Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Evening Journal Pages

These were done yesterday early evening and into the wee hours of the morning.

With the boys home, we've been sitting up late (well some of us) just enjoying what we enjoy doing and being with one another.

I tend to listen and sometimes watch TV while sketching and checking things out on the computer.  Terry watches his shows or plays video games.  The boys, when home, watch their favorite shows they can't see while on the road or play video games.  We take our breaks and merge together to sit and chat, joke around, etc. and then each return to their own little worlds until the next break.

This first sketch I worked earlier in the evening after dinner while listening to NCIS.  I've seen the episodes so many times I don't need to look to know what's going on.  Anyways........I grabbed this potted plant and decided to use the Konrad again to see how it continued to do after the burping problems I experienced.  Straight pen and ink (no pencil) and then added some color with QoR watercolors.

Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook..........

This next page I worked on through the wee hours of the morning.  Some of the time I worked on this Travis was sitting out with me just chatting.  Then he'd return to his game.

I took my time and chose to use my Lamy Safari pen with the EF nib and Lexington Grey ink.  I like how lightly I can put a line down which helps with any fear or intimidation I might feel jumping in with ink.  Between the nib size, the dryer feed of an EF nib, and the color ink, it looks almost like graphite.  I can define and shade much better slowly building up my tones either by more pressure on the pen and/or cross hatching.

This is one of three snowmen figurines I bought this winter that stands only 5 inches tall.

Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook.

Burping Konrad

I finally got around to loading my newest Konrad pen but ran into a phenomenon I had only read about until it actually happened.

There was a sample vial of Apache Sunset ink I wanted to use in the pen that I purchased from Goulet Pens.  Unfortunately, there was not enough ink for the pen nib/feed to sit in for the piston converter to work right pulling ink into the chamber.  To get around that, I took the nib and feed out and used a syringe to load the chamber.  I knew I could end up with air bubbles so I twisted the piston to force the air space out thinking I'd be fine.

Well.........for whatever reason, it wasn't fine.  I experienced the burping I have seen people talk about in forum posts.

Testing the pen in my sketchbook, I just started writing random thoughts as they came to me.  And out of no where a big huge blob of ink would just pop out onto the paper.  I would make adjustments, try to squeeze out more air, push the nib/feed deeper into the body but it still happened.  Two pages of writing before I realized it just wasn't going to straighten out.  I had blobs all over the place.  (I'd share the pages if not for some of what I wrote on them :-)

And as my husband walked by and I showed what was happening, he says........."I'd say your pen has the hiccups.........not burping."  Ha ha ha.

I feared something wrong with the pen.  Maybe the nib and feed were not set well with one another.  Maybe a deformity in the feed.  Maybe something about the ink itself.  I just had no idea.

So I emptied what was left of the Apache Sunset ink and loaded the pen with Noodler's #41 Brown.  I was able to load the proper way and I took the nib and feed out one last time making sure the two were aligned with one another and no lint or anything in the grooves of the feed.

To test.........I decided to sketch instead of just writing.

I've worked another sketch after this one and all appears to be fine with the pen.  (Thank goodness!)

Strathmore Softcover sketchbook / Konrad Bengal Tiger with flex nib.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Playing with a Wizard Brush

Today I have been in a playful mood just taking brush with paint and basically slapping it onto paper in a rough shape of this bear.  I had no idea really if it would turn into anything and honestly didn't care.  If it turned out as nothing, I'd just chalk it up to page of mindless brush marks and move on.  I often surprise myself though and this is one of those times.

The brush I grabbed is the Terry Harrison Wizard brush.  I made three pools of color using Yellow Ochre, Bt Sienna, and a Violet which I can't remember the name.............all QoR pigments.

The right  page gives a general idea of how I just started applying paint to paper.  As I was slapping color on paper, my husband walked by with this quizzical look on his face like "what on earth is she doing?" 

I basically filled in the shape of the overall bear using this process.  After that dried, I did a little pen and ink to start defining features plus a little fur.  Added more brush marks with the wizard brush alternating with the colors and then after that dried, used a round with the violet for a few areas of dark.  Then one last pass with pen and ink for a few areas.

So here is the results of that playing around :-)

Snowing Seeds in Florida

Back home it's been snowing and I'm feeling a bit envious and definitely home sick.  I miss the crisp fresh air of cold temperatures and the white blanket of snow that made the hill where we lived a winter wonderland only disturbed by the wildlife around us. 

