Showing posts from 2009

Season's Greetings!

Wishing you all the warmest greetings for this holiday season! From my hearth to yours, Merry Christmas! This is Copper, one of our five fur kids. I put up our Christmas tree and he instantly started chewing on the artificial needles. I scolded him and this was the look he gave me. Sort of a combination of sheer disbelief and "I am king, how dare you scold me!" .....priceless..... Happy Holidays to everyone! Diane

Harvest Moon

Les called me outside this evening to take in the moon rising in the night sky. What a beautiful harvest moon - weaving in and out of the clouds. I'm not much of a night photographer but a couple of the photos turned out. Our neighbors tree added some rich reds. And our soft maple has just a couple of leaves hanging on. Fall has definitely taken hold.

Tree Stump

Sometimes it's relaxing to do a simple drawing. I have been wanting to do this old tree stump for a couple of years and I finally got around to it. About 10 hours on Fabriano watercolor paper.


Trail to Lake Ediza

Here is an update.... the foreground has been layed in and surprisingly it ended up quite dark. I really didn't want the foreground to hold the viewers attention for long, but let it gradually follow the water up thru the trees and into the background.

Here is a small update as I didn't have much drawing time this week. Continued to work on the middle-area rocks, crevices and shadows. I've also sketched in the foreground rocks and placement of the wildflowers.

Expressive lines

At first glance of the scene, the cracks in the rocky landscape may "visually look" like nothing more than a line. But if you observe closer, you will see the irregularity of the crack or crevice. It will be darker and wider where the crack is more open and thinner and lighter where it is narrower. Closer observation and understanding of "what" you are looking at will help you determine that a straight and evenly applied pencil stroke will not realistically represent that crevice.


Rick's - Japan Water Wheel - Update

I posted an update to Rick's drawing, Japan Water Wheel under the following post:

Pushing into the Shadow

Indiana Barn

Wip 8: Added a bit more shadow to the left and shaping of the foreground bush....

Wip 7: Shaded the face of the barn even darker, especially behind the bush and putting some detail back into the barn boards.Starting to define some of the grass in the foreground. The bush to the left if starting to be defined as well.

Drawing Stats:
the paper is mellotex
size: 7" x 8"
pencils: 2B and 4B 2mm clutch pencils
approx. 30 far

Wip 6: Really working on the deepest shadows to the right of the barn. Darkening that corner has really pushed the barn right out the page!

Wip 5: The background trees are adding depth to the scene...little spaces of sky peak through to keep the trees 'airy'.

Wip 4: Starting to take shape. I really like the splash of highlights on the left upper tree. And I'm starting to shape the trees in the background. I'm slowly texturing in the ivy and the barn face is deepening in shadow as well.

Wip 3: Again, I am really trying to force myself into crea…

Pushing into the Shadow

UPDATE: Sept 5, 2009

Diane: Using the 2H to burnish the dark areas, creates a nice rich and solid dark. What a great finish!!

Rick: I've enclosed the latest touch up effort using a 2H pencil and dropping the water into the wheel. Although I can still see area's that require additional touch-up I realize the for now the time has come for me to leave well enough alone and apply everything that I've learned from this drawing to my next effort.

Once again, thanks to you this drawing has been pure pleasure for me and I look forward to starting my next one.

Rick: I finally found the nerve to pick up the 4B pencil and give your "push the blacks" a go and I will be danged! "Henrietta began emerging right off the paper." Thank you much young lady! I may be an old dog but I see that even I can learn new tricks by paying attention. I still have a log way to go (I'm shooting for the moon) but as Neil Armstrong might say "That's one small step for man, one …

Drawing Old Weathered Wood

Close observation of old barn boards can help you see and identify common characteristics of old weathered wood. Adding these "clues" as you draw can help create a realistic rendition.

- knots in wood

- grain of wood

- weathering (lighter areas)

- small cracks between the boards

- the bottom edges of the boards are more worn and uneven

- nails and old hinges, etc.

While it is tempting to use blending to create tone on old wood, there is a better way. I use a 3 layer approach to drawing weathered wood.
Layer 1 - Using a B or 2B .5mm mechanical pencil , sketch linear lines to match the direction of the grain. These are the areas of the wood where moisture has darkened the wood the most. Also add in knots, grain patterns and "flaws" in the wood. Add all the dark cracks or dark spaces between the boards using a 2B or softer lead. (rich blacks are recommended in these areas)Layer 2 - Using a 2H chisel point on a 2mm clutch pencil, burnish a layer of graphite over the board. Use…

Fire Sky

Les and I were dining at one of our favorite restaurants downtown, Hessen Haus. It was a beautiful evening so we were on the patio and the sun was setting. Les told me to look over my shoulder and this is what I saw....the Des Moines skyline was on fire! Actually the clouds were reflecting the sunset....these are the real thing, no alterations in photoshop! It lasted for only a few minutes and then it was gone. I just so happen to carry a Nikon Coolpix camera with me all the time.

Sibley Workshop Exercise

This is the final exercise Mike presented to us during his recent workshop.

Well, I'm coming to an end here. I've spent the afternoon experimenting with the weeds. I keep pushing them into the shadows and playing with some of the light highlights. (it's really such a cool technique!)

After two weeks, I am almost done. I've darken the facial features on Amy and pushing the rusty wheel under the cart and into the shadows. The plants are taking an unbelievable amount of time. I am focusing on the negative space between the leaves...working dark to light.

Louie, the cat, is peaking out amongst the weeds and Amy is starting to take shape.

Adding the wheel and weeds behind the dog, Amy.

Adding in the wood:

Mike tailored his instruction to each student's artistic skill levels. Since he is familiar with my artwork, I think he knew exactly what he wanted to emphasize to me. He really worked with me to understand the importance of pushing the darks...and I mean really push the…

Sibley Workshop - Indiana

August 7-9 - Sibley Drawing Workshop - Indiana

It seems that anytime I converse with someone regarding my drawing journey, the name Mike Sibley always seems to be spoken. If there has been one individual who has influenced my development as an artist, it has to be Mike. He is not only a fantastic graphite artist, but he is also my web designer, my mentor and has become a very dear friend over the years.
I had the distinct pleasure of attending a drawing workshop presented by Mike in Goshen, Indiana. I finally got to meet Mike and his wonderful wife, Jenny.
The workshop was held in a unique venue. An old bag factory has been turned into a collection of specialty shops, galleries and artist's studios. We had the 3rd floor of this old warehouse as our gathering.

We had 12 artists participating in the workshop. So we received a lot of one-on-one attention from Mike. Here is a group shot of us all. There were several folks that I have conversed with on-line that attended so I felt as thou…

Chain Maille Chess Set

My son, Matthew, just completed this chain maille chess set. He has spent approximately 500 hours over the past 2 years creating the individual chess pieces and chess board. The rings are aluminum, copper and black anodized aluminum. The framed artwork is approximately 24"x46".

He is extra creative and decided to frame the chess board to save table space. The shelves are glass and he hand polished the edges smooth.

He has this at his office and there is a continual chess game going amongst his co-workers.

This is truly an beautiful and unique piece of functional artwork. Not bad for an aerospace engineer ( aka rocket scientist!!)

Detail of chess board:

Sample of the knight and pawn pieces:

One set of chess pieces: