Category Archives: Drawing

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending February 16


Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

More art. A new week.

February 9, evening – I made a couple more paper dolls. I think there will be still more to come.

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Saturday, February 10 – I loaded up the kiln with my assortment of mini-tiles with the idea of firing them the next day. With a bisque load (the first firing) – the tiles will emerge as ceramics after having gone in as dried mud. In this stage, I  could stack the tiles and arrange them tighter; they have no glaze on them to stick to each other –  and I would if I had a full load, but this small amount of work can be spread out, there’s plenty of space, so I used three full shelves and a half shelf, built up from the bottom of the kiln.

Here is a portrait of the hard-working kiln stilt. These items come in various heights and allow for a custom array of kiln shelves for each firing, depending on what is being fired.

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In the evening, I was tired, and we were watching the Olympics on TV – I needed something to occupy my hands. I have a couple of paint brochures, so I got one out, plus a white gel pen and a black ink pen.

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My idea was to make little drawings for each color square, the theme being that I’d draw what the color name inspired; and I needed both pens because some squares were dark and others light. I’ve done this kind of thing before.

But, it’s been some time. Now I wonder why I let myself forget about this activity. It’s lots of fun. I’m showing you just a bit of the two pages; I’ll do a post with better pictures when I’ve finished the other brochures I’ve got. These little pictures take some study.

Sunday, February 11 – I did fire the kiln today; results tomorrow. Otherwise, I worked on that mysterious collage project I have mentioned. I promise you will see the results in good time.

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When I cleaned up, well, there were some interesting sights on my table. Who would discard a perfectly good arm?

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I also want to mention a collage inspiration that I’ve used in the past and will certainly do so again. When I am working at collage, I am flipping through magazine pages, moving fast, and I slash or tear out the image or item I want, leaving irregular scrap-pages in my wake. The subsequent pages are peeking through these holes, that’s what is happening, and I have been struck by the compositions that result when I come upon the layers of pages in a calmer mood. Serendipity calling!

I cut around the layers, lift them out of the magazine as a whole, and glue them down. And there I have something nice, courtesy of — chance. Let me show you what I mean. I photographed some of these situations after this collage session. If I think of it I’ll go back and cut them out of the magazine.

Monday, February 12 – I opened the kiln. All good. Here’s a look at all four levels, top to bottom.

Now I’m ready to put some color on these tiles. I’ll be working on these for some time, I think. A nice meditative kind of work.

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Then I started on a new project. I had eight 4″ x 4″ gesso-primed cradled boards. I decided to make small paintings using a sheet of photos I had printed out as my reference.

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I chose eight of the nine views and quickly sketched on the boards in pencil. Oh no, I am thinking. This is not how I usually work. I generally just start right in with painting. Pencil sketching is how I make tiles. Well, that’s fine, but underglaze behaves differently from acrylic paint.

Well, I’ve got a dilemma now. How will I make this work out? I’ll figure things out as I go, I guess.

That’s in the future. Here is the overall group, laid out like the photo page:

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And here are the individual sketches, photographed in a hurry, but you get the idea:

Tuesday, February 13 – I worked on the small paintings.

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I will let these rest a bit, I think. I like how they are turning out. I found myself using smaller brushes than usual, that’s how I dealt with the small scale (I’m proud of myself for figuring that out, I am).

I also like the sketches I made to start them off, even though they are now obliterated – I might do a set of pen and ink drawings of the photos and make them into postcards.

Wednesday, February 14 – I was in the mood for some free-form painting today, as opposed to following a prepared plan as I did with the 4″ x 4″ group. I got out four gessoed 8″ x 8″ boards (I am using up the supplies that I have accumulated over time and there is a lot of variety in what I bought in the past, oh yes). These boards have 1 1/2 inch cradles, making a thicker profile than what I usually choose, so I guess I might have gotten these on sale?! Anyway:

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I decided to do two of my favorite motifs – faces and trees. I did some random paint application:

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Things progressed:

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and progressed:

and at the end of the session here is where we were.

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Paintings this small can go quickly when I’m in a free-form mood. I’ll take a look in the next couple of days and see what needs to be done to them to finish them.

Friday, February 16 – I worked on a variety of things this afternoon – my mind felt a little skittish. I painted ATC’s – whether these will stay this way or not, I don’t know, in the beginning I just paint.