Here in Florida the temperature did drop with near freezing temps last night.and chilly weather through the day but it's definitely not in the forecast to last.  It was also very breezy with these seeds, like snow flakes, flying and dropping to the ground.  It was almost like Mother Nature trying to lift my spirits in the best way possible for the sub tropics. :-)

Terry brought in several of these seeds for me to study and sketch.  Weeks ago they were an orange papery pod like structure or flower that I sketched at that time.  These are from the Golden Rain Tree in the front and also in our neighbor's yard.

I chose to use the Lamy Safari with the EF nib because these seed/pods are papery thin and I didn't want a heavy line or harsh look to them a thicker nib would produce.  Worked in the Hand.book and QoR watercolors used to finish off the page.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Late Night Sketching

Here are two more I've done with pen and ink only (no preliminary pencil guidelines).  It feels like it's getting a little easier for me...........not as intimidating to start right in with ink.

This first is a couple of buds with attached stem and leaves we brought inside hoping they open up.  The weather took a nose dive in temperature falling to the low 30s.  I feared the cold snap might hurt the buds on the bush and I really wanted to see them open up.  We'll see if anything happens with these two cuttings.

This next is of a favorite shelf sitter or nic nac.  I forget what this is actually called but has a tea candle at the base you light and the flame heats up a hanging ceramic dish that holds a fragrance tart.

As I was sketching this I ran into a few little issues where I had to improvise.  One being I had to leave the dish off that hangs over the candle.  I didn't carry the arm out far enough which would have made me have to draw over top of the coffee grinder already inked in.  So I thought.........OK..........just include the chain and leave it as is which opens a viewer to wonder or mentally fill in the missing dish.  Well that's my story and am sticking to it.........ha ha.

Another little mishap I had to improvise in was the saucer that should be under the cup along with a spoon.  Rather than trying to work those in, I left them off.

And why am I telling on myself???  It's all a learning experience and maybe my sharing things like this might help someone else when faced with similar occurrences.  :-)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Trying to Spread My Wings a Bit

The last couple of days I've been concentrating on trying to capture things quickly onto paper using ink only.  At this point I'm not worried about perspective or composition........I just want to try and get on paper what I'm seeing the best I can in a quick lively manner.

This first one is the back of our house and my personal living area where I spend most of my days/evenings.

This next is Venetian Gardens not too far from where we live.  It's rather wonky but I enjoyed the process none the less.  My favorite part is the area of the two palm trees :-)

Next is a new bag I received to take my sketching gear out with me.  There are mistakes and even corrections I tried to make with the purpose of learning what to do and what not to do (as noted on the page).  But after worrying about the fact I sketched the strap in front of what was already there, I've seen where many Urban Sketchers do that as part of their normal sketching process.  More and more I'm leaning towards wanting to do that type of day to day sketching but I have lots to learn and practice plus breaking free of that feeling I need to get everything just right.

And this was a true learning experience reminding me why I'm not crazy about marker pens or brush pens.

This started out with pen and ink only using my Falcon pen.  My hand was rebelling with all the hatching and cross hatching to fill in the black so I went to a Black Pitt Artists Brush pen.  That was OK but then came the shadow.  I thought I'd try a Tombow marker pen - brush end to put in the gray.  The shadow was actually more defined but I did NOT like the streaks the marker made.  At least it was water soluble ink so I washed it out to what you see here.  Definitely not my intent but ................ what can I say ??  :-)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Fallen Camellia Flower

We've been watching two bushes form buds and growing with maybe two or three looking like they could open up soon (well as of this morning anyways).  We never took notice that one actually did at some point and then dropped to the ground.  That's when Terry saw the flower head laying under the bush.  He brought it in but being very fragile it was falling apart.

I gently put the layers back together sitting on my table and proceeded to take photos and sketch it.

Looking forward to the buds blossoming hopefully in the next few days.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Tree in Our Back Yard

Whatever type of tree this is, it's really neat with the colors and markings on the trunks and branches.  I've never seen this before.  The trunks are rather smooth with white and orange and a light overall grayish brown. 

Pen and ink only first and then used a white charcoal pencil and watercolor pencils to add just a bit of color.  My main goal was to capture the white and orange that grabs my attention.

Last thing I added with pencil only was the fence that stands behind the trees.  I feared using pen and ink might take away from the tree trunks making it all look cluttered.

