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January 30, 2011

Another Project

Almost 2 1/2 years ago I took a weekend book binding class to learn how to make a cased-in watercolor sketchbook.  Before that I was recycling old books, using their covers and sewing in watercolor paper signatures.  But I wanted to learn how a full watercolor journal was made by a skilled bookbinder. 

The book we made in class is bigger than any I used previously and too big for me to use as my daily sketchbook.  So I decided to dedicate it to paintings of my apartment.   But somehow the project became too precious.  I added only one page in 2009 and one page in 2010 and I constantly put off using it because I don't want to spoil it.  I need help and an attitude readjustment. 

Here are my two pages:

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Our living room fireplace 

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An antique golden oak draftsman's table  - now used for storage of supplies

January 27, 2011

Meet-Up Sketching at the Museum of Natural History

Sunday was our January Meet-up Central Park Sketching session at the Natural History Museum.  The group leader, Jesse Richards, does a fabulous job selecting places within the Museum for 30-45 minute sketches and when we started in the Asian Mammals section, we had the big room almost all to ourselves.  Here is the baby tiger that I loved in one of the exhibits.

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The Ocean Life section, under the blue whale was quite dark and I had problems seeing the paint colors as I added them on my Common Loon. 

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This Mammoth was drawn with a watercolor pencil and then brushed with water to shade it.  It is a sketch of a mammoth sculpture that is part of the huge mammoth skeleton exhibit.

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The Meet-up website, in the link above, has 90+ drawings from the participants for anyone interested in joining this group.

January 22, 2011

Pam Carriker's Strathmore Journal Workshop

I participated in Pam Carriker's online classes as part of the Strathmore Journal Workshops and just finished the 4th and final week's additions to my journal page.  I worked on a page in my 6.5 "X 6.5 handbound sketchbook containing 140 lb watercolor paper. 

Week 1:  I scanned previous "trees" from my watercolor journals - some were Christmas ornaments and others were just visual journal pages from the Holidays over the last few years.  I printed them out on the paper Pam recommended, although it seemed a little heavy to me, and cut out the individual trees.  I tore strips of green tissue paper for the background and then layered as many trees as I could in my Magical Forest.

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Weeks 2-4:  I followed Pam's instructions each week and added charcoal, graphite, oil pastels, and gesso.  Then I added to the negative space using sequin waste, a plastic screen, mesh, and a bottle cap.  And finally, I doodled some with pens and added words. 

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I persisted with the classes even though I had to admit to myself that I don't enjoy mixed-media art nearly as much as I enjoy drawing with ink with watercolor washes.  I love trying new techniques and really looked forward to seeing what came next as the 4 classes unfolded so it was worth the time spent.  And now I have a set of oil pastels!  I look forward to another Strathmore workship in March,

January 18, 2011

EDM Challenges 267 and 278

Here are two EDM challenges that are from Feb-Dec 2010 - 10+ months that I didn't do any last year.  I printed out and cut up the individual challenges and put them in a jar next to my chair - I can now select one randomly when I'm out of ideas for my daily sketchbook page.  These were both done after I selected the challenge from my jar. The actual challenge strip that was pulled from the jar is glued across the top of the page.

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January 15, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge 1 - Highly Prized

BOOKS:  I adore my husband, who I have known since 1960, and my children and their families - including 6 grandchildren.  I prized my career, my City, and now retirement.  But from early childhood, what I loved most was books.  For this challenge I decided to paint a journal page with several books that are responsible for guiding me down my current journey - drawing, painting, and writing.

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I found Gwen Diehn's book, The Decorated Page,  in a local store one day in 2003 when I visited with a gift card in hand.  I was thrilled to learn about visual journals and travel sketchbooks and started to play with one - and some student grade watercolor paints.  I was still working long hours and it took me 2 years to finish that watercolor journal. 

I used Linda Elsworth's Watercolor Skills Workbook to learn the basics about using watercolor and to select my artist grade watercolor palette, and that same month I started Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way - a book I had on a shelf for many years.  I completed all 12 weeks and loved writing morning pages, even though I had to get up earlier before work. 

I was always too busy to keep a journal when I was working and raising a family, but I suddenly became interested in journals and read and loved the Alexandra Johnson's book Leaving a Trace, which reinforced my daily journal writing. 

I was making two quilted, silk painted/dyed wedding chuppahs for my two sons' weddings during 2003-4 and 2004-5 and found Twyla Tharp's book, The Creative Habit, and devoured it.  During that same time I was reading Artist's Sketchbook magazine and thinking about my future creative projects and when I partially retired in 2005, found Illustrated blogs online.  Reading these led to Danny Gregory's book Everyday Matters, and the Yahoo Group of the same name and in January 2006 I started my blog. 

The following year I started what would become 3 full travel journals (150 pages of watercolor paintings - see London category on the right sidebar) while my daughter was living in London, and struggled with finding the perfect watercolor sketchbook - with just the right paper.  I bought Shereen LaPlantz's book Cover to Cover and began making my own watercolor journals.  Through these books and many more, I am enjoying myself more than ever and love retirement! 

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