their work and words, interviews, blogs, images, hints, tips, websites
and more...

Friday, September 28, 2018

Draw with Me?

Hi all!  I woke up with a bit of a wild hair this morning--well, I know my hair is ALWAYS a mess, not that.  I mean an idea!  What would you think of an occasional "Draw with Me" event, perhaps monthly, perhaps quarterly, perhaps when the mood hit?  (Or Paint with Me, sometimes?  Or just whatever medium you prefer?)

We'd have a basic subject matter each time--like this one I did for Self Portrait Sunday, where we work from life, using whatever medium we want.  We could do something around our house, not necessarily a still life (though it could be), but maybe a favorite reading corner, your desk, what's on the plate for dinner, a view from a window; a pet--cat, dog, alpaca, goldfish, sugar glider, whatever; nature drawings; a favorite tool; your family, past or present; a favorite pastime; something from your imagination...

It won't be a demo, per se, but more of a chance for all of us to draw together for an hour or two, or a morning, virtual but "live."  There will be a set starting and ending time, of course--it would be a realtime event.  That said, it may be day-long, and for those in far-different time zones, you can check in the next day.

We'd have a place to share our work when the event is over--a blog of our own, Flickr, Facebook...

It's not a "challenge," exactly--I won't say "draw an apple," for instance--as close as I'm thinking is the above, something around the house.

I won't be judging work and there won't be "winners"--except that we DO win, by creating!  I was surprised to open Facebook this morning to see the wildly talented James Gurney came up with a similar concept, his contest for drawings of cell phone towers!  Great minds...or something...

So what do you think?  I don't know about you, but I've been coming out of a dry spell, and I'm feeling inspired--and want to share it!

And of course--it's a FREE event.  Let's have fun with it...

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Current Sketch Kit!

So...attempting once again to organize and simplify!  I have just gotten 3 new/old vintage pens from Pier Gustafson (more on those soon!) and wanted something better to protect them than the old plastic pocket protector that I've been using for years--you know, the ones with the open top.  Things kept falling out, and it really wasn't quite big enough--not with the delicious new pens to play with.

Unfortunately, all the closed pen cases I found were too small, only holding 2 or at most 3 pens...and of course when I saw this small Smart Fit case from Jetpens, I decided to give it a try.  It's about 4" x 7", and zips shut for much more security.

The problem, of course, is that it really holds TOO much--and not quite enough at the same time!  Consolidating all my travel kit in one place is lovely, but...it's gotten kind of fat and heavy as I keep thinking "okay, I need that...and might use that...and I always wish I had one of those...and oh, look, that fits right there...and want to try that out..."

As it turned out, the pens work best on the right side, and I knew I wanted to keep one technical pen and one mechanical pencil, in addition to two of my vintage pens, and a dependable TWSBI Eco, and my old Frankenpen I discussed in this post, and this post and OOOPS, out of room on that side!  

So here's what made the cut for now...plus the tiny kids' watercolor kit from Wet Paint I filled with my own choice of artist colors and a wee telescoping brush from an old Winsor & Newton kit in that small front pocket...that's the new/old blue Waterman from Pier Gustafson and my old red Eversharp from the 1950s.

The mesh side has room for a sharpener and a small magnifying glass, plus two waterbrushes, two "real" brushes of a nice size, cut off to travel, and one wee tiny one for the occasional serious detail (cat whiskers anyone?), 3 colored pencils (2 black or grey and one white), an antique folding pen given to me by a friend (that's the aqua dealie), and yes, another pen, the ever-dependable fine-nib Carbon Desk Pen I cut off so the cap would post.  You can read about that process here.

This is how they come from Wet Paint and others, still with the kid colors in it at that point...and a totally useless brush!
Oh, yeah, that tiny watercolor kit?  That's what I used for all the sketches but ONE to fill this journal when we went to Charleston, SC!  (If you're not on Facebook, my account is public so you may be able to see anyway...) I CAN travel light...it's just not easy.

So at 7.7 ounces this setup is not exactly super light, and full, it's about 1-1/2" deep, so not really skinny, either...but oh well!  Like a Boy Scout, I'm prepared!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Repurposed Prang Box, 10 years later

If you've been with me for a while, you may remember this repurposed Prang watercolor box, from the 1950s--when the boxes were still metal rather than plastic!  I took out the kids' paints and replaced them with larger pans of professional colors I actually like...

