Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Simple Brush Strokes

Here is a little sketch where I just wanted to use simple brush strokes to portray a landscape.  I had been looking at photos from our weekend trip and this has one element from one of those photos and the rest is just made up as I went along.  The part from a photo is the rocky area.  Rest is just winging it.

Bockingford Spiral Journal; Mixed Brands of Watercolors; and a touch of 005 Micron pen.  Brush work using an angular flat (3/8").

Power Plant Across from Fort Island Park and Pier Area

This is another little sketch from our trip last Saturday to Crystal River checking out Fort Island Park, Beach, and Pier.

Worked in the Strathmore Visual Watercolor Journal; Platinum Carbon pen/Lexy Grey; and DS watercolors.

I understand there are two power plants; one solar and one nuclear.  I believe this is the nuclear.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

DB Field Bag

I've had a chance to take this bag out but haven't actually used it yet for painting/sketching (only because of the weather keeping us from taking the time to stop and sketch).

I have my sketching/painting gear packed in it, my wallet, and a camera hooked to the outside for quick access.  The bag is going to work out wonderfully; however, I do find the strap hurts my shoulder.  Due to nerve issues in my neck and shoulder, I can feel every little ribbing in the strap and it just feels like it's cutting into me.  I'll have to come up with some sort of padding on the area that would naturally rest on my shoulder but other than that, the bag is wonderful!!!  Not too big but definitely big enough to carry what I need with room to spare.

Crystal River Florida - Fort Island Park

Here are a couple pages in the Strathmore Visual Journal (watercolor) worked from Saturday's outing to the Gulf Coast area.  It was between storms so rather than sketching or painting on location, I took lots of photos to work from.

The mushrooms are one of several varieties I came across while out and about.  As for the Heron, this little guy was busy fishing when I managed a photo.  For some reason (probably the heat plus the stormy weather), we're not seeing much in the way of birds right now anywhere.

Friday, July 24, 2015

New Toy - Darsie Beck Field Easel Art Bag

One who believes things happen for a reason, this is one little occurrence that has proven to be one of those times and a positive one for sure.

I missed out on the Nomad Kickstarter bag and waited for many months to be notified if or when new Nomads were being offered for sale.  During that wait time, an art friend had one she was wanting to sell and I could kick myself in the backside for not jumping on it.........or so I thought soon after I declined.  I hesitated only because at the time I had to watch my funds rather closely and it was just one of those iffy situations that made me pass on it.

THEN, weeks later, I received the notification about 85 Nomads going up for sale and would receive an email when it was available to purchase.  I knew the day and time to expect the email and as soon as I received the notification, I jumped online to order only to find it was already out of stock.

That started me on a mission to try and find something else that 'might' come close to what I liked most about the Nomad..........the ability to have an easel platform while standing in order to hold my journal taking some of the pressure off my arm/hand while working.  With all the Urban Sketchers out there, surely someone had come up with something similar I would like.

Sure enough, my search ended with me finding the Darsie Beck Field Easel Art Bag.

It is a bit smaller than the Nomad, which for me is a better choice.  I really didn't want anything big and bulky or weighing a lot especially after full of art materials.

It was more affordable compared to the increase in price with the Nomad.

Delivery was super fast being it is made in the USA; and, I had a choice in color which I also liked.

I love how light the bag is too by itself and even after adding what I plan to take out with me.........a major positive.

Do check out the link above and watch the video he has included to share how it works.  Here are my own photos of what I received.

Front of Bag.  The zipper compartment in front has a plastic sheet (colored plexiglass I think) cut to size of the pocket to act as a stabilizer for the easel platform shown later.

The front flap is secured while carrying with a push button like clasp.  You open it up and find another zipper compartment and two mesh pockets.  There are also two sewn velcro strips that are used for the easel (shown in a few).

The back of the bag has this large pocket.

Inside the bag you will find a piece of plexiglass with velcro on top and bottom and a pouch that has the two front pockets, one behind the two and yet another on full size of the pouch on which is a piece of velcro attached.

The plexiglass with the velcro pieces on either end is your brace to attach as you see in the next photo to the velcro pieces shown in photo 2 above.

Easel platform created with the plexiglass attached under the front flap.  This is what I was mainly hoping for in a field bag.

