Thursday, December 31, 2009


Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new year. It also marks the start of my January challenge to draw. Tonight I will be at a friend's house to celebrate New Year's. In preparation for the first week of the challenge, which will be the study of hands, I am bringing my camera to the festivities, in hopes of getting reference.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Desktop Image

Adam had me make his bird into a background image for his desktop. What a supportive husband! He even picked out what color he wanted behind the bird.

Angry Bird?

The other day when Adam came home from work, I showed him the birds I was working on. He got kind of excited and started searching for more bird pictures online. Then he said that if I was going to have bird paintings taped all over our wall, he got to pick the next one I did. So this is the one he "commissioned" me to do. He was pretty thrilled today when he came home and saw that I had done it after all.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Reshot these in the morning. Much better I think.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Two Cardinals Today

I got a little more particular today. And I've realized that I need to take pictures in the morning when the natural light is coming in. The pictures don't come out quite so yellow that way, like they do when I'm using lamps at night. I will probably reshoot the second cardinal, the "Merry Christmas..." one, tomorrow. I really want a nice scanner someday, though, so I don't have to keep taking photos. Color is so much harder to adjust than black & white. I did manage to update the last bluejay picture. The color is a little better now.

Also, the for the second cardinal I began with a yellow wash for a base. The first one, I noticed, wasn't popping as much as I wanted it to be, so for the second one I thought the yellow would help.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another Day With Jay

I am definitely having an off day today. I hope it's only a day anyway. Not terribly trilled with this one, but I am posting it nonetheless, as a record of progress.

I hate working when I'm cold!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Line & Color in December

I've been trying to keep busy this month. With my commission finally finished and handed in, and the Night of Joy concert over, it's time to give myself some sort of goals for the rest of December. I know I'll be having monthly challenges lined up for every month of the new year, but I can't just sit around doodling until it comes. So, since I've been doing birds the last few days, I've decided to make a little project out of them.

I found my bristol board tonight and set out on the first stage of my little idea. I cut one big sheet into four smaller ones, which I will be working on for now. If all goes well with the first one, I'll stick with bristol. I want to stick to some kind of consistency, like surface and size, so that I can keep them all together in a series. The way I've been working is mostly experimental. Less about subject and more about line and color.

As far as line goes, I've been enjoying the results of using a brush. The thick and thin is more obvious, I think. As for color, I have been exploring the way I put it down. Loose, yet deliberate. And I am still trying to be aware of the colors within a single color, like the reds in the blue of a bluejay. For this aspect of my studies, I may have to revert back to watercolor. I do enjoy acrylics, but I could not get the warm blue I wanted for the bluejay today. Of course, I was working on a very absorbent piece of mat board. Not a good idea. Anyway, I like watercolor and acrylic about equally. I just use acrylic more. Wouldn't mind getting back to my other favorite though. I'll see how it goes.

Bluejay Sketch

I'm sensing a theme here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More Cardinal Sketches

Experimenting a bit with line and color. The second sketch got really muddy when I tried to paint over an ink pen. I went over it with white to try and fix it. Now I know not to use the pen like that. And really I should be doing this stuff on bristol board or something. Anyway, I'm having fun with the birds. I'll probably do more. Oh, and I need to invest in a white light of some kind so I stop getting the yellowed pictures. Alas! The woes of the artist.

Poor Kitty

This was totally random. It started out as a little doodle of birds and ended up like this. It's from the other day but I forgot about it. I know. The trunk is way too big for that tree.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Month of...

I came up with a set of goals last night, after all my doodling. It's something I've thought of before, but I'd never really fleshed it out until last night. This is what it looks like:

A Month of Studies
1. A Week of Hands
2. A Week of Ears
3. A Week of Faces
4. A Week of Feet

I came up with topics for another 3 months, but I will wait to reveal those until their assigned months draw closer. I am hoping that this weekly list of goals will not only get me to draw everyday, but also challenge me artistically. I plan to start this challenge in January, as sort of a New Year's goal. It will start at the first full week of every month.

Art Show and Night Doodles

I decided to sketch in bed last night. I hadn't had time to draw all day, because I was helping set up the art show for the Christmas concert at my church. There was a lot more artwork entered than I had expected, so I ended up staying late to help finish hang everything.

There are some very nice pieces in the show. Even the kids have their own little corner of artwork. There's one chalk drawing of a Dalmatian that looks like a photograph from far away. It was done by a 10 year old girl. And there's one woman who does beautiful pastel work. I think it'll be a good show. There are paintings, drawings, photography, mixed media... all kinds of stuff.

While hanging the show, I met a man from the church who is a professional illustrator. He was very knowledgeable when he spoke, yet quite humble about the way he talked about his own work. I'm looking forward to meeting more artists at the church. After seeing all the artwork entered for the concert, I feel like there is a whole community of artists that no one really knows about, except on the occasions there is a special event at which artwork is displayed. That is one of the reasons I want to start an art ministry.

What the heck...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tree Abstracts

Photos I took with a telephoto lens and put into photoshop. The first two I thought had their own abstract quality. I simply adjusted the levels. The last one is obviously more manipulated. I'm thinking one of these would be a fun painting.

Cardinal Sketch

I felt like painting with the left over red on my palette. So I looked up a photo of a cardinal.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Elvis Commission Finished

Reference and sketches...

I really never imagined I'd be commissioned to do a portrait of Elvis Presley. Or any celebrity for that matter. It's not typically my thing. The only time I did a celebrity portrait was for a class assignment in college. Elvis proved to be a challenge. I looked at a lot of pictures, trying to figure out what made Elvis... Elvis. The most challenging thing about this was trying to get the look the client wanted. In this case, Elvis in his jumpsuit, standing next to the client's boyfriend. It was the face that was most difficult though. I had to reference multiple images and sketches to try to get the right look. I'm not sure how I feel about the final outcome, but this was definitely a learning experience. I wouldn't be surprised if this project subconsciously inspired me to practice more famous faces.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


My current commission. Still have a ways to go. This is a picture of my work space, taken yesterday. Gonna try to finish tonight and tomorrow. Adam's bringing home a coffee coolatta for me. Mmmm... What a guy.