Friday, December 31, 2010

Inbound New Year

This coming year I am signed up to be involved in two different sketchbook/visual journal classes. Well, one is a series of classes being offered online by Strathmore and the other is the Sketchbook Challenge. Both should encourage my daily art journal and sketch practice as well as stretch my comfort zone by exploring new things.
For the Strathmore classes, they are recommending the use of their new line of visual journals, which is great, the paper is wonderful, and I love a wirebound journal. But the three sizes they come in stink; two sizes are small (for page size) and one is too big (to carry around). I had been given one of the Strathmore journals (5.5 x 8 - mixed media variety) as a member of the MCBA Visual Journal Collective. The journal closed:

I hadn't used the journal yet, mostly because the pages seemed too small after using a 9 x 9 square journal for the last year. Needless to say I spent yesterday altering said journal to make at least some of the page spreads larger. The journal below, showing it open to the first page, left regular size.

The following page spread, showing an added on accordion page (left) and its original sized neighbor (right).
First, I cut out about 1/3 of the pages. I did this carefully at the spiral binding with a small scissors, clipping next to the wire hole. Then, I measured in 1.5 cm from the bound edge (with the holes) and made a fold. Next, I used this fold like a flap to glue the pages back into the book as fold outs. This has created a book that has some small pages, some single foldouts, some double spread foldouts, and one accordion style fold out, all in a convenient to carry about size.

Finally, I prepainted the pages with liquid acrylic washes in green/blue/yellow. I have to say I am quite happy with the book now and looking forward to using it.

In addition to journaling, I am hoping to take a watercolor class at MCAD and just be generally more involved in my own art making in the coming year. I made the same commitment last year and I feel as though I was successful, but I am continuing to challenge myself artistically in the coming year.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sketch Night at the Bell

Tonight was sea creature night at the Bell Museum sketch night. I honor of the sea theme I drew a shell. They had a wide variety of shells, coral, couple of things in jars, and turtle shells available for drawing subjects. But, what I really wanted to draw was the owl I had seen on my way in last month in one of the dioramas. So after greeting the ten or so people there last night, I went back to draw the owl that I had been thinking about since last month.

After working on the owl for about 45 minutes or an hour, I lost track of the time, the best part about drawing. I returned to the touch and see room at the Bell and drew the shell.
We really do have a great time drawing together on the sketch nights. Conversation last night ranged from spies to unorthodox funeral services. It is also always great fun to explore everyone's drawings and see the many different approaches and mediums used.
Next month's theme is birds and feathers on January 6, 2011 from 6:30-8:30. If you live in the Twin Cities and like to draw it is well worth the admission to the museum. Bring a sketchbook and I'll see you there.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Graffiti in Rio

This is another view I stumbled upon in Rio de Janeiro this month for Bill Guffey's Virtual Paintout.
I happened to "land" my orange man right under a bridge overpass and this cool graffiti was on the support. The rest of the image was just gray concrete and shadows. Makes for a very graphic looking scene.
Aquabee Sketchbook(9x9), sharpie pen, and watercolor

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November Virtual Paintout

This is my November submission to the Virtual Paintout, a blog hosted by Bill Guffey that uses Google maps and street view as a method of "plein air" painting around the world. This month's paintout is in Rio de Janiero. My chosen subject was a woman walking down the street with a parasol. I am not really happy with how the colors turned out in the scan, they seem faded a bit when compared to the original. I need to work on the settings for future scans. I have an additional view picked out and I am hoping to get to it before the end of the month.
Afternoon Stroll on Avenida Rui Barbosa
9 x 9 Aquabee sketchbook
Sharpie pen and watercolor

