Sunday, March 31, 2019

Give a Dog a Bone or Not - Part II

During the time I was sketching, Miya kept trying to inch her way to the bone I was sketching.  I'd tell her no-no and she would sit and stare and at times give me her little "I want" whimper she's known for.

She was preoccupied for awhile with her walk and feeding time but she came back.  This dog has a memory that's unreal and when focused on something, doesn't let up.  You should see her when we play with a laser light and stop playing.  She'll sit forever watching for it to show back up on the

Since I was done with my sketch, I sat back and watched her as she decided to try again.  This time I had my cell phone ready to take pictures and just let her take it if she chose to.  And here is the sequence as she very cautiously went through the motions that led up to her finally getting her prize........that didn't even belong to her :-)




Give a Dog a Bone or Not - Part I

This was fun to do trying to sketch while one of the pups wanted my sketching prop..........ha ha.

With the knots on either end, it was easy to get lost in concentration following curves, dips, and folds.  I particularly like the colored areas, which are red, due to bacon flavoring in this particular type purchased.

We found pork chomps to be a great alternative to rawhide for dogs and both of our dogs absolutely love these.  Most of the ones we get are straight stick shaped wrapped in sweet potato but there are other flavors as well to include bacon, chicken, roasted, and peanut butter.

My son had found this bone-shaped type for his dog, Lola (who's staying with us right now), so thought I'd sketch it before it was demolished.

Worked in the KG journal and only an HB pencil.

In a Slump

Looks like I've fallen into a slump lacking incentive and motivation to pick up a pencil or pen.  This slump, however, is not only affecting my desire to sketch/paint, it's filtering over into everything I do on a day to day basis to include interaction with our sketching group, and Facebook art groups I'm in.  I'm trying to work my way out of it as quickly as I can, but it's a bit slow going at the moment.

Slumps are normal and I understand this.  And although at times I may not know the "why", there are times like now that I'm very much aware of the reason and trying to remedy it.  Then maybe I can move forward until the next time.

Some people say to just accept these times and relax by taking a break, while others say to try and push your way out of it.  For me, I have to push my way through because otherwise if I let too much time slip by, it becomes more difficult to get started again.......finding excuses not to do anything.

In my attempt to push through what's going on with me, I worked this little sketch but definitely didn't have my heart in it.  It did feel good to at least manage what I did.  And again last night I tried to start another but I ended up not getting very far.  We'll try again today.

I feel like a worn out starter in a car that's trying hard turning over to start the engine.  At least a starter can be replaced.....ha ha  However the engine has its own issues with components not in sync or running smoothly that needs attention (contributing to the starter becoming worn) and not sure I'm the one to fix that or can without assistance.

Stonehenge 90 / Mars Lumograph 3B pencil

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Statue at Lone Oak Cemetery

Still haven't been in the mood to paint so I worked another pencil sketch over the weekend after I worked the self portrait for the sketch with me event with Cathy Johnson.

Mars Lumograph 3B pencil on Stonehenge 90 paper.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Sketch With Me - Self Portrait

I don't mind working portraits (when I'm in the right frame of mind) but I am NOT crazy about doing self portraits.  Just feels super weird!!!

For the 6th Sketch With Me event by Cathy Johnson, this is the topic set for us to do.  The event is for today and tomorrow.........which I started wee hours of the morning and finished after I got some sleep. 

Worked from a photograph.

This is one of those subjects I could go on and on indefinitely with adjustments but doubt I would ever be satisfied.  It's amazing how a single line or shading can make such a huge difference in how close you get to likeness.  I finally had to have my husband take a look and he said it looked like me so I called it done.....flaws and all.

Friday, March 22, 2019

In the Mood for Graphite

Last couple of days I've been more into sketching with pencil than painting.

Worked this one early morning from one of my photos when our group met up at Simon Seed Gardening Center in Leesburg early last year.

First I worked a quick sketch trying to get the main shapes down.  Then I went back and refined adding other items, more detail, and shading.

Worked on the back of Grumbacher watercolor paper, which is extremely smooth. 

3B Mars Lumograph

This next one is worked on Stonehenge 90 paper following an assignment in a book I've borrowed from one of my sketching pals from our group.  Also used the 3B pencil.

I really like this paper for graphite work as the slight tooth shows texture that I like.  Love the feel of the pencil moving across the surface.

The book is called Ernest W Watson's Course in Pencil Sketching (Four books in one).   The author shares various techniques with examples and then shares a photo as an assignment with similar subject matter for the reader to practice.

From the photo I tried my hand at, I only worked a small section of the building rather than the entire street scene and building.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Brief Visitor - Bluebird

We see a lot of birds of different varieties depending on time of year.  This is one we don't see too often. 

