Friday, June 29, 2012

Trying New Color Combos

Gardening Magazine Blossum and Starry Night Redux

Raven in Scrub Pines and Koi

These are my sketches using pencil and Sharpie Pen colored in with Derwent's Inktense
watercolor pencils, one of my favorite mediums.  I have been in Joanne Sharpe's
Colorloving 101 online class and she has encouraged us to try colors that we would not
usually use together.    This is also such a terrific way to get to know you supplies!
6 randomly selected colors.  Think of an image that would be well rendered in this range,
Only use the 6 colors.  A fun challenge!

I chose the Starry Night image because the Ionian Green is just the color of the Cyprus
tree to me.  I cheated, just a little, on the Raven picture.  My sky just got too dark so
I added the Intense white over it.

I challenge you to randomly select 5 to 6 colors, or try out the color scheme from a
famous painting.  It is easy to get into a color rut so this is a great way to deepen your
relationship with colors and materials and find new color favorites.

Randal Plowman's Collage Workbook

Randal Plowman's "Frozen Pops"
4"X 4" mixed media collage

Randel Plowman's wonderful new book, "The Collage Workbook"

I am one lucky girl.  I was the selected winner to receive a publisher promo on giving away a Randel Plowman collage and a copy of his
new book "The Collage Workbook" .  Thanks Stefanie! Thanks Randel!  I have been following
Randel's blog at for some time and love his work!  He is not
only a wonderful, prolific collage artist but also an expert marketer.  I wish he would also write
a book about art marketing and promotion!

The book is a wonderful basic collage techniques book and has 50 project prompts which I
intend to follow. I believe that collage is the medium of the millenium that perfectly expresses
the complicated and layered lives of today's artists. 

I am also thrilled to own a Randel Plowman collage!  This one is perfect for me in terms of the
inclusion of a floral image (my obsession) and the title.  In this brutally hot Colorado summer
(hottest yet) I would like to roll in a bed of pink frozen pops, lol.   I just love this collage
composition and all its elements.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tombo Markers and Scribbles: Everything's Energy

Tombo Blooms plus Scribbles

Tombo Jelly Bean Markers, Identipen Marker, Pitt Pen,
Gelly Roll metallic markers, Staedtler Watercolor Crayons

Today experimented with using the Tombo Markers (Jelly Bean color range) like
watercolors.  Love the bright and cheerful colors and in keeping with the child-like
colors I made simple flowers with large centers and playful petals.  Did all the
basic drawing with the Pit Pen, then Tombo Markers, water and brush.  Did not want
to quit so  added scribbles, first with watercolor crayons, then with Gelly Roll metallic
markers. I last added dots in the flower centers with Plaid liquid embossing.

The scribbles were fun to do.  While I scribbled I was thinking about Julia Watkins and her energism painting and Einstein's quote:

"Everything is energy and that's all there is to it.
Match the frequency of the reality you want
and you cannot help but get that reality.
It can be no other way.  This is not philosopy.
This is Physics."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

June Botanical Sketch a Day 1st through 15th

June Botanical Sketch a Day 1st through 15th

Prismacolor Pencils, Souffle Pens, Sharpie Pen, Derwent
Watercolor Pencils, Fireworks Spray Ink, Copic Markers,
Office Max Metallic Markers, Gelly Roll Pens.

I really have been enjoying a thumbnail sized sketch a day in my visual journal.  I must admit,
however, that I am two days behind.  Think I will use black gesso and metallic pens on the 17th,
not sure about the 16th.  One thing I have found is that this is a very useful way to try out new
art materials and techniques.  My fav, I think, is still Derwent Watercolor Pencils but also love
the copics and shiny pens.

I know you might be wondering what that purple thing is on the 12th--not sure, looks like a
thistle, but also maybe artichoke like?  Don't know.  Like my tomatoes on the 11th and the
artichoke I am sure about on the 8th.  I am sometimes looking at the actual flower or leaf for
reference, sometimes a botanical magazine like "Birds and Blooms".

Fun and good for me to make myself stick to a plan.  I tend to go off chasing that next shiny
thing in terms of ideas, art techniques and supplies.  The one thing I do know, however, is
that I continue to be taken with images of nature: flowers, leaves, birds, fruits, butterflies, bees.
Looking at the beauty of nature just makes me happy.

Faux Stitches and Black Gesso

Let Your Art Out (left page)
Black Gesso, Yasumoto Metallic Watercolors, Office Max
Metallic Markers, EK Metallic Marker, Gelly Roll Pen, White.

Let Your Art Out (right page)

Black Gesso, Yasumoto Metallic Watercolors, Office Max
Metallic Markers, EK Metallic Marker, Gelly Roll Pen, White.

My first experiment with black gesso (Liquitex) and metallic watercolor and markers.  I used a silver
metallic marker to draw the flower and pattern.  Next I randomly filled the divided sections with the
metallic watercolor.  Later, when I really saw that it was looking like a crazy quilt, I added the patterns
in the Office Max metallic markers and the "stitches" with the Sakura white Gelly Roll pen.

Suddenly I was imagining myself sitting with one of my mom's photo albums from the late 40's.  Her
familiar handwriting in white ink on the black album pages.  She told me that she was embarrassed
by her "terrible handwriting" but it looks so great to me.  I guess it's strange that I haven't tried black
gesso and white ink before because I love how dramatic it looks.

I think I will re-visit this at some point and work with paper designs I've made for backgrounds.  I
might just get brave and make some real stitches.

The "Let Your Art Out" is a reminder to find a way to creatively self express often.  It is stress
reducing, emotionally releasing and just plain fun!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

June Botanical Sketch A Day

June Botanical Sketch A Day Journal Page Left

Watercolor pencils, Office Max metallic markers, Copic markers, Sakura Souffle Pen,
Martha Stewart Craft Markers, Derwent Metallic Watersoluble Pencils

Fireworks Craft Spray, Sharpie Pen, Sakura Souffle Pens,
Copic Markers, Office Max Metallic Markers, watercolor pencils.

This is my first Art Journal calendar spread.  I was inspired by Effy Wild's "Book of Days" videos,
my own daily sketch books and all the artists online who seem to be doing monthly and yearly art
challenges.  I've seen, just for some examples, page a day, face a day, sketch a day, cloud photo
a day, artist trading card a day, oil sketch a day, collage a day, postcard a day, handmade card a day.
I do botanical sketches often but like the idea of a thumbnail sized sketch each day. 

My plan is to make some sort of botanical or nature related drawing a day in my homemade
calendar pages.  Taking one month, and especially, one day at a time with this!
Still have to do a sketch for today. 

See anything unusual about this calendar page?  The dates are on the right days of the week, but
after I had drawn this page I realized that my weeks started with Mondays instead of Sundays.
Think I am going to leave it this way, though, because that's how my life works---five "work" days
and the two weekend days outlined in gold.  Ever get that feeling?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My World Laughs in Flowers

My World Laughs in Flowers

Compass, Office Max Metallic Markers, Copic Markers, Recollections
Opaque Marker, GellyRoll Stardust Marker, Pelican Opaque Watercolors,

Art at the Center

Pelican Opaque Watercolors, Office Max Metallic Markers,
Pitt Pen, Copic Markers

I've been writing a lot, lately about what art means to me.  This spread is also about what botanical
art means to me in particular, and how I ended up being so attached to this subject matter. 
Feel like I've been working on this spread forever, and it has been a long process. 

The right page started as a stand along mandala "Letters in the Round" (Joanne Sharpe Lesson).
I wanted to integrate it into my larger journal.  I actually wanted to make this into a mind map with
the letters in a circle format, as the mind map components, but it has turned into decorated pages
that I still need to write in.

