Thursday, June 22, 2017

How to Disassemble Your Favorite Fountain Pens

A friend on Facebook shared about a video series that shows us how to disassemble several of our favorite fountain pens (thank you Kate Powell).  Here are just a few videos along with the link to the video series itself:

How to Disassemble the Lamy Safari:

How to Disassemble the Namiki Falcon:

How to Disassemble the Pilot Prera:

The Disassembling Line Series

75 Day Challenge - Days 23 through 27

All are worked in Stillman & Birn Beta journals using various pens as noted on the pages.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sketchcrawl Saturday June 17, 2017 - Yalaha Bakery

There is a bakery that specializes in German breads and pastries about a 25 minute drive from where we live.  Inside is the bakery plus a deli that also sells German meats and prepares simple meals.  This place is quite popular too.

There is outside seating along with a few other for live entertainment and one where pizzas are made.  A really lovely and relaxing atmosphere.

For our sketchcrawl, seven of us met up to enjoy the treats, listen to live entertainment (a group of four men called La Grange who play country / bluegrass), and sketch/paint until about noon.

Already shared in my previous post, this was my first sketch which took care of Day 22 of my ink only challenge.  It's a pizza oven that sits outside.

Next I decided to sketch the band as they played..  I managed to get one guy playing the guitar and surrounding structure / foliage but decided to finish the rest at home.  I took a picture in order to continue with the other guys and adding ink and watercolor.  The ones showing are the two main guys in this band from what I understand.  One was blocked from my view due to the tree and the other............well I ran out of paper.

I also worked a quick pencil sketch of one of the guys sitting and listening to the band play before he decided to get up and go inside the bakery.  What made me choose him was the fact he was partially hidden by the planter.  He was really into the music too :-)  One thing I failed to get was a photo though in order to add the table and surrounding chairs so just added ink and watercolor to what I had down on paper.

This shows the before and after adding color.  Likeness is way off as the ending results makes this guy about 20 or 30 years  

75 Day Challenge - Days 18 - 22

So far this is what I've accomplished with the ink only challenge.  For the most part I am working one each day but I think there's been a day or two that I did something else and just picked up the next day where I left off.  I'm trying to remember to write on each page what pen I'm using as I bounce around and play with various pens.  All worked in the Stillman & Birn Beta

Yesterday was Day 22.  We had a sketchcrawl at Yalaha Bakery in Yalaha, FL and my first sketch there was for the pen and ink challenge.  We sat outside where there was live entertainment by a band called La Grange.

For Day 21 I worked these palms.  One of the things I absolutely love about living in Florida.  There's just something special to me about these trees and I searched online to see their symbolic meanings across the globe and cultures.

For Day 20, Ron sent me some photos he had taken while on their vacation at Cape Hatteras.  One that perked my interest in sketching was this bird's eye view of this building.

Day 19 was practicing with a Micron using various pressure holding the pen and at different angles to achieve the different values in hatch marks.

Day 18 was a quick sketch of one of the ladies in our sketching group.  A week or so ago, Shari and I drove around checking out some places for our group to meet up at.  We took various photos and she happened to be caught in one I was taking atop of a parking garage looking out over roof tops.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Afternoon Outing

Yesterday, Terry and I decided to drive around a bit checking out a bakery that Shari told me about and showing Terry the old Church (not in use) Lee told me about.  We got a late start and hoped our afternoon trip would be before the rains hit us.  We did run into a few showers along the way but nothing serious and they were quick.

First place we went to was the bakery.  We chose to go there first to try out their goodies as neither of us had anything to eat yet..  A lot of what they sell is German baked goods as well as meats and meals at their deli.  Terry spending a good bit of his life in Germany was super excited about a German bakery/deli close to us.

Terry loved what he tried but I wasn't all that impressed with what I had.  To me the baked goods were dry.  I tried one of their pretzels which was tough (they were cold off the shelf), a cheese croissant (not very sweet and dry), and a couple bites of Terry's croissant ham and cheese sandwich.  The two croissants were supposedly warmed up but barely.  I ended up bringing home what I bought and stuck them in the microwave.  That helped to some degree......especially the pretzel.  To make my cheese croissant better, I added some strawberry sauce to give it some flavor.

After walking around taking pictures, we went next door to a fruit stand/distillery where they sell moonshine.  The guy there gave us a little taste of two just a plain (similar to vodka) and the other a brandy type.  The plain was nice and smooth.  The tiny taste of the brandy moonshine about took my breath away nearly causing me to choke.  We ended up purchasing tomatoes and a watermelon and went on our way.

From there we drove to Mount Dora where the Church sits just below a service station, took more pictures, and then made our way home.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

75 Day Ink Challenge - Days 11-17

Not only am I gaining more experience jumping in with pen and ink only, I am really getting to know my favorite fountain pens and what I might be able to do with them as far as line strength and coverage with the paper surface.  I this case (so far) Stillman & Birn Beta.

I'm learning that for better control in line strength, my Lamy Safari is the easiest to go from light to dark just by how much pressure I apply when making my line strokes.  It has a dryer feed compared to my other fountain pens with the Platinum Carbon desk pen coming close with it's super fine nib.  And the other thing I'm learning is that I feel less intimidated going straight in with pen and ink if I use the Lamy Safari.  With light pressure, I can lay down a super light line and if I'm off, chances are it will be easy to hide with stronger pen pressure or shading.  Can't do that as easily with the wetter feeds or larger nibs.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Playing with Rocks

Last Friday at the Leesburg Art League Open Studio, we had a presentation by Gail Bannock on rock art.  She shared several examples from full painted landscapes to mandalas she had painted over the years and how she went about it with rocks found or purchased.

I already had an idea before Friday of what I wanted to do and worked on one that day.  But my goal was to create four to represent coffee types.  I'm a big coffee drinker from morning till bedtime or hot green tea.

The idea came to me after a friend of mine (thank you, Ginny) sent me a photo of owls with someone labeling each to fit the looks on their faces.  The photo was sent after my making comment in an email that I wasn't quite awake and needed some caffeine.

These were a blast to paint!!!!  I'm the one in the back............LOL

Now I want to figure out a way to display them holding little signs of what coffee type they are.  I'm thinking possibly using a clay saucer lined with Spanish or sphagnum moss (like a nest) and hot gluing these standing up.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

75 Day Challenge - Days 7-10

Here is a line-up of sketches worked for the last four days.  All worked in the Beta journal.  All with Lexington Gray ink but with different pens (Lamy Safari and Pilot Falcon).

Thursday, June 1, 2017

75 Day Challenge - Days 4, 5, and 6

So far so good with my repeat of the 75 Day ink only challenge.  For the first four days I used a ballpoint or roller pen.  Last night I was back to using one of my beloved fountain pens - Lamy Safari.

Stillman & Birn square Beta journal.

Day 6 - Lamy Safari with EF nib.

Day 5 - Using a UM 151 ballpoint or gel roller pen that gave me a lot of problems.  It's been sent to time out for who knows how

Day 4 - Finished the page I was sketching people.  Sketched two for this particular day using Papermate stick ballpoint pen.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Fidget Spinners

Dealing with anxiety issues at times (especially in public), one of my sons recommended I try a fidget spinner to see if it might help when needed.

The first one I bought was the all brass spinner.  Then I picked up a few more due to their colors and shapes.  I liked the ones with the added ball bearings spaced around the ABS plastic bodies.  They add a neat effect when spinning plus offers something else you can fidget with if not spinning.

They are fun to play with.  At home I stack them on top of one another spinning in different directions.  I love watching them spin as it's mesmerizing.  Also I have found having one in my hand when sitting idle watching TV keeps my fingers out of my hair.........a habit I have had since a young child and not very hair friendly!

I've learned that besides being a child's toy, adults are getting into them as well.  You'd be amazed by tricks some are able to do with these.  And I've read that groups have competitions.

Another thing I've learned is that these spinners are becoming quite a collector's item for some.  They come in various shapes, sizes, and materials ranging from a few dollars to over $150.  The bearings used make a difference in how well and how quiet they spin.  Really interesting for something so simple.

Now do they help with anxiety?  Not a magic cure-all but I'd have to say yes to a good degree (at least from my own experience).  Do they help with boredom.......I'd say for me yes.  Do they help with concentration.........the jury is still out on that one.  They are definitely a plus for one who has the need to  fidget with something at any given time.

Stillman & Birn Beta / Lamy Safari

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Still Sketching People

There are a couple of us who are wanting to work Brenda Swenson's 75 Day Ink Challenge.  Although I have worked this challenge before, I like the concept of challenging one's self to jump in with pen and ink only.  Although I feel a bit more confident in jumping in with pen, I still hesitate and tend to grab for pencil first.  So I'm thinking to do this again (hoping I can stick with it another 75 days).

Starting out I have chosen to work on people since that's been the main emphasis the last couple of weeks at the Art Center.  A dual challenge for me (ink only and people) as I work on honing my observational skills.  I still don't care to add features on the faces mainly because I'm working so small and never feel I get the features looking as I'd like them in such a tiny space.  My main goal is to get the proportions right and capturing the action (which I need a lot of practice with)..........and to feel confident enough to work faster for when I'm out on location.  I still struggle with the bend in the legs....especially if coming towards me or moving away.

Here are the first three days of the challenge so far.  I'm using a Papermate ballpoint stick pen starting out.  Working in the S&B Beta journal.

Last Few Weeks at the Leesburg Art Center

It's been a busy few weeks with the last couple of weeks flying by with my not doing much with my own art.  Instead helping with documents sharing tutorial links I could find and examples I might have on the subject matter being shared at our Art League.

We've been covering sketchbook/journal layouts and ideas of what to use our journals for.  We've had two weeks of playing with sketching people gestures and then trying our hand at brush figures to feel more confident in including people in our sketches and paintings.

Yesterday we had fun learning about alcohol inks which was like being a kid again and just playing.  Very carefree and just plain fun.

First image playing with alcohol inks mixed in with shaving cream and pressing paper on top, lifting and scraping the shaving cream and ink off with a card.  Would make neat looking end papers inside of homemade journals.

Playing with dropping various ink colors on a little piece of fabric and stamping onto a tile and spraying alcohol at various heights for different effects.  To me this ended up looking like a dog sniffing through an area of flowers.  (See part of the side of a dog's face?)

The last two weeks working with sketching and painting people.  How to see the line of action, how to quickly capture people gestures, painting simple figures with brush and watercolor to get a feel for shapes and proportions, and then taking it from there using pen and ink and watercolor showing more detail either by outlining the figures or going in with ink and emphasizing only some areas.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Leesburg Art League Open Studio Friday - May 12, 2017

Friday was a fun day at our art league's Open Studio Friday.  Lee Kline gave a presentation on keeping sketchbooks / artist journals sharing examples, tips, and ideas to the group.  We had a great discussion with several asking questions.

There were four tables set up with sketches and journals that three of us brought in to share.  The folks spent a good bit of time sitting at the tables and flipping through the examples we brought in.

Lee is a retired graphics art designer.

Susan comes from a family of professional artists.  Two of those tables included Susan's father's sketches and journals that he kept many years ago.  He didn't believe in cameras and sketched everything to include people he rode with everyday on the subway.  He also produced illustrations and lettering/logos for many businesses

Me...........just a hobbyist who enjoys sketching...........ha ha

Here is a quick sketch of this special day.

Hand sewn journal / Plat Carbon desk pen and used a waterbrush for this one.

Sketch Outing with Friends - Lone Oak Cemetery

Three of us went to Leesburg oldest cemetery called Lone Oak Cemetery to sketch.  This cemetery is full of history dating way back.

One of the stones we came across is marked George Alfred Widdas - supposedly Bill Cody and Annie Oakley's gunsmith.

New Mini Stuffed Animal - Kipling Monkey Keychain

I'm such a sucker for these miniature animals.  A lady at our Leesburg Art League showed me a bag she has that she uses as her handbag and what she uses to carry some of her art supplies in when going out sketching.  Her bag is the Kipling Defea Bag (which I have on order now as well).

One of the things that intrigued me about this line of handbags is the little monkey  that comes with all their bags.  I found this keychain by the same company on Amazon and received it a few days ago. I had to get this one being it's the Sunshine State we moved to three years ago :-)

S&B Beta journal / Micron 01

(and yes his poor hand is twisted backwards in the little clear plastic box it comes in)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bookbinding - Make your Own - AWESOME Instructional Video

In the tab above the blog feed labeled "Bookbinding", I have posts that cover this include Sea Lemon's YouTube videos I used to make my first hand sewn journals.