The photo is from 2008, so I've been using this little jewel for 10 years...I have carried it from Missouri to California to Nevada, and love using it...it makes me feel like a kid again!  That's the one in our banner here, too.

These are the colors I added then, or close to it...there's an orange in there, too, in place of one of the yellows!

Actually, I have a couple of them...one with Old Faithful, the Yellowstone geyser on it, as well as this somewhat newer one...I found them on eBay, and a quick check showed you can still find them there.

The pan of kids' colors pops right out...

I stuck empty full pans in with rubber cement, so they're easy to pull out and replace if I want...and then filled with my own choice of colors.

Well.  That was then, this is now.  10 years, many miles, and a whole lot of sketches later!

The mixing area has gotten rusty and I may sand and repaint it...or not.  Some colors have been replaced.  I added a few half pans for more versatility...Manganese Blue Hue, Indigo, Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet, and Quinacridone Gold...
As you can see, it's been well used and well loved, and will continue to be so.  (And yes, I cleaned it up some for its photo op.  Really I did!)  At 4.9 ounces, it's my heaviest travel kit, but sometimes you just have to deal with it!  Worth it, to feel like a kid and give yourself permission for whimsy...

On a beach in California...

Friday, June 8, 2018

Lighten Up!

I find that over and over I try to simplify my gear and lighten my load--and since I want to be prepared for almost any sketching contingency, it's not that easy! 

Recently I've been exploring the fun little Pocket Palettes from Expeditionary Arts--and Maria Coryell-Martin keeps refining and offering new types, formats, and kits!  Check out her "toolkit" page at the link...

Here you see the original palette on the left and a newer model with a brushed steel case (I think she's offering a traditional black one now too, but I didn't see it on the page.)

I know it's silly, but I'll keep carrying the original shiny one because sometimes a girl just needs a mirror...or a signaling device...or...and the little bag it comes in protects the finish!

The very first ones had small pans, like those on the right in the filled palette, but many of us like to work with a larger brush, so Maria added the square pans.  Perfect! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

which green?

I have tweeked the limited palette that I recently put together, replacing the raw umber with burnt sienna — I can always mix a near-match to the raw umber with ultramarine. Then I wondered whether to keep the one single-pigment green as perylene green, or replace it with phthalo green BS?

So I mixed it with my other colors. If what I’m after is “bright”, the phthalo is a better choice; for subtle, realistic color, the perylene works better. . . . . Still undecided. What do you think?

The other choices in this limited palette are quinacridone rose, quinacridone gold, Hansa yellow medium, phthalo blue GS, ultramarine, burnt sienna, Payne’s gray, and a dab of white gouache. Plus a  Loew-Cornell #8 round and a 3/4 flat for my brushes. The flat’s handle has been shortened to fit the box and pointed for scratching effects.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Texas wildflowers

The first explosion of native wildflowers has begun, the first I found up close being the blanket flowers growing on a street corner in Somerville, Texas. Yesterday I stopped to get a closer look at the bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, and tickseed blooming near highway 36 and FM 1948. Washington county will soon be covered in glorious color — this year, the peak bloom time is expected on Easter weekend, though they will continue through next month. And summer varieties will soon follow . . .

Lately I find myself not sketching every day, but just adding bits here and there to my journal when the mood strikes, whether text or drawings. But I just can’t let the first wildflowers of the season get by without trying once again to capture their likeness.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Mini-peeks into my sketchbook! #1

I was recently asked to do a short article for Watercolor Artist magazine for a new column they've begun, Open Book (our friend Liz Steel was in this month's issue!)  They asked for 3-4 images to pick from, but will only use one in the magazine...and as usual I overproduced!  I came up with 9 images, but controlled myself and only sent, um, 5...or 6...

So I have leftovers to share with you!

This one was from a fall trip to Bennett Spring state park...I was wanting to explore wet in wet but with touches of gouache against that dark background to pop out and suggest a bit of depth.

I painted the dark, shadowed background hill, the warmer stream bank and the water first, and quicky laid in splashes of orange for the colorful tree and its reflection.  When those washes were dry, I painted the taller, darker oak tree, using a kind of quick, loose scrubbing motion to suggest foliage.

The dark trunks and limbs were added next, with a round brush and a small rigger brush, and allowed to dry.

Then I used my old friend spatter in watercolor and gouache, plus touches of pale green gouach on the bankside bushes.  An opaque gel pen made linear sparkles in the water...

Fast, fun, and I was satisfied with the effect, for the most part.

I'll add more of these as I get time...

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A NEW Sketchbook Cover For My Paris Sketchbook - Laure Ferlita

One of the cool things about planning out a trip to Paris so far in advance is that I have plenty of time to start playing with my sketchbook NOW rather than just before time to go. The image above shows my layout plans for my new sketchbook cover with the finished item at the top right.

I knew early on that I would be making a sketchbook to take to Paris as I wanted to play around with a variety of page configurations and I LOVE square format sketchbooks. I also wanted control over my paper choice. Using Moulin du Roy 140 lb. CP paper, I have already torn down four signatures of four pages each. The pages all have different folds and some of are different size though the overall size of the sketchbook pages is 5.75 x 5.5 inches. The cover is 6.25 x 6 inches...not quite square, but close enough!

The reason I make the sketchbook cover SEPARATE from the signatures is because I can easily take the pages or signatures in and out of the book. If I don't want to carry the entire sketchbook, I can remove a section. If—heaven forbid—I were to lose my sketchbook, there's a good chance I would not lose everything.

The other reason I like this layout is because it allows me to pull individual pages in and out to work on rather than try and rustle with a whole book. Once the signatures are bound, this won't be possible, but until they are it makes working much easier. The elastic loops securely hold the pages in place. Also, because I've been adding a lot of "extra" items (maps, stickers, stamps, ephemera, etc.) If the sketchbook gets too bulky to handle easily, I can slip a section out of the book.

Once my pages are complete (after I return from Paris), it may be that I didn't use all the pages/signatures I expected to. I can use these books in a different sketchbook. I have the option of binding the completed signatures into a more permanent cover (which is my plan) or I can continue to use the sketchbook cover you see in the images.

I used this system way back in 2014 on my trip to Acadia National Park and it worked tremendously well. You can see the leather cover I made for that trip here and read about it as well.

Leather vs. Material
When I started to plan out my journal cover, I was going to use leather and even made a leather cover. However, there are some advantages of using material over leather:

  • Pockets - It's pretty easy to sew a pocket onto a piece of material. Leather is a bit more challenging. The pocket allows me to carry a few pieces of ephemera, tracing paper, etc. and it's an excellent place to tuck items away until I can add glue them to the page. I only added one, but it would be fairly simple to add one to the front of the cover if you so chose. 
  • Pen Loop - You can buy a clip that has a pen loop to use with a leather cover, but they're metal and they add weight to the sketchbook. With the fabric, I incorporated a piece of elastic into the seam. The weight is negligible and it is more secure.
  • Speaking of Weight - Leather weighs substantially more than material and if I'm going to lug this sketchbook all over Paris along with my other art supplies and a cell phone and umbrella and so on, I want to stay as light as I possible can. By saving an ounce or two here and another over there, I'm saving my neck and shoulders a lot of stress and strain. 

How Did I Do It?
If you have basic sewing skills and a sewing machine, it's not hard to create a cover to your specifications. I read a lot of posts and watched a lot of videos on how to make a DIY fauxdori sketchbook cover, DIY Traveler's Notebook, and other combinations. There are a host of posts out there. Some of them do not require sewing.

Because I wanted a bit more structure to my sketchbook cover, I combined two ideas to make mine. You can see them here and here. I wanted a spine, but I wanted the soft flexibility of the DIY Traveler's Notebook cover.

The size, the number of signatures and so on are completely customizable so you can create a sketchbook that is uniquely your!

Are YOU Coming To Paris?!
Would you like to?! You know you want to! I am so looking forward to going to Paris. It's been a pleasure to start working on this project already. My sense of anticipation has already started to build as I learn and read and sketch. By the time I return home, I hope to have a sketchbook worthy of my experiences while I'm in the City of Light. I would LOVE to help you create a sketchbook that captures your love or travel and art into a sketchbook you'll cherish for years.

A small group of artists will be joining me and we'll be exploring Paris off the beaten path as well as some of the iconic sites. I will be providing spontaneous demos each day based on where we are and what we see. I will also be available to guide you and answer questions as you capture your memories and create a sketchbook like no other! I hope you'll come and join the fun! Come and check out all the details here and here.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...