Sunday, June 1, 2014

Lab 32: Paint Blots

      I've been doing exercises from Drawing Lab by Carla Sonheim (Quarry Books) for years.  Like every other art book I buy, I get all excited and determined to do every single exercise before I allow myself to buy the next book and like every other time, that doesn't happen.  So lately, I've been making a concentrated effort to make some progress.  Here's the results of the exercise involving making drawings or seeing things in blots of paint (gesso in my case.)  See results of other labs at my tumblr account at

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How to Ship a Coaster

We went out to dinner and I brought home this coaster in my fav color.
    One of the reasons I blog is, of course, to get my work out there.  What artist doesn't want their stuff to be seen?  Another is the possibly of inspiring others and making life more creative.  I see art everywhere.  Every surface is a canvas.  Every thing can be decorated.  This and that thing can be a sculpture or a project of some kind.  Then, I buy art books that give me even more ideas some of which I adapt, alter, and draw inspiration from.  So I just thought I'd share some of those ideas with you.  Join along if you want!
I decorated both sides in artwork.  I used supplies I had at hand and more I pulled 
from the trash.  Recycle!

 How to Ship a Coaster

1. Take yourself or your bestie out to dinner at a place classy enough to offer coasters. (Who doesn't need an excuse to go out?)

2. Use coaster and save it from the trash by taking it home.

3. Decorate said coaster.  (Have fun with it.  Maybe turn some more trash into treasure AND make someone's day.)

On the other side I affixed a piece of scrap paper with gel media.  A drawing
exercise I was working on focused on the repetition so I painted and drew 
circles and continued the circle motif.
 4.  Make sure to make the addresses easy to see and read.

5.  Affix the proper amount of postage and mail the thing!  Apparently, it can be done as two of my friends can attest.

Now I just need someone to send it to!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Secret Life of Shapes

     So I'm still working out the book Expressive Drawing by Steven Aimone and I think it's been good for me.  I'm not usually one for the abstract and this has been an interesting experiment.  It's not only helping me to loosen up a bit, but also to think more critically about art again.  Since leaving college, I haven't really many opportunities to talk shop with other artists or do any serious critiques.  So I welcome any helpful advice and hope you enjoy this blog, an ever-evolving work in progress.
     Later today I have a photo shoot scheduled, so I spent my morning working on a couple of ongoing projects including my found text poetry (find me on Instagram at ravenmaid1267 to see what I'm talking about) and my attempt to do all the exercises in Expressive Drawing.  The two I've done this morning involve the interaction between the angular and the curvilinear and the geometric and the organic.  Through this exercise I've learned that a narrative can be formed using a few simple shapes.  I've found a story in there myself, but I'll leave you to find your own.  Have a great day!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Angry Square and Other Shapes' Conversations

     The fourth day of Spring still has some snowflakes floating down.  The chill in the air makes me want to do my creating from the comfort of a warm blanket, but I was able to to punch out a few things this past week including some more drawing exercises. But in this case, when I say drawing, I mean painting since they were made with paint.)  These ones involve the relationships between shapes directional and non-directional.  It also explores the moods that are created and even the personalities of the shapes themselves depending on the way they're made and their relationships to the other shapes in the composition.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Conversation of Lines 2

     I'm nearly a third of the way through on my 100 Faces project.  However, I can't say I'm all that happy with any of them.  They look even worse when scanned into the computer.  These charcoal exercises, though, actually look better than the originals.  At least, I like them better this way somehow.  One of my goals is to learn Photoshop and learn how to "do something cool" with work like this.  Any tips, anyone?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Angry Crayons and Other Forms of Self Expression

     Today, I'm exploring the emotional impact of line and I decided to do it in, yep, crayon.   It's the same tool we used when we were little to express ourselves in pictures and create some of the purest art we've created until we learned to overthink things.  Used in the right way, it can still be expressive.  This is just a sampling of different lines and the feelings they can convey through the different kinds of marks.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Conversation of Lines

     Hello, all.  Thanks for stopping by today.  I was scheduled off and it ended up being one of those days where I turn the radio up, grab a sweet drink, and have several projects going at once.  It's times like this that I feel like I'm closest to being in my element.  That element involving the smell of paint, battered brushes in paint-splattered cups and tins, charcoal on my fingers, and a beat up old palette that's seen better days.
    I'm still working out of the book Expressive Drawing.  If you're a drawer, it's a good one to pick up.  I've found it helpful in my attempt to loosen up and try something new.  Today, I made a series of drawings exploring line and direction and the effect it has on mood, etc.  These three drawings were all made with charcoal and white gesso on canvas paper.  They're simple, but I like the sense of depth cause by the layering and obliteration of the gesso.  I learned some things then that I think I can expand on and I think that's the point of it.

