Friday, April 22, 2016

but Mommm, I don't wannnna'!

Grandslackmaster - aka me.

#CreativeSprint day 8 - Make something in/from your bathroom.  I sketched the small kid-crafted sculpture that hangs in my bathroom.

Day 9 - Create your own holiday and how to celebrate it.  This is what I posted on Facebook:

Human to Human Day: face to face and voice to voice. (The theme song writes itself.) A national day to reconnect without electronic filters.
All communication is in person or phone call (not text - CALL).
No Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, video games, trolling - basically, no staring mindlessly at phones or computers. 
Everyone celebrates with family/friends/community by doing the multitude of fabulous things that don't require computers, tv or internet (exception only for video chatting with faraway peeps). 
(And no selfies of what you're doing on H2H Day.)

Day 10 (which I did on day 11) -  Use water as a medium or inspiration in your creation.  Interest, inspiration and patience waning, I splashed some water on the boards of our deck.

Day 12, 13, 14, 15....  My 6-year-old attention span wandered off, ignoring multiple not-so-inspiring prompts.  The last few are intriguing, but I've been otherwise occupied.  I feel like the kids in junior high who signed up to run "long" distance (800 meters) and got all whiny and wheezy and quit half way through the race.  I need a bossy art coach.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Books & Cats & Stuff

We've arrived at day 7 of #CreativeSprint.  One whole week of daily creativity.

Day 3
Your name.  I remembered the letter stacks from a past Christmas letter for some absentminded fun.

Day 4
Take a 5 minute walk, collect stuff, make something for others to find.  I cheated.  Near dusk, after planting in the garden all day, I made a face on the sidewalk beside our house.

Day 5
Collections.  Hmmm.  A library trip resulted in twice the books I intended to get.  Aha.  I have a book thing and the library recently fed my habit.  This is the stack that doesn't fit on the bookshelves. 

Day 6
Fruits or veggies.  At the end of a looooong day and no giving up... veggies I'm trying to eat more of.

Day 7
Watch your pet.  My pen wasn't waterproof. 

The full 2 page spread of our entertaining feline.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

In the Weeds

My ground rules for #CreativeSprint . . .
- The prompt is a nudge, a thought - follow it wherever the day and brain takes you.
- It's practice - not gallery artwork.
- Posting on the blog must take no more than 15 minutes.  (This will be ridiculously difficult.)
- No explaining how fast I drew or why the sketch kinda' sucks.  (Even harder... seriously, get me a don't-do-it medicine patch like smokers have.)

Day 2 - Create something inspired by a children's fable or fairy tale.

It's a beautiful no-wind Saturday and time to prep the garden.  While hacking at weeds and smoothing the soil, I kept hearing one garden nursery rhyme over and over.  A few volunteer onions and weeds posed for a portrait before meeting their demise.

Friday, April 1, 2016

It's a-LIVE!

That's right.  I'm still on the planet and still fighting the slacker artist habit - sometimes winning, more often not.  My sister recently asked me to do the Creative Sprint challenge with her and it started today.  I intend to track my progress here in a valiant attempt to not disappear again.

Day 1 of #CreativeSprint - Make something that fits in the palm of your hand using only materials in your immediate environment.  See my goofy face of art supplies.  It was fun and quick and made me smile.  I then noticed what a few others were doing via the Creative Sprint hashtag and thought "Oh wow, I could've been so much more creative and artsy and good grief, stop already and be happy you started and will do something again tomorrow!"

Click on one photo & toggle between these two quickly... animation!  Heh heh.  Clever she is.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Loop to Loop

We've entered the busiest time of year in my university office.  Most days I just want to come home, collapse and eat nachos or hot fudge or both.  I'm stealing 10 minutes to leave these loopy photos here for you.

reclining husband on the phone

My husband is a talker.  If you know him, you're laughing at this understatement.  My yakking spouse made a decent first subject for the next exercise in the Art Escapes book - loop gesture sketches.  Movement and shape are captured using one quick continuously looping line.

still on the phone - switched to the other ear

This gesture method was a fast blast and the inner perfectionist slept through the whole thing.  I think the lines captured his pose & energy, but then, I was there and know what these actually represent.

