Category Archives: sketching

Car Scribbles

Nearly all Creatives have full time jobs and busy lives so it’s hard to find the time to be creative. This becomes a struggle as you think you’re letting yourself down or maybe you weren’t meant to be an artist (insert your creative here). My days are always busy with the 9-5. I often feel as though maybe I don’t want it bad enough or I’d try harder or quit and go freelance…

So I’m trying to make good use of my hour lunch. I spend it in my car in the parking lot. 


The first 15 mins are reading mail, catching up on my social media sites and yes a quick game of candy crush. I then take the next 15 mins and ‘try’ to meditate. Operative word being try, it’s a loud noisy parking lot, I won’t go into to details, you’d thank me 🙂


Then I get myself situated and spend 15 to 20 mins on what I call my #carscribbles sometimes it really is just a scribble other times it looks pretty good. I’ve started trying watercolour too, it’s a bit tough to get angled right in the car & my perspective looks off but it’s still fun.


I know I don’t spend the whole hour but this little bit keeps me sane so when I do have time at home I have #carscribbles in my sketchbooks with lots of ideas to develop. 

You have to keep drawing, regardless of whether it’s good or bad just the actual doing keeps your creative spark alight, it makes everything in this crazy world seem right. Try alotting a few minutes at lunch or make good use of those sticky notes. 

Realism Challenge

Last week during a visit to the local bookshop I found a book by Mark Crilley. I follow Mark in both YouTube and Instagram. He has some great tutorials on YouTube. The book is tutorials on realistic drawings. 

 1 torn paper 
So I’ve decided to do one a day during my lunch break. It’s good practice for me to keep drawing I get great hints and tips plus I get outside in the fresh air and away from that horrid cubby well it’s really a soul sucking cubby but I’m thinking positive 😉

 2 folded paper 
I have only done 3 so far and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I can’t wait to do more. 

 3 cracked eggshell 

Falling into winter

The weather here in the north east is starting to change. The leaves have turned and are falling everywhere. On days when it’s sunny and warm this is a wonderful time of year. It’s not cold and not too hot and there are no bugs to drive you insane. The colours of the leaves do nothing but inspire.

But when it’s chilly all you see, or I do, are dead leaves and then wait in expectation of the coming snow. Ugh the dreaded snow. I’m still in denial, I actually don’t like snow and I live in an awful snowy place 🙂

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When the weather starts cooling off I find it harder and harder to go up to the studio, the fingers do not work as well as they should in the cold room. The cozy living room and TV has more of a draw.

Right now the walls in the studio are white and the room is a bit clinical and I’m thinking it may need a nice warm Colour and maybe a cozy chair and throw. If I can make it cozy it will be easier to sit up there and work. My latest work in progress is spring flowers the flowers are a way of keeping those warm days in my mind and brightening the room.

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What tips and tricks do you all use to keep the studio warm, and yourselves moving and inspired during winter.

Redwoods

A few weeks ago my oldest came to me and we got talking about our futures and lack of spontaneity. She’s also a creative person and we have both been neglecting that side and fun! We both laughed about just taking off and doing something crazy. Spend time collecting wild flowers, sketching and journaling. What about Redwoods she says laughing.

So last Friday we hopped a plane and flew to San Francisco then drove 300 miles to Eureka. 22 hours of travel. Soo tired but soo worth it. Warm weather unlike here on east coast.
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We had a list of things to see and things we wanted to do like hug a tree, pick 3 flowers, eat organic. The redwoods are breathtaking just walking in the quiet the birds and flowers. We spent Saturday in the woods. Sunday we did the ocean. California reminds me a bit of home. Mountains, cliffs, ocean and forests not to mention the rolling pastures.

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We talked about our business idea and took many photos. We flew back Tuesday.

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I have to say I felt wonderful. The freedom the fun. So much inspiration. Everyone thought we were crazy, who in their right mind flies to California for a weekend…….We Do!

Sometimes you have to just ‘Live Out Loud’

Our Little Man

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This is a commission I just finished, for my daughter. This is her cat Oliver. I used 8 x 10 Canson Paper with soft pastel sticks. I also used a lot of pastel pencils. 20140725-184004-67204442.jpg

Once I got all the base colours in I used the pencils for details and hair.
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The funniest part was every time I sat to paint Oliver would lay right next to me on the shelf unit watching me. I think he wanted to make sure I captured his likeness properly.

 

In the Pink’ers’

Project two….
This one I decided was going to be small, mainly because I had this small 5×7 mat I wanted to use. Again the photo reference was from my phone of a Tea Rose from my garden, it was a burst of yellow, white and pink. I used the Canson again but I used a buff colour this time because of the yellows in the Rose, but wished that I had used white.

And again I was pleasantly surprised at how it came out. I should have made the image smaller for the mat as you cannot see it all once behind it but all in all not a bad image, I am happy with it. I still have lots to learn but happy is always a good thing.

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Something I noticed after both projects were finished they were both Pink! Not a colour I used to like but since becoming a breast cancer survivor I kind of lean towards it now unconsciously. Going back and looking at much of what I have been creating lately its all a bit pinkish. Maybe that’s it; maybe I should be creating Pink images, images for those of us that are now Pinker’s!

I think I like that word, #Pinker’s!

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Zentangle Shmentangle

When I was a kid my dad and I had this great game we played. We would take a piece of paper and very quickly make some squiggly lines that started and ended in the same spot. The rule was you didn’t put any thought into it just do it. We then handed it over to the other person where they would have to create an image within the squiggles. You could add a small item like an eye but no new lines.
You had to be very creative and think fast. It was very freeing and always sparked ideas for a later craft or art project or even a story.
The other part to this game was pattern creating. Oh my gosh zentangle….long before it existed as the ‘new thing’ for creatives. He could’ve made a fortune 😉

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I’ve been going back to that free hand squiggle lately, during my lunches I’ve been squiggle crazy and then pulling pieces out and using it to create some simple designs. I have some bigger plans for the simple WIP designs but only after I scan them, some digital work may add what I need.

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It’s been a lot of fun going back in time and has brought back so many memories of my dad and growing up in London.

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Yea Baby

As you may or may not know I’ve been playing with sanded pastel paper. It started with Nell the horse and went on to Brown Eye Susan (one of my favourite paintings yet) and I really enjoyed the paper and it’s very rough texture and its ability to take punishment.
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Well, I decided to try a portrait on this paper, from my past paintings I wasn’t sure portraits would work. The paper didn’t seem to lend itself to details. My daughters friend has a real cutie, Desmond. So after sorting through some photos I found one I liked. I started with the sanded paper and started to sketch.

However I really had a hard time blending the skin tones on this paper I kept walking away coming back making changes but ugh! I got to a point where I just had the base colours in and just could’nt get it to work.

So the photo is all that remains. It went out with the trash.
I have a hard time with throwing out art I figure if I keep it I can fix it. So this is a step forward for me, some might not, but it takes a lot to throw away a piece of art that you created.
So, back to the drawing board. This time I used Canson Pastel paper this had always been my go to paper for my pastel work before I started the sanded experiments.
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Much better, although you can see the texture of the paper, which I don’t mind I like the extra depth it gives and the blending for hair (baby fluff) and skin tones was much better. I was very happy with the outcome. I think I captured Desmond and his cute little face.

I also did the marketing thing as well and posted it on my Facebook page and twitter hoping that I can get some commissions for portraits. Part of my ongoing plan is to try and market myself more.

But….

I also do it because I love it! I do enjoy painting people and animals I get such pleasure from seeing the faces come alive on the paper not to mention the faces of the people I do the work for.

Sanded Paper 2

I am still playing with that #Pastel sanded paper that I bought. I bought 2 sheets, they were a medium brown colour. They actually look and feel just like sandpaper from the hardware store. I have always used the Basic paper that works for pastels, has a little tooth.

I am on my second painting, I cut the paper in half the first half I used for Nell Image

my painting of my sister’s horse, this time I decided to try something floral. My wonderful daughter takes breathtaking photos, I use some of these for my inspiration.

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I did this painting with soft pastel sticks and used some soft pastel pencils for the finer details. This paper is great it takes so much punishment everything blends well and you can just keep adding more and more layers and you don’t need to fix it first (this means adding a solution so the pastel is no longer loose and chalky). What are the fall backs? Well, I have found it does wear down your pastels very quickly and the brush blending I had used before doesn’t really work well on this paper.

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The usual Canson Mi-Teintes that most artists use covers well too. I can take brushes when doing hair and get a great sweep and texture that looks like hair, but I have found you can see the paper detail and you cannot add lots of layers without using fixative to seal each layer. But your pastels will last longer.

So here is the finished painting, Brown Eye Susan

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So for me I think I rather prefer the Sanded paper for things like nature and landscape, but maybe for portraits maybe the Canson paper. I think a little more testing is needed 🙂

Nellie the Belgian

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Last year my sister got a new horse, Nell. She is huge they have other Belgian draft horses but none are quite this big. I headed over for a visit and took some great photographs. But I took this one close up of her face, just one eye and piece of face I just love it. It’s been sitting in my ‘studio’ (bedroom) for awhile now, I really wanted to paint this it was such a great shot.

This weekend I moved my work area out of my bedroom to the kitchen. I got everything nicely set in front of the window, I feel more comfortable in this spot and I am close to everyone instead of far far away. The kids were gone and I had bought my very first piece of sanded pastel paper. Perfect time to paint.
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I have never tried this sanded pastel paper before I had read an article on it and really wanted to test it. It was just like the fine sandpaper you get from the hardware store. The paper was a nice reddish colour and so is Nell…..perfect. Laying down the base colours was great this paper blends beautifully and takes far more punishment than regular paper.
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I put a few layers of colour down building slowly. Once I was happy with it I started on the details, adding a bit at a time. I used both the soft pastel sticks and the harder pastel pencils which give me a finer detail for the smaller areas. The sanded paper does wear down your pastels quicker but I can put several layers down where as I cannot on regular paper.