Strathmore Softcover Tan Sketchbook and Sheaffer Calligraphy pen with Italic nib (small).

To Loosen Up

I'm finding myself tensing up again trying to get my illustrations and sketches just so so.  The fear in doing that is feeling pressure I place on myself and losing the desire to do anything.  So to help myself out, I decided to work a couple of quick loose sketches without any planning or a lot of thought going into it. 

This first one I randomly chose a photo from a kayak outing a month or so ago.  I jumped right in with paint and brush putting in general areas and shapes of color.  Then I went in, again loosely without a lot of thought, with pen and ink to define the subjects.

This one is from a photo taken before we left Fairmont, WV of a portion of a Church downtown.  Again, I tried not to allow myself to think grabbing a pen and quickly putting on paper what I saw without worrying about perspective or getting everything exact.

To do quick sketches like this is rather liberating and refreshing. :-)

AJW January Challenges

One of the FB groups I'm in - Artists Journal Workshop - one of the admins started a January challenge with a list of prompts for each day of the month.  Although I may not follow it each and every day, I have made a good start with the first several days.

AJW Challenge Day 1 - Something that should be thrown away but hard to let go of. 

I have a tendency to collect things like this and hang on to indefinitely.............just in case I want to sketch at some point.

AJW Challenge Day 2 - A Favorite Book.

I'm sure the challenge was meant for us to sketch a favorite book we've purchased or been gifted with but to me my favorite are those journals I complete to one day pass on to my family.

AJW Challenge Day 3 - Something Industrial.

This one was a tough one for me as I looked around the house trying to find what might fit.  Until I saw what others came up with, I honestly wasn't sure what to do and instead came up with something Industrial Strength.

Although I don't have any on hand, I know they make Industrial Batteries so I grabbed three batteries I had on hand and used them as a model.  The other idea I had was cleaning agents but chose this instead.

**And no you are only seeing things....ha ha.   I did not misspell Indrial.........I mean Industrial...........eeeek!!!  :-O

AJW Challenge Day 4 - Animal

AJW Challenge Day 5 - Bridge

Mother of Thousands

This is one unique plant that was left behind by previous tenants.  Although it can be considered an invasive plant, we've not seen any indication of it getting out of hand.  It's in a clay pot on the patio and any babies that drop off either go back into the same pot or wither on the cement slab.

When trying to identify this plant, we hadn't taken notice that it flowers.  It was a really nice surprise when it did.  And it's still blooming.

We love watching the lizards climb and sit on this plant right outside the sun room.  Drives the cats nuts wishing they could get at them.

First three pen and ink sketch first and then a little color added with pen and ink.

Watercolor and then pen and ink.

Playing with Watercolor Pencils

As I continue to work with the various mediums and pens I have, I decided to get Cathy Johnson's ebook on using Watercolor Pencils.  I've had several different sets for years but rarely took them out. 

The following are pages from various sketchbooks where I'm getting to know what the pencils can do and the colors I have.  How they look dry and how they look after they become wet.

Stillman & Birn Beta Journal

Strathmore Visual Journal - Watercolor


Daler Rowney Sketchbook


Handmade Journal

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Bringing in the New Year 2015

Hope everyone had a Happy and Safe New Year's Eve and good start to the New Year!!!

We spent ours basically like any other day as we really don't get into celebrating.  We definitely stay off the roads with so many out partying and a few not being real responsible about it.

Between trying to keep the dogs calmed with fireworks blasting next door, and vacuuming trying to muffle some of the noise, I managed to work a little in my journal and watch TV as we waited for midnight to send texts to our family wishing them a Happy New Year.

Close to midnight Travis called and he and Neal were passing through Salt Lake City.........Travis driving and Neal sleeping until his turn to drive.  Travis and I talked for about an hour using speaker and headphones with him driving and me sketching.

These are the first sketches of 2015.  Nothing elaborate but was relaxing and fun as I continue playing with the various pens I now own.

All three sketches were done in the Daler Rowney sketchbook I'm trying to finish.  I have 3 pages front and back left and the poor book is falling apart.  Every time I open the sketchbook, glue cracks and scatters everywhere.  I'm waiting for the signatures to fall out as well. I've been working in this sketchbook off and on now since July 2010.  I guess that is what happens when you have a dozen or more sketchbooks going all at the same time.  :-)

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