Monday, August 25, 2014

Making a Big Impact With Just a Pen and Some Colored Pencils

I have always loved sketching from the earliest age I can remember.  In school or in meetings, you will often find my paper covered with strange doodling.  I'm sure this isn't unique to just me, but it helps me understand why recently that I find myself often reaching for a pen and a piece of paper rather than a paintbrush and canvas.  Oh don't worry, painting is something that I will never tire of, but when I can't paint I will often draw.  This past couple months I have turned to the pen and combined that with either colored pencils or a watercolor wash to finish off my creation.  Below are two floral pieces that I have completed and wanted to show to you.

Nature's Bounty- 11x14 Pen / Colored Pencil
This is the first floral sketch that I did and I decided to only add color to the fruits and flowers.  I liked the contrast that this effect created.  I decided also to make my apples green to give a variety of color.  Perhaps I should have gone with an odd number of apples.  Three apples might have been more interesting than just two but this is an observation after the sketch was completed and therefore is something I will have to consider if I repeat this composition.

Nature's Bounty of the Sierra Nevadas- 11x14 Pen/Colored Pencil
Once again I decided this week to do a second floral piece.  Keeping with my wild roses, blackberries and pine cones for this sketch.  I did decide to change some of the fruits represented.  I found that there is a variety of wild plums that grow in the boarder area of Nevada, California and Oregon that is called the Sierra Plum.  Also a very interesting berry that grows in the Sierra Mountains is that of the gooseberry.  What a odd looking berry it is.  Full of stickers but I read that once you get past the sticky exterior that the fruit itself is amazingly sweet.  I know there is good sermon material in there somewhere.

With this composition, I decided to color all parts of it with my prisma colored pencils.  It turned out to perhaps have more red and pinks then I would have originally considered but I love how that makes the foliage and the blackberries stand out.

Both of these pieces will be available on my website and on Fine Art America- Fruits of the Sierra Nevadas or Fine Art America- Nature's Bounty  if you would like to order prints or cards.  I will also be making up my own original cards of both of these designs so just let me know if you would like to purchase a pack of 12 cards. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Its not Finished until the Chubby Lady Sings

What a learning curve I have experienced these past few years in my journey to becoming an artist.  Basically I knew pretty much nothing about the business of being a full-time artist to now feeling an excitement building as I am beginning to be more comfortable with the style I am developing and techniques I'm learning.  I can honestly say that being an artist is FUN.  I know...You thought that all there was to it was to just paint a pretty picture, huh?  Well that not quite all there is to it.  Not only is there the process of photographing and marketing your new work on blogs and websites,  but you have to finish it off with a good coat of varnish and a lot of love.  Another final consideration that I have just recently started adding to my "Getting Ready to Hang" checklist is preparing the backs of each of my canvases to give it that professional appearance that I feel is important.

I have observed a number of artists that wrap the backs of their canvas with paper to give even the back a cleaner and professional feeling.  I really liked how that looked so I have started this finishing process and believe me when I tell you that I have done plenty things wrong in an attempt to figure these details out.  There are a couple of tools that I have discovered along the way that I am very excited about and decided to share them with you.  

First of all, is my Scotch Advanced Glider double-tape gun.  I sing it's praises every time I pull it out of my studio supply closet.  The hardest thing about this gun is loading the tape and that isn't because it is so difficult but rather seems like you are doing something wrong and that it isn't going to work but it does.  I make sure I have kept the instructions just because each time we load it we find that we must consult the instructions again just to be sure we are remembering the correct steps.  Of course we have only loaded the gun twice so it is relatively a new tool in my artist tool box.  

Previously, I had tried to use a standard double stick tape but it just didn't hold the brown shipping paper I was using to the back of my canvas well enough.  There was always edges and corners that were coming loose.  Not with this tape....glides on great and sticks well.  I have even started using it to attach my photos to my customized cards.  Also it is ONLY $19.99 and it is PINK!  Both of these facts have this chubby artist singing loudly.

Here is a picture of my beautiful PINK tape dispensor.

Amazon-Scotch Advanced Glider

Whether it is finishing off the backs of my painted canvases or matted sketches, I pull out my Fiskars Cutting board and combined with my kitchen counter I find that it works as a perfect surface for me to get busy.  Silly me used to cut the paper first by tracing around the canvas and then just cutting it with ordinary scissors.  I would then apply the double stick tape all around the back edges of the canvas and then try to get the paper to lay flat and smooth while I would run my fingers around the edge trying to get it to attach firmly to the canvas.  Let me just say that I have discovered this is completely BACKWARDS to the most effective method.  It was one of those "Bop me the Head, What Where You Thinking" moments.  I now apply the tape to the canvas and then lay the canvas out on the unrolled brown paper.  I then can then take my box cutter and work my way around the canvas, cutting it as close as possible without damaging the canvas.  The box cutters worked pretty well as long as the blade was sharp but I just found a new tool that makes this job even easier.  It is the Fiskars Fingertip Craft Knife and boy does it work like cutting hot butter.  Only thing I can see might be a problem is that it is so small and attached to your finger that you might forget you have it on and cut yourself so please be careful because those blades are sharp!

I loved how it allowed me to glide along the edge of either the matte board or the canvas with control and ease.  Cutting straight and true with no frayed edges or tears.  I LOVE IT and I LOVE the price that I paid on Amazon too.  I didn't have to go wondering around the isles of my local Hobby Lobby, Blicks or Michaels or get in the REALLY hot car (Remember I live in Las Vegas) and drive 12-15 miles to go shopping.  I certainly use those stores plenty for the rest of my art supplies but for these type of things I think Amazon is KING!

Here is a picture of the knife:

Amazon-Fiskars Fingertip Craft Knife

I have made it so easy for you by giving you the links here to both tools. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Confessions of a Recovering Accountant

These are a couple of small watercolors and ink pieces I have done this week.  Colorful and expressive, they both have a personal meaning to me and were just plan fun to create.  I have been sketching in volume with pen and ink for quite some time now but I am new to using watercolors to add color to my drawings.  I'm quickly falling in love with the look and freedom that this medium gives me.

This is a little watercolor I painted on Wednesday that I'm calling "Right Brain vs Left Brain". It symbolizes to me the struggle the exists inside of me as detail, analytic person that actually is an artist deep inside. I went years, 27 as a matter of fact, working for an organization as their accountant and business manager and it wasn't until the last 2 years that anyone even knew I could draw or paint. There just didn't seem to be enough time. I'm so blessed because my time requirements have reversed so that I am now free to create art whenever I want and do taxes and some bookkeeping in my spare time.

Right Brain vs Left Brain

This piece I am calling "Right Brain vs Left Brain" and it symbolizes the struggle that I felt for years as I was consumed by deadlines, financial reports and board meetings.  These demands sucked the creativity right out of me and I used it as an excuse to push aside my desire to let the creativity inside of me out.  

Coloring My World

This one I am calling "Coloring My World".  If you look closely at the black and white drips you will notice they are actually full of numbers and mathematical symbols. They have become so swollen that the bulging drips have ruptured and spilled numbers all over.  The colorful drips of paint and the paint brush symbolize my new focus.  You can never remove the accountant in me, but I can sure make my life more colorful by filling it with art! 

I am blessed that I am now able to dedicate my time to creating art and still do taxes and some bookkeeping in my SPARE time.  I already have an idea for a 3rd composition in this series that I am tongue and cheek calling "Confessions of a Recovering Accountant".  I think these might make an excellent greeting cards but I'm not sure of that.