Monday, January 31, 2011

Random Productivity

I have been a busy little bee here the last few days or so. I am amazed at what I have been able to accomplish. Recently I have been reading THIS book by Danny Gregory. It shares peeks into many amazing artists' sketchbooks and their feelings about their process and materials...and I LOVE it. Anyway, somewhere in there one of the artists said that spending the time in their sketchbooks seems to create more time for other painting. With two kids, and tons of other responsibilities, I thought that I would be sacrificing painting when I made the commitment to work in my sketchbook more, but now I am a believer. I certainly have been more productive since beginning my goal of sketching daily. Sometimes I don't get it done but so far, I've been pretty good.
I did a few pages in my altered book and I really like this one. I am determined to have 2011 be the best year ever, I don't know what will come but I will make the best of it.
I also did this little fantastical flower study in my cheap spiral sketchbook.
I even managed to complete 3 new sketches in "Molly the Moleskine". This one was a good reminder that I HATE painting foil, glass and other shiny things. My watercolor skills need work in the shiny things area. It's just so hard to get them to look "right".
One of my annual primroses. I absolutely rejoice when I see the first rolling cart of primroses in the grocery store because I know that spring is coming and I always buy 3 for my kitchen window. The help me get through the last of winter with a little hope. Every time I see them, I am reminded that I am on the downhill side of winter. I really don't love winter, in case you hadn't noticed.
My friend, Sheena, took me to her spa last week. In fact, last week at this time, I was in the middle of an awesome facial. I had my first pedicure and came home with some sparkly, blue toes. Those sparkly toes make me so happy to look at. They are still looking pretty good and sometimes when I get brave, I take my wool socks off my frozen little feet and just smile at my blue, sparkly toes!
Not only have I accomplished all this, I finished a little painting too, but alas, I have run out of blogging time and must pick up my daughter from school, so I will have to post it soon, but I must say that I really like how it turned out. I can't wait to share it with you. Be back soon.

Friday, January 28, 2011

For Halle

My friend Chris has the cutest little girl named Halle. The other day, she needed a frog on the drawing she was making for her book, about a frog named "Og", and asked her mom to draw her one. Her mom says that she can't draw (which I don't believe at all) but since Halle is so cute, she drew her a frog. I figured if you were writing an entire book on a frog named "Og", you should definitely know how to draw that guy! Once you know the steps, frogs are pretty fun to draw, so Halle, here's how you draw a doodle frog: Hope that helps, Halle. With a little practice, I know that you will be drawing oodles of frog doodles! And speaking of doodles, if you have a girl in your house that likes to draw, this is a must have:
We have had "Doodle Studio" by American Girls for years and we have definitely gotten our money out of it. It has a book with all kinds of doodles, like dogs, cats, turtles, and yes, frogs, all written in easy, doable, step by step instructions, just like I demonstrated the frog. I have been using it to teach a few doodles to the kids in my daughter's class, and they LOVE it. They are always begging for doodles. AND lest you think it's just for young girls, my daughter and I have spent hours together doing the doodles in the book, and it is a BLAST! In fact, lately, it has spent more time on my desk than in her room. Honestly, this little book not only helped my daughter increase her confidence in drawing, but it helped me too!
Well, Halle, hope you have lots of luck in drawing your own "Og the Frog". I know you can do it!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hello! My Name Is:

Well, for those of you who have been waiting on pins and needles (and I'm sure that you have) to hear my final decision on my first Moleskine sketchbook's name...drum roll please...
Yes, that's right, I went ahead with my daughter's suggestion of "Molly" the Moleskine. And can I say, I love her more and more with each sketch. I am still getting used to adding watercolors to the smooth Moleskine paper, but I am loving the practice. I am planning on adding a few more things to this name tag sketch but here is my start.
I've been just doing a few simple sketches about my day. I haven't been able to work in it everyday but I am trying to not put too much pressure on myself about the Moleskine. I don't want to have too many rules or I will be too scared to draw in it. Although, my daughter spilled an entire glass of water on my bag and Molly was the only thing I was worried about in the excitement. I rescued Molly right away and fortunately she came out unscathed. But I learned that I was OK with a little water spilled. My sketchbook is supposed to be a representation of me and my life and what better way to represent the fact that right now, I am first and foremost, a mom. And speaking of mom had the MOST amazing amaryllis this year. The blossoms were as big as my head. I went to take a picture and realized that I had left my camera at home. I wanted badly to do a sketch (a good one, you know, with pencil and lots of eraser) of it before it was gone and I tried desperately all day to get a chance to work on it but, despite my best efforts, all I ended up with was 10 extra minutes before I had to pick up my daughter from school. I just did a quick sketch with a Sharpie and put in the highlights with my waterbrush and raced out the door. I had to finish the painting from memory (which ANYONE who has ever spent any time with me, knows is not great) so this is what I ended up with and it doesn't even begin to show how amazing this amaryllis was. I just loved it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's Official!

I am a "REAL" artist! In fact, my heart is just pounding right out of my chest and here's why:
I just got my very first Moleskine sketchbook in the mail today. Now I know that to many it's just a overpriced, fancy sketchbook, but to me, it's a little dream come true. It is the sketchbook that signifies "artist" to me. I can't wait to take it everywhere with me. I have opened the little elastic band, felt the beautiful paper, checked out the pocket (that will soon be crammed full of my treasure) and read the "History of the Moleskine Notebook". It is just so exciting. I am in the habit of naming things and my daughter has come up with "Molly". I'm living with that name for awhile but I think it is a keeper. Kids come up with the best stuff.
In other news, (it has been quite a while since my last post), I have been reading THIS book and THIS blog by Chris Guillebeau. I have had a goal to get my own passport (even though I am not really "needing" it for any specific travel) and I am getting closer to attaining that goal. I feel the desire (burning) to travel and see the world but my travel budget is approximately $0, so I figure that if I get a passport the action will bring the travel. I have also been working alot in my altered book journal. Most of what I have done in it is feeling pretty personal and not ready to be shown to the world but I did do this layout based on THIS post by Chris Guillebeau. I'm not sure it's "done". I may go back and do some journaling but I loved his message.Other than that, I have been working on some sketches in my now, less than cool, cheap sketchbook for the Sketchbook Challenge. Ever since sketching my children's treasures, I get almost daily requests to sketch another of their toys and I am growing tired of what is now known as my "Fisher Price Collection" of works. While they are treasures to my kids, they are mostly just vacuum grenades to me. So, in an effort to deviate from toys, I did this quick sketch of my hand. I think I may go back and add a little watercolor, but it makes me glad to know that I can sketch something besides toys. And speaking of kids, I guess I should go and take care of their dinner...they whine when you don't feed them, you know?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Highly Prized

Well, I've been doing pretty well on my goal of a sketch a day despite the fact that I've been hit with a GIANT (did I mention giant?) migraine. So, basically that's all I've been able to do. The Sketchbook Challenge announced the theme for January as "Highly Prized". So I've been sketching some pretty valuable things around here.
Here's something I very much value. It has taken me a while to assemble this collection of Golden Acrylics. I LOVE them so, but they are true to their name when it comes buying them...they really are "golden".
Here's two of my daughter's (two of a gazillion, I think) favorite Littlest Pet Shop pets. Littlest Pet Shop anything is highly prized to her.
My little guy is learning that letters have sounds and he loves spending time spelling words with me. We spend quite a bit of time "spelling" with his plastic letters. We don't even use the magnets, just lay out words on the floor. It's some of our favorite time together. To me, the letters represent our "highly prized" time together.
I've been pretty impressed with myself at keeping up with my sketchbook each day and with the exception of an rather unfortunate rendering of my daughter's Blythe doll, I've been OK with sharing the sketches. Blythe was good for some laughs around here and is now known as "zombie girl". Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to share but for now I think it best that she stay hidden in the book. She can cause nightmares. And speaking of that, I think I had better head off to bed. I have got to get rid of this headache.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

It's Here!

2011 that is. Which means that the SKETCHBOOK Challenge has begun. I'm so excited. Which means that I'll be packing this around with me wherever I go....

It's just a cheap sketchbook that I got from Target on clearance last year. I didn't want anything too fancy or else I would be too scared to mess it up. As my confidence improves, I dream of making beautiful Moleskine sketchbooks, but for now, it can't be "too precious". I have set a goal to sketch something in it everyday and I have actually been doing that for the last week or so (just to get myself ready for 2011). Now, in order to pack this around, as well as my pens, pencils, and little watercolor box, I wanted a messenger bag. I looked around and couldn't find anything too inspiring, so when I saw Lisa Engelbrecht's pattern for one in this magazine...I decided to make my own. I started with Lisa's pattern, and using raw canvas and a few alterations, I made my bag.Once the bag was made, I painted the entire thing with a wash of Golden Fluid acrylics in blues and greens.I painted 4 flowers, a flower center and 2 leaves on another piece of gessoed canvas and used my sewing machine to "doodle" the details. I also used my sewing machine to free stitch the swirls. Then I tacked everything together in the center so it is sorta dimensional.I added glass beads to the center, just cause I like things sparkly! And, it turns out, I like sparkly enough to have pulled a needle and thread through 6 layers of canvas and paint. My fingers are a little sore today.Then I added the word "create" by using my computer to print a font I liked onto a piece of paper and cutting out the letters to make a pattern. I measured a strip of paper and laid it along the straight edge of the bag to use as a guide (I knew I wouldn't be able to live with it if it weren't straight) and traced the letters. I then filled them in and lined them with acrylics AND here's a lesson I learned about trying to paint detail on raw canvas: I don't EVER want to do it again. I will kick down the extra $$$ for the medium (I don't remember what it's called off the top of my head) that makes painting detail on fabric easier.

So this afternoon, I decided to take my new bag, loaded with my sketchbook and supplies and head out to the bookstore on an artist date. I have been not so patiently waiting for the new ART_JOURNALING to hit the shelves around here and I was determined to pick it up TODAY! I eventually found it (and it is great) after some hunting, but I met an awesome lady named Lisa while I worked on a sketch. Lisa makes jewelry from antiques and things and we had a lovely conversation about our love of old doors, windows, and just plain anything old. We both enjoy turning old stuff into art. She is selling her jewelry at a shop not too far from my home, so I am going to be checking it out this week. I can't wait to see it and it was fun to hang out with her. I really do run into the BEST people at the bookstore.