Saturday, October 31, 2015

Late Night Sketching

While watching TV, I worked a couple of pages in my handbook journal.  Just some simple graphite sketches practicing the quick sketching method and getting my shapes as close as possible.

The one thing I'm struggling with...........or maybe a better way to put it............I just have not been able to do mentally or visually seeing the entire silhouette shape of the subject capturing it first and then going back to put in the details.

I see shapes better now but only in sections.  If I could visually see an entire silhouette, I might do better in placement on my journal pages.  I'm known to misjudge and run off the paper's edge with my subjects.  Sometimes that works out just fine but other times, not so.

Mechanical .05 pencil in the Handbook

Friday, October 30, 2015

Art Bear in Graphite

This is a stuffed bear that I found back in 1996 at an Art Store.  He stands about 10" to a foot, holding a palette and brush.  For the longest time I thought I had lost him in one of our moves until I came across him in a tote buried back in one of my closets.  I was actually looking for something else when I came across the tote and him tucked inside.

Worked in the Handbook with mechanical pencil.  Sketched while listening to TV.  Still trying to keep things "sketchy" looking by working quickly and loosely.  I was in the mood for graphite only but decided to add the watercolor background to help make him come forward.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wood Stork at Venetian Gardens, FL

This is my third play at quick sketching birds.  Another from photographs I took over a year ago September.

Worked in the first with pencil, pen and ink using a Pilot Prera w/Lexy Grey ink, and Daniel Smith watercolors.

The sketching was fast but took awhile to work the color in because I decided to use masking fluid which I normally avoid.  I had seen a post by Cathy Johnson comparing two masking fluids and one I purchased weeks ago only to open for the first time tonight.  Masking fluid is the FineLine masking fluid pen (actually a bottle) - supernib - fine tip.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Another Quick Bird Sketch

This one I think I achieved a sketchier look than the one I posted last night.  Often I feel my birds are too stiff looking.  I'm hoping by working quickly using methods like Marc Holmes will help me loosen things up.

I notice that although I'm holding my pen further down the barrel, I still have quite a grip on it.  I don't want my results looking like they've been micro-controlled but instead spontaneously rendered.  I want those wiggly/wobby, broken up/uneven wonky lines with these exercises.  Not there by any means.......not yet :-)

The one plus is that I'm not laboring over these pages.........I AM speeding up.  I need that if I have hopes of sketching birds out on location (or any moving subject for that matter).

I forgot to scan between pencil / pen and ink / and watercolor.  I didn't erase anything this time on the bird before applying pen and ink but instead cleaned it up (only a little) after paint was applied and dried.  Some of the graphite shows under the watercolor and for this subject, I like that.

This too is from a photo I took last year while checking out Venetian Gardens.

Handbook; Pilot Falcon with Lexy Grey ink; QoR watercolors

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bird Sketching Inspired by Marc Taro Holmes

Today a video came in that I ordered on Urban Sketching - Drawing Birds, by Marc Taro Holmes.  Although the concept is quick sketching out in the field, I tried to take what I picked up from the video using a photograph I took last year in September.

Initial concept is trying to see the silhouette or outline of the bird as quickly as possible, making loose marks on paper using pencil first.  Then going back with pen and ink followed by loose washes of color.

I started this out with a large circle for the body and worked from that putting in head, beak, legs and areas to depict feathers.

When I went over with pen and ink, I used a Pilot Falcon holding it further back on the barrel than I normally would.  Again trying to keep things loose.  I tend to be a control freak when it comes to putting in my line work and I really would like to become a bit more "sketchy" with my results.  I have some work ahead of me ...... lots of practice but I felt fairly good with this attempt.  :-)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Scarecrow Figurine

Yesterday I received an order of these cute scarecrows (there are three of them) and today decided to sketch one along with my lucky bamboo as a backdrop.

Worked in the Strathmore Visual Journal (Watercolor) pencil first; scarecrow figurine in watercolor first and then pen and ink and the rest pen and ink first before deciding if I wanted to finish in watercolor.

I debated whether to attempt the stucco background or leave it unpainted.  I chose to leave the background white as I feared making it too busy trying to capture the stucco.

Pen and Ink using Platinum Carbon pen and Lexington Grey ink and QoR watercolors.

Study of a Wren Using John Muir Law's Step by Step

One of my favorite artists and authors is John Muir Law.  I have his first book, Law's Guide to Drawing Birds, and patiently waiting for his new book to be released, which you can pre-order through Amazon, Law's Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling.

UPDATE:  I'm REALLY excited now for the release of John's new book after Cathy Johnson let me know this morning that she's seen it in production and it's WONDERFUL!!!

In addition to the book I presently have, I follow his posts to his website at  One of his recent posts was a step by step on drawing a wren.

I'm not accustomed to drawing by using basic shapes and find it a bit challenging if not awkward. And because of that, I occasionally like to try that technique hoping to hone my skills.  Here is a study I just worked based on his post.

