Friday, June 29, 2012

The Princess, a Butterfly and a Hurricane

Princess was just that. She was one of those creatures that always had a very high opinion of herself.  She was quite famous, as far as cats go. I posted a short "In Memorandum" for my little Princess kitty today on my web log.

"Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this." - Anonymous

Princess was euthanized on Thursday, so in between waves of tears, I sketched the photo I took of her on January 3rd of this year. She was having a very good day. I'm so glad that I got a couple of photos of her in such good spirits, playing with me and her string.

Wednesday's pencil sketch of a butterfly.

And Tuesday's color sketch of a hurricane.

As always, I  REALLY appreciated your comments! Thanks.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Owl and The Pussycats

6-25-12 - Today's watercolor painting of a Northern Spotted Owl on Yupo paper was done from yesterday's contour drawing. It was inspired by one of the many environmental organizations' "calls to action" that I get in my inbox everyday.

6-24-12 - I found this photo on Wikipedia that is copyright free and in the public domain. I added some words and made this poster with the image. Please follow this link and take action, yourself!

6-23-12 - I've been following a wonderful blog called the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee. They are currently doing their 2012 FUNdraiser! Laurie and her cat, Charlene Butterbean, have fostered over 150 kittens and each and every one is more adorable than the next! They do such a great job! Your contribution is tax deductible, so go and see all the wonderful things they will do with your donation!

6-21-12 - Another contour drawing of an adorable kitten!

The photos, videos and commentary at The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee is EXTREMELY entertaining! I now look forward to my almost daily cybercat cuteness fix. It's a must see and a "follow" for all cat lovers!

6-22-12 - Thursday's baby came to life on Friday with the sketch redrawn in black Prismacolor pencil and then rendered in watercolor on Yupo paper. What fun! This piece was done in under twenty minutes! And don't forget, June is adopt a shelter cat month!

Open your heart to art and kindness!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Greetings from Hummingbird Heaven!

One of Many Happy Hummingbirds
5.5 x 7.5" - transparent watercolor on yupo paper, matted to 8 x 10"

This morning I redrew yesterday's sketch
on synthetic, nonabsorbent Yupo paper with a black pencil
and did this 20 minute challenge painting in watercolor.
I love doing these quick yupo paintings! There's no time to get tight!

Here is yesterday's pencil sketch.

Happy Summer Solstice!

FYI - I've just posted the first two hydrangea paintings
from my personal contour drawing challenge on my web log.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bears and Crows in Pencil and Watercolor

Spirit Bear
This morning, I decided to do another painting on Yupo paper. I set my alarm for twenty minutes, thinking I might submit it to the Twenty Minute Challenge.  I redrew yesterday's sketch on Yupo paper with a black Prismacolor pencil and then painted quickly and boldly with transparent watercolor.  I have been thinking about the mystical Spirit Bears up in British Columbia ever since I saw this National Geographic video.

I have been practicing contour drawings which made me realize that I don't draw the interior of my subjects enough. Contour drawing should be about exploring and expressing the shapes inside of the outlines. This was done from the bear photo I posted.

This bear figurine has a lot of shape and texture which I really got into and overstated. In drawing, I try to practice, improve, learn, grow, push my boundaries and not to be too concerned about the end result.

Two minute gesture drawings are a great drill and help you to see the big picture without getting bogged down in the itty-bitty details. This is a plastic toy bear that I have sketched many times. I kept turning it a quarter turn after each 120 seconds. See more sketches and a photo of this bear.

These two minute gesture sketches of a crow are done with a 3B pencil. When each two minutes is up, the crow (a Halloween decoration) is turned 1/4 turn, the same way as the bear above. I strongly recommend this exercise! Remember everything is sketchable.

I'm not the only one sketching bears these days! YAY!! Thanks Susan!
Susan Bronsak posted these adorable critters on her blog here and here.

I hope you are getting inspired and your summer is off to a great start!
Thanks for reading and as always, I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Contour Drawing is Fun - Sunflowers and Hydrangeas

I have been finding some exciting and awesome artists on the web these past few months. Their work inspires and energizes me.  Going through my past year's SketchingEveryday drawings, I realized that I have not done much contour drawing. Sure, I did a few blind contours as warm-up exercises each summer, but  drawing the contour of something can be so much more! Case-in-point, check out Nora MacPhail's contour drawings with watercolor on her blog. Aren't they fun? 

Here are yesterday's and today's line drawings. I decided to try a couple of my favorite flowers (Sunflowers and Hydrangeas) in modified blind contour drawing. I say modified, because I did look at the paper (about 20 percent of the time) while I was drawing. 80 percent of the time, however, I only looked at the reference while my pencil moved. I like how these came out for study accuracy, but they look stiff to me. I decided I'd challenge myself a little more on these and do each one in watercolor four times. Each time, I'll vary my approach and technique. So far, I've got two sunflowers done and two on the board for tomorrow. You can see today's paintings here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lions, Tigers and BEARS, Oh My!

There was a large black bear spotted in our area last week. Our neighbor just reported that something got into his trash last night and really made a mess. AND, there were huge claw marks on his garbage can. Awe, I'm sure the poor guy just wandered out of the woods looking for food.

Bear symbolizes an awakening to power and is always a good sign. 
Mostly a shy and solitary creature, the bear teaches us to take time out for ourself, like taking time out for drawing or some other self-improvement activity.

It may be time to step back from the noisy world.

In alone time and through our dreams, we can get in touch with the universal creative mind and our own higher self.

I wanted to use some different mediums on these bear drawings. The first three sketches are done with a Bruynzeel design - Aquarel - 8635 - black watercolor drawing pencil. I only have black and have never used them wet. I did a step by step demo of this last watercolor sketch today. I was not happy with the photos, so I want to reshoot them before I post. If anyone wants a sketching challenge, here is a good shot of a black bear to draw from. Use your imagination! I started out with a bear here last year. You can also type "bear" into my search this blog box in the right column to see more bear exercises and drawings.

You can see the bear painting I did today from this final bear sketch on my web log

"If the human race is to survive, then we must respect the rights of other species to survive. Sharing bedroom space with a grizzly bear is not practical but sharing wilderness space is. We must therefore, restrict human activity in spaces where threatened or endangered species live. We must stay out of their bedroom. Set aside some wild spaces while they yet exist. Closing the wild spaces after all of the wild things are gone will not work." - Bob McMeans

Friday, June 8, 2012

How to Draw a Woodchuck

Susan Bronsak has been a loyal friend, follower and contributer to this Summer Sketching Series for several years now. Her watercolor, sketching and journaling work is inspiring. Once again, thank you so much Susan!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck?

This week, I have been obsessed with woodchucks! Our little resident Chuckie, turned out to be a Chuckita and she now has six roly-poly little ones! I got some photos this past weekend and I am in the process of learning how to do video with my new Nikon D7000 camera! I hope to video them in the next day or two, because after reading about them in my nature books, it seems they don't stick around long after they are a couple of months old. Which of course, is a good thing, seeing as how having seven groundhogs living here in SandyLand may be a bit overwhelming!

Hey, what's up Woodchuck?

This one's a mommy's boy (or girl) and sticks to her like glue.

They are curious

and endearing!

I went online and searched for lessons on drawing groundhogs and found a wonderful site; Exploring Nature Educational Resource. These drawings were done using Sheri Amsel's step by step woodchuck drawing as reference.

I contacted Sheri and she was gracious enough to give me permission to use her material here on this blog. She wrote; "Your animals are beautiful and full of motion – something with which I struggle. I was trained as a biomedical illustrator, so draw animals in much more static poses."

Sheri has quite an extensive list of how to draw mammals and birds on her site. She also has a section on keeping a journal and lots of other educational materials! 

I'd be interested to know if any of you decide to draw a woodchuck from Sheri's and / or my step by step approach. I'd like to see your results and / or just hear your comments! Which approach seemed easier to follow? Which one worked better for you?

As always, your feedback is very important to me.

"If nobody ever offers an opinion or takes the slightest interest in one's production, one loses not only all pleasure in them, but all power of judging their value." ~ Fanny Mendelssohn Hense

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dark Shadows of Doubt

Life has not been real easy since I shattered my ankle on April first. Sure, it could have always been worse.Things are getting better day by day though and I am very grateful to all my friends and family who have helped me through the worst of it. Drawing was a great spirit lifter and enjoyable pastime on many days for me during my convalescence.

Today I've been debating whether or not I would start up my online Summer Sketching Series for the seventh straight year. Daunted by deep, dark shadows of self doubt all day, I've been wrestling with this blog's worth. Is it too predictable and boring? Why haven't I been able to engage my readers in more of my posts? This year, unless I hear from some of you otherwise, sketching challenges have been discontinued for lack of interest. Do readers find the writing, material and approaches here dated, substandard or stale? I used to feel inspired and energized by drawing. I enjoyed the daily routine and blogging about it. I'd really like to feel that way again. Any input you could offer me would be greatly appreciated.

Due to my state of mind, and probably to my lack of daily discipline, I've found that the left brain / right brain shift was very hard today. This is my major stumbling block and it probably is for many when it comes to drawing. While in left brain mode, sketching is a difficult and frustrating task. Once the shift is made, however, obstacles and time seem to melt away. As usual, after searching online, I found several good posts about making the shift. This site suggested a series of warm-up exercises, while another went into great details about seeing shapes, not things. They are good links to bookmark and I will refer to them again in the future. Here are a couple of pages of warm up exercises that I did today which did help. So if I do not continue with this blog on a daily basis, or otherwise, I wanted you to know why.

"There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt." ~ Budda

"When in doubt, scribble." ~ Jean Wilson

"All uncertainly is fruitful... so long as it is accompanied by the wish to understand." ~ Antonio Machado

"I felt so insufficiently equipped, so unprepared, so weak, and at the same time it seemed to me that my reflections on art were correct. I quarreled with all the world and with myself." ~ Edgar Degas