Definitely adding this to my sketching warm up repertoire.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Winner Winner Albrecht Dürer

"Hey, they released the fine art books yesterday!"  Aaaaaaaaeeeeeee!!!!
Thus the art groove was suddenly and delightfully delayed.

after day one
Our university library is in process of sorting and thinning collections.  After each subject is reviewed, we are notified of books free to anyone interested.  (Libraries reducing is a sore subject, but we'll set that discussion aside and focus today on this artist's good fortune.)  I just happened to be gone the Monday they released the best subject matter in the whole universe.  Hearing that momentous statement the next morning, I immediately hustled to the library.  Where are the free art books?  Right over th....  The voice disappeared as my eyes found the indicated space.  Oh my... oh... WHOA!!  TWO FULL ROWS of books... art and architecture... FuhREE!  Free! Free! Free!  (Insert happy dance.)  Within minutes - Rembrandt, Cezanne, both Wyeths, and Velazquez were in my arms (books, not old dead dudes).  And, this was the second day.  I cannot imagine what I missed out on the first day!  30 minutes and a small pile later, it was time to get back to work.  The librarian offered to hold "my" books until I could return.  An hour after work could not get me through the rows before closing.  So, my stash went behind the desk for the night.

made me laugh, but did not go home with me
I had scanned all shelves by closing the next day.  One squeaky metal cart loaded with Monet, Whistler, Picasso, and more, rolled towards the door.  A large green book with pale gold letters whispered from a disheveled shelf "and me?"  I tipped my head to read the upside down spine "Die Zeichnungen Albrecht Durers"  What?!  Durer drawings!  How did I miss this?  Drawings of old masters fascinate me even more than their paintings.  Albrecht Dürer is at or near the top of this fascination pile.  I audibly gasped and gleefully added this treasure to my stack - 56 in all.  

That's right.  I suddenly and miraculously now owned 56 books on artists and theory and technique.  Yikes!

I mentioned the bonanza to a friend who appreciates Asian art.  Of course she'd love some free books!  The following week found me happily back at the stacks.  Fortunately or unfortunately, the books were less organized.  I HAD to sort through all the shelves again.  Learning from the almost-missed-a-Durer incident, I carefully read each spine and investigated ambiguous titles - two more blissful days in the library.  I found several books for her, but also a dozen more for me, including one with Da Vinci's notes on painting.  Nice.

I soon realized the 1938 Durer book is the third of three.  Curiosity led me to a very limited number of books I and II on Amazon, the most reasonable of which were copies of both volumes for just $25 each.  Woot woot!  Of course I ordered them.  So, my free books weren't free, but at less than a buck apiece... a steal indeed!

I still can't believe my luck.  Most artists know you can't have too many art supplies or too many art books.  Well, if you ever come across a good cheap book on Ingres, Hopper, Sargent, Van Gogh, Seurat, or Vermeer...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

of Cats & Men

The day after 4th of July (that being the 5th... heh, heh), we left town to pick up our daughter from the airport.  We live half way between two major airports - several hours in either direction.  We drive a lot.  I squeaked in some quick sketches while driving home the next day - lots of small town skylines, cars and the ever-present construction zones.

A small part of a long drive.

After an afternoon break with the whiny cat, it was time to check on things at the farm.  It turns out farmers are good & challenging subjects for rapid figure drawing.  They move as much as restless pets... and talk with their hands... a LOT.

As promised, next time - a wonderful run in with piles upon piles of books.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Feet up. Pencil down.

Yowza, what a couple months it's been!  Gratefully, no serious illness or drama, just lots of office reorganizing, great mountains of farm work and endless house maintenance as we prepare to sell my father-in-law's house.  Art was the forgotten, sullen face at the bottom of the totem pole.  Barely home, I was simply not in sketching mood.  With some rare and annoying exceptions, creative folks live on a roller coaster of "Look what I've been doing.  I'm kicking some sketching/painting/sculpting butt!" then "I don't wanna' draw.  Don't know what to do.  Don't know why I even try.  I suck."  Whiners.

