Monday, February 23, 2015

MFA Visit and other pen works


Lost track of time, or I would have done this update yesterday. Actually that is a lie, I wanted to include the above drawing and I didn't finish stippling in the background until last night, too late for me to have done an update.

So here is another of my pattern pieces, this one is a bit larger than the ones shown previously it is six inches square where the others were only 4 inches. It is done on Hot Press Watercolor paper so the options for coloring are wide open, I was thinking about using Inktense pencils for this instead of colored pencils, but I need to do a bit more stipple work on this before I start color. It doesn't show in the image but some stipple areas are just a bit too light and need more work.

I used a lot of ruled grid lines on this one to help with the placement and size of the various repeated motifs. Also for the stippling I went with a larger tip size than I normally use (to save time), I wanted an even background, fairly dark so didn't need to worry about gradations. Anyway I used a .3 Copic Multiliner SP pen, one of my Christmas gifts to myself. Drawn without references but of course it may remind you of something.


I know it is after Valentines day so hearts should be put away until next year, but with it still being the month of February I had hearts on the brain when I was doing a recent pen exercise (using all of my Technical pens). Anyway I ended up with this design of hearts, for the background I wanted to play with a different type of fill so using my 3x0 pen just drew the basket weave background. I then added color using some of my various mfg. red pens. This was just for fun but I kind of like it.


A fairly quick pencil drawing of the back of a plastic fork. Done on the bus heading toward Boston for one of the WetCanvas Scavenger Hunts. I thought the back of the fork was more interesting than the front what with the supports built into the mold. Done in one of my smaller sketchbooks with a mechanical pencil. I don't really like these pencils, but they are the easiest to haul around for sketching as they don't need to be sharpened, course that is what I don't like about them, I don't have a sharp point to work with for details.


The bus trip into Boston last Friday was so I could visit the MFA to see several new exhibits and to revisit one other on-going one. The new exhibit I wanted to see was the Gordon Parks photographs of friends made back in the late 1950's pre-desegregation. I feel they were worth my time, I enjoyed seeing the photographs and reading the blurbs. In some ways we have come a long way, but in others I am not sure there has been that much change in attitude towards African American's or Negro's as they were called then.

Anyway after seeing the photographs I wanted to revisit the Chinese Silk paintings. On my way I stopped to rest in the Gallery showing Pacific Island art and sketched the above wooden statute. You can't tell from this view but she is female, sitting on some small 4 legged animal and holding a human figure. The figure has hold of her tongue (super long) and is also biting the tail of the animal. She is holding one hand up to her ear. The small human has extra long and flexible arms and legs so it isn't my drawing that is out of whack but the way the sculpture was carved. Again drawn in one of my smaller sketchbooks with a mechanical pencil.


Photographs from Boston, the one above was made on Boston Common from the Boylston side looking toward the State Capitol (the golden dome a little to the right of center) and shows some of the mounds of snow that I ran into in the city. 


I made the above photograph in the MFA. Last week was a school vacation week for MA public schools and the Museum set up all sorts of activities for kids throughout the museum. This one was pretty simple, supplying kids with paper and drawing tools and letting them have at it. Sorry if the focus isn't as sharp as it could be but I can't use flash in the museum, and am not as steady as I once was. If I wanted to play in Photoshop I could probably improve this shot by removing the mothers legs at the bottom, still I rather like it the way it is, cut off head of a visitor and all.

Again I have more Boston snow photographs on my Facebook page if you are interested.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome and appreciated.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Another Portrait and a couple of quick dwgs


I don't have anything very elaborate to post today, I am working on a new pen and ink pattern piece but it isn't ready to show off.

Above is my second drawing for the Flickr Group Julia Kay's Portrait Party another graphite portrait. I am fairly happy with it, and more pleased by the fact that it didn't take me as long to get semi right as my first portrait did. I have a couple more photo's that I have already downloaded, just need to motivate myself and get to them.

This one was a bit of a challenge as the angle and position of his head are not usual, was fun to draw for that reason, you will have to take my word for it that it even sort of looks like the photo.


The above is just a doodle, another of my technical pen "exercise" sketches. I use each of my ink filled technical pens for at least a minute on each of these, a way to make sure the ink hasn't dried in the pens. Course right now I have 2 that aren't very happy with me and I think I will need to break down and replace the tips. Ah well cheaper to replace the tips then the whole pen, next time I am in Boston at a Dick Blicks they will be on my shopping list. With one of the tips I have damaged the wire that feeds the ink and the other is blocked, I left the pen un-used too long while the pen was filled. Course it is the 3x0 tip and all it takes is bit of debris to block those, in fact I thought I had it working and then it just stopped and now nothing I have done clears it. Some days I wish I had an ultrasonic cleaner.

Done in one of my smaller sketchbooks, and ivy plant from imagination.


I did the above for another of the WetCanvas Scavenger Hunts. Graphite in the dedicated sketchbook, it is a drawing of a small jar of Thyme leaves that I have in my kitchen cabinet. Not much else to be said about this, except glass is tricky you get highlights and shadows in odd places.


And now, time for more snow photographs. What can I say it is the dominate feature of my landscape and life right now, feet of snow, on roofs, on columns, on the ground, and covering sidewalks. Both of these photos were made Sunday after the clouds cleared from our latest blizzard, which dropped at least another foot of snow on our previous six feet (give or take). The wind can really whip the snow into some unusual shapes, taking from one spot and leaving it in others.

The photograph above is the corner of a roof and shows how the snow was blown to overhang the edge. It is lit by a sun that was starting to set.


This second photograph is one of the columns that support an old cemetery fence, I have shown photographs of the cemetery before as it is just around the corner from me. For some reason the wind left this column of snow on top of the support. Not sure how many feet tall it is, there is no way I can get close enough to it to figure it out, well maybe if I had snowshoes, but I don't, so you will just have to take my word for it, that snow is feet tall not inches. I posted the more standard type snow photographs on my Facebook page for anyone interested.

That is it for today. Per usual comments are appreciated.  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

An Ink Valentine and other Works


In honor of Valentines day I though I would do a quick inked valentine. So above is a paper pieced and quilted heart but done with pen and ink not fabric. I used the black dash lines to represent quilting, and the "fabrics" were drawn using all of my various pink/red pens. They are loosely based on fabrics I have worked with over the years, but were drawn from my imagination.

I have so not been sewing, but many of my friends have been so I thought this would amuse them. It is fairly small only 4 x 4 inches on Bristol board.


Otherwise what I was working on was adding color to this pen and ink pattern piece that I showed in the last blog update, Not totally sure about the colors, it was going in a bit of a different direction and I didn't like how it was looking so the red made its appearance. It certainly livens things up.

Again this is only 4 inches square, inking was done with a dip pen and sepia acrylic ink, colors are various colored pencils (I have a lot) Derwents, Artist, Colorsoft and Studio, mostly topped by Polychromos.


The above is really only a doodle but thought you might be interested in seeing it. Done in my sketchbook with various technical pens, it is about 4 inches square. Just threw different shapes and lines at it and this is the result. Sometimes it is just fun to play with no serious intent.


Two photographs today, the day following our last storm the sky cleared for a bit and we had sun and a blue sky. I took the opportunity to wander around my neighborhood with my camera, and came across this lone tree silhouetted against the sky. Not sure if you can see it, but many of the larger branches close to the trunk have a frosting of snow on them. As you can see the sun was getting fairly low in the sky. I could have lightened the photo in Photoshop (actually I did a little) but I really like the visual contrast so didn't play with it too much.


The above photo was made the same day as the tree and is of the roof of my building showing the snow overhang and some icicles hanging down. The wind whips the snow into such strange shapes. Something I love to photograph.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New Bookmark and some Pen and Inks


I think I have Easter on the brain, which is silly because I am not a church goer and won't be celebrating Easter even when it comes around. Anyway I was doodling the other day and this funny looking rabbit came out. I looked at it and though, hmm, that might make a fun bookmark. I made some slight changes and then transferred the drawing to a bookmark sized piece of hot press watercolor paper. After inking the rabbit I used various colored pencils to color him (I think it is a he, a she would be wearing a hat) and the background in. 

I wanted to call it/him Oswald but after doing a quick Internet search discovered that Disney had created an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit years and years ago, actually prior to his creating Mickey Mouse, and funnily enough his rabbit looks a lot like Mickey except the ears are longer. For the record my rabbit doesn't look anything like Disney's. Anyway, now I am not sure if I should bother naming him at all. The bookmark isn't quite finished, it still needs a bit of work, but drawing this was fun and totally out of my usual working subject/style. 


I totally missed drawing anything for the last WetCanvas Scavenger Hunt list (#392), so told myself when I printed out the next list yesterday that I really need to draw something for this one (#393). This morning I sat down and did a quick sketch of the door to the hall in my Apt. It is an old door with lots of architectural details so was a bit of a challenge which I haven't done justice to. Got the scale a bit wrong so had to play with it a bit at the bottom, could be worse, could be a lot better.  Done with one of my technical pens in the dedicated sketchbook.


The flowers above started out as a doodle, then I added the colored inks and finally the lines for the background. Not the best lining work, but not too bad. Just a fun exercise with no real purpose. I like to sometimes draw totally from my imagination. I never know where these sessions will lead sometimes to nothing and other times to the start of more finished works, as with the rabbit above.

