Thursday, September 27, 2012

All About Pencils

I found this fabulous history of pencils on Facebook from my friend Palma. Getting to know your pencils

Face 28 was created with gouache watercolors on watercolor paper. After this I tried a face in wax but it was a disaster. So I moved on to something else.

With this last face I made a tag out of watercolor paper. I took my Dr.PH Martin liquid watercolors and attempted  to mix a skin color.  My friend Jolene had told me which colors she uses and I gave it a try.  It came out way too pink so I tried toning it down with colored pencil. I didn't like her lips, she looks a little pouty to me.  I made it, I made 29 faces in September. I am looking forward to doing something else now.

Our remodel is still going on.  I feel like we are in an episode of This Old House, you know where the host comes to the owner and says "We have a Problem". First when we started to pull up the subfloor we had a big area that was not level. It took Dave all last week to fix it.  Now we have discovered the people who built the house in the 60's never put any support under the fireplace. So now Dave has to go into the crawlspace and create some support and add floor jacks. He has to work lying down amongst the dirt. Not a fun job. I hope this is the last of the problems. He still has half the subfloor to replace.  I sure hope that side of the room is level.

My spinning friends from Salt Lake are coming down for the weekend, so the construction will stop for a few days at least. I am looking forward to a fun relaxing weekend with good friends.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Writing Wednesdays - Pinterest for Writers

Pinterest is a familiar application for a lot of us. In my first look at Pinterest I thought of it as a way to collect the things you like that you find the net. I did not use it a lot at first. Then I saw how people are using it to market their products. There are seminars on how to use Pinterest this way. Then there are the Artists who are using it, Some use it to show off their work and others create boards of inspiration. This can really be fun to do.

Now how can writers use Pinterest? There are several ways I use Pinterest for my writing. First the simplest way is to create a board about your Work in Progress. There are a lot of writers doing this. Its nice to have a visual of what your characters might look like, or the setting or of the events that will happen in your story.  I like to look at my board to keep me into the story, to keep me motivated. Motivation for writers is always a good thing.  But how else can you use it? I have boards for possible future characters, favorite scenery, costuming ideas, Words of wisdom, and more. The ideas are only limited by your imagination.

I print out pictures and put them in my notebook when working on my outline. Sometimes I create screen savers of all the pictures for my novel. I did that for NaNoWriMo last year and it worked great. Pinterest is a fun tool for writers but its easy to get sucked into spending hours on it.  So you may have to work on limiting your time on the site.  You can follow my boards here  If you have a unique way of using Pinterest tell me in the comments.

More Faces to Share

This is face number 26 so far this month.  I created her in my mixed media paper journal using Shiva Paintsticks.  These are oil paint in a stick.I use my finger to blend them and a q-tip when I needed smaller details. This did not turn out anything like I had planned.

This one was a quick sketch with soft pastels, those cheap kids ones. They smear so easily whether you want them to or not.  I did find I could pull off unwanted smears with a rag. I only have 2 more faces to make to my goal which is great. Its been fun but I am ready to focus on something else for awhile. You are probably tired of seeing them too.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Sketches

Doing double duty today.  This is sketch no 25 for the 29 Faces September challenge and my sketch for Sunday Sketches.  I went back to my favorite graphite woodless pencils to create this woman. You can see all my faces for the month on my flickr page.

Also check out Sophia's blog to see what other sketchers are up to.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A More Interesting Face

Face 23 was created with Neocolor II watercolor crayons. I had major problems with this, I may have to try the image again on different paper. I had too much water on the page and almost got a hole in it. Very frustrating.

Next I wanted to do a more interesting face.  I got out the Sennelier oil pastels, oh I love these tools. I first heard about them from Mystele and she told me how she loved their creaminess. She is so right they are wonderful and blend so well.  I am slowly building up a collection of colors.  I really wanted paynes grey today but didn't have it so that goes on the list.

I think of her as a wise peasant woman, I would like to do more faces with character. All the magazine images I use for inspiration show young women.  I think its time I started to portray another kind. I can see a new Pinterest board in the making.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Faces 21 and Writing Too

I just realized that I never let my readers of this blog know what I am doing elsewhere on the internet. Time to remedy that. Over on Facebook and Twitter I have been listing an Art Journal Prompt every day,  and for Writers I have a daily writing practice suggestion.  Now I know that some of you are not on Facebook or Twitter so I created another option to see these prompts. At the end of the month I post the entire list on my website. I have the prompts already up for this month.  You can see them by clicking on this link for art prompts and this link for writing prompts.  Ok now back to 29 faces.

29 Faces

I have a couple more faces to share today. I continue to try all the media that I can think of to create these faces. I have seven more to go so I may have to mix it up to keep them original.

This face was made with Pan Pastel. I use pastel paper that had a blue tint to it. I have those tools with the little sponge covers that they sell with the sets so I used them.  They do work pretty great. I wasn't sure if I had the colors to do a skin tone or not.  I used white, burnt sienna and pink. This went pretty quick and was fun I used some pastel pencil for the small details. They key was to stop smering it all with my hand while I was working on it. At one point I got a sheet of paper out to cover up areas and that worked great.

This face was created using Derwent's InkTense Blocks. It was a lot like using the pencils but you really can lay down color quicker. I used gelatos oil pastels for the background.  This was done on mixed media paper which ended up buckling a lot due to the water I added. Adding absorbent ground to the paper really helps with water media.  I really like the Canson Mixed Media books for journals. I wish they made watercolor ones in the same sizes and spiral bound. I may have to try the Strathmore ones again. I bought the larger size watercolor one before but the paper wasn't all that exiting.  Perhaps I will have to start making my own again.

I am taking a break from art to process some peaches today, maybe I should paint them first.  The colors are so pretty.


I kind of spaced my writing post this week so I will add it here. I gave the writing talk at my writers group so I was spending most of my week on that. I did find some great resources on the web from fellow writer Daniel. There is a series on structure that is so good. Its a series of videos by Dan Wells. After that I found a series of lectures by fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson that is good too. I don't know why I never thought of You Tube as a source for writing wisdom. I think I will be watching a few videos for awhile.  Wisdom is power. If you're a writer check these out they are great.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Inspiration is Everywhere

I am finding inspiration everywhere this week. In new books, nature and just letting go. I am finding a  burst of creativity coming out of me and the feeling is awesome.  Early this week Connie Hozvicka gave the lesson on Life Book.  She had us dancing with our paintbrushes.

So I started a few backgrounds, they are all works in progress. I started with the dancing paintbrush and kept adding layers. Of course I couldn't contain myself to just one page.

I am still playing with this one. I have been using some of the techniques in this book. I love painting with my fingers.

It really goes along with what I have learned in BIG and the whole idea of Fearless Painting. Its what I am really resonating with lately. You just follow your intuition and paint what you are called to. Just let go, its only a painting after all.

Then last night my friend Jolene came over for an Art evening. Would you believe we painted till midnight.

This is what she worker on. Fine delicate and beautiful work.

This idea started earlier in the day.  I was cleaning my studio for Jolene's visit and saw the masking tape I use to put big pieces of paper on my painting wall.  I usually throw it away but got a brilliant insight.  I will just put it in my art journal. So this is how it looked at the start.

This is after I added all the paint. I just love it now. Can you see the face hidden in there? I think I will be saving all that tape from now on.

There are lots of layers here. I ended up working in three different journals. Its hard waiting for things to dry so I just moved to the next journal.  That worked really great.

There is just one layer and then I added the chevrons from one Jolene's stencils. I imagine when I am done it will look nothing like this.  I really like Flora's idea of using cool colors, letting them dry and then adding warm colors and on and on.

I saw a figure in the background and will expand on this some more. I like to add some warm colors now.  Maroon reds are calling to me here. I ended up painting with brushes, chopsticks, fingers rags, sponges and other pointy tools.

There are a few pieces of tape underneath, more on the circle theme.

This one is only 2 layers so far. I love how it glows in that one side.

The one thing I took away from last night is how important it is to have art friends.  Someone you can get together with and play.  Besides all the painting we shared book ideas, boards on Pinterest we loved, ideas we had seen on the net and more.  Thanks Jolene for such a fabulous time.

This got me to thinking about having a google+ hangout with virtual art friends.  I have done this with writers but not artists.  We could all be in own studios sharing as we work.  I may have to try it with one friend and see how it works.  I'll keep you posted.

Tell me what is inspiring you this week?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Trying More Supplies

Doing this challenge is really making me use supplies in new ways. I highly recommend it. So far I have used watercolor markers, charcoal pencil, acrylics, graphite pencil, woodless pencils, india ink, inktense pencils,watercolor, vine charcoal, gelatos aka water soluble oil pastels. I have painted as small as a tag and as big as 18 x 24.  I have 9 more faces.  What else should I use? I m thinking I may use  regular oil pastell, wc crayons, soft pastels and maybe even wax.

For this face I went down to the size of my art journal, which is 7 x 10. I pulled out the Aqua Markers and gave them a try. There is a learning curve with these puppies. I did discover that when I picked the black marker by mistake, that I could add lots of water and blot out the color.  You can't even tell that the black mark was on her face. I like that fixability factor. A paper towel was my partner in this painting.

Face no. 20 is drawn with vine charcoal, I love how immediate charcoal is and forgiving when you have a kneaded eraser on hand. After I did the dress I thought it looks like fringe and makes her look like a white woman in a native costume which was not the intention at all.  I love drawing with charcoal. I want to use it more in the future. I don't think I have ever used it an art journal page.  I think that should change soon.

Monday, September 17, 2012

More Faces for 29 Faces September Challenge

We have been challenged by the organizer  of this challenge to mix it up, go small or big, use new materials, jump out of the box.  I had already done some of that but decided to go small with face no. 15. I created the tag background with gelatos and drew the face with Pitt brush markers. She was fun but simple.

Then I decided to take the tag and make it into a journal page. I used some of Tim Holts tissue paper tape. I love how you can paint right over it and still see the words. Its fun stuff.

I had painted a number of tags, this one is face 16. I used Tim Holtz distress stain on the background and sketched her with charcoal pencil. She was fun and there were more tags already decorated so I kept going.

That was way too much orange, for one blog post so here is another tag with a face. The background is made with Distress Stain, she was drawn with india ink and then painted with golden fluids, I also used pitt brush pens for eyes and lips. It was interesting painting with ink, I had bever done that before. I will be trying that again soon.

For this last face of this post I went big. She is painted on 18 x 24 Mixed Media paper using Liquitex Basics Acrylics and stamping and Oil pastels. I  think I liked the portrait before I added all the stamping, oh well that is the way it is sometimes.  I am really enjoying this challenge.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Days 13 & 14

Face 13 was created in my moleskine watercolor journal.  I used a set of watercolors from Michaels that has a lot of fun shades.  I thought it would be fun to add some purple hair.

Here is face 14, its hard to believe we are almost half the way through the month already. She is supposed to have a scarf on her head but it looks a lot like a swim cap. I drew her in the doctors office while I waited for a friend.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Experimenting with Wax

This is my second encaustic piece.  I wanted to incorporate  a letter to my Grandmother and her picture. There is a lot of different techniques here. I used a stencil at the top left. The letter and picture were printed on tissue paper. The bottom section is a paper doily. The section to the right of the picture originally had pansies under the wax but they looked awful so I took them out and added lace and ribbon.

This piece has an image on tissue paper. I tried the carbon paper technique to write 'The Solace of Nature' but it did not come out that well..Grass in the front was made with a tool and then by adding green oil paint in the grooves. The sky was redone abut ten times. First it was light and then dark and then I added the sun and then took it out and on an on. Wax is so much fun, if you don't like something just scrape it off and start again.

29 Faces Continues

Here is face number 12, she is supposed to be angry, not sure I captured that but she does look somewhat stern.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Outlining Your Novel

Ok I am back to talking about writing on the correct day. Sadly I have not been working on my book at all. I find myself still very frustrated on what to do next. So I ordered this book.

I have been opposed to outlining from the start but thought maybe this is just what I need to do. I am what is called a pantser, I write by just sitting down and writing, not much pre planning, just begin.  I have never even wanted to outline but being stuck the way I am it seems that it might be the thing to try.

I am just a little ways into this book and I really love it. Outlining is not what I expected at all. I was stuck in this format.

    a. and so forth.

You know way back in the dark ages when I was in school. I hated outlines then. Now I realize they don't have to be that way. They come in a ll shapes and sizes. I didn't know that character sheets were part of an outline and backstories and all your pre-story ideas are too. Silly me, I knew they were all things that you did but figured they were just filed away somewhere. So I have gotten a new notebook, and I plan to explore the ideas I want to keep from the initial nano and generate new ones. I now have a plan and that is way more exciting than being lost in the quagmire of indecision.

Have you ever been stuck on a project with no idea on what to do next? I often have to learn the hard way. I seem to get to this really frustrated point and then the universe sends me advice, either by someone's blog post or a book that I am drawn to, or maybe it is a conversation with a friend. Often it is a message to look at something different, or try a new technique or step out of the box in my thinking about the project. I may resist at first but eventually I go there and find the answer I have been looking for.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day 10

I bought this stencil at Michaels today.  Michaels has a 50% off coupon this week. I went to the store for something else but they did not have what I wanted so I got this.  I think it will be fun to make backgrounds with.

I tried it out in face #10. This page had been gessoed and I used spray inks but most of the color came off, I forgot that gesso is a resist. So instead of reds and oranges I got pinks.  I wanted to do sort of a wonky face today, just something different so I started with this crazy hair and went with it. I think she looks like a 50's housewife. I used a tiny stamp and white ink to make her flowered dress. Maybe she is Donna Reed come back to set us straight.

Here is face  number 11. She was found art from the background.  At first I saw her as Polynesian, her skin colored changed a number of times and now I think she looks Native American. Of course the island floral dress doesn't seem to fit anymore, plus the body is a little small for the head. Oh well its been a fun exercise never the less. I think its time I got some reference photos for native and island woman so I can explore this look a little bit more.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Waking Early

I am not a morning person, I stay up late and I get up later than most people.  This morning I woke up early after having gone to bed earlier than usual.  It sure changes the scheme of things. I have been cleaning the studio and working on small projects. like adding new labels to some of my paper drawers. I love how they are easier to read now.

This is today's face, actually created yesterday. The dress is created with Carb Othello water soluble soft pastel pencils. I like adding just a little bit of color sometimes, it seems to mix things up a bit.

This is the cabled hat I started awhile ago.  I would have posted sooner but it is hard to photograph.  The picture does not do it justice at all.

The close up of some of the stitches. I think there is a real art to photographing textiles. The hat is very soft and warm. I know I am going to love wearing it this coming winter.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

29 Faces Day 8 / Sunday sketches

Another face using those woodless pencils, I really like using them.  This one will serve two purposes, one for the 29 day face challenge and the other for Sunday sketches. click on either of these links to find out about these fun programs.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

29 Faces September Day 7

Face number 7. She was drawn with the progresso graphite woodless pencils.  I decided to put all my faces on flickr.  It will be fun to see slideshow of them at months end. You can see them all at this link

Friday, September 7, 2012

New pencils

It all started with needing some new pitt pens.  Then I started looking at what else was on the shelf.

Then I found all sorts of different pencils and some had to come home with me. These pencils are called Gioconda and they are made by Koh I Noor.  There were only about 5 shades and I came home with three as they were expensive.  They are peach and brownish tones.  The felt a little like pastel pencils but I am not sure what they are.

These pencils by the same company are called Progresso. They are woodless graphite pencils with a very soft lead. They were inexpensive at 1.35 each so I thought I would give them a try too.

Here is today's face. She was rendered with the Gioconda pencils and then some Carb Othello pastel pencils that I already own. They were fun to use. Tomorrow I may try the woodless graphite ones.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Writing Thursday and Face # 5

I spent the day at a cafe working on writing and drew my 5th face for the month.  She was created with charcoal pencils. It is amazing that when you draw in public, no one looks at what you or doing or asks about it.  I always do so I see an artist so I am amazed that no one ever asks me when I am working on a drawing.

At the cafe I was looking for a new name for my main character.  She is a celtic archer and the name Zia no longer fit her. After looking at many name sites I still don't have any idea.  So I moved on to other things and did some research on the Mongolian step region. Did you know gray wolves live there? No wonder I was picking it as a location, since a gray wolf is character in the story. I also watched a video on making a map for your story.  That was fun and seems so simple to do. Its one of the things on my list to do.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

29 Faces - 3 & 4

This face was painted using Inktense Pencils and water. I used some stamps in the background and just kept it simple.  I think she looks a bit melancholy. In this challenge we don't even have to finish the face but I do try to.  If I was a realistic painter it would be harder to finish these every day. Since I am doing them in my art journal the pressure is off to make them perfect and I like that.

This started out with a gelatos and water background but I pretty much covered it up. She is painted with a variety of different acrylics. She is number 4 so far.  I am caught up now I just need to do one a day to keep up with the rest of the group.  With this challenge I like to try something different if I can.  Sometimes its using different supplies or colors.  I like the color of her hair it was fun creating that.

If you just want to see the '29 faces' posts you can put those words in the search bar at the top of the blog. It might be fun to do that at the end of the month to see all the faces.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

29 Faces in September

I was reading April Cole's blog and found out about this challenge called 29 faces in September and decided to take part. Its being hosted by Ayala  There is still time to join in so why don't you have alittle fun this month.  I always find that my faces get better and I am more satisfied when I do challenges like this.  First I have some collage pages to show.

These were made in that old book on whaling that I am using for a journal. Often I need to cover the whole page so its perfect for collage.

This page had lots of dark pictures so it needed to be covered in paint and lots of texture. I used heavy bodied acrylics and stamping.

I started this one with the image and built around the neutral color scheme.  I think it needs a poem or some simple words at the top.  It will sit while I figure out what that is.

This was another experiment, the page was mostly text with one small image.  I covered it with absorbent ground. Its a medium that makes any surface ready for watercolor. My idea of little squares of color was fun to do. I outlined it in black and then thought 'now what do I do with it'.  I decided to use it as a background paper.

I cut out a page in an old dictionary and drew a simple face.  She was made with gelatos and white acrylic paint. She is nothing fancy but will be my first face for the challenge.