Friday, June 27, 2014

Pride and Joy

It's taken me awhile to gain the confidence or courage to work a serious sketch of my youngest fur-baby.  This is Miya we traveled six hours one way to get one year for my birthday. 

We had a choice between her and a sister.....Miya being the runt.  The sister was very stand offish not really wanting anything to do with us whereas Miya came right up to Terry first thing.  Terry and I were both sitting on the floor and after she spent a bit of time with Terry, she came over and climbed up nestling in my lap.

Both pups were adorable and we had seen them online before making an appointment to drive out and spend some time with the dogs.  Initially we were attracted to the sister due to her markings but was disappointed in her reaction to us.  We started leaning towards Miya because of how friendly she was but the breeder was concerned after learning we had a large lab/collie mix that Miya might easily get hurt.  After quite a long while, the breeder had convinced us that we'd be better off taking the larger pup. 

I remember picking up the sister and sitting at the table to finalize the sale.as the breeder took Miya and placed her in a room closing the door.  As the breeder was going over the paperwork, Miya started pitching a horrible sounding fit making noises he'd never heard or experienced from the pups before.  And I think he could tell I was very torn about the decision he had initially convinced us to make.  He asked me..........would you prefer the other pup and I immediately said yes.  No sooner did he get Miya and place her in my lap, she immediately settled down.  Miya chose us and the breeder even made a comment about that.

As for her being so small and Smudge being so much bigger..........not a problem!  Smudge for one thing being a very gentle, calm, and loving dog would let Miya do anything to include climbing all over him.  At age five, Miya rules keeping Smudge and our other small dog in line.  She also helps keep them young both being 14 and 15 years old.

My sketch is Miya back before we started keeping her fur trimmed.  Her long fur is super fine and baby soft easily getting matted so we keep it rather short to save from having to cut out large sections we can't work out with a brush or comb.

Sketched in the Handbook journal with a Pentel Twist Erase mechanical pencil 05 lead.

To tackle this, I started at the nose and worked up to the eyes, the top, down the sides and finally below the nose.  If I started to feel a bit confused or lost with all the multi-colored, wavy fur, I would concentrate on the light and the dark shapes working one section at a time.  Used a tortillion for blending and shading and a kneaded eraser to go back and lift areas as needed.






Eastern Towhee - Pen and Ink

Here is another of the birds we'd not seen before we moved out to the country.  Early morning and evening you can stand outside and hear all this rustling in the woods leaving you to think something bigger than a bird is scurrying around on the ground.  They hop around on the ground using both feet at the same time kicking up leaves looking for food.  And they hop backwards when doing so.

These guys are beautifully marked with the males with Black, Rust Brown and White bodies.  The females are more brown in the body areas that are black on the males.  And the neatest feature to me is the red eyes.

Their song is a beautiful sound which I've read put to words sounds like "drink some tea" with the tea kind of going like this....... t-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-a .  Definitely unique and one easily identified as made by the Towhee.

The photo is one of several I took of this guy after he flew into our sliding glass door that stunned him for awhile before finally taking off.   I had heard the thump and went to investigate finding him on the ground.  I went outside to see how badly injured he was making sure his wings were OK, etc.  Then went for my camera.  If he was frightened of me, he sure didn't act like it.  Of course he was probably knocked so silly that he was too out of it to really be concerned about me.  After taking several photos, I sat with him and even stroked his head and back for awhile..........gently talking to him.  I knew he was OK when he started to hop away and then took flight into the brush.

Here is a sketch I've worked from this photo in my Stillman & Birn Alpha journal using primarily pen and ink with just a touch of watercolor.  Pens used were the Pilot Prera with Lexington Gray ink and a Micron Black 03.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bird Discovery on Property

The three and a half years we've been up here on the hill, we've seen several bird species we hadn't seen living in town.  So far we've seen and enjoyed watching the Pileated woodpeckers, Towhees, Eastern Phoebe, and now a new bird we needed to identify.

I had to study the momma bird sitting on her nest taking note of her coloring, marks on body, eye color and the shape of the beak.  Came inside and looked it up discovering we have a nesting Brown Thrasher. 

She is this beautiful reddish brown bird (cap, back and wings) with white chest and belly that has these beautiful black marks speckling up and down the front. And her eyes are a bright yellow you can't miss.  From what I understand looking her up, this species has multiple song sounds I believe they pick up from other song birds.  And this bird is a rather large bird compared to other song birds we are used to seeing.

