Friday, December 31, 2010

Artistic Goals for the New Year

My blog began on January 8th of this year. I had made goals for my New Year's resolution. One of the goals was to start a blog and on the 8th that goal became a reality. The second goal was to build a portfolio of work. I admit that I could have been more diligent, but I am very proud of the work that has been completed to date. Looking through my old composition notebook (my resolutions/goals have been entered there since 2005), I see more goals were achieved and others were not. (My style has always been to free write my thoughts and aspirations on the 31st of December.) Not accomplishing everything on a long list is to be expected. That is why, I put all of my resolutions/goals in the same book. It can be pulled out to check on current goals and complete those that were overlooked. So what will the artistic goals be for the year 2011?

First of all, I will devote more time to drawing. My slacking at the drawing board has caused me great stress when resuming a project. My excuses for not remedying this flaw of character were abundant, when it should have been addressed this past year. My set goal will be to create 10 new drawings for the new year. My s-t-r-e-t-c-h goal will be to complete at least one drawing a month.

Second, I will join at least one artist guild or chapter in the area. It would be good to be part of a bigger picture and be more involved in the arts around me.

Third, I will make up a card that will showcase my work/blog and distribute them in my area to let people know about my artwork. There are only a few people that know I am an artist, and even fewer that I have spoken to about my blog. I finally feel that I have enough quality work built up behind me to share with others. (And maybe built up enough confidence in myself, too! :0))

Unless more goals enter my mind tonight in my scribbling... that will be my artistic goals for 2011. I attribute this post to Painted Thought's Blog and thank Laure for encouraging her fellow artists/friends to post their goals for success in the upcoming year. I will also take her challenge to take up a word-of-the-year for 2011. My great nemesis last year was 'distraction', who was always accompanied by his buddy 'procrastination'. When lured into following these two, one is in danger of becoming best friends with 'self doubt'. So with such strong villains to contend with, I needed a word that comes to a sharp point and strikes a mighty blow. It must be able to be put into action in every aspect of my life and improve myself in areas that are in dire need of refining... My word of the year 2011 will be FOCUS. Focus will keep me on track in any endeavor that I choose to tackle until completion. It will help me to center in on goals/tasks and help me to have a more productive schedule.

With 2010 rapidly coming to a close, I raise my cup of hot spiced cider to a New Year and wish everyone health, happiness, and prosperity with all of your endeavors in 2011.

Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 24, 2010


'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house not a creature was stirring not even...

my CAT??

Here's hoping that this Holiday Season finds you all healthy, happy, and in a warm cozy place. Where ever that may be! ;)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Drawing of a Boxer

Well, Christmas is right around the corner. The 'to do' list is almost completely checked off, so I thought I'd take some time to myself and get my next drawing started. Here is the line drawing of a boxer pup that will be approximately 9 1/2 x 8 inches when finished. The original color pic is roughly a 5 x 6. I didn't like the size it would be if I enlarged the line drawing on my 1 inch grid. So, I created a new 3/4 inch grid, mounted the transfer paper, and went to work on the line drawing. Working on line drawings is one of my favorite parts of creating art. It helps to build up my hand/eye coordination. But I must confess, I had a couple of misplaced lines. ( I won't tell you where his right eye was located for a little while!) That my friends is the main reason that my sketches are done on transfer paper. It is sooo forgiving! Overall, the sketch went pretty fast, even though there were a half a dozen interruptions. I must say... it feels good to be back at the drawing board! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Update to the Bulldog Drawing

Just a quick note to let you know that my hubby delivered the Bulldog drawing to its rightful owner. She was very pleased. And yes, I took my friends' advice and signed my name. My signature is by no means stylish or fancy, but I am resigned to the fact that it is like my frills, just clear and to the point. My new resolution is to sign my work upon finishing a drawing. Thanks Laure ( ) for all of your wonderful advice. I had forgot what a name truly represents. I am proud of how far I have come in my work, and my family's name that my abilities are derived from. And thanks Carol ( ), my work did feel complete once my name was on it. It is always a great thing to have friendly advice in the decision making process! :)

It was a little odd to not have the drawing in my studio, but as I said earlier, it never felt like it ever belonged to me. I would like to set the record straight on one thing though, during this entire process I referred to the Bulldog as a 'he'... Well, this beautiful family member in fact was a 'she'. Her name was Lucy, and it was my pleasure to have had the opportunity to draw her...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Drawing a Bulldog FINISHED

Here is where I was 2 days ago, and this is how I drew in the back of the couch. Had I done the whole drawing left to right, the drawing would not have needed to be rotated 90 degrees. I actually like drawing this way. It trains my eyes to see small areas and shapes instead of the whole picture. The surprise comes when I turn it back, and the whole picture comes together.

