Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Garage Residents

As weird as it might sound, one of the things we like about Florida are all the lizards, anoles, and geckos we see on a daily basis.

We've seen several different varieties.......some of which I've yet to identify.  The geckos we see live in the garage and are neat due to their coloring.  Almost transparent and love the huge eyes (compared to other lizards).  Although looking closely, the eyes have a vertical slit but often from a distance they look like big black orbs.

At one time we counted five in one corner near the ceiling with one being just a little guy..........off to himself and patiently waiting to nab his next meal.

Meandering Journal made with Arches 130lb CP watercolor paper (gift from Linn Frye)
Lami Safari fountain pen with Lexington Gray ink

(Top sketch from Wiki Commons photo used to identify - Free license)

Mount Dora, FL

This is from our outing Christmas Day when we drove around taking pictures.

The flagpole sits to the right of the Mount Dora lighthouse as you stand and look out from the boat docks.

It was such a nice day with little traffic and very few people out at the park.  I think at the time there was only one couple out near the lighthouse.  A couple I sketched several days to a week or so ago and shared in an earlier post.

Worked in the Stillman & Birn Beta (mini soft journal)
Lamy Safari w/Lexy Gray ink

Monday, January 30, 2017

Failed Continuous Line Exercise

Have you ever tried working the continuous line exercise where you do not lift your pencil/pen off the paper for the entire subject you want to sketch?  I've always loved Brenda Swenson's paintings where she uses that method and admired others who can pull it off successfully.

Well I'm not one of them........lol.

This started out as a continuous line but only made it down to the railings when I said forget it and went to my normal sketching.  I found my hand shaking so bad that the nib was lifting off the paper.........so much for continuous line. :-)

Should I try again, I think I need to pick a much easier subject.

Stillman & Birn Beta mini sketchbook
Lami Safari / Lexy Gray ink

Sunday, January 29, 2017

January 2017 Steampunk Festival

Yesterday Terry and I checked out what's called the Steampunk Festival being held at Renninger's in Mount Dora, FL

We arrived early and walked around for about an hour and a half before we had to leave.

It was really interesting to see the various folks walking around in unique costumes; checking out the wide variety of antiques being sold; and coming across unusual creations made using pieces of metal and glass.  Even the music was unique.

While walking around, I came across a vendor selling old door knobs, knockers, locks, vintage keys, etc.  I picked up a hand full of various size keys to have on hand for sketching.

Keys close to actual size.

Stillman & Birn Beta; Pilot Falcon fountain pen / Lexington Gray ink

Although I took several photos, I didn't get what I now wish I had showing more of the folks wearing costumes and other various attractions.  We left before the real action started (which I believe was a show put on by several in costume).  Oh well........maybe next time.

Small sampling of costumes.....Hand sewn journal/Fabriano; Falcon pen and Lamy Safari / Lexy Gray ink

For a little information on just what Steampunk is..........http://www.mountdorabuzz.com/arts--entertainment/just-what-is-steampunk-find-out-before-this-weekends-show

Photos taken:


Friday, January 27, 2017

Another from Sumter Landing Sketchcrawl

Today I decided to work on my personal challenge of skipping pencil and jumping right in with watercolor first and then pen and ink last.  The idea is to help speed things up for when I'm out on location.

Each time I do this, I see that for me this just isn't going to be any quicker.  It takes me longer just to work brush to paper straining my brain to get it down right.  At least with a light preliminary pencil sketch, I don't hesitate as I'm putting pencil to paper which for me means working faster.  I may not work watercolor while out on location but that's OK too.  I can extend my enjoyment of being out even after I get home by adding the watercolor in the comfort of my own home.

But it doesn't hurt to challenge myself and that's what I chose to do today :-)

Hand sewn journal / Fabriano Artistico 140lb wc paper
Lamy Safari with Lexington Gray ink
Mix brands of watercolor (DS, W&N, and QoR)

Practice with Ellipses and Shading

Yesterday I filled an entire 14 x 17 inch page of nothing but ellipses and circles just practicing getting them down smoothly.  In addition to all those ellipses, I actually created three actual subjects and practiced shading using a 6B pencil.