While I've made these pages I've been thinking about flowers and where I got connected to this
subject.  Here's what I think: I've had a special spot in my heart since I was a child.  Both my
mom and her mother had green thumbs.  One of my sisters is a Botanist and my other sister
has a lovely fence with climbing roses.  My grandmother lived on a farm and I remember her
bushes of lush peonies in the front yard, her row of Hollyhocks by the pump house, her brilliant
orange and black tiger lilies by her front door.  I associate my mom with blooming trees as well
as pansies and flowers of all kinds.  And the Lombard Lilac Festival, and, of course,
Georgia O'Keefe.

I remember my mother reading a beautifully illustrated book about flowers and fairies to me
when I was 4 or 5 and not wanting to return the book to the library.  What sealed it for me,
though, was a third grade teacher who showed us a slide show of flowers and vividly
communicated her love of botanical images.  I can't remember what she said about the
flowers she showed us but the beauty of those images is with me yet.

In art school I painted Matisse influenced portraits and then moved into Neo-Expressionist
canvases.  But while I worked in my work-study job in the media lab I drew pages and pages
of botanical drawings.  I used my trusty botanical field guide to make my drawings.
I never for a second considered this my "real art" but should have gotten a clue when someone
begged me to sell a page from my floral sketchbook to them.  Then I went off to get my
Masters in Art Therapy.  It's been an interesting and rewarding life.  For the last 20 years I
have either worked in private practice or as a college teacher.  But now, after all these years,
I've picked up my great love again.

It happened by accident when I stopped into the local free school to ask if I could teach an
artist trading cards class for them.  They told me it was too rarefied a topic (not true in my
world) but would I be available to teach a drawing class at the Denver Botanic Gardens?

Thank You Mother-Father God!  I've been doing it for two years now and it has been so great.
I don't care how girlie or sentimental some think flower paintings are.  They are my passion!
To me, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said "The Earth Laughs in Flowers".  My world too.

Below are the pages in their final form, with journal entries added.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Great Chuck Close Quotes!

The way this started...
Gesso, Aqualon Wisp Brush, Pelican opaque waters, Yasumoto
iridescent watercolors, paper towel blotting, compass 

"Inspiration is for Amateurs"
Office Max Metallic Markers, Sharpie Pen, Copic Markers,
gesso, Martha Stewart Craft Markers

I struggled with and overworked this spread.  Love the quotes from the painter Chuck Close,
the lettering is OK, like the sketched flowers at the center but I do not like how it sort of looks
like the a graffitied side of a barn, lol.  Hmm, well, that's maybe what I like about it.  Will have
to sit with it.  Maybe sand it a little.  OK now I'm back to: I struggled with and overworked this
spread...but I love the quotes from the painter Chuck Close. 

You MUST watch this video. 
I think it is the most important source of solace and wisdom I've had this month, for sure!

Chuck Close was interviewed and asked to give advice to his 14 year old self. 
Ohhhhh, this is what my 14 year old self (and my 60 year old self) needed.

So I  tattooed quotes from the interview on my page, for the same reason that many get words
and images tattooed on their skin, to remember, to not forget :
  1. "Sign into the process and see where it takes you."
    Jump into the Creative process (or could say, the process of life), go with the flow,
    see where it takes you.
  2. "Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and and get to work."
    Searching for inspiration, waiting to work until inspiration strikes---
    Chuck is saying that that is for Amateurs.  Working artists just show up and get to work.
    This is so true and so important.  Of course one needs to learn the language, tools, and
    techniques of art, but the most important piece is that 99% of perspiration--
    just practicing your craft.
  3. "All the best ideas come out of the process.  They come out of  the work itself."If I had to say what it is about the creative process that keeps me coming to my studio
    I would say, well, the cool stuff you can make, but, more importantly, the things I
    discover about myself and my craft!  It tickles and makes me smile to suddenly see a
    new way of doing something or a cool new effect.