The nest is about eye level (about 5 ft or so off the ground) in a thicket of brambles and a shrub we've yet to identify that has white flowers in the Spring that smell heavenly.  This shrub is leaning up against a fence in our back yard.  Momma will let us walk up but she gets a bit nervous us standing there and will leave the nest diving into the thickets I'm sure hoping we follow her away from her eggs.  From what we've been able to see, the eggs (unsure how many) are a light color......white maybe but a bit hard to tell without stepping on a ladder to see down inside.

Here is a quick sketch as a memory of our discovery.........pen and ink plus watercolor in the Handbook.  Using a Micron 005 and 03.



Poppies Loosely Rendered

I absolutely love poppies but find I struggle painting them for some reason.  Here are two pages in my Alpha journal using pen and ink plus watercolor.  Rather than get too involved, I decided to try and capture in a loose manner hoping I wouldn't over-work as I have in the past when applying color.



Glass Study

I've been sketching almost daily but a bit behind in posting to my blog (so what's new you ask?? lol). 
This first is practicing glass in graphite.  Worked in the Handbook using only a mechanical pencil 05 (Twist Erase) and tortillion to blend/shade.

Working in pencil helps me gain a little confidence figuring if I can do it in graphite, I can feel better about trying in color.



After working the pencil sketch, I decided to try my hand at a small glass vase using pen and ink plus watercolor.  Sketched in the S&B Alpha journal using a Micron for the black ink work and Stabilo pen for the dark pink.  Opera and Quin Rose were used to paint the carnations.




Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Face of a Lion Carving

Last night I was in the mood for just sketching with pencil.  I find the blending/shading to be extremely relaxing.  Was in no rush but just leisurely worked on this as I watched TV.

It's from a photo I took while on holiday in the UK back in 2010.  The wood carving is a long piece that has this full bodied lion along with acorns and oak leaves carved.  The face is what captured my attention.

Mechanical pencil 0.5 (Twist Erase) in cartridge paper sketchbook.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Favorite Building in Fairmont

There's just something really intriguing to me about this particular building that sits on a bridge in Fairmont.  Inside is an elevator and it takes you down to what used to be a parking lot for those working in downtown above at bridge level.  Free parking that has been replaced by metered parking and lots you have to pay to park.

Alpha 4 x 6 journal; Micron #02 and #03; mechanical pencil for initial pencil sketch; Daniel Smith watercolors.



Thursday, June 19, 2014

Clematis Last Remains

This is the remnants of my clematis I brought in watching one bud open and now withered and drooping ready to be pitched.

The leaves are still green and there remains a single bud that refuses to open. 

Worked in the Alpha 4 x 6 journal painted in watercolor first and then pen and ink using the Pilot Prera and Lexy Gray ink.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bird, Artificial Flowers, and Lucky Bamboo

This is from a plant my sister decorated working at HEB in Texas.  She adds the little artificial flowers and little decorations like the bird when shipments come into the Florist Department.

I absolutely love this plant and have sketched it a time or two over the last two years.  This time I decided to sketch and paint using watercolor.

Worked in the Stillman & Birn Alpha 4 x 6 journal.  Pilot Prera with Lexington Gray ink and used a white sharpie here and there at the end.

I remembered to scan along the way.............

Initial pencil sketch and after adding a few more bits as filler




Pen and Ink and after applying watercolor and touching here and there with the white sharpie






Monday, June 16, 2014

Some of My Pencils and Related

After working two pages sharing most of my pens, I just had to include a page in my journal with some of my favorite or most used pencils.  This by no means comes close to the number I have on hand between graphite to color pencils to watercolor pencils.

This is the third page in my S&B Beta journal using pen and ink plus Daniel Smith watercolors.

The pen work is using a Micron 005.  Also used a Sharpie Extra Fine white marker pen (water based).  The Sharpie was used for lettering and I think I had as much fun putting the lettering in to look as it does as I did the entire page.

From left to right........

Staedtler Pencils - I have an entire set ranging from 6H to 8B.  Normally I use the B range but now and then I might use one of the H grades.

Derwent Water Soluble Graphite - On hand I have Light Wash (HB), Medium Wash (4B), and the Dark Wash (8B).  Most often used dry.

Derwent Watercolour Pencils (Blue Gray) - This one I use sometimes when putting in a light sketch before painting.  Being a watercolor pencil, it dissolves.  The idea comes from Cathy Johnson :-)

Derwent Graphic - I have a range of these pencils as well.

Gold Pencil Sharpener - this is a neat sharpener you can change out blades easily.

Silver Pencil Sharpener - This cuts beautifully and works well with the slimmer pencils.  A friend in the UK sent me several of these.

Putty/Rubber Eraser - My #1 favorite eraser and what I use most.

