Items Around My Desk

unethical messageMade a discovery while noticing random items around my desk sitting on the window sill and the edge of my desk this morning. I was admiring the sky and little layer of snow and then Bingo! There it was.

Sitting on my window sill there is a little saying page-turner thing, that I love to turn to the next page each morning… most of the time it gives me quite a chuckle. This morning it said something that made me think about our world and all the corruption evident in politics.

“It’s only unethical if you get caught.”

That sure is relevant today.” My next thought was, “Why is it that politicians can get away with unethical acts, they seem to be exempt from the laws?” It is so screwed up, and then my thoughts began to spiral.

But, before things can get out of hand, I notice the beautiful light outside and start thinking about all the beauty that God places outside for us to see. In the next moment, I  think “That kerosene lantern makes a wonderful warm light.” Then my eyes drift down and I see my bible laying right there. And a revelation ensues.

Someone already knows ALL of what we do!

If it is

“unethical”

then IT IS SIMPLY “UNETHICAL”

and

GOD ALREADY KNOWS.

 

God Works In Wonderful Ways, doesn’t He? Remembering this simple fact calms my worries about the government and politics all around me. I can let it all go and enjoy rendering the scene in my little artist bubble where birds sing and butterflies flutter around in a field of beautiful flowers. It is all in His hands. I am going to do this ink sketch again “in pencil” today, to just let this thoughtfully sink in. Besides, I love to draw in pencil anytime, and I could use the practice. Haha.

Different Approaches to White Heron

Great White Heron photograph
Great White Heron photograph by
Elise Beattie.

Challenge

Finding different approaches to painting this beautiful Great White Heron is what our Fearless Painting class guru, Elise Beattie, has challenged us over the weekend. This is some beautiful photography Elise Beattie!

If we choose to accept this assignment…. this challenge will self-destruct in 5 seconds.

Great White Heron Pen & Ink
Great White Heron Pen & Ink

Initially, I do a quick black and white study in my sketchbook with a gel pen (nothing special).

sketch Great White Heron
sketch of Great White Heron for a watercolor

I scrounge around in the studio to find a leftover piece of watercolor paper from a project to work on. This simply means there is a surprise ink drawing on the back of the sheet for anyone purchasing the image. Kind of a two-for-one prize for the art collector, you know. I decided on a much closer view for this Heron rendering in watercolor. The dimensions are taken off of my B&W sketch.

Proportional Divider
Drafting Proportional Divider

When I want accuracy, I have to grease those crazy artist mind gears. I break out a tool from the old drafting days that will ensure correct results twice as big on the watercolor paper. The tool I use is called a “Precision Deluxe Proportional Divider”  (made in Germany).

Would you like a tutorial about how to use this tool in another post on this blog? Leave me a comment if you do. It is unlikely that anyone is dying to learn how to do this though.

Proportional Divider in German
Prop Divider instructions in German

On the instruction sheet, there are some really useful instructions in German on the flip side, just in case you were wondering. How is your German? Mine is terrible.

I do anticipate making a third layout today using a different approach with acrylics on a canvas board, but I haven’t gotten there yet. First, I need to finish my piano practice.

Abstract Impression

abstract impression
10″w x 8″h sketchbook abstract impression

Here is an abstract impression of a painting that I admire. It is our monthly challenge for the April 2020 meeting in the Spokane Watercolor Society.

The Challenge is “Just an Impression” No clear reality here. Paint an impression and see if viewers get the ‘point’.

I did enjoy this challenge, as it did let me reach out and try something new.  When I was in high school I painted, using neon colors, lots of abstract posters to populate my bedroom. But at this stage in my artist life, I actually felt a little guilty, as though I may have wasted some supplies doing this. I am happy with the fun had anyhow. You can probably tell that abstract is not my favorite style of painting at this point in time though.

First, I thought of a painting I’d like to make an impression of. Then, I started with real loose pen work, then added strokes of color and dabs of different paint until it felt done.

Can you guess which painting I was looking at while doing this exercise?

It is a well-known piece by a Dutch post-impressionist painter.