 Well, here he is finished. There might be some tweaking in the next couple of days, but I am very happy with how this one turned out. I hope his owner will be also. It's funny. I thought that it would be hard to give a drawing away, but as with the dog in the photo, it felt as if this work was never mine to begin with. I will miss him though. This was a very relaxing piece to work on. It was the first piece that I felt great confidence in to translate to graphite. Okay, okay, honestly... if the owner didn't want this piece, I would frame it for my own house! Look at that face... how could you not fall in love?? ;)

So now what is next? Well, the first thing is to decide on how to sign my artwork. None of my graphite work has ever left the house, so I have never signed any of them. This has been on my mind since the first drawing. I am very determined that my work be the total focal point, and a long signature would be too distracting. My thoughts have turned to using my initials BLNS in a jumbled format. I have the next few days to decide. Oh... and I guess I had better pick out another subject to draw too!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I love it! A holiday that you can eat all you want all day long! Yay!! Okay, maybe Mew took it just a little to far! ;0)

Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Drawing a Bulldog 5

Yes, I am still plodding along on this guy! I am fitting in drawing time here and there, so he is moving along even if it is at a snail's pace. As you can see, I am working on the couch. The top of the cushion on the left is mapped in and will get more definition. The back half of the Bulldog's body needed some deepening of shadows and markings. I would imagine that the top half will require the need for more graphite as well. It was a relief (to me) that his face seems to be on the mark for intensity. The tweed of the couch was left out due to the size of the drawing, plus the intense pattern would have drawn away from the central focus. It was interesting to note, upon viewing the reference pic over and over, that the focus of the photograph was on the front cushions of the couch~ not on the dog. His face was out of focus, but (thankfully) the lines on his face cleaned up nicely on paper.

My hubby took his first look at him tonight and was happy. He even made the comment of how handsome the Bulldog breed is. I informed him that on the radio today an ad ran for a 10 week old male Bulldog for sale. Apparently, his love for the breed doesn't run that deep. He went back in the living room to watch TV with his cat! ;0)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Drawing a Bulldog 4

Well, our Bulldog has his face all blended and darkened. (I really have to find out what this guy's name was!) As I was getting ready to post, I was able to get a good look at my values and went back to the board to soften his face a little. Then, I took another pic. For some reason, it is easier to spot harsh values while up on the computer screen. I am pretty happy with where he is at right now. He has some depth to him which I was not sure could be created with the small photo reference. The background is now the last thing to do. The couch he is on is pretty dark, and sometimes I have to darken the main object more once the background goes in. My guess would be that the body might need some darker cast shadows. Time will tell...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Drawing a Bulldog 3

Is he starting to look like a bulldog yet? I sure hope so! Here is an update with the face mapped in. I will start blending and adjusting the graphite tomorrow. It is nice for me to see him up on the screen. The far away glance allows me to see if something is not quite right. He looks a little bold right now but that will be toned down in the next session. :0)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

All Hallows Eve

May you all have a Safe and
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Drawing a Bulldog 2

A little blending goes a long way! The bulldog's body is finished. I am very happy with the results. I went over the dark lines with a blending stump to work the graphite into the Bristol board. Then swiped across different regions of the body with various dirty stumps which caused most of the shading to happen naturally. If the shading was too dark, my kneaded eraser pulled it out. When working light areas, the sand paper pad was used to clean my stump so that the shading was very subtle. The best part was deepening the dark shadows. They make the body bounce from the page. I was a little nervous at first that this drawing would fall flat, due to its lack of strong details, but it seems to be going in the right direction.

Now, I will move onto the face. The details are not the greatest in that area, but the contrasts in value are very high. This should help to make it come forward and give the illusion of clear features. My hopes are beginning to rise with this drawing. I know it will look like an old photo when I am done (as it should), and my instincts are telling me that will be the charm of this particular drawing... at least I hope so! ;0)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Drawing a Bulldog Cont.

I thought that I should do a quick update to let you know this big guy is not being ignored. (Okay, maybe he was set aside for a little bit.) As you can see by my side bar, I have been creating a new blog for my recycled art, gourd sculpting, textile work, and any other artsy endeavor that may cross my path. It will also include more about my life and my other passions cooking and searching out vintage collectibles. I've added a little more info in my side bar on this blog as well, with just a few minor changes to go. I feel that I finally have some order back to my life and am glad that my other forms of art and interests have their own space to grow in.

Onward to the bulldog... As you can see, he has been transferred on a light box to Bristol board and taped off on the edges. I have mapped the major markers of his fur on the parts of his body that will be semi out of focus. These markers play an important part of recognizing the animal. I did not shade in the dark areas of the body just the cast shadows. The blending process will do a lot of the body shading for me. If I shade in this step, I run the risk of muddying my marks and would have to map them out all over again. (I do hate rework!) ;0)

I will finish up the body before doing the face. There are not many clear details in this vintage photo, but I think that some can be pulled out of the facial features. I am leaving the face until after the body so that smearing will be at a minimum. Since things have settled down around here to a normal pace, I hope to make some solid progress in the next couple of days. :0)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Drawing a Bulldog Portrait

It is time for a new beginning! This is the photo that has sat patiently by my drawing board's side for a chance to be put into graphite. It is a commission for a pet bulldog. The picture is in black and white. (Yes, I prefer color, but this will be an interesting change of pace.) The dog is a beloved pet that has been deceased for quite some time, so this will be the reference that I'll have to work from. There is not a lot of fine detail, but I am hoping that will not take away too much from the finished product. The talk was originally about taking the markings and putting it on another bulldog. It may sound crazy, but I would like to try this way of drawing him first, because this pose/composition is really him. Maybe it is the nit picky photo realist in me (more likely the devoted pet owner in me), but I want to see their honest to goodness pet in my finished work-- not a body double. This drawing will be my tribute to a family pet. I feel up for the challenge and hope to do this sweetheart the justice he deserves.

The original photograph is 4 1/2 x 3 1/2". The finished product will be 9 x 7". As you can see, my graph for the photograph is in 1/2 inch squares, and my sketch is graphed in 1 inch squares. I find it easier, oddly enough, to make the line drawings of the squares match, when I am enlarging the original subject (more room to work I guess!). The original photo does not have a lot going on object wise, so I did not take the time to blow up the photo for the initial sketch. The composition should remain the same as the original photograph, but I was given a close up of the face from another pose (that photograph is in small format, also). I was toying around with the idea of a mixed composition but haven't fallen in love with it, yet. I'll leave that idea floating around in my head for another day and make my decision.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

This Little Wonder Finished

 Happiness is calling a long work in progress finished! This artist will be smiling when I hit the 'publish post' button. I will then be able to enter the blissful state of a clear mind and new ideas...

Well, the background is complete. I honestly thought my last background on the 'Chick in Hand' was busy, but that was nothing compared to this one. It took me way more time than I had bargained for. I made myself walk away from it a few times, because it felt like the process was becoming a chore instead of a joy. The logical solution would be to do the background first in my drawings, but I can honestly say that idea does not set well with me. It is just a stumbling block to think that I have to do my main objects while being careful of graphite on the outskirts. (My preference is the most precise areas first with no distractions.) Another solution would be to go from left to right, but that scenario (in my opinion) only works in certain less busier compositions. The final and best solution is to work on my background in more sessions with less time spent. (I'll make a note of that!)

Where was I going with this?? Just rambling on a tangent... Okay, what did I do to finish up this drawing. Well for starters, I darkened up some of the folds and lines on the hands after the chick was rendered. The majority of this was needed due to some smearing that took away the deep values. Then onward to the background, its values were darker than the hands which made the very edges (of the hands) look light. So, out came the blending stump, and I made a smoother transition between the two. After that, it was simply a matter of being happy with the values of the background after the details had been put in. ( I use an eraser for most of my detail work, so I am constantly going back to darken.) Oh and almost forgot to mention, you'll notice that I did shave about a half inch from the left side of the composition. It was going to be a distraction and would add nothing to the finished work.

I hope this is all making sense. It is always hard to write a post on a day that I finish a drawing. I guess, my brain is still a jumbled mess. It was just important to me to get this one up right away and call it done!

What is next on the drawing board? Well, I have some really nice people waiting for their bulldog to be put into graphite. I have some reference pics that are very small. My cannon will get a run for its money while trying to enlarge and keep the details intact... might just have to call on a few friends for some photo favors on this one! I felt terrible not starting into this commission right away, but my mind was so deep into this project that I didn't dare start another one simultaneously.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This Little Wonder 6

My little baby chick is here. (Wasn't he so small? Ah, sweet memories!) It seems to have been a mistake on my part to render this little guy after the hands. It was a bear not to smear my work that was already completed. I had to tape paper over the right part of the hand, which is a quick fix but still can shift slightly. So, it was a constant battle to remember to keep lifting my hand when moving to other areas. I could have used a bridge, and actually did use my other hand as a support when doing the chicks feet, but do not like the distance from my bridge to the paper. There is an easy solution to this problem and that is simply to do a little more planning before drawing!!

After smoothing in the chick, I darkened in some shadows along the outside of the down and feet. It helped to push his light colored body away from the skin tones. I noticed after the chick's down was to the correct values that the hands are a little pale in a few areas. So, they will be given a little more depth before the background is put in. This drawing has paid dearly for the lack of time spent at the drawing table. It will probably go down as one of my longest works in progress!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

This Little Wonder 5

Here is a quick update. The watch band is completed, and the little chick is mapped in (except for his feet). That is the most graphite that will be added to him. He will get some blending and most of the defining details will be done with an eraser. The areas sketched in on him are his shadows, and the eraser will be used to draw in the actual fluffy down. I wanted to show the chick like this to illustrate that a little graphite goes a long way!

Look who came to dinner... This little guy showed up at my house in a cardboard box thanks to my darling son. You know him... the boy that was told no more pets. I was reminded that I only made reference to fish, chicks, dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, guinea pigs, and hermit crabs. In my ranting could you believe I left out rabbit? Leave it to him to attempt to find a loophole. That reminds me, I better make a note to tell him NO SNAKES!!
P.S. The breed of rabbit is called a lion head and let me add this little guy can eat and drink like a lion, too!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This Little Wonder 4

The lower hand is now complete, and the watch band is mapped out and ready to make its appearance. This will be followed by the little chick. The bottom hand was quite a struggle. The lighting of the pic made it a very odd shade (I work from color pics). Between light reflections and suntanned skin, it has been a journey. There will be lighter hairs that will be added later, along with a little evening of tones.

I do prefer to work from colored reference photos. I feel I achieve better shading... Maybe not text book method of shading in a sense, but intensity of shades as I see them. If you were to turn this one's reference pic into black and white, I doubt it would match up. I find black and white photos to be flat and 2 dimensional, which for some reason confuses my brain immensely. (And unfortunately, the work created translates as flat.) It is hard to explain... I guess I let my eye give certain colors their own value scale, and color transformed into graphite just seems to enrich my interpretation in the end result. (Or at least I hope so ;-) !) Or maybe this just translates into extra work, but the difference that I have seen in my finished work is night and day. I have never been accused of doing anything in my life in a conventional way!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

This Little Wonder 3

As you can see the top hand has made its complete appearance. After the background is put in, I will be adding hair onto the skin of the lower part of the hand and wrist area. The lower hand is getting mapped in from the thumb knuckle over. I thought it would be a good time to stop and take a picture to show the beginning stages of the mapping process. In the next step, this will get blended in and virtually lost. I will go back and sketch in the areas again and build up the value. Right now it looks awfully 'leopardy' but will smooth out to show the natural perfection (or imperfections) of human skin. Like the top hand, I will add the hair after the background.

It is amazing to get such a close look at human hands. The subtle changes to the skin tone can make one go crazy 'with a want' to make the shading too dark. Even the veins in the wrist can be detected as a slight discoloration to the skin tone. It makes me want to render them more clearly (darker) when I am looking at them up close. It helps to step back a lot from the drawing surface and sketch the base skin tones from a distance. There is always the fear that too much detail can be fatal...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This Little Wonder 2

I haven't had a whole lot of time at the drawing board lately. My cross stitch embroidery won out for most of the week! ;-) I have a tendency to immerse myself in one project for days on end. I desperately need to make a schedule to mix things up. Today, I vowed to put some time at the drawing board and was able to make a little progress. It was such a nice change. You may notice that I went back and pushed my darks a little more than in the previous work. The fingers were looking to washed out. That 9b pencil can work miracles! The parts of the hands that are yet to be rendered will be very light in value and detail. I think that change will throw the focus onto the little chick. Well enough of a break... back to the drawing board!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

This Little Wonder Cont.

Here is my progress since my last post. I managed to fit in a vacation in my absence from the blogosphere. The line drawing on Bristol went with me on my travels, but poor lighting and the lack of space to pack a drawing board, forced me to abandon my hopes of getting any of this drawing completed. Prop as I might, it just didn't feel right! Oh well... I received the news on Monday that my services were not needed at work on Tuesday. So, I was able to spend most of the daytime hours blissfully working away at my drawing board between loads of laundry.

I started this drawing on the thumb area. This was not the smartest of choices, since the thumb has a moderately dark value around the nail. After struggling for an hour, I decided to move to the top finger and its lighter shades. What a relief -- as I have been moving happily down the fingers since! At any rate, that is why you see the lonesome thumb started but not completed.

So how did I spend my summer vacation? Well, for the last 8 years we have been going on the 127 Corridor Yard Sale / Flea Market ( ). For those who are not familiar, the 127 Corridor is a scenic route through Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. It originally was 500 miles of yard sales and flea markets lining the road. Now it begins in Michigan and is extended to 675 miles. Although we arrived to our motel in 101 degree heat, the temps were really not that bad. From sun up to sun down, we walked through countless numbers of sales making our way down the corridor. It is a true modern day adventure.

Here is a small section of the highway. I think we were in Tennessee at the time. This is how a lot of the road looks heading towards Alabama for us. They flank both sides. Sales can be found in fields, fair grounds, abandoned buildings, parks, parking lots, and you name it!! Where ever they can set up. The vendors and travelers come from all over the country. It is the most amazing experience. The vendors bring the most interesting items to dig through, and our fellow travelers are the friendliest people to share stories with at the end of the day. I highly recommend this trip if you love flea marketing, but it does get remember to pack a lot of water in the cooler!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

This Little Wonder

Remember those little chicks that my son brought home? Well, here is the drawing that has begun and is based on a pic of my husband holding one of our smallest chicks. The drawing will be roughly 9 x 7". The dimensions may change when I get to the background. I am not really happy with the area to the left, so it might get shaved down a half of an inch. As you can see, not much goes into my initial rough. It is mainly done to get the outline to the main characters. The background is not even roughed in. I find that since my backgrounds are usually in some form of 'out of focus' that is usually best to have no semblance of hard lines visible. There will not be as much detail to this drawing, so it will be fun to see how it transforms.

I had thought about alternating subjects and getting away from the 'hands' theme on this one, but I fell in love with this pic from the beginning. The photo was taken as I began the last drawing, and I spent the whole time creating that one and thinking of this one. :-( That took a considerable amount of fun out of the creative process. At any rate, I am going to get this one in progress! As always, this drawing will use Bristol as the support, a 2b mechanical pencil, 9b wood case pencil, kneaded eraser, stick eraser, and several stumps!!

Speaking of the chicks, here they are present day. Whoops, Whitey is showing everyone his fine tail feathers. It is hard to get good pics when they are constantly in motion!! They get to wander in their little flock outside now. (Only under supervision.) They taunt each other and jump strait up in the air like little jumping beans. It is so funny to watch. Now and then, one will bully another, the whole flock will start jumping up and down, and run in circles. Poor little Blackie will taunt the air. (I think he has imaginary enemies ;)! ) He is extremely energetic and a lot smaller than the rest of the group, but he is a tough little guy!! So many different personalities. I could spend hours watching them play. Unfortunately, they will be leaving soon. I can honestly say this was a great group to end my chick raising days with. Their antics are better than any prime time show!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chick in Hand Finished

Happy Birthday to me!! I kept a promise to myself that I would be able to put this one up in its entirety on my birthday, and I am happy to say, "Mission complete." My first completed work of the start of my 42 nd year of life. I look forward to completing many more!!

It seems like a long time since the word finished has been written here. It will sit on the board for a few days before I revisit and touch up. The finished work is 8 x 7 inches. The background photographed a little grainy. It must be the work lights, but I was determined to finish up and post tonight. I look forward to moving onto a drawing with a little less detail!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Chick Drawing 5

The dreaded cuff has now come into view!! I would have really liked to come onto the blog this morning and tell you that the cuff was nowhere near the challenge my mind had made it into... but that would be far from the truth. So many lines!! Honestly speaking, the graph was the sanity saver in this whole scenario. Normally the graph is used to be a loose form of line placement. For the cuff, I clung to it pretty tightly to show me where all those little lines needed to be placed. In the end, I had to do the 3 foot step back and make the piece cohesive with my eyes. It is pretty close right now but will probably get some alterations before it is called finished.

One thing learned during the progress of this drawing is that I must be building more confidence in my abilities as an artist. When I start a drawing, my normal method of building a project is to go object by object of my choosing. (Not very smart I know, but it is my brain I am dealing with! ;-)) In the Dani Exercise Drawing, I picked the most difficult object first...the ball. In this drawing, I knew that the cuff was the problem, and it was put in the final slot of the three main objects. (Natural avoidance!) I never would have taken a chance like that at the beginning of the year. I really didn't think about what I had done (thank heavens!) until I had reached the lower third of the cuff. I'd like to think this is some breakthrough...Time will tell!!

Back to the drawing, I did have to break out the 9b pencil. The shadows between the fingers were darkened, and it had a huge impact on the depth of the cuff. During the drawing of the cuff, I threw a piece of paper over the chick and hand. I was careful not to shift my hand without lifting, so not to smear the drawing underneath. The paper could have been turned during this process to avoid that, but I really didn't want to add to the challenge of the cuff. I will turn the paper when doing the background. With all the dark values on the paper, the chance of smearing the work is so much higher. So this is where I am at right now. Very relieved and ready to go on to the background.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Chick Drawing 4

The little chick has finally emerged! I am not use to working with such light shadows. It took a good part of a day for him to make his entry onto paper. The shadows will still have to be refined, but I think there is enough of him here for you to see where I am headed. He will not get much darker, only in a couple of areas. The fluff on his body will be put in after the background is added. Ah yes the background... the reference pic shows a dark background with a lot of detail. I do not mind it being dark but do not care for all the details. So, I think there will be some artistic license taken, and the background will be simplified and muted. For some reason I am avoiding the sleeve. Between you and me, I would say it is the ribbing on the cuff that is the cause!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chick Drawing 3

All the fingers are accounted for... onward to the chick! This is where I am at right now on the drawing board. There will be a few alterations here and there where the fluff of the chick comes onto the fingers. I am pretty happy with the progress when compared to the time that has been (or hasn't been) spent at the drawing board. I will get some good time in tonight and tomorrow, so it will be exciting for me to pick up a little speed on this one. So far, I am only working with my 2b mechanical pencil. When the drawing gets closer to completion, the overall look will tell me if the 9b needs to come into play.

