Plays With Pencils

Possum Patty from Pencil-vania Illustrating Life

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Blooming Ink-A-Doodles

Pasted a piece of Yupo paper into my Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Journal and played with alcohol inks.

Searched the inky color shapes for flower forms and doodled in some blooms.

The 3-dimensional Sakura Glaze Pen looks so good!

Smudged a bit of white gesso in the background to make the flower colors pop. 

"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary."
-Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

In stitches over what I put into my journal...

These Turkey Oak leaves (Not Southern Turkey Foot Oak, non-native Quercus cerris.) were painted on fabric and then machine stitched, hand stitched, and finally pasted down into my Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media journal.

Placing some cotton material into an embroidery hoop, I put some old fabric markers to good use.

Added more color with the Derwent Inktense colored pencils.

After painting, I removed the fabric from the hoop, placed some batting underneath, and quilted around each leaf. I did this "free style" by removing the foot on the sewing machine and dropping the feed dogs. 

Some hand embroidery for texture. I think these are called seed stitches. 

The material is a dark natural hue. I decided the project needed more color and added some blue and white to the background. Oh yeah, who could resist a touch of Spectrum Noir sparkly autumn colors markers.

Well, what can I say besides "That was fun." 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Oil Pastels (Why did I buy these?): Calla Lily

Don't remember when, don't remember why, but some time ago I bought these oil pastels and then put them away. Well, I got them out a few days ago and

took them with me along to Kay's kitchen to try an oil pastel sketch in my journal. She had a large faux calla lily that I used as a model.

First I lay down some color and then used a brush and Turpenoid to move the color around. I put down more color and used my fingernail to scratch into it to add texture. I think the fact that I gessoed the page first helped to add even more texture. 

After the page was complete, I read somewhere that oil pastels NEVER dry (Can that be true?), so I just sprayed some Workable Fixative over the page a few times to seal it. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Just Journaling: A Page for the New Year 2017

Waste not, want not,
Waste not, want not,
Use it up, wear it out,
Make it do, or do without!

"Waste not" in 2017 will mean "dig into the closet, find the art supplies that were bought ages ago but never used, and use them!"
"Want not" in 2017 will mean "do not run to the store (or the internet) to purchase every new art item that I learn about."
"Use it up, wear it out" in 2017 will mean "there's the art supplies - now make some art!"
"Make it do, or do without" in 2017 will mean "be creative with the art supplies that I have - explore their range of possibilities!"

Lots of layers of collage, acrylic paint, gesso, and Sakura Glaze pen in Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Sketchbook.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Cloud Report: January 4, 2017

Lovely cloud vignette: blue sky over an even bank of white clouds that turned grayer and darker in the lower layers.

Dangerous looking dark streamers! (Love this bit.) Gouache in Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Sketchbook.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Art and Oatmeal: Doctor's Order

Messing around with oil pastel resist and watercolors during oatmeal today. Here's the mess -

Here's the oatmeal with sliced Honeycrips apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

Here's a close-up of the oil pastel fun.

Here's some art supplies. Derwent Oil Pastels and WN Travel (apparently just to the kitchen) Watercolor Set. Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Sketchbook.

Sketch everything everyday!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Narrow Depth of Field: British Soldiers

Cladonia cristatella "British Soldiers" Fruticose Lichen

Creating bokeh background: masked off the page with painter's tape. 

Scribbled in a background with Derwent Art Bars. Then painted over the page with a waterbrush being careful not to blend all the colors away.

When dry, used a stencil to add circles. 

Lichens were painted with acrylics. Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media sketchbook.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Sketching in the Kitchen with Kay: Earth, Woman, Mountain

I was fascinated with a tiny plant arrangement that Kay had made. She called it "Heaven, Earth, and Man."  She explained "Ikebana" (ee - kay - bana) the Japanese art of flower arranging that brings humanity and nature together. (My second new word of the year!) The emphasis is on shape, line, and form. These attributes can refer to not just the flowers but the stem and the leaves of a plant.

So even though Kay had a lovely bouquet of roses and baby's breath, I wanted to sketch the plants because of their different heights, colors, textures, and interesting leaf forms!

I started with a really fun really blind contour sketch to loosen up. But I was soon to learn that it didn't help much! Maybe I was way to excited to use this set of Derwent Art Bars that had been tucked away in a drawer for a VERY long time. 

I was all agog and so focused on the texture that these water soluble waxy crayons produce that I was not "seeing" my sketch.

Kay looked up from her incredibly beautiful painting and was silent for a moment. She asked me what it was that I liked about what I was doing. Still focused on the media, I must have said something about the colors or the texture. Kay queried, "Is the picture about the paints or the plants?" (Below is the original sketch.)

Obviously, I was NOT in touch with nature. There was no FEELING in what I was doing. No CONNECTION to my subject. No SEEING in the true sense. So we went over the different dull and stiff aspects of the picture. Later on, while her lesson was still fresh in my mind, I made a second sketch. Here are a few comparisons between the first and second versions.

#1 The plant leaves stacked in a row. No feeling. Too stiff. No movement. Notice lower stems are bare and awkward.

#2 Plant leaves at varying angles. Livelier. Definitely more feeling. See below for lower stems.

#1 Kay said this plant looked liked "soldiers marching in a row".  Too uniform. Definitely too stiff.

#2 Dancers instead of soldiers! I also added some "ghost" leaves behind the dancers so the lower stem of the tall plant doesn't look so bare and awkward.

#1 Completely lost the form on this little plant!

#2 More shape and form.

#1 This flower stem is all wrong! Too stiff. Too few blooms.

#2 Closer to the real thing. More blooms on the stem.

#2 I added a second stem with flowers and put a touch of an bright aqua background. 

Happy with the final result that I named "Earth, Woman, Mountain."

Monday, January 2, 2017

Cloud Appreciation Day: December 30, 2016

On December 30th, just before sunset, I spotted these 4 types of clouds in the sky all in the space of about 10 minutes. I did REALLY quick gouache sketches to remember them.

Dark gray with a white edge.

Solid flannel gray.

White with gray edges.

And my favorite: Pink with gray edges!

2017 New Year's Resolution: Eat more oatmeal!
Shown here: oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, and natural applesauce.