Author Archives: 4 Rooms and the Moon

Basic Pencil Moves on Newsprint


“Girl Wearing a Funny Hat and Holding a Dog”  Pencil drawing on newsprint 12 x 15 inches.

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Learning to draw is sometimes a slow process and every pencil mark has to land in just the right place and area to bring about the image we are seeking to create!  Surprises happen along with disappointments.  The surprising thing for me was that I find I actually like to draw.  I very much enjoy the process of making marks that add up to a finished portrait – even if it is an inadequate portrait!  The girl child above seems to be telling me a story, yet I haven’t understood exactly what it is she is saying.  I was too involved with myself and pleased that I actually drew a dogs ear that didn’t look like something God had forgotten to finish.  Having never drawn a dog before, I am anxious to try more.




This is the entire drawing.  Its done on newsprint so could not handle a lot of erasing, which I seem to be someone who is anxious to erase almost before I even begin. (I’m working on that too.)  Actually there are a lot of things to keep in mind when learning to draw – it doesn’t always just draw itself into a clever portrait.



Winter’s Over and Now May Rest!


Winter's Rest“Winter’s Rest” acrylic,oil pastel, graphite on Strathmore mixed media journal page.

I don’t really like the paper used in this so called “mixed media” journal, but I feel I should use it up rather than waste it!  It seems to be a bristol board type paper, very smooth and kind of slick.  I used white gesso as a first coat then added some color then I went over the color with black gesso blotting it off to create more texture.  Then I sketched in the face and painted with acrylic and oil pastel over the acrylic.

I am happy that winter has mostly ended for Portland.  Flowers are beginning to bloom, the trees are leafed and many are in bloom!  I love the flowers!

Stamping into Spring!


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I’ve been trying my hand at stamp making by carving the stamping material rubbery stuff called “easy-cut” or “quick-cut” made by Speedball.  Its very simple really just draw something onto the rubbery stuff and then use a small tool to carve out the lines!  Pretty easy!

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This is the actual carved stamp.  I used both types of carving material and this one is the white kind and it is very crumbly as you carve – but the crumbles seem to add a little depth to the stamped picture.

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These are the tools I used.  You can see the different sized blades.  These tools come with a set of blades in the handle, and you just unscrew the plastic cap on the end to take them out.  The fit into the other end which has a chuck that you can inset the blade into.  I didn’t want to keep changing the blades so I got three sets  and I can just leave them set up to go.

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This was my original drawing for the standing bunny – nothing complicated!

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I used the pink material for the duck.  Its much firmer, and doesn’t crumble.  Its very smooth.  The pink is the stamp, the image on the right is the printing of the stamp.  I just spread some Speedball water based print ink on a plastic pallet, put the stamp on it face down, and then lifted the stamp and lay a piece of printing paper over the inked stamp  and pressed it with my fingers.

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A funny little star clown!

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Jack Rabbit.  This one with more lines, some carved background, getting fancier here!

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A very simple sunflower.  I didn’t carve any background lines and I can go back in a cut away the plain space and turn it into just a sunflower stamp by itself, no background or block around it.

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A simple leaf shape which I intend to carve away the space around it to make it just the leaf shape by itself, and then it could be used as a border on a journal page or something like that.

Sketches and Spring


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 Yesterday!   From my front door, looking up!

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I’ve been sketching in a little book I’ve made myself.  The pages are long and narrow 11.5×4.5 inches.  I’ve been trying to fit the sketch onto the page and making the subject matter long and narrow too.

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Then I started thinking of the old classic film, The “Children of Theatre Street” filmed in Russia about 1950 something or very early 60’s about the Vaganova school of ballet. I decided to make my figures beginning ballerinas!  I don’t have the film anymore, wish I did!

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Double page with two ballerinas.  The one on the right I sketched her head on my work table cover paper several months ago.  I cut it out and glued it on the page and added the little body.


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This one must have decided to forego ballet class and explore the outdoors!

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This one may be a grown up ballerina — but I copied her face from a fashion magazine — so she’s actually a model.  I like to sketch from magazine photos – its so easy to see where the shading goes!

January Light


2015 PaintingsJanuary light  in Portland is often filtered and without shadows, gray and flat.  I try to get through this long  month as best I can!  Sometimes a surprise will happen and we get nearly brilliant sunlight for a few hours – a true gift!  Today was such a day!  Bright skies, stark January light, an infusion of hopefulness! So I pulled out some paintings I’ve been working on but haven’t finished.

I know its been a long while since I’ve posted anything – I have no excuse other than … I don’t know…. just haven’t been doing much and feeling very guilty for it.  Making many half attempts, and not finishing much of anything.   Maybe tomorrow will be a bright day too!