted my last set of EDM pages on June 22nd.  Yowza!

I see #112 was sketched on June 21st but then there was this huge gap of nearly 7 months. I hope I can post my next set in a more timely fashion.

So without further ado…

EDM112

EDM113

Version 2Text on the above page has been obscured for privacy.  Wish I knew how to do this better but until I figure out a way, this will have to do.

EDM115

 

I’m One Lucky Lady!

Sometimes you’re lucky!

No… I did not win PowerBall!

Bur a few weeks ago, through an online giveaway, I won a copy of Richard Sheppard’s new book, Impressions of Wine Country.

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Just look at that glorious scene! Can’t you feel the warm sun on your back?

I first became acquainted with Richard Sheppard in 2013 when I saw his work in Danny Gregory’s book, An Illustrated Journey. Richard has a lovely, loose, atmospheric technique that nicely evokes a sense of place, particularly in this book about California, its wines, and their “terroir”. I’ve done a bit of wine tasting in New York’s Finger Lakes region and have always dreamed of doing the same out west.

Richard’s book reads as a monthly look into his wine experience as he visits vintners across the Sonoma and Napa valleys. Each page is illustrated with one of his fabulous watercolors. I particularly enjoyed seeing how Richard captured an iconic pear tree in each of the four seasons. Not only can I admire and learn from his artwork  but I’m learning about wine and its production to boot!

Highly recommended!  This would make a great gift whether the recipient is an artist, an oenophile, a Californian or just someone who dreams of getting away!

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Please check out Richard Sheppard online for more of his wonderful images including many from his travels outside wine country.  You won’t regret it.

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Disclaimer:  I won this copy in a blog giveaway.  I was not compensated nor was I asked to review this book.

My Peripheral Memory

My Sketchbook.

I use it for all sorts of things, even phone numbers I need to remember. 

The other day a friend forwarded an article with the collected points of Irwin Greenberg, an art instructor in New York. I paid particular attention since I wrote one of these points in bold face on the first page of my sketchbook:  “An artist is a sketchbook with a person attached.” I knew then I needed to keep all 100 points where I could easily find them. 

  
  
  
  
  

Want an easier way to read all Irwin Greenberg’s wisdom?  Click here