Earlier I was outside and thought I saw one fly into one of our trees and then flew off.  When I came back inside and was sitting just looking out the window, this one stopped for just a few minutes sitting on top of our hummingbird feeder pole.  Then he was gone. 

Small purse sketchbook / Fabriano Soft / Lamy Al Star with Lexington Grey ink

The pinkish/brown mix is Aliz Crimson, Raw Sienna (as if mixing for skin tone, and a touch of Bt Umber.

Blue is Fr Ultra and Indigo (DS) / Green is DS Sap and Qor Sap mixed.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Discovery Gardens - From Wild Rose Bush

With this one, I chose to sketch what remains after the rose petals have fallen.  I guess these are called rose hips??  Although I always thought they were red.

This comes from one of the rose bushes considered a wild rose, which I prefer over other type roses with multiple layers of petals.

Strathmore Imperial 500 watercolor paper
Platinum Carbon desk pen with same name ink
Daniel Smith:  Rich Green Gold / Green Ap / Serpentine / Hookers / Sap Green / Aliz Crimson / Mixed brown from Aliz Crimson and Sap Green, Warm Sepia from Old Holland

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Another Unknown Plant at Discovery Gardens

Today is mid to upper 70s starting out sunny but now cloudy with a few showers late afternoon / early evening.  We need the rain.

Listening to and half watching Forensic Files and looking through photos taken when Shari and I went by Discovery Gardens to see how the flowers were on the Prickly Pear Cactus.

While there, this plant grabbed my attention due to the little twirled flowers or petals growing among the larger petals (rosettes?).   I just thought that was so neat.  I like the yellow in the smaller flowers against the coral red of the larger petals.  Leaves are very long so only added a few around the flowers.

KG journal, Lamy Vista with Lexington Grey ink and only three colors.

Pencil sketch first, pen and ink, and then added color. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

More on Grumbacher Watercolor In and Out Sketchbook

The more I work in this sketchbook, the more I realize it's not going to be for me.  There are too many other sketchbooks I like better that work best for how I work.  Plus I can also make my own with much better paper choices than what most journals out there offer.

Personal Notes / Findings:

Although you can lift, the paper does damage even with light brush work.  It really shows when applying pigment over that area after it dries. 

It's too easy to end up with a blotchy look since the pigment just sits on top of the sized paper and it's not something I would want to happen with many subjects. 

The surface sizing also feels like or appears to not be consistent over the entire surface.  Some areas  blotch or bead more easily than other areas.  Now that might also be attributed to possible oils on my hand as I sketch and work the ink lines but I try to be careful making sure my hands are clean.  It's more apparent working on a larger scale like this page versus several little illustrations on a page.

Fountain pen ink tends to take too long to dry (for my liking) so I've been using a Sharpie pen instead.  Not a huge deal but I like using various pens and inks.

Pencil erases very cleanly unlike some other least the HB pencil I've been using.  Haven't tried softer or darker lead pencils.

Definitely not what I personally consider top quality art paper..........more on the line of student grade.

The ability to remove and replace pages is a really nice concept but for me not worth the other less desirable characteristics as mentioned above.

This paper might work very well for other people depending on how they work but I honestly am not that crazy about it.

Phone at Roosters

When we were at the coffee shop, I asked if they had any vintage telephones.  They showed me this one in the back of the shop.  Not sure with the cord and how it's attached if it's truly vintage but then what do I know :-)  The phone was different and looked neat regardless.

Worked in the KG journal using Lamy Vista fountain pen and Lexington Grey ink.

Very limited palette of colors needed for this using Raw Sienna for the phone and then I actually mixed my own brown rather than using Bt Umber for the shelf.

Because the Raw Siennas are different between the QoR and Daniel Smith brands, I used both.  QoR is brighter and used on the lighter areas whereas I used the DS brand for darker areas.

Touch of Neutral Tint and Quin Bt Orange.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Roosters - Continued

The page on the left I worked after the one on the right (I tend to do that for some reason in my books).  Working from various photos taken while at Roosters.

Grumbacher In and Out Sketchbook - nice being able to remove a page to work on, scan, and then return to the book

Sharpie pen and Daniel Smith watercolors

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Roosters On Oxford Sketch Outing - Practice with Ellipses

Yesterday our sketching group met up at a unique coffee / vintage shop in Wildwood, FL  There were eight of us total with part of the group sketching inside and a few of us out on the front porch.

I chose this to sketch as practice with ellipses...........a subject I still struggle with.  Started out in pencil and had to erase numerous times until I finally decided to stop here.  I'm sure perspective is still off, but definitely closer than when I started.

This is also my first true watercolor sketch (other than the tree) on this Grumbacher watercolor paper.  For someone who prefers a paper with a good amount of sizing in it, this may be one paper that's a bit heavier sized than I really like working on.  But I may be able to adjust how I do things where it's not too much of a challenge as I found with this first attempt.

The pigment definitely just sits on top and if wet will pool creating a blotchy look when dry.  Not bad for some subjects but might be a pain needing a flat smooth wash.  Perfect example is the flower pot.  That's only one application of paint and it's blotchy looking after dry because of how wet the paint was and how it pooled.

I was using a squirrel brush / wet watery paint / with light touch and found trying to layer would pick up pigment already on the surface.  What I ended up doing to build value was using a synthetic angular flat drybrush and not fiddling as I applied the paint.

I'm sure for those who use a less watery paint mixture, they might not run into the same issue.  Only time will tell for me how this paper will work out for me with how I personally apply paint.

With this particular sketch, I worked backwards apply pen and ink after I started painting but before adding the darker values.

Some People Practice

Next month is the yearly 100 people in five days challenge set by Marc Taro Holmes and Liz Steele.  I attempted that last year and after about 50 said forget it!!!  That was following day to day practice I had already started on my own with people and figure gestures and I was so sick of people, I didn't even want to think about them much less actually sketch them.

But it's been awhile so I decided to work a few timed exercises with ink only allowing 2 minutes to work each of these figures.

Handmade African Journal received as a gift back in 2008 / Pen and Ink as stated on pages.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Trying Out Grumbacher Watercolor In and Out Journal Book

Yesterday I stopped at our local art supply shop called DK Art Supplies.  I hadn't been there since they expanded mid last year.

I was really impressed with the layout and how everything was being displayed making it more enjoyable to shop there.

The owner, Dennis, was sharing about the changes and the supplies he carries and letting me know if he doesn't have in stock, he can always order anything we might want.  Then talking about particular graphite between water soluble to standard to Artgraf color graphite bars and kneaded graphite I had never heard of before.  Really interesting what companies keep coming up with.

What I really like about this place and the owner, he's quick to do little demonstrations showing what one can expect with various supplies before you buy.

Then he was showing me the Grumbacher In and Out journals that are spiral bound but pages cut to where you can remove them and then put back in place in any order you wish.

I like the fact you can remove the page for laying flat in the scanner and then return it to sketchbook.

I'd never painted or sketched on Grumbacher paper so I was intrigued and bought a 7 x 10 watercolor journal.  It has 12 pages 140 lb acid free paper which is heavily sized for lifting and blending.  I personally like paper like that with how I work.

These are just a few play examples as I get a feel for the paper surface.  Front has a hilly surface and the back is silky smooth.

So far this is playing a little with watercolor and with water soluble graphite (Wolf's Carbon pencil B).  Also did a quick ink smear test but not waiting any real time before trying to smear.  I wanted to know how careful I needed to be writing or sketching moving my hand around the paper as I worked.

Friday, March 8, 2019

More from Discovery Gardens

Yesterday a friend and I went back to Discovery Gardens to check on the status of the flowers on the huge Prickly Pear Cactus.  We had a cold spell for two days with the night time temperatures dropping into the 30s.  We didn't find any growth changes on the cactus flowers and now wondering if the cold snap hindered further flower growth or if it's just the type tree and flowers it produces.  Maybe the flowers do not grow any fuller than what you see in the bottom illustration on the second page showing here.

While there we worked a couple sketches of other flowers that were blooming and took photos to work from later at home. 

This place is a dream place to sit and sketch.  The employees of the agricultural center love us coming out and the master gardeners and students who work the gardens are such nice friendly people.  It's one of those places that invites you to come sit or walk around.  A place one can feel safe spending time there alone.  And a place you can just relax and get lost in the beauty of nature.

KG journal and Sharpie pen

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Unknown Plant - Discovery Gardens

This is another plant I saw last week at Discovery Gardens that I have no idea what it's called.

UPDATE:  This is called a Cardboard Palm

I'm hoping to get by there again tomorrow to see if the Prickly Pear is in full bloom yet and hopefully find out the names of those plants I couldn't find a tag on.

Strathmore 500 / Sharpie pen

Monday, March 4, 2019

Miya Not Feeling 100%

Morning sketch of Miya laying near me on the floor. 

Lola is back with Terry and Miya out with me.  So far there's not been too much excitement.  I'm sketching and listening to TV while Terry works. 

We tried reversing dogs with Lola out with me but Lola is evidently leaning on Terry as a surrogate for Travis and won't cooperate. 

My little fur-baby is showing signs of feeling a little better from her tummy upset (we're sure from anxiety) but still not 100%

KG journal and Sharpie pen

Our First 16 Hours with Lola

We knew we would be facing an adjustment period with Lola coming to stay with us.  Miya doesn't like sharing Terry and I with other animals and we're sure Lola was missing her "daddy".....however I don't think we were as prepared as we thought we were for our first 16 hours.

