Salad Prep

Prismacolor Pencil on Mi Teintes Paper
with a little collage
I don't really care for the way the pencil looks on the mi teintes paper, but now I know, and that's what sketchbooks are for  -  experimenting.  The paper is rougher on one side, so as it is bound in my book, the left page in this illustration is rougher that the right page. 

On the right hand page, I had drawn the blue cheese box and hated the way the pencil looked on the paper, so I glued a piece of paper over it and collaged the end of the box onto the page.  Sometimes students will ask me if that's ethical  -  to rip out, cover up, paint over  -  I always say it's your sketchbook  -  do whatever you want.  I don't get into perfectionism in my sketchbooks, but I also don't see any reason to look for the rest of your life at a page you hate.

The page makes me happy  -  I was making a salad to take to dinner with friends, a fabulous French version of La Mer was playing on Pandora Radio, and a pair of cardinals was perched near the window.
There is nothing beautiful about the page, except the nice reminder of a very pleasant period of time.

Here we are almost into November. It seems as if we just wrapped up summer, and now I am busy locking in things for next summer  -  workshops and classes.  It makes me think about the past summer and look forward to next summer.  Nice.

If anyone is interested in the salad, it consisted of red Boston lettuce, Bartlett and bosc  pears, red onion, almonds, dried cranberries, and blue cheese.


Tiny Pumpkins at Dawn

A Page in my Sketchbook
These tiny pumpkins were sitting on the window sill in my studio and the early morning sky was very dark blue behind them.  A few days later, I painted the pears that were on the kitchen counter while I was getting dinner.  Yes, I did paint them while I was getting dinner  -  you know, when the mood strikes. Remember, some of the pigments are toxic, so try not to be too sloppy with them in the kitchen.  Remember what happened to Vincent Van Gogh.  No, not the ear thing, the ingesting of paint thing.  Too much lead white pigment in his kitchen.

We have had rain and more rain, but yesterday was beautiful  -  sunny and warm. This little painting is of some flowers still hanging on in a small metal urn in friend Karen's garden.  It is watercolor done on mi teintes paper.  I really didn't expect the watercolor to cover that well.  I like the effect.  I'm going to try Prismacolor pencils next on this paper.   I bound some of it into my sketchbook. Try out some different papers now and then  - it sparks creativity in simple ways.  Try some different paper, pencils, pens, brushes.
Remember,  we aren't after a finished product or a masterpiece each and every time we pick up our art supplies, but somewhere in all that playing and experimenting, we'll get one.


Small Shape Demo

 These Little Paintings are Each About 2.5" X 4"
This week in class I handed out very small black and white images of simple building shapes  -  houses, sheds, and barns. The assignment was to choose one of the shapes and put it in a very simple setting.  First we did a very light shape in a very dark setting, and then a very dark shape in a light setting.  The challenge is to have enough contrast without the shape looking pasted on.

The third part of the exercise was to do the whole painting in a middle value, and then do some very simple contrasts to bring out the focal point.  We didn't really have enough time to do it justice, but we'll work on that next week when we get into composing some "serious" paintings.

The idea of these very small paintings was to do them in a "brainstorming" mindset  -  not worrying about what was right or wrong, but just doing it, and seeing what worked and what didn't.  If we work out our compositions in a very small format, and they take up very little time or space, it is easy to move on.

As so often happens to me in the fall, I have a million things on my mind that I want to spend some time on  -  painting, writing, blogging, journaling, cooking  .  .  . and the list goes on.  Do I give one thing at a time my undivided attention, or do I do a little of everything?

We've had some cold rain, sleet, and day-time temperatures in the 40s.  It's time to settle in for the winter (!) and start on some of those things on my list.  What's on your list?


Painting with a Triad

Demonstrations from Today's Class
A triad is a variation of the three primaries  -  red, blue, and yellow.  For this demo I used quinacridone red, ultramarine blue, and hansa yellow.  We were just trying out different ways of getting the paint on the paper.

The little peppers are sooo cute  -  very small (about an inch and a half) and very bright.  They say they are sweet, but I haven't tasted them yet.  So  -  if these very small peppers are sweet, what happens with the rule "the smaller the pepper, the hotter pepper"?  I know very little about peppers, and I liked that rule.  It seemed simple enough, but now  .   .   .

Are you sketching today?


From the Workshop

Looking Back on Late Summer Classes and Workshops
 On our second day of the book binding workshop we painted in the journals, and the page on the right shows some examples of pens and pencils we were trying out.

I was going to do a demonstration page of a few pens and pencils, but then a friend brought me several pencils from the Derwent factory in Britain.  Now I want to try them all.  I don't know how anyone thought up that many pencils  -  colorsoft, charcoal, sketching, graphic, drawing .  .   .

Tomorrow my fall classes begin.  I haven't done any classes since the 11th of September, and I'll be glad to get back at it.  I have some beautiful, tiny sweet peppers for the classes to paint.  I made a trip out to the farm market today, and realized soon it will have just pumpkins and squash, and then just Christmas trees.

The leaves are really changing color here.  We have definitely switched to a new season.