Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Artist's Play Room #116

Please scroll down for the newest Artist's Play Room Linky and enter your wonderful, creative artwork throughout this upcoming week.

If you haven't read the rules & guidelines, please go here. If you've landed here after this challenge has been completed but would like to participate in a current or future Artist's Play Room Challenge, just either click on the APR button in the sidebar or click here and you'll be taken to the latest APR Challenge!

Are you having trouble using the Mr. Linky to add your submissions to APR? Well here's some help! Just click on HELP and you'll be taken to my Linky Help Page. Cool, huh? I've got your back!

Best,




If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.
Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Thumb-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.

Sunset In Nanaimo

Well, I'm trying to finish my SBS homework from Prashant's class last week. I've gotten a little behind because of an ongoing family crisis. Actually, it's been interesting to do art through worry. I always wished I'd experience the calming effect that many get from art. I know Danny Gregory talks of that in his books. I wanted to find that peace. It seems I have, continuing to work on homework through the last week helped keep my stress level lower. I'm surprised that just three weeks of classes has changed the kind of artist I am, the way I approach art and the enjoyment I extract from the art I do.

I was supposed to do a sky painting a day for five days. I just couldn't fit that in but I did work on learning about watercolor and the movement of water and I got this sunset done. It's out on the Sound in Nanaimo. I learned that I need another, darker, blue in my palette and that I can make an adequate turquoise using Ultramarine and Viridian. I do love learning. :o)

After I finished the painting, I used the opposite page and wrote down what exactly I did. I'm using this Zeta Stillmann & Birn sketchbook exclusively to learn all about watercolors. Here, I realize the water needs to be darker but I also knew that adding too much black to the ultramarine would muddy it too much and not give the effect I wanted. So, my travel palette will need a darker blue, hopefully one that works better with my reds (cad. red, alia crimson) and opera pink to make an adequate purple. We'll see, this is what all the learning is about. Time consuming but so cool to finally know that at the end I won't be so darn hit and miss with watercolors.

Today, I was working on learning a new technique. I saw in one of the teachers' sketchbook that they used grey paper, then painted in white gauche over the grey paper, using the paper as the shadow. Such a cool look, but I wasn't sure I could pull it off. I started by painting a page in my Moleskine using Payne's grey, one of my favorite greys. I wanted to draw up my dream car. I've wanted a Volkswagon Beetle convertible for years so I jumped in and tried the technique. It was interesting and fulfilling to actually get it to work. I used more Payne's grey to darken the shadows and black for the darker parts. I decided to go with the Sharpie water-based white pen to make the highlights and it worked PERFECTLY. Such a great pen! Then, I used a new technique from this week's class by Jane LaFazio. She instructed us in composition and we were shown how frames can really improve a page. I've found that both adding some writing to a page and/or adding a frame to a  page can totally transform it. In fact, I've gone through my previous sketchbook pages in both Moleskines and added frames and words to emphasize a drawing. Here's my Bug!


Well, that's it for today, I'll be back soon with another painting in my Moleskine. Actually, I'm working on this week's homework, all about food, composition, frames and positioning to improve the look of your art, lol. Did I mention, I LOVE Sketchbook Skool?? In fact, you'd have to call me a groupie, I actually bought a mug from the SBS Zazzle store. I think I need therapy!! Hehehehe.

I'm going for a coffee, wanna join me? One lump or two?? Talk later, K? Good!
Best,




If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review: "The Good Girl" by Mary Kubica

"The Good Girl" by Mary Kubica piqued my interest instantly when I read the synopsis about it. Amazingly, this is Ms. Kubica's first book. She has written a uniquely intricate and dark psychological thriller that keeps the reader flipping pages well into the night.

The book begins when we meet Eve Dennett. She's married to a prominent Chicago Judge but her unhappiness is immediately evident.  Her stifled life is made all the worse when it comes to her attention through her daughter's friends that Mia is missing. No one has seen Eve's daughter in at least twenty four hours. Eve's obstreperous husband Judge James Dennett, a very wealthy and powerful man, seems to think his daughter Mia is just playing them for a fool and has gone on some adventure from which she will return shortly. This does not prevent the Judge from calling in favors to get Detective Gabe Hoffman put on the case immediately. The fact that Mia is a responsible art teacher in a downtown school means nothing to her aggressive and disparaging father who looks down on both his wife and daughter with contempt. This is our first glimpse into a severely broken family and as  Detective Hoffman investigates, we continue to learn more about how terrible it can be when you're trapped, whether you're kidnapped or just unhappily married.

The author uses an original method to tell her story. Mary Kubica moves us back and forth through time, using Mia's kidnapping as the apex of the time shift. We see the entire situation through all the eyes involved, including the kidnapper, Colin Thatcher. Kubica has written an exquisite novel that I'd certainly give more than five stars if I could. She forces her audience to ache for the mother's loss. The reader is pulled into this literary mystery right from page one. This mysterious book is a slow burn, keeping the angst at the perfect level for the reader. It keeps you reading, page after page, as you hunger for answers that only the author can provide. 

I predict this book will be the break-out book of 2014 just like "Gone Girl" (by Gillian Flynn) was in 2012. Put this book on your short list to read this year, you won't regret it.
Published by Harlequin MIRA on July 29, 2014.

Best,




If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner.

Ya know, I never win anything. It's a family curse. I've always kind of been OK with it. But then this happens. YAY, I win, I win, I win, I WIN!!!! I entered the Stillman & Birn giveaway a couple weeks ago and totally won some sketchbooks. Holy Cow. I chose the Alpha series with 100lb paper and vellum finish. I just received two sizes, one spiral bound and one hardbound. I think they'll both be best for drawing with minimal watercolor and water added. I love Stillman & Birn for their quality, as good as Moleskine, I must say.

Four of my Postcards from MOO.com
Just to add to the jubilation, the other day my MOO.com postcards arrived and they look great. I did the back of them in my favorite lime green with my name and blog URL. Then I got to choose ten of my paintings for the other side of each postcard. I've done both their mini cards and their business cards but this is the first time doing something like this. I think MOO would do great Christmas cards (you can do those too).

More art coming soon... I've gotta catch up with my homework for Sketchbook Skool but I'm having trouble finding a quiet moment. It's been quite a rough week for my family so the little presents in the mail did help. Hey, anyone want to let me cheat off them about the homework? Just slide over a nice sunset painting and I'll put my name on it, huh? No one'll know, I promise. ;o)

Talk soon, K? GOOD!
Best,




If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

All Watercolors All The Time!!

So it's the third week of Sketchbook Skool and I'm trying to keep up the suggestions from each week. Not only that, I guess I'm trying to continue to do the homework for each week again and again, even as I move onto another week. Like I'm keeping up my journal of my life, just randomly adding stuff to it daily like Danny suggested. I'm also trying to be less critical with myself, letting myself enjoy the process even if I make mistakes like Koosje was trying to teach us. She gave me a great quote that I've written down in my art quote book. She said...
"Step out of your comfort zone to make it bigger." 

She also made it clear that what other people think of your work is none of your business. I'd never thought of it that way. What other people have running around in their heads, even if it's about me AND it's bad, is still none of my business! Besides, it's my sketchbook after all, I shouldn't care about what other people think about it, and it shouldn't be perfect either, that would be just weird.

Holbein colors I own.
So this week with Prashant Miranda we're learning all about watercolor paints. This is the lesson I was waiting for. I not only hoped that this six weeks would prompt me to continue to keep a sketchbook for my own pleasure but also I was so hoping I'd get some gem of an idea or a small spark of understanding about watercolors and how to learn them successfully. I feel so breathlessly lucky that I got that spark. 

I have been white knuckling it every time I paint with watercolors, I couldn't find the core or some basic understanding that would start me off on how to learn watercolors. They're really complicated but I  figured I must have missed the memo as I struggled to paint with them. I knew there was something basic i was missing.

Travel Palette colors + Neocolor II
Well, I can't even explain what that basic thing was that I learned from Prash. But something "clicked" when I watched his video about the basics of watercolors. I now know what I have to do and where to start. In fact, I already did. I documented all the colors and kinds of watercolor paints I have. The next step is to explore basic color mixing and how each color moves in water and on paper. Like, how many greens can I make mixing  just two colors together? What colors do I get? Document all that. Start again with blues. I know, simple, huh? And yes, it'll be a lot of work, probably a whole sketchbook full of paint blotches. But by the end I'll understand the basics of how watercolors "work". I'm actually looking forward to the boring parts! LOL.

I hunted down a travel palette I had gotten as a present several years ago but hadn't used. I was too afraid to go do Plein Air painting, lol. Now I'm using it as a basic palette to start learning from. As you can see, I have a huge number of artist quality Holbein watercolors, I think there were 32 colors there. I'll get to those next but I'm gonna do the basics on the basic paints first. 

Lastly, I took advantage of the Moo.com sale and ordered me some postcards with my artwork on them. Great deal and I couldn't resist. I had done business cards several times but never a postcard or greeting card or anything like that. I can't wait 'till they get here!! (I'll try to remember to show you them when they arrive. It'll be a show and tell day.)

Ooh, one last Lastly, LOL. Prash has the coolest personal logo and he's inspired me to come up with my own. I'm working on it and will post when I am finally happy with it. :o)

Best,




If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: "Guilt By Degrees" by Marcia Clark

This is my final book review centering on Marcia Clark's mystery novels. Ms. Clark is one of the best authors I've ever encountered and her prowess as a writer shows in "Guilt By Degrees", her second book in the Rachel Knight series.

In this book we learn more personal information about Rachel Knight, the deputy district attorney for special trials in L.A. We learn about her personal life and the struggles she's endured by delving into her back history. We also learn what a private person she is. Rachel's intelligence is shown in the way she untangles huge amounts of information. In this book the author shows her main character to her best advantage, making us wish we had some of her supremely useful sleuthing skills.

As my readers know, I never give "spoilers". The best part of a book is the Ohh, really? WOW!! moments that a reader comes across. Why would I want to ruin those for you? So, all I'll say is that although the mystery this book is based on wraps up nicely, we are left with a cliff hanger at the end. We do find out who done it, but..... well, you'll see. You'll love the ending. You'll love the series. I know you'll love the author, Marcia Clark. Go out and give yourself a treat, it's a great summer mystery.

Best,




If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Artist's Play Room #115

Please scroll down for the newest Artist's Play Room Linky and enter your wonderful, creative artwork throughout this upcoming week.

If you haven't read the rules & guidelines, please go here. If you've landed here after this challenge has been completed but would like to participate in a current or future Artist's Play Room Challenge, just either click on the APR button in the sidebar or click here and you'll be taken to the latest APR Challenge!

Are you having trouble using the Mr. Linky to add your submissions to APR? Well here's some help! Just click on HELP and you'll be taken to my Linky Help Page. Cool, huh? I've got your back!

Best,



If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.
Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Thumb-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Review: "Killer Ambition" by Marcia Clark

Well obviously I'm enjoying author Marcia Clark's books. "Killer Ambition" is the third mystery of the series. I've already reviewed "Guilt By Association", "Guilt By Degrees" and "The Competition" so if you want to read the books in order you can read those reviews too. I know in previous reviews I've said it before but just in case you've forgotten, Marcia Clark is one spectacular author. I was surprised to find that the former prosecutor of O.J. Simpson could be such an amazing mystery writer. 

This book opens with the kidnapping of Haley, the sixteen year old daughter of the famous billionaire Hollywood director Russell Antonovich. Our assistant District Attorney for Special Trials, Rachel Knight, catches the explosive case and just might live to regret it. The prosecution of the suspect will be a media sensation and might endanger Rachel's career. She and LAPD Detective Bailey Keller must race the clock to find out just what happened to Haley before the media machine chews Rachel up and spits her out.

Politics and the Hollywood elite ratchets up the stakes for Rachel. If she wins her case her boss will lose some huge influential and moneyed contributors, if she loses she'll be mocked for taking this case to trial at all. The media already are yelling that she's prosecuting just to make her career and all she wants to do is find out the truth. Who hurt Haley?
Once again Marcia Clark brings us a fast pace thrill of a mystery. There are so many people to talk to and information to collect that I found myself wishing it was a little more straight forward. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great read. Definitely a four out of five, just not as perfect as her previous mystery. Clark stays on my short list of go-to authors though. If you want a mystery that keeps you guessing until the end you've found a winner.
Best,




If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

So Somebody Stole My Pencil...

I actually did my first pencil-free sketch. I'm kinda surprised, I must say. I'm wholly and lovingly attached to my trusty friend the pencil. When Danny Gregory over at Sketchbook Skool told us to grab our pens and go pencil-free I have to admit I laughed. Ya right, me? Without using a pencil first? When Hell freezes over buddy. I like my pencil, he makes me feel secure. I know I can erase mistakes, I can fudge the line and still make a great drawing. I can be unsure of myself.

That was the point both Danny and Koosje were making when they told us to put down our crutch. Using only a pen forces you to make a decision and be bold. If you're not bold you'll never make a mark and not get anything done. Interestingly, what happened is I thought I'd practice in my cheap Moleskine Cahier to see if I could accurately scratch out the gate that I wanted to draw. Really, I was testing out whether I could get the perspective right, I hadn't even thought about the fact I had a pen in my hand. I mean, it was just practice, right? 

(Click to Enlarge)
Then, holy heck balls (as Joy, my favorite blogging baker would say) I had a whole drawing IN PEN!! Hey, it's not my best work but then I didn't put a huge amount of time into it. I'm just pleased that the world didn't crack open because I didn't use a pencil first. ;o)

Oh, I almost forgot! Did you know that MOO.com is having a 25% off sale on all their products until July 21st?? Ya, I got in and put some of my new art on a few postcards and ordered those suckers right quick! I also have a code that just might get you another 10% off so click here and give it a try if you want to put your art on puuurty stuff like postcards, greeting cards and business cards or stickers.

Talk to everyone later, K? I'm off to suffer in the heat here. It's something like a humidex of 32 º, God help us, I wish we had a pool. We're going through ice cubes like they're candy, hehehe. (I haven't even had a coffee for four days! Too hot, just too darn hot. *SIGH*) Hope you're cooler where you are!
Best,




If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

But I'm Allergic To Blueberries!

Hi all. Back from another day of Sketchbook Skool. There are some amazing artists taking the "Beginnings" and "Seeing" courses that are running in tandem. As I sit here watching the final match-up between Germany & Argentina of the Beautiful Game I've been perusing both the Facebook page for Sketchbook Skool and the homework section of my second week in "Beginnings". Koosje Koene teaches this week and she's an expert at using pencil crayons and also she loves to get out and create Plein Air drawings in her sketchbook.
Koosje Koene's Illustrated Recipe
She's such a talented artist, for instance, she also teaches a class called "Draw It Like It's Hot!" where she shows how to illustrate recipes. I watched her video in the class and she produced the cutest little baby tomatoes. They looked good enough to eat, so she did, right after she finished drawing her subject. LOL. 

(Click to Enlarge)
I unfortunately couldn't do that. I decided I wanted to draw up a few blueberries. I mean, I've already done strawberries, oranges, apples, blackberries, limes and pears, lots of pears, lol. So, blueberries it was but I didn't get the satisfaction of eating my subject after slaving over the drawing. I hate being allergic to blueberries. I hadn't had any since I was young but a few years ago we got a big container of them and I gorged on them. Well, I wasn't over my allergy. Can you say hives? They were soooo good though, lol. Oh, and one of them tried to get away when I was drawing him.  I'm guessing he hadn't been informed that he was not gonna be eaten after he'd finished modeling. ;o)

(Click to Enlarge)
Since the blueberries were done using graphite which was the alternative homework assignment (in case students didn't have pencil crayons yet), I decided to get out my watercolor pencils and do the actual assignment, using color to create a drawing. I chose to sketch the LAMY Safari fountain pens I've been drooling over for a year. The drooling has become an obsession since starting the class, many artists swear by them to help improve their writing and creative lettering. Oh, and did I mention, they come in my favorite colors??

Anyway, I'm totally taking today off. No drawing. I'm gonna go bemoan the loss of Argentina to Germany by burying myself in a good book. Did I mention it's hot here? A humidex of 34 today. Could someone please turn down the sun? Puuuurty Please?????

Talk soon, more art guaranteed. (God I need an iced frapaccino!) :o)
Best,




If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Book Review: "Guilt By Association" by Marcia Clark

I reviewed Marcia Clark's latest Rachel Knight book last week and now I've started reading from the beginning of the series with "Guilt By Association". My God she's a good writer! You seriously don't want to miss this series. There are four books so far, here they are in order (It always frustrates me to figure out which one to read first!)
  1. "Guilt By Association", pub. Apr 2011
  2. "Guilt By Degrees", pub. May 2012
  3. "Killer Ambition", pub. June 2013
  4. "The Competition", pub July 2014
"Guilt By Association" introduces us to all the characters who will continue in each of the next three books. Rachel Knight, our main character, is the Assistant District Attorney in the Special Trials Unit for Los Angeles county. She's funny, highly intelligent, compassionate and wears her heart on her sleeve. Rachel is single and lives in the Biltmore Hotel because her job is her life and she successfully prosecuted a case inspiring the wealthy victim's husband to generously offer her a room at a fantastic price. You can see Rachael Knight's L.A. and some of the amazing and real places she visits in the book by clicking here.

Rachel has several great friends. Toni, another Assistant District Attorney in the same section as Rachel and Bailey Keller, an L.A.P.D. Detective. Having friends who understand your work makes all the difference in Rachel's life. In this book we also meet Jake who works with Rachel and Toni in the Special Trials Unit, that small group of hand picked prosecutors who handle the toughest, most sensitive and celebrated cases L.A. has to offer.
"Guilt By Association" focusses on the rape of the teenage daughter of a wealthy and politically connected man. The victim's father uses his influence to try and manipulate the case but Rachel Knight is having none of it. She will find the rapist with the help of her intrepid friend Detective Bailey Keller and without the subterfuge from a bullying parent. But in the background, as Rachel and Bailey work exhaustive hours trying to find a rapist, they also try to discover whether Rachel ever really knew Jake. A horrific crime has been committed in a seedy hotel. Could he have done what they're accusing him of? How could she have worked with a man for so long but still know so little about his personal life. Had she let Jake down, not asking him about what his life was like outside work? The story is gritty and complicated, making you think about just what happened in this situation.

Within several pages you are gripped in a shocking and tightly written mystery. The author doesn't let go of you until the very end. I always love books where I really have to work at unwinding the mystery and Marcia Clark's books always bring it. Go buy her whole Rachel Knight series and read them this Summer, you'll be hooked by the time you have to brush the sand off your feet!
Best,




I am doing Skektchbook Skool (taught by Danny Gregory and other artists) for the next six weeks so keep coming back for NEW ART and even a few book reviews. Art will be the main focus from now on though. Thank You for your patience! 
If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Artist's Play Room #114

Please scroll down for the newest Artist's Play Room Linky and enter your wonderful, creative artwork throughout this upcoming week.

If you haven't read the rules & guidelines, please go here. If you've landed here after this challenge has been completed but would like to participate in a current or future Artist's Play Room Challenge, just either click on the APR button in the sidebar or click here and you'll be taken to the latest APR Challenge!

Are you having trouble using the Mr. Linky to add your submissions to APR? Well here's some help! Just click on HELP and you'll be taken to my Linky Help Page. Cool, huh? I've got your back!

Best,




If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.
Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Thumb-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.
Related Posts with Thumbnails
blog links
Arts blog

Members

 
^ Scroll to Top