Worked in the

Monday, October 19, 2015

Opal Bear - Autumn and Halloween Pages

My eldest son and his wife came down almost 4 weeks ago living with us until they found jobs and a house to move into. They came with only their clothes and a few personal belongings.......leaving everything back in storage.
This weekend they had to travel back from FL to WV (along with my youngest son) to pack up a moving van and get it back in time for Ron to go to work today. They didn't leave until after noon on Friday. They ran into one delay after another so it's not been a very easy trip. And to think they have to go back at some point to get the rest of their stuff they couldn't fit this trip. Boy do we know what that's like. For us it was four trips but then we had two households to move.
We kept the girls this weekend and earlier last night, as they got ready for bed, I sketched this. 
Poor Opal looks so stiff.......probably how my two sons are going to feel after they've had a chance to stop and relax......LOL. Square, Micron, and QoR watercolors. I like this journal paper OK but it's not as fun to work watercolor as other journal papers.
And while waiting for them to return, I spent my time playing with this next page in my journal.  There was no sleeping until I knew they were safely home.  It was after 2 a.m. when they finally pulled in and then another hour before we could settle enough to sleep.
Again using Opal as my model.  This started out as a pen and ink only sketch but then when I reached all those areas of black, I changed my mind.  I started using watercolor pencils (dry) to fill in and shade.  Just too much hatching and cross hatching otherwise and I didn't feel like doing that. square, Microns 005 and 01, WC pencils.

Quick Pen and Ink Sketch - Tree and Shrubs

Saturday a week ago, we had to drop my Highlander off at Toyota for a regular maintenance check.  While I waited on hubby to check the vehicle in, I sat in his truck and started this quick sketch.  I didn't finish it but I knew I would return later to pick my car up and would work on it more at that time.

The squiggly pen and ink technique is my #1 favorite for foliage. journal using Pilot Prera and Lexington Grey ink.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Old Time Relics - Lakeshore Dr The Villages

Back in July, Terry and I drove to Lakeshore Drive at the Villages.  What really grabbed my attention as we walked around were the various relics outside shops and restaurants.

Here's a sketch of what drew my attention at Cody's Roadhouse.

Steps as I worked the page:

Friday, October 9, 2015

Venetian Garden Ink Sketching

Sketched this little scene from one of our trips to Venetian Gardens a few weeks ago.  Still trying to get back into the swing of things where I went for weeks not doing much of anything.  Didn't have a lot of time so I worked this quickly in just a few minutes (probably looks it too........ha ha ).  :-)

Worked in the Handbook with my Pilot Prera (that I haven't used in ages) and Lexington Grey ink.  Grabbed the palette with the QoR watercolor pigments and water brush.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Madison's Tiger - Graphite

This is another graphite drawing my granddaughter, Madison, finished yesterday.

Strathmore Visual Mixed Media Journal and mechanical pencil.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Eastern Lubber Grasshopper - Ink and Brush Pens

Earlier in the year I purchased a few pens and brush markers intending to do some play and practice.  Only I've gone all these months not really thinking about them.

Tonight I decided to play using materials I hadn't used...........Pentel Art Pocket Brush pen and Zig (Kuretake) Clean Color Marker brush pens.

Using the Strathmore Visual Watercolor Journal, I first sketched using the Pilot Falcon fountain pen.  Then after the ink was dry, I went over some areas with the Pocket Brush pen.  Then I grabbed the brush marker pen colors I wanted or needed and laid down color.  Immediately after adding the color, I would take a waterbrush and blend the color on paper.

I had a lot of fun with these pens.  The colors were vibrant even after drying.  They blended beautifully together and using the waterbrush pushing or pulling color from the initial color stroke made.

After playing with these and seeing how nice they are to work with, I might just have to purchase additional colors to add to the 12 purchased months ago to try out.

Unfinished Wood Birdhouse - Pen and Ink

Night before last I worked this pen and ink sketch using my Platinum Carbon pen with Lexington Grey Ink.  It was nice going back to my fountain pens for a change.  The Microns are great to grab for drawing but realized I missed the feel of using the fountain pens.

Worked in the

Saturday, October 3, 2015

It's a Start - Banana

It's been a busy time this past month or so trying to finalize the sale of our house in West Virginia (with one obstacle after another along the way) and then preparing for my eldest son and his family to come live with us for awhile as they find jobs and a place of their own.

We are one big happy family of eight - 6 adults and 2 children plus 4 dogs and 2 cats trying to adjust to living in limited space with various eating and sleeping/waking schedules.  I think we're doing pretty good too :-)

With this going on plus the digital filing organization and giving my 13 year old website a face lift, I just haven't felt much like sketching or painting.  FINALLY this morning I worked this little sketch after two sons and my granddaughters left (before daylight) to go fishing.

We have a banana tree in the back we thought was on it's way out.  Terry gave it some TLC last year and it helped perk the tree up and this year producing bananas.  I've never seen how bananas grow so this is a new learning experience for me.

This is just a little pen and ink sketch of how each banana has this little flower at the tip.  As the banana grows, this flower fades and drops off.

Worked in a square format with a Lamy Safari pen and Lexington Gray Ink

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Madison's Latest Sketch - Owl in Graphite

Madison is my eldest granddaughter, who is 12.  The family is living with us now for awhile as they transition from West Virginia to Florida.......looking for jobs and a place of their own.

Both granddaughters (the youngest is 9) love to draw and paint and Madison just finished this last night.

Worked in a Strathmore Visual Mixed Medium journal and mechanical pencil .07

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