Tuesday, October 6, 2009

PTI WCMD India Challenge

This was for the PTI WCMD India challenge - to be inspired by all the bling.

The stamp set I used made me think of henna tattoos and the owl stamp

just fit so nicely with the flower that I had to use both. I put bling (swaroski crystals) on the owl, the flower and the branc as well as on the background.

PTI WCMD Mexico Challenge

This is for the PTI WCMD Mexico challenge and I was inspired but all the lovely pottery I saw. The liszards asa well as the sun and moon images.
This card got a little crazier than I intended.

WCMD Australia Challenge

This is for the PTI Australia Challenge for WCMD - to use dots. I was also inspired by the silhouettes and the spraying and sprayed glimmer mist over a screen and then added the dots.

PTI WCMD Japan Challenge

This is for the PTI WCMD Japan Challenge.

I was inspired by all the lovely water images I saw when researching the topic.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Yesterday in the sun we were watching the dragon flies in the yard and they were all lined up on the clothesline. Waiting for mosquitos I guess. They were amazing. And it is pretty cool to be able to stand underneath one and take a photo of it. Kind of shy bugs though. They don't seem to like it when you get too close to them. They were all lines up and then all of a sudden one would go up in the air and go down the entire line and touch down near each one. Don't know if it was giving orders, checking in or just trying to get a better spot on the line. I think I took about a hundred photos of them there and on the corn in the garden and in the front yard. They are the best predators ever because they make the nasty mosquitos go away. Woo hooo.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sheep, Chickens, Geese, Duck and Copper

Had an interesting morning today. I was taking photos for reference at the neighbour's farm. They weren't home but I had permission.

Got my stick to protect myself from the viscious pair of geese and found out that they aren't that sure of themselves with strangers even if they try to attack Mrs. Neighbour. They stayed away from me and actually hid behind the sheep for protection to see what I was going to do.

When I climbed over the fence the geese walked away from me towards the barn and I went about half way over, watched them turn into the barn and I sat down. In a few seconds out comes the heard of sheep one by one, complete with ram and the geese following behind. The sheep were curious and checked me out and stamped their feet and gradually walked closer, then they all flanked me as a group and came quite close to me and then decided I was pretty boring and wandered off for breakfast. And let me tell you they are very loud chewing machines!!! Way louder than cows or horses. I just sat their quietly the whole time and pretended to ignore the lot of them.

I sat on the ground between the lumps of sheep manure (I realised this after I had sat down and taken photos for about 20 minutes) and I'm not sure how I managed to sit between it rather than in it but I did. No stink on me!

Then I watched the chickens. Who were interesting but not as brave. Except for the broodie hen who was actually down right pissed and tried to run me off several times. I just ignored her too and she went back to her nest and sat and fumed at me from a distance. The others were semi-brave, one little guy just kept pecking and pecking the ground and a bigger spotted girl was the obviously bossy one who told everyone else what to do. The rooster was a total chicken though. All he managed was to peek his head around the door of the hen house. He never came out. Talked alot and told me off but stayed inside. I'll have to take another trip and hope he comes out to see me next time. Did get a nice picture of him in the door way trying to decide what he should do though.

They have a muscovi duck and I got an awesome portrait shot of him. And also of bath time for the geese.

At the end of it all I tried to leave to walk home but Copper, the 4 month old beagle puppy, wanted to play and wouldn't let me leave. I got fed up and put him in the garage with the older dog and thought I was very clever until he showed up behind me again at the bottom of their drive. Guess they have a dog door and he knows how to use it. I spent over a half an hour trying to make him stay home , including climbing two fences and trying to get him to down stay and walk away - he's very good at that but after about 100 feet he is out of range of my remote control and he just comes running. At that point I had to go home because I was going to be late so I gave up and decided I would just drive him back to his place once we got to mine but about half way there his little beagle nose took over and he decided he should bugger off. So I caught him and picked him up and stopped at another neighbours and asked for a ride to take me back to his house to leave him there. He was heavy and wiggly enough that I wasn't sure I'd get him all the way to my place.

