Thursday, May 30, 2013


And now for something completely different...I had started a few gourd creations last year, and did some wood burning on this particular one, with a bit of paint and leather dye.  I knew that it needed something special to finish of the top edge, and when I found a long needle pine tree, felt that was the route  to go.  Keep in mind, I have not done a lot of pine needle weaving (or any), so my edges aren't the most perfect!  I used waxed twine and a beading needle to work the edging.  I think it came out beautiful, especially with my constant sneezing throughout the process!  Well worth it. I plan on doubling up my allergy meds and doing some more of this!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


We are getting less and less hummingbirds at our feeders every year.  I am always excited to do some 2 and 5 minute sketches of them in motion outside my window.  This one was very territorial, and hovered at the feeder a long time, taking breaks to drive my 2 cats nuts!  I started with a 5 minute sketch, and then expanded it in my studio, adding a few extra details, and coloring it in with watercolor pencils.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


I discovered this beetle bug in an old insect identification book, and was amused by its' shape and expression.  It is true to form, but is comical to look at, and great fun to draw.  I can see turning this drawing into a children's book with fun characters!

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Yup, that's an ear.  An old man ear, with a bit of a droop to the lobe.  Possibility of hair growing out of it in the next year or two.  Yup, an ear...Ahhhh!  I need a life!

Friday, May 24, 2013


It has been so long since I worked just in graphite, and it is one of my favorite mediums, so I decided to get back with it.  This Stag Beetle was the perfect study, as it is a solid black insect.  I used 4 levels of hardness in the graphite, and really enjoyed trying to get some depth out of them.  I look forward to doing some more.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I painted this particular impressionistic landscape while living in Great Falls, Montana.  They have a lovely park in the center of town, as well as a river running through.  I was taking a weekend art workshop, learning to paint impressionistically.  The first day was frustrating for me.  If you have perused my portfolio, you know by now that I am a detail oriented person.  Crisp and clear is what I like!  But I was trying to branch out and grow a bit.  So here I was, struggling with the entire concept of NOT painting details.  Obviously, my instructor was frustrated as well...with me!  By the second day, he stomped up to me and told me to 'unfocus'.  When I couldn't do that, he grabbed my glasses and walked off, saying "You will get your glasses back at the end of the day".  Well...I cannot see 4" in front of my face without glasses, so squinting at the garden, I began to paint what I saw.  Eureka!  No wonder Monet painted his waterlillies impressionistically!  He couldn't see the darn things!  Hence, 'impression'.   As you can see by the results, I got the concept and painted the garden.  Pretty good for a blind woman!  I am pleased with the results, and it taught me how to loosen up (at least for the backgrounds of my paintings).  I call this 'Braille Gardens', after my experience.  Hope you like it!

Saturday, May 18, 2013


By taking a commission, you are promising to create someone else's vision.  Do you know how hard that is?!  To give you an example, hubby took a commission to carve wooden beads that look like specific foods for her toddler at $2 each.  Not much pay for all that work, but he thought it would be fun.  The client thought the broccoli looked too much like cauliflower, the cheese had too many holes and the T-bone should be a rib-eye.  She thought the egg was too oval, the apple too round and the milk cartons weren't one gallon ones.  AAAAH!!!!  The frustration of it all!  You have to be really skilled to crawl into someone else's mind and 'see' their vision.  And they don't realize how much work is involved with it.  They want it at Wal-Mart prices.  Being an artist is hard enough without having to be clairvoyant as well...
On the other hand, I did a commission piece just recently, and it was a wonderful experience to be able to bring to life that person's vision.  When they choose the right artist that already has a similar vision, it really works out well, and is satisfying for both parties.  If you choose Rembrandt to paint like Jackson Pollock, you are not going to be happy with the results.  If your patron wants something that is out of your realm of art, speak up...tell them it isn't a good fit, even if you really want to try to force yourself into their vision.  Otherwise, you will be unhappy, they will be unhappy, and your reputation will suffer. I had to turn down a commission recently because the person loved my wildlife art, but wanted a portrait.  I am VERY uncomfortable with painting people.  I am comfortable with wildlife, and I knew that no matter how hard I tried, we were both going to be unhappy with the results.  Instead, we came to a compromise...when she wants a portrait of her dog, I am ready!

Friday, May 17, 2013


In working on my contour lines, these are some of the many rejects for finished pieces.  I thought you might like to see that it is not always easy for the lines to come out properly.  90% of the time, they come out meandering and wayward, straggling about like a little lost soul.  I do a LOT of drawings to get the few that come out in a way that I like!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Instinct is a wonderful thing...While drawing this, I actually was able to keep things fairly straight on the paper, and work in some textures as well.  I am especially pleased with the wings, and the intricate line work that came out!  FUN!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I really like the beak on this drawing. While drawing it, I thought that I had forgotten to work in the top knot on the heron's head, and drew it twice, giving it an interesting scribbly effect. Does it say something about me as an artist that I like my work better when I am NOT looking at it?!

Monday, May 13, 2013


This is a contrived contour line drawing...that means that I cheated and peaked when I was drawing it!  While interesting, it is not nearly as good as the blind contour drawings.  There are not as many interesting detours with the ink, and it is rather stiff.  A good lesson for me, I think!

Sunday, May 12, 2013


I am especially fond of this contour line drawing.  You get some wonderful surprises when you aren't looking at the paper, and the beak on this hummingbird came out elongated, and exaggerated, and INTERESTING!  Art is always a surprise to me!

Saturday, May 11, 2013


It is probably not a good idea to do your drawing with a migraine...everything comes out looking like a wonky cartoon.  On the other hand, this butterfly has the most interesting and expressive little head!

Friday, May 10, 2013


I have been working on a contour line commission the past few weeks, so got interested again in the simplicity of line, and guiding my pen with mind only, not eyes.  This one came out pretty good, considering I had no idea where my pen was going!!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I am still doing a few boxed up things. This is the eye of a small goldfinch.  I am obsessed with getting the eyes just right!  Nuts, I know...Do all artists need therapy?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


This is just an exercise to get me going again after several days of allergies are keeping me from doing more...and that is just an excuse!!!  I drew this with a pilot pen that was almost out of ink, and had a nice, scratchy feel to it.  I love the folds of the squash blossom!

Friday, May 3, 2013


I will toot my own horn today...I have been trying on a new blog for the past few months, and have been really happy with the results.  If you are interested in feathering your nest, decorating your home on a budget, and collecting all sorts of off the wall items, I hope you will visit my new blog:
Antiqueryrose at:
I publish a variety of craft projects, ideas for repurposing antiques, and ideas just generally for making a house into your own private cozy nest. Welcome to my home!


While this is not my own eye, it is definitely a woman with some allergy problems of her own!  I am working hard on putting the light reflections in the eye in a believable way.  I don't think that this eye has as much dimension as the first one, but  it is not bad...considering. I am using a Pilot fine tip pen, a Copic Cool Grey 30%, and color pencils.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


The April winds blew this leaf in the other day, and I was lazy enough to sketch it instead of going outdoors to do a little plein aire work.  Actually, I think that I am allergic to the entire state of Tennessee right now!  Everything is blooming and I am sneezing my way through spring.  I will continue to sketch from my window, until the oak trees have stopped flinging bright yellow-green pollen my way! My favorite thing about this leaf? The shadows!