Thursday, December 26, 2013

Throwback Thursday: The Sketchbook Project 2010- 2011

      A few years ago, I took part in a round of The Sketchbook Project.  It was and, I believe, still is an exhibition of sketchbooks filled out by artists all over the world.  How it works is: you buy a soft cover Moleskine sketchbook from the project and fill out the pages according to a theme.  At least when I did it, there was a list of themes to choose from or you could be assigned one at random.  When you're done, you send it back in.  They're barcoded so people can check them out of the Brooklyn Art Library or the mobile library.  There is a digital library as well.
    My theme was "Boys and Girls."  Above you can see a photo of the back of my book covered and stickers.  To the right, is one of the drawings from the book done in pencil.  It was a lot of fun and I recommend it to all creatives out there.

 Read more about it at

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Throwback Thursday: That Old Snail

     Welcome to another Throwback Thursday.  It's the cool thing to do I guess: post old photos from way back when.  Here, I dig out some old art work I thought you might like to see.  This snail sculpture is from way, way back when... sometime in elementary school.  Apparently, he's an artist, too, with the little hat.  Anyway, I made a quick drawing of it today inspired by the exercise in Drawing Lab by Carla Sonheim where you draw from a child's clay sculpture.  Today, I collaborate with grade school self.  Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

I Could Draw with That: Feathers

     I found this feather by the roadside while out for a walk one day.  Like most things, it inspired an art project.  Today, I finally decided I would look up how to make a quill pen.  Assuming I did it right, it was fairly easy. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Throwback Thursday: LOTR Fan Art 2002

This drawing is based on a film photo (please don't sue me!)  I once stood in that same location on Mount Sunday over seven years ago!
     In honor of the new Hobbit movie coming out tomorrow, I've dug out some old drawings from the year The Two Towers came out.  That year, I did a bunch of pencil drawings trying to improve in dry media.  I'm trying to do something like that again, trying to discipline myself to draw more and get "back into shape" after doing very stylized work.  My work even today is very much influenced my LOTR artwork especially the artists and designers of WETA Ltd. in New Zealand.  Artists like Christian Rivers and Daniel Falconer had a significant influence on my style and are a big reason why I decided to study a semester in Wellington during college and why I work in pen and marker today.  (The sketch of Treebeard Mr. Falconer drew for me still hangs on my wall.  "Don't be hasty... Cassy!" it says.)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sketchbook: Bianchi Honda Waiting Room

Waiting Room   Pen and Marker on Paper
     Yeah.  So this was earlier.  Turns out there is a safety recall on my car.  Apparently, the "master switch" for my power windows can overheat and catch on fire.  It hasn't in the four plus years I've driven it, but let's not take any chances.  At least the dealership had a nice waiting room... especially if you like coffee and General Hospital.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Work Break Scribbles

It's the time of the year when we shoot a lot of winter sports at work.  Without going into too much detail, there are times when there can be some significant gaps between teams' scheduled times.  I'm usually found sketching on scraps, waterbottles, or my trusty old Moleskine.

Today, we had an especially long break and I got one of my coworkers to play the scribble game.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Horse 2002


It was Valentine’s Day 2002, when I drew this during my junior year of high school.  That year I spent a lot of time trying to get better at drawing in pencil.  (Me and dry media haven’t always gotten along.)  In my room, I sat at my desk for long hours drawing from photo references both personal and otherwise.  I like to think it made a difference especially in drawing human figures as I mostly depicted animals before.  The finished drawings were placed in a binder to catalog my progress.
That was in the old days… before I was a blogger.  Now, I not only have a website, a Facebook page, an Etsy shop, and Instagram, I have Tumblr.  On Tumblr, I started a daily drawing project which I intended to begin next year.  That would make it my second yearlong daily project, but why wait?  People seem to be enjoying my Bird series so far.  It’s based on an exercise in the book Drawing Lab by Carla Sonheim.  So, through Instagram and Tumblr, hopefully it will obligate me to draw everyday and get “back in shape” (though drawing, my first art love, is hardly an obligation.)  

You can follow along at or see my drawings and much more at Instagram under ravenmaid1267.  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Explorations: Book Title Poetry

It's been a stay inside kind of day.  I started a painting, finished a drawing, and did a couple of creative exercises.  This one involves making a poem from the titles of library books.  In my line of work, I find myself in a lot of libraries.

Explorations: Multiples

Playing around with beachglass on a cold, wet, snowy day.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Daily Drawing Project

Hey.  It's been awhile, but guess who finally got the Blogger app...   It makes me feel like doing another daily project is a possibility again.  I was thinking it should being drawing-based.  So I'm thinking along the lines of a daily drawing.  For now, I think I'll give it a try and see how it feels. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Exploration: 50 Things

...just another exercise in observation... and another excuse to sit down an watch the ballgame.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Erie Summer Festival of the Arts (Represent!)