Dragonfly In Cosmos

Dragonfly in Cosmos
15″w x 11″h watercolor & ink on 140lb Arches cold press.

Just finished a fun watercolor of a dragonfly in cosmos blossoms. We have dragonflies in our garden every year and they are just so fascinating to watch. Their wings seem to glisten as they fly over all the blossoms with their transparent wings. An “eye candy” insect with great colors in their silent flight. They are also quite the benefit to have around, check out the info here. Dragonflies

I do dragonflies frequently because each one I find is always different in colors and shapes and they are usually admiring blooms as I do while I work in the garden.

Art is Gone

Art Gone

This art is gone. Here are the paintings and drawings that were sold at two recent community craft shows. These art pieces are newly adopted due to the Herculean efforts, of my dear friends who help me. I love it when art pieces find new homes! Not only does it help the pocketbook, but it also spreads love as it gives credibility to the endless hours spent throughout my artist life perfecting skills. Many, many, many hours.

Pen & Ink with Watercolor

Hummingbird Heaven J3019

Hummingbird Hovers Over A Sunflower J4019
9″h x 12″w watercolor on 80lb drawing paper.

Watercolors

Birch Autumn Passion J4119
10″w x 13″h watercolor on 140lb wc paper.

Birch Autumn Passion J4119 watercolor

Huckleberry Five Study I2619
5″w x 6″h watercolor on 300 lb wc paper

Huckleberry Five Study I2619 watercolor

Riverfront Park Clock Tower From Above D2219
9″w x 12″h watercolor on 140lb wc paper.

Riverfront Park Clock Tower D2219 watercolor

Yellow & Brown Sunflowers J3719
10″w x 14″h watercolor, on 140lb Fabriano paper.

Sunflowers Yellow & Brown J3719 watercolor

Pen & Ink

Hummingbird Heaven J3019
10″w x 14″h pen & ink on 300lb Arches wc paper.
Linx Pen & Ink_B0613
18″w x 24″h pen & ink on sketch paper.

Linx B0613 pen & ink

 

I remember seeing how a persons face transforms as they pick up a piece of my art, with their expression suddenly becoming full of awe and love.

Never doubt, how important art really is.

To me, witnessing this beautiful event is almost a magical experience. It makes the trials and tribulations with learning, practicing, and perfecting skills all throughout my life as an artist, seem totally worthwhile after all.

Larry and Linda Pointer are such wonderful blessings to me and many others. They included my art along with their own crafts, being sold to raise funds for their favorite tax deductible charity at these shows. People enjoyed the art and made comments along with their purchases. Linda saw the pleasure on the faces of the people, as they shopped at their table. Take a look at the charity they are supporting.

“HRC Ministries.”

Please feel free to donate, if you feel drawn to. Slavery – HRC Ministries is set up to assist with the escape and rehabilitation of people trapped in Human Trafficking (Sex Slavery).

These pieces of art have been discovered, chosen, and adopted into new homes. I am feeling quite positive about having more space in the studio, which I will just keep filling back up with art.

If you’d like something similar to any of these let me know, I’d be glad to make one for you on commission.

Research Before Drawing

I routinely research before drawing. Research about whatever it is I plan to draw, to be able to correctly illustrate things. Searching for the general facts, like sizes, colors, friends & enemies and next finding good photography.

First, I envision the character realistically. Then, heavily simplifying the lines the challenge becomes how do I give them some human capabilities while retaining realistically identifiable species characteristics. Here are some sketch examples.

rhino research sketch 4 rhino research sketch 6 rhino research sketh 7

I had no idea!

When I did the research on rhinos I found that I was totally oblivious to their plight. I had no idea that they were so close to extinction. The White Rhino is one of 5 quickly disappearing species of Africa, and Eurasia. Rhinos live in tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannahs, shrublands, forests, and deserts. Unfortunately, with numbers dropping so drastically, many remain only in wildlife reserves now. The main factors driving the rhino population to extinction:

  • increasing human population creating less and less habitat for them
  • wars and militia massacres
  • greedy poachers

rhino research sketch 5Poachers kill approximately 3 rhinos each day to sell their horns for highly inflated profits. Poachers are the worst threats, very much like drug smugglers or cartels. Honestly, money is a most important thing to them. Insidious criminals with no conscience.