So we drove him home and dropped him off and they I got a ride back home.

It was actually pretty funny and he's sweet little dog but I'd have never forgiven myself if something had happened to him.

I have photo of him somewhere and I'll find it and put it in here tomorrow.

PS the reason the car ride was needed was because he lives almost a mile from where I do. I'm in the country so neighbour is a relative term I guess!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

First Attempts at En Plein Air

Almost everything you learn is to paint from life if you can. My favourite subjects of animals I often paint from photos because they move too quickly and don't have the patience to sit for a portrait. But landscapes don't run around. The light will move and if you paint from life it will force you to work quickly and more spontaneously or you lose that light.

These two paintings were done on separate days. The bottom one was done first and the second I just finished.

I really like the clothes line. I think I got the light pretty right and I am actually happy with the greens which started as blue and red and purple and yellow underpainitng.

The bottom painting is a section of a tree in the back yard at dusk and I was just playing around with the pastels and trying to get the lights and darks in the proper places with no thought that it would look like the actual tree. What's interesting is how my niece and nephew, Jessie and Robbie, viewed it when I asked them what it was. Jessie immediately said that it looked like a stormy sky and then said it looked like a tree on a stormy evening. Which was what it actually was. Robbie said a tree at night. So that was pretty cool!

The clothes line is a little washed out in the photo, looks better and more the the real thing if I tip my monitor back a bit.

Morning Clothesline (pastel en plein air, 6x8)

Abstract Pine At Dusk (pastel en plein air, 7x9)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Purse and Lunch Box

I spent today with my niece and nephew Jessie and Robbie. We went and saw G-Force and then made boxes using My Timeless Templates for Card Coture and Let's Do Lunch. The lovely purse and flower are made with pretty butterfly paper that Jessie got at the dollar store and Robbie's Lunch Box is in a John Deere theme.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

J 37 - Cow Face Pose #1

This is the completed painting of J37. I am really happy with it. I think it conveys the sense of light I was looking for as well as depth. The background trees are just barely suggested and I purposely left her body very rough in order to keep the focus on her face. The two photos below her are of two other stages in the painting that I took photos of.

Part of me wanted to keep fiddling with her but I told myself to put down the pastels and stop. she was finished and anymore mucking around would either have the potential of making a mud pie out of her face or of distracting from her face.

So here she is:
(J 37 - Cow Face Pose #1, 8x10, soft pastel)

(Stage 3)

( Stage 2)

Sunday, July 26, 2009


As part of my vacation I was able to go and see my parents in Saskatchewan. Because of financial reasons I haven't been able to get back fo about 5 years. I got to hang out with my Dad and we checked the cattle twice a day. I took my digital camera to take photos of everything and one of the unique things about the cattle is that since they don't know me they are curious and on alert for the first while that I get near them and they all look at me. That meant that I was able to take alot of portrait type photos. The candids were harder to get. But I decided that I wanted to do drawings of my folks' heard. This is the start of the fist one. She is J37 and is 10 years old. The interesting thing is that I want to differntiate them based on who they really are and not based on an arbitrary number that I give them like #1, #2 etc based on the order I draw them in. Now I realise that Dad and Mom gave them arbitrary numbers but I want to use those ones and not mine. So I decide who I'm going to draw and then I call Dad and describe her to him and he tells me who she is. Alot of the older cows have lost their ear tags but Mom and Dad know who each one is.

I'm torn about what to do here though. Part of me wants to just leave this as it is because I think it works just like this. the colours are "wrong" but they work in relation to each other. This was just a first impression of what I would use as my base colours. I think I'm going to continue and "finish" it off but I would be tempted to do some of these and leave them this way.

