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January 14, 2008

EDM Challenge #153: Lemon Soap Wrapped in Plastic


Four lemon-scented soaps in a clear plastic bag, purchased during our October 2005 visit to Sorrento, Italy: 

I need to spend time working with reflections - more now than ever!  It took me several days to find something to sketch and paint - and then I could see the reflections on the plastic, but just couldn't make them sparkle.  I know that these areas should be bright white, and the next time I try this I will mask the areas and try that. 

January 7, 2008

EDM Challenge #152: Draw Nuts


We keep salted white pistachio nuts in a hand blown glass bowl on our coffee table (when the grandchildren aren't there) or on the fireplace mantle (when they are).  There is no relationship between the size of the nuts on the napkin and those in the bowl - I just wanted to sketch some bigger. 

January 5, 2008

Faces and Face Parts

One of my Goals for 2008 is to learn how to draw faces.  In preparation, I purchased two complementary books which I read and now will use as references as I work myself through a series of photos to understand the basics.

Carrie Stuart ParksSecrets to Drawing Realistic Faces: The is portrait drawing as taught by a forensic artist and she covers every part of the face individually.

John RaynesDrawing and Painting People: This is a more complex book, covering drawing and painting faces, facial expressions, and poses.

Here are a few of my first practice pieces.  I really do need to learn how to sketch with pencil without smudging it all over the page!  I wanted to have a reasonable number of baseline sketches so I can redo them at the end of 2008 to see if my concentrated effort will improve my skills. 



I came down with a head cold at work on Thursday and in the evening this photo for a spa advertisement looked very tempting and soothing.  So I sketched it.






December 29, 2007

More Christmas Ornaments and EDM Challenge # 150 - Draw a Candle


I am enjoying documenting my annual handmade ornaments - and still have lots more to sketch.  My plan is to continue sketching the collection in the week before Christmas again next year when I sit down after busy and joyful days to do a daily sketchpage.  Over the years each has been photographed individually and on the Christmas tree, but never painted.   

EDM Challenge #150: Draw a Candle



I love candles of all shapes and sizes.  But we only burn candles that are in globes of some type in the apartment to prevent fires.  I have two of the above Simon Pearce handblown glass candle globes that are always on my dining room table and they are used constantly.  It was very difficult for me to capture the sparkle of the flickering flame against the beautiful clear glass - but I just knew that I wanted to try.

December 27, 2007

Art Progress 2007

Progress Report for 2007

I copied my Goals from the 2006-2007 Progress/Goals entry on this blog and recorded 2007 PROGRESS after each Goal.  I am currently reflecting on where I am and where I want to be at the end of 2008, so my 2008 GOALS will be posted this weekend.

1. Continue to sketch/paint everyday in my large Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.

 I did do a daily sketch - and sometimes 2-3.  On a few days when I was too busy to even open my sketchbook, I did my daily sketch the next morning and then another one at my usual time in the evening.  The majority of my sketches are pen with watercolor washes.  Most of the time I used the large Moleskine watercolor journal (I'm halfway through the 5th for the year), but I also added sketches to my London sketchbooks and all 3 recycled books that I made. 

2. Complete each EDM weekly challenge and try to expand my skills by what I choose to paint for the challenge.

For the second year, I did all of the EDM Challenges in the 3-10 days after they were posted and tried to stretch my skills slightly by what I chose to sketch.  I posted all of them on my blog, as one of my planned 2 entries per week.

3. Make plans for how I will use my new Eliz. I recycled book.  I'm currently considering using it for more London sketches -  from photos that I have taken during our visits.  I have another Cachet journal for my London Travel Sketchbook Volume 3 and decided that I want to continue to use the same journal type for all of my London travel

I completed 3 full Cachet Linen Watercolor sketchbooks during our London travels.  There are approximately 150 pages in total from our 6 visits to London - my goals certainly were exceeded and I will always treasure these books.  One sketch that I never posted was added as the final page to honor the birth of our grandson last Christmas in London.  This sketch was made using colored pencil from a postcard I purchased at the Guercino drawing exhibit we saw at the Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House.


My Eliz. I recycled book has been used for playful sketches of Big Ben and most recently the Tower of London from photos that I took - using different techniques, even collage.  If you look closely you can see I used the Holbein Henry VIII painting from the Tate Britain exhibit for the collage.



4.  Recycle another book since I have more paper from my previous purchase.  This time I will look for an old New York book that I can use for special days out and about my own city.

I recycled two additional books - one for New York and one Michaelangelo Sonnet bookfor some of my figure drawings.   

5.  Spend more time sketching human faces and figures.  I'm not sure yet whether I want to take any life drawing classes because I love the challenge of learning on my own.  I collected some copies of Holbein's portraits and Rodin's figure drawings from our museum visits this week.  And I now own two Hockney drawing/portrait books.  I will recreate some of these pieces from the 16th C, 19th C, and 20th C for fun and then immerse myself in my city and draw people to try to develop my own style. 

I was very productive sketching figures - or body parts - and almost filled my recycled Michaelangelo Sonnet book for some of the sketches and my Moleskine for the rest.  I alternated among Derwent light wash pencils, Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils, Zig Millenium pen with watercolor wash, and 2B pencils for the sketches. 

My references included:  Greek and Roman sculptures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, photos of dancers, photos of nude figures from an artist book  I purchased just for these exercises (The Nude Figure by Mark Smith), and occasionally even real people!  But very few of my figures have faces - a goal for 2008!

6.  Read some of the new art books on my shelf - starting with Betty Edward's book on color.

I continue to read art technique books, but never opened Betty Edward's book.  This year I did 5 lessons from a Watercolor Skills book by Linda Elsworth.  There are 5 more lessons to do, but I was temporarily derailed by a lesson on landscapes, my least favorite type of sketching/painting. 

In May 2007 I decided to finally start an Eric Maisel book entitled The Creativity Book - a year's worth of inspiration and guidance (it has been on my shelf for several years).   There are 2 exercises to complete per week and I am now on Week 31!  I have done some sketching and painting, but mostly writing, as I explore creativity in general and my creative dreams in particular. 

7.  Make a "larger-than-journal size" watercolor painting of the house my daughter and son-in-law rented this year in London so we have a personal visual memory of this wonderful year when they return to New York mid-year.

I did this painting and included it as part of a big "London" Christmas gift that I gave to my daughter and son-in-law.  The gift also included a DVD of all of the photos (1000s) that I took of their family and London and a Guest Book that our family kept everytime we visited them.  I printed some of my sketches for the book and even included an essay re: my reflections on our visits.  I was also able to make a photo collage of them at the moment when they were leaving New York in May 2006 and then leaving London in June 2007.  The children grew lots during the year and and another grandson was born there mid-year.


8.  Be a visitor in my own city and keep a Manhattan "travel" journal.  I now have scattered journal pages throughout my daily sketchbooks

I did continue to sketch in NYC throughout the year - and even started a series of sketches entitled "10 blocks from Home."  My New York City sketches, however, are scattered through my New York recycled book and my regular Moleskine sketchbook.  This occurred because I used whatever book I had with me when I decided to sketch.  Since I use both sides of a page in my Moleskine, I can't easily move these sketches - and I just have to be OK about this level of disorganization!