Saturday, March 31, 2018

First Bald Eagle I've Seen In the Wild

Today my husband and I drove out to a place called Emeralda Marsh Conservation.  The drive is being rerouted through the marsh lands and we found is only about half way finished.  But the drive was a nice one that is open now to the public. 

Lots of areas to launch a kayak or fish from the shoreline.  Also a nice place for bird watching.

It was very cloudy with gray skies and it sprinkled now and then while we were out.  Close to the end of the drive near the area where people launch boats I saw a huge bird fly to the top of a bare tree.  I thought it was possibly a bald eagle but wasn't sure until I zoomed in with my super zoom camera.

We knew there were Bald Eagles in Florida.  I've seen friends post photos where they live not too far from us and I've seen one at a wildlife reserve ...... caged.  However, this was the first time I'd seen one out in the wild.  For us it was exciting.

We were a long distance from this bird and wasn't sure how my photos would turn out.  I hate digital zoom but had to use it.  Fortunately, the photos turned out well enough for me to at least sketch the experience and siting :-)

Friday, March 30, 2018

Lola - Yellow/Chocolate Lab Mix

My youngest son's new puppy, Lola.

Momma is a Chocolate lab and daddy is a Yellow Lab.  Pups took on the coloring of the Yellow Lab.  Lola has greenish eyes and lighter in color than her sister that was still left to be adopted.

When we go to choose a puppy, we let the pups choose us and that's what Lola did.......she picked Travis.  He went out to take a look at the two puppies remaining and this one came right up to him, laid down at his feet, and stayed with Travis the entire time.  If he walked around, she followed.  The other pup was friendly running up to Travis but full of energy running and jumping around. 

Lola was born January 8, 2018 so she's not quite 3 months old.





Thursday, March 29, 2018

Our Little Hummer

Still working in the Venezia sketchbook, I decided to try one of my favorite methods........prewetting an area with water and dropping in color.  This worked better for me allowing time to move pigment around rather than it immediately being soaked right into the paper fibers.  The one concern I had was how well the paper handled being saturated like that with it being drawing paper and 90 lbs.  The back page buckled and shows where it had been wet; however, it dried nearly flat and can still be sketched over.




Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Guy Fishing at Wekiva Island

This sketch was done in the Fabriano Venezia sketchbook.  This provided a good experience of what it will be like painting with watercolor.  I definitely have to adapt to the fact once color hits the paper, it's there to stay...........no moving around. 

The plus side..........I worked on the back side of a page already with painted illustrations and there were no ghost images when scanned.  I can use both front and back without worry.

I think dedicating this to pen and ink only (no pencil) will be good for me because I'm feeling really timid doing so.  You'd think after working Brenda Swenson's 75 Day Challenge completely twice and another time half way through plus two years with the Inktober Challenge, that I'd not be so uneasy going straight in with ink.........but I am.

The sketch is from one of my photos taken when our sketching group went to Wekiva Island for the yearly paint out.


Fabriano Venezia Watercolor Play

This morning I've been playing with watercolor in the Fabriano Venezia sketchbook to see how it handles how I like to work.......wet in wet and mixing color on paper.

Although the paper handles fairly wet applications just fine, it does dry slightly buckled on the back side of the paper and does not allow mixing color on paper very well.  This may be one sketchbook I only paint on one side of the paper because of how I apply washes.  I still need to play more before deciding.

This is comparing palms painted between Fabriano Uno (which I understand is no longer manufactured) and the Venezia sketchbook drawing paper.  Without the sizing I'm used to, it made mixing on surface difficult because the pigment is grabbed into the paper as soon as you lay it down.  The paper may stay wet for awhile but that doesn't appear to make much difference.  I also tried bruising lines and that didn't work either.  I figure if I really applied pressure, the wet paper would tear.

Uno watercolor paper with sizing - mixing color on paper painting wet in wet and bruising lines ....



Fabriano Venezia sketchbook - attempting to mix color on paper and inability to bruise lines....




I still like the paper but will take my working differently.  If I remember right, the handbook paper is similar and I like those sketchbooks as well.  I'll have to try the handbook again to know for sure as it's been awhile.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Not Intimidated by Bullies

I can sit for hours watching birds and have feeders in the back and front of our house.  Right outside the window where I spend 95% of my time, is a feeder about 8 to 10 feet from the window.  We have cardinals, blue jays, tits, sparrows, black caps and doves with an occasional woodpecker checking out the food supply.  Another regular is the mockingbird who tends to stand guard and chase off the other birds.........to include the larger birds like the blue jays.

Starting yesterday blackbirds started showing up at the feeder.  There are two in particular that keep returning.  I sat and watched as the mockingbird kept flying back and forth from roof top to feeder to tree as he tried chasing these guys off.  They wouldn't budge.  Then another mockingbird teamed up with both trying their best to chase the intruders off.  The blackbirds continued eating.  They flew off only after one mockingbird made direct body contact with one of them but then returned shortly after as to say.........ha ha.....you can't keep us away.

Strathmore Visual Watercolor sketchbook with the Fude 45 bent nib fountain pen.



Testing a New Sketchbook - Fabriano Venezia Drawing Sketchbook

A very dear friend here where I live uses this brand sketchbook........Fabriano Venezia Drawing Sketchbook.  Last week I accompanied him on a presentation given in Stonecrest about keeping Artist Journals and as a gift for doing so, he gave me one...........6 x 9" size.

Lee is one who jumps in with pen......using a Sharpie Fine pen and then applying watercolor to his sketch.  Normally I don't dedicate my sketchbooks to anything in particular but this one I want to use his method..........meaning no pencil allowed.  We'll see how that goes.............lol

To start off the first couple of pages, I decided to test different pens on the paper surface.  This lets me know if I need to take care with ink bleeding or bleed through to the back of the page.  I was particularly interested in seeing how my extra fine nibs handled being moved across the paper surface which has a very slight tooth.  And with it being 90 lb "drawing" paper, I wanted to see how it handled my application of watercolor.  For these examples I used only a light wash wet on dry.

The only "drag" I noticed was with the 005 Micron.  My EF fountain pen nibs seemed to move across the paper without any problem.

As noted in my page notes, fountain pen ink tends to spread or feather with the wetter feeding nibs more so than the dryer feeding nibs.  I would have to keep that in mind not allowing my nib to linger in one spot for any length of time but instead moving quickly.  The only bleed through I experienced was when I did the "dot" test letting the tip of the nib just sit for several seconds to see if the dot grew larger.  That showed up on the back side but the thicker nibs with heavier application moving along quickly did not.

First impression..........I like the paper!  I like the texture or slight tooth.  :-)





Sunday, March 25, 2018

Today's Practice - More with Basic Shapes

Trying the basic shapes with people to see if it helps speeding up a bit.  Way too soon to tell.  If I were doing this on paper, I'd work the general shapes lightly in pencil and then ink to define everything.  Right now I'm working in Procreate using layers.  This way I can save each step to look back on as I continue my practice.

This is from our trip out to Wekiva Island for the Paint Out our group went to Saturday a week ago.

Actually it's more like basic shapes and stick people.





Saturday, March 24, 2018

Working with Shapes

Working with general shapes is not how I ever learned to draw.  Instead I've always just picked a spot and followed the overall shape of the subject.

Many times I struggle in seeing those individual shapes and it's probably just because I didn't learn that way.  Now and then I like to try working exercises like this.....hoping it might make things a bit easier or an alternative method in seeing.

With this exercise, my main model is the bottom left bird on this sheet.  Following the same method I normally follow (working from a starting point and following overall shape of the bird, I repeated (bottom right).  Then I worked the exercise breaking down with general shapes to see how it would turn out compared to the model.   All three look slightly different from one another.


Friday, March 23, 2018

Mass Roots / Massive Headache

This was a right brain exercise I failed at.  Maybe it's my imagination but I felt my left and right brain were battling for control.  I could not focus but instead kept getting lost.  I finally gave in and just sketched on my own not following the photo reference.  By the time I finished, I had one horrible headache.........lol.


Discovery Gardens, Tavares, FL Sketch Outing

What a fun day we had yesterday at Discovery Gardens.  It was a bit chilly when we met up but sitting in the sun made it tolerable.

There were five of us and at first we walked around taking photos.  Then we finally settled in to do some sketching.

Normally our sketch outings are two hours but we were having such a great time, that it was near three hours when we took notice of how long we had been there.

