Friday, February 29, 2008

On the Road

Just wanted to share that I am currently in Columbia, South Carolina, having just spent a couple of days with my son as he graduated from Army basic training.

Needless to say, it was a joy to see him, and I am very, very proud. I'll have a picture or two for you when I get home, but, alas, am working on a laptop (not mine!) and don't have all the bells, whistles and photo editing program I'm used to for a decent post.

I'll have some new drawings for you to see, too, early next week as I share some son-type reports (forgive me here as I just told him goodbye -- again -- and I'll never get used to that which can cause me to be a little weepy and emotional).

Oh, well, I'll soldier on and say what they teach all good Army moms to say: "Hoo-rah"!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

May I Introduce To You....

"Fan of Chocolate"
ACEO Colored Pencil Drawing
2.5 x 3.5"
Today I am adding to my blog three new links to three very good pencil artists:

"Color On" by Cindy Haase - Wonderful drawings and, speaking to my passion right now, experiments within the medium! Yum! Be sure to check out her works with Neocolor underpaintings, works with Inktense (of which I have owned a set for a long time and never quite knew what to do with them), and, my personal favs, her circular stroke drawings. Just great stuff!

"Drawing a Fine Line" by Paula Pertile - A successful children's' book illustrator who also makes these incredible little drawings available to you and me on e-bay. Her latest subject matter is so simple and elegant and fun: objects tangled up in yarn. Yet, most of them are done in black, brown or sepia. Paula also takes the time to write about her comparisons of various papers and pencils and how they react with each other. Brilliant.

"The Extraordinary Pencil" by Marsha Robinett - Marsha's blog and website (one to check for a how-to on setting up one's website!) is full of art information, tutorials, materials, blogging how-to's and tons more. Her works are all in black and white using carbon, charcoal and graphite; take a moment to look at her Still Life drawings. Makes me want to do more black and white work.

"The Fork and Spoon Club"

carbon on paper 6 x 9"

by Marsha Robinette

Other artist/friends ask me why I take the time to blog and read other blogs. I must look at them like they are crazy. To me, having access to these wonderful artists and all they can and do share with you is like being a kid in a candy store. I have to limit my time there. Thanks to all who blog and share!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chocolate Labs and Chocolate

ACEO Original Colored Pencil Drawing
'Heart of Gold"
2.5 x 3.5"
Contact me if you are interested in this little piece!

Valentine's Day has come and gone. Here's what happened:
My husband gave me a small box of chocolates.
Buddy ate them.

My youngest son's birthday was last Friday. We gave him a large chocolate heart for his birthday.

Buddy ate it.

Same son also received several pieces of candy with his Valentine cards at the school party, many of them were chocolate.
Buddy ate them.

Here's how Buddy looks after he gets caught. (Ignore the look in his eyes. He is a good actor and can express loads of remorse; however, he doesn't really mean it. He would, given the chance, do it again.)

When Good Dogs Go Bad

NOTE: Before you leave comments about the fact the chocolate is incredibly bad for dogs, rest assured that I am truly aware of this. I have explained this time and again to Buddy; he has chosen to ignore me. I know, too, that we have been enabling this little addict all along and have recently had an intervention with him. We will not be bringing his drug of choice into the house any longer; instead we will eat our chocolate elsewhere. We love Buddy so much and will do everything in our power to help him. Buddy is going to rehab soon.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

ACEO Original Colored Pencil Drawing
"Super K"
2.5 x 3.5"

I have been SO busy working lately that I failed to notice that I had missed my one-year anniversary of blogging! My first post was Feb 6, 2007; you can reflect back on it here.

It is not yet complete, but I am working on my goals for 2008 and I do have some good ones this year. I'll share a small one with you now which I think is appropriate for my anniverary post. But first I have a confession to make:

I do not keep sketch books.

There, I've said it. Oh, sure, I've bought many - all shapes, covers style, and sizes. Started several. Just never seem to keep one going. Oh, the shame of it all!

Now, to fix it. (Dr. Phil says you cannot fix what you don't acknowledge...)

Why now, you ask? Well, because I finally think I can do it this time and because I discovered a rather simple, focused way to start.

As many of you, I read other artists blogs almost daily and for so many reasons, but most of all to feel connected to like-minded individuals and to find inspiration in their words and drawings (i.e., they kick butt in the motivation deprtment). One of my favorite new blogs is "Making a Mark", by Katherine Tyrrell. This week she had a wonderful post which included a reference to another blog "Laurelines" (this is how wonderful this blog thing is and how the addiction starts) who keeps a sketchbook on one theme at a time! Voila! Ureka! Now I have somewhere to start. I can DO that. It had always seemed like such a daunting thing before - you know, if you feel like you should, you don't want to? Well now I want to.

So here's my plan: I will start with interiors. That's it, just rooms. (It's still too cold to go outside - that's the next book anyway). But, I'm excited to do this because one of my favorite art professors, Neil Riley, paints some amazing interior scenes. Woo, boy! I think I set my sights really high with that comparison, but you get the idea. We've all gotta start somewhere, so why not aim high?

Ok, here's my other goal (and this one's really scary): I will show you some of my sketches. You won't see all of them, after all, I'll need some privacy to achieve my new goal, but I WILL share from time to time. I promise. (Yikes, what have I done?!)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Working on My Style

One of my goals for 2008 is to work on a direction and a cohesiveness to my work - in essence, my style. As I have only been a working artist for a few years, I am still trying to figure a LOT of this art stuff out as I go along. Thanks to this amazing tool called the internet, I have instant access to other gifted artists who are generously sharing their knowledge with fledglings like me.

I am always amazed that each year when I make a commitment to my goals (i.e., write them down and revisit often), stuff starts to happen; opportunities, information and key people appear before me! Since I read Maggie Stiefvater's blog regularly, it was no suprise then that Maggie is currently writing about, you guessed it, Style: Maggie on Style Part I and Maggie on Style Part II.

Another wonderful artist/blogger/teacher, Katherine Tyrrell, who I also read regularly on Making a Mark, (if you are a colored pencil artist or generally like to draw, go directly to her blog!) recently posted a comment stating that she bagan to identify her style when she began to organize her work for posting purposes.

Ahhh, now I had somewhere to start. So I decided to dig out some really distinct styles of work, all using colored pencil, from the past 3 to 4 years. As you can see, I have been all over the place! But, when I made the decision to "BE an ARTIST" I also decided to not play it safe and instead, to experiment and take some risks. My good friend and artist, Linda Wesner, took a look at some of my work and said "Good for you; you're playing in your sandbox!"

I am very, very comfortable rendering fairly strong realistic work, which I am not unhappy with. And yet....

Obviously, my work can be very, very different, so here's my plan:

  • To look again, this time very closely, at my work and to analyze it based on: (a) what has sold; (b) what pleases me as a finished piece; and (c) which ones I enjoyed creating.

  • To try to find some common denominators within all of my work.

  • To take those commonalities and bring them together in some more experiemental pieces.

  • And then, start the process all over again and, eventually, begin to see my distinct style emerge!

I don't know if this will work for me; I will keep you posted. My thinking may be contrary to what many people think, but I do see my art as work, work I love, but work nonetheless. And like any successful work, it takes planning, thought and constantly honing your craft.

In the meantime, I'll be in my sandbox, and happily so.



Figurative drawings:


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Fat Tuesday

ACEO Original Colored Pencil Drawing
2.5 x 3.5"

Grisaille under-drawing for "Siesta"

As a nation, we have not shown our best side to most of the world lately; but the news I heard today really "took the cake", "was a Whopper", and almost made me "bust a gut" (bad puns; you'll see why soon). I think, no matter your political slant, most people would agree on the fact that the new proposed law in Mississippi to make it illegal for restaurants to feed obese people is silly and, doggone it, just plain embarrassing.

To Everyone Else on this Planet: Most American's with half a brain want to apologize for a few of our cousins who legislate (rule?) Mississippi. They just aren't the sharpest knives in our country's drawers.

BUT, if this idea should EVER become law, here's what to expect:
  1. Every time you enter a restaurant, you will trip over stacks of shoes, purses, coats and other garmets shed as people weigh themselves on the scale by the front door.

  2. There will be mandatory weigh scales on American highways - not just for trucks anymore. Your vehicle will be tagged as to whether you can enter a drive-thru without breaking the law. Should you break this rule, you will be arrrested and sent to a fat-farm. Your vehicle will be sold to help pay for the "obese" law.

  3. Individual restaurant seating (i.e., in face-front rows) to prevent skinny people from passing food to their fat loved ones and friends. (Remember your assigned seats in homeroom?) Monitors will move between the rows with rulers to whack the hands of anyone caught cheating.

  4. No carry out or delivery ever again. You'll have to be seen, inspected and watched as you eat.

  5. Little brown youth uniforms will be worn by all fast food employees given the task of policing this law. They will have whistles. (Did you see "The Sound of Music"?)

Just imagine the the fat politician, the chain smoking restaurant manager, or the teenage kid behind the counter, who can't make change, getting to decide who's fit to feed or not?! Please! Just what we all need, another reason to pass judgement on another human being.

There is currently a "Letter to America", falsely attributed to John Cleese (but I still like to imagine hearing him read this anyway because I have loved him since discovering Monty Python as a kid) that since Americans have been acting really crazy lately, we have lost our right to our independence.

Based on today's news, as a nation maybe we DO need an intervention and a good talking to. God Save the Queen!

Monday, February 4, 2008

New Family Member

"Blonde & Beautiful"
ACEO Original Colored Pencil Drawing
2.5 x 3.5"

This is a drawing of our newest family member, Mandy, a 5-year-old (or close to it) yellow labrador retriever who we "found" at the pound, the same place we "found" Buddy, our chocolate lab. She is a gem: loving, kind, gentle, plays well with other (i.e., Buddy), obeys commands and is in all ways a complete lady. Mandy had been at the shelter since August, where she was taken after being snagged as a runaway. I can't help but feel she was just waiting for us to find her.

My husband, who had told me for years that one dog was enough, just recently decided the two was okay. What changed his mind? Well, he'd read an article in the paper about how overcrowded animal shelters have become due to the economy and particularly the fact that people are losing their homes due to eviction and foreclosure. The shelter calls them "Foreclosure Dogs".

My dogs (yeah, two!) are just that, my dogs, they are not my kids. They are nonetheless, loved and well cared for. I have a huge soft spot for lost or rejected dogs and always let people know that my big beautiful, well-bahaved pets are from the shelter. There are some wonderful companions there just waiting for someone to find them. Just walk through an animal shelter once and see if you don't fall in love with at least one of them; or many, many more.
Each time I have been there, I cry, then realize that it probably wouldn't be a good idea to back my small VW Bug up to the back door and fill it with as many dogs as it would hold....
But these two love riding in my Bug and fit very, very well.

Buddy & Mandy