Friday, October 31, 2014

It's NaNoWriMo Time

Its that time of year again.

This year I am going to be a Nano-Rebel. Which means you don't follow the rules. Sometimes that means you are working on non=fiction, or working on a story you've already started, or any other reason you can come up with.  I am going to continue working on my story of Caitlin the Celtic Archer.

My local group always has a theme.  This year its pirates. Here are my home made pirate fingerless gloves. aka an old pair of socks.

Here is a little drawing of my kitty Boromir. With all the writing and such going on in Novemeber I will be posting less, maybe 3 times a week instead of 5 or 6.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Wonderful Gift

A little while ago I got this surprise gift in the mail from my friend Julie Scott. She is ready to step out into the world as an artist.  Her company Designworks of the Napa Valley sells original art, prints and cards.  She wanted to add Pet portraits to her website.  So she took one of my photos of Belle and painted this.  I love it. She did an awesome job.  Her website isn't up yet or I would share it here. You can find her on Facebook though.

I drew this bird from an image on a file folder. Color was added with Inktense and Graphitint pencils.

This is another exercise from Sketchbook Skool.  Drawn from an old photograph. I am loving doing these studies.

I am linking to Paint Party Friday.  You can check them out here


Sketches- Selfie's And More Fun Stuff

I have to admit that trying to get my writing done for the week and all my Sketchbook skool assignments have been keeping me busy.

This was done with that blue lamy safari pen. I drew it on a piece of mail by looking in a mirror. Then I wrote yuck on the paper.  Then of course I said, just keep going, finish the drawing.  I am glad I did.  The thing about drawing is you just keep going, keep practicing and at some point you become satisfied with your skills.  Its all part of the process.

My next selfie was created from a photo. A contour drawing where you try to not lift the pen I did it mostly that way but not all.  It was fun. I used a Lamy Safari fountain pen with a fine nib. The hair was incredibly fun to do.

This selfie was drawn from a mirror.  Its kind of wonky but fun.  I am liking how all of them look totally different.

This is  selfie #7 drawn from an old photo before I got my haircut.  Also with glasses on which was its own challenge.  Well I did it, a selfie a day for 7 days.

This drawing was from a magazine photo. I wish I hadn't tried to add shadows to the face with pen. There was no fixing it after that. I like the picture so much I may have to draw it again.

This is a photo of my sister and my daughter.  The fingers are a little too close together but I think you still get the idea.

I really like the idea of making drawings from family photos. Its been fun. I think I want to do some vintage photos next. Kate

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Fall Trip To Yellowstone

Our new trailer has been in the shop for months. So when we finally got it back we immediately headed up to Yellowstone Park.

Here I am with Bell in Lamar Valley. This is one place where we look for wolves.  I saw more wolves than I ever have before.  The one we saw here was close, you could see it without the aid of binoculars or spotting scopes. One day we saw 17 wolves out of a pack of 24. That was all through a scope far away. That was pretty awesome. I had never seen more than 7 wolves before so this was pretty special.  Also got to hear the howl of wolves.  There really is nothing like hearing that. It really calls to me on a different level.

This Raven sat on the picnic table next to our campsite and talked to me.  He was huge but the picture doesn't show that at all.

Elk Bull, can you see all the dirt on him.  During the rut(mating season) they urinate on the ground and then roll in it. I guess it makes them smell just like the cows want them too.

We saw these two young bulls going at it right in the city of Mammoth.

They connected there antlers but they were really just playing.  We thought we were going to see an elk fight but it did not happen. Later on we saw an Elk through our scopes that had been in a fight. It looked like he had puncture wounds in his side.

There is a rest stop on the Idaho Montana border. If you don't look you might miss these sculptures. They were hard to photograph but well worth seeing.

You can see the sun shining through the spots on this Appaloosa horse.

This last one shows the whole train of people walking. It was quite fun to see. Some great art right on the side of the road. I loved it.  I like it when I can find little surprises when traveling.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Drawing My Novel's Characters

I have been thinking about drawing my characters in my novel for awhile now.

My main character Caitlin is the focus of the drawings.  Here is a first try of what she might look like.

Then I went with more of an action shot.  She is an archer from a Celtic like society. I didn't really like the way this turned out.

Then I had a journal page in process so I added her to the page.  She came out looking much older than she is, but it was still a fun page to create.

This was a page for Sketchbook School Storytelling. We were to do a cover for a book or travel journal so I thought I would add elements of my book. Its way too big for a cover but it was still fun to create.

I think I'll be doing some more of these, maybe for some of my other characters.

If you are intrigued by my book at all, make sure to sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar. My newsletter subscribers will be the first to know when it's published and available for sale.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Learning New Things

Having a blast with sketchbook Skool once more.  I don't know what it is about this course but I just love it.  The people teaching are amazing artists dom all over the world and the classmates are just the best.  All so encouraging and fun. I mean we even have our own T shirts, mugs and such.  How much fun is that. This time I am taking 2 sessions, one on seeing and on on storytelling. One started two weeks after the other one which is helpful.  This weeks teacher is from France so its been delightful listening to him talk, and seeing his sketchbooks and learn from him.

This was drawn from a magazine image.  Pencil, then ink and inktense pencil for the color.  Its small created in my Japanese moleskine journal.

I had been wanting another fountain pen that had a finer nib than the one I have so I ordered this one from jet pens.  In an earlier class I learned if you turn over the nib you can get a lighter line. Its a pretty cool technique.

In the Seeing course we are doing self portraits all week.

This was done looking in a mirror.  Really hard to do. I think it looks like I am 12.

So then I took this picture and drew my next portrait from it.

At least I look a little older here, but it still doesn't seem to look like me.  Other people seem to see it but I don't.

Here is selfie #3, drawn by looking in a smaller mirror.

Do you feel like your self portraits look like you?


Friday, October 24, 2014

In My Sketchbook Tonight

Taking Sketchbook Skool has really made me fall in love with my sketchbook. I am loving drawing in it, experimenting and just playing.  These Hare's I drew just for fun.

This is a sketch I made with a very big Lyra Graphic crayon.  It was a quick and easy way to create a sketch. Feels like a cross between pencil and charcoal.

I did this as an exercise for sketchbook skool - seeing. It  is called fast/slow.  I started with watercolor to do the blue lines.  That is the fast part.  Then you do the slow part with ink to correct lines and add detail, that is the slow part.  Really frustrating at first but quite a fun experience.  I think I will be trying this one again.

This one was an exercise in really seeing.  To spend your time really looking at the toast and recording the image slowly. It is truly amazing how many holes there are in bread.

I got this in the mail today.  It's the Pentel pocket brush pen and is sold by Amazon.  It the only brush pen that actually has bristles.  The ink in permanent and comes with cartridges.  Its pretty nice to work with.  I really like the different marks you can make with it.

Do you have any new favorite supplies?


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Working On Re-Entry

Its taking me a while to get back to blogging.  I have been home since Monday but I had a lot of writing to do. Re-entry is always a process for me and this time has not been any different.  After the laundry and the clean up and catch up I really had no desire to add blogging to the mix. I was up till midnight finishing some writing for my coach so this morning I am dragging a bit.

I drew this on and off yesterday while watching TV.  I have been using my Lamy Safari fountain pen a lot lately.  I love how the ink flows out of it. Pure pleasure to work with.

Then I added color with InkTense Pencils and a waterbrush.

This is a silly car I drew when I was stuck in a construction zone. It gave me something to do while I waited.

Here is Dave cooking out in the campground. Thats corn on the grill not fish. I did this for Sketchbook Skool. A drawing that tells a story.

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?

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