Next is the pouch with the velcro on the back.  It attaches to the shoulder strap resting on one side of your chest while working for easy access.

Main compartment inside has a padded pocked (left in the picture if you can make it out) and two other pockets off that one.

On one side is another zippered pocket that opens up to a mesh pouch you can place a water bottle in.

And the other side has three pen/pencil pouches

BTW.........The rings you see on the zippers are ones I put on to make it easier for me to grasp.........they did not come with the bag.

Can't wait to get out and use it!!!  Might help me out of this funk I'm in right now.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Little Sketch for my Granddaughter

Last night I was a bit down after my family left from their second visit and I decided to work this little sketch for my eldest granddaughter, Madison.  It's her favorite of all the beanie babies I and my youngest son collected years ago.

Sketching this helped raise my spirits and relaxed my mind so I could finally go to sleep.

Normally I grab for my trusty mechanical pencil but wanted to use something different.  I have all these different sketching/drawing pencils and yet I tend to grab for the same thing.  It was fun working with a thicker softer lead and one I could use on it's side.

While using this pencil, I actually focused on the feel and the sound of the graphite moving on the paper surface.  :-)

Worked in the Zeta sketchbook with a 6B Mars pencil

Handling Stress and Art

I know I've mentioned several times about how art is therapeutic for me.  It helps me focus on something positive.......taking my mind off of things that would normally weigh on me horribly.

Many times the medium (and sometimes subject) I use will remind me when looking through my sketchbooks what mood or state of mind I was in at the time without me actually stating it on the page.  Not always but a good percentage of the time.

This sketch is pen and ink only (no preliminary pencil) I worked a couple nights ago.  I chose a very detailed subject to help force me to concentrate on other than what was on my mind at the time.  And using pen and ink only played a major part in deep concentration to get things right (or as close to it as possible).  Early evening (getting my nights and days all mixed up), I quickly brushed some color on it.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Madison's Homemade Cinnamon Crunch Toast Journal

This week my eldest son and his family are here visiting us again and this visit Madison (eldest granddaughter age 12) wanted to make her own journal.

She googled ideas and viewed a few youtube videos on making journals and this is what she came up with:

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal Box
9 x 12 Sketch Pad Paper - 20 sheets folded in half
Duct Tape

First she removed 20 pages of sketch pad paper, folding each in half.  Next she measured an inch on top and bottom of the fold cutting a slit for yarn to fit into rather than sewing.  Then she nested the pages together.

Looking for a cover material, she chose the cardboard from a cereal box.  We both loved the pattern/image on the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal so went with that.  Because the cover was cut a little larger than the pages, she made a slightly longer cut slit top and bottom of the fold.

Next step was taking yarn wrapping twice around the folded area neatly tucking the yarn into the slits to hold everything together and knotting in the center of the back side.

Final step was taking duct tape to hide the yarn, knot, and add a decorative touch to the folder edge.

And here are her first two pages she sketched........

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Graphite Sketches

These two sketches were worked on Bristol Vellum.  The Bristol paper is in a small 6 x 6 sketch pad and I plan to bind these together in book form when all paper is worked.  I had forgotten I had this paper along with all kinds of other sketch pads, blocks, and loose paper (which I really need to start using).

Artificial Dahlias using a mechanical pencil and tortillion to smooth the graphite out.

With the bear I was wanting a little texture striving to achieve a soft feel so I used the 6B on the side of the lead in circular motion.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Next Best Thing to Hummingbirds

We miss our hummingbirds here in central Florida.  Back in West Virginia, we had so many flying around and keeping us entertained. 

Our entertainment now happens to be watching these little critters scurrying around.  Even more entertaining is watching the reactions of our two cats and one of our little dogs, Miya.

When we first moved here, it was difficult to walk Miya as she kept trying to chase these.  She's settled down a bit now as her sites have changed to all the squirrel activity in our back yard.

Here lately we've seen a lot of little ones about an inch or smaller running around.  Not sure what their breeding cycle(s) might be.

Worked in the Zeta sketchbook using palette mixes that were left from a previous painting session of W&N watercolors.

Only a small amount of pen and ink was used at the end to help emphasize a few areas.

Canna Lily at Four Stages

Little pen and ink sketch while watching TV the other night.

Zeta sketchbook and Lamy pen with Lexington Gray ink.  Touch of graphite for some subtle shading.

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