Terry forgot he had to work wee hours of the morning until near midnight so he stayed up starting work at 1 a.m. until the job was done around 3:30 a.m. (he works from home). 

He was already frazzled with Miya's behavior and Lola's restlessness.  Terry's normally the easy go lucky one whereas I'm normally the one who gets easily anxious with chaos.  Our roles were reversed and I think it's because Lola is used to the male figure following Terry around everywhere he went constantly wanting attention with Miya complaining.

Here we have an excited/restless 14 month old, agitated and insecure 10 year old being rather vocal about it; bird squawking due to all the noise; Terry being a bit on the snappy side, and then there's me..........I escape to my room with door closed taking Miya with me.

What made the evening even more unnerving was the storm that passed through not long after I dropped off to sleep.  Miya doesn't do well with storms so I was kept up through the night due to her trembling, followed by her intestinal upset at 6 a.m. I'm sure was brought on with all her anxiety.

Here's to a better day today (fingers crossed)!!!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Our Grandpuppy Here to Stay With Us

This is a quick sketch of my youngest son's dog, Lola.  Travis brought her here to stay with us for awhile because of the long hours he's away from her.  He often works anywhere from 10 to 14 (sometimes more) hours not including driving time to and from work.  She's alone and just a pup and it was bothering my son feeling such guilt for her being without her pack for so long every day.  So we're keeping her since we're home all the time.

Hopefully, Travis and Neal (my middle son) will be able to move back to the area where puppy can return home and we be close enough to offer puppy sitting through the day.  As it is, it's an hour and 15 minutes one way between where they live and where we live making it difficult.

Lola was born a year ago January 8th.  She's a sweetheart of a dog full of energy as you would expect.  She loves people and tries so hard to play with other animals.  Her being a lab, she's kind of all over the place (bull in a china shop) when she gets excited so my son's cat and our little dog have a problem with her.  In time she'll settle and maybe once she has people around instead of being alone for long hours, that will help. 

This being the first day/night here with us, our dog, Miya, is not a happy camper.  She's insecure with us and clingy and quite bossy letting Lola know she's not  Although Miya grew up with three other dogs and two cats, she's been the only child now for sometime (after the boys moving out and our losing three senior dogs the last couple of years).  It's going to be fun for a little while.......a little testy on the nerves, I'm sure.

Back to Sketching - Bromeliad

Today I'm back to sketching from my last trip to Discovery Gardens.  I'm hoping to get back there this week in anticipation of the cactus tree in full bloom (what I'm referring to as a tree because of it's below).  I've only seen it with buds, flowers just starting to open, and after the flowers have stopped blooming.

Platinum Carbon Desk Pen with same name ink / KG journal

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Monogram Design

I still haven't quite accomplished the March challenge with what I've done so far but was given an A+ for trying. 

After I learned what I had done wasn't quite what my friend had in mind, I went looking for Celtic monogram examples.  From a couple I found that intrigued me, I chose to try one last time and ended up with this.

Unfortunately, this too fell short of being considered Celtic.  That's OK because even if it doesn't fit the challenge, I had fun designing it.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Monthly Challenge - Celtic - Number 4

I was up until 4:30 starting #4 when my Ipad and Apple pencil ran out of battery power.  Just one of those nights where I was tired but not sleepy.  Even after I was forced to stop, I struggled falling asleep.

 After I slept a few hours, I proceeded to complete the fourth design.

These are definitely becoming easier to do where I'm actually enjoying working through to see what I can come up with.

Not sure if I'll do any more at this point but at least I won't dread doing so if I choose to continue.

March 2019 Challenge Between Friends - Celtic Design

This month it's my friend's turn to choose our challenge.  She chose for us to work a Celtic Design with our Initials weaved within the design.

Celtic is not something I am real familiar with so had to do some reading and studying various images to understand what I was up against. 

I found a book on Amazon with preview using graph paper,  placing dots on the paper, and working from there.  To me it was way out there with what I was willing to invest a lot of time in so I decided to just wing it freestyle.

My understanding is Celtic represents infinity with no beginning and no end.......weaving over and under lines made on paper.  So top left is what I came up with first.

Being my first one, this really boggled my brain getting lost several times in what I was trying to do.  I sent the finished design to my friend saying I might try another later this month if what I did was not what she was hoping for, but no promises.  I just didn't think I could subject myself to this again.  It literally gave me a headache.

Well as I sit and type this out, I'm shaking my head in disbelief to what happened to me as the evening went on.  I couldn't sleep and I kept thinking about the challenge.  Not only did I attempt another, I actually did two more.  The weaving was a little easier and I didn't find myself getting lost.  It might be that they are not quite as involved or complicated or as tightly weaved.  I also started out with the two initials and then a circle around them.  From there started working the strand that weaves over and under holding everything together.

Now that I've done a couple more, I'm thinking how I might work

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