Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Yellowstone Bound

I am off to spend some time in Yellowstone N.P. Will be back to blogging next week.  I am hoping to be able to see some wolves this time. We heard there is a pack with 5 pups. They are so far away that they will look really small through our scope but I am hoping we get to see them.  Sometimes it a hit and miss thing.

We saw this black bear today.  Picture is not the greatest since it was taken through the windshield.

This one was taken with my window down.  I had to work fast before the bear was gone down the hillside. This is probably the closest I have ever been to a black bear.

We also saw a big bull elk with his harem and a car almost got nailed by his extensive rack.  You don't want to mess with elk during the rut.  We were right behind this car so I am pleased that the elk didn't want to take it out on us too.

I'll be back in a week hopefully with some fun pictures to share.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Playing With Picasso

Collage ala Picasso.  This was a fun one.

Picasso style based on work by Theresa McFayden in the Masters course.

I started with this portrait of Picasso of a woman sleeping.  I loved the simplicity of this.  It wasn't very simple to paint though. 

So many colors that I had trouble making come out right. I can see that I need to work on mixing colors instead of depended on all the colors out there. I learned a lot with this. I also can't paint a straight line. There are so many things wrong with her but I choose not to focus on them.  To focus on the process and what I learned is way more important than this color is wrong, or the hands don't look right and so forth. I am learning so much studying these masters. I can see myself doing even more of this when the course is done.

Working with Picasso is so much like play. Have you taken your creative self out to play lately? What did you discover?  


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Trying a New Technique

Here is a picture of Frida that I chose as my  model.  I wanted to try this new technique I learned from Jeanne Oliver in the Studying Under the Masters course.


First you draw with charcoal and then you add gesso to make an underpainting and then you paint it. This is what I have so far.  Its a great technique, I think I will use this from now on.It really helped me see where I had gone wrong.  At first I had the hand in the wrong place so I just gessoed over it and used the charcoal to add it in the right place.  It doesn't really look like her but that is ok as I am just learning the technique and I don't like making exact replicas anyways. I am learning so much in this course.

She was painted with Golden fluid acrylics.  I made the background and table with PanPastels. She is not perfect by any measure but I sort of like her so I will move on to the next piece. Oops I just realized I never added her jewelry.  I guess I will do that at some point. As they say art is never finished.

I am linking to Paint Party Friday today. To see what other artists are doing. Check out Paint Party Friday here. If you found something of value in today's post, I'd love it if you shared it.

Have a great weekend.


Making My Own Combed Top For Spinning

I didn't know what I'd blog about today so how I thought, how about something really different from my usual subject.  I recently started combing some wool from my stash of fleeces.

Here is Athena when she was younger, about the time I got the fleece off her. She is a Shetland sheep whose fleece is a color called Moorit, a shade of brown.

This is a basket of fleece that I am working with.  The lighter tips are where the sun has faded her fleece. From this point you need to do something to the wool to prepare it for spinning. You can choose to card or comb the wool. To comb the wool you need a pair of these deadly looking combs. The tines are very sharp.

Here I have taken the locks of fleece and lashed them on to the wool combs.  There are many layers of locks here. There are all placed on the same way, with the tips out and the cut end away from you.

Then the comb is  turned sideways and I take the other comb and with a sweeping motion  the wool is transferred from one comb to the next.  The noil and trash remain in the comb. Then I pull them off and throw that part away. The wool is transferred back and forth between the two combs several times before it is done.

Then the comb is turned again so that it can be pulled off into what is called combed top.  

A small piece of the wool is pulled through what is called a diz to make the top. This is just a small hole in a piece of wood.  This particular diz has several sized hole to make different size top. I end up with one long piece of wool. The feature of top is that all the fibers are parallel. I will be able to make a smooth worsted yarn from this preparation.

Then I take it and wrap it into a circle and pile it into a basket.  When I get a good supply then I will sit and spin it into yarn. I plan to make a 3 ply yarn from this top and knit a gansey type sweater. I don't have a pattern picked out yet but maybe something like this.  Of course it will need to be a bit bigger to fit me.

Some of you may think that its a long process and you would be right. But you see I get enjoyment out of every step of the process. There is a certain pleasure about having control over every step of the process. when I am finished I will have an incredible garment that you just can not buy anywhere. It will provide me with years of warmth and pleasure so its worth all that time to me.