The reason I'm convinced that they can work like this is that my mother-in-law and niece saw the roughly laid in colour of the old man on the chair I'm working on and thought it was finished. Even though the colours were obviously "wrong" because they were just really basic primaries but that showed me that I had gotten them right. And I find that interesting. So we'll see. for now this girl is going to get to have more colour added and fine tuned but for kicks I may just do each of the cows very primitively as well and see which I like better in the end.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Quick Birthday Gift

(Strawberry Bowl, 8x10. pastel)

This was a quick one, from concept to initial sketch to complete and framed it was about 2 hours. It is my sister-in-law's birthday this weekend and I wanted to get a gift for her. She has always given me thoughtful things on my birthdays and I wanted to do something special for her this year. It is still strawberry season here and every summer she does strawberries - jam, fresh, with ice cream, shortcake, sugarred... I had taken some photos of some strawberries I had myself and immediately thought of those reference shots as a subject for her gift. This is the finished product. I double matted it in a linen cream-coloured mat and then framed it in a sort of rustic dark brown wood frame with hinges in each corner - she has a 100 year old home with some of the original cabinets and so this should work in the house really well. I sure hope she likes it.

Working On It

I'm making progress on this painting for DSFDF. Was away on holidays so haven't worked on it in about 10 days. But it's coming along. I know Karin said to finish the figure and stay away from the background until the figure was complete but it just felt like he was floating in space and if I put some of the background in I would be able to get more harmony in the painting as far as the way the colours were working together. I was getting too focused on the clothing and needed to get a view of the "big picture" so I stepped back and worked on something else for awhile. Still needs work but I was going to muck it up if I didn't give myself some space. Still have 6 days left so I'm hoping I'll get it done in time.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Work In Progress

I started the next DSFDF challenge last night and this morning by making a sketch of the image Karin Jurick posted for us. I guess I'm trying to get ahead of the game and not end up trying to finish at the last minute. Tonight I started adding the basice colours and refining the jeans and shirt as a start. People aren't my thing. I think I got a pretty good sketch down as far as the figure, the chair is a bit wonky but not horrible. We'll see how I do with the colours I guess. The top layer of bricks is getting cut off, literally, with scissors so that I'm not tempted to mess around with it. Sometimes I don't know when to stop and that last layer of bricks should have been left as the black paper it originally was. Looking at the photo I'm thinking I'm on the right track with the shirt and jeans. Further along on the jeans. But at least the colours are working - blue, yellow, red and green. The shirt need some red in some areas yet but I'm tired and gonna go to bed. I'm hoping this turns out OK. We'll see I guess.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

On The Lake

On The Lake (pastel, 12x12)

This was my response to Karin Jurick's latest challenge over at DSFDF. I think I may have missed the deadline. But that's OK. It didn't photograph that well. Much better IRL. I was trying hard to concentrate on the colours and on seeing what was there and not what I thought was there. I think I did OK. The girl in the boat isn't the best but people aren't my strength and she looks better IRL as well.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chicken and Rooster 1

Chicken and Rooster 1 (11x14 Soft Pastel)

(Chicken and Rooster 1 detail)

I have been thinking about drawing chickens for a little while and today I thought I'd give it a try. I may give it another try and see what I can do. I'm pretty happy with this. It isn't the best and There are a couple of things I would change but not bad for a first try. I may actually crop it down and frame it as a gift for a friend's wedding.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Poem

Cheeks was the theme over at IMT today, well yesterday I guess. A poem sort of popped into my head. Here it is:


Soft, round cheeks
Precious baby fat
Mama’s gentle touch
Learning to make sound

Freckled, fun cheeks
Six year old surprise
Daddy’s whisker rubs
Playing in the sun

Make-up, pimples, cheeks
Sweet sixteen desires
Monumental blush
Persuading dimples

Smooth, refined cheeks
Mother, wife, daughter
Pastry flour smudged
Navigating mines, falling way behind and trying to be kind

Wrinkled, worn cheeks
Velvet textured smile
The purple hat club
Weathering the storm