    Wow.  It's been a while, but I'm finally back and finally have some good news to share.  As mentioned on my Facebook artist page, a photograph I took was accepted into the Erie Summer Festival of the Arts.  This is exciting as I've never made it into this show before.  Anyway, it was up from the 12th to the 14th of this month and on Saturday I made it up to Erie, PA to see it.  I took a few photos with my phone (yes, that's me in the reflection!) so you can see it, too.  I'm hoping for some more good things to come!

If you're interested, I have some prints available at my Etsy shop at

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Exploration: Cracked Art

     Today's mission: make some digital art based on cracks in neighborhood.  This is another fun little exercise based on a prompt from one of my art books.  It involves documenting cracks in the sidewalk.  Where I live, though, there aren't any sidewalks so I had to settle for the cracks in the road.  Pushed and pulled and put through all sorts of things in Elements, these cracks become some rather interesting pieces of abstract art.  Try it!  You'll never look at sidewalk cracks the same again!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Exploration: Paint Sample Art

    Hi there.  Sorry it's been a little while.  I haven't been idle, though.  Since, I'm not working on a painting right now, I've been playing around with collage.  I especially like using things lying around and stuff about to be thrown out.  This is a quick answer to an exercise about using those little strips of paint color samples you find in department and home improvement stores.  I just happened to have one around from finding the right green to paint my craft show display boxes.  Throw in some Bristol board scraps and some sticky note pieces (not to mention a Photoshop filter) and I end up with a mini minimalist collage.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Salted Lilly Experiment

     This is a drawing on bristol board I used as a kind of template for a painting I did, hopefully, for a show.  I had it just sitting around for a while when I was flipping through a book on drawing exercises and realized it would fit one of the prompts for the most part.  At first, I considered painting in each area, but wasn't really in the mood for it so, with a set of watercolors, I pushed some paint around.  It was still boring, so I sprinkled some salt over it and got this cool effect. That was yesterday. Today, I tweaked it a bit in Elements. It's an experiment and nothing I'm super proud of, but it was fun anyway.

Also, when I'm not blogging, I have some of my other experiments and improvised art captured on Instagram.  Follow me at ravenmaid1267.  Thanks and have a great week!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Exploration: 6th Grade Flute

     I'm working my way through various books of creative exercises including one that prompts us to document or recreate an object from our childhood.  Searching through a box of my old and very special things, I found this: a linocut block from sixth grade art class.  It features the flute I played from 5th grade until my senior year of college.  Today, on a "printing day", I made a print from it over seventeen years later.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

ATCs: Faux Haiku Mini Art

    I don't know about you, but it's raining here.  A great day to sit at my desk and make some art.  One of things I like to do sometimes is play around with collage.  My drawing method is very tight and controlled.  It requires long hours with a pen or marker going over lines and coloring areas so now and then, I just like to push some paint around.
     Artist trading cards are great for this because they're so small and don't require as much of a commitment as larger pieces.  They're ideal for experimentation for the same reasons.  Anyway, sometimes it feels good to take a few and paint them however (usually with the leftover paint from the more serious projects.)
    Also, right now, I've sort of started a line of "mini art" using cards like this.  They make ATC sized now (that's 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches) and I thought they would be good to sell at craft shows.  People could buy those little frames and own a tiny piece of original and, hopefully, inspirational artwork.  Mine feature little sayings and what I'm calling "faux-haiku" poetry made from text cut from magazines.  Here's a couple I just finished.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Exploration: Found Paper

     Happy Monday, everyone!  I just wanted to show you a little collage I made today featuring paper I've found including a work schedule, mailing envelope, church bulletin, and a high school graduation program.  Have a great week and go make stuff!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Exploration: Found Words and Overheard Conversation

     Greetings, all!  Sorry it's been a while.  I don't even know where I've been!  Anyway, here's another little experiment based on a creative exercise involving overheard bits of conversation.  It was something to do as I manned my table last night at an artist bazaar.  It was a rather slow night and one of the things I found to do was a little art journaling composed of words and phrases I overheard around me.  It's one way to observe your surroundings and be present.  It's also a great journaling exercise.  Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Exploration: People Mapping

     Last week was a pretty full one.  It wasn't that I still wasn't sketching and making things, I just didn't getting around to blogging it all.  If you follow me on Instagram (ravenmaid1267,) you would have seen some of the exercises I did that didn't make it to my blog.  Here's one that did and it's called "People Mapping."  It's an exercise in observation, drawing, and maybe a little creeper, too.

