Monday, March 30, 2009

Squirrel Sketch

Squirrel Sketch, 2009
Pastel & colored pencil on Mi-teintes paper, 8 1/2" x 10 1/2"

This sketch was begun as a pastel. After the basic drawing was done in Carb-Othello black pastel pencil, it was finished with colored pencil. The pastel sketch was sprayed with workable fixative to prevent it from too much smudging, and it was finished with Prismacolor colored pencil.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Zentangle Ensemble

Zentangle Ensemble, 2009
Pelikan Techno-liners on Strathmore Bristol Vellum,
10 1/2" x 10 1/2"

This began as a 10.5" x 10.5" piece of Bristol paper. I drew the basic Zentangle design then cut the paper into 3.5" x 3.5" squares. I drew my patterns and then reassembled the piece. Some people say creating Zentangle drawings is addictive, and I understand that feeling.
I want to twist this art form into a piece with a common theme. I realize that this lessens the surprise result, but I think that a theme could increase the symbolism.
I'm thinking Zentangles would make great Artist Trading Cards.
I need to get back to the easel.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Zentangle, 2009
Micron pen on Stonehenge paper, 3 1/2" x 3 1/2"

This is my very first zentangle. I read about a zentangle class in a local paper and was curious. I found a site on google,, that explains the art. You Tube has a video showing an artist drawing a variation titled Zendalas- How to Draw a Mandala Zentangle Style. It's an image created by repetitive designs that can be done by anyone. It is suggested you use good paper and an artist's pen. The examples are in black and white, but I added a little color to mine. It's restful, "an artistic meditation", and takes only about 15 minutes to create. I'll do more.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Applied Lessons

This is an older pastel that was not working. It was done on the rough side of an orange piece of Canson pastel paper. I used this color thinking it would be suitable for the fall foliage, but I found the color difficult to use and I was unhappy with the patterned surface texture. I like a smoother paper and a midtoned surface. I adhered strictly to the reference photo, and was very dissatisfied with the result. I look at this failed painting as a chance to practice and apply some lessons I'm learning. I put the photo away and made some changes to improve the piece.
The fisherman should be the focal point, but I found my eye traveling everywhere on "Fishing 1". There is no aerial perspective, no depth to the scene. The colors of the further shore are just as strong as the colors on the nearest shore. The value shapes created in the foliage are repetitive and unconnected. The shape of the sky space is uninteresting.
In "Fishing 2" I added color to the sky, and changed the skyline to make the sky space more interesting. I joined the yellow foliage to make more interesting shapes. I blued and dulled the colors on the far shore to push them into the background. I blurred the reflection in the water. I focused on the fisherman and brightened the highlights on his clothes and on the shore grasses near his feet. I wanted the feeling that he was standing on the shore in the light of the setting sun.
I continue to learn...... to respond to a landscape by seeing interesting value shapes, to become less dependent on the camera by making changes to improve the composition, and to learn to combine elements from two or more photographs to create more possibilities.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

More Reading

In the March 2009 The Artist's Magazine I found a blog by Terry Miller. He was featured in an article where he discussed his graphite work. His blog Pencil Shavings,, is interesting reading. He also has a website, These sites have links to other nature artists. I really like Terry's bridge drawings, some of which can be found under "landscapes"on his website.
I've just begun a new pastel in the farm series. It's a scene from a country fair. The piece has several large draft horses which I've not drawn before.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


"Moored", 2009
Pastel on Strathmore paper, 10" x 16 1/2"

This painting is from a reference photo taken at Pamet Harbor in Truro, MA. I was eager to begin this painting and worked into it quickly, but I had some difficulty finishing. It was on the easel for too long. The perspective of the boats and the rings in the water were challenging.

Monday, March 2, 2009


"Chrysanthemum", 2009
Prismacolor colored pencil on Stonehenge paper, 7" x 5 3/4"

This is the first time I tracked the pencil color of a piece. Many colored pencil artists give a list of colors used in a piece when discussing the work. I did use a clear blender pencil on the leaves of this drawing, and felt this caused me to fill the tooth too quickly.
Background: indigo, ultramarine, violet, poppy red
Leaves: apple green, olive, grass green, peacock green, dark green, deco aqua, scarlet lake, violet
Petals: peach, lemon yellow, orange, poppy red, parma violet, touches of dark green

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Window Light

"Window Light", 2009
Prismacolor colored pencil on vellum, 7 1/2" x 5"

This was the first time I've used vellum as a support, and I was able to draw on both sides of the paper. My intent was to give the piece a greater depth. When using the vellum again, I'll try a value drawing on the back (grays, light to dark) and the local colors on the front.
This colored pencil piece was displayed in a juried exhibit. Each work was to be of the town library, and I chose to draw this statue in an east window in a stairwell.