Monday, February 17, 2014

An Exercise in Line and Weight




   Hi there.  Yes, I'm still here.  I'm still without a laptop, too.  The search is ongoing so if anyone has any recommendations for a photo editing laptop, I'd love to hear it.  And don't say Mac Book Pro.  I've heard that from several people, but they're too expensive.   Anyway, for your viewing pleasure I've posted the result of today's drawing exercise.  It deals with line and weight.  I know they're not that exciting, but I'm doing something so I'll call that a victory.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Line Samplers

     It starts how it always does: I get a new book and decide I'm going to do all the exercises.  This time, I was off to a pretty good start.  I've posted the results so far to prove it... at least to myself if no one else.  Maybe you noticed the lull.  It was mainly due to my laptop "all but losing it."  It had become increasingly unresponsive and, after getting a second opinion, I think it's time to put it out to pasture. However, it's not the only computer in the house so here I am again.  And here are the results from an exercise/workshop/thing I did towards the end of last month.  It's a study of line and surface using various traditional drawing media.  Sometimes, when you need to figure out how to get going again, it's good to get back to basics. 

Mixed media on drawing paper.

Mixed media on watercolor paper.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

How to Draw with a Hockey Stick

        Today, I had to find a long stick to use in my drawing.  The longest and sturdiest thing I had at hand was a full-sized novelty hockey stick.  I used masking tape to attach a graphite stick, turning up the music, and went to town.

This thing's a collectors item.  Must be careful.

"I Don't Care About That"   Graphite on paper.

All this noise is disturbing someone's nap.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Crayons for Grown Ups and Beyond Drawing

     It's our slow season at work and I find myself with some time on my hands.  Time to do some soul-searching, work on personal projects, experiment, and even play.  Sometimes, it's when your playing around when you stumble on to something.  I'm not saying this is one of those times, but I'm not ruling it out either.  I was working from a prompt and decided to pull out my box of oil pastels or, as I like to call them, "crayons for grown-ups."  Following the prompt, I made my first marks with my eyes closed.  I responded to those first marks with many more inspired by the music I had playing.

"God of Wonders"   Oil pastel on paper.
      Then, I photographed the drawing and put the image onto my computer and put it through a stained glass Photoshop Elements filter.  This is the result.

    Why not take it a step further?  I used the cookie cutter tool to cut out bird shapes and add them to a photo of trees in the front yard I had just taken.  A bit of tweaking and a filter or so later, this is what I ended up with and it all started with a scribbly drawing! 

     This is just to give you an idea of where you can take your drawings (or where your drawings can take you.)  This is only the beginning!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Drawing/Painting and Double Exposures

"Break Me Down"   Black Gesso on paper.

This is what happens when I photograph two different areas of the painting and make a double exposure. 
     The one plus side of having time off is having more time for art.  I'm still working on loosening up and exploring drawing beyond rendering and realism.  Another thing I'd like to explore is finding new ways to combine drawing and photography.  The idea came to me the other day to use high contrast drawings and do double exposures.  I think it has some potential.  What do you think?

I'm thinking about adding a blog roll.  If you want to be included, leave a comment below.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Happy New Year! and Automatic Drawing

"Lovers' Wreck"   Fluid acrylic on paper.   2014

     Happy belated New Year, everyone!  It's been a while... on this blog anyway.  I got an account on Tumblr towards the end of last year for my daily drawings and have been trying to figure out what this blog should be.  I usually like for things have a sense of unity, but, at least for now, I'm going to experiment and let things evolve. 
     I feel like I'm still at that point in my career when I'm trying to nail down a certain signature style.  It's been quite frustrating most of the time, but I hear it's part of the process.  Also, apparently, you have to experiment and produce A LOT of work before you get to the really good stuff.  So, like I said, I've been posting drawings to Tumblr everyday.  I've been working on an exercise called "100 Faces" from the book Drawing Lab by Carla Sonheim where you draw, well, one hundred faces.  I've been doing the first batch in graphite pencil, a media I really need to improve in (can't you tell?)  I've been working in pen and marker so long and it's time to loosen up.
    Speaking of loosening up, I finally bought this drawing book I've had my eye on and just finished the chapter about automatic drawing.  (Google it.)  The workshop exercise it suggests involves taping a large piece of paper to the wall and going at it with a paint brush (which would make it painting, wouldn't it?) like a fencer with a foil.  So, I thought I should try it...