Plastic Eraser - I seldom use this type eraser as I fear it messing up the paper.

Staedtler 925 07 and 08 - I picked two pencils up like this when visiting a framing shop in North Carolina with my mother-in-law.  They are thin mechanical pencils and a joy to use.

Twist Erase - My #1 favorite mechanical pencil.  I have three - 05, 07, and 09.  For me the rubber barrels helps when I struggle with arthritis in my hand.



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Florida White Ibis for Travis

My youngest son has been sending me photos from his phone he takes while out and about in Florida........anything he might think I'd want to sketch or paint.  I did this quick sketch just for him and sent it via phone text.  He loved it!

Worked in the S&B Alpha journal using Daniel Smith watercolors and then pen and ink using a Micron 01 pen.


Friday, June 13, 2014

More Pens

This is the second page in my Stillman & Birn Beta journal showing more of the various type pens I have.  Not all as there are still a few others.  Winsor & Newton watercolors used for all with a #8 Round and a 3/8" Angular Flat

Tombow Dual Marker pens - I have several in all different colors but my favorite is the black because a wash can show different colors when dry that makes up the black....particularly blue and red or mauve.

Rotring - I have two different nib sizes in this pen.  There are cartridges made for this pen that is a very deep rich black.  The ink seems to explode when you add a water wash to it.  Can make for some really nice ink and wash sketches but a little does go a long way.  I normally use an angular flat to help control the amount of bleeding when water applied.

Dip Pens - I love these two pens particularly the brownish colored barrel due to the type nib on it.  I have no idea when or where I picked these up.  I use these when wanting to use other color inks I fear messing up my fountain pens..........like most browns.

Micron - Good ole Pigma Microns.  :-))  I have these in various colors and various nib sizes.  For a nice consistent permanent ink line, these are the way to go.  Normally I prefer the variation in line with fountain pen nibs but sometimes I like the consistency of these Microns.




Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Fountain Pens

I started a new Stillman & Birn Beta journal and started my first page showing the various Fountain Pens I  have on hand.

Each pen illustration was sketched and description written out using the individual pen illustrated.   All pens have Noodler's Lexington Gray ink which when dry is water proof allowing for watercolor washes without ink bleed.

A #8 Round brush was used to paint each pen using the wet in wet technique.  Love how wet in wet works on this paper!

Paints used:  Winsor & Newton watercolors for all pens except the Pilot Prera (Green pen) which was painted using Daniel Smith watercolors.

As noted by X2 and X3, I have that many of the same type pen with different inks in them.  With the Pilot Prera, I have two pens one with Lexington Gray ink and the other Namiki Black which is a water soluble ink.  With the Platinum Carbon pens, I have three .... one with.Lexington Gray ink, Noodler's #41 Brown, and one for now with the standard cartridge black you can purchase for the pen.  When that cartridge is empty, I will probably fill it with the Namiki water soluble or might even go with a Blue Black ink.

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed sketching and painting in the Beta sketchbook journal. 

Baby Eastern Phoebe Pen and Ink


It's only taken me a year to gain the courage to attempt this little guy. He's a baby Easter Phoebe..........one of two babies in the nest above a light fixture over our basement door.

I had to take a photo as I stood up on step stool to get this close shot. Momma was right close by just a squawking at me. It wasn't long after this photo that babies left the nest.

After the nest was empty, we removed it but Momma rebuilt this year and had more babies. We think three this time. At one point when we went into the basement from that door, she flew inside and we had a time trying to help her find her way back out. 

Until we moved into this house two years ago, we'd never heard of a phoebe much less seen one. In fact we've seen a few different species we've never seen before to include the Towhee and another small brownish bird we've not been able to identify. 

Worked in the Handbook with Micron 01 for a good part of the sketch and then switched over to the 005.

Experimenting with Technique

These two watercolor sketches are experiments where I'm trying to loosen up a bit.

The first was using a 1" flat.  My goal was to only suggest the foliage without getting too detailed.  I also decided to try and mix my own greens from the primaries rather than using a tube green as a base to add other colors to.

Working in the Stillman & Birn Alpha journal using W&N watercolors.

Painted first and then used pen and ink (Pilot Prera and Lexy Gray ink) for detailing.




This one was trying a different blue/yellow combination for foliage as well as suggestive brush strokes.  Definitely different for me.

Also worked in the Alpha journal painted first and then some pen and ink as above.



Sunday, June 8, 2014

Jake and Violet - Graphite

Here are two more graphite sketches I did last night and early morning hours.  Using a mechanical and 8B pencil in the Cartridge sketchbook.



