Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Finished Color Hummingbird Sketch

Here is yesterday's pencil sketch with  DR PH MARTIN'S "Radiant CONCENTRATED Water Color" Dyes applied.  Now days they call them "India Inks", but it's probably the same thing. It's just that mine are from college days and are rather ancient. These dyes are so concentrated, you only need a tiny drop and a little water to do a lot of painting. One set will last you a lifetime and beyond! They are so snappy that just a dab will jazz up any transparent watercolor hue. They are very staining though, so you have to be extremely careful with that. (ie: I wish I had done the wings with straight watercolor. Adding a tiny bit of the dye to the wash made it less soft with more hard edges.) I'm so glad I dug these dyes out of the basement this summer! They give me something interesting to study, experiment with and work on.

It was a really good summer for me. This daily discipline adds direction, training and self control to my life. This regimen would not have been possible for six summers now, without this blog. Believe it or not, I even had a blast this summer sketching things besides hummers! The season started off with how to draw a horse. Sandwiched in the middle there were more hummingbirds, cats, elephants, deer, twisters, flowers, Jon Gnagy, UWO people and landscapes. And of course it just had to end with more and more hummingbirds! Along the way, various drills, drawing aids and exercises were explored. Two minute gestures, blind contour drawing, rule of thirds, values and multiple techniques were covered. There is a wealth of information here and on my various other sites for those who are eager to learn. My hope is that people will make good use of it. I'm not selling anything here or making money on this blog in any way. It has been a project of love and growth and of sharing. Thanks to all who read this and follow along, especially the participants and those who sent work in to share. Your comments and insights on my humble offerings are always most appreciated!

Wishing You Abundance Always,

Sandy Sandy Spiritartist

"Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study.  Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life."  ~ Henry L. Doherty

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

End Of Season Hummingbirds

 I just can't believe how fast this summer has gone!!
Tomorrow is the end of my Summer Sketching Series for 2011. 
In a way, it feels like I have just begun

In reality however, tomorrow I will have sketched and posted my drawings here everyday for 92 consecutive days. I hope some of you artists got inspired to try a little sketching or a least gleaned an itsy-bitsy tidbit of information here and there. Hopefully, some of you readers were more entertained than annoyed by this year's daily doodles and dissertations.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Hungry Hummingbirds

Ever since the storm cleared, we've had hoards of hummers here. We put all the shepherd's hooks and hanging flowers back up this morning.

Lots of males have showed up here the last couple of days. I believe some of them are travelers because we weren't seeing that many males here the past week or so before.

They sure have caused a commotion here and a there's a down right, non-stop feeding frenzy going on outside my window right now as I write this.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hurricanes and Hummingbirds

With Hurricane Irene scheduled to pass through here on Saturday, my thoughts and concerns turn to my little hummingbird buddies. If it does hit us, I hope my large hummer population will weather the storm well. Here's a sketch of one of my little jewels with and without the watercolor wash.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rushing Stream Sketch

Although I didn't put all the tones in yet, my value pattern plan for this composition
will be a large light shape (stream) with a small dark (shadows) in an overall mid value.
Using the Rule Of Thirds as a guide, the focal point
will be in the lower right where the lines intersect.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Large Light Value Pattern

Today's value pattern sketch is a large light with a small ldark, in an overall mid value.

If you squint can you see it too?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Large Dark Value Pattern

Today's value pattern sketch is a large dark with a small light, in an overall mid value.

If you squint and use your imagination, can you see it too?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ocean View Landscape

I went down to Long Beach Island yesterday and took a bunch of photos. Today I was trying to do a value pattern sketch - A large dark (figure and fence), small light (ocean), in an overall mid value (sand and sky). I may want to do this as a watercolor at some point and having this sketch as reference will be an asset. Squinting a whole lot while drawing and painting may not look attractive, but it definitely helps me see values and shapes more clearly. See my reference photo and more shots of LBI on my web log.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


"Just a suggestion.  You seem to study and sketch one object at a time.  Perhaps you would want to sketch one object in relationship to another. This may prove to be more interesting, looking at the negative spaces between things and how lines intersect."

One of my subscribers recently offered this plan for consideration, so I decided to do a few loose landscape sketches with objects in relation to one another. This may become an autumn painting in the future.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's Jersey Devil Time!

It's time to start thinking about Autumn and the Jersey Devil here in the NJ Pine Barrens! Every year I do the cover art for the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival program book. I usually do several original watercolor paintings of JD too. I've got lots of sketches flying around the studio here today. Here's one of the ideas, but I still haven't picked my favorites or settled on compositional designs.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hummingbird Feet

I'm constantly looking at hummingbird's feet in my own photos and in those of others.

I I did this sketch today from my friend, Jennifer MacNeill's, photo taken this month here at Hummer Land. I just loved how this hummer is perched on the end of the shepherd's hook. Often their feet look weird, almost deformed in pictures. Here Jen was able to capture the true strength and character of this little dynamo's tootsies, talons and all. Thanks for your permission to use this shot as reference Jennifer!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lots of Action!

OMG! The hummingbirds LOVE the rain.

It's been non-stop action with them.

And for me, it's stop-all action.

So I get another cup of coffee,
put my feet up and just enjoy their show!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Quick Hummingbird Sketch

Just a little quickie for you tonight, as the past couple of days here have been action packed!

See what I have been up to on my other blog.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Drawing Doodles With A Brush

Tony van Hasselt has inspired me to do some sketching with a brush this week. 

This is a fun exercise to just get your brushes wet.

Put a mark down and see what it suggests.

It's nothing to get nervous about. It doesn't even have to turn out.

Just stay loose and doodle!

You can use photos or real life for inspiration

Or just draw mindlessly, completely out of your head, like I do! :-D

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Drawing Exercises for Improving Your Painting Skills

The second part of Tony van Hasselt's DVD, "Fun With Figures", deals with drawing U.W.O. people with a brush. Tony stresses that this is an exercise. By following along and seeing the process, you'll be better equipped to put incidental figures in your paintings. "Some of these are going to come out, and some of these are not", he says. I really like his playful approach and attitude.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Delightful Weekend

This past weekend a  virtual internet friendship turned physical when artist, Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor came to photograph the hummingbirds and animals here at Hummer Land.  I did this whimsical U W O  doodle today while remembering our great visit with our new real life friend, Jen. 

See photos of Jen in action and her awesome paintings and photos at: The Mare's Tales - Gypsy Mare Studios

Sunday, August 7, 2011

U W O (You-Whoa) Folks - The Proper way to Spell It

Today Tony van Hasselt commented on my doodling post here on SketchingEveryday. Tony writes; "Interesting to see what you did with my UWO folks. You can remember the correct spelling since it is the same as the way they need to be drawn. First the upside down U, then the W and finally the head. OK? Got that?" Gosh, sorry Tony. I do see your point now. Drawing them in order of the letters does help with the concept. It's important to place the head after the legs because the bend and direction of the torso and the legs suggests or determines where the head could or should be placed. Thanks for clarifying that and correcting me. You are a great instructor, Tony and will always be among my favorites. Today's sketches are UWO doodles done with the brush while watching Tony's DVD, Fun With Figures.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Doodling People

Doodle - (noun) A rough drawing made absentmindedly. See, you don't even have to think while doodling. That's all today's U.O.W. (You-Oh) people are, just doodles. I bet you can't come up with a couple of your own! ( a little reverse psychology  ;-D )

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Draw People with a Simple Formula by Tony van Hasselt

In August 2000, I attended a plein air workshop with Tony van Hasselt in Maine. I love his fresh and direct wet-in-wet approach to landscape painting in watercolor.

Tony has a playful uncomplicated method for drawing and painting the human form. These are not meant to be figure studies, but secondary or incidental to the scene. Once perfected, they add impact and a clear center of interest to any landscape. 

Five years ago, I featured his technique for drawing and painting figures back in 2006.  I got a good response from people who tried this approach. Some even went on to buy the video. I thought it was time to review his DVD, "Fun With Figures" again for you here. Tony Tony calls them U.W.O.  (You-WOh) people because that's the order in which the letters are drawn. The head is put on last. Why not give Tony's (You-WOh's) a try?  I think you'll agree that they are enjoyable to create and may even add more pizazz and interest to your work.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Thinking of Fall, White Horses and the Jersey Devil

Today I've been working on this year's Cranberry Festival Program Book. I've been doing the cover for about ten years and it always features the Jersey Devil. Since the festival is a fund raiser for the restoration of the White Horse Inn, this year I'm featuring the White Horse again. Here's one of the many sketches that are floating around the studio. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's A Filly - Same Drawing, Different Technique

Various mediums offer interesting lessons. Like golfers perfecting their stroke, repetition in drawing and in painting is all part of the game. This pencil and wash sketch helped me to solidify the values in this piece. Because the foal is wet in the photo, the dark tones on the body were confusing. That it why it is not advisable to copy blindly from photos. Rendering the subject accordingly to structure and light direction is crucial to overcome this obstacle.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Reiner Klimke Clinic

Dr Reiner Klimke (January 14, 1936 – August 17, 1999) was a German equestrian, who won six gold and two bronze medals in dressage at the Summer Olympics — a record for equestrian events. He appeared in six Olympic Games from 1960 to 1988 (excluding 1980). This sketch is from a photo taken at one of the only clinics this master horseman ever gave in the United States.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's a Filly!

Another quick pencil sketch from one of the best days of my life. Less than an hour old, Rita is still all wet in the photo.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Mother's Tender Touch

A quick sketch done from one of the photos of the birth of my horse, Santa Margarita.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Drawing a Horse

With tracing paper, I went over yesterday's sketch to show you how I used simple shapes as the framework of this horse's head and neck in profile view. 

This is a drawing from a photo of my mare's sire, Oldenburg Stallion, San Diego. He was kidnapped about 10 yrs. ago by a crazy veterinarian in Illinois along with two other horses. San Diego was recovered unharmed in Florida with the help of my photos which were widely distributed online and throughout the horse show circuit. The vet was caught and put in jail when the owner of the barn that she was leasing saw her putting black spray paint on San Diego's distinguishing white markings. It made National news and created quite a stir in the horse community.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Draw Everyday

"Draw every day for at least half an hour. If you don't feel like it then draw until you do." ~ Author Unknown

Drawing Horses

My Horse Head Demo with Simple Shapes was featured in The Art Instruction Blog's July issue. That and finding a big box of old snapshots, got me fired up again to do some horses. I did this drawing of my mare's sire, San Diego, on tracing paper, refining it with several overlays. I learned this technique in college when majoring in illustration and still find it a useful drawing tool. Tomorrow I'll show you how the simple shapes supported the head and neck framework of this drawing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

One Minute of Drawing

Here is a one minute gesture drawing. This is all I could muster today. I've been trying to get my June drawings from archived onto Seems like my old web editing software is conking out on me. I know it's probably time for a major revamp. How I hate change sometimes. It can be sooo time consuming and frustrating! ERRR!!