Hope you like it. The topic just made me think about how our cheeks change as we grow older. From something smooth and soft like a baby's cheeks to our Dad's that used o give us whisker rubs, to the first bit of a woman trying to get out of a pimply face as a teenager to the grown woman that is trying to be everything for everyone to the older gal with the velvety feeling cheeks that has been through it all. The thing to me about this was the physical feeling of the cheeks at different ages and trying to combine it with the emotional feelings you' might have at those different ages. Not sure how I did. Some of it's good but some of it needs a bit of work. First one I've written since high school not counting song lyrics which are a different sort of bird altogether.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Lupins (soft pastel, 12x19)

Dana Marie at Inspiration All Around Us provided us with a secret garden challenge. She gave us a lovely picture of some lupins. This is my interpretation of that theme. Very sketchy but I think I like that about it. I could have worked up the leaves a bit more but I chose to leave it all loose. The flowers themselves are just 4 layers of white, pink, purple and blue and I left it at that. Thanks Dana Marie for another terrific challenge.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

More Colour in Florence

I've added some more clolour to my painting of Florence. I feel like I'm struggling with making the buildings square and I can already see another spot that will need fixing up. (Well I see more than that actually. I'm just gonna keep on plugging away at this I guess and hopefully I'll finish with something that I'm happy with.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Some Colour Added To Florence Scene

Well here us the first bit of colour on the painting from Florence. Wandering around Florence was lovely and the day they did the pictures from Florence the lighting was pretty spectacular. I had seen some user photos on Google Earth with these lovely reflected buildings and found them quite by accident to the (I think) east of Ponte Vecchio. And my DB was able to help me figure out how to do screen shots in order to get the photos I was taking of Florence into my computer for reference. The orange building on right's reflecion is a bit wonky, I'll have to adjust that. but so far so good.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chalk Sketching

These are two chalk sketches I did tonight. The top one is a rough sketch inpsired by Dana Marie's photo of lupins from Inspiration All Around Us and the second is for the Virtual Paintout which is in Florence for June. I'm not sure how either one of these may turn out. The bottom one may be too small and the top one may be too large and I'm worried about being able to get the lighting right on the lupins but... Guess I'll give them a whirl.
Just realised I have to go buy more paper tomorrow morning - almost out of black - just one sheet left.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer's Gifts

Summer's Gifts (12x18, chalk pastel)

For the challenge this week at DSFDF, Karin Jurick offered us a photo of some summer vegetables. It was a terrific challenge and I loved painting them. The lighting was spectacular and that is what made it such fun to paint.

The challenge I gave myself was to try and portray the different textures - the onion, tomato and then corn in husks. I think I managed to meet my own challenge. The thing I'm trying to learn is to draw what I see and not what I think should be there. No assumptions - just look at the light and shadow and colours and draw what I see with no preconceived notions.

Wish I hadn't taken so long to do this drawing but I did it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Inspiration All Around Us - week 29

Blue Sky With Clouds (pastel, 12x19)

This is my response to Dana Maries newest challenge over at Inspiration All Around Us. She provided a wonderful picture of an amazing blue sky with clouds with a landscape below the sky.

Landscapes are something that I struggle with. I like how the sky and clouds turned out as well as the tree with moss on the left hand side.

I guess I'm happy with this... It's not too bad.

Thanks, Dana Marie, for another terrific challenge. Can't wait for the next one!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Felt Like A Hallelujah Moment

A Cowboy's Still Life (pastel painting, 10x12)

This is my response to the Virtual Sketch Date challenge for May. The photo was of two girls at a hoedown and one of them was wearing a cowboy hat. I don't draw people very well and the idea is to be inspired and use the photo as a jumping off point.

My own cowboy hat ( a Shady Brady - very high tone in cowboy terms) looked quite alot like the hat the older girl was wearing. So I set myself up a still life with my boyfriend's old dirty work gloves on a chair in the living room. It was about 6PM and the light was coming through only a corner of the kitchen window and I slid the chair around until the light hit the objects in this incredible way. I took a reference photo of my own (to preserve the light effect) and then I sketched the still life.

Today I did my painting with Nupastel. And I remembered my first art love from high school - we had to reproduce a master's painting in a different medium. Someone had given me Conte Crayons and I used them to reproduce a Rembrandt and then used them to draw everything I could find until there was nothing left but stubs I couldn't hold and then I could never find pastels I liked as much. Now I have choice and I chose Nupastels - lovely smudgy but firm pastels - to try them out.

And I am extremely happy with the results. I like that there are three distinct textures in this piece (the wood, the hat and the gloves) and I thinkg I pulled them all off. I also think I pulled the lighting effect of the chair fading off into the shadow pretty darned well too. I don't mean to sound like I am bragging.... I've just been so.... disappointed in the work I've been doing lately and jealous of how wonderful everyone else's art looks. So I and just feeling genuinely overjoyed to have maed a piece of art that I am happy with to the bottom of my soul.

I think the trick here is that I just let myself go. Rather that working so hard and trying so hard I just let it come out of my hands and onto the paper. I was in some sort of zone that in colour is hard for me to get to... I could see the block of colour and then just blocked them in and fine tuned it to blend them. I wish it always fet this easy.

My new box of pastels rock. Whoo hoo!

Rue Lepic

(Rue Lepic, 10x20, Inktense)

This is my contribution to the virtual paintout the Bill Guffey hosts. This month he took us to Paris and I found this lovely little street.

The perspective on this drawing is all out of wack but that is intentional and it is supposed to look a bit sketchy and even a little odd. I think the right hand side looks a bit off and I think I must have had my camera at a bit of an angle but it's late so...

This painting was fun to do and now that it is done I quite like it and may do more based on several other sketches I did while "touring" Paris.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Not Sure If It's Done Or Not

(Spring Fields in PA, 9x12, watercolour pencil)

This was done for the challenge over at DSFDF. Karin posted a grayscale photo and we were to put it in colour however we wanted to. The idea was to pay attention to the tones.

I've gone over and looked and there are some amazing paintings. I am having all kinds of trouble tonight trying to size this so that she will accept it though. I'm also not sure if i'm through with it yet or not.

I thinkg I got my tones right. I like the barns and silos and house. Not sure I like the field and I think I should have skipped the grasses in the foreground. They seemed like a good idea at the time but now I'm not so sure. I may play with this a bit more but for now this is it.

I altered a few things though.

I chanegd the house to something more like stone and I made the barns red. I also altered the roof of each silo because that's how they are around here. I like the candy stripe effect of them around here so I put them in that way. I'm also happy with the sky and they far distance. The only thing I really dislike is the grass and unfortunately I can't get rid of it.

Oh well!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Other Side

Self Portrait - The Other Side (mechanical pencil, 9x11)

Over at Inspire Me Thursday this week the word was warrior. What popped immediately into my head was to do a self portrait. It looks a little flat in the photo here. In real life there is more depth to it. And I am resisting the urge to rework the cheeks again - I think they should be a little rounder perhaps. I haven't done a self-portrait in 20 years - not since Mr Robertson back at Thom Collegiate made us get out the mirrors and pencils in grade 12 art class. It's a little intimidating to do but I did it and now I'm just going to leave it alone and stop mucking with it.

Here is the reason I chose to do a self portrait for this inspiration word...

I have been through stuff. Not happy stuff, catastrophic to me at the time it happened. In the big picture nobody died. Cheating ex (that's why he's ex), anxiety attacks, depression... all that sort of thing. Sometimes it felt like I was at war and had to fight just to keep going. Sometimes quietly with determination, sometimes with the support of friends, sometimes loudly and alone with lots of tears of shear frustration at what was happening in my life. There were a couple of times that I felt like just giving up. There are times when I am at war with myself even still and I can be my own worst enemy. But I keep plugging away and somehow I manage to get through. It isn't always pretty but I manage.

So I decided to do a self portrait. It was done from a photo on a day when I was happy and having fun because who takes a picture of themself when they have been bawling or want to just curl up under a rug and go to sleep??? So I look happy in this and I think that represents where I have gotten to right now. I have struggled and perservered and come out the other side the victorious warrior, so to speak. At least for now...

There is a song written by Kevin Welch (Wynonna Judd recorded it as well) called The Other Side and it is all about making it through the tough stuff and knowing that you are strong enough to do it. That song got me through things that at the time seemed impossible. So this portrait is of me on the other side of the blackness I went through and optimistic about the future.

I know I am through this part but I also know that there will be more to come. When learning to become a better self there is always stuff that you will have to work through and perservere through. So althought this is me on the other side, so to speak, I also know that I will have to continue to be a warrior to keep growing as a person and becoming who it is I want to be.

And now I am going to hip PUBLISH POST before I chicken out. Here goes...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Promise of Something More

Wild Apple Blossoms I (6x6, Inktense Pencils)

I love apple blossoms. They are delicate and beautiful and they mean that spring is here and summer is on it's way. The crabapple trees loaded with fuschia blossoms all around just make me happy.

This picture was done from a photo I took yesterday of some wild apple blossoms growing near the garbage dump. They aren't that exotic fuschia colour of the mikmaks and the like, they are soft and delicate and when I saw them I had to stop.

The suprise was the scent. "Tame" crabapples don't have that scent. The smell of these wild apples was lovely. It was sweet but subtle, just the hint of scent that would get stonger as a breeze blew by and then would waft away again. I would be left wondering where it came from and where it had gone and when would it come back. It left me waiting for and wanting the promise of something more.

The drawing is in inktense pencils again and is on stonhenge paper.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Brown Horse

Portrait of a Brown Horse (Inktense pencil, 10x10)

The inspiration for this portrait came from Inspiration All Around Us - a photo taken by Dana Marie called "Modesty" that she posted on her blog. It was a realtively quick one to do. Drawing horses is easy for me - I've been doing it for 30 years now... I really liked the pose of this horse. I cropped the original image in my quick sketch and then after I transferred it to Stonehenge paper I got going with my inktense pencils and water. I piddled around for awhile with light washes and underpainted with reds, yellows and purple and then I added the top layers. The underpainting actually changes the way the top colour comes out. The body of the horse is a bit rough in this photo and I've reworked it a bit now, not sure which way I like it better... If I decide I like the new version better I'll change the picture.

I'm happy with how this turned out though. I think I kept it loose and not too controlled. My horse is a little heavier than the one in the photo but I guess that's OK. Thanks to Dana Marie for providing such great reference photos, this is my first attempt at interpretting one of her shots and I hope to do it again.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Stop Lights

Well it's been a couple of weeks since I posted anything here.

That was supposed to be because I was going on vacation and was busy at work before I left but as it turns out I never went anywhere - my basement flooded and the trip got cancelled. But that gave me some time in the last 3 days to work on this picture that I desperately wanted to do.

Karin Jurick, at Different Strokes From Different folks posted an image of New York City the challenge for the last 3 weeks. The work done with this image and that is posted on Karin's blog (see link at side) is terrific.

Karin had made a comment that some people say that they are nervous working outside of their comfort zone and that who wants to always do what they are familiar with. I agree with her. How do you learn unless you try new and unfamiliar things??? I wish I could step outside of my comfort zone more easily in my real life - the way I am willing to do it with my art. All I can say is that I am still a work in progress. I don't think I'll ever be finished.

Anyways... This wasn't something that was out of my comfort zone per se. It was really more like something I had never thought of doing. I try to approach my art with a no fear policy and just go for it.

So I just went for it and this is my interpretation of her image. I did it with Derwent Inktense pencils on Stonehenge paper and used water over top of the pencils which makes the colours incredibl vibrant and alive.

Stop Lights (Inketense pencils on paper, 14x16)

I am happy with how this turned out. It is the second time I've used the Inktense pencils and the only time I have ever done an in-colour picture of a cityscape. I like that it challenged me to get outside of something that I would normally do and I really enjoyed the puzzle of all the buildings.