Monday, November 8, 2010

Insects at the Bell Museum

Last Thursday night, the Bell Museum hosted a sketching night. They are offering this themed sketch night up in the touch and see room on the second floor, the first Thursday of the month from 6:30-8:30. I have to say I had a great time. There were about 15 or so people there on Thursday. Anyone can come, it is open to the public, and free with admission to the museum. If you have questions or run into problems Roz Stendahl is on hand to help with drawing or color problems. The Bell also has a staff member on hand to answer science or specimen related questions as they are able.
The theme this month was insects, so a Bell staff member had pulled trays of mounted insects out of storage and set them on a table in a side conference room. We then got to choose which insects to draw and were able to move cases around as needed. Of course we were also free to go roam the museum and sketch, but it is always fun to sketch in a group. It was also great to sit at a table and sketch items that I would not normally see at home.
I am currently working in a 9x9 Aquabee spiral bound sketch book, which I really like, although I find it to be a little cumbersome to carry around, so I plan on switching to a slightly smaller journal when this one is finished. I do really enjoy the paper however, and I am hoping they carry a bit smaller size that is still square.
I began these sketches on a pre-painted page, where I had just used up the last of some watercolor I had out from an earlier day. I do not usually pre-paint pages, but it was nice to draw on top of some color, and I will do it again. Each insect was drawn separately, taking me about 30 - 45 minutes each. I begin in sharpie pen with a contour line drawing and add the watercolor afterward. I did not plan on placing two drawings on one page. But I did not gauge my size or page placement very well as I began the moth, so when I finished I had lots of room left at the bottom of the page. I suppose another moth would have worked but by then time was flying and I hoped to sketch more, so I moved on to a new insect family. The dragonfly was very challenging. Too many tiny details in the wings to draw or paint in really, so you have to hint at the tiny lines and cross sections rather than recreate them exactly.
I look forward to next month's sketch night - sea creatures.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Virtual Paintout - San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Tonight while hanging with my family and watching some TV, I finally got around to completing another Virtual Paintout. I always find shots, I almost always start, I rarely finish lately.
Today, I spent about an hour on this in my sketchbook. It was fun to draw curled up on the couch, with my laptop beside me and the book on my lap.
The drawing was done in a sharpie pen, watercolor was added (with my Niji brush and a travel pan set), and then I finished up with more pen over the top of the color washes.
I am using an AquaBee Super Deluxe 9x9 inch spiral bound sketchbook right now, the one with heavyweight(150 gsm) paper. As far as watercolors, I am using an old pan set from Marabu, that I got at an estate sale. I just checked their website and they don't even make watercolors anymore. Lots of other cool looking paints and supplies, no watercolors.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Busy Fall

As a teacher, fall is always busy with setting up a classroom and getting back into the swing after the summer, but wow, get a new job at a new school and that is magnified many times over. I have been so overwhelmed. I realized a couple of weeks ago that I haven't been taking time to make any work for myself, not even sketching, only class examples and demonstrations. So, last week despite being sick and having conferences I forced myself to draw for the first time since the state fair really.

It being autumn I have a small collection of gourds and squash that are in a platter on my table and they have served as my subject matter for the last week as I get back in the groove of daily drawing again.

I have been on a roll with my goal to draw everyday again and intend to keep at it, as it always feels good to sit and take a sketch break.
I am also trying to finish up the Aquabee sketchbook I have been working in so I can begin to test and use the two new sketchbooks I have been given to try out. Both books are spiral bound and new to the journal market this fall. One is made by Strathmore and the other by Legion, both companies are trying to move into the art journal market with new products and the visual journaling group I belong to received samples to test run. I am looking forward to fun journal experiments.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Minnesota State Fair Sketch-OUT (part three)

I know, I know, I have already talked about this sketching trip to the state fair, but I still have a couple of great sketches to show. One of a chicken, a rooster really, that started at the fair as a pen sketch like the rest of my work from that day and got altered later that evening at home by some paint.

I have had a hard time balancing sketching and painting in the field. I want to add color, I add color often when I sketch at home, but for some reason when I am out, especially somewhere busy, it just seems more streamlined to only use pen. I did not particularly like this sketch, before the paint. Chickens are never still, they bob and wiggle, and are just generally in motion and I found it hard to sketch them with any detail. When I was going through my sketches from the fair at home and talking with my husband about our respective days, I grabbed my watercolors and Niji brush and decided to experiment with remembered color. I have to say the chicken is now a bright patch in the middle of my fair drawings and I resolve to try and add more paint while sketching in the future.

The last sketches I have from that day are of our leader, Roz Stendahl. She has a bit of a personal challenge going on right now to infiltrate as many journals as possible in the next year. It is a contest as well, with the possibility of winning a beautiful journal made by Roz herself (follow the link in Roz's name for full contest details).

While we met at the end of the day Roz was talking to Tom, a new sketcher joining us, I was chatting with other fellow sketchers and I decided I had the perfect view to sketch Roz and join in on infiltration project fun. Of course when you sketch someone, they move sometimes and you cannot finish the sketch, as is the case with my first drawing. Roz turned to profile and never twisted back to the three-quarter view that I had started, oh well.
I did add a small profile sketch at the bottom, but I like the larger three-quarter view better.

