Monday, September 15, 2008

Workshop A Big Success

"Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins." ~ Jim Rohn

Sept. 12 - 14th, 2008 WORKSHOP - Day One

I started today's lessons with a warm up exercise I came up with at the spur of the moment. Holding the pencil like a wand, I encouraged students to use their whole arm and wrist while making various scribbles on their paper. Everyone seemed to agree that this helped them to loosen up for the sketching to follow.

I have some wood bird carvings and decided to use them as models for our two minute gesture sketches. After the allotted time was up, each person turned their bird clockwise a quarter of a turn. Each participant did a dozen sketches, three birds, four views each.

This is a wonderful exercise that I haven't done in a long time. None of the students had ever done a blind contour. This teaches hand eye coordination. You can't look down at your paper while you are drawing. You must only look at the subject while the pencil is moving. This trains you to caress the object with your eyes. After this exercise, students followed along with handouts as we went on to drawing a hummingbird from my Six Steps to Sensational Sketches Demo.

After lunch break, we did a value painting of a lighthouse. I explained WET-IN-WET techniques on painting skies, grass, water and buildings. Here is my demo painting.

"If you get into the habit of sketching, you'll never be bored."
~ Sandy Sandy

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Art Instruction Blog

Last week I was contacted by Ralph Serpe; artist, writer, musician and webmaster, about having my "Sensational Sketches In Six Simple Steps" featured on his blog. He writes; "I own and maintain a very popular blog on Art Instruction. My site receives over 20,000 unique visitors each month, and I have a subscriber base of nearly 9,000 artists, all hungry for fresh new content." I checked it out and saw it was of very high caliber. Of course I said YES!

Please visit: and check it out!

Comments about my demo on

"Sandy's six steps are truly simple to follow, and inspirational to beginners like me." ~Nzo-Nguty Etahoben

"Great article, I'm printing it out and stuffing it into my sketchbook." ~ Cindy Davis

"Thanks for the tutorial. It is great and clear. I was looking for something like this for a long time." ~ Aramond


I did this sketch today from the wildflower bouquet Jerry got for me on Sunday. The stand was closed, but when Jerry told the lady, Mrs. Knight, who I was, she remembered me from a hummingbird presentation I did at her garden club. When he told her I was painting them, she marched out into the garden and cut these for me. I wanted to sketch them again to go with my special announcement today. Like summer, I guess I don't want to let go of my "SketchingEveryday" just yet.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Labor Day here, in Southern NJ, signals shorter days, cooler temperatures and the change of summer into fall. Many of my hummingbirds have already left on their bi-annual, seemingly impossible migration. My daily Summer Sketching Blog has come to an end for another year. Dried up yellow and brown leaves are appearing and falling to the ground. It's a busy time of preparation and change. I've got shows and workshops just around the corner.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Sketch Everyday

What's the Difference Between a Sketch and a Painting? Attitude is the biggest difference. The picture below is of a colorful watercolor sketch in my sketchbook. It was done on regular drawing paper. There are far more opportunities for discovery and looseness when your expectations are not too great. It's just a sketch. It's a tool to take you further down the path of exploration and artistic development. The good ones often do turn into paintings later on. My summer drawing blog has come to an end for another year. Be sure to check back here every so often though. I may just sneak a few more in here and there!

Thanks so much to everybody who has written in and supported me in my efforts! Your replies mean a lot to me.
Wishing You Health and Every Happiness! ~ Sandy

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Blue Morpho Butterfly

I watched a movie last night called "The Blue Butterfly". It was about a sick boy who goes into the rain forest in South America in search of the beautiful rare Blue Morpho Butterfly. The movie was very good and I enjoyed it very much. I just happen to have a real Blue Morpho Butterfly specimen mounted under glass, so I did this quick color sketch of it for you tonight.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Wildflower Bouquet Sketch

These flowers are some taken from a bouquet jerry brought me last weekend for our anniversary. He got them from a local lady who grows them in her yard and sells them from a cute little antique cart that's set up by her driveway at the edge of a sharp curve in the road. You can't help but slow down there and check out what she's got. I've been meaning to sketch these flowers all week. They're starting to wilt and make a mess. I'm going to go by this weekend and see if she's got any fresh ones out.