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I might do some collage on these cards and I also have some other collage-ready surfaces, so I painted some papers, too.  In the past, late 1990’s and early 2000’s I made many collages using only papers that I had painted, usually in a more representational style. I don’t do that anymore (it had its run and then one day – enough) but I mention it to say that in those days I had many pages of painted sketch papers. Usually I’d do a whole sheet in each color or design – here I just wanted a little of a lot of colors, done very simply – no layering of colors or adding a lot of splatters or the like.

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I added a little bit to the current page in the current Artist Sketchbook I’ve got going – remember, this is where I put extra paint or papers or ink or whatever and try to turn it into something. I like this abstract composition and I might say it is finished.

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Finally, I selected one of the four portrait paintings I did the other day, obliterated the face, and did something different. Now I’ve got a little goblin creature who looks like he might just have eaten an unwary…something. I like him, though he might need a little more work. The other paintings,  I’m pretty happy with them, though I do think I was on a definite ogre/troll/gnome theme.

OK, that’s it for this week! Thanks for taking a look.


Black and White Postcards

One day in November, I got out some supplies: India ink, a Chinese brush, and two packs of watercolor paper postcards I had bought to try out. I had a pile of photos, too, plus my imagination.

Quick and fast I made these drawings.

I enjoyed it. I’ll do this again.


Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending January 26

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

A new week of art.

On Saturday, January 20, I participated in a program at the Glenside Library.

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It was a new idea that Erika, one of the librarians, had come up with, and she ran the meeting. We had an assorted group – a couple of teenagers, Nina and Alyssa, Erika, Won, a friend of Erika’s, Erika’s father, me, Alyssa’s dad Fred, and Frank, whose wife Bev used to work at the library. We introduced ourselves, talked over plans for meeting again, what we might like to be doing with this group, and then we sketched. I used pen and ink and worked on a rendition from a reference photo of a restaurant where I’d eaten this past summer – my idea was to draw quickly and freely, not worrying much about the results, just enjoying drawing.

I then did some drawings of the people around the table – you know,the kind of work where you look at the subject, not the paper, and draw. Here is Frank.

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I hope to make sketching a bigger part of my art activities this year and this event got me thinking about drawing again. It may be time to get some momentum going on this topic very soon, crossed fingers.

On Sunday, January 21 – I didn’t have a lot of time. I did a little work on the paintings I have in progress.

Monday the 22nd, I spent a lot of time on art. First, I worked on a set of tiles. My theme today was exercise: kickboxing, running, lifting weights, and jumping jacks, representing various activities I favor. I had put Velvet Jet Black underglaze on the tiles already. I scrawled rough outlines of figures on the tiles in pencil. The lines will burn out in the kiln so this is a great way to do a little guide for myself. If I make a mistake I can also rub out the lines pretty easily and try again.

Tiles in progress. That jumping jack girl in particular looks a little flat-footed, but I’ve felt that way myself sometimes, so once again I inadvertently express truth in my work. Right? Oh yes!

Then I cleaned up the table and got a new set of tiles ready for the next session. Isn’t this nice-looking? It won’t stay this way for long.

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Then I zipped up the stairs to my studio (I live in a four level house – clay in the basement, studio on the first level, the other two levels the living area, in case you are wondering) and worked on selected odd-person portraits (I had set aside the ones I felt were finished already) and the larger painting. I am working in acrylics, as usual.

I feel I’ve gotten all of these paintings to a good place, pretty much done – so I took them upstairs and set them all out in the living room where I can study them over a few days and see if I want to do more to any of them.

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On January 23, four more tiles. Once again, you can see the drier areas as being paler and more chalky than the still wet sections. I like to let a tile dry overnight to make sure it’s really – dry.

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Three more to do, and then I have met my goal of making 40 of these. The remaining blank tiles will sit in their box until later in the year when I’ll do some more. I am ready to move on to some other clay project right now, though I’m not sure quite what, yet.

January 24, Wednesday, and I was determined to get a lot done today; I had the whole day to work with. Art-wise, I finished up the last three tiles in my self-imposed goal. The theme was electronics around my house. I snapped these quick photos:

I penciled in quick sketches on the tiles:

And I finished them up. Next comes a firing. Then I’ll need to sign and wrap the tiles (not just these but all the ones I have done in the past month or so – it’s added up to be a pretty good number, I realize), but the creative work is done, and I’m ready to take a break from tiles. I think I’ve said that…

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Next, I went upstairs and worked on a collage project. I won’t mention details as it is a secret, to be revealed some time later; but I will show you the battlefield that is my work table when I’m doing collage. Oh dear, what a mess.