I wish my drawing was progressing as fast as the feathers on my chicks! Look at all those wonderful little feathers coming in. If you look at his feathers right behind his head, you will see how the curl up. It makes them look as if they have a fluffy boa around their neck. My black chick is nowhere near this point. I do not know why, but his little body is taking its time on filling out. Of course, he was born a day later than this little guy. We were surprised to find out that one of the yellow chicks is getting in a brown variegated feather. I have never had one of that color. He is a lethargic little bird and will only set down when taken out of the cage. He can walk fine but just doesn't care to do it much. It concerns me greatly, but my son tells me that I am just being paranoid... that could be. ;-) All chicks have such individual personalities. I love how they try to act so tough, but when you go to take them out of the cage, they scramble and hide in a pile in the corner. I thought about taking them outside today, but the weather is not cooperating... maybe tomorrow!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chick Drawing 2

Making a little progress this week. I find myself going back and making things darker. The bottom part of the hand is finally where I want it to be. The bottom section definitely was the most challenging part of the hand. This drawing is going back to my traditional way of constructing a piece. I have a tendency to do one object at a time. The draw back to this method is smear ability! That is why I jumped to the bottom of the hand and am working my way up. Unfortunately, the sleeve is to the left of the composition and that will make the drawn hand become the resting point for my drawing hand. (That is the problem with my method.) I could always turn the drawing and reference pic and work upside down which is always a great way to brush up on skills, but I'll see when the time comes. More than likely, I will throw a piece of tracing paper over the hand. ;-)

Just a little update on my chicks. They are growing fast! See the wing feathers, they start to curl when they come in and make the chicks look fluffy and larger than their actual size. If you look at the feet, you will notice that feathers are appearing on their legs and down one toe. These will get very prominent. They actually resemble big feathery shoes when they are grown and gives them such a fancy, ornate look. It won't be very long and they will have all their feathers in. Chickens are amazing with how fast they grow up!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Chick Drawing Cont.

Here is my progress on the drawing so far. I might need to darken the values as the other fingers appear. It always takes me awhile to warm up to skin tones when I have been away from them for a time. The background will probably be indistinguishable and muted. I'm not totally sure yet how I want it to be.

I promised you a picture of Fred and his sisters. Not a very good picture is it? Well his new Daddy came to pick him up, it was late at night, and the pic was taken in a hurry. (Sorry :( ) They were way to big for us to keep, and as I said before, rain delayed his departure by a few weeks. This did not make my husband very happy. (Although I do not know why, he wasn't the one in charge of cage cleaning duty!) So being the ever vigil parent, I told my son that Fred needed to go. It was also made quite clear that this was to be the ABSOLUTE last batch of chicks that would grace my basement. I know it sounds harsh, but you give my kid an inch... he will take a mile. I meant business. If he is the one who loves farming, why am I the one hatching and raising chicks? That's it...NO more...All done...

...So two days later these little guys arrived....WHAT? I have never been accused of being timid or soft spoken. There is no way my son didn't get the message above loud and clear. Could he be deaf, I asked myself??? Oh no... Does he have a death wish? I sometimes wonder... Does he trust to much in the fact that I will fall in love with these little fuzzies, and there by absolve him from any wrong doing? You betcha!

He started by bringing them home in an ice cream bucket, assuring me that he was just as surprised as me. Right?? Okay, he admitted, he let the hen hatch a batch. They were going to be little Frizzle birds. Frizzles?? They have the tiniest little chicks. He appealed to my sense of sympathy. One of the little ones didn't make it, because its mother wouldn't take care of it. Thankfully, I was told, four had made it. Darn it why do they have to be so small and cute? WHY? (Just to gage size the skunk in there with them is a tiny beanie baby. I'd put the smallest at the size of a silver dollar.)

So I regrouped. I would agree to raise this batch as my FINAL farewell. For those that are faint of heart, I will edit out the part where I told my husband. Let me just say he was far from thrilled! But have no fear, my son made sure to be nowhere around during the time of disclosure. I carefully explained that these were the final four. Our son made us a more.

Take a careful count and check of body colors and tell me how good my son keeps his promises. Is something wrong here?? That's what I thought after my husband and I came back from doing a brush chipping job for our tree business the next day. Did he think I wouldn't notice an extra bird? I think color alone gave this little guy away. Ooops, my son assures me this is really the last one. I wanted so much to be mad, but this little guy is about the size of a half dollar... Probably the tiniest chick we have ever had or that I have ever raised. What's one more? AAAAAGH! If you could just hold this little guy (who weighs nothing) and have him fall asleep in your hand, you would understand. My husband gave my son a look of disgust and disappointment. (But between you and me, I talked him into being the hand model holding these little guys for a future drawing. Trust me he wasn't complaining!) So now, they are downstairs eating and growing. My son put a little porthole on the side of the box and covered it in plexi glass, so if we are ever in the basement, we always have an audience. Don't tell my son, but I will miss these little ones when they are gone... :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chick Drawing

Here is the next line drawing. The finished work should be around 8 x 7 ". Since we have had so many baby chicks around the house, it made for a great opportunity for a photo shoot. This little girl is a lot bigger now. She is an adopted sister to Fred the turkey. (We lost Gene ten days after his birth.) Now Fred and his two sisters will be leaving this week for their new home in the country. They should have left some time ago, but rain has delayed the building of their own private home. Their new owners have decided to let them remain their own special family and not separate them. I will try to get some updated pics for you to see before they go.

I think tonight, I might work on another line drawing. My original thought was to do a portrait next. But this picture showed up on my camera, got printed out, and ended up on the board. How did that happen? ;-) I have two portrait pics that are calling out to me. Oddly enough, I feel no need to be orderly right now. So I will take advantage of it and get as many line drawings going as I can stand. Picking compositions has never been easy for me. If I can get a couple of line drawings done in a row, I am going for it! Then hopefully, this blog will not have so much down time in between drawings. :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Squirrel Drawing Finished

Here it is finally completed. Or at least close enough to post! I will let it sit on the drawing board for a few days and look at it with fresh eyes. Finished drawing is 9x7". I am very happy with the finished product but think I will stray away from the animal scene for the next one. I ended up using a lot of 9b in this one. That made for many layers. On to the next, hopefully lighter, subject!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Squirrel Drawing Cont. 5

Here is where I am at today. I just started to bring the birch branch forward. The main branch to the right will get deeper in value and blended to push it into the background, and then I will do the shading and detailed work on the section in front that is in focus. There will still be some more time tonight to work, but I wanted to post it at this stage. It helps me to chronicle how a piece comes together for future reference. The squirrel has been given heavier cast shadows to match the photo reference. (And now that I am looking at it on the screen, I might darken his back a little more. It is where the light source hits the strongest, but I think I can go a little deeper in value.) He has taken quite a bit of time as I go back and forth deciding how to get that short fur to look right. I must say it has been a learning experience. I know I moved faster than this on my self portrait... AAAAGH!! Back to the drawing board...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Squirrel Drawing Cont. 4

Here is the next update to the squirrel drawing. As you can see, I added in more of the background to the right and completed his other hand and tail area. Now, I will move on to his whitish under belly and feet. The right side of the background will be considerably lighter and not as busy as the left. With the holiday weekend upon me, I hope to get the time to finish this one. (Sorry for the washed out photo! Graphite does not photograph well in a sunny studio. I promise to get a better pic of the finished work. )
Long time since the last post. What have I been doing?? Believe it or not, I have been hatching chicks. This little guy here is named Fred. Fred is a little turkey. He and his brother were born within a few hours of each other. His little brother, whose name is Gene, had trouble coming out of his egg and was delivered by yours truly. We have since found out that Gene's inability to hatch himself out was due to a problem with his left leg. At the present moment, they are both doing well and are very noisy and active. My son does not like me naming the birds. He believes I become to attached. Who me?? If you hadn't guessed I named them after two famous actor/dancer/choreographers. And boy do they live up to their names. They are constantly moving (or dancing ;-) ) around the cage with those long legs!!

Here is Fred at a tamer moment as his brother was just delivered in the background. He thought he'd take a peek at the outside world.

These guys arrived already hatched on the same day that the two above were born. The majority of them were a couple of weeks old, but the guy threw in four that were newborns. This did not work out well as two ended up dying. So while my son was gone, I pulled out the two remaining little chicks and stuck them in with Fred and Gene, since they are very close in age. At first the little chickens just stared at those long legged birds! What in the heck are those things?!! It was so funny. But in the end, they were piled in a little heap under the heat lamp in the corner. Aren't families great!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Squirrel Cont. 3

Busy weekend, but a little progress was made on the drawing. As you can see, he now has a face. His whiskers have made their appearance, even though some will be elongated later. I have been double checking the values in the shadows of the fur, and they might have to be altered once the body is finished. My main objective is to get the fur laid in the right direction then worry about cohesiveness later. This little guy is actually a roan color for the main part of the body with a gray/white under belly. With the sun hitting at his back, it is making a job of translating it all into shades of gray. Although more than likely, I am just over thinking the task!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Squirrel Drawing Cont. 2

Here is a quick update to show how this drawing is progressing. The background was drug over a little farther to the right to accommodate the bush of the tail that needed to be rendered. A good part of his tail can be seen and the majority of his head. I went back and darkened up the background blur with a 9b pencil. Usually I will wait until the end of the project to darken values, but it was throwing off my shading of the squirrel. This little guy's head has given me quite a time! I am not accustomed to rendering short haired animals. It has been quite the learning experience. It was a strategic move to do the face first on this one. I figured it was the shortest haired area and the spot on the body with the most detail. Hopefully, the pace will pick up with the other areas.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Squirrel Drawing Cont.

"What is that?" you ask. Hopefully to be followed by--"It looks blurry." ;-) At least I hope that is what you are thinking. The answer to the question is that this is half of my out-of-focus background. I know this does not bring a whole lot of anything to the table, but this is what I have done so far. It has taken me a few sessions to get all that blur going on! It made me rather nervous to start the background first. My comfort level is pretty low. At first, I was going to do all the background; but after some thought, I decided to stop midway. The squirrel will be the next part to be rendered. If the background on the right of the picture was finished, it would make me nuts. I would have to cover that part of the drawing while I worked on the squirrel, because that is where I would rest my hand. Not that blurring it more would be a bad thing, but it just makes me uncomfortable. An artists bridge would solve the problem, but me and my bridge do not get along very well! I cannot remember a project that I used the poor thing on. Aaaaah, maybe someday...

Friday, April 30, 2010

Squirrel Drawing

I thought I'd show this project in its earliest stage. This is the initial sketch before being transferred to the final surface of Bristol board. I am in the process of darkening the sketch, so it will be easier to see through the Bristol on the light box. As you can see (or hopefully can see!) this is going to be a little squirrel in a tree. I fell in love with this picture partly because of the lights and darks of the squirrel, but mostly for the birch tree that he was found on. The limb has such a nice contrast on its bark, and it is so defined in detail and goes out of focus as it recedes into the background. The background itself is so blurry that it makes a nice frame around the central focus of the squirrel. At least that is what I hope the finished piece will convey! ;-)

I know that there are some (even a close friend of mine) that find squirrels to be quite a nuisance. ( They do have fun emptying bird feeders.) But in their defense, I find them to be hours of fun to watch. I had one in my backyard a week ago that was thrilled to find the bits of hot dog buns that were thrown out for the birds. He frantically went around digging tiny holes, depositing the chunks of bread, covering them up with dirt, and carefully patting the earth smooth over them. He must have hid a couple dozen pieces! He treated himself to a couple of chunks for all of the hard work as the sparrows ate happily along side him. I have never seen a squirrel do that before, and unfortunately for him, we received a steady rainfall that night. Rain, dirt, and bread? Oh my! I am sure all the earthworms were very thankful for Mr. Squirrel's contribution to their underground food pantry!! All this natural entertainment and all it cost me was a few left overs... Some of the best things in life really are free!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Self Portrait Finished

It took me awhile to get the hair done! I honestly thought it would be easier, since it was pulled back, but that was not the case. As you can see, the light was coming from the back on the right. I took the liberty of making the light not as harsh. If the drawing had a darker background, I could have made the light hitting the hair more stark. Honestly, I prefer it like it is. It was a very harsh photo with stark lights and jet blacks. I also gave the shirt more detail and a nubby finish that it should've had. For my first profile portrait, I am very happy. It is unanimous here that it does in fact look like me and the photo. So, that is a plus!!

What to do next? I am not sure. No predictions this time, since they never seem to work out. I will just take a day to think about it...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Self Portrait Cont.

Progress... I seem to move quicker when animal fur isn't involved! The first picture is my work space. I like to have the photo image higher than my work. Most of the time the Mylar graph is pulled back so the shadows of the face are easier to see. Speaking of shadows, either the lighting was treating me very unkind or winter definitely had taken its tole on me when this picture was taken. I have a dark circle under my eye. This must have been the week that I couldn't find my under the eye concealer ;0) ... Yikes! Well, I can even be thankful for being exhausted, because it sure made the area around the eye easier to define.

Oddly enough, the eye was the last feature that was rendered on the face. It occurred to me later that this was taking a big chance, since I have never had to draw an eye from a side point of view. I am very happy with how it turned out. My main priority was to keep the life spots as clean as possible. Now the trick will be to not smear them while working on the hair.

It has been relaxing to work on smooth skin again. Large sections can be worked on at a time. (When working on the fur of animals, I have to keep the sections so much smaller to maximize the detail.) It is a funny feeling at the end of a drawing session to stand back and realize that it is my profile starting to come to life on paper. One of my son's friends (who apparently is easy to impress ;0) ! ) looked at the drawing the other night and said it was amazing. I looked up from my drawing board and replied, " I know I am." That made for a good laugh! I can't imagine what he thought of me drawing myself... It is kind of funny to think about, but my son's friend has known me since he was 2 years old (18 yrs.), and he has never known that I could even draw...