In addition to my favorite videos by Sea Lemon, I found and purchased the following DVD.  Slow paced and very easy to follow step by step to include advanced steps that might strike your fancy...all wrapped up in one video.

For a preview of this DVD, it can be found at the following:

On The Air Video / Bookbinding
YouTube / Croquis Cafe / Bookbinding:  A Traditional Technique

To purchase, you can do so directly via the link taking you to On The Air Video / Bookbinding (above) or through Amazon.

Run-time of the DVD is about an hour.

Sketchcrawl May 9, 2017 - Sumter Landing Square

Yesterday we met up again at Sumter Landing Square.  It seems to be a favorite for a lot of people due to all the shops, theme props centered around lake activities (such as fishing, boating, etc.) and just a beautiful place to spend time at.

I was really surprised by how busy it was at 9 a.m. in the morning.  It was difficult finding a parking spot close to the center of the square and people were everywhere.

Our group was to meet under a covered picnic area next to the radio station.  There were eight of us who ended up showing with one new person who didn't know us nor did we know to look for her.  So there were actually nine total.

For me it was an off day.  Was struggling to settle on something to sketch.  Due to the busy activity all around with people walking by, I found myself a little on edge, which I'm sure played a part in my not being able to settle.  I think I spent most of my time walking around trying to find a quiet solitude spot.

There was a tugboat I wanted to sketch but with it being so breezy, it wouldn't sit still long enough for me to really get started.  After a few attempts, I gave up and walked back to where we originally met up.

There were several tables taken up by that time with bike cyclists.  I debated sitting there off to the side but wanted to sketch several of the things hanging under ceiling beams, support posts, and along one outer wall of the radio station.  So I took a deep breath and sat down focusing on capturing some of those items............taking notice now and then some of the cyclists glancing over at me making me feel a bit uneasy.  I'm still not quite there feeling totally comfortable sketching in public but I'm working on that.

Here is the page I managed to do before taking my leave.  I ended up leaving at least 30 minutes early passing up meeting the others for lunch.

S&B Beta / Platinum Carbon desk pen

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sketchcrawl May 6th - Unknown Bird Type

This is a sketch worked from a photo I took during the sketchcrawl yesterday at Elizabeth Evens Park in Mount Dore.  I have no idea what type of bird this is but wondering if in the Jay family due to the markings around the eye.  And also due to the blue in the body.  Maybe a female scrub or blue jay?

Working from my photo, I decided to do some practicing using the grid method rather than totally free-handing the pencil sketch.

Here are the steps I took:

Opened my photo in Photoshop Elements with grid view set up.  I like using the largest grid I can get away with so not to have too many blocks on paper to deal with.

In Journal (Stillman & Birn Beta), created a grid using very light pencil.  Then viewing the photo on screen, I placed little tick marks where each part of the bird intersected a grid line and also a few inside each block for prominent areas to help when line sketching.

Connecting the tick marks, I lightly sketched the bird.  (pencils lines darkened for illustration purposes)

Went over in ink using a Platinum Carbon desk pen and Lexy Gray ink.  Waited for the ink to totally dry and started erasing the grid lines.

Cleaned up erasing all pencil marks/lines.

Wet in wet, started adding color.  Used Black, Indigo, and Burnt Umber (all Daniel Smith watercolors)

The painting process for the rest of the bird was Indigo wet in wet, darkening some areas (under feathers) by dropping or brushing in Indigo as the paper was drying........still damp enough to bleed a little.

Once the Indigo was dry, I started dry brushing and blending Black.  Also added a little Bt Umber in the head at the top where the top of the wing overlaps.

After completely dry, gently brushed plain water in some areas of the back (randomly) and added a light glaze of the Burnt Umber.

Also lightly brushed water into the head and dropped a little Indigo making sure I didn't disturb the underlying colors (and lighter areas) already there.

I could have gone darker with maybe another glaze or two but it's been my experience that S&B paper to pill if too wet or too many layers applied with all the brushing.

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