Saturday, April 30, 2011

My new Caran d'Ache Neocolor II set!

I just had to share my newest art supply purchase with you today - an 84 color box of Caran d'Ache Neocolor II watersoluable crayons! I'm pretty excited about them. I have had a handful of Neocolor II's for years and have recently started playing with them. I mean - crayons! At my age! How cool is that? I've been very inspired by Mona Majorowicz's work with them at Wild Faces Gallery. She's written some lenses for Squidoo about Neocolor II's that I've really enjoyed reading.

Lee Hammand also has a book out called, Amazing Crayon Drawing With Lee Hammond: Create Lifelike Portraits, Pets, Landscapes and More. I've just ordered it from the library and can't wait to take a closer look at it.

Whenever I get a new color art tool I happily record the colors in my black, hardbound sketchbook. Here is my newest Caran d'Ache Neocolor II color chart
I'm eager to get start testing these crayons and the effects that I can get with them.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Horses of a different color

I have to admit that this is a funny posting, It looks like I'm doing a St. Patty's day piece. Green horses...? What? I do have a method to my madness however. I have been working on creating grayed complements in my colored pencil pieces - in other words - creating more colorful neutrals by mixing complementary colors instead of just using straight (and therefore more flat) grays. This can make your underpainting look like you're painting Martian animals, but the results are really worth it! This is the same technique I used in my latest commission and in the peacock earrings and it seems to be working out quite well.

Here are parts 2 and 2.5 of "Two Roans." The first is shown with dry watercolor pencils and the second with the colors wetted.
Part 2 - Dry watercolor pencil

Part 2.5 - Wetted watercolor pencil
Next I'll apply Polychromos pencils and start neutralizing those greens and purples.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Starting a new piece today.

"Two Roans"- line drawing
I am starting a new colored pencil piece today whose working title is, “Two Roans.” I have long intended to do a painting of these two draft horses. I took the photo several years ago somewhere in Arizona. Tombstone perhaps? I really love draft horses, though I have done precious little draft horse art. Perhaps that will change with this piece. I have always loved these big gentle giants with feet the size of dinner plates. ;-)

I am going use the same technique in this piece as I used in the peacock feather earrings. That is to say, an underpainting of Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils (in a limited palette of Dark Indigo, Delft Blue, Indanthrene Blue, Pine Green, and Manganese Violet. Then over the top I'll lay down Polychromos colored pencils. I'm using a new paper for this one, with a very soft, but not velour, finish. I think it's a Rives paper, but I'm embarrassed to tell to you that if I did write down the paper's name when I bought it, I've lost the note. Fortunately, I know exactly where to find more at Daniel Smith's! ;-)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

EDM # 294 - Draw something that makes you smile

EDM challenge #294 (Something that makes me smile.)
I love the EDM challenges. They help me make time to draw things I might not otherwise get around to drawing. For example, these earrings. My husband gave me these peacock feather earrings at Christmas last year. They are so fun and colorful! I really wanted to draw them but couldn’t seem to find the time. I was between projects this week and wanted something relaxing to draw. Enter EDM challenge 294 – “Draw Something That Makes You Smile.”

This drawing is rendered in Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils (for the under-drawing) and Polychromos colored pencils on Stonehenge paper. I’m getting a feel for the oil-based Polychromos pencils. They are so different in character from my usual Prismacolors that it's taken me a little while to get used to them. But they're worth it! The colors are quite rich making them quite the pleasure to work with. I also quite like the Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils. They have a wonderful feel to them. Both types of pencils are color indexed meaning that the same colors will match exactly between the Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils and the Polychromos colored pencils.

I haven't completely disappeared

...although it might look like it. I've actually been working very hard for the past few weeks restructuring my other business, Sacred Touch Healing, a holistic multi-species massage practice. I hope to have the lion's share of it done by the end of April. In the meantime, I've doing some experimentation with Polychromos Colored Pencils underpainted with Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils. I'll post the piece in the next few days. It's EDM Challenge # 294.

Word has come in that I didn't win either contest I'd recently entered. Disappointing, but not really. There are a lot of wonderful artists out there and I was proud of the pieces I entered. Both pieces showed artistic growth and that means the experience was a success. :-)

Monday, April 11, 2011

White Dog Day

White Shepherd (pen & ink highlighted with watercolor pencils)
I have always found white dogs to be tricky in pen & ink. My tendency is to overwork them and then they become too dark. Today I restrained my hand as much as possible. *chuckle* Here’s my white dog practice from today. Happy white dog day everyone! ;-)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Intersection Between Art and Craft.

"Two Dogs 1"
I have always loved art but also crafts. When I was little I made my own dollhouses out of shoe boxes and doll furniture out of defunct and then upholstered laundry detergent caps. As I became more of a fine artist/illustrator I tended to segregate the two interests, doing one or the other at any given time. Recently I’ve realized that people have begun to overlap the two categories very successfully. One of the ways I’ve seen this done is in art journaling. Writers like L.K. Ludwig and Traci Bunkers have been inspirational to me in my first steps in this rather freeing, cross-over endeavor.

Here are two pieces I’ve recently done in a series called “Two Dogs.” They’ve been great fun to do and I’ve used lots of different tools to create them including: pen & ink, tube watercolor, Neocolor II water-soluble pastels, Inktense pencils, Distress Inks, salt, and a bunch of handmade stamps and stencils. It's a really interesting and fun process!

"Two Dogs 2"
Here is the text of the “Two Dogs: story:
Two dogs went walking in a field. They were alone until they saw a deer standing alone, far off in the distance. One dog said, “let’s run after that deer, catch it and eat it.” The other dog said, “why should we bother when we have good food at home to eat?” The first dog said, “we are dogs, we are hunters, we eat deer.” The second dog said, “are we still?” Both stood and watched and did nothing. The deer looked back and after a moment sprinted back to the woods, unharmed. The second dog said, “we’re not hunters anymore.” The first dog said, “I’m glad.” Soon thereafter they returned home.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thinking about business and art

I grew up as one of those people who were taught that you couldn’t make money being an artist. Ironically, my father is an artist, an oil/acrylic painter, and has been for most of his life. But that was as a hobby only and he's always been very clear about that. It’s funny how our parents’ expectations have such insidious and long-lasting effects upon us. My father was a dentist and educator while painting on the side. I have been a health care professional (massage therapist and educator) for more than 20 years while also trying to have an art business. I have done so twice, officially, once in the early 1990’s in Tucson, and again now, in the greater Seattle area.

In between, I was doing various artistic things (and many times for commissions or sales) but my shingle wasn’t really up at that time. So here I am now, about to launch phase two of Flying Pony Studios – my freelance illustration business.

In the past few days I have broken through a long-standing barrier in my art business (massage too in truth). I have realized that the pattern of professional vs. hobby in my life has been there by virtue of training and inertia.

It's time to change all of that! I knew it yesterday in the way you know when you’re finally really ready to make a big change in your life. Today I began taking my business(s) into the realm of real, practical, business planning. I have given myself the rest of April to make my way through a chosen business workbook. I have made this an absolute priority! By the end of the month I will have made some significant changes to my businesses. And you know what…? I am delighted beyond words! It’s time to lose the old paradigm and create a whole new one. One wherein I will have a full and prosperous client list filled with people who I am thrilled to be working for. Time to make it happen!