That is my last fair sketch, I promise. But it was fun and I highly recommend getting out to sketch. You can check out other sketcher's work from our fair trip at Urban Sketchers Twin Cities and Roz Wound Up.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Make the pigs fly!

Just was just checking my blog list and reading some new posts and I run into Rice Freeman-Zachary's post today on creating your life. Not just any life, but you know the life you want, the life you live in your dreams. And no I am not talking about the one where you have all the money in the world, but the one where you create, live creatively, and have an all art lifestyle and are really happy. The one where you never care what someone else thinks of you.
I have to say I am getting better at embracing that life and living it, it makes me a happier me. But it is always good to have it affirmed and spread the word.

Happiness is a decision we make not an emotion we feel. Choose to be happy.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Minnesota State Fair Sketch-OUT (part two)

On Saturday I went sketching with the MCBA Visual Journaling Collective at the Minnesota State Fair. I have to say I had a great time. It was hot (a drawback, but it is summer) and crowded (to be expected really), but it was interesting and fun. I found that I focused on the animals at the fair for my drawing subjects, not that there was a shortage of people or great things to look at. I figured can draw people nearly anywhere, as well as great scenes, but livestock is not as easy to come by especially up-close, and the cows never ask you why you have made them look fat, or think you suck if you get their face a bit lopsided. Animals just seemed like the less stressful choice for drawing.
This was also my first "big" location to draw in public at and I was unprepared for becoming a part of the fair exhibit as I drew.

My first stop was to the horse barn, and I found that as I stood in the aisle drawing this percheron named Dream, I attracted a crowd of around ten people watching me draw the horse. I had not experienced this before and it was a little unnerving. I was actually grateful that I am a teacher and used to people watching me draw and asking questions, so I was able to continue my sketch without thinking about the people looking over my shoulder.
These horses were beautiful, and the owners were excited by my work, so I went back again later in the afternoon to draw more of them but I did not have much luck.

The photo of my sketchbook shows my attempts at further horse drawings that day. The front on horse face had potential to be a great drawing. The horse was staring me down as I drew, we were face to face and he was not moving anytime soon, or so I thought. A man walked up with his young son to show him the horse, and the little boy had a bag of corn chips. One sniff and my perfect model was at the other side of his stall hoping for a chip. Drawing over.
The next sketch the problem was all me, I started drawing too big. I love the back section of this horse resting in the stall, the sense of shifted weight, but then we move toward the spiral binding and I run out of room and try to compensate for the gap in the page and it is out of whack and over.
I decided at this point (there is one more but trust me its worse than these) that I was out of "horse juice" for the day and needed a break and some water.
I went in search of fellow sketchers thinking to check in early (we were meeting as a group again at 4 and it was about 20 after 3), talk about drawing as we wandered toward our meeting place across the fair from the barns. I found no one and after having some water and watching people I decided I could wander to the cows and look for someone there, or maybe draw one more sketch, although I was certain I was done for the day.
While in the barn I came one a row of cows resting that happened to have a bench across the aisle to sit on, so with little hope of success I pulled out my book for one more quick one before our meeting.

I am so happy that I decided to go look at cows and was really happy I did not let the fact that I was getting tired get in the way of me trying one more drawing, because I got this sketch of Lola from the bench in before my meeting. I also took a photo of this cow and the two others laying next to her that I am hoping to create a watercolor from later.
Just shows that pushing for just one sketch more pays off, sometimes.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out

On Saturday I went to the Minnesota State Fair to sketch with the MCBA Visual Journal Collective run by Roz Stendahl. There were about fifteen or so sketchers who joined the group for two meetings at one and four in the afternoon. In the mean time we were all at the Fair with the purpose of sketching, and boy are there things to sketch at the Fair - people, animals, exhibits, rides, and food.
Needless to say, I had a great time, met some new sketchers, and will make a full report in a couple of days. For now I have posted a sheep drawn while at the fair, a handful more sketches to follow in the next couple days.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Virtual Paintout - Prince Edward Island

Every month I start a Virtual Paintout submission, and for the last three months I have either not finished or in the case of last month, not submitted my work. Sometimes this happens because I am not thrilled with the location (Hawaii); other times I just get busy with other things and start but never finish (San Francisco); or finish and forget to submit (Hong Kong). This month the location is Prince Edward Island, Canada and I have found a couple of great locations that I want to paint so, this morning I was determined.

I made myself sit at the desk, in front of a view I liked and paint, with my sketchbook, just like I was there, except I got to do laundry while I worked. Guess what? I finished.
And working directly from the computer really helped. I usually print a picture and bring it to my studio, cut some nice paper, draw, paint - whatever - begin, but it gets lost in the shuffle and not completed. Or an image gets tucked into my sketchbook to draw from while at an appointment or something and forgotten about. Working right from the screen was immediate. I could pretend I was on location and just work. Granted, I was able to take a bit longer than I would have if I was standing in this field, and I did take breaks for laundry and lunch, but still the process was the same as if I was there.
This means I will do another view from this month's location. I even have a view picked out that will be great as a double spread across the spiral in my sketchbook.

Friday, July 23, 2010

MCBA Visual Journal Collective and an owl

On Monday night I attended the MCBA Visual Journal Collective meeting, with Roz Stendahl and 18 other members. We met at the Textile Center for a hands-on demonstration of fabric screen printing using an image from our sketchbook or journal. Karen Wallach, a collective member, gave the demonstration as she belongs/works for the Textile Center. The process itself used a ThermoFax to produce the screens. It was quite interesting and loads of fun.
We were asked to bring in a sketch or drawing to use, along with any fabric, paper, or clothing we wanted to print onto. Quite a few people, myself included, needed to redraw our image using black pen and white paper, as we were supposed to have a simple black and white image like you would carve a block print from. I brought a photocopy of a watercolor and ink owl from a graffiti project example I did during the school year. The original image:

So, before the start of the printing process I had to redraw the owl as a simple line drawing in my journal, which would then be made into a toner based copy to be used in the machine. Karen was the checker of images to be used (she wanted us to have success) and she was unsure of whether or not mine would show all the tiny line detail as a print, but I forged ahead anyway willing to take the risk.

The process itself involved taking our copy, matching it to a screen frame size, and cutting the correct amount of silk screen to fit the frame. Our image was then placed into a plastic carrier sleeve and sent through the ThermoFax machine. The heat from the machine "burns out" the toner ink from a gel on the back of the screen, creating tiny holes for the ink to be pushed through. We then took our screen and mounted it to the plastic frame and encased the entire frame and the edge of the screen in duct tape (have to love that stuff).

After our screen was made, we took it into the next room and printed from it. I have to say there is something very magical about using your image to create prints, it just makes me smile to see multiples that are all original. My image turned out great despite the potential for some of the fine line detail to be lost. My only problem came from not quite pulling the ink all the way down into the tail in every print.
Karen had muslin available for us to practice on and a range of fabric inks and acrylic paints to try. I stuck with black acrylic printing ink made for fabric. I printed a couple of practices on the muslin and two prints on some batik fabric I brought from home.

At that point I switched to paper and printed on two bags, the type that come from a wine bottle, all tall and skinny. I also had a pre-painted sheet of heavy watercolor paper, and a sheet of red print making paper that I tried as well.

By the end of the night I had printed on a variety of surfaces both fabric and paper and was quite pleased with the results, and especially pleased to be able to take home my screen to continue to print from.

I highly recommend giving the screen printing process a try. There are several resources for having your own images made into screens available online, just search ThermoFax printing, and I am sure you can find a spot near you that will make screens for a reasonable price. The Textile Center here in Minneapolis will make them in three sizes: 8x10, 5x7, 3x4 (roughly), for $12, $8.50, and $5.50 respectively.
Well, I am off to print my owl onto my apron.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Sunday trip to the museum

My daughter had three friends spend the night on Saturday and they requested a trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Art on Sunday. We had a great time spending a couple of hours admiring the art. The friends had only ever been once before and they all seemed to enjoy themselves. They even volunteered to submit themselves to art experiments and adventures under my guidance here at the house. Which we were going to start that very afternoon with a paper marbling session, but I got a call from a painter friend who wondered if I would be her plein air partner for the afternoon, so the girls took a raincheck so I could go try my hand at open air painting (more on that later).