The first two were sketched on site with color added later at home.




One of the gals was taking photos the same time I was and I happened to catch this pose her and I later laughed about.  She said I needed to sketch it........probably just being cute........and of course I had to oblige......lol.  I laughed throughout the sketching process.  So much so that I had trouble adding ink to it after the initial pencil sketch.  As I worked, I scanned and sent to my friend and we had such a fun laugh over this.

I finally managed to finish the sketch adding color.




This is from one of the photos taken while out as is the graphite sketch following.



All were worked in a small Beta sketchbook except the graphite sketch, which was worked in a Strathmore Visual WC sketchbook.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Procreate Color / Texture Practice - Opal

When nothing else grabs me, I can always fall back on practicing with this little bear :-)

For today's practice I decided to work in Procreate.  I'm still trying to get a good feel for using color, and texture.

This sketch is using:

Brush Tool - Charcoal - 6B Compressed for the fur and the initial strokes of the wood surface Opal is sitting on.

Brush Tool - Airbrush - Med Soft for the shadow color before smudging to blend and soften it.  Also used for the pendant.

Smudge Tool - Airbrush - Med Soft for smudging the wood and soften the shadow

Eraser Tool - Charcoal - 6B Compressed large size to spot stroke for added texture to the darker fur color already worked.



2018 Wekiva Paint Out

Yesterday, several from our sketching group attended a yearly paint out sponsored at Wekiva Island, Florida.

This event goes all week long with artists from all over setting up around the area and painting in various mediums.  I believe they also provide classes during this time for those who wish to take them or at least watch the artist, asking questions, etc.  The final day there is a paint out competition where you have two hours to paint and then put up for display and judging.

There were eight judges that included other artists, art collectors, and just people in general who appreciate looking at artwork.

From our group of eight people who attended (Shari, myself, SusanF, Ella, Gail, Lyn, Vinnie, and Sharon), five participated in this competition where as the others chose to just sketch, watch others paint, and just enjoy the time out at this beautiful spot.

I was one who just worked a quick sketch in my journal and enjoyed the beautiful weather.  This time I actually pulled out my paints and painted on location.  I still prefer to do so at home where I have a solid structure to place my sketchbook rather than juggling everything in my lap.

I chose to work a bridge and why ..... I have no idea.  I find them quite overwhelming to try and capture so they look like they have two sides to them rather than one like in my sketch........plus all those railing pieces :-O ..... lol.   But it represents where I was sitting and the view I had :-)  What I should have zoomed in on instead are those two trees with the neat roots crawling down the bank.  Oh well............maybe next time as I'm sure we'll return to this place in the future.










This is our Vinnie working on her pastel for the competition



Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and hat

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

Friday, March 16, 2018

Portrait of Hany's Friend, Marianne - Using the Grid Method

A very dear friend who shares with me his art, his experience, and mentors me with my own efforts shared a sketch he worked of another of his dear friends by the name of Marianne.

With my practicing faces, I wanted to see if I could come close to capturing this beautiful young lady.

Hoping to come close to likeness, I chose to use the grid method.  Even with that, I have learned it's not just getting down the contour lines correctly but shading makes all the difference in the world for capturing likeness.

I'm still off but think I came close.  And with kind permission by both Hany and Marianne, I am sharing my experience/steps with you.



A Midoris Traveler's Notebook Type Sketch Journal


My most recent project is creating a different type of journals for sketching and painting in.

The idea came from Laure Ferlita's post and the Midoris Traveler's Notebook you can get and refill with little notebooks by sliding them between elastic bands.

There are three signatures of four folded sheets of Fabriano Artistico Cold Press 104 lb watercolor paper and the size is about 3.5 x 5.5".  This gives you 16 pages each signature / 48 pages front and back to sketch on.

What I like about this idea is that the signatures are not permanently sewn together (at this point) and if you wat a 2 page spread or don't want to work with the bulk of the sketchbook, you can slide a page section out and work on it flat and then slide it back in.  Makes it easier too to scan for a digital copy of your artwork.

Once the signatures are completed with sketches/paintings, you can then sew the signatures together or just keep this book together and make another.  The elastic bands hold nicely.

This is a great way to mix paper surfaces up as well (watercolor paper, drawing paper, notebook pater, etc.) all in one little sketchbook.

I plan to play more using eyelets where the holes are punched in the cover and maybe adding beads and/or charms for a more decorative look.  I also want to explore sewn covers in place of faux leather once I figure out how to sew a straight line with a sewing machine..........lol.  Maybe add a pen look, as well :-)






Thursday, March 15, 2018

New Toy - The Pocket Palette by Expeditionary Art

Just received this in the mail and am so excited!!!!  I couldn't believe how fast the order was filled and sent out to me.

Now I just need to figure out the layout I want and the colors I want to put into it.

I ordered the basic pocket palette and then one package each of the different size pans you can place in the case.  It's magnetic base so it's super easy to add or remove the pans.

A business card is included just to show how big (or little) this palette actually is.



UPDATED IMAGE - showing size relationship to full and half pans:



If the mixing area is not enough (which for me never is with any palette I use), I just use a white piece of plexiglass I often carry with me in my sketch kit.

This will be perfect for quick sketching / slap color over ink sketching :-)

Expeditionary Art - Art Tool Kit

Another Family Guinea Pig - Bob

While I'm still in the mood to practice faces, I continue doing so using family as my models.  I bounce back and forth between "eyeballing" and using a more precise guide of gridding.  This one is by the grid method.........at least for the face.  The rest I just worked in last and without the grid.

This is my brother-in-law who's presently in Canada on a ski trip with my father-in-law.  It's been a yearly ritual the family going some where to ski for a week.  We've been once just to be with family but that was years ago.





Our Little Hummer

Our little hummer that showed up a couple weeks ago is still coming around daily.  I'm hoping he's not the only one as he must feel lonely.  At the same time, he doesn't have to worry about defending his food supply.........lol

I worked this as a personal exercise quickly getting down a gesture with basic shapes and angles and then worked from it to do the actual sketch.


In Loving Memory and Birthday Wishes

Yesterday was my mother-in-law's birthday but she passed away back in October 2016.  The family keeps her facebook page open and everyone sends their loving wishes to Jan each year.

As a special tribute for the family, I decided (while I'm on the facial sketching kick) to work this photo of her. 



Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My Three Sons

You would think that after all those faces I did for the One Week 100 People challenge that I would be done with wanting to sketch faces.  But here I am continuing on.

These are my three sons when they were little boys.  They are five years a part from each other with the youngest turning 30 the end of this month.

The youngest and the oldest favor my side of the family, whereas, the middle favors his dad's.  The youngest and middle have hazel or brown with green eyes and my oldest has my eye coloring which is green with amber.  Talk about a mix...........lol

Neal.....the middle child ended up with the blue black hair my mom had.  The other two ended up with my hair coloring.......dirty blonde when little to darker brown as they got older.

These were so much fun to sketch!!!!


Monday, March 12, 2018

Our Sketch Group's Lunch at Eaton's Beach Sandbar and Grill

This was done in the Strathmore Visual Watercolor sketchbook.  A lot of people I know do not care for the paper in this sketchbook.  I, on the other hand, love it for how I work.  Even the back side of the pages work fine for me whereas for others, some say they have trouble with beading.  Maybe it's how I prewet the areas first working wet in wet as I don't appear to have that problem.

It's funny but it took several times looking at this "thing" to figure out just what it was.  Just looked like this brown elongated blob sitting on top of a rock structure.  FINALLY I was able to see it was an alligator's head.

It sits out front of the restaurant.  What caught my attention most were the signs

Ink - Micron 01.  Watercolor first and then went in with pen and ink.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Quick Sketch - Our Fur Baby

I used to be set up (office and art room combined) out in our sunroom off the bedroom.  The "living room was center of the house but because of no real natural lighting, it was too depressing to spend any time in.  We decided to move things around placing the living room in the front of the house with northern exposure with a big bay window plus another near ceiling to floor window a few feet over. 

I set up my desk behind the loveseat with a few art supplies nearby and spend most of my time there.  Our little yorki-poo, Miya, often lays up on the back of the loveseat to be near me.  She also has a good outside view as well.  I think she loves the change as much if not more so than we do.


Anyways......today I'm just relaxing and watching TV and Miya jumped up on the back of the couch.  With her there I decided to work a quick sketch.




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