There's definitely something to it when they say it's easier to work using your entire arm to draw rather than just hand and wrist.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Why I Like Working Small

As recommended to me a week or so ago, I purchased a large pad of newsprint paper by Strathmore to practice more using graphite.  And this was the smallest pad I could find at the store, which is a 14 x 17" pad.  Can't even imagine working on the other size they offered.

I have to admit that it is a nice change actually working a little bigger but the downsize is trying to capture images for records and for sharing online.

I hate taking photographs of my artwork because I'm just not good at it.  Can't get the white balance correct.  Have problems either with too dark or too light images.  I try photographing inside and I try photographing outside at different times of the day.  Doesn't matter...........still can't get it right.  My preference is using a scanner as it's 'normally' consistent in capturing images with a little tweaking of brightness and contrast.

So working with this large pad I have to scan in sections (which is a pain).   I wish now I had gone with my gut to cut the pad down to size so it would fit properly on the scanner bed and create small spiral sketchbooks with the other part cut away.

Oh well...........lesson learned.........hopefully..........lol.

First sheet using camera...........

Second sheet using scanner..........

Monday, January 23, 2017

Old Time Keys in Graphite

With this one I really wanted to fill the page with keys but this is as far as I managed before calling it done.

It was just one of those days where I couldn't focus (still under the weather) but I wanted to at least do a little something.

From a photo my dear friend, Clare, sent to me.  I love these old time keys!!!

Strathmore Bristol Vellum
Staedtler Mars HB and 4B pencils

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Quick Pencil Sketch - Still Practicing People

I'm trying to do a little something each day and this is what I did this morning.

As I continue practicing capturing people on paper, I'm also working with different grade or soft/hard pencils to get a feel for how they look and feel on the different paper surfaces I use.  This is a Staedtler Mars H grade pencil on the sampler Stonehenge Aqua watercolor CP paper.

Not sure if I'll do anything more to this........just depends.  I might use a softer grade pencil going over to darken values; I might take pen and ink to it; and/or I might take some watercolor to the illustration......orr I might just move on to something else.

This is either one of the members in our sketching group from the Mote Morris House outing or a passerby.......not sure which (still learning people in the group).  From one of several photos I took that day.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Opal and New Friends

It's that time of year for the flu bug to make its way around and this time it appears I'm not going to escape it.  Not being able to sleep, I sat up all night working on this to help focus on something other than how rotten I felt.

And as I often do, I misjudged size and placement of the overall sketch running into the spiral with the bottom corner of the buggy..........ooops     When I started this, I started with Violet working my way down to the right and back up to the left until I finished Toffy.  Worked the cart around them.

The little bears (except "Violet") were Christmas gifts from my husband.  He knows I like these little miniature bears and I ended up with six more friends for Opal.

While visiting my mom in West Virginia,  I took notice of a miniature shopping cart or buggy sitting on her dresser.  I was able to purchase it through Amazon and bought that with the intent of holding other things.  However, when it came in, the bears just seemed to call out they wanted to go for a ride.........lol.

And each bear has a name.  The names just seemed to pop in my head without much thought.  Am I silly?  Yeah, but that's OK.  :-)

Strathmore Visual watercolor journal
Staedtler Mars 0.3 mm mechanical pencil
Platinum Carbon pen w/Noodlers Lexington Gray ink
Watercolors (mixed brands)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Ink and Wash - People at Old Time Diner

Quick sketching as I practice working quickly as if out on location with no time to fuss around capturing people.

These people are from a diner I ate lunch at yesterday  I had taken a quick photo with my cell phone of people across the room.  Not wanting anyone to know I was taking a photo, I didn't take the time to frame the shot nor did I even try to focus.  Instead I just quickly raised my phone and took the photo  I figured something out of it I might be able to sketch today.

Left under the table area completely blank because I couldn't make it out in the photo......dark and blurred.  I love what the guys shirt says.......lol

Stonehenge Aqua wc sample paper and Sailor Fude fountain pen with water soluble ink.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Quick Pencil Sketch - Instructor Helping Student

This is from Monday's class in The Villages from one of several photos taken so I could continue working at home about that day's experience.

Working the sketch as I wait for 11 a.m. appointment with one of the gals from the sketching group.

I'm getting a bit braver trying to capture some facial features on these small sketches.  Before I would mainly sketch the back of people or leave the faces featureless.  I still have a ways to go though with lots of practice.

Stonehenge Aqua sampler watercolor paper
Staedtler Mars mechanical pencil with 0.3 mm lead

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Making Your Own Hand Sewn Hard Cased Journals

My favorite videos (and a PDF) on how to make your own Hand Sewn Journal Books - Hard Cover

Of all the videos I have watched, those listed below are my #1 favorites!  All are by Sea Lemon on the YouTube Channel.  She has several other videos related to bookbinding as well......different variations.  For the complete playlist, follow this link:


Click on images to take you to the videos/pdf

1)  Making a Text Block of signatures - shows how to sew signatures together using a Kettle Stitch

2)  Making Headbands (Optional)

3)  Creating the Book Casing

4)  Making Your Own Book Cloth

5)  Make Your Own Book Press

6)  Make Your Own Punch Cradle (pdf)

NOTE:  The book press and punch cradle are totally optional.  You can use a stack of books or anything heavy in place of the book press and an old telephone book opened up using the center to place your folded signatures for punching.  That's how I did it before my husband made me both.

Another Sketching Kit

I'm such a sucker for finding or creating different traveling sketching kits and this is one of my new ones.  I've had a chance to try it out and works nicely.

It's large enough to carry the most important things for me and yet small enough to fit in my small denim handbag.  Overall size (closed) is 5 x 8 x 2.5 (roughly).

NOTE:  Where to buy:

Strathmore Visual Journal, Lamy Safari pen, DS watercolors, and Albrecht Durer wc pencils

Front has two little pockets, one of which I can carry a few business cards.

Where the Stillman & Birn small journal is here in my kit is actually another area for pens and pencils.  The loop that goes across was perfect for this little landscape oriented journal.

On the left are three little mesh pockets I have yet to decide on what to place there.

Just showing the back - no pockets.

The only thing I wish it had is a carrying strap.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

My Day Yesterday

Now that I'm FINALLY getting out and about, I'm able to work pages like this that I have envied others doing for quite some time.  I love the story telling aspect of pages like this.  Sitting at home working on things I like, or playing with techniques and supplies, is just not quite the same (although it does tell about me as a person).

I had a full day and loved every minute of it.  Came home and continued into the night to finish the two page spread and even this morning as I made up my mind what to place in the final corner of the spread.

First I had worked the top left and bottom right while actually sitting on location....minus adding the watercolor.  Knowing I wouldn't finish the page, I took photos that I could refer back to in order to add to the other two corners.  The last thing I decided on was the bottom left.  I could have included other things from the class or location I went to for it but remembered I had stopped at the art shop before the class.  Thought that would be perfect to include.

Fabriano Artistico 140 lb CP watercolor paper in hand sewn journal
Platinum Carbon Pen w/Lexy Gray ink
Falcon Fountain Pen w/Lexy Gray ink
Daniel Smith watercolors

Legion's Stonehenge Aqua CP - One Side Complete

So far I have finished one side of this sampler paper.  And I think it's the back side of the paper if going by the label that is on the corner of the sheet.

Some papers there is a definite difference between front and back in not only feel of the tooth but the look as well.  This paper not so much.....at least not a great deal of difference visually (to my eyes, that is).  Will see how it goes with the difference in usage of back versus front sides.

Here's what I have done so far using watercolor, watercolor pencils, graphite (super thin mechanical pencil lead), and pen and ink using the Platinum Carbon EF desk pen with Lexington Gray ink.

I'm sincerely impressed with the paper and would consider buying it for making hand sewn journals.  Before now I would only consider using Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper.

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