Rather than lug my sketchbook or a bag in the museum, I grabbed two sheets of 6x8 paper and folded them into my pocket which also contained a Sakura micron pen. That way when I wanted to sketch I could just whip out my mini supply kit and go for it. That is one advantage of going to a museum with 15 year olds, they can wander well ahead and no one gets lost or scared. I managed only three drawings in the museum, and when I got home I ripped the folded paper into tiny sheets each with its own drawing, and then I glued them into my journal and added frames. I like the results and I will go to the museum that way again. Always amazing how one drawing ends up "the warmup" and is not as accurate (horse in this case).
After returning I packed up my gear, really my bag full of paints and clips and a drawing board along with some paper, and went out to Excelsior to paint with my friend Pat, who is an amazing painter and my coworker. I have been wanting to do some plein air painting, it just seems to go along with the on location sketching that I have been doing. Pat has been raving about Golden Open acrylics all spring and how great they are to paint with, even though she is usually a watercolor painter. So I figured I would go paint, nervously, with Pat and try my sample kit of Open while I was at it.

All that being said I made a couple of mistakes/tactical errors that afternoon.
First - I have been using watercolor or liquid acrylics (also by Golden, they are simply the best) in my sketchbook and in my art for the last couple of years. Which means I have experience in these mediums and should have tried the new plein air part in a medium I was comfortable with rather than switch to something I was new to using.
Second - I chose to use Arches watercolor paper, because I love it and it works well for me when I use it to paint the way I normally paint. Let's just say I was frustrated from the beginning. The paint is different than I am used to, I like washy color and using layers of translucent paint which is a very different feel and process than the Open acrylics. The paint and the paper did not get along - at all. Watercolor paper absorbs paint and water, that is what makes it fabulous to paint on with wet watery paint. With thick, slow to dry paint being applied with lots of water, it also absorbs paint and water, but in a new and frustrating way.
Third - I froze, I thought too much, and I let my mind overtake the process. Rather than enjoy my day and just let go and try something new, I got in the way of myself. Which artists can do quite regularly.
So my first try at open air painting was frustrating and I hate the painting, which I abandoned in favor of my sketchbook, a pen, and watercolor.
All that being said, Pat told me she did the same thing earlier this summer, with the paper. She also told me it took her about a year to get the hang of the plein air thing. So I am not going to give up, I just need to try again, next Sunday with Pat. She said she would call me with a location.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Drawing Army Guys

March 2012 ~ I am flattered by the traffic this image is suddenly receiving. If you are interested in this type of drawing for your website or business, please email me at

Thanks ~ Suzanne

So, for the last week or two my husband has had me working on cleaning up an old t-shirt image that was a line drawing so he could use it to have new t-shirts made for a reunion. Needless to say the image is of a military soldier, not my favorite subject, and that the task has been wildly frustrating.
First frustration has been my client's displeasure with the images - I had an old, badly warped image someone sent in an email, that was not my drawing but someone else's. It was hard to work from someone else's art and even harder because the image was stretched. My second attempt was to draw from another person's drawing off the back of a much loved old t-shirt of my husband's. No luck, I am not that familiar with military grab and I could not make out most of the image.
So as a last ditch effort to give my husband's group fresh reunion tees, I found several images online that I thought might work and drew my own drawing's from the photos. The results are much better, or at least I am happier with them. Now I have drawn a total of four army guys, completed two entire t-shirt designs (one with my image and one with the original borrowed warped image), and I find out he is going to let the group decide. Ugh - fussy clients are a pain! Especially when you live with them.
In the end I have spent a lot of the last two days drawing, even if the topic was not my first choice, and it is always good to stretch yourself. Now I am off to draw a tree or something.

Drawing in black uniball pen on smooth drawing paper.

Monday, July 12, 2010

First Tomato

The tomato plants in a pot that I have on my front patio this summer are about to produce the first of this summer's fruit. I am so excited; it will be the first year in many that we have had our own plants.
I am trying to make an effort to draw/paint/art everyday this summer, with mixed results. I was supposed to begin my book illustrations today, but I was feeling a little "off", so instead I journaled my tomato excitement. This is my page from today. I sat out front on my step and drew the first, ripe tomato on the plant. Being I was at home and had the luxury of time, I first sketched in sharpie pen and then came in and grabbed my paints and brush and did some watercolor over the pen drawing. I spent about an hour total on this page.

Aquabee journal 9x9, sharpie, watercolor (Van Gogh travel pans)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wishing . . .

"Look at the sky and make a wish"
That is one of the new artist inspired prompts (for writing or your choice of art medium) in a new website of artist generated lesson ideas for students and teachers that is being put out by the Getty.
So yesterday I painted the sky into my Aquabee 9x9 sketchbook with liquid acrylic and made a wish. I am hoping to use my wish today as I begin to draw my first ever set of book illustrations. I will post sketches as they become available.
So, make a wish, and then go make art however you like best.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mixed Media Class at MCAD

Last week I was involved with a class at MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art & Design) called "Mixed Media". The class was one of their art educator offerings that they have every summer. It was taught by an artist named Helen Stringfellow.
I must say the class was great fun. There were only ten students, which is a nice number of people to work with. Students came from Germany (2), Canada, Oregon, North Dakota, as well as in and around the metro area (5).
We all were to come to the week long class prepared with a theme or topic we would be working with all week. My theme was owls, mostly because I have a ton of imagery ready from using owls all school year as my main topic or subject.
Each day we had a new assignment or technique we learned in the morning and we had time to work on our personal take or use for that technique in the afternoon. We made rubbings on the first day, just like in elementary school, with a variety of textures, mediums and papers. We then made a large collage using the rubbings as elements and a journey as a jumping point. (see large greenish blue rectangle on the left made using a large sheet of heavy weight Canson, a variety of rubbings using tracing paper, butcher paper, newspaper, Sennelier oil pastels, Golden liquid acrylic ) The resulting work is very abstract, which is unusual for me, but the activity was fun and it really got the class rolling.
The next day we learned about transfers. We used Citra-solv, an organic, smelly, oily, orange-based solvent (can you tell I didn't like it?), Chartpak blender pens, packing tape, and gel medium both to make a "skin" and to transfer an image. All of the above list are methods of making transfers from toner based photocopies. Although the packing tape will turn any image into a sticker-like sheet that can be glued down. My most successful transfers came from using the marker and from gel medium, as a transfer method, not a "skin". But, it was fun to try so many ways of getting a transfer and seeing the different effects and results. Everyone had mixed results and ways they preferred to transfer their images onto their work. See the top book in center image, made using both cream and black Stonehenge paper and a series of marker transfers.
The next day we talked about printing. Carving simple stamps from easy-cut, using a kneaded eraser to make a stamp, self stick cork or foam, simple screen prints, and stencil printing.
On the following day we talked about books (my favorite) and started to think about moving our work more into 3-D. We also talked about fibers and using the printing and other transfers on fabric rather than paper. The bottom book in the center image was made using Stonehenge paper, Golden liquid acrylics, transfers using marker, block prints using Golden open acrylics as ink, and my own paste paper cover. Final image was my final project for the week made using gel medium to transfer the owl image, Golden liquid acrylics, and Arches watercolor - sign at store said 740 lbs - it is very heavy, and wire to hang images out from wall.
It was a great class. It is always great as a teacher to become the student again and spend some time trying new things and making artwork. Now if I could only figure out how to get my images placed into my blog as the text goes along rather than all at once, or post info with the images. Oh well, I never said I was an amazing blogger.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Let them eat cake and draw too

Last night, the Visual Journaling group run by Roz Stendahl met at MCBA. There were loads of people there, including some new faces. We had Molly Anthony come in to talk to us about her found recipe box project. The project is very interesting and Molly is a fantastic writer, I highly recommend her blog about the project. She talked and brought in baked goods for us to draw. Always exciting to eat cake and it turns out it is equally fun to draw cake. Although the texture of cake does pose a bit of a challenge. I tried to emulate the texture by using watercolor pencils and sandpaper over a wet sheet. The shavings "melt" into the paper but stay textured or granular looking.
Last night's meeting made me realize that I have been a bit off my game in terms of drawing and art lately - basically not doing any of either. I have a goal now to do something everyday for the next month, including work on a shoe inspired piece for an upcoming show. I am excited. Unfortunately, that means my first task is to finish the rearranging/clean-up of my studio that began three weeks ago and is still in complete disarray and chaos. Oh well, it will take a day or two, and will feel great when it is done, and in the mean time I will be back at carrying my sketchbook around to catch anything that seems exciting or interesting down on paper.
Sketch in sharpie pen, watercolor, watercolor pencil, on 9x9 Aquabee spiral bound sketchbook.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Owl parade continues

Here is another addition to the owl collection from this school year.
This example comes from my Craft/Print lab class; the assignment was to use your name as book content and create your own lettering and theme. Students then used an accordion structure and paste paper element to create a complete work. This is the example that I finished as a part of doing daily demonstrations to instruct the students and as always to create a high quality example to motivate the group.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Visual Journaling Sketch-Out

Today I went to the Washington County Fairgrounds for the Harvest Shepherd's Festival. I went as a part of the visual journal group I have been going to with Roz Stendahl. Only two other members were there as far as I know, but I had a good time anyway and am glad I went.
It was a cold, semi-rainy day, so not ideal weather for sketching at an outdoor event.
The barns were not so bad though, and I got a few sketches of goats, sheep, and llamas today. I do not usually draw animals from life, they tend to move too much and it becomes challenging, so today was an experience. I learned out about waiting for an animal to turn back around and about doing quick gesture drawings to capture the idea rather than all the details. I also do not usually draw in public so it was distracting at first to get in the groove an ignore the milling people.
That being said I think I did ok and I am excited to go out and sketch again. I also got a couple of photos and I am hoping to do a small painting or more complete drawing from them in the future.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Owl on parade

Cleaning photos off my camera and editing photos for self portraits in my drawing I class tomorrow, I found this tile I had made earlier this winter. It is stoneware with glass and glaze. It is one of three clay owls I made this year.

Monday, April 26, 2010

MCBA Visual Journal Collective.

Last monday night I went down to the Minnesota Center of Book Arts (MCBA) to meet with the Visual Journal collective for their monthly meeting (link will take you to Roz Stendahl's blog about the meeting; she is the group's leader). I have been going to meetings since the beginning of the year and I throughly enjoy the group and the chance it gives me to draw something new once a month - oh - and the kick in the pants it gives me to draw as much as possible during any regular week.
Last week we had a special speaker, Karen Engelbretson, who is a local graphic designer and botanical artist. She talked to us about drawing botanicals as well as using our art on stuff, rather than just having it sit in journals or sketchbooks.
As always it was a good time. These pears were each done during a five minute sketch that night using a sharpie pen.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The first in a line of owls.

This year in my classes as I have been doing demonstrations and examples, I have been repetitively using an owl as my subject matter whenever possible. This started by accident and since noticing my tendency towards owls, I have just embraced it and have been very intentional about my choice to use an owl.

This has created a body of owl work through the school year. I think the most interesting part has been using an owl as a subject or theme across a wide variety of mediums.

In a simple effort to try and post more, here is the newest in an upcoming parade of owls as I bring home my examples and projects to pack up for the summer.

This owl was created this week as I began a unit on block printing with an introductory project. The print block is small, 2 x 3 inches, and carved out of and easy cut rubber sort of product. So it is more of a stamp, but it is printed with water-based speedball ink on regular white paper.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Virtual Paintout - Canary Islands

I have finally finished another Virtual Paintout image after only beginning images the last two months. This month's location is the Canary Islands. I have picked out several more map views and hope to do another later this week.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Art and teaching art, a pleasing cycle.

Sometimes it amazes me how I can have a topic or idea that I have wanted to try or have been meaning to try, and how I often do not experiment myself until I am talking to a student about how it could be useful for them to try something new. After that discussion I inevitably try the new thing myself to work out the kinks, so they can have a successful experience and through this process I try something new.
Today, I had a student ask me how she could put song lyrics into a painting without collage or handwriting. I recommended image transfer, something I have been meaning to try but just haven't. Needless to say, I spent a good part of my afternoon and now a bit longer, working out how she can transfer lyrics using an acrylic gel transfer process that is quite simple. The bonus is I do not have to go in search of supplies other than what I already have in my classroom. Which means she can try it herself tomorrow, and I tried it today, liked it, and will do it again in my own work. Wow, I love my job.
Here is the trial image. It is a photocopy of a watercolor painting that I then drew on in ink, to show a different student how he might try something new . . . which I transfered onto a sheet of watercolor batik paper from something I showed another student. . .
Did I mention how great my job is?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Visual Journaling Sketch-UP

Had a great day today sketching with the MCBA visual journal collective Sketch-UP. I spent three hours sketching from the 23rd floor of the Crown Plaza Hotel in St. Paul, MN. I really think the best part was seeing everyone else's versions of the view. Here are my sketches from the day. I will try to link to other people's views as I see them posted.

Roz Stendahl is the organizer of the MCBA visual journal collective. The group meets once a month on the 3rd Monday from 7-9p.m. She has a great blog where she talks about the events of the day sketching. See Roz's blog.
You can also see the urban sketchers blog by Ken Avidor about the event.