I had a couple of goals. The first was to make sure the taxis and vehicles were grounded in the picture and that they didn't look like they were just floating on top of the ashphalt. The second was to use the intensity of the colour and the detail of the drawing to help with perspective. The third was to try and paint the buildings loosely so that the cars stayed the focus of the work. And the fourth was to make the stop lights and the tail lights look like they were glowing.

I think that I managed to do that.

The lines of the building edges aren't perfectly straight and I guess the light post on the right is leaning at a bit of an angle but I don't mind. For me this is supposed to be representational and not photorealistic - I want it to look like a painting or drawing and not like I just took a photo.

Next I want to work on my Virtual Paintout paintings of Paris and I'm thinking the old Inktense pencils may be coming out again for those drawings as well.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ooh-la-la! I'm "virtually" in PARIS!!!!

Bill Guffey has a blog called The Virtual Paintout and on it he posts a map of a city of his chosing and asks us all to visit that city virtually by touring it through an interactive map by Google Earth that provides street views. You can walk around the city and look at things.

For the month of May Bill has chosen Paris. I wanted to find and quaint little street with bakeries and cafes and shops on it to paint. Cut I couldn't - all I could find were super busy streets and the Eiffel Tower - which was cool but painting that would be too predictable. So I found a tour site www.parisnotes.com and they have a page called hidden paris that gives info on all sorts of off the beaten track or different info. They reccomended going to a place called Les Petits Mitrons, which is a lovely bakery. So I hunted up and down Rue Lepic until I found it.

This is a rouch sketch of the block that Les Petits Mitrons is on. The perspective is sort of screwy but I kind of like it. This is the start of the sketch for the next block which has all sorts of wonderful shops on it. Once again the perspective is odd but...
This block isn't finished yet. I'm fooling with my sketch book again. Pulling out pages and using them to expand what I have there and I'm going to need to add some more on the right to get a market in on this block. There is a cafe across the street on a corner that I want to draw and down the block the other way is a really nice flower maket/gardening shop as well as a store that sells roses. I'd like to sketch those as well.
I'd also like to try and find a particular statue on Notre Dame Cathedral - I'll have to see if I can and if I do find it, I want to sketch that. And last I want to sketch a restaurant that Renoir and Monet used to go to and sketch at on Isle Chatou near the Seine called Maison Fornaise on Rue du Bac. I searched and searched for it and finally found it and along with that I found a garden sort of like what I was hoping to find as well.
Once I get the rough sketches done I want to transfer them to heavier paper and add colour to them. Not sure how they will look but I want to give it a try.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pet Parade Still On Today

There is a pet parade that is still going on today. If you go here http://planetmfiles.com/2009/04/28/pet-parade/ you can watch the parade and even join in if you want to. Sorry but I don't know how to do the fancy links so I just paste in the location. I guess that's something I need to learn how to do.

Anyways... They want you to post and link pictures of your pets or a story about them.

So I did this quick sketch of one of my cat's (Mako) this morning. And I discovered that a napping cat will change positions 6-10 times in the space of 15 to 20 minutes, which is the length of time I was working on this sketch. I guess they are always on alert for sounds and things and he actually got up before I had a chance to really finish the sketch.
Early Morning Naptime (5x9, pencil sketch)

The nap in the drawing was taking place at 7AM. I only got up at 6. Not sure when he got up but I know he was awake at 5AM because he tried to get me to get up and feed him his breakfast then.

Cats are amazing creatures and mine are very sweet and friendly cats who really like to spend time with us. And are usually hanging pretty close even if they are napping. The exception to the sleep around people rule is that if we stay up too late then Mako will just go to bed alone and pass out for the night until he hears the food bag rattling and then he'll get up to eat and go back to bed.

This is Mako sleeping on his favourite fake leather reclining swivel chair. He is fake sleeping right now though and trying to ignore that I am taking his picture.

