Friday, May 31, 2013

EDiM #30: Draw the inside of your closet

When we were evaluating this house to buy back in 2001, one of the many things I was impressed with was the huge walk-in closet with built-in shoe shelves.  What luxury!

And yes, my husband does have a bright orange shirt in his wardrobe.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

EDiM #29: Draw something from a pet's point of view

Though we are currently "without dog", which is sad but necessary, we have shared our home with Great Danes since we got our first in 1987.  Since they are so tall, and can consume a lot of food and water, they need big bowls elevated to their level.

For today's EDiM assignment, I dug out their bowls and the plant stands we put them on, and crouched my camera down to their eye level for my reference.

I was intimidated at painting the metal bowls, but it worked out pretty good!  I used mixes of Permanent Orange and Cobalt Blue for the various warm and cool gray tones.

It made me miss our dogs...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A break from into the neighborhood to sketch!

I was "free" from Every Day in May today because I did a "two-fer" yesterday, so I used my time to stroll to the entrance of our neighborhood and finally sketch one of the cute little decorative kiosks there.  I found a shady spot under the shade of a palo verde tree, set up my sketch stool, and enjoyed a nice hour of sketching.

While there, I witnessed a motorcycle officer from Pima County Sheriff pull over a speeder.  Too many cars do indeed go too fast on 35 mph Wade Road.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

EDiM #26: Draw a screw

Not content to draw just one screw, I decided to look at multiple screw concepts...

Since these are essentially mechanical drawings that require a modicum of precision, I drew these in pencil first, then inked it in, then watercolor.

EDiM #25: Draw a tote bag

I don't have many tote bags, never really saw the utility of them because there was a huge gaping hole at the top where all my stuff could fall out of if I should drop it.  So this particular bag was my first, bought many years ago, and it actually used to have a functioning zipper at the top to prevent such mishaps.  I also loved this bag because I loved the colors--it looked to me like a watercolor painting (and this was before I even thought of trying to do watercolor painting!).

Green inktense pencil was used to outline the leave shapes in the interior, then wet with a small brush to "set" the lines so they wouldn't bleed when I added watercolor.

Friday, May 24, 2013

EDiM #24: Draw something that makes you laugh

Though my husband is not a "funny man" nor a jokester, his sense of humor (which is often self-deprecating, as depicted here with these crazy sunglasses he found on the ground) has often made me laugh.

This is a big milestone for me, doing a human portrait. This is my first attempt since trying the exercises in Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain 6 years ago, which was awful and I never attempted it again...until today. I did the whole bit, first drawing guidelines, then the features in pencil, then in pen, then in watercolor. I am really pleased with how this turned out, and I can breathe again.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

EDiM #23: Draw a summer joy

Of course I find great joy in the warm temperatures, road trips and camping that have been a feature of my summers.  But what I love most of all about summers in Arizona are the monsoons storms that happen during July and August here.  I find the buildup of beautiful cumulus clouds, the lightning and thunder, and the short-lived torrential rain exciting and a welcome break from the summer heat.

I love to try and photograph lightning, too, and this drawing is a result of a conglomerate of two photographs.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

EDiM #22: Draw a map (and EDiM #21 from yesterday)

Today's assignment gave me an excuse to do something I've long wanted to do but haven't gotten to, a map with patches of color separated by white borders.

I did this on a regular 1/8th sheet of Arches cold press, penciling in the borders.  For each state I wet the paper (trying to keep a straight line that stood off from the penciled-in border, and dropped in watercolor paints.  In choosing colors, I tried to keep in mind the natural features of that region and apply color that made sense to me.  Of course, the interior of Australia is hot and dry, so warm colors made sense to me.  The far north is very vegetated and the southern extremes get quite cool.  To pay tribute to the Great Barrier Reef, I painted that coast with cobalt teal blue to represent the beautiful waters there.

Paints used:  hansa yellow, new gamboge, organic vermillion, quinacridone rose, quinacridone violet, winsor violet, winsor blue red shade, and winsor green blue shade.

I quite like it and I think I might frame it!  It will be a nice reminder of our recent trip to Australia.

I see I forgot to post EDiM #21 from yesterday, draw the last thing you bought.  Well, it may not be technically the last thing I bought, but these was certainly the last FUN things I bought.  I ordered the TWSBI mini EF fountain pen in "classic" color (black cap, clear body) a few weeks ago and I love this pen. It is my primary sketching pen now, and filled with Platinum Carbon Black ink.  The build quality of this pen is very solid, it's been totally dependable, it feels great in my hand, and I think it looks cute.

The Noodler's Walnut Ink I purchased more recently and am just getting acquainted with it.  I filled my Noodler's Konrad Flex pen with it.  My first impression is that the ink looks almost black until you begin to fill a page and look at it sideways.  My understanding is that it is partially composed of Noodler's Bulletproof Black, which makes sense to me, given how dark it is, but also how this ink handles under a wash.  The water releases gorgeous golden brown and burnt sienna tones, while a blackish line remains.  It's really cool.  Here is an example of my very first explorations with this ink:

Monday, May 20, 2013

EDiM #20: Draw your favorite drink

When I am camping I love a mug of this particular brand of hot cocoa in the morning.  No other brand will do, as this one is not as sweet as the typical hot chocolate.  Unless, of course, someone offers me hot chocolate like I had in and chocolatey, that was!

This is my first sketch using Noodler's Walnut ink, followed by watercolor washes.  It worked great for this image, adding a new dimension of golden browns to the dark browns I mixed with burnt umber and ultramarine.  A bit of spatter completes the chocolatey mess.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

EDiM #19: Draw something that belongs to someone else

Rental DVDs, belonging to Netflix.  I was supposed to mail off the bottom one on Saturday but missed the mailman, and we finished the second one last night.  What are we going to watch tonight?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

EDiM #18: Draw the palm of your left hand

Definitely a handy subject, don't have to go far to set it up!

Drawn with TWSBI mini with Platinum Carbon Black for the outline of the hand, Pilot Prera with Lexington Gray for the lines and wrinkles.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A few days in Northern Arizona

Mark and I spent a few days up in Flagstaff visiting Mark's mother and brother, and as a bonus we drove up to the Grand Canyon!  This was an opportunity to finally work in the 5x8 watercolor Moleskine I bought a year and a half ago, before I discovered the joys of Stillman & Birn sketchbooks.  I struggled with this book, not really wanting to commit to using it as my everyday Artist's Journal, because of its odd shape.  Then I had the brilliant idea to reserve it for times where can really shine:  the panoramic format.  I had a blast tackling a part of the Grand Canyon here while my husband and his brother and elderly mother enjoyed the sight.  The mid-day light was not optimal, but the shapes and colors are still fantastic.  I was told that many children were curious about what I was doing.

I also kept up with the Every Day in May assignments, and it was serendipity in many cases as my mother-in-law has lots of stuff, lots of potential sketch subjects that fit in with each day's topic.  I am also working in a new sketchbook, a Stillman & Birn Epsilon.  It is fun to use, though certainly quite different than regular watercolor paper!

EDiM #13:  Draw a Pillow

I chose the most colorful pillow to draw, and just propped it up against the arm of the loveseat in the morning light.

EDiM #14:  Draw a figurine

Mark's mother is the queen of knick knacks, and must have over 100 figurines of varying sizes and subjects all over the house.  It could be the reason why we only have one in our house (my husband had overload growing up).  I found a fun one to draw.

EDiM #15:  Draw a pencil

I cheated a bit here and sketched the most interesting pens I found in Julie's house for this days assignment.  Her pencils were rather ordinary.

EDiM #16:  Draw something that scares you

I wanted to draw an illustration of an impending collision with an on-coming car, but didn't have any adequate reference material on hand (or life-study material, thank goodness!) for that.

So I did something simpler to draw, yet also scary for me.  As a child growing up in southern California and learning the scary power of waves to keep you underwater when you don't want to be, I still retain into middle age a fear of waves.

EDiM #17:  Draw something from your first aid kit

This for me was a no-brainer.  I had to have skin cancer scraped off my back a week ago and I am currently in the daily regimen of cleaning and re-bandaging the wound.  These are the supplies I took with me to Flagstaff to perform the wound care.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

EDiM #12: Draw the oldest thing in your refrigerator

I am getting a jump on tomorrow's EDiM assignment since I'll be traveling and incommunicado for a few days.

The oldest thing in our refrigerator is a big bottle of mustard.  Ever since my husband started calculating his sodium intake, the mustard just sits in our refrigerator, getting unused.

This last drawing completes my batik cover self-bound sketchbook, which was filled with Strathmore Aquarius II paper.  Some things I like about this paper, some things I don't.  I like how thin and pliable it is.  Since plastic is used in part to allow this thin paper to take watercolor washes without warping and buckling, there isn't a bunch of sizing making the paper so stiff.  However, the paint does seem to get absorbed more than I'd like; it's hard to describe, but paints look a little to matte-like on this surface for my taste.

Next I will be working in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon book!  There's nothing "matte-like" about that smooth surface!  It will be my first time working on this paper and I look forward to giving it a good workout!

EDiM #11: Draw some gloves

I wear many types of gloves in the course of my daily life.  In the winter I put on hand-knit gloves or mitts to keep my hands warmer; when I chop up chili peppers I use nitrile gloves so I don't forever have capsaicin on my hands (or else I am in big trouble if I touch my eyes!); when I work outside I wear work gloves (particularly helpful when handling mesquite and cactus); and when I belay my husband during rock climbing I have some leather gloves I use.

But the gloves I've worn by far the most in my life are weightlifting gloves.  My husband and I have been weight training as a part of our exercise routines for what must have been 26 years.  I've always worn gloves, and it's been handy for keeping the callouses down.

I put on my left glove for this drawing, and rather than hold the weight up for the time to draw and paint it, I let it rest on the table.  My bicep thanks me.

Friday, May 10, 2013

EDiM #10: Draw something creepy

One day it was disconcerting to turn around and notice one of these on the kitchen floor!  Evidently, it had hitched a ride into the house on my husband's pant leg.

Not this one, though...I photographed it in our backyard June 2006.  It's always exciting to see a tarantula, but I wouldn't want one on me!

Paints used for background:  quinacridone gold, quinacridone burnt scarlet, winsor violet.

Paints used for tarantula:  quinacridone violet and phthalo green blue shade, with a bit of brown from q. gold + winsor violet thrown in.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

EDiM #9: Draw a lock

I was considering a couple options for "draw a lock", among them the clusters of locks on fences that we saw while visiting Paris (why do people do that?), or the lock-bar we use on our car's steering wheel.

But I ran across this photo in MorgueFile from krosseel, and I really like the "story" this image shows.  Sometimes one lock is not enough.

I had a busy art day.  In addition to keeping up with my EDiM assignment, I also met with my fellow Tucson Sketchbook Brigade ladies, and we spent a couple hours sketching the Manning House in downtown Tucson.  I guess it's like 106 years old.  I was surprised to see a "For Sale" sign on it, I remember having Christmas lunch there for work.

Aside from the gardener nearby with his leaf-blower running, it was such a pleasant morning, with a great group of ladies to sketch with.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

EDiM #8: Draw a coffeepot

For today's assignment we were to draw a coffeepot.  Well, my husband and I stopped drinking coffee many years ago, so I knew I would need to rely on a photo for this one.

I poured through the REI website, looking for photos of coffee makers for camping, and nothing really resonated.  I considered looking for photos of fancy espresso machines, or even those cute faceted little stove-top espresso makers.

But the idea struck me, since I live in Arizona and love the beautiful red rock of Sedona...Coffee Pot Rock!  Of course.

Paints used:  yellow ochre, quinacridone gold, quinacridone burnt orange, sap green, winsor violet, manganese blue nova, cerulean blue.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

EDiM #7: Draw something you got for free

I'd say winning something qualifies as "something you got for free", even though it was my husband doing the winning.  But since we are a "unit" I feel like I won it too.

Anyway, rock climbing shoes are unique and interesting to draw.

I got to use some colors I don't often use:  pyrrol orange, cerulean blue, and indigo for the shoes; Monte Amiata natural sienna and burnt umber for the background.

I used my new TWSBI mini pen (I love this pen!) filled with Platinum Carbon ink to do the drawing, with the shoes hanging by a carabiner from my keyboard stand.

Monday, May 6, 2013

EDiM #6: Draw a scented product

A long time ago a friend created this jar of potpourri as a gift to me. I painted it in this morning's sunshine.

It's lost its fragrance by now, but it's beauty and sentimental value remains.

Paints used:  yellow ochre, organic vermillion, quinacridone violet, winsor violet, ultramarine, phthalo green blue shade, burnt sienna, payne's gray.

EDiM #5: Draw a pine or fir tree or eucalyptus

Given the option of 3 types of tree to draw, I chose eucalyptus--after our visit to Australia I became quite fond of eucalyptus trees.

The bark of a eucalyptus is very interesting as it peels away in spots, creating interesting subtle color and texture variations.  But the really interesting color is in the leaves, if you look at them up close.  I tried to convey that in this drawing.

Paints used:  cobalt teal blue, new gamboge, sap green, phthalo blue red shade, quinacridone burnt scarlet, burnt sienna.

EDiM #4: Draw your socks

The May 4th assignment was to draw your socks, and I wanted to do a little twist by drawing a sock in progress.  I used to be an avid knitter, but I've really dropped off knitting lately in favor of drawing and painting.

That's okay, I have more socks than I need now anyway.

Friday, May 3, 2013

EDiM #3: Draw something that represents joy.

As with these macaws, being a part of a bonded pairing brings me great joy.

I photographed these macaws at our local Reid Park Zoo back in 2006.  At that time, I avidly followed the photographer's photo-sharing website Nature Photographer's Network, and I submitted this photo under the Weekly Challenge called "Joy".  It got selected!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

EDiM #2: Draw a Favorite Sound

EDiM #2 calls for us to draw a favorite sound.  One that came to mind immediately was the call of the Laughing Kookaburra.  While visiting Australia a few months ago, we became introduced to the laughing cackle of this bird, and since then it never has failed to bring a smile to my face.  One cannot help but want to "laugh" with this bird!

One evening I recorded it's sound from inside my tent.

This sketch was from a photo we took at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures north of Cairns, QLD.  It's a resident there because of an injured wing.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A New Challenge: EDiM

I've seen some of my favorite sketchers take on this challenge, and I thought it'd be fun to try it this year!

EDiM = Every Day in May.

This is an organized endeavor, launched by Wendy Shortland.  Wendy has generated a list of subjects to draw for each day, and everyone participating gets to post and share with each other.  The fascinating thing are the many interpretations of the day's instructions.

To join on Facebook:

To join on Flickr: