Thursday, October 30, 2014

Doing Selfies Makes Me Feel Vain!

Me at forty-three
I have to admit, I'm kinda glad that "selfies week" with Koosje Koene (Sketchbook Skool) is coming to an end tonight. I haven't done the full seven selfies that I was supposed to do, but I've done enough to officially say I will continue to do portraits of other people so I can improve my skills.

My final selfie is an oldie but a goodie. I was born very, VERY premature, at six months two-weeks. I was only a little over two pounds and then proceeded to lose weight. No one thought I'd make it through the night but my mom sat by my incubator and flicked my foot to remind me to breath. I kept breathing and a little over two months later I got to go home. Funny enough, because my mom was a nurse in the hospital that she had me in, I was a totally spoiled baby. The second I was allowed out of the incubator, it is said, I was never put down, lol. The nurses carried me around with them so I never cried. When mom got me home she said I was the most spoiled baby she'd ever seen! I cried every time she put me down. Thank god sometimes I slept, like I was doing here. Sorry mom! Beside me is a newly sharpened pencil, used to show just how darn small I was. 

Me at two and a half months
See you next week, I can't wait to see what I'll be drawing!
Best,




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Uncle Bob & Other Stuff

My uncle Bob has recently moved here to Nanaimo so he's nearer to us. It's lovely having him so much closer, we get to see him much more often than we did when he was in Victoria, over two hours away. This week I'm doing selfies but in fact, I'm using the time to also feel more comfortable doing any portrait. So, I decided to include my Uncle Bob in my selfie homework. He has such lovely strong McLean features. We all share the same facial features, our noses are especially definitive. I used Roz Stendahl's methods of capturing a face, I love her style and hope to someday be even half as good as her.

I also got down and did the contour drawing that was required in my SBS homework. Here, you're not supposed to take the pen off of the page. Just do a quick sketch of yourself, following the contours of your face. I used a photograph of me graduating from high school. That was over twenty years ago, wow. I don't have a pic of my University graduation, probably because I actually went to two Universities so by the time I graduated, I just wanted it finished, lol. I did get a school ring, that sits in my jewelry box, all forlorn and never loved. It always felt boastful to wear my Grad ring so there it sits. Maybe I'll draw it up so at least it gets a little love twenty years later, lol. Oh, by the way, did I mention that I don't like doing contour drawings? Ya, not my favorite expressive  drawing style.

Finally, here's the first page of my new portraiture sketchbook. I'm using Stillman & Birn Alpha Series 4" x 6" sketchbook. I don't think i'm gonna like the paper but then I don't intend to use much watercolor on it, mostly pen & ink so we'll see how it holds up. (I'm going to be drawing whoever I fancy, probably from TV, so I can become more confident in my drawing skills.) I learned from a very smart artist (who I cannot for the life of me remember the name of) that a great idea for starting any sketchbook is to draw up all the art supplies you might use in the book. This way you don't have to decide on a first page or be afraid of beginning a pristine new sketchbook. You just sit down, draw some of your art supplies and be done with it, TADA, a newly started sketchbook, no fretting needed.

I'm off to either finish my homework from Danny's class last week, I never did my Fast & Slow piece of art. That's where you put down, with speed, a general shape of the object you're drawing using broad strokes in watercolor (or another equally useful medium). Then after that dries, go back and fill  in the details using progressively more detailed pens, capturing the minutia of the object. If that intimidates me (like it did last week) I may do another selfie. I want to do at least one more... maybe two if I can fit them in before Friday starts and another week's class begins. Next week is Brenda Swenson. I wonder what I'll learn next? ;o)

Best,




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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Selfies & Adventures in Paint

Ok, so as I said in my last post, I'm back in Sketchbook Skool. This time the class is called "Seeing". My second teacher in this six week course is Koosje Koene and she has assigned selfies for this week's homework. Koosje is a terrific teacher and I'm learning so much from her. Just watching her draw stuff makes me see that it doesn't have to be difficult. Here's an example...


Above is a video that shows how foreshortening circles makes it so much easier to draw stuff. This is one of the easy things that you can learn in SBS along with more complicated stuff and the confidence to try all of it.

That's what this week is about for me. I haven't ever really drawn portraits of myself (or anybody else for that matter, lol). My mom is a wonderful portrait artist and I always envied her skill. I just didn't think I could ever do it. I mean, I'm good with drawing other stuff, no one has to be good at everything, right? Well, I was wrong. Who knew I'd learn that I, in fact, can draw faces. Here's my first selfie.

Title: "Who Lives Behind Your Eyes?"
I'll be joining up with a bunch of other artists to do the yearly AEDM project that comes around every November. Leah at Creative Everyday does an art get together every November where artists pledge to do some sort of art every single day. I think this challenge helps make a habit of doing art and recording your life. Read all about AEDM here and sign up for November 2014 here. The start of the challenge is only days away and I'm so looking forward to combining SBS and AEDM. It'll force me to produce more and since making art always makes me happy, this challenge can only make me a happier artist!!

Artist: Tracey Fletcher King
One last thing before I let you go. My very good friend Tracey Fletcher King is celebrating the fact that she's starting up her Cuppa With Friends project again, now that her breast cancer treatment is over. She is being supported by a great tea company (Tracey is crazy about her tea!) called The Tea Spot who has donated a gorgeous red teacup so Tracey can do a giveaway. Go to her blog if you want to support her and enter the giveaway and if you want to participate in her art project Cuppa With Friends just go there and read all about it, it's such a cool idea, I wish I'd thought of it myself!

Speaking of myself, I'm off to draw another half a dozen selfies. Thank GOD my model doesn't seem to mind sitting still as I draw her! ;o) Later Gator.




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Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Artist's Play Room #129

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,





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Monday, October 20, 2014

Sketchbook Skool Has Started AGAIN!!

YAAAAAAY! I've missed having assignments, homework and new ideas being thrown at me. The last three months have been tough so being able to start learning and doing art again is such a relief. This time the course is called "Seeing" and the teachers are Danny Gregory, Koosje Koene, Liz Steele, Brenda Swenson, Cathy Johnson and Andrea Joseph. The basic course outline is to teach us to see our environment and the beauty around us more accurately and also to try and find our own style within our way of seeing and drawing the world. I was so excited to see that Andrea Joseph was teaching one of the six weeks of classes, I've been following her blog and art for years.

So, this, the first week of Skool, we have Danny up trying to get us to find the bliss in drawing. Try to find the nirvana in the minute details of something. He chose toast. Yep, I said toast, lol. The assignment was to go get a good piece of bread, artisanal if you can, and toast it. No butter, he says. Now, sit down and draw your toast. See the craggy holes, the interesting color differentiations, the unique shapes and undulations within the walls of the toast. He wanted us to try to get to that blissful place where time falls away and all you're doing is drawing what you see. 

He was right, I got right in there. Time fell away. Mom had gone to visit my uncle in the nursing home (that's one of the tough things from the last three months, his severe diagnosis of two kinds of rare Alzheimer's) and when she got home I couldn't believe two hours had gone by. My toast was cold but I was warm and toasty (pun intended, lol). I took another half an hour to add more shadows then I photographed my beautiful gluten free bagel. I was quite concerned when I watched last semester's students draw their toast. I didn't think my GF bagel would have enough personality. I mean, you take gluten away and you don't get as much leavening so the bread doesn't have as much "personality". But, I put it in for a good toasting and got a great landscape. I present the puuurtiest bagel I ever did see. I gotta say. LOL. Isn't she gorgeous? And gluten free too!!



Toodaloo everybody. I gotta go find something complicated yet with personality. Danny drew his bike. I don't have one of them!!! ERG... Now what?
Best,




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

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Artist's Play Room #128

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,





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Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Review: "The Killer Next Door" By Alex Marwood

I was privileged to be able to review "The Killer Next Door" by Alex Marwood. This is her second book, the first, Edgar Award winner "Wicked Girls" was given a glowing review from Stephen King. After reading the synopsis of "The Killer Next Door" I was seriously intrigued to get into it.

An old mansion has been broken up into six suites and the six renters all have secrets they want to keep. 23 Beulah Grove is the kind of rooming house where there are no credit checks, no background searches and no rental agreements. The landlord has power over whether you stay but you get to keep your secrets. The story opens with the revelation that one of the residents is a killer. The author then takes us back in time to let us meet the residents of Beulah Grove.

The premise of this thriller is really exciting and the author develops the characters so well you find yourself hoping they get out of this alive. The women were especially well developed and I would have loved to learn a little more about the men in this book. Ms. Marwood is an excellent writer, she's easy to read and her prose flow like water off a slick surface. My one complaint is that there is just too much unimportant detail which can be easily skipped by the reader but does lesson the enjoyability of the book. The mystery is slowed and the thrilling rush to an ending is kept hostage by just too many words that could easily be cut by a good editor. This book has great characters, well fleshed out (no pun intended, lol) and the author's excellent narrative skills made me want to finish the book.

I can understand why many reviewers have loved Alex Marwood's writing and I'm betting that "Wicked Girls" was even better than "The Killer Next Door". It makes me wish I had read her debut novel first, maybe I would have enjoyed this one even more. Although I'm only giving this mystery/thriller a three star rating, I have great hope that her next book has fewer long flowing descriptions and even more amazing characters. I know that would make for a near perfect read.
Best,




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Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Artist's Play Room #127

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,




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Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Artist's Play Room #126

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,




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