Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Need For A Sketchbook

Do you keep a sketchbook? 

Have you made it a habit?

If yo don't have a sketchbook habit, then you need to develop one. 

 If you have a creative calling of any kind, then you simply must express yourself in the pages of a addition to anything else you do.  

Call it an art journal, an artist's journal, or anything else you like, but you must do it.

A sketchbook doesn't have to be pretty, or themed, or pristine, or organized, or even good.  Let's face it, practically no one will ever see your sketchbooks except for you (unless you post them online).  

Every artist needs a private place to play, it is utterly vital!

If you want to develop your artistic habit, or satisfy your creative needs, then you really must keep a fact you should keep several.

You need to learn to let go of perfection and scribble a page through to some sort of completion.  You need to learn to loosen up and express yourself in as many ways that you can.

And if you are afraid of the blank to the center of the book and scribble...just scribble, then go back. skip the first page, and start on the next.

Nothing will develop your skill and style like keeping a sketchbook. 

This vase of watercolor flowers was done in a Stillman & Birn "Beta" series sketchbook.

Thanks for checking in. xx

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

An Art Addiction

I'm still waiting for all my art supplies to arrive in the US from Australia.  Four months is a long time to be separated from my tools of trade and I feel like my patience is wearing thin.  I can barely contain myself from browsing art stores and restocking my stash.

I am obsessed with art and creativity.  I know this because it is sometimes like an addiction...if I don't get my fix of creating, I get crabby and discombobulated.

 I have to run my hands over a sketchbook very often.  I need to roll a paintbrush over the page, or clutch my watercolor pencils and scribble or I become breathless and dizzy with frustration.  It sounds corny to many of you I know, but it is my reality, it's who I am, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Not all my art-fixes are pleasing, sometimes they are down and dirty and destined for the garbage bin.  They are nasty scribbles or splashes that are done purely to satisfy an uncontrollable, and sometimes monstrous urge.  
Thank goodness for sketchbooks, places to just privately indulge, to get a creative fix, to explore, or to express, then to hide away on a book shelf, anonymous to the onlooker.  
There is something about the pages of sketchbook, the possibilities it holds, the privacy it promises that completely consumes me.

I love cracking open a new sketchbook and sitting with the purity and innocence of it for a bit, daydreaming about my upcoming journey through it's pages, visualizing the many moments of pleasure and obsession soon to be mine.  

I live out my creative fantasies on the pages of my sketchbooks, I savor each pending rush of laying down colors and symbols that mostly mean nothing to anybody but me.

Closing a sketchbook that has been filled is bitter sweet, and happens so often for someone as obsessed as me.  I love to sneak peeks into its pages over time and view my own artistic evolution.  I honor all the experiences I have had as a result of the process, I remember the places I have been that are indelibly ingrained in the book.

But it is never the finished pages that are meaningful or important, with art there is no true destination. There is no attachment to a finished work, it is only the process of creating that holds the key to satisfaction..a satisfaction that is always short-lived and never truly attained.  

Fully embracing the process rather than the result is true artistic enlightenment.

Thanks for checking in. xx

Monday, April 21, 2014

Iowa Green

Welcome to a new week.  It seems that the first signs of new life are happening at last.  Spring has swept her joyful wand across Iowa and I am finally beginning to see green, new buds and growth in my garden.

I love this time of year, full of promise and renewal, and the never ending wonder of the cycle of life.  Finally, I will have more days to sit in my garden and sketch.

Of course, the leaves are never straight, their unfurling means they are small and curled.  Such beauties that are sometimes tricky to sketch.  But practice helps.

This sketchbook page was done in watercolor and ink.
I hope you have a wonderful week ahead of you.  Take your sketchbook wherever you go.

Thanks for checking in. xx

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Sketches - Week 7

 Welcome to Friday sketches. This is a weekly opportunity for you to share what you've been doing in your sketchbook or art-journal, and to connect to a wonderful community of fellow creative souls.

You can link your Friday Sketches at the end of this post.

Click here to view previous Friday Sketches

I want to thank everyone again who entered my Watercolor Pencil workshop giveaway as part of last week's Friday Sketches.  

The final two winners of a place in the class are:

Puneet Sidhu
Laila Jensen

Congratulations, and thank you for entering.  Please email me to confirm your registration.

Today for Friday Sketches I am showcasing some of the wonderful work that was shared by participants last week.  Be sure to click through and visit their blogs or social media pages.

In Laila's Corner
In Love With Colors

Janet's Art Play

shout to the lord daisies
Sentiments and Scrapbooks

Prachee :)

Maddie and Cyan messing around during practice.
Creative Explorations

My Secret Nest

Passion For Paper

My Secret Nest

My Secret Nest

Bare Footed Wanderer

Keeping a sketchbook or art journal enables you to practice your sketching skills, doodle creatively, meditate artistically, or any write your heart out, all while capturing the beauty and simplicity of the world around you. You can use any mediums, any techniques, and sketch any subjects you like. 

To join in Friday Sketches, simply link-up your specific blog post or social media image using the Linky link at the end of this post. You can link up any time during the coming week for a chance to have your sketches showcased on this blog next Friday. 

Be sure to put a link back here in your post and then visit the other participants to see what they have been up to. 

You can grab your "Friday Sketches" blog button here.

Thanks for checking in. xx

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Watercolor Lemons

Art of the garden is my first love, and it is here that I always find the most peace and flow.  There is no doubt that I am spending more and more time focusing in on floral/botanical/nature art.

I don't always have the time to be patient, so I have been doing some quick, more stylized watercolor sketches of fruit on the branch.  This week it's lemons in my Stillman & Birn "Zeta" Series Sketchbook using Sennelier L'aquarelle Artists Watercolors.

A simple pencil sketch started this page, blocking in the main shapes.  The colors were layered from lightest to darkest, maintaining values in the same color families and keeping the mixes very simple.

Up close, you can see a mish-mash of texture and brush strokes, but viewed from a distance, you can actually get a sense of the roundness of the fruit.  

Saving white spaces and maintaining highlights helps here. 

This was worked from a photograph as it's a little early for fruit to be making an appearance in my neck of the woods.

I am so looking forward to capturing more beauty from the garden in this way. 

Thanks for checking in. xx

(Linking to Paint Party Friday)
(Linking to Art Journal Every Day)
(Linking to Artists Play Room)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Watercolor Pencil & Mixed Media

When working with watercolor pencils, you don't have to draw directly onto a blank white page.  Sometimes a colorful vibrant background can work beautifully behind even the most complex of subjects.  The key is to mix up the media, creating a kind of dimensional distance between the subject and the background.

Painting a sketchbook page with matte acrylic can be an excellent surface on which to draw with watercolor pencils.  The matte acrylic creates a grainy tooth on which the pencil can hold.  It also creates a strong surface for other media. 

This page was done in a Stillman & Birn "Epsilon" Series Sketchbook.  The background was painted with Delta Ceramcoat Acrylic Paint.  These are more of a craft paint than a fine art acrylic, but they work beautifully for this kind of sketchbook treatment. 

When the page was dry, I sketched the flower using watercolor pencils, then used more acrylic to block in the main colors and shapes.  When it was dry I added shading and detail with more watercolor pencil.  I blended the pencil with water and this also enabled me to capture some of the acrylic underneath, thus creating some lovely color effects.

Just for fun, I added some sweeps of gold leafing over the stems, and Silks Acrylic Glaze over the flower petals.  It was a fun simple sketchbook page that looks more complicated that it was.  

I often paint several pages with blazing acrylic color and let them dry, then I take my sketchbook out into the garden, or somewhere else, and I sketch.  It's a wonderful way to shake up your sketching experience by breaking away from the standard white page...give it a go!!

I am scheduled to present a 90 minute live broadcast as part of 21 Secrets LIVE in June of this year.  I will be working through this technique as well as offering some other very simple, yet effective art journaling tips. 
Unfortunately, 21 Secrets LIVE is sold out, but you can still sign up for 21 Secrets SPRING through Dirty Footprints Studio.  Click here for more information.

Keep your eye out for more opportunities to catch me presenting live creative sessions over the coming year.

Thanks for checking in. xx