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.

Friday, July 11, 2014

There's A Penguin In My Moleskine

Click to Enlarge
My Moleskine is gonna fill up fast! I find myself thinking about art hourly. What am I going to draw up? What would look great and be fast? What should I take my time with? I even woke up this morning with a laundry list of things I wanted to add to my sketchbook. I'm having such fun documenting my life and I can see just how addictive this could get. It will also be so darn cool to look back years later and remember vividly what I was doing when I made that drawing.

Obviously I'm loving Sketchbook Skool. I plan on taking the next semester as soon as it's offered. I know myself, I procrastinate and my one fear is that six weeks isn't enough to build a habit that I'll stick with. I'm thinking that twelve weeks just might do it though. ;o)

I drew up my Kindle Paperwhite today since it's giving me such blissful pleasure every time I bring up another readily available book. What a blessing all this technology is, eh? I mean, could you ever live without the internet or your iPhone? Ya, me either! The Paperwhite features a touchscreen so you can just "swipe" the screen and the page turns, kinda cool, ya? The little penguin in the upper left hand corner of my Moleskine represents the Penguin books I get to review. I love discovering new authors and am so darn flattered when they ask me to review a "big" author. There's really not much better than Kindles and Moleskines. I'm just a happy camper. :o)
Best,




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

Thursday, July 10, 2014

GOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First page in my Cahier
(Click to Enlarge)
More like SEVEN goals, actually. But more about that later. So I'm documenting my life for Danny Gregory's class. In the beginning it's weird to put such mundane things into a sketchbook. But then I realize that first: that's the point, to document your life, and second: I'm using an inexpensive Moleskine Cahier so I can really play and not worry about being too precious. I really try to put long term artwork into my watercolor Moleskines so I now have three choices. Do a big drawing in my "good" Moleskine, do a smaller drawing in my pocket Moleskine or do a fun and fast sketch in the Cahier. I really hoped that this would be how it would work for me and I was actually right, who knew?? I know myself, I can really get mired in perfectionism so getting some unprecious Cahier sketchbooks (read cheap, lol) has worked. I don't feel pressure to be perfect and mistakes are ok, FINALLY.

(Click to Enlarge)
Anyway, let's get on with this, huh? Above we have a drawing bemoaning the terrible and painful to watch game between Brazil and Germany. Couldn't you have just cried for Brazil? Their head of offense has a broken back that happened in the last game and their head of defense got two yellow cards also in the last game so he was out too. Holy Cow, can anyone say train wreck? It was just brutal to watch the slaying. It felt like being a rubbernecker watching a car crash on the highway. *Sigh*. Oh, I had eggs for breakfast by the way, hehehe.

The double page drawing above on the right documented the great pens I use so much, the Pilot Multiball, Sharpie water-based white and my trusty Pentel waterbrush, love that thing! Then I drew up our one living hosta. I have to remember to water it or it's gonna go the way of the Dodo, just like it's friend did last summer. Lastly I drew the laundry basket. I love when it's empty, don't you? With all my chores done I had a cuppa but didn't draw that yet. LOL. Talk soon, I have another page started, this time in my pocket Moleskine. It's so great to be drawing again. I think I have a tiny art crush on Danny Gregory. ;o)

Best,




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

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

First Time Homework & A Tool Rundown

Cartoon Credit
Well, I'm really loving Sketchbook Skool and I'd heartily recommend it to anyone who's been sitting on the fence not knowing whether it's worth the $99 it costs. Let me tell you, I have little to no money to waste, I'm not plush in funds but I intend to take the next Klass, "Seeing" after I finish "Beginnings". I've taken very few classes in my life but I can't believe just how helpful the first week of the Klass has been. Danny Gregory teaches the first week and I feel so encouraged. Being able to see into the sketchbooks of an artist I admire is invaluable just in it's inspirational work let alone the advice given by Danny on top of that.

Lime coffee cup (Click to Enlarge)
The Homework assignment was to choose something that has meaning to you and draw it. Danny did a demonstration using his son's shoes and encouraged us to only use pen, NO PENCIL. Now that's daunting for me, I'm a diehard pencil user and have never been able to switch over to pencil-free work. It will be a struggle to do this but throughout this week, as I add sketch after sketch to my moleskine cahier sketchbook, I will endeavor to sketch my day-to-day life with ONLY pen. I think my heart beat just increased ten fold. ;o) 

About the tools I'll be using: I have a large selection of black waterproof pens, if you know me at all you know I LOVE art supplies and have, over the years, collected a bunch of pens. I'll be using Sakura Pigma Micron pens in 01, 05 and 08 (these are my goto pens, I buy a dozen at a time so I always have a great black waterproof pen), Pilot Multiball (fine point) black pen (I used this one to do all the writing on the page to the left, great pen, dries fast so my left handed writing doesn't smudge.), Stay Anywhere Permanent Pen by Micador (1mm) and a 0.25 Pentel Slicci black pen for seriously small details. I don't know if the Slicci is waterproof but I don't intend to use water media over or under it so we're safe there.

In my cahier I'll be doing mostly sketch work, trying to document my life as it goes by. My intention is to use multiple kinds of black pens but only add white (from my new Sharpie water-based white pen) and a very minimal color with watercolor pencils (not sure if I'll add color at all, actually). I want to stay true to what Danny's trying to teach, be graphic, unafraid of the line you put down and to do it in PEN. 

I'm also using two different sizes of Moleskine watercolor sketchbooks. The smaller 5"x8" and the larger 8.5"x12". I love the smaller watercolor Moleskine best, it's landscape orientation (in both sizes) allows for longer drawings and it's the perfect size for travel making it exactly what I need. The paper is so superior. I can throw so much water media at it and the pages just don't buckle. If any page gets any wave to it at all I just close it after it dries and the page flattens but this really doesn't happen at all. I did my first homework in the larger Moleskine because I wanted a large double layout to write a bunch of stuff so I needed the space, lol.

I drew and painted my Salty Chicken. We've had this trivet in the house since I was a young child. Over dozens of houses and many years she's been used for many things including a hot pot holder a decoration, a spoon rest, a dust collector and a salt grinder trivet. The last thing we used her for gave her her unusual name. The salt grinder would leak every time you put it down on the trivet so over the weeks our chicken became covered in a mound of salt! Now she sits on my desk and holds my green coffee cup. Ahh, there's nothing better than a good cuppa sitting on my trusty salty chicken. I have very few things from my childhood so the salty chicken is precious. She's a good girl and heartily does her job protecting the furniture from hot things. Below is the photo I took of her (TOP) and my rendering I did in my large moleskine (BOTTOM).

 

It's so nice to be back blogging about ART. I'm looking forward to making a happy job of filling my sketchbooks in the coming six weeks of Klass. See you soon, K? Oh, and come join me in "Beginnings", I think you can still join, we're only a few days in and it'll be easy to catch up!!
Best,




If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.
Related Posts with Thumbnails
blog links
Arts blog

Members

 
^ Scroll to Top