Anyhoo, after the May cycle drawing, I did basically zero art.  Sketchbook Skool Stretching was set aside as life became uber busy - for 2 months.  Then those pesky SBS people came up with Playing - a frolicking class of just plain goofing around with art supplies.  Oh, alright already!  Once again, SBS grabbed me by the ear and pulled me back to the sketchbook.

On July 4, two days prior to class starting, it was time to wake up ye ole art bones.  I've been working through inching through ignoring four of my many art improvement books for awhile: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Drawing Lab, Art Escapes, and One Watercolor a Day.  Can't pick just one.  I excel at indecision.  I grabbed the four, wrote each book's next exercise/project on my white board for all to see, and proceeded to actually do something!  First, Art Escapes - 1 minute sketches in pre-drawn frames took little time and captured itty bits of the studio.  Then, Drawing Lab - several rather awful gesture sketches of our 16 year old dog as she aimlessly wandered through the house. But, hey, I actually did something.

That evening, it was time for our annual sit-in-the-back-of-the-pickup-waiting-for-fireworks picnic and I sketched as the light faded away.  No instructions required - just me doing my artist thing.

Today's post was intended as a catch up for the past few weeks of arting, but it'll grow quite long.  I excel at wordiness.  You can't imagine how long these posts are before I viciously edit them.

Come back soon for the continued initial persistence, the miraculous and wonderful opportunity (okay, not actually miraculous) that kept me from SBS, and how Playing is playing out.  (Heh heh.  Clever, she is.)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cycle Crossing

Week 3 assignment of Sketchbook Skool Stretching:  Draw something with wheels (vehicles, chairs, whatever) slow and careful and shade with cross hatching.  Hey - I finally have an excuse to sketch our motorcycle!

I started Sunday and photo #1 is how much I finished in about 30 minutes, 10 of which was probably just staring at the page hating the anxiety of actually starting.

Photo 2 is Monday.  That was about the time I started wishing I'd picked pretty much any other wheeled object in the garage.  I knew there were a lot of parts, but c'mon!
There are no progress pics from Tuesday and Wednesday.  I was too obsessed with being annoyed by all the details.  Do you know HOW MANY little brackets and screws and tubes and totally useless tiny pieces there are on a motorcycle?  Do you?  I'll tell you.  WAY TOO MANY!  I mean, who designs these things?!?
With the line work finished Wednesday, Thursday's goal was to crosshatch everything and upload before supper.  I figured I could knock that out in under an hour.  Um, yeah, I should know my slow self better.  

An hour later as suppertime loomed and a storm raged outside, my mood alternated between irritation at my snail pace and complete engrossment in the process. I tried not to rush.  I rushed.  I stopped rushing.  Another hour passed and I finished - sorta'.  As usual, there are a ton of places I want to darken up, but it's all practice right?

I told my husband there are simply too many little bitty cycle parts.  He laughed.  I then pointed out the parts of the drawing that are wonky.  He told me it looked good and the "wonky" places actually looked like I did it on purpose - like a caricature.  I'll take that.

Bonus realization:  I don't crosshatch like anyone else and that is a-okay.  More than okay - fabulous!  Starting at the back of the cycle focusing on cross hatching like the instructor, I quickly slipped into my style as I moved to the right.  My cross hatch is just right for my pen, my paper, my art.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What I did on my Summer(ish) Vacation

I returned yesterday from a mother/daughter adventure.  Mom missed the September trip, so the two of us flew to California and spent several days with my sister & brother-in-law.  Traveling with an "older" short lady with one bum knee slows you down - in a good way.  I drew quickly when out and about.  However, plenty of recovery time at my sister's house let me slow down and fill more sketchbook pages.

California plants, California cats, California seagulls and a Colorado mother were added.  Plants are less interesting, but better models.  They don't reposition endlessly or flit away in the wind.