Monday, May 13, 2013

ATCs: More Magazine Poetry

   Happy Monday, everyone!  It's a chilly fall-like day up here in the northeast.  I had today off and spent most of it here at my desk/studio painting and collaging.  With my usual drawing style being so tight, it's nice to let loose once in a while and just push some paint around and layer different paper scraps together (most of which came from my trash can.)  Other stuff came from my collage box o' stuff.  We can add these to my series of magazine text poetry.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Exploration: Round Things

     It's been so beautiful here lately.  With the winters we have in this part of the country, we really appreciate days like this.  That and some other things that came up gave me ample reason to go for a nice long walk this morning.  I'm going through Keri Smith's How to Be an Explorer of the World book and came upon an exercise suggesting I collect things on my walk based on the first thing I see.  I'm calling my little collection here "round things." (Super creative, I know.)  I then made this little temporary installation on an outdoor picnic table and ta-da!  If you haven't yet, do yourself a favor and pickup a Keri Smith book.  They're fun and can get you out of creative rut if need be.  Now, get off the computer and go outside!  There's art everywhere.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Exploration: Translucent Objects

     I hope you all had a good weekend.  It was a hectic one for me.  Back to back jobs kept me busy and up late.  And what do I do when I get home?  Take more pictures!  This time with my own camera.  
     I have an assortment of art books full of different kinds of creative exercises and assignments from which I draw inspiration from from time to time.  I love these books so much, I buy them faster than I can complete all the prompts.  However, now I'm trying to crack down and see if I can't finish some before I let myself buy a new one.
    With that said, here's a photo of my latest experiment.  It deals with collecting objects based on how they reflect light.  These objects, with the exception of the candle and cork, are translucent and reflect light.  The beer bottle I collected on one of my walks, the beach glass from several beach hunting expeditions, and the wine glass and candle holder I collected from around the house.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

At the Museum

Today's mission: To go to a museum and make some sketches. Mission accomplished.

      After a short day at work, I drove on down to the Erie Art Museum.  The annual Spring Show was up.  My entry was not accepted this year, unfortunately, but I wanted to see what sort of work did make it and also complete a drawing exercise from one of my books.  As I made my way through the museum, I took some sketches.  First, I saw some colorful Abstract works by an artist named George D. Green.  This quick little sketch doesn't do his work any justice at all, but drawing something forces you to really look and notice details.  The other sketches were from the Spring Show.  There was quite the variety of work and a lot to be inspired by.  By the end, I couldn't wait to get home and start making stuff... that and I forgot the parking meter was running... 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Work in Progress: A Fheiceáil

I just wanted to give you a sneak peak of a drawing I'm working on.  It's almost done and should be up on my website soon.  If you haven't been, check out  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Exploration: Pens vs. Sens

     Hi, there.  Sorry it's been a while.  Last week turned out to be quite busy and I had no super awesome ideas.  As of last night, I didn't have any super awesome ideas so I turned to one of my go-to books, How to Be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith.  She has a whole line of pretty cool books filled with all sorts of fun ideas and exercises including this one.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Adventures of a School Photographer: This Week in Sketches

     This week turned out to be a bit busier than I expected, which is a good thing especially for my checkbook, but I still found a few spare moments to get some sketching in.  Better to sketch and keep my hands busy than sit and twiddle my thumbs, I suppose.  When on break, I broke out my strategically placed sketchbooks and tried out some exercises from some art books I have.  

This one is sometimes called a "soundscape," which I took to mean a drawing with the sounds labeled.  I was sitting in an auditorium waiting for the craziness to start and this is from my point of view.

This is another exercise about observing ten things about your surroundings you didn't really see or notice before you sat down.  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday School: Tombs and Cocoons

     Today, I tried to teach the kiddos about Easter and had them make paper butterflies as a symbol of the Resurrection.  This is one that I made.  I feel that whenever one begins to take art way too seriously, they should pick up some crayons and go to town.  Remember that joy you had as a kid in just creating and making marks.  Art that is made with that same joy is true art.

"Every child is an artist.  The problem is staying an artist once we grow up." -Picasso

Monday, April 1, 2013

Work in Progress: Lily

    Every year, a semi-local gallery hosts a juried show where all works submitted must have a lily theme.  Unlike most years, I'm not waiting until the last minute and am getting some pieces going early.  I'm still experimenting with gessoed panel and have begun a lily painting on one.  On one hand, I really like the smoothness, but I noticed the paint seems to dry much faster on it.  Either, I'll have to get my hands on some acrylic extender or learn to work with this texture.  Anyway, it might not look like much now, but hopefully it'll turn out alright and be hanging in Stonewall soon.  We'll see, I guess.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Found Crosses 2013

Happy Easter, everyone!  Hope everyone's enjoying their holiday weekend.  I just wanted to follow up with a little side project I've been working on based on an exercise in a Keri Smith book involving documenting "found faces."  For Lent, I've documented 33 "found crosses."  33 because Jesus was supposedly 33 when He was put on the cross.  You can see all of them here:

Here are some of my favorites: