Colorful little paintings

Little thumbnail sketches
 finished off with a couple of swipes of watercolor.
They are continuous line drawings done with a Uni-ball Vision pen with a fine tip.  They are each two inches square.  

Thumbnails are not only a warm-up, but a way of planning out a composition.  They should take about two minutes (without color) and contain no detail.  The first step is to just put in shapes to see how they fit, and if you're happy with the fit, put in some very simple medium and dark values.  Do one after another until you are happy with the composition.

Today I was looking over some of the objects that are on the classroom tables from this week's lessons.  I occurred to me, as I was mentally matching up some of the things, that thumbnail sketches are the equivalent of stream of consciousness writing.  I start out drawing the objects as they are, then just move along to the way they could be, until I get to the way I think they should be.

It's snowing here and the wind chill advisory for tonight is for 25 to 40 BELOW!!!!   NOOOOOO!!!! That has to be a misprint.  Please be a misprint?


Studio Still Life

Our Assignment "Where I Paint"
This is a continuous line drawing in ink with watercolor

My classes will be working on still lifes over the winter.  I think it is pretty easy to get bored with still life, so I'm trying to make it interesting by mixing things up a little.  We'll be doing contour/continuous line, value patterns,  negative shapes, crosshatching, ink, pencil,  watercolor, various view points .   .   .   . 

It is snowing like crazy right now  -  great weather to stay inside and sketch and paint.  Are you more productive in the winter, or less productive?  I always think I am going to get so much done, but I get a little lazy thinking I have all this "down time".  I get a lot lazy.


View down Ready Street

View Down Ready Street and a Burger
A couple of weeks ago we took a little trip up to the Marquette area.  Marquette is a mining town on Lake Superior.  Our son and his family are in the process of moving there.  He is already living there with our middle granddaughter, and the rest of his family will follow at the end of this school year.

It seems like a long way away -  like driving to another country. Well, actually, if we didn't make a left turn, we would be in Canada real soon. It is about an hour to the Mackinac Bridge, then five miles across that to the Upper Peninsula, then miles and miles through woods and little towns, and then 25 miles through TREES with no sign of a human being and no cell service, and then   -  wham  -  there's a    big city ( by northern Michigan standards anyway).  The terrain is different, the rocks are different, the buildings are different . . .   Everything is about mining  -  even the iron colored dust in the air.  I sound like I have never been out of town, don't I?

This little journal sketch is the view out of their dining room window.  It's hilly there, and the area is full of spires and towers, and fortunately for Middle Granddaughter, it has a "Big Boy" restaurant.

We painted snow covered pine trees today in my class.  We are trying to embrace the idea of snow.    It is snowing as I write this, and there is a spotlight of sun on the buildings across the Bay.  The sky is dark, and the bare trees look very black.  I could sit all day and watch the light and colors change on the Bay,  but I'd better not.  I really need to get going on my Thanksgiving dinner list, although it does not change year to year.  Some things you just don't mess with.

Our homework assignment for our journals this coming week is to paint/sketch a dish  -  maybe something you only get out at Thanksgiving.


Looking North

The View Out the Front Window

When I did this little watercolor sketch in my journal a few days ago, the Bay was actually this blue  -  a very Prussian blue.  Today the view is softened by snow.  I don't know if "softened" is the right word.  "Softened" has kind of a positive connotation, and this is not feeling too positive to me.

Oh well.  It is cozy and warm in here, I'm having my second cup of coffee, I have a sketch I'm working on, and I AM going to enjoy watching the snow fall.  Right now out the front window, it looks just like this little painting with a piece of tracing paper or translucent vellum over it. Pretty.

Are you sketching?


Day Trip Page

A Page from my Journal
The California kids are here, and we took a trip up beautiful highway 119 to Sturgeon Bay.  The mosquitoes beat us to it.  We actually ran, screaming, for the car.  Well, some of us did.   It was fun anyway  -  just being together!

I'm just getting used to the idea of summer.  It was winter for soooo long, and then suddenly the kids are out of school.  It's a little disorienting.

Okay  -  I'm going to go play with my sketchbook now.  I have a couple of new pens and I want to try them out.

Are you sketching?


Sketching on the porch

Wonky Little Chair
After I had drawn this, I noticed how wrong the angle of the middle spindle is.  I could have made a little patch and sketched it in correctly, but, hey, that's not what sketch-booking is all about for me.  Actually, it's about ANYTHING you want, but my purpose is to keep the pen and brushes moving!  Keep in mind what your purpose is  -  is it to get very correct information down and have a beautiful page, or just to get a rough idea that can be cleaned up later if you're using the sketch for a painting reference, or maybe to just loosely record a moment in your day.

Students always ask me if it's okay to rip out a page or cover it up.  Anything is okay.  I've had mistakes that have driven me crazy, so I'd fix them in some way.  

Another beautiful day in Northern Michigan!  Where ever you are, are you sketching?


Petunias, marigolds, etc

Okay, I'm done hibernating. 
I've had my spring greenhouse fix, and I'm ready to plant and paint  -  not necessarily in that order.

The sun is shining, the birds are singing (squawking), and we've even had a hummingbird.  We've mowed the lawn, and hauled junk out to the curb for the spring pick-up.

This little watercolor sketch was done using some cross hatching with a Gelly-roll pen.  I watched a Tommy Kane demo on cross hatching, and thought it looked fun  - I hadn't done it in years.  I don't think flowers are really a good subject for that technique, but it was fun, and I'll do it again.

As far as the greenhouse fix  -  I'm sure I'm not really "fixed".  There's something about the heat, the smell, the colors .  .  .

How was your winter?  Are you painting and sketching?


Not Quite Snowed In
We've had a couple of days without snow, and things are looking a little dirty.  It isn't any where near melting  -  19 degrees today.   The city trucks are out today cutting back the snow banks, widening the streets, and hauling away snow.

Last week we worked on some snow scenes in my watercolor class.  This week we are talking about pigments, and what they do according to their consistencies  - some are transparent, some granular, and some staining.  Then we talked about how those properties work when used in a triad.  A triad is a group of three.  In this case a combination of the three primaries  -  some version of red, yellow, and blue. 

I'm taking an online watercolor lettering class from Val Webb.  Fun!  I'm also taking a calligraphy class locally.  Actually, VERY locally, it meets in my studio.  Yeah, calligraphy.  Calligraphy never interested me  -  I always felt it was too pointy, too scratchy, and too structured.   Maybe I was wrong.  I just went along to the organizational meeting to support a creative group of women that wanted to get a  calligraphy class going.  I really got sucked in  -  in a good way.  The instructor,  Millie, is so giving and so creative (there's that word again), that not only did I sign up, I said, "Hey -  you can use my space for your class!"  We have homework.  Oh dear.  If I do something great in either (or both?) classes, I'll post it.  If I don't, I won't.


Snow Covered Pine

Snowy Tree Demo
Because snow is what we see here in Northern Michigan (and pretty much all we see), my Thursday students wanted a snowy tree demo. They did a beautiful job with their trees!

It's been snowing here since the middle of November.  We may as well embrace it.  A couple of students requested a snow scene demo for next week.  Good idea  - we have a long time to do still life paintings.

I've lived in Michigan all my life, but the concept of snow still fascinates me.  Don't you think it's weird that this pure white frozen stuff falls out of the sky and we have to shovel it??!!

Stay warm!


More Succulents

Sketchbook Page
This is a very quick contour drawing loosely painted with watercolor.  I did this after my class left on Thursday.

For me, contour (continuous line) drawing is very much like connect-the-dots  -  connect-the-shapes.  I really don't know what's going to happen until the end.  I'm thinking "shapes", not "objects".  Some of those shapes might be negative spaces, not an object at all.

I'm not thinking about composition either.  I'm just getting down the information that's there.  I can put it to good use later. I can move things around for a better composition (although I I am pretty happy with this), and shape up that clay pot on the right.

I can't believe it is January 11th already.  I have waited so long to begin a fresh start, that it just isn't fresh anymore.  I'm not good at fresh starts anyway  -  I do better just plodding along.  I enjoy plodding along, so I'm doing okay.


Loose and Juicy

In class this week we were trying to see how simple we could keep it and still show some separation of shapes  -  such as the leaves on the plant on the left.  I had intended to work in some detail as I went along, but I really liked what was happening with the looseness, and decided to leave it alone.

I knew the composition was weak, but my intent was to demonstrate some drop-in color and then do some negative painting, and I wasn't thinking much about where I was putting things.  The plant in that dead-center blue and white cup was going to have some negative painting to show the pointy leaves, but I just liked all the bleeding colors there and decided to move on and not do anything else to it. That's what is so much fun about watercolor  -  so often it will do something that is much better than I would have done.

I like some of the things going on in this little painting.  I wonder if I worked out a good composition and gave it another try, if I would still get some of these results.  I am not good at re-doing, but we'll see.   


Middle Granddaughter

Let it Snow
A snowy night at Grandma and Grandpa's, lots of art supplies, and a cozy corner to sit in and create.  It would have been even more fun if school had been called off the next day, but surprisingly, it wasn't.

We've been seeing lots of snowfall, but very few snow plows.  It snowed two or three more inches this morning just during my two-hour class. 

If you're somewhere in the north, I hope you're staying warm.  I hope you have a cozy corner with some art supplies!



Simple Still Life

I'm really not a fan of watercolor underpainting.  But just for the fun of it, in class this morning, we painted a light wash of the primaries on our papers, and then painted a simple still life over it.  It's just kind of fun and challenging to figure out what to paint over and around to make it work with the underpainting.  I wish I had taken pictures of the paintings the class did  -  they were great.

If you plan out your composition and paint the underpainting accordingly, you have a better chance of leaving some whites.   We just painted our wash of primaries, and then drew the still life, working with whatever wash we had. 

It isn't the underpainting's fault that the yellow pitcher is a little wonky.


A Little Bookbinding

This is a portfolio/folder that I made yesterday to hold small pieces of watercolor paper.  I had seen a similar one online, but I didn't have any directions, so there was a lot of measuring, cutting, folding, gluing, and fitting.  Trial and error stuff.

On the left is the front cover,  top right is the inside showing the folder, and bottom right shows it with a stack of watercolor paper in it.  The paper is a full sheet torn into sixteen pieces  -  five and a half by seven and a half.

I was so completely absorbed in this, I was actually surprised this morning at what a mess the house is  -  half finished laundry, dirty dishes in the sink, recyclables on the kitchen counter  .  .  .    Actually I'm sugar coating it. But most surprising of all,  no Christmas shopping had been done! 

I like the idea of "loose-leaf" sketchbooks, and I'm trying to come up with a couple of simple designs to teach next spring in a new bookbinding workshop we are planning.  This design may not be on the agenda.

Now on to Christmas shopping. 


Pears . . .

This is another go at yesterday's composition.
I "painted" the objects with clear water, and then started dropping in the local color  (the natural color of a thing in ordinary daylight, uninfluenced by the proximity of other colors)  of each piece of fruit, and letting them bleed into each other a little.  I used a triad again (a combination of the three primary colors  -  red, yellow, and blue).

Today I used prussian blue, quinacridone red, and quinacridone gold.  It's essential  that you  pick out a triad  that will give you a good color mix for the subject.  I had first planned to use quinacridone burnt scarlet for my red, but it wouldn't have given me a good orange, and the persimmons are a pretty important part of this composition.  Using quin. red instead of quin. scarlet gave me a good persimmon orange, and still grayed down well for the other fruit

Ooops  -  I didn't put a shadow under the bottom persimmon.


Pears and Persimmons

 Still Painting Pears and Persimmons  -  and a Lime
This is a small watercolor  (4 3/4 X  7 3/4).  I did the sketch viewing the fruit down the table from a standing position, drawing it as I saw it and not tweaking the composition.  The red pear in the middle was just too much of a RED PEAR IN THE MIDDLE.  Screaming for attention.  I put a little more red on the tan pear on the left, and brightened up the persimmons.  My original composition didn't have a persimmon in the lower left,  but it really needed to be there.

I used ultramarine blue, quinacridone red, and hansa yellow.  I did end up using a little manganese blue in the mix for some of the shadows. 

I'm going to try this same composition a little  (a lot) juicier, letting some of the colors and shapes bleed a bit.  This one is pretty stiff.  I might try a different triad too  -  a different combination of the three primaries.

There was an old Italian couple next to me in the produce department buying persimmons  -  I mean a HUGE bag of persimmons!  I had to ask, "What are you going to do with those?"  They looked at me and said, "Eat them."  Okay, that makes sense, but boy, are they missing out by not painting them!


Day 30

After the past few days of lots of cooking and eating, it seemed appropriate to post this collage.

We have pretty much cleaned up the turkey and all the trimmings, and it's quiet here tonight  -  no kids, grandkids, or out of town relatives.  In fact the whole street is dark and quiet.  I think it's time to watch a silly movie.  Maybe it's time to eat again  -  just a little something?  Help  -  I can't stop!


Day 29

Cathy's Zinnias and Cosmos
This is a demonstration in my sketchbook, done last summer in one of our bookbinding classes. 

This is day 29 of blogging every day in November.   It has been a busy day, and I'm getting a little blurry eyed, so I think posting this little sketch is about it for now.  More eating, dominoes, even a little shopping today, and family games tonight.  Fun!

I hope everyone is having a good weekend.  Are you still eating turkey?



Pumpkin Pie
We are cooking, eating, playing dominoes, eating, talking  .  .  .
Happy Thanksgiving!


Persimmons and Mint Tea

From my Sketchbook
I have posted this before, but it's day 27,  Thanksgiving Eve .   .   . 

I've been baking pies today, getting out the tablecloths, the guest bedding, ETC.  Are you traveling?  Getting ready for guests?  Having a quiet day?  whatever you're doing  -  relax, enjoy the day, and maybe get in a quick sketch.


Travel Palette

Contour Drawing
This is a contour drawing (continuous line) of one of my little travel palettes, brush, and water container.  As you can see, I was struggling a bit with the water container. I was pretty pleased that, when doing the palette, I ended up with the line where it needed to be. I have to get into my right brain to do that, and sometimes I begin to let in a little fear (okay, maybe "fear is an exaggeration, but maybe not) that it won't connect in the right places, and then I begin to be distracted by that insecurity and start to slip out of the right brain mode, and then that really goofs up the drawing and .  .  . 

Day 26 of blogging-every-day-in-November.



Looking Down the Street
This is what it has been looking like around here for the past couple of days.  This storm going across the country isn't hitting us as hard as in other areas..  We are not snowed in, and I made it to the grocery store today.  When I saw the weather forecast, I was getting a little worried about getting our turkey!  All set. 

I am not a multitasker, and planning and buying food for the days leading up to and just beyond an event (Thanksgiving) is multitasking as far as I'm concerned.  I have no idea what we'll eat Tuesday and Wednesday and the weekend will take me by surprise.  I am hyper-focused  on Thanksgiving.  So now that I've said that, it had better be good, huh. 


Orange Geranium

Poor Straggly Thing
My bright orange geranium is pretty wimpy looking.  I'll try to baby it through the winter and see how it does in the spring.  I love the color, and have never seen another one exactly like it. 

It has hovered around 21 degrees all weekend.  We have snow, which should make the ski resorts very happy.  Skiing is important here for our local economy.

Now I'm going to go warm up some leftover homemade chicken noodle soup, we'll pick out a movie, and call it a day.  It's been a nice one. How about your day?  I hope it was good!



A Page in my Sketchbook
This is a page in a 9 X 12 sketchbook.  The drawings are done with a 6B drawing pencil.   The houses are value and composition sketches for future paintings, and the chair is just because I love drawing chairs.

I t has been soooo cold here today  -  about 21 degrees with strong winds.   We went out this morning to run errands, but after a couple of stops, decided to just go home.  The wind was bitter cold and it was getting slippery. 

What is the weather like where you are?  Hope you're staying warm.


Workshop Lunches

Some of my Lunches from Summer Workshops
In my journal workshops I usually have the participants paint their brown bag lunches before we eat.  I'm always on the look-out for pretty paper plates to add some color and pattern to my workshop lunches.  That way I can have any old unattractive lunch and just put a couple of things on a pretty plate and still have a colorful little watercolor sketch. Also there are no rules against painting  the lunch of someone else in the class if it's prettier than yours.  The only rule is, you can't then claim it as yours and eat it.

Because we are hungry and in a hurry,  we really don't care how it turns out.  Those are usually the best sketches.


Colored Pencils

Colored Pencils for my Birthday
I posted this old black and white picture very early on in my blog.  Yesterday, with my paper-making friends, we were talking about our art supplies, and how much we love them, and I thought about this photo. That set of pencils was my prized possession.  I loved those pencils.  They ranked right up there with my bike and doll house.

Look at those bangs!


Our Creative Endeavor

 Paper Making
We made paper today from dryer lint.  It was not a pretty job.  It was slimy, chunky, stringy, hairy (pet and human).  Have you ever seen the Bassomatic skit with Dan Akroyd from Saturday night live back in the mid-seventies?

 I think the paper will turn out much lighter after it has dried  -  which I think might take days.

We had a great time! And I think the most important thing we learned  -  start buying much lighter clothes so we'll have better lint.


Troupe Tent Flower Bed

Sketchbook Demo
Back in July I did a two-day workshop at the Interlochen Center for the Arts.
This sketch was done to demonstrate continuous line drawing, rocks, blob and smoosh, and negative shapes.  "Blob and smoosh"  is a term I use for softening edges  -  you blob the color on, then you smoosh it out a little.

I've been painting a little wicker plant stand, and that is about as creative as I have been for several days now.  I'll see if I can step it up a little tomorrow.


Day 18

This is an old medicine cabinet where I keep bottles of acrylic paint. It's  a bright spot on the wall, and seeing the color in the bottom of the bottles makes it easy to grab the color you want.  I don't paint serious ( ? ) paintings with these craft acrylics, but they're great to have around for a fun project, and for the grandkids to use.

To be honest, I haven't painted an acrylic painting in a long time -  serious or not.  I like painting with acrylic, but watercolor is just SO much fun!

Certainly nothing like the storms hitting some other areas in the Midwest, but it has been very very windy here.  Winter is upon us. So just stay inside and play with color!


Early Summer Workshop

Flowers at the Harbor in Harbor Springs
This was a demonstration back in June for a one day workshop with a groupof great painters who meet every week in the city chambers to paint together. 

The page on the left is Mi-Teintes pastel paper.  It comes in a huge variety of colors and I often put a few pieces in my sketchbooks.

It's nice to look back at summer sketchbooks on very dark, rainy, stormy, November days.


Studio Shelves

Bookshelves in my Classroom/studio
I love looking at pictures of artists' studios, so I thought I'd post this picture of a corner of mine. 

I am a huge advocate of having a space of your own to be creative in.  It doesn't have to be large, but it does have to "call" to you, so you'll want to be there, and you'll be inspired.  If you want to create, you really have to be able to leave your tools of the trade out so they're handy  when the mood hits.  Of course the mood hits more often if you're space is waiting for you. 

Some artists like their creative spaces very clean and organized  -  that's what calls to them  Others like to leave a project out in mid-creation to return to. Others like a real mess they can get lost in.  The key thing here is personal creative space.

Do you have a space to call your own?   Art supplies are beautiful  -  they don't need to be put away when company comes.

Are you sketching this weekend?


Day 15

Sketchbook Pages from Summer
Today is the first day of firearm deer hunting season in Michigan.  This is almost a national holiday in Northern Michigan.  When our kids were in school, students could even get excused from school to go hunting on opening day!  Maybe they still do that.  Everyone up here knows that if you are hiring  some work done, it had better be completed by the 15th or it will set there unfinished for two weeks.  I had a friend who was in an accident many years ago during hunting season in northern Michigan, and the whole volunteer emergency crew was deer hunting, and there was no one to respond to the call.

On the left side of the pages above, are some little vignettes I did at the lavender farm.  That's all I did  -  there are just too many people to talk to.  The right hand page is a demo I did the next day in a Bay View class.

Here we are in the middle of November, and it seems like only yesterday that I did these sketches.

Happy Birthday to granddaughter Katie!!!


Pears and a Persimmon

More Fruit
We painted small still lifes in class today.   This was a color demonstration that I did using only prussian blue, quinacridone burnt scarlet, and new gamboge.  At least I started out using that triad, but I wasn't really happy with the quinacridone burnt scarlet as the red  -  it just wouldn't allow for the bright  rosy red or glowing orange that I wanted.  I added some quinacridone red.

That little palette in the lower right has the triad colors in it that I used in this painting.  Isn't it the cutest little palette you've ever seen!


Some Colorful Fruit

Pears, Persimmons, and a Lime
This watercolor sketch is painted in my journal on Aquarius II paper.  This journal is a Coptic (my version of Coptic) stitch.  Coptic is nice because the pages open flat, but it is a little awkward at the point where two signatures (sections of paper) come together.  There is a gap there, as you can see,  but it is a sketchbook  -  we are not doing masterpieces in them.  I could choose not to cross over to the facing page with my sketch, but this space really doesn't bother me.  Then why am I talking so much about it? i have to say something  -  I'm blogging everyday.

Are you painting today?


Day 12

 View of the Bay
I almost expected the street lights to come on this afternoon. It is dark, dark, dark here.  I went to the grocery and bought some colorful fruit  -  pears and more persimmons.  That will give us something bright and cheerful to paint in class tomorrow.

This is day 12 of blogging every day in November, and I have nothing artistic or creative to post.  Of course I could go back through my summer sketchbook and post things I haven't posted yet, but the summer  sketches just didn't seem to fit the day.  Do you realize that we will have this "gray-ness" for months now?  If you're not from northern Michigan, do you understand how drab it gets?  I'm askin' for a little sympathy here. 

Actually, the changing of seasons is really nice,  but I think we'd all just like it to change back to spring a little earlier.

Well, let's see how productive we can all be this winter. We could make daily sketching a habit .  Maybe you already do.  I've been slacking.  Here I go.


Yellow Leaves in Snow

The Last of the Colorful Trees
I painted this tree this afternoon in my sketchbook to capture the last of the bright leaves.  The sky and the hills across the Bay were a very dark gray-blue.  The wind was blowing and it started to snow.  It's very likely the leaves will be gone by morning. It's a rather delicate looking tree, but apparently very strong willed  -  all the large trees have given up their leaves long ago.

I liked the contrast of the warm yellow and the deep blue.  Doesn't nature have some fabulous color combinations?!

November 11th  -  thank you Veterans!!!


Bay View Cottage

Bay View
This is a continuous line drawing / watercolor sketch done in my sketchbook one morning this past summer while I was waiting for my class to show up.

From the look of things here today, summer is long gone, but it's nice to remember. It was very windy this morning with dramatic clouds.  This is a good time of year to do some cloud studies.  I'll give it a try tomorrow.

Hope you had a good weekend.  Did you sketch?



I was craving color after doing some value sketches in gray scales.  Nothing cures that craving like a persimmon. 

This was done in gouache on  Bogus Rough Sketch paper. Gouache is an opaque watercolor that acts and smells kind of like tempera.  It's very different from painting with transparent watercolor because you can paint from dark to light as you would with acrylic or oils.  It's very "blend-able" and can be made more transparent with more water.

It's been a dark, drippy, cold day here today.  I haven't had to be out in it, so I've just enjoyed the cosiness of the day.  It's been one of those days that is pleasantly long  -  like a gift of a stretched out day.   We even did some chores.  In this quirky old house, the storm windows go up on the inside, so that was our main project of the day. 

Okay.  I think it's time for nachos and a movie.

What are you doing this weekend?


Another Value Sketch

Drawn on Bogus Rough Sketch Paper
"Bogus Rough". Don't you love that?  It just sounds gutsy, doesn't it?  Actually it looks and feels a lot like a heavy kraft paper.  You can buy it in a tablet, and it's made by "Bee Paper".

Using a toned paper allows you to use the paper as the mid value, the use charcoal for the deep shadows and white chalk for the highlights.  It's an altogether different look than the hard edges you get with markers.  The markers are fast and simple.  The chalk and charcoal are slower and more "artistic".   Someone in class said, "Oh, this is fun!  I feel like Leonardo, sketching on this brown paper."  I wonder if Leonardo's paper was brown to begin with.

I'm having a lot of fun with value sketches,  but I'm beginning to crave color.  Maybe tomorrow.


Value Sketch

Chartpak Markers on Drawing Paper
"Value" means the lights and darks
In this week's classes we are discussing, and doing, value sketches.  This one was done with some new markers I sent for.  They come in a whole range of gray scales in warm or cool shades of gray.  I just bought three  -  numbers 2, 5, and 8 in the cool series.  It shows up very cool on my monitor, but very warm in real life.  I can't imagine how warm the warm grays must be.  They are Chartpak markers.

Lemme tell ya  -  they are very smelly and very "bleedy". 

I know gray scales are used in a wide range, but I do best working with three values.  Once I get those three established, others begin to fill in as I continue to draw or paint, but three is definitely enough for me to think about.

We're also working on mid value paper with chalk and charcoal.  More later.


Day 6

The Recycled Sculpture at the Transfer Station
I took my sketchbook to the recycle center yesterday when I went on a field trip with our youngest granddaughter's class.  It was really very interesting. It's nice to know there is so much recycling going on and that it's so worthwhile.

This little sketch is a continuous line drawing that took only two or three minutes.

In class this morning we did value sketches using various pens, pencils, chalk, and charcoal.  More tomorrow. The excitement builds, huh.


Cathy's White Birdhouse

A Sketch from this Summer
This was from one of our bookbinding workshops.  On Day two of the workshop, we paint in the books that we made the day before.

Today I'm going  with my youngest granddaughter's class to the county transfer station.  AKA the dump.  My husband says, "Don't bring anything home."

What are you sketching today?


Day 4 of "blog everyday"

Margaret's Birch Trees
This page in my journal was a demonstration during a class this past summer.  We were painting at a student's home on a beautiful lake.  It was one of those intriguing places with lots of family history, long front porches, multiple cottages, a tennis court, a long winding drive back to the lakeside property .  .  .

Now winter is setting in, but they can't take that day at Margaret's away from us. All of us who were there that day have something in our sketchbooks to remind us.  Photographs remind us of an event or place, but sketches help us to remember how it felt, smelled, and sounded, and tasted of course  -  we did have lunch on one of those looong porches.

Carry your sketchbooks around with you so you don't miss anything.


Light Shape in Dark, Dark Shape in Light

Demonstrations of light shapes in dark, and dark shapes in light.
Awhile ago we did these in my classes.  I love little house shapes.  They're fun to move around the composition and play with the values.

The lightest light against the darkest dark  is the focal point  -  whether it wants to be or not.  Also the pointed shape of the gable end draws our attention.

With a large brush, these little paintings quickly give you what you need to know for a larger, more serious painting. You've worked out a simple composition, a value pattern, and a harmonious color scheme.  If one or more of these elements didn't work out for you, you probably have, at that point, a pretty good idea of what might have gone wrong.  With your large brush you just do another little painting until you get what you want.

We lost a lot of leaves overnight  -  it's beginning to look like winter.  Today we had sunshine and the trees with their red or yellow leaves still hanging on were beautiful. The trees have been slower to drop their leaves this year  -  the city has even delayed the leaf pick-up to an, as yet, undetermined date.  This is big deal stuff, huh?  Day three of Blogging Everyday in November!


Small White Cottage

Watercolor Demo on Arches 140 cold press paper

This is a small watercolor sketch that I did for my class a couple of weeks ago.  We have been talking in my classes about WHY we paint a certain subject.  How can we paint it very simply and still show WHY we painted it.  So  -  we were concentrating on composition, value and simplicity of strokes and shapes.

I was attempting to show sunshine and contrast, and it was painted in just a few minutes with a large brush.  I painted in the flowers first  -  always lightest brightest first.  Then just swooped through with a medium green, being careful to paint around the house shape and the flowers. Next were some dark, negative shapes around the cottage, and in the trees and flowers.  The last thing was a series of squiggles of green for a little foreground interest.

I love doing small watercolors with a 10 or 14 brush  -  it moves it right along.  Instant gratification.