What do you do in your creative life that bring you so much satisfaction?

If you liked this post I would love it if you shared it with friends and other contacts.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sketchbook Skool Storytelling

Sketchbook Skool has started again. I took the Storytelling course this time. My instructor is the lovely Koosje Koene from the Netherlands. She is the co founder of Sketchbook Skool along with Danny Gregory. She has a wonderful blog and lots of videos and classes on drawing, you can find it here. I always enjoy her Draw Tip Tuesday short videos.

This is my first drawing for Storytelling.  We are supposed to create a recipe.  This is not something I normally do but it was quite fun.

Our second homework assignment is to create a manual or set of directions.  Here I describe how to use a 3 x 5 gelli plate.  I started this in pencil and then went over it in pen and erased the pencil lines. Then I added watercolor and some colored pencil.  I think it is a fun illustration. I think it tells a little story.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Trip to Craters of The Moon For Research

In working on my novel I felt the need to go back to one of the areas I am using for a setting in the book. Since it is only 2 hours from home its something I could easily do. So on Saturday I headed out on an excursion.

This one view of the landscape all kinds of lava rock and a very un-hospitable terrain. 

This show some of the more smooth rock from the Pahoehoe(pa-hoy-hoy) lava flows. You could easily walk on this. When you look closely it looks like petrified wood.  My characters would love to be traveling on this the whole time but they are not.

There are lots of ridges and valleys where you could get your foot stuck.

Here is some more of the Pahoehoe lava where is forms like ribbons or ropes. Some areas easy to walk on others not so much

We took a tour to Indian cave, here is our Ranger guide who told us all about lava, caves, lava tubes and the wildlife there. It was very informative.  I ended up taking lots of notes to refer back to.

Here I am in the cave. The climbing was a challenge. I used my hands sometimes and could really feel the sharp pointy rocks.  You could easily cut yourself on them.

This is a section of the cave that we climbed out of. Then we walked over the lava fields in areas of varied difficulty back to civilization.  It made me see that I need to make it harder on my characters. Walking across this terrain is not easy. You couldn't do it fast.


Here is a short video I took of the landscape we were walking to get back to our car. Those wooden poles are like cairns to lead us on the correct path.  I learned a lot by going back here and really experiencing what it would be like to cross terrain like this.  It will help me in writing about my characters journey.   Now another setting I'll be using will be the steppe country of Mongolia. I won't be able to take a trip there so the internet and reading will have to suffice.  I am excited to get back to my characters Caitlin and Torin,  Celtic like warriors who are on a journey across a hostile land. What bad things happen to them only time will tell.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Following Van Gogh

I am taking Jeanne Olivers course Studying Under the Masters, the portrait version. We begin with Van Gogh.

This Justine Waddell, isn't this just a lovely painting. The colors in this are lovely. Part of me wants to try this.To really capture his work you need to use oils which I do not have.  Not sure if I want to jump into that quite yet, but we'll see.  The reason I love acrylics is the cleanup. I don't want to mess with linseed oil and turpentine.  I have learned there is a new oil paint out there that cleans up with water. Maybe I will have to put some of those oils on my Christmas list.

I have always loved Don Maclean's song Vincent, so here is some of his art along with the music. I also loved the Dr.Who episode on Van Gogh. It makes me cry everytime.

This was an exercise in using the patterns that Van Gogh used in his sketches  Lots of simple lines and cross hatching.  Values and textures all created with varying lines.  Not the easiest thing to do but a great exercise.

This was called the Knitting woman, even though there are no knitting needles in sight. Drawn in pencil and then watercolor. I had a little difficulty mixing the browns to come out right. As with anything we want it to be perfect the first time, when it may take years of practice.

Watching Jeanne Oliver, my instructor show all these Van Gogh images was great.  So I headed to the library and brought home some books. I'll be studying Van Gogh for awhile. In the course they cover one master a week, not nearly enough time.  I am going be immersed in his brilliance for awhile.

I did discover the difference between looking at the images on line and in books.  So much better in the book.  Now of course seeing some paintings in real life sounds like it would be amazing.  Ah something new to add to my bucket list.  Now I have another reason to go to New York City.

What artists inspire you?


Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Colorful Doorway

For Sunday Sketches I decided to play with color. This doorway was drawn in pen and then I used InkTense pencils and water and then pen again.

Check out other sketchers here,