Research the Horns

rhino research sketch 8Poached rhino horns are purchased by two major markets in the world. The Chinese and Vietnamese mistakenly believe that magical medicinal properties exist in rhino horns. Not true. Rhino horns are made of “Keratin” which, is what human fingernails and hair are comprised of. If Keratin is magical medicine, we don’t have to kill the rhinos for it. Honestly, anyone needing “keratin” can simply chew on their own fingernails or hair and get the same results.

This horrific act of killing rhinos and harvesting their horns makes me ashamed to be a member of humanity. I wish it would stop.

Pen & Ink Character

Pen & Ink fun

Insects in pen & ink
insects with pen & ink pens

I was looking for a pen & ink character project to work on, flipping through a stack of unfinished or abandoned projects that I am gradually completing. Suddenly, I found an old cute rhino character, a male baby on a mission. Looking at this sketch, my artist brain immediately kicked into high gear thinking random thoughts;

  • Maybe a female baby rhino would be better…
  • She could wear a ribbon in her hair or maybe even a ruffled skirt…
  • Hey, there is room for improvement with what she is doing here…
  • It is kind of boring, sweating in the heat all by herself…
  • I could add another character for her to talk to…
  • Hey, the environment needs to change here…
  • I know, I’ll add radical thorns on a cactus plane…
  • Maybe erase this over here.

Before I knew it, a whole new scene and character had emerged. Now, that is something worth inking and I was ready to go.

Riva the Rhino is hot! She asks, “Where is the water?”

“Turn around, it is back that way,” says the caterpillar on the cactus.

Riva the Rhino
16″w x 10″h pen & ink on 140lb wc paper. A baby rhino is asking a caterpillar in a cactus plant where the water is at.

Next, I found myself looking for “R” names for a girl. She is a rhino so she needs an R name for sure.  I found a perfect name, “Riva” which means “regain strength” in Latin. Riva the Rhino. The rhino population needs to regain its strength in numbers really badly. Check out my next post to see what I learned from researching rhinos.

I think Riva the Rhino, could be a really interesting character for an ongoing comic strip or children’s book. What do you think?

 

Inktober 2019

I noticed a InkTober 2019 pen and ink challenge on the Dick Blick Art Supplies. The juror is Jake Parker, and after looking at his video on YouTube, I was ready. Inspired to dust off the cobwebs and do some pen & ink work, after all.

…it’s like riding a bike, isn’t it?

Hummingbird Heaven Attained J3019

The first drawing entered, Inktober 2019 Challenge.

Hummingbird Heaven J3019
10″w x 14″h pen & ink on 300lb Arches wc paper.

First Pen & Ink

Mrs. Dorinda Lum at Castle High School entered it into the “dip” pen & ink and wildlife rendering. It won the Windward Artist Guild scholarship in 1977. Here is the first pen & ink I did in high school using a simple dip pen and pictures from the classroom National Geographic magazine of elephants in Africa as a reference. It was a pen & ink drawing done on sketch paper, entitled, “Elephant”. Pen & ink has been a highly favored medium of mine since … long, long, ago!

Surprise, Surprise!

Discovering various dried-out bottles of ink, fully hardened dip pen tips, rapidograph’s (both clean and dirty) in various stages of assembly and disassembly…. stashed all over the studio. Suddenly,  this little thought became more-of-a-chore real quick.

What was I thinking? Oh, that’s right, I wasn’t!

Evidently, right now is time for me to clean out, fix up and reorganize my drawer of pen & ink drawing supplies. Just when I thought I’ve made good progress in cleaning up the studio, I discover another mess hiding somewhere. Uh-huh, the pen & ink stuff is now all spiffy here in the studio.

a horse illustration…

This one was a mixed media done as a practice session or equine study. It is available in the studio.

Horses in different positions and styles done before doing a motorcycle gas tank design in “Shadow” style, later that week.

Horse Ink Shadows G3306

Horse Ink Shadows G3306
20″w x 30″h ink/acrylic airbrush on illustration board