My Journey Into Art

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Magical Orchard

Last night I had the urge to become one with the paper. I still have my watercolor Toucan to finish but what I was really after was getting dirty, messy and free. Soft pastels are good for that kind of thing. It's easy to add layers upon layers, and then use your fingers to blend and spread color. I really like the tactile element to it.

Here is my imaginary magical orchard. It was good, messy fun! This was inspired by a book a flipped through at the library over the weekend. I wish I had taken the book out because I don't remember who the artist is. His/her work was striking to me because of the use of lots fuchsia/magenta and blue/turquoise.

Magical Orchard

This was done on 9" X 12" Canson Mi-Teintes paper.

Imaginary Creature

The theme for the Sketchbook Challenge for November is Imaginary Creatures. Mine was done with a watercolor splotch that I closed my Moleskine on. It took me a few minutes of staring at it for the creature to reveal itself.

It was a fun exercise. I should do these more often when I'm in a creative funk.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WIP (Work in progress)

I started this painting a few days ago. It sits on my table untouched for the time being. The boys are out of school this week for Thanksgiving break. While I can still get some painting done with them here, my youngest got very sick Sunday night. We ended up at the ER from 11pm until 6am Monday morning. My poor baby couldn't breathe. After 2 failed breathing treatments, they gave him an epinephrine treatment which required a 6 hour observation period. His heart rate was very high and he was shaking all over as a result. So after 3 x-rays, blood work, CT scan and IV fluids, they let us go. He mostly likely has croup. There was concern of some other more serious medical problem but the CT scan ruled it out. Thank goodness.

I don't bounce back from no sleep as I used to. I'm still tired from being up over 24 hours even though I slept last night. My son is doing much better today.

This is the start of a Toucan. I can't remember the exact species at the moment but will post it when the painting is finished.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hand Carved Stamps

I read a lot of art inspired blogs as you can tell from my blog roll on the side. When Julie Fei-Fan Balzer posted about what she did to pass her time while on jury duty, I was totally inspired to try my hand at carving my own stamps.

I have had two Mastercarve blocks sitting on my table for over six months untouched. I was waiting to use them for the right thing. The right thing never seemed to come about. I didn't want to 'waste' them so I let them sit until inspiration worthy of trying it hit.

Julie's stamps were my inspiration. I was awestruck by hers and wanted to try my hand at it. Mine isn't as awe-inspiring as hers but it's a good start. My block wasn't perfectly square so lining it up was a bit of a challenge when printing.

Carving stamps is a lot of fun. I can see this becoming an addicting little pastime.


Hand carved stamp

Hand carved stamp

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Camping Trip

Over the weekend we went on our first family camping trip with the Cub Scouts. The last time I went camping I was 18 years old. That was a long, LONG time ago. We went to Inks Lake State Park. Our campsite was right on the lake. We had a great view. The sketch below was done really quickly, like in less than 20 minutes. My 6 year old was a bit distracting because he kept going to the edge of the water. I was afraid he was going to fall in. After a bit, I gave up on the sketch and called it done because he was ready to go explore somewhere else.

I enjoyed sleeping outdoors. There was a swarm of birds that came swooping into the edge of the lake in the tall grass. The sound of their flapping wings was like a heavy wind. With so many at once, it was very loud. I heard owls hooting in the wee hours of the morning. A skunk visited our site as I was drinking hot chocolate with my daughter in the evening. That was somewhat exciting as we quickly but smoothly exited the area before the skunk saw us. We also came across an armadillo as it walked by our area. The weather was perfect. My Cub Scout had a great time with his buddies. I look forward to our next camping trip.

Inks Lake

Friday, November 11, 2011

Experimenting with Soft Pastels

I couldn't wait to try out the soft pastels that I bought a couple of days ago. I did this practice page to get a feel for the colors and how they work. I didn't realize how messy they were. Fun, but messy.

Then I painted (?) or drew this picture. I'm not sure whether pastels are considered drawing or painting. Maybe painting since I did covered the whole page. The paper started out as a light blue tint. You can't see any of it now.

I learned that I can't get as defined as I would have liked. The blocky shape of the pastel doesn't allow me get into the places I wanted to. I had less control than with a pencil or a brush. I liked them though. It was very different than what I'm used to. I will definitely play with them some more.

First Pastel painting - Pods

Thursday, November 10, 2011


This is the completed giraffe I started the other day. He was a bit tricky to do. All the variation in colors and the details of his face were somewhat of a challenge. This was made for my daughter who has a little obsession for giraffes. She also wants a large canvas painting for her room. I'm thinking for that I may have to go more abstract though. That one is still in the planning stages.

Painted with M. Graham watercolors on Strathmore 500 Cold press 140 lb paper.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Supplies

I went down to Jerry's Artarama to use my last Groupon which was for $40 worth of supplies. They didn't carry the Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils I wanted to try. They also don't carry M. Graham watercolor paint. I didn't need anymore watercolor paper so I picked up a few items that I knew I wanted which was the rubber cement eraser for picking up masking fluid, a bigger round (size 16) watercolor brush and more Winsor & Newton white bleedproof gouache which I use for highlights in my watercolor paintings and a bone folder. All of that wasn't $40 though, so I started to roam.

I have been thinking of going to a life drawing class, well, it's not really a class, but a gathering that meets every other week where you pay $5 for the model fee and sketch for 2 hours. I haven't gotten the nerve up to go yet. I haven't done a life drawing in over 20 years. But, if I have the supplies, I'm one step closer to going. So I bought a large drawing pad and some charcoal. Then I roamed into the pastel section. All those beautiful colors got my creative juices to flow. I picked up the box of 24 and a pastel pad of mixed tinted paper. I have never used soft pastels before so this will be an entirely new experience for me.

I LOVE art supply shopping!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fla Fla Fla ...Flamingo!

I worked on this handsome fella in the last couple of days. He seems kind of regal to me. This was done with M. Graham watercolors on Strathmore 500 cold press 140 lb paper.

I'm on an animal kick. Next up is a giraffe!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Le Pom

I love this time of year with the cooler weather and the holidays on the horizon. Thanksgiving is one of my favorites because it's the only time of the year that I cook a turkey and all the fixings that go along with it. I think it's all the leftovers that make it so that we don't want to see another turkey for a year!

I also love pomegranates. I usually eat one or two in the fall season. I love the ruby red jewel-like seeds. They are so pretty to look at and taste great. I bought my first of the season last week. I painted it whole and then a couple of days later, painted it opened.


I brought my sketchbook to the kitchen table along with my paints. My husband asked me why I was painting at the table. I have a dedicated art room where I normally paint so this was a logical question. However, I had planned to cut the pomegranate open, sketch it and then eat it. Eating a pomegranate is usually a messy proposition.

After I sketched the first half (left side), I was getting impatient and wanted to eat it. So the second half (right side) is a bit messier and rushed. It was really yummy!

Open Pom

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Painting Cards

We have a surprise birthday party to attend tonight. I needed a card so I painted this one. It's for a man but hopefully this cupcake looks manly enough. It started out with purple frosting but then my daughter asked me why I was making a girly cupcake for a man. Hmmmm... is there such a thing as a manly cupcake? I was already committed to the cupcake so I washed in some blue to make it more manly. I spent more time on this than I intended. It's like a small painting!