I have found that since for the past few years I have spent a lot of time drawing various items/animals/flowers from life or reference that my imaginary images have expanded to include some of the shapes used with those more realistic images and my doodles no longer remind me of the teenager/young adult I once was.


I am working on another design pattern. Drawn in pencil, inked outlines with black acrylic ink. I just finished inking in the background lines using brown acrylic ink. I have a design error, can you see it? But decided it doesn't matter too much. I think this one needs some color, but may star at it a bit more before I decide just what colors to use.

This is 4 inches square on 400 Strathmore Bristol Board Smooth, inking is done with dip pen and acrylic inks as mentioned. Again I am working from my imagination, but if it reminds you of something I wouldn't be surprised.




The above is a series of photos that I am actually still working on, as the slumped snow in the last photo is slumping even more, but hasn't fallen just yet. The first photograph was made early yesterday afternoon during our latest snow storm. The middle image was made a bit later in the day after snow that was overhanging from the roof dropped to the porch, leaving just one section standing. The bottom photograph was made this morning, after we had had additional snow fall overnight as you can tell by the height of the snow pile against the railings. I think if the sun comes out as they told us it would it won't be long before the pile falls.

One additional comment about snow, the commentators on the news tell us that we have had approximately 60 inches of snow (that is 5 feet) in the past 3 weeks. This is some kind of record, and is overwhelming those whose responsibility it is to keep the roads clear and transportation moving. I know they are doing their best, and am hoping our weather pattern changes soon so that we don't get more of these storms. There just isn't room for more of this white stuff.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Portraits and Still Life


For today's post I am including 2 portraits that I have done in the past two days. For the first I went back to graphite in one of my sketchbooks to draw this lovely lady.

First an explanation, on Flickr there is a group called Julia Kay's Portrait Party, I heard about the group through a member of another group I belong to. Last year I asked to join and was accepted as a member. However at the time I wasn't in the mood to draw portraits and before I started to participate I needed to find some photos of myself that I could upload to the group. The purpose of the group is to draw portraits of each other. So each member needs to provide images that other members can use as reference. For one reason or another I don't have a lot of images of me, but I have been able to locate a few and in the past couple of days I have finished setting up my membership and downloaded some images for me to draw.

The above pencil drawing is my first for the Portrait Party and is of Jo XXXXXXX. I am reasonably pleased with this, it semi looks like her, though it took me way too long to achieve what likeness I managed. Good thing I used graphite or she wouldn't be looking anything like herself. I hope to be doing more portraits and will hopefully get faster at getting a likeness.


The other day I received a request to participate in a Blog event that Renata is having on her blog, she asked for a self portrait in ink. So using one of the reference I uploaded to the Portrait Party last night I did a quick drawing of myself and then added ink. Hmm well, not too bad, not wonderful but not too bad either considering that I really didn't spend all that long on it. Oh in case you are wondering, I made a "selfie" with my Canon Rebel using the delay shot feature, so I could set up the camera and then go stand in front of it before the shutter clicked, the photo is actually a few years old, but I look pretty much the same, more wrinkles, and the hair is whiter.

Done in one of my sketchbooks, I used my technical pens to do the inking, and then erased out the graphite.


The above still life is totally from my imagination, which is why the shadows are incomplete and only suggested. I was playing around and made a quick graphite sketch that I then inked using a dip pen and my acrylic inks. Not wonderful, but it was sort of fun to do. Almost no cross hatching, mainly just directional lines to provide tone. I consider it a practice piece.


Photo for today is a tree that is downtown Brockton and is basically covered with Ivy. I have photographed this tree before as I find it interesting. The tree is alive and will leaf out come spring despite being overgrown with ivy. You can see the mounds of snow that were covered over by our most recent snowfall. Boston has had a record amount of snow in the past seven days, approx. 3 feet worth, as the last storm dumped another 12 inches on us on Monday. We are getting a bit of melting today, but are also expecting another snow storm tomorrow, and perhaps over the weekend. Anyone want some snow? I am sure the City of Boston or Brockton would be thrilled if someone wanted to come and take a lot of it away.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Regarding Snow and some drawings


I have been doing more pattern play with pen and ink. Well the pattern starts out in pencil then I ink the lines, erase the pencil and then ink a background. For the above I was working with a dip pen and my new to me acrylic inks, sepia for the outlines and black for the background and fills. I don't think I will add any colored pencil to this one, as I rather like the subtle color changes between the brown and black inks and I think it would get lost if I added more color.

Not sure where I am going with these, for some reason they appeal to me at the moment. Maybe I have been looking at too many architectural details or too many Greek vases. I am not deliberately copying anything but I wouldn't be surprised to find they remind my viewers of something specific.

I do wish I was a bit more consistent in some areas with the fill lines I put in, though I suppose that the unevenness is a sign that was done by hand and not on a computer. This is only 4 inches square done on 400 Strathmore Bristol Smooth paper, using a Japanese nib.