Four busy cats would not sit still for the artist - until Dr. Macaroni finally dozed off in just the right spot at just the right time.  The quirky karate dude above him is a small bookend... that never moves and was a delight to sketch in indigo blue pencil.

I'm currently enrolled in Sketchbook Skool "Stretching" and one assignment is blind contours.  This page happened as Mom chatted with my sister, oblivious to my attempts.  Of course she looks nothing like this.  Blind contours are just plain hilarious.

The tiny gesture sketch below is in my tiny Pentalic journal (no bigger than a deck of cards).  I had finished drawing a nearby statue and then caught up with these two.  I stopped for a minute to swiftly sketch the tall sunshine-loving daughter and her short doting mother.  I looked at this afterwards and wanted so badly to fix & refine, but resisted.  These few inaccurate lines capture the moment just fine I think.

I managed to add at least a few pages every day, including departure day.  Airports are jam packed with people looking down - phones, laptops, books, knitting, sleeping.  Most are obliviously willing subjects.  The man below sat directly opposite of me.  He looked up as a fellow traveler brushed by him and seemed grumpy to us.  Then he was engrossed in his book.  He had a deliciously bushy face and I had to pull out my pen & paper.  He never looked up as I sketched.  As I finished, Mom quietly asked "Are you going to show him?"  "Um, no, he seems grumpy."  I whispered back to her.  Minutes later the woman next to me addressed the hairy, grumpy man as her husband.  I don't know if she noticed or appreciated my artistic rendering or if he was actually grumpy.  Regardless, I appreciate his perfect posing.  It nudged the pen into my hand one more time.  I added a few more down-turned faces before our flight was called.  Then it was homeward bound for me, Mom & my sketchbook mementos.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Go Figure!

I'm baa-aack!  I'm crawling out of the slacker rut thanks in part to two kind of big deals.  First, my home studio room is really coming together - more on that later.  Second, tonight I attended ... drum roll please... an open figure drawing session!  What?!  Did that just happen?  Yes indeedy!  Thanks to a fellow got-my-art-degree-ages-ago artist friend who knows more creative people than I do.  We both went for the first time tonight and I was simultaneously nervous & excited.

How'd it go?  Quite well I think.  No masterpieces, but I'm going simply for practice.  Yes, I returned to sketching a couple of years ago, but figure drawing is a whole new ballgame.  With a 30 year span between college class and tonight's efforts, the charcoal stick is rather rusty and my drawing joints were creaking.  No matter.  Despite the frustration at my mediocre efforts, it was massively satisfying to work back into the graphite groove.  The next session is in two weeks.  I'm going back.  I kinda' can't believe this is a thing I get to do now.  Somebody pinch me.

1 minute warm up gesture drawings.  Charcoal on newsprint.

And a longer pose - about 30 minutes.  My perfectionist told me not to share, but I ignored her.  This is all about artistic growth.  There's plenty of room for that.

PS or disclaimer or notice or something - In the interest of the model's privacy and my own modest tendencies, figure drawing efforts shared here will be limited to more generic, unidentifiable sketches.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


I'm in a rut.  I apologize in advance for this relatively blah post, but the artist is not always happy or motivated.  Journeys tend to have stretches of boring highway, so...

Perhaps it's the Inktober challenge.  Perhaps it's just my normal irritating stop & go habit.  Perhaps I need a muse.  Perhaps I'm recovering from family Thanksgiving hubbub.  Perhaps the monkey is babbling in my ear.  Perhaps I'm just lazy.  Whatever haps it was, I barely drew in November.  There were a few random sketches and a weekend of illustrated journaling while visiting relatives.  Yawn.  I am a couch slug at this moment.  I have books to read, errands to run, sketching to do!  Sigh.  I'm not even motivated to share my travel journal.

How to break out of this do-nothing rut?  Crud.  I should just start doodling.  Instead my pen will probably wind up making some short term goals.  Maybe I'll be inspired?  Maybe I'll simply draw?  Hold that thought.  I gotta' go buy dog food.  Ah, the exciting tales of an artist-in-training.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...