Only two days left until the end of this summer blog!
How time flies when you're having fun.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Today's sketch was used as reference for several Cardinal paintings I'm working on.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Today I added a watercolor wash to yesterday's sketch. This approach really helps prepare me for painting and using color. I feel that value is the most important element that makes up any painting.

"My paintings cannot be a negation of what has always been and always will be necessary – drawing and search for values." ~ Theodore Robinson

See the seven elements of design here!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Great Alaskan Wilderness

I watched a show on PBS last night about remote resort lodges in the United States. The ones located in Alaska won out as favorites in my book, hands down.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I sketched this scene today using reference from two different Colorado photos I took last month. I didn't copy either picture, merely used them for inspiration, while adding a healthy heaping helping of Artistic License to the mix.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Take Three / Hummingbird Sketch

I've been trying to put together a sketching video. So far, I'm not happy with it. Here is the drawing from take three! It's harder than you would think. On to take four later.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Baby Polar Bear

For a polar bear, life's mostly all uphill. These days the hills just keep getting steeper all the time.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


My sister, Gaile works at Sea World in Florida. Her birthday's this Sunday.
This one's for her. AUGHHHHH, sooo cute!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


"And the lion shall lie down with the Lamb."
Lee came over for a private lesson today. We worked on a project she is undertaking. She wants to do a "Spirit Art" painting for her daughter of a lion and a lamb. We talked a lot about mixing colors and did some preliminary drawings today. I wish I had taken a picture of her drawings. They came out very good! Here's mine.

I like the way this one scanned with the rays radiating from the figure. It's just the buckling of the drawing paper really, but I like the effect.

This summer has FLOWN BY!! There's less than two weeks left of my drawing everyday summer sketching blog to go!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dressage at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta

I attended the 1996 Equestrian Olympics in Atlanta Georgia with three friends. It was a glorious week of Dressage! I video taped most of the rides. I got out the tape and sketched from it today. For people who don't know Dressage, it's very much like watching the grass grow. For enthusiasts, it's exhilarating!

Monday, August 18, 2008


As most of you know, I often work in sets, so here today is another horse sketch. I wish they would show some of the Olympic Equestrian Events on TV! Seems like beach volleyball, gymnastics, swimming, diving and track is dominating the coverage here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mare In Moonlight

The Olympics have got me thinking about Chinese horoscopes. I'm a horse, so I decided to sketch some.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cat Napping

I took Tigger to the vet yesterday to get his hurt leg checked out. They said it probably will get better with rest. It was very stressful for him and a bit for me too. He's resting now. I did this sketch of him from life today.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Playful Orcas / Killer Whales

Here's yesterday's and today's daily sketch. We had a storm last night and I couldn't get online. I hope you enjoy these sketches I did of Orcas. Did you know that the average life expectancy for wild killer whales is about 30 years for males and 50 years for females?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Friesian Horse Portrait

A change of pace for today, here's a horse portrait using special paper and pencils.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Killdeer

A widespread member of the Plover Family, this bird is found throughout most of the US year round and its range extends far north into Canada in the breeding season. Well known for it's "Broken Wing Act" and self proclaiming call; "kill-dee-dee-dee", this bird can be spotted in fields, meadows, mudflats and shorelines.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jersey Devil Canoeing in the Pines

Last week I posted a "Hidden Pictures" illustration I did for the Cranberry Festival Program Booklet. I decided to put that picture inside and did this painting for the front cover. It is already sold to one of my "Jersey Devil" collectors!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Early Migration

The hummingbirds are starting to thin out here. I believe some of the males have already started to migrate back to Central America. Fall has certainly been in the air here the past couple of days!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

More Rabbits and Bunnies, Oh My!

Couldn't get online last night, so here's Friday's and Saturday's drawings.
Have a Hoppy Day!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Probably everyone is familiar with the mournful sound of this common backyard bird. To me, it almost sounds like a recording that is winding down in slow speed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I went and got 51 bales of hay this morning. I noticed the Bachelor's Buttons, Queen Anne's Lace and something that looks like Pink Fireweed are in bloom on the sides of the road. Here's a sketch I did today from one of my CO photos that's posted on my web log. I'm still adding new Colorado pictures, so be sure to keep checking my web log or subscribe to it through RSS feed.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hidden Pictures

Today I've been working on an illustration for the cover of a program booklet I do every year for the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival. The cover always features the Jersey Devil. This year I decided to do a "Hidden Picture" contest for the kids. There are over twenty hidden images here. How many can you find?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Things have slowed down a little at my hummingbird feeders the last couple of days. I'm guessing there is something with tasty nectar blooming in the surrounding woods. I could smell something similar to the fragrance of Honeysuckle when Jerry and I went out for a morning bike ride.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Quick like a Bunny

Yesterday I stressed the concept of working fast in my painting class. For some, it's a hard habit to get into. I think it allows the right, intuitive side of the brain to take over. ACCORDING TO BETTY EDWARDS, author of DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN; "The right brain perceives and processes visual information, in the way one needs to see in order to draw, and the left brain perceives in ways that seem to interfere with drawing."

Friday, August 1, 2008

Plane Drawing

This image is from my sketchbook. I did this drawing on the plane on my way to Crested Butte, CO last week. Sketching really made the time "FLY BY"! This is a native Rocky Mountain Wildflower, "Serviceberry Flowers".
See what I've been up to today on my web Log.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Class Project Preparation

Tomorrow four artists are coming to my studio for an art class. Today I've been busy preparing the lessons I wish to present. I'm hoping to guide them through two paintings in the two hour session, one in gray values and a second in color.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Home With The Hummers

I did a bleach soak on my ten hummingbird feeders today. It took about an hour and the hummers were getting very impatient. Needless to say, they were very happy to see me hang them back up.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I've had "Altitude Sickness" before, but didn't get it this time when I traveled to Colorado's high elevation. I just got back home early this morning and have had a case of "Sea Level Sickness" ever since. Missing the mountains, today I finished this pencil sketch I posted here on Saturday.
See more sketches from Colorado in my older posts.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hawk Feather

I sketched this hawk feather at breakfast. When you get into the habit, drawing becomes almost automatic.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lost Lake

We did a three mile hike around Lost Lake and Dollar Lake today. The trail was rocky but easy and the vistas were amazing.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Plein Air Sketching in Colorado

I quickly drew this fir tree this morning in my friend's yard. We will be going out sight seeing again today. See photos from yesterday's trip on my web log.

Friday, July 25, 2008

High Mountain Road

I have not had internet access all day here in Colorado, but here is the daily drawing for Thursday. This was the drawing demo I did at the Rijks Gallery in Crested Butte here yesterday.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hummingbird Talk

I'm sitting here this morning looking out over the mountains as I sip my coffee and watch my friends hang their hummingbird feeders. I've seen lots buzzing around their yard and I'm looking forward to seeing the little Colorado Cuties up close and personal. I love talking about them and will enjoy my hummingbird presentation today at the Rijks Gallery.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Colorado Rockies ~ Wildflowers and Grandeur

I'm writing from Colorado. The beauty and grandeur is just awesome!

Wish you were here!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Colorado Landscape

I'm sitting here at the Denver Airport. I've got a few hours to wait for my friends to arrive, before we can drive out to Crested Butte. I can't seem to send out to my google groups from here. I will try again when I get to Crested Butte. I did some sketching on the plane and it really made the time go by faster.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Busy Day ~ Hummingbird and Wildflower

The day before travel is always so busy. Today I'll be preparing for my trip; packing, planning and cleaning.