Saturday, June 7, 2014

My Micro-Fish Tool

While watching TV last night, I leisurely sketched this little tool I carry when I go fishing.  It was sketched in my small Moleskine watercolor sketchbook using the Pilot Prera with the dry feeding nib and Lexington Gray Ink. 

When working very light plus the dry feed, it can be passed off as if using graphite.  Love the color of this ink.  With more pressure, the darker and more ink like it looks.  I find working with this pen and ink, it really goes well with graphite.

First sketched using the pen to include some of the shading.  The key ring gizmo is pen and ink cross hatching multiple times until I achieved the dark look.  Where I used graphite and blending was the light smooth finish to the fishing tool itself and the cast shadows.  A tortillion was used for blending.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Pen and Ink - Gas Can

Tonight's little sketch worked in my small Moleskine Watercolor sketchbook.

First illustration is using the Pilot Prera and Lexy Gray ink only. 

The second is after adding a touch of color using a Blue Gray wc pencil and Bt Sienna Polychromos color pencil. Went back over in just a few areas with a Micron 005.

Pen and Ink shading on the can was first done using the dot method and then went back over the area with very short light hatch and cross hatch marks using the Pilot Prera (with my dry feed nib) for a bit more volume.

Source from Paint my Photo / Lillian Bell / Gas Can Collection. I chose one can (in the box in the photo) as my model.



Thursday, June 5, 2014

Opal in Graphite

Tadaaa..............this post finally brings me up to date.  Worked early this morning using a 8B Mars Lumograph pencil and tortillion to shade in the cartridge paper sketchbook.  This is of my little bear I like to sketch often. 


Micron Pen Play

Two pages in the Moleskine Watercolor sketchbook worked late yesterday.  Was playing with my set of Pigma Micron pens.

With the leaves, I took a dirty tortillion and added some shading.


Birds and Blooms

I'm finally getting there sharing my most recent.  Both in the Handbook.

The Sand Hill Cranes are from a phone camera Terry took of these majestic birds in Florida.  They can stand as tall as 4 feet; mate for life; and have the cutest little orange fluff ball chics.  They are not afraid of people and you often have to stop and allow them to mosey on across the road before proceeding forward in the car.  They visit people's properties in the subdivisions.  In fact these birds were at our neighbor's in Florida and make the neatest call.

I was told this is typical.  While one feeds, the other will keep watch.


This next one is from an end piece I cut from our Clematis growing in the back yard.  I had to rescue the bud as one of the tendrils or whatever you call them had wrapped itself around the end of the bud.  After unwrapping that tendril, I set the cutting in water and all evening watched this slowly open.


Graphite Sketches

These were worked in my small Moleskine Watercolor sketchbook but using graphite and blending with a tortillion.

The little bottle of lens cleaner I worked from an actual subject.  The door knocker from one of my photos.


Decided to add a little color using color pencils.....




Practicing Hair

After sketching a few facial features, I decided I wanted to try hair.  These are all from imagination.....no model to work from. 

Worked in cartridge paper sketchbook with pencils as mentioned next to illustrations.


Battle Between Left and Right Side of the Brain

I struggled with this one.  I could feel myself falling in and out of the right side of the brain mode unable to keep focus.

Worked in the Handbook with water soluble ink.


Still Catching Up

I cannot believe how far behind I fell posting what I've been doing.  Here are three more pen and ink sketches.

All worked in the Handbook sketchbook.




Tuesday, June 3, 2014

More Pen and Ink plus Watercolor

Here are more pen and ink plus watercolor sketches I've worked over the last couple of weeks.

Working in the Handbook journal.....







Moleskine Watercolor Journal.  These are all along our property and when walking outside, it just smells heavenly.  While walking my youngest dog, I decided to grab a piece and sketch after I went back inside.


 




Back to Pen and Ink plus Watercolor

Working in graphite helped me get back into sketching and found I was ready to get back into pen and ink.

This page is worked in the sketchbook with cartridge paper.  I wanted to test how well the paper handled watercolor.  It didn't do too badly but did bleed through the paper.  There was only a slight curving of the paper due to the wetness.

This is a chimney on our house.


Practicing Facial Features

For weeks I went not doing much with my journals........mainly due to packing and getting ready to move.  Plus I was just lacking motivation.

A very dear friend of mine helped with the motivation I needed by sharing a portrait tutorial sharing stages from initial line sketch to complete portrait (thank you, Clare).  Although I wasn't quite up for trying a complete portrait, I decided to take what I was learning and apply to individual features.

These graphite sketches are working both by observation and also trying the gridding method.

All worked in the sketchbook with cartridge paper (except the last one as noted on the page) I picked up in the UK a few years ago. 






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