This is Bandit in one of his two favourite napping spots. The back of the couch. He is also fake sleeping and pretending to ignore me while I take the picture of him.
Hope you like my contribution to the Pet Parade and hope you decide to join in.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I've been wanting to do this drawing for about 2 weeks now. Ever since I saw the first robin that came back this spring actually. Which is more than two weeks ago come to think of it.

Well I finally got to it this evening. Just did a quick sketch with pencil and then added some pencil crayons on top. I need a base drawing of a robin for some other things and I want to do several things with some robins. This will work for practice to see how it goes and then who knows what might happen.

Return of Spring (5x9, pencil with pencil crayon)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Diana's Companion

This is my interpretation for the challenge at Different Strokes From Different Folks...

... to do a drawing based on a photo taken of a statue of a companion of the goddess Diana.

I decided to just go ahead and do it because of Inspire Me Thurdays challenge for this week which was PUSH. I considered lots of other options and then decided to draw this to push myself.

I did mine with a mechanical pencil on sketch paper. In real life it looks much better but... Oh well. I'm actually quite happy with this drawing because I DON'T draw people. I am not good at it. They never come out quuite right. Or at least that's what I've always believed. This drawing has opened my eyes and now I believe that if I work at it I CAN draw people.
Diana's Companion (8x14, penci)

I'm thinking that copies of it would be excellent for use in collage and mixed media pieces.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Opening Soon (12 x 12, watercolour pencil over gesso)

This is my interpretaion of the Virtual Sketch Date inspiration photo for April 2009, a rhodoendron bud.

I'm quite happy with how it turned out. I like the intense colours of the pencils once they are wetted and how the gesso base gives it a sort of chalky feeling when it dries. I completely chickened out on the background though. Or maybe I just reigned myself in a bit... I originally intended to do a wild geometric background and then decided that it would probably distract alot from the drawing I had already done. So I just kept it simple with a light wash.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Inktense Experiment

I got new pencils the other day at Wallack's and wanted to try them out today with my rhododendron sketch from yesterday for the April VSD.

I'm liking them. Really liking them. A successful inktense experiment so far....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Pair of Rhododendrons

These were done for the Virtual Sketch Date challenge for April. It was a Rhododendron bud image. What a lovely flower and what a striking bud.

I started with this pencil drawing to look at the shading and draw in a way that I'm comfortable and happy with.

The Objet-D'art blog has a challenge this week to use colours and I just got some new pencils so I want to so something more with these sketches.
And that's why I did this line drawing. To use as the basis for something more. Just hope that I can make something work with my new "crayons". Inksential pencils from Derwent - really cool - they do regular drawing as well as washes. I've just played with moving the colours so far but I want to try them in a drawing and this one is going to be one of the ones that I try them out on.

The Old Soldier

The Old Soldier (7x9, pencil sketch)

This is the finished sketch for Inpsire Me Thursdays "green" topic.

It is a drawing of a snapping turtle that is from a photo I took of a very large snapping turtle (14-15 inch carapace) on the road near my home about a year ago. He was crossing the road and was actually pretty quick about it considering what you hear about how fast turtles usually move. A turtle this size is quite old and has probably been through a lot - a real warrior.
The turtles are actually protected around here and there are signs for turtle crossings - you are supposed to help them and not run them down - so in a way this is "green" because helping creatures is a green concept. It is also green because there is a slimy green moss and algae on his carapace that made him look like an old rock from the top.
I'm happy with how this drawing turned out. In real life both sides of the drawing are the same saturation. It is done across the spine of my sketchbook so the light is hitting each side a little differently causing the turtle's right leg to look lighter.

He looked quite alot like a walking rock and I can see how people step on them in shallow water and end up losing a toe from that snapping beak. This guy was the perfect old gentleman though, he never even hissed at me - just laid there and let me take his picture from about 3 feet away from him. I was very fortunate indeed.

Here is the photo I took of him....


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