Last, I worked on three odd-people portraits. I had thought they were finished, but after some time looking at them up in my living room, I picked out a few details I felt had to be fixed. Next thing you know I had made some significant changes. Well, that’s the idea of giving them some time to “rest”.

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Now we come to Friday, January 26. I got myself organized, loaded the kiln, and fired it. This load is tiny – I used 2 shelves vs. five and the tiles are basking in the roominess.

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In the past I would have waited to make more work; I never fired a less-than-crammed-full kiln load. Nowadays I am not worrying about it. I’ve learned a kiln does not use much electricity, I don’t fire that often, and I want to have all my tiles done so that I may sign them, price them, and pack them away in one big effort.

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I plan to do more clay work, but I’m going to switch directions, and I don’t like to mix bisque and glaze work if I can help it. That’s why I am glad to have these tiles all done, all at once.

Stay tuned.

I finished up the last odd-people portrait (I hope) and painted the larger painting’s edges black. I paint on cradled wood or masonite and by painting the edge, there is no need for framing.

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I worked on some more collage. Once again, the table looked shell-shocked. And it started out so clean and neat. I also used markers in some of my work today. I’ve got an assortment and I use them now and then – they are new to me and I am still feeling them out.

Last, my current artist’s sketchbook is still open to this page. I think I will add some black ink and call it done. That sounds like a nice activity while I am watching TV this evening.

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OK, that’s it for this week. It has been a busy one that saw the completion of a lot of projects. Now on to next week and we’ll see what I decide to do. Thank you for your time and attention!

Inky Fingers

Here are a couple of artist trading cards featuring ink.

The first one (and I may have posted the little drawing on its own, before it became an ATC – it’s a man sitting in the waiting room at one of my husband’s doctor appointments earlier this year, I believe) was done on shiny slick paper with a technical pen, I believe they are called – if you are interested in knowing more, take a look at this information from my favorite pen-buying website.

The pen and the paper work great together – the pen slides right along. I like that feature – I’m not happy with a scratchy scrapy drawing experience.

The next one was done with a Chinese brush and India ink, with some watery acrylics added for color.

The paper was very soft and the ink soaked in as the brush swept across it. I like irregularity of the lines made in this way.

Drawing ink is different from fountain pen ink. I was using Black Cat India inkin this drawing. I admit to having bought this ink because of its name, but I like how it works, and so I have tried no others. It is waterproof, which is important since I wanted to add the colors later on and I didn’t need any bleeding of that intense black color.

Envelopes for Swag Bags Part 2

As I promised, here are the rest of the envelopes I made for my swag bag items for the upcoming indiemade craft market on December 2.


For an explanation of why I created these little envelope-drawings, look here for the full story and to see the other examples.

All right, let’s get to it. Here are the rest of the envelopes that I have to show to you. And remember, if you want a swag bag, you need to get in line around 8 AM. And – dress warmly!

Envelopes for Swag Bags Part 1

On December 2 I will be participating in the indiemade craft market in Allentown, PA, with my clay work. I love this show, seeing many art friends at it every year, and the two women who founded the event are really special people and have become valued friends of mine.

One thing that is a tradition at this show is the swag bag given to the first 50 people in the door (yes, this show is held indoors!). Now, remember, it is December, and it is cold. Some years it has been snowing, and it’s never been balmy weather. But people line up outside the building for up to 2 hours to get one of these bags.

The bags are filled with examples of the work of us artists – we each donate at least 10 items toward filling the bags. The bags themselves are custom-made and differ each year.

I’ve always put my little items in envelopes and decorated them in some simple way. This year I went a little extra. I drew on each envelope and added a snippet of print. I’ll show you some samples of these envelopes here in part one and the rest in part two, a bit later on.

I made about 45 of these envelopes but I did not scan them all – just my favorites. I forgot to measure their size and I’ve thrown out the box, but I think they are about 3″ x 6″, more or less.

Take a look.

Yes and No

I was interested in the idea of etegami, a form of Japanese mail art. I bought some paper meant for this subject, postcard-sized and very soft. Following my version of the technique, I drew the figures in India ink.

Then I used watery acrylic paints to color the images.

I was not having a good time with this project. The paper is very soft, I think I said that! and I tend to scrub at my surfaces with my brush. Oh dear, the paper began to pill. I let the images dry, very sorry for hurting them.

The next step would be to write something on each card, a few words. I just did not feel like doing that, so I left them blank.

I am not going to do etegami, I decided. I’ll just do these.

I will say I like the philosophy behind etegami-making: anyone can do it and imperfection is welcome.