Category Archives: Journaling

Basic Pencil Moves on Newsprint

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“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.

 

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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!

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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!

Sketchbook Abstractions and ‘Strangelings’

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I continue to move paint around in my sketchbook – now I’m adding drawings on top of the background paintings.  Nothing serious — just moving the paint and charcoal around — if things are out of proportion, good!

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A Strangeling with his red heart on view.  Acrylic, charcoal.

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An angel standing on the sun.  I loved painting this sphere so I did it again on another page.

 

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I’ve been trying these matte acrylics put out by Dick Blick.  I really like them for journal work, but they might be too flat looking for paintings.

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Another little stranger wearing woad! haha.

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The background painting is fun to do.  I did this one by painting one side and laying the top page over it to create a print.  Then I drew in the figure with charcoal.

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This angry looking stranger didn’t warrant filling in with paint.  Just a charcoal drawing.

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This strangeling may be off-putting to some, but he has a pleasant demeanor, really!

I’m thinking summer has arrived in Portland – the cottonwoods are blooming or whatever it is that they do, and the air is allergy inducing!  I’ve been spending my days sewing myself some new summer things to wear.  Haven’t done that in a very long time!  My evenings I’ve spent painting these strangelings, or maybe they are changelings.  They do appear somewhat mysterious.  I haven’t been posting much this last year – life just hasn’t been very creative — but I’m always thinking.  Maybe my dry spell has worked itself out and I will soon be turning out canvases again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journals, Sketchbooks, Workbooks

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I’ve been making sketchbooks, or what I call workbooks, from leftover papers I’ve had sitting around for years.  I’m not very good at coptic binding, but I like how this binding method allows the book to lay flat when open.  There is room for improvement in my technique!

I’ve started to play with paint in the first one with the painted cover. The cover is heavy watercolor paper that I happened to have some leftover scraps. It’s about 8×12 inches. That’s as big as I like to go with journals. It has about 64 pages, counting both sides. I’m calling it “Abstractions” because I am just playing around with color and shapes.  I don’t like to use more than about 64 pages  per book – I seem to get overwhelmed artwise when there  too many blank pages!  That’s why its nice to make your own, you can choose size, paper, etc.

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This is the one in the middle – about 6 x 10 inches.  I used brown paper called “bogus rough” and gray tone paper.  It has about 64 pages counting both sides of each page.  The cover is 140# watercolor paper, which I will paint when I decide what I’ll use the journal for.

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This is the one on the right.  Its tall and narrow – due to leftover paper sizes.  You can see how nice and flat they stay open!  It has a cover made from the back of a used purchased sketch pad.

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Here’s what’s happening inside the first book.  I’m using acrylics on gesso coated brown pages.

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I wish acrylics were’nt so shiny, but they’re great for journals because they dry fast.  Sometimes the pages do stick together a little bit.  But for now, I’m just painting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studio Redo 2014

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Studio Redo 2014

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I hung some small branches with fairy lights over the window to brighten the Portland winter days before spring arrives.  You can see I stuck some stars in here and there!

I have a compulsion to clean up my studio about once a year (should probably happen more often) but once a year I take everything down and move everything out, dust the corners, wash all surfaces, put a plant in the window which will be dead by March because I forget about it, and voila a fresh studio for the year!

This year I chucked my old scarred kitchen table for a new (old) utility table, one of those heavy old things with metal folding legs, seen in school cafeterias, business back rooms, convention centers – you know – any place functionality trumps  style!  Well I found one on  craig’slist and brought it home with assistance from my architect son-in-law, who also told me about drafting table coverings! So I purchased a lovely smooth cover for from Amazon.  Now its the perfect work table!

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My Junk wall – can’t seem to get away from all my scraps and found items – but I really did clean it up – and its now on one wall only!  As soon as I figure out how to make the printer wireless it will go on one of these shelves!

I have only a small extra bedroom for a studio – but it seems grand to me!

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I’ve room for my easel now since I moved the table to the opposite wall.  I used to drag the easel into the kitchen, but I was always running back and forth for supplies.  This is much more practical.

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The computer table got a bit of the cover from the work table too.  You can see the edge of the easel.  Also the plant in the window!

Now it looks so nice – its like a nice big sheet of clean white paper – I don’t want to mess it up, but I will and it will get messier and messier as the year progresses!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sketchbook Pages

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I have been working sporadically in a thin sketch book – hoping it wouldn’t be so daunting to fill up the pages.  I seem to have lost momentum this year, and have very little to show for myself for 2013.  I can’t say specifically what the problem is, because I honestly don’t know.  Whatever it is, I hope is works itself out soon and I will emerge with a more clear idea of what I want to say in my art.  For now I jump all around and and envy everyone else for their ability to concentrate, to produce, and to know what they want!  Watercolor, charcoal, graphite.

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The summer Crow Wars seemed to have calmed down a little with the beginning of autumn.  They fought like crazy all summer, often leaving small caches of feathers beneath my deck.  The sparrows fought with them, the jays fought with them, and the crows fought with vocal curses at one another all through the sky- blue days of summer. Watercolor and graphite.

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I don’t know what this is about – just some sadness that came over me one evening and stayed around until I sketched this out. Charcoal and watercolor.

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The Fawn’s Child.  Pastel, oil pastel, graphite.  Sometime I try to imagine what it would be like to live outside all the time.  To know the darkness as well as I know the circles of cast light in my house.  To know time through the seasons of the earth.  It seems so magical, so impossible with all our contrived conveniences and measured time.  But still, I can imagine a great unknown forest with creatures defined by that space.