Drawn directly in my sketchbook with Sepia Acrylic Ink and a dip pen. I think I have the perspective slightly off, but otherwise am fairly pleased with how this came out. Shading is done with just line work and almost no crosshatching.


Back to pencil for the drawing above of a columbine flower, bud and leaf from a reference photo I made a few years ago. I love wild columbine with their red and yellow colors. They are such complex flowers and this was a challenge to draw.

I took a bit of liberty with the drawing and upped the contrast in Photoshop. I used a F lead for the drawing and the scan was looking a bit lighter than I wanted. F leads are rather hard, harder than an HB but not as hard as a 2H and I am finding them a good weight to use for my preliminary pen and ink drawings. The graphite erases easily, is light, but doesn't mark the paper. I purchase this lead in Chicago and it is Koh-i-Noor lead which I haven't seen for sale here in the states for quite a few years. Good to see them back.


Regarding snow, I have two photographs today, and the way our weather is looking (lightly snowing today, as I type) there will be more in my future. After weeks of hardly any snow we finally received some. Well a bit more than some, we had full fledged blizzard with high winds (wind gusts approx. 60 mph) and lots of snow, about 2 feet or 24 inches in my area, though it may have been more. The wind blew it around so much that it is a bit hard to judge just how much actually fell. The storm lasted about 24 hours and basically shut down the eastern half of MA for two days, one for the storm and one for dig out. It also appears to have moved us into a different weather pattern, since we are getting some snow today, more tonight/tomorrow and still more is forecast for Monday.

I think that after Monday I will be just as happy if it decides to stop snowing for the rest of the winter, though it doesn't seem likely. For the record I am fine, didn't loose power even once during the storm, and even if I had I have enough supplies on hand to hold up or as actually happened I could even have done food shopping on Wednesday if necessary.

I gather the news folks in other areas of the country made it sound like we were having a natural disaster up here. Well a few communities did suffer greatly from the storm, Nantucket Island lost power, and a couple of coastal communities suffered major damage from Ocean surges and beach erosion. Homes were lost, roads damaged but I don't believe anyone died. Still for most of us here in Eastern MA, Tuesday was a day to stay inside, watch the snow fall, maybe feed the birds and wait for the wind to drop prior to starting the clean up. Travel isn't easy, side streets are still mostly snow covered but things are getting back to normal, more or less.

OK, photos, the one above is of an almost buried headstone in an old cemetery that is just around the corner from me.


This next one shows how the city attempted to clear the sidewalk and then contractors working for a business came along and closed off one end as they cleared the parking lot/driveway for the business. This isn't a very, hmm, artistic photo but it does give the viewer a good idea of just how much snow there is that has to be cleared off of streets and sidewalks. To be honest I think I am going to be walking in the street at least some of the time for quite a while, and yes I will be careful.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pen and Ink with added color


Not much in the way of art making this past week. But I am working on another pen and ink pattern piece, and I did spend some time with the last one I made.

I used my new to me Caran D'Ache Luminance colored pencils to add color to that first work. They are nice pencils, I think they lay down color very well, esp. as the paper I was using, Bristol Smooth, is not known for accepting many layers of colored pencil. The colors are bright and I was able to overlay and blend with a fair amount of ease. I need to get more of these. Just wish they didn't cost around 4.00 a pencil. However for that price you get the most colorfast of all the colored pencils on the market, so I suppose they are worth it. I received a 16 pencil set for Christmas so this was my first chance to really play with them


Above is just a doodle really mostly a single line then I used some line work to shade what would be leaves and part of the trunk of the tree. Added some grass and a funny looking rabbit and called it a day. I like drawing these weird looking trees, they are just fun to draw, and I think can look interesting.


Can you identify the subject of the above quick pen and ink drawing? My winter boots, tossed on top of each other. This is another drawing from life of an item on the current WetCanvas Scavenger Hunt list. I probably should have spent a bit more time on this but wasn't really in the mood. So it is what it is.


I was hoping to post a fantastic picture which I would have taken yesterday on a Boston Harbor Cruise, Instead winter decided to arrive in the form of a minor snow storm (which could have been more) causing the cruse to be cancelled. Bother, I would have gone out in the afternoon to make some snow photographs but here on the South Shore of Boston the snow had turned to rain which only made a mess out of the snow on the ground, not something I wanted to photograph. So instead you are seeing a photo I made while in Chicago. Someone's front yard had this little statue/birdbath. I like the statue and the play of winter light that was falling over it.

I have rescheduled my cruse to February, and more snow is forecast for early next week, so you may at least get some snow photographs with  my next blog update.

In the meantime that is all for today, per usual comments are welcome.