View Full Version : Rob's 2016 Sketches

01-07-2016, 12:30 PM
Here's my new thread for 2016. This isn't complete, I've done other sketches that didn't get photos yet and some aren't dated. But I'll post the 2015 ones in the old thread.

This page is on a huge Moleskine Folio bound sketchbook, the block of Cretacolor Aqua Brique pen and watercolor sketches is new. From imagination, just doodling, Pigma Micron pen. Done on January 1st is best guess.

Arkansas sky study, watercolor on large Moleskine watercolor journal.
The sky was yellow and clouds coming in were dark and greenish. I thought it was lovely and Kitten chased around like a nut battening down for the big storm and flooding we got. I think this was on January 2, not sure.

Half a page of life sketches from january 2, 2016 - actually pretty sure the sky study was earlier now that I think of it. Weather was good when I did this. Still on large Moleskine, Cretacolor Aqua Monolith pencils and graphite pencil.

Horses from Life
pen and watercolor and strong coffee on large Moleskine watercolor journal.

Still getting sorted out, need to photo things from other sketchbooks.

01-07-2016, 12:48 PM
I may have more to post from early in the month as I go into other sketchbooks and pocket pads. I've more or less been daily sketching but often too busy to get photos and this is the first chance I've had to process and post any online.

Plans were for me to move into a house that was way too large. Then the lady whose house it is decided not to move to New Mexico, so all of a sudden instead of moving into a huge space with all of my supplies in one space, I'm reorganizing to downsize and live in a small nook off the living room till my house is built off in the yard. That'll take a year or two. I bought furniture and that's now cramming my nook. So what mediums I use and how large I work won't be as planned.

I may be doing a lot more small works and pen-watercolor and so on. But maybe in summer I can spread out in the yard, on nice days paint outside more. I've got field easels. If I can figure out a place for paintings to dry I can get sorted out and do some oils even. Acrylics dry fast and aren't a problem. Oil sticks are like oils and take weeks to dry, especially thick impasto as they lend themselves to it.

Should be interesting.

01-07-2016, 03:08 PM
Glad to see your sketches again. I take it you have moved back to Arkansas?

01-07-2016, 07:00 PM
Yep! Kitten made an epic journey in her truck to come and get me, packed everything into her truck and drove me back with her. I was going to be renting a house about 20 minutes away from her but that fell through on the owner's change of plans. So now I'm living in a nook off the living room and it's all in process - I bought a futon that hasn't been delivered from the warehouse yet. Got some furniture from a thrift and lucked on that, but one project's very much in progress and taking up space, everything's in tubs and I need to sort through all of my art supplies reorganizing for living in a smaller space for at least a year.

I should say keeping my stuff in a smaller space, I've actually got lots of space to move around in but my stuff needs to fit in the nook or go in storage. I'm a bit overwhelmed at the repacking and won't even know what space I have till the dresser's repaired and painted. The curtains I got for the house are up in the nook though and they're great. The desk I got is great and I got my old taboret back, which is wonderful.

I'm now down to sorting and figuring out what mediums can work in a shared house with kids and what gets stored where till my house is built. I can see the place where it'll go and their plans for it are awesome, just going to be spending a year or two in less space with less privacy. Fortunately bills less too so I can put some money towards building my house.

Heh. I'm not going to be buying much art supplies for a while and if I do I'll be thinking Small and Portable! lol

01-08-2016, 06:05 AM
This sounds wonderful, even if the short term is going to be cramped.

01-08-2016, 09:07 AM
I love your organized way of keeping sketches and experiments. I do experiments and studies, but then don't have sufficient organization to return to them as references. I should learn something from your example and use a sketch book more regularly.

Yours are always such a delight to see. Congratulations on a completed move and good luck in getting yourself settled in to the new home.

01-08-2016, 02:17 PM
Hang in there. You will have your ideal space eventually.

Minerva C
01-08-2016, 04:40 PM
Good to hear that you arrived safely. That is some road trip. Sad that you could not move in to the house as planned.

01-09-2016, 08:57 PM
Glad to see you are sketching again. Horses are a 'horse of a different color' for you. :lol: I'm looking forward to seeing more of your new subjects.

Joan T
01-09-2016, 10:31 PM
Great pages, Robert!!!! It is so hard to be creative as you want when you have such little space for organization and storage...but when your house is done it should be so exciting.

01-13-2016, 08:02 AM
Thank you! Purr! Not really that bad not getting the house. It's more cramped but much less stressful and isolated. I would have had way too much house. Hard to heat. More bills. More work just getting around the house. Plus the risk of literally unable to walk to the nearest neighbor - it was way isolated, the driveway so long that I could not make it from the house to the gate even using my walker on a good day to open the gate and let someone in. I'd have been completely dependent on busy people coming over to take care of me.

Versus just staying in the same house, kids just took out my trash and cleared up my niche, more help available and less need for it. The convenience of granddaughter's cheerful help with errands is fantastic. The space constraint is more for my stuff than me, once I get sorted it's just a matter of putting some things in storage till my house is built. And not unpacking the stuff I stored with them till my house is built.

I got started on the sorting today and was very relieved to find out several tubs were mostly stuff I don't need till I have a house - things like plates and that, some still life objects, kitchen stuff, appliances and that. Not all of it is art supplies. This bodes well for getting more of my supplies in here. Also I have a real desk now and two bookshelves. It's getting organized!

I actually prefer small spaces once they are thoroughly organized. Literally saves energy that can go into painting.

Got a few more to post today! Took photos from small sketchbooks.

Hen from life, done January 4th. ATC size on ATC pad.

January 7th - Cat from life, Sutekh on low stone wall around garden patch in front of house and horse from December 28th also from life. Pen, might add watercolor as it's on the small Strathmore Visual Journal. A cool little thing I found in stuff that hadn't got sent, wasn't nearly used up so now I'm using it again.

ATC pad, Kyra Kitten from life, colored pencils. I think they were my Polychromos ones, another thing that wasn't sent when I was in San Francisco. Now I just need to find the Polychromos pastels.

January 10th, Bestiary Border copied from medieval manuscript. Found on a Wikipedia article.

I went to a Society for Creative Anachronism event on January 9th and started a 9" x 12" illuminated scroll. On that day I got the idea for it, laid out the shape of the border in pencil and didn't get a photo. Today, I penciled in the border but haven't done the fancy capital letter yet since I need to look that up on the Facebook group when I talk to the club about what award scrolls are needed. I'd like to get the text penciled in too before anything, though I could just ink and paint the border and pass that on to another calligrapher. It's on cold press watercolor paper though and that may take some careful handling to do decent calligraphy on it. That or some burnishing to flatten the texture out of the text area.

A decade or more ago I was very active in the SCA as a scribe. I found an old sketchbook from 18 years ago that I'd taken notes, drawn and painted this border and gotten the idea for the scroll. Then at the event remembered that pattern, went looking for the book I got it from - couldn't find the book, found my sketchbook from the time. Wow. It was great finding exactly the notes I needed and a big flashback seeing what I drew at the time. I think I'm better at sketching now, the drawings are accurate but very small and often unfinished because I didn't have a good idea of how to draw fast and loose.


It's odd but being in a cramped space is making me a bit more creative in how I'm using it. Problems demand to be solved and sorting my supplies is forcing me to pay attention to them, whetting my appetite for using them! I may wind up more productive in my nook than I was in my room in San Francisco with less time for art and less space for art - and less time spent napping or just sitting around reading posting online.

I ride with Kitten daily so Plein Air is becoming a big thing, in better weather I might start taking easel and oils or pastels out. Certainly sketch books and journals getting a workout. Just busy now sorting and moving in.

Yesterday WC went down while I was posting this post so I saved it, now adding last thoughts on morning after. I'm planning new projects and have also sorted out some tubs of supplies yesterday too, got some cool stuff out, found Uart paper and pastels boxes and other awesome things now on desk. Found my pencil sharpener at last - hand crank Multi Point instead of the manual little ones that were hurting my wrist. I have several cases of colored pencils that I'd left behind and been using them, so gave wrist a workout till I did. This is awesome.

The move is a very good thing and change of plans wonderful. I'm happy here, small space or not.

01-13-2016, 02:11 PM
Sounds fantastic. Hope Ari is settling happily too.

01-13-2016, 03:36 PM
Would really like to see your scroll. Awesome you found your sketchbook. Love seeing the critters you are sketching.

01-14-2016, 12:55 AM
Really good sketches, Robert. Is that a chestnut I see sketched in one of the first pages?

01-16-2016, 06:00 AM
Great sketches again!
Best of luck with your living arrangements, hope you get settled in your temporary space soon aswell. I've been living in small rooms in shared houses for 5 years now so I can relate! My art space is always packed into a corner somewhere :D

01-16-2016, 05:05 PM
Yes, that is a chestnut horse! I did the golden one with coffee on that page. Today I'm posting yesterday's two page horse studies spread - just pencils but I liked how they came out. Might or might not ink these.

Horse Studies "Stu" from life.
Pencil on large watercolor Moleskine left page.

Horse Studies "Stu" from life 2
Pencil on large watercolor Moleskine facing right page.

There are some reasons I like these pages even more than my previous ones. Subtle accuracy things and managing a sketch overlap on the right side page without breaking identity of either drawing. I'd always wanted to do that. Better layout and accuracy. Enjoying drawing from life.

What's ironic is that in some ways I have more art space now. I don't need to have all my other stuff in around it and have a large desk instead of a small folding table. I could lay out larger sets of pastels and have them at hand. I have much more shared space using the whole living room and no reason not to, so there are things I could do here that I couldn't in San Francisco. Less privacy but it's very livable and a little easier to set up for painting. Even if I may have less time for it because I'm going out so often.

01-17-2016, 04:04 PM
Delightful horse studies. Glad you are getting along well in your new digs.

01-18-2016, 11:35 PM

01-19-2016, 09:33 AM
Thank you! Yeah, I get lots of opportunities for horse sketching now. Should do some more cats too. Got the new kitten to sketch and two more indoor cats sharing the house, three barn cats outside. One has such long hair she looks like an Ice Age mammal, she balloons out way to the sides of her legs and that's literally all fur, she's not fat. Though the barn cats are a bit plumper than the indoor ones because they guard the grain for horses & goats & birds.

Joan T
01-19-2016, 06:09 PM
So glad your new space is working out so well for you...and the fact that your family is right there is a big plus!!! Love the work you've been doing and it is great that you will get the opportunity to get out to do plein air work.

01-26-2016, 06:03 PM
Thank you! I've also gotten involved with the Society for Creative Anachronism again and finally, today, gotten my scroll design inked. I also penciled in where the text goes and the fancy capital but didn't get a photo of that yet. Here's the border done:

Border design adapted from Luttrell Psalter c. 1320-1340
for Society for Creative Anachronism Award of Arms scroll.
9" x 12" Pigma Micron pen on Cotman cold press watercolor paper.

I will be painting this design with gouache and then freshen the lines over the paint, put the text in calligraphy and design a fancy capital for the text. The SCA is world wide and divided into Kingdoms by region and population, I'm in the Kingdom of Gleann Abhann (more or less the Southeast, includes both New Orleans and most of Arkansas as well as parts of other states), which is a particularly lively and arts-appreciating group. So I expect to do a lot of these now that I'm active again and actually take up gold leafing sometime.

I don't see a lot of space for gold leaf on this one but might do a bit around the fancy capital or do it in gold.

Oh, and while I was laying out the text guidelines and penciling text in, Ari slept in my lap. He cuddled up and stayed on me for y5p23,'1 over two hours, just walked over my keyboard while I typed.

01-26-2016, 06:22 PM
Hi Rob,

Glad to see you're still around and active on the site. I'm just getting back after a couple years away, and hopefully will be consistently active again. Love your sketches as always, nice to see the equine subjects!

01-28-2016, 11:38 PM
John, thanks! Yeah, I'm usually a lot more active, just been a little off balance for a few weeks due to moving.

Today I did sketch! Two pages in a small 3 1/2" x 5" Robert Bateman sketchbook that has a cool Bateman sketch of a mountain goat on the cover. Did a far more domestic goat from life on the second one!

Gum Ball, Rooster and Horse Page
3 1/2" x 5" on Robert Bateman journal 100lb paper, Pigma Micron.
Gum Ball seed pod from life, Rooster from my photo, Horse from model.

Horse and Goat from Life
3 1/2" x 5" on Robert Bateman journal size 02 Pigma Micron pen.

01-29-2016, 05:08 AM
Great that you are able to get out to sketch from life. That seedhead is well seen in stark black and white :)

01-29-2016, 07:59 AM
Nice pen and ink sketches!

01-29-2016, 04:09 PM
Love how the scroll is turning out. Great life sketches.

01-29-2016, 05:51 PM
Good sketches Robert. I am glad you are getting back to sketching. Your horse studies are looking really good and I especially like the scroll sketch.

01-30-2016, 12:11 PM
Thank you! I had fun with the scroll, now I need to do the calligraphy and add a big fancy capital A to start it, then color everything and maybe add a touch of metallic gold to it.

Today I did the Nubian goat, Cara, in pen and ink:

Cara the Nubian Goat
3 1/2" x 5"
Pigma Micron size 05 on Robert Bateman recycled paper sketchbook.

01-30-2016, 03:34 PM
Robert, that is a good sketch of the Nubian goat. I also like your plan going forward with the scroll.

I think something like what you're doing with the scroll would be neat to do with the Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush pens on the paper I'm using for my 2016 sketches. When I get a chance I'll try to do a landscape sketch that way with them.

01-30-2016, 04:42 PM
Wonderful goat sketch.

01-30-2016, 06:03 PM
Sandra, it'd be a lot of fun doing a scroll with Pitt Artist Pens especially if they're new and still have good points. They get mashed down over time. I need a new set. Will not get it soon, going to hold out till I can get the big set - too many birthdays coming up.

Purr thank you both!

I did get myself going on it and did the calligraphy! It was the hardest part. it helps to use a chisel tip pen for this style of calligraphy though it could be faked with a brush pen, just, really different because I'd have to do all the thick-thin lettering by exact pressure instead of turning the chisel tip. Or not turning it, in the case of this lettering.

Award of Arms Scroll calligraphy
9" x 12" dip pen and ink on Cotman Not surface watercolor paper.
Border in Pigma Micron, will be painted with gouache, fancy capital will be done in colored inks and possibly some gold.

I realized I might not be able to find my colored Pigma Microns so I could be making red ink by shaving the point of an Inktense pencil and adding a drop of water, then doing the little curlicues with a crowquill dip pen. There aren't that many though. If I do the big A with a Pigma Micron then I can fill it in with gold, which would be gorgeous. The original was blue with red curlicues.

Or do it in gouache... hmmm... three hair brush? lol

01-30-2016, 06:57 PM
Robert, the scroll is looking good. I really like where this is going.

01-31-2016, 11:27 AM
Thank you! Here's the next bit done - more progress!

Gold painted capital A detail.

I should post this on Watermedia too but won't be doing it as a WIP there. The red decorations are in Vermilion watercolor since I didn't have any red ink, but the color is lovely and will match the gouache I'm using in the border. That's the last step!

Then I get to do a new one.

Katie Marie
01-31-2016, 12:47 PM
The amount of sketching you do is so inspiring to me! I love your horse sketches.

01-31-2016, 02:30 PM
The scroll is looking wonderful.

01-31-2016, 03:14 PM
Purr thank you! The scroll is finally done! I love how it came out, it's a lot cooler in color than when it needed painting.

Award of Arms Scroll for Kingdom of Gleann Abhann in Society for Creative Anachronism
9" x 12"
Pigma Micron pen, Speedball dip pens Calligraphy & Crowquill, Pelikan gouache, Daniel Smith watercolor, shell gold, black India ink, Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground for corrections on Cotman Not surface (Cold Press) watercolour paper.
Source of motifs & calligraphy style, Luttrell Psalter 1320-40 estimated.

Shell gold is actual gold powdered into pigment and mixed with gum arabic to make paint. The best ever gold paint, just way cool. I got it as a Real Gold Dot from Jerry's Artarama, it's called Shell Gold because in the middle ages you'd get it from gold smiths and then store it in a clam shell till it was used up, like most watercolors.

I didn't have any red ink, so I used a Vermilion watercolor stick from Daniel Smith in a porcelain palette to mix some red, then used a crowquill pen to get those fine lines. I love crowquill pens, the line is so thin but also expressive.

02-01-2016, 04:13 PM
The scroll turned out so beautiful. Will you be doing more of them now that you are involved in SCA again?

02-01-2016, 05:38 PM
Oh yes! I expect to do quite a few. I'd like to do at least one a month now that I'm involved again, maybe more, because that's such a cool thing. I've even found a source for real parchment online with prices that aren't too bad at all - about comparable to what they were back in 1997 when I bought it the last time, so it's fantastic. I love working on the real parchment and will be getting it online now from this place: Pergamena.net (http://pergamena.net) - they have calf, uterine calf, sheep, goat and deer parchment available either for calligraphy or manuscript or for upholstery or binding. Calligraphy is prepared for writing on one side, manuscript prepared on both sides. If I spend a little more for Manuscript quality then I can relax a bit about errors - if I ruin it, the side I didn't use is perfectly good for a new project.

I also have some that I did years ago as prizes for an archery contest that never got held, which was extremely frustrating. If the borders look cool I might try scraping the text off. If the scraping doesn't work well I'll just use the other side.

But I can have fun with it anyway. It's $132 for a goat skin prepared on both sides, which has 5-6 square feet of usable area. Need to figure out if that's big enough for two 11" x 14" pieces once I order one - though I guess I could map it out for different sizes and use all of it. Some people do miniatures and one way to really make the parchment stretch is to cut it into smaller pieces and then do all my text with a crowquill pen.

But to get the commissions for parchment scrolls I need a reputation for doing good ones and so volunteering and doing lots of them on good Arches hot press paper will help me pick that up. Next year I'll start selling art and I'm also considering doing some fine art on parchment with gilding, since I'm going to be getting into gold leafing too.

This Friday I have my Blick order coming! I've got colored inks, new pen holder and chisel tip nibs, gold leafing stuff with imitation gold to learn that on. If it works out well I'll order some real gold. I need to have patience and do this right, it'll work out fine if I get some practice. So there may also be some gold ornamentation in my sketchbooks as well as on scrolls.

Here's today's sketches from life and memory:

Nubian Goat Cara from Memory
2 1/2" x 3 1/2"
Pigma Micron 05 pen on Borden & Riley Drawing pad.

I went back outside to compare the drawing with the real goat. She only moved her head a bit so I drew her again.

Nubian Goat Cara and Sleepy Ari Cat from Life
2 1/2" x 3 1/2"
Pigma Micron 05 pen on Borden & Riley Drawing Pad.

Nice out today. I may even do some more sketching.

Joan T
02-01-2016, 08:07 PM
Robert, the scroll and the calligraphy came out great!!! I loved seeing it in stages.

02-02-2016, 03:43 PM
Gold in your sketchbooks sounds so cool. Looking forward to seeing that. The goat is wonderful and Ari is beautiful as always.

02-02-2016, 07:51 PM
purr thank you!

Today's kitties from life!

Cat and Kitten from Life
Pigma micron pen on paper, 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"

Another little page of life drawings. No photo of it but I also did a preliminary layout sketch for the next scroll.

02-03-2016, 03:23 PM
Fun to see Ari has company. :cat:

02-04-2016, 01:28 AM
Oh he loves her! She's got him up and playing, running around. He lost weight and got much more active, cuddles with her sometimes. She's a sweetie who purrs loud as a motorboat but wiggles and won't hold still!

Today's sketches from life are a stallion who cooperated, a 2 year old filly's feet because she didn't, and barn dogs. This is the second time I sketched the pretty stallion. I'm growing fond of him!

Stallion and Dogs Page
9" x 12"
Ballpoint pen on sketch paper, from life.

Don't know what I'm doing tomorrow but I just unpacked a Blick box full of calligraphy stuff so may have some practice stuff and preliminary sketches going on...

02-04-2016, 07:38 AM
Catching up on your sketches Rob. Impressive work, way to go :)

02-04-2016, 11:36 AM
Love your horse sketches. And the scroll. And the goat! All wonderful.

02-04-2016, 01:06 PM
Lovely! And so good that Ari likes Kira.

02-04-2016, 02:27 PM
Awesome you have so many animals to draw from life. Great sketches.

02-04-2016, 08:54 PM
Purr thank you! Sketched Ari and Kyra today, they were playing with the catnip carrots and got completely stoned!

Kyra and Ari from life
3 1/2" x 5"
Pigma Micron size 02 on watercolor paper, from two stoned sleepy kitties!

Kyra was hilarious with it, turning somersaults and dancing around flip flopping and laying on it, chewing on it, purring loud and happy. She ran around pouncing on Ari and China, but China got her face rubs on another one and returned the ambush, pouncing back. We had crazy kitties for a good long hour of playtime before they all collapsed into lazy dozing.

02-05-2016, 03:45 PM
Delightful sketches. They do get stoned on catnip. I had some growing in a pot on my front porch years ago. Came home at lunch to let the dog out and found this neighbor cat curled up in the pot. As I walked up the stairs to the porch it gave me this look of "what are you doing here?" but with completely unfocused eyes. I don't think the catnip ever recovered after that. :lol:

02-05-2016, 07:46 PM
Awww! LOL yeah, the plant can take some battering out in a garden. Cats are so funny when they're stoned. Little bitty kitty was hilariious on it.

And one of the girls actually chewed the end off the toy to get at the filling. I think that was China Princess, she's an experienced mouser.

No sketchin yet today, came down with something and it feels like my whole body wants to throw up. I hate that feeling. It's not the chronic, it's a bug.

Joan T
02-05-2016, 08:17 PM
You really have such great access to animals for models. The cats and the horses are great!

02-07-2016, 06:39 AM
Cats, dogs, horses, goats, I haven't even gotten started on the chickens and ducks yet, but I'm watching them.

Attended Johannes Vloothuis Drawing the Landscape yesterday, drew a tree on the back of a Blick package list:

Trees from Johannes Vloothuis Drawing the Landscape
Pencil on paper. JV wanted us using printer paper.

Moderator please rotate this vertical. I ahve no idea why it did this, looked fine on my computer.

02-07-2016, 06:51 AM
Nice one :)

02-07-2016, 01:09 PM
Cats Page
3 1/2" x 5" pen on paper

Hens, Feathers, Bark, Rock Page
3 1/2" x 5" fountain pen on CP watercolor paper.

Today's life sketches with my new fountain pen that an author friend gave me. I love it for sketching! He was even thoughtful enough to load it with watersoluble ink, so I don't have to worry about killing it beyond repair.

02-07-2016, 02:26 PM
Great bunch of sketches again, Rob! I missed seeing your Ari sketches when I was not active on the site. Also liked the goats, but in particular I'm impressed with your calligraphy! I would never be able to do that. Good job!

02-07-2016, 03:37 PM
Great sketches. I love to write with fountain pens, but have not tried sketching with them.

02-07-2016, 07:26 PM
Robert, the scroll turned out great. The cat sketches are grand as usual and I think you did a great job on the hen, getting her likeness well.

02-09-2016, 05:50 PM
Thank you! Sketching with a fountain pen was odd the first time I did it, then became easy. I started sketching in pen more often to avoid erasing lines or needing to, and so that I'd have sketches easier to photo and scan than pencil drawings. Pencils take a whole lot more tweaking in Gimp and still sometimes come out too light - but pen drawings always come up even if the photo's not perfect.

I sketched yesterday just to keep the pen working, drew a couple of feathers I brought inside.

Feathers from Life
Fountain pen on sketch paper 2" x 4" approx.

This is on the same page as the first round of Johannes Class trees, the single tree, which I don't know if I posted. I'll get a photo of the whole page when it's full. There's some textures and a tree in pencil on the same page.

02-10-2016, 08:14 AM
That scroll is fantastic! I remember doing calligraphy back in school, now I've seen your scroll I feel like doing it again one day :D
Great sketches all around :)

02-10-2016, 03:33 PM
Robert, I love those feathers. Your sketches and your blog sites give me ideas on what to try in my sketches once I start getting close to using up my set of 30 Caran D'ache Swisscolor colored pencils (now about 25).

02-10-2016, 03:42 PM
Wonderful feather sketches.

02-17-2016, 09:55 PM
Loni Leona Ice‎ (Kitten) Robert's daughter posted this on his Facebook page

Robert A. Sloan is sick with pneumonia and in the hospital. If anyone seeing this could cross post I'd appreciate it

02-18-2016, 12:24 AM
So sorry to hear that Robert is so ill. Please pass on my best wishes for a speedy recovery!

02-19-2016, 05:18 AM


02-19-2016, 10:39 AM

Hoping you get well soon Rob.

Joan T
02-21-2016, 06:27 PM
I saw on Facebook that Robert is out of the hospital and home. He says he's tired but getting better. :clap: :clap: :clap: It was great news to hear. I'm sure Ari and his family will be the tonic he needs...plus some :grouphug: from us.

02-21-2016, 09:45 PM
Oh, gosh! I haven't been on in a while and had no idea Rob was so ill. I'm glad to hear he is home and recuperating. Pneumonia is nothing to mess with.

Rob, Get well soon! You're missed.

02-21-2016, 11:18 PM
Robert, hoping that you get well soon.

Deborah Susan Hill
02-22-2016, 11:57 AM
Robert, hoping that you get well soon.
Take it easy on Yourself Robert. I suspect the stress of the cross country move was responsible for the latest setback. Try not to do too much too fast. I know what you are going through having been hospitalized quite a few times for systemic infections caused by cat scratches to my arm that has lymphedema due to breast cancer surgery 15 years ago. a tiny break in the skin on that arm can put me in a life threatening situation in a matter of a few hours time.. You take it easy on yourself. pneumonia is nothing to play around with!

02-22-2016, 03:11 PM
Wishing you a fast and painless recovery.

Vivien Maloney
02-25-2016, 08:55 PM
Oh Robert! So sorry to hear you have been very ill again and in hospital!
Do look after yourself, and hope you are feeling a little better by now. Home again with your Ari, will be the best medicine for you!
Regards from; Viv :grouphug:

02-25-2016, 11:28 PM
Get well soon, Robert! Sending positive thoughts your way.

03-06-2016, 04:31 PM
PURR thank you! It feels so good to be back. It's been almost a month since I drew or painted anything, came as a shock when I processed this photo and saw the date was February 8 on the previous one. Ow ow.

It was bad this time. Not the first time I had pneumonia but one of the worst, did take hospitalization which I don't do unless I'm dying. I came through and today feel almost myself again. Starting to catch up.

Painted from life sitting on the porch - the weather is beautiful, in the 70s I think, just wonderful outside.

Jonquil and Rooster from life
3" x 5"
Sakura Koi watercolor and pencil on Strathmore 140lb cold press watercolor paper.

03-06-2016, 06:25 PM
Good to see you back :) and with a breath of Spring.

We had a mild winter. My hardy fuchsia bush carried on flowering all winter. In a hard winter it can die down to ground level. Osteospermums are flowering, they aren't even supposed to survive winter outside!

03-06-2016, 08:48 PM
Oh wow, yeah! Sounds beautiful.

I think Deborah's right, the stress and exertion of the cross country move had a lot to do with my coming down with it. I was going downhill before the move with the elevator out, home care dropping in quality and cost of living going beyond my income with no way to tighten budget farther. So I wasn't eating well at the last or getting out at all and was getting weaker from stresses, then moved, went way into energy deficit.

I can do a lot in an emergency, push myself way past what I'm normally capable of but I will pay for that afterward. The chronic fatigue went to the extreme, that's part of what made it so hard to fight off the pneumonia and also hard to deal with the hospital once I was in - they couldn't tell my chronic stuff from the acute and were expecting me to do things I couldn't or to have been sicker than I was before coming in, lot of confusion there.

I have to go back at end of month for a follow up and to get the oxygen canceled. I only needed it for pneumonia aftercare, but they thought I needed it all the time, one more confusion. So frustrating. Also not done with all the medical aspects of the move, need to see a pain clinic on the 15th just to get prescriptions continued and another specialist to get other prescription continued, hate this medical invasion into my life. It would not take much to wind up a full time patient exhausted by having to go to too many appointments to have energy for anything else.

Deborah Susan Hill
03-06-2016, 11:17 PM
How nice to see that you are drawing again. Take things slowly for awhile, one thing at a time and if you feel over faced don't be afraid to cry uncle and ask for help from your relatives. I learned awhile back, after the fourth or fifth hospitalization for cellulitis in a year's time that I simply can't do everything the way I used to when I was in my twenties...I don't have the physical strength and I have limitations that I will pay for heavily if I push myself beyond them. And I really need to not let my pets scratch or nip at me. A tiny break to the skin can put me down for the count in less than a twelve hour span...

03-07-2016, 01:11 PM
Sorry to hear you were so ill, glad you are back on your feet! Lovely sketch page there again. Take it easy there :) :cat:

03-07-2016, 02:48 PM
I feel for you Robert :( I too hate medical invasion in my life

Let's hope they get the facts recorded and just stay in the background as support.

03-07-2016, 02:52 PM
So happy to see you back and drawing again. Take the rest and time to recover. Pneumonia is nothing to sneeze at. Been there, done that myself.

03-07-2016, 08:13 PM
Purr thank you!
Definitely on the mend, went out today to get some meds and painted two pages of life painting. Spring is here and the weather is being good to me! So have my daughter and son in law, who took care of me for the whole rotten month of being that sick.

Bradford Pear flowering tree from life
watercolor on watercolor paper 140lb cold press 3" x 5"

Hyacinth from life
watercolor on 140lb cold press watercolor paper, 3" x 5"

Having fun with this small journal and its sturdy, heavy paper!

03-08-2016, 03:56 AM
nice hyacinth. they smell so nice too

03-08-2016, 11:55 AM
Purr thank you! Looking forward to that once it opens!

03-08-2016, 02:24 PM
Beautiful florals.

03-09-2016, 09:44 PM
Purr thank you! The hyacinth opened and it's even bluer now, but it was raining and I couldn't get close enough to give it the detail I wanted. So I painted a white hen, Sun, who walked on the low stone fence next to it.

White Hen from Life
3" x 5"
Sakura Koi watercolors on Strathmore cold press 140lb watercolor paper.

03-10-2016, 10:17 AM
Wonderful sketches. I always enjoy your sketches as they are so delightful. I'm sorry to hear that you were so ill, but glad to hear that you are on the mend and painting again.

03-10-2016, 03:50 PM
Lucky you having hens around. Bet you get to eat fresh eggs. Great sketch.

03-11-2016, 12:17 PM
Purr thank you both! LOL Debby, oh yes! I feel as if I never tasted eggs before I moved in here. I had no idea how good they could be, or how strange. The yolks are really dark, like Cadmium Orange or Cadmium Red Light in hue. Pancakes made with them come out bright yellow. The flavor is out of this world, so rich and tasty.

It's what they eat, it's that they're out eating worms and spiders and bugs along with grain and seeds. They are a lot healthier than factory chickens and that makes a difference in their eggs.

I've also got a sharp pointed spike over an inch long that was one of the roosters' spurs that broke off. Very trippy. These birds are as big as the cats and all over.

But today I did something for my Watermedia Challenge.

3" x 5"
Neocolor II watersoluble crayons on 140lb cold press watercolor paper
Photo reference by Yorky from March Watermedia Challenge

03-11-2016, 03:25 PM
Lovely flowers.

03-11-2016, 07:02 PM
Thank you! Found the watercolor pencils I was looking for and did my Hyacinth again from the photo I got yesterday.

3" x 5"
Cretacolor Aqua Monolith wet and dry on 140lb cold press WC paper
From my own photo now posted in March 2016 Watermedia Challenge

03-12-2016, 03:52 PM
Gots kitten! She held still! Normally this one is a long narrow pale blur rocketing around the house pouncing on Ari to get him to PLAY!

Kyra Kitten from Life
3" x 5"
Pigma Micron 03 pen and Cretacolor Aqua Monolith washed
140lb cold press watercolor paper in Strathmore Visual Journal

03-12-2016, 04:00 PM
Really lovely hyacinth. Sweet kitten. Poor Ari, he just wants to hang out with his human and this kitten comes along and bugs him to play.

Vivien Maloney
03-12-2016, 09:56 PM
Robert - so glad you are feeling better and sketching again! Poor Ari, with a kitten bouncing all over him...how did he feel about that!
Lovely Hyacinth sketch. We are in late Summer/early Autumn here in New Zealand, and I was just looking at Hyacinth bulbs in the Garden Center, to plant for flowering when it's our Spring. I love Hyacinths, their fragrance is beautiful.

03-13-2016, 05:22 AM
Lovely Kyra!

03-13-2016, 11:46 AM
Purr thank you! Oh, Ari loves her! He dotes on her and seeks her out to play now, he likes having a young friend. She's his favorite cat friend. She just never sits still and he still likes to sit or lay on my bed being leonine and big.

My granddaughter just adopted an orphaned lamb, so I have yet another species to sketch!

Capricorn the Lamb from life
3" x 5"
Pigma Micron pen and watercolor on 140lb watercolor paper.

03-13-2016, 12:04 PM

03-13-2016, 03:32 PM
This has been a very very good house move for you with all this going on and so many models :)

03-13-2016, 04:01 PM
Sweet little lamb. I assume this little one is for wool?

Deborah Susan Hill
03-14-2016, 12:42 PM
The kitten and the lamb are especially charming. Great work Robert! Keep at it!

03-14-2016, 11:07 PM
Purr thank you! Actually I think he would have been a meat sheep, but he's now a pet and may wind up giving wool anyway when he's grown. He's very, very loved. My granddaughter dotes on him and he's super tame - also growing very fast, he's gotten several inches taller already!

Lots to post today, two pages of pen sketches and a wonderful Kyra in pen-watercolor.

Lamb Capricorn pen studies from life 3 x 5"

Kyra Kitten pen sketch from life 3" x 5"

Kyra Kitten from Life
3" x 5"
Sepia Pigma Micron size 01 and watercolor on 140lb cold press paper.

I get plenty of chances to sketch the lamb because every time I go out for a smoke, Sascha is outside playing with him or feeding him. He's very cute and bright, snowy white. Very friendly too and comes up to head butt me just like the barn cats. I should draw them too, all three of them are so affectionate and they do pose well. Kyra is an indoor kitty, my cat, a companion for Ari. When my house is built she will move into it with me and Ari leaving Sascha's cat China Princess and Kitten's new longhair black cat Toothless the main house.

Toothless is named after the black dragon in the How to Train your Dragon series, though she also has a chipped tooth. She's autocratic and fussy with the other cats but a devoted loving cuddle puss with anyone human, really loves attention, was so lonely and needy. She's starting to understand that to get my affection she has to be nice to Ari too and not hiss at him. This takes will power because she's so cute, but, he's my Ari and I will always put him first. I reassure him when she's doing that cuddles thing that I love him best and he's calmed down about her and China.

He's always been gallant with lady cats and let them pretty much lead, so they get all dominant for a while till they get it he's a pushover. He's so sweet to them. He adores Kyra and cuddles her, washes her, plays with her and gets a lot more active now just as I hoped!

03-15-2016, 05:08 AM

03-15-2016, 01:40 PM
Thank you! This one was an unmoving subject, so easy!

Leaf from life
3" x 5"
Pigma Micron pen and watercolor on 140lb cold press watercolor paper.

03-15-2016, 02:24 PM
Great sketches of the resident animals. What's the time frame on your own little house?

03-15-2016, 08:24 PM
Thanks! It'll be a year, maybe two, depends on how long it takes to build it and on how we all do financially to get the materials. Then Kyra will move into it with me and Ari while China Princess and Toothless get the main house.

Joan T
03-17-2016, 10:12 PM
Robert, glad to see you have so many creatures around to sketch. Does Air like the goat too? Nice recent sketches.

Deborah Susan Hill
03-17-2016, 11:36 PM
Robert, I love your cat Tales, and your sketches of your dear kitty companions are wonderful. Especially the one of your kitten in ink and watercolor. That one is especially nice. The more you draw,the better you get at it! Keep 'em coming!

03-23-2016, 09:44 AM
Purr thank you! Ari has never met the goats or their new kids. Ari is strictly an Indoor Cat, because Outside is horrible and he might get wet, ice and snow and water drop out of the sky, it's either too hot or too cold and there's these terrible attack sparrows that might fly up your nose and beat your face with their wings. He has never learned to hunt crunchy cat food and has no idea where it dens. I'm not sure he realizes that catnip is a plant. Outside is best viewed through a nice window that makes a sun patch, in a climate controlled habitation. This is why cats domesticated humans in the first place, humans provide food and shelter and love and in their great big spaces cats flourish and thrive.

Here at the farm we now have three Indoor Cats and four Barn Cats. All of the barn cats are avid, exceptional hunters, we do not have squirrels although I did see the head and shoulders of one left between meals that was probably Calcifer's. All of them are also super friendly affectionate yard cats. When I go outside for a smoke, I always get a lap warmer and some loves. There are no rodents in our grain.

Two of the Barn Cats are former House Cats (a term that means "homeowner who has humans" in cat.) Both of them wound up evicted on personal habits but still fed on time morning and night and loved. Calcifer, neutered male, peed in laundry and could not break the habit of territory challenging my son in law, who hates that odor. Toothless, who loves human attention and has a purr that you can hear from the next county, got into full contact fights with all three Inside Cats and therefore China Princess won "matriarch kitty queen of the house" on being able to contain her temper. Poor Ari got a claw on his eyelid that he's getting over, so that was the end of it - Toothless really has a problem with other cats. If she can't adjust to the Barn Cats she may have to be rehomed, but she seems to be adjusting and the original three also have more space to walk away when she's in a snit. Sekhmet the Outdoor Queen does not seem to have a problem with her, so perhaps with Outdoor levels of space it'll turn into two tiny kingdoms.

All of them will appear in my sketchbook over time.

The goats were all pregnant and just delivered lots of little kids in the past few days. I haven't drawn them yet because the nursery is a big hike away from where I sit, but I did visit them once and get to pet them and they're adorable. Capricorn got renamed Aries, so he's no longer a sheep named goat.

And I have yet to draw the Muscovy Ducks, which look like they walked out of a Tim Burton movie, they are the kind of ducks that ramble in the yard of the Addams Family mansion. The drakes have beautiful black-green iridescent color just like the Black Marin chickens so when I do paint them, they will be magnificent. The creepy is their gnarly beaks, which are so ugly they're cool, kind of dinosaurian, and the head shape created by feather growth. Uncle Fester would be feeding these ducks something creepy.

Actually I think they live on creepy wasps and spiders just like the chickens, so the strange ducks are awesome.There are a lot fewer bugs here than anywhere else I've been outdoors this much.

I've been sick for no good reason due to problems getting new doctor to keep up my pain medication, so I lost a week to that. Yesterday I finally got meds on a temporary scrip and was able to draw. So I did a little botanical sitting outside.

Botanical Page
3" x 5"
Pigma Micron and Pentel Brush Pen, watercolor on 140lb cold press paper.

I am entranced with everything I can and will draw here. I can't open my eyes without finding beauty and interesting creatures. I have lots of feline support, always have a cat in any moment I want to pet one. Ari is happy (and glad Toothless moved out), peace has been restored. China Princess no longer hisses at him, that was just the usual "I'm queen here, you had better be polite and deferential."

Ari likes having a Queen to be gallant to, and a kitten to play with. There were a few spats between China and Kyra which settled down to "you're a child, go play" and China's still the ruler.

So today I might draw, depends on how I feel and weather, still kind of fighting the fog.

03-23-2016, 02:00 PM
such a good place for you to be living :)

nice sketches too

03-23-2016, 02:54 PM
Sorry about the medication issue. Glad you have some pain relief and can draw again. Great sketches.

Deborah Susan Hill
03-24-2016, 10:00 PM
I had a flock of Muscovy ducks here, but alas they met their maker either through predation or the town drunk who drove too fast past my house. The longest lived of the the flock was named HOWARD THE DUCK, after the infamous duck of national lampoon fame and Underground COMIX FROM THE 1970's. Howard was a randy old bloke and when he ran out of hen ducks for action due to predation and traffic accidents, he took to his rapacious ways with the geese. He would chase those girls into the woods where the brush was thick, and they would stumble and fall flat. Then he would have his way with them! Howard lived up to his namesake in more ways than one... I miss him. He was the best pet you could want. Attitude and all!

03-25-2016, 06:49 AM
i enjoy your sketches and always find it inspiring to see the results of your love for drawing the world. Thank you for sharing them. I'm sorry to hear about your ongoing problems with health and medication, but it sounds like you are in a great place surrounded by love and beauty.

Deborah Susan Hill
03-25-2016, 02:24 PM
Your botanical drawing looks like plantain, and yes, it is edible. So are several other types of what is commonly called pigweed here in many areas of the USA. Lambs quarters and stinging nettles are also edible once you boil the leaves like spinach. If you are harvesting stinging nettles, be sure to wear gloves or you will find yourself stung by them. The folk cure for nettle stings usually grows right nearby them. It is plantain which you can either chew or mash up between your hands to get the juices out of the leaves then you apply the macerated or crushed leaves to the nettle stings and it neutralizes them. Funny how you can find the cure right growing right next to the problem in nature sometimes. There are two different kinds of plantain. Long leaved and the short round leaved variety. Both are edible, but have a slightly bitter taste. I counter that by adding lemon juice and melted butter to the boiled greens. Lambs quarters taste better than nettles or plantain though, and purselane which is also a succulent form of,pigweed is better still and just as edible.
Be sure you have an accurate identification before you try to harvest and cook any wild plants as you can poison yourself if your identification skills aren't very good. I have harvested lambsquarters on an annual basis before they get too tall and tough to be edible. They are usually best when the plant is young and tender, before it gets over foot tall. plantain is best when the leaves on the round variety are less than the size of the palm of your hand, and the tall variety should be under 5 inches tall or it will be too bitter. Dandelion greens are good too if you harvest them before they flower and the leaves are only as long as your little finger.. It's a lot of work to harvest enough of those however. And they have a diuretic effect so you likely won't want to eat those before bedtime..

03-27-2016, 12:41 AM
Glad to see you back, Rob! I really like your Kyra sketches, especially the one with the unusual perspective (top down).

Joan T
03-27-2016, 08:42 PM
Robert, I'm glad you are finding so many new, interesting items to sketch where you are living now. Artistic stimulation is always great!

03-28-2016, 01:54 AM
Robert, great sketches.

Saint Ragdoll
03-28-2016, 07:35 AM
I love your sketches. And your descriptions of where you are living now. You certainly can paint pictures with words. I am so glad to hear you are settled in and doing well.
My dream is to move to a place that has warm ,mild winters, close to the beach.....Maybe someday......

I have chronic pain issues too and so my drawing and painting fluctuates And controls where and what I can do. When My pain isn't too bad , I can draw and pain when it flares up ,I can't.
Thank goodness my new doctor takes my pain seriously and doesn't treat me like a criminal or a druggie and has worked out a good treatment plan that controls quite a bit of my pain.

Lately I have been going to coffee shops for a while , taking my journal/ sketchbook and sketching the shop and the people. I am really enjoying this!! And have been getting so much more sketching done by doing this. I am constantly finding things everywhere that I want to draw!

I have a workshop to attend in June called Pocket Sketching , you can check out the teacher's website at www.pocketsketching.com
The YouTube videos look exciting and I am hoping to learn something from this teacher.

Saint Ragdoll

03-29-2016, 10:36 AM
Purr! Thank you!

Deborah, wow, I didn't know there were two kinds of plantain. I ate the long leaf variety when camping with Kitten when we had Weeds and Rice every night - big bag of rice, she gathered wild edible plants and put them in and we sliced hot dogs into it for a meat garnish. I know I'm not used to recognizing plants so basically I eat wild food if Kitten picks it. She made a hobby of gathering and wild plants ever since she was a little girl who read Clan of the Cave Bear.

Of course now her biography would read more like All Creatures Great And Small, which I could actually illustrate! She just assisted a neighbor's chihuahua birth an oversized puppy sired by a stray. We also acted as a temporary cat shelter when some friends had to move and couldn't keep them, my daughter has already rehomed all of them except the two that the guy wants back once he's in a stable situation.

We wouldn't mind if he doesn't, though, they are sweet cats and Sissy looks like Ari's cousin, but tabby-face like his mother. Long hair with points and apple head, super friendly.

Teresa, I spoke too soon on the medication. When I read the bottle I realized the doctor had given me a half dose but I'd taken two days worth of them, so the rest of the week I wound up making it up by skipping and grinding through, trying to sleep through (but waking on the pill) and otherwise fighting it down till I got caught up. Once on the half dose, predictably I was about half functional and not up to drawing again.

Yesterday was the pain clinic appointment with a new doc at the same clinic. Much relief, after a very long visit the Russian (immigrant or second gen, has accent) doctor did just continue my pain prescription for a month and now is looking into treatments I hadn't heard of or thought of. I have some hope of actual improved function, if my MRI and some tests on my back with local anesthetic work, I might permanently have less back pain (though NOT more function, still have to be careful!) and if my hip agony is bursitis I might be getting a shot every three months to control it.

He was a thousand times more respectful too and very engaging. He had a knack for helping me fight my PTSD triggers over medical trauma because he'd look me in the eye and casually say "You're educated, you're scientific..." and then launch into explaining the treatment in depth instead of just saying what it is - shots in this case - and expecting trusting obedience. I'd be dead dozens of times over if I gave doctors Trusting Obedience.

He was good enough to talk me into trying new things, working on improving function and pain management instead of just taking things as they are.

Congratulations on getting a good new doctor! You're so lucky. Glad you are getting good control of the pain. Relief is the greatest bliss sometimes.

Thanks for the PocketSketching link! Oh neat - that's a good price on the supplies kit too and a very good watercolor set. I'd been curious about the Winsor & Newton Compact Set for some time, having 14 colors instead of 12 and the inclusion of Permanent Rose is awesome. Prices on the supply sets are good, the Cotman Compact Set isn't that pricy and a good bargain for what you get. Cotman watercolors are excellent student grade, I think of them as borderline quality, almost artist grade but you know the difference once you try WN Artist/Professional.

The videos are intriguing. I'll have to try the first lesson to see how inspirational they are. Often if I watch a beginner level video I wind up improving and inspired, even if there was no actual new information the reminders drive important principles deeper into reflex and just seeing it leaves me wanting to DO it, in a process a lot like restaurant commercials waken hunger!

This pen-watercolor in a small journal thing has become an important medium for me, something I do bring with everywhere. ScattyKat's journals are inspirational and mine are starting to get worthy for passing around, or meet my standards anyway!

Joan, this farm is full immersion artistic inspiration! Haven't had this many beautiful things to paint surrounding me often in my life, and i keep getting reminded of ScattyKat's French farm journal pages. The stronger I feel, the more I'm going to be documenting it in all my journals - and maybe take those subjects to pastel paintings too. They'd be local landscapes! People like paintings of their local area's beauty!

And that's not counting the trips to Mt. Petit Jean or Crow Mountain or all these other great mountains with waterfalls and fabulous sights on them. She's talked about taking me trail riding on a gentle horse with art supplies to actually get away from the highway, it'd be wonderful. There are horses here! I also found out riding with a Western saddle does not wreck my back but actually left me feeling good, like the gentle passive balancing is a level of exercise that relieves some of the scoliosis.

I can't wait till I get to do a waterfall from life sometime... that day will come. But every bit of life drawing adds to that skill.

John, thanks! Kyra is so amazing. She's the feline Twiggy, so I have some other top-down poses to sketch - she is so long and thin without being bony-waif underweight that she's like a Cat Supermodel. One lovely cqnsequence is that Kyra's anatomy is very clear including her muscles. So I need to draw the Stretch Kitten from above, from behind, at all the non traditional angles - and they are very common sights anyway. Heh maybe contrast her with the gentle pear-shape curves of China Princess!

PURR thanks, Sandra, Kim and Debby!

Yesterday I took a full dose of meds reserved over a week of skimping on the half dose to go to the pain clinic. I brought pen, watercolor and journal of course, and chose a potted plant on the waiting room table to draw. I meant to watercolor it but after shading the shiny black pot and getting the values right, Kitten agreed it was better as a pen drawing pure.

Pot with Plant
3" x 5"
Pigma Micron pen on 140lb cold press watercolor paper, from life.

I now have 30 days of pain meds and a trusted doctor, may even get better pain management so I have some hope of a better life. Also less than a year from the point I can retire from my day job as cripple and take on just Being Old, which would lose the cap on my savings and mean income from selling art doesn't get taken out of my check. That's artistic freedom. Sell, but still just paint what I want without worrying about having to stick to what sells, let my favorite things create their own market.

03-29-2016, 02:40 PM
so positive :)

03-29-2016, 05:37 PM
Robert, good for you getting a better doctor. I have to agree that the plant sketch looks better being a pen-and-ink sketch by itself than it would if you added watercolor to it.

I like your plan of going forward.

Deborah Susan Hill
03-30-2016, 02:35 PM
Excellent drawing Rob! Good to see you back up and running and glad to hear that you have a Doctor who will work with you. That is the hardest part of making any move if you have a chronic pain condition. Arthritis is an invisible disease as is Fibromyalgia and you really need a Pain Control
specialist/Rheumatologist who is sympathetic to your condition to give you the right treatment to alleviate your pain and allow you to function. I hope you don't have any more difficulties in that aspect of your life. As Always, Deb Hill

03-30-2016, 04:29 PM
So glad you found a good doctor. Treasure him, they are hard to come by. Lovely plant sketch.

Saint Ragdoll
03-30-2016, 05:02 PM
the potted plant drawing is amazing!! I agree it's so great as a drawing. If you really want to see it as a painting, re draw it and paint it!!

The state I Live in created some horrible limiting and restrictive pain medication laws intended to combat the growing prescription pain med addiction problem. But they didn't make any provisions for the people with genuine pain problems. Si I went through the gamut of PT, Chiro, steroid injections and more,. I had already don't those treatments and proved they didn't work, but I was hopeful that at least something would work since they reduced my pain meds by 2/3. Nothing did, though.
So I was refered to another doctor, and to make a long story short, I ended up getting a surgically implanted pain medication pump. ( Google Medtronic for details)
Robert, honestly it was the best decision I have ever made!! I was able to completely stop,taking all of the extended release oral meds and just have some breakthrough meds. I have no idea if this would work for you, but maybe you could mention it to your doc.
My big problem wasn't enough meds to take care of my pain, I was getting that, but then the state changed the laws, and the doctors wouldn't give me what had previously proved to work, because of those laws. And I was in so much pain, basically lived in my bed and recliner, and couldn't do anything. I existed, that's all.
But there are benifits to having the pump and not having to take so many oral meds. And I don't regret getting it for a second, I wish I could have gotten it years ago.
It's been a year since I got it and I have taken car and plane trips, walked miles and miles, went sightseeing, to the beach can do some chores, and been able to go back to living, not just existing. And creating art!! I still have pain, of course, but it's much less than before and it's manageable.

I am joining a local,Plein air group and I am hoping to get an Urban Sketching type group started.

And you are such an inspiration, you never seem to give up no matter what. And you have such a sunny and positive point of view. I really love reading your posts about your beautiful kitty muse, Ari, and seeing your art. You never know who is lurking that you are inspiring and helping.
Ok, now I Have written a novel, I will go back to lurking.

( My muse is a tiny little chihuahua named Beau)
Saint Ragdoll

03-31-2016, 08:08 PM
Purr thanks! Teresa, my problem with the pump is the same one as with extended release oral meds. I don't take it when I don't need it, adjusting my dose by forgetting to take my pills may be why I haven't sensitized to the drug and needed a higher dose to get the same effects.

Eh, at least this one's a decent doctor, the primary care one's more middling and doesn't get it that every single extra appointment for anything carves several days out of my life that could have been spent doing art or writing and certainly a whole lot better. I still grudge even an annual exam to those gatekeepers.

Heh, I only post when I'm feeling up to it, if I'm too sick to type I don't sound as optimistic. Going online hanging with art friends is my happy thing, so of course I sound positive!

Happy thing, yesterday my Blick package came with lots of Bombay India Inks, a few gouache tubes, some Aquabords and wooden panels, a silverpoint pencil and silverpoint ground, a six pack of size 01 Pigma Microns that I keep using up and my granddaughter's birthday present. I got her Snazaroo face paints both the six-crayon small pack and the Ultimate Party Pack because she loves drawing on herself or doing face painting. She got so excited that there was no chance to wrap it and make her wait, her mom and I indulged her because she was bouncing and squeeing at the Blick box!

Yesterday I did a watercolor minus pen but went to sleep before posting, still getting the chronic fatigue. Today, pen and watercolor of an Easter lily that is in a pot and leaned over against a low stone wall. Both from life.

Rainy Day Aerial Perspective from Life
3" x 5"
Watercolor on 140lb cold press watercolor paper.

Lily on a Short Stone Wall from Life
3" x 5"
Pen and watercolor on 140lb cold press watercolor paper.

I got some photos of the lily too, it was very beautiful. Might paint just the forward blossom a lot larger giving room for nuances in its colors and details.

04-01-2016, 03:32 PM
Delightful to be able to please a little one with art supplies. Great sketches.

Joan T
04-02-2016, 08:14 AM
Love the lines on the aloe plant. I love reading about your excitement and your granddaughter's excitement when the box arrived!

04-04-2016, 03:59 PM
Purr! Thank you! Though it's not an aloe, I had an aloe and this was something with much flatter, thinner leaves - no thicker than paper really, but had the thorny edges and veins running the length of them. Aloes have very thick leaves, oval in cross section, and a distinct scent this big plant didn't have. It was about 20" tall not counting the pot.

Carried the pencil sketches of these animals around since the 1st and finally inked them today. Calcifer is a brown mackerel tabby, classic barn cat, while Couch Cushion is dark brown with black markings. He's a meat goat so he got named for his future like Parchment and Vellum and Lunch Meat and so on. Milk goats get names like Cara and Snowball and the like. Aries (formerly Capricorn) is a pet sheep who might give wool someday but will be loved even if he doesn't, he was from a meat sheep herd but is my granddaughter's loved companion. He heels and follows her like a dog.

Calcifer and Couch Cushion from Life
3" x 5"
Pigma Micron pen size 01 on 140lb cold press watercolor paper.
Penciled on 4-1-2016 finished 4-4-2016.

Might be out of it for a while because I wrecked my back and hip getting an MRI even though I got padding and foam wedges and propped into a position I could hold. Some things get really frustrating. But pain doc is looking to maybe reduce the back pain in future by deadening minor nerves and needs to see where they are, then test by injecting anesthetic to find out if those really are the source of the pain. I suspect they're so minor the tests won't improve function but might as well try since that'd possibly help - if it doesn't knock down the warning system of when I'm wrecking my back and any activity would make it worse. Two tests are required before surgery and on one I will overdo it and wreck my back on purpose to tell if I can still tell what I'm doing.

Net result of this doc is I might be full time patient for the foreseeable future counting all recovery time in.

04-04-2016, 04:41 PM
Lovely drawing of Calcifer :)

04-04-2016, 08:43 PM
Love the goat names. Had friends who named meat rabbits, Roast and Stew. :lol: Great sketches. Crossing my fingers for you getting a handle on your pain.

04-05-2016, 03:44 PM
Purr thanks! Makes sense, Debby, same idea! it wouldn't have been any trouble if the doc had just continued my old prescriptions, this WHOLE roller coaster is about his wanting to muck in and change things. i've got a maintenance pain medication I'm satisfied with that hasn't needed increased doses, hasn't given me side effects or trouble and works as good as it's gonna get to keep down the orchestra of my multiple conditions when half that pain is warnings I need to heed and should not entirely block. Net result is I'm really angry because factoring in recovery time I'm stuck being a full time patient for no good reason.

Oh there's an outside shot he might improve my pain management but even that will cause some problems adjusting to it just as going on pain meds did. It's this state's crazy drug laws that won't let my primary care doc just sign off on continuing lifelong maintenance meds.

Had an MRI yesterday and would be happy if I never have to do that again, it was painful and damaging even with pillows under hip and back, managed to wreck my neck on it, managed to hold still enough that they didn't have to redo it which was a miracle of self control and now paying the price. When I haven't had enough time home to recover from the last appointment.

I'd already wrecked my right knee so need to stay off it for weeks to recover, from past experience. Did not get that, just more body strain. Really having trouble getting around now and tomorrow will be worse. Second day after always is worse. All this so that he can test me so that he might do surgery to reduce the back pain, which is the most useful of all the pains because it's the one that says "quit what you're doing, you're taking damage." The knee thing is a sprain like all the other times. i get that a lot from skeletal crookedness.

This state's medical care system is a lot worse, the price of peace on a farm in beautiful Shire-like countryside is having my health jacked with by political idiots. I will be voting in every election down to the most local levels. And encouraging people to do the same.

Lily from life
3" x 5"
Pigma Micron size 01 on 140lb cold press watercolor paper.

04-05-2016, 07:34 PM
At last a pastels sketch! 24 hard pastels on the Artagain paper, which isn't as toothy as the Canson Mi-Tientes pad, I had to blend more and kept a sketchy look to this - but I like the way it came out anyway.

5" x 7"
Cretacolor Pastels Carre' on Strathmore Artagain pastel paper.
Photo reference by DAK723 for April 2016 Pastel Spotlight

04-06-2016, 03:24 PM
Beautiful flowers. Hence, I avoid doctors and attempt to deal my issues on my own. Can't always do that because like you, I need some prescription strength medications for some things. I feel for you and wish you the best.

04-07-2016, 02:00 PM
Debby, I wish I could do that. It's starting to get ridiculous, especially in this state. I hope eventually they can get it down to fewer appointments.

Purr thanks for your comment!

This morning I noticed a dried leaf on the ground with beautiful blue-violet intense shadows and areas on it, it was quite old and not just brown all over. So I tried to capture it in pen and watercolor.

Dried Leaf from Life
3" x 5"
Pigma Micron 01 and watercolor on 140lb cold press watercolor paper.

04-07-2016, 03:58 PM
Lovely leaf.

Joan T
04-07-2016, 04:58 PM
Robert, sorry about your continuing hassles with pain management. I can't imagine going through all that and just when you think things are set they change things on you again.

Love the flowers...especially the iris. The leaf came out great with the shading and veining.

Deborah Susan Hill
04-08-2016, 03:35 PM
Robert, it's not just Arkansas that has adopted a ridiculous stance on opiate pain control medication. For the first time in over 10 years of medication for my severe arthritis, I have recently been forced to sign a pain contract with my Rheumatologist and have to see him every six months as well as call in a week in advance to have my meds refilled on time so I don't go into withdrawals as a result of having none left. This BS is being pushed by the DEA and the media has been having a field day every time someone's Idiot grandkids steals their meds and winds up in the hospital or the morgue as the result of an overdose. they make no concessions for people who have a working long term pain management protocol if you move into a different part of the USA. You have to look for a doctor who is a specialist in pain management who really knows their stuff or you wind up having them trying to fix something that is allowing you to function at an optimum level already because you are on opioid pain meds. If they go the surgical route, you are screwed up by that for a period of time post surgery and may have complications due to infections acquired in the hospital.. My sister just had hip replacement surgery a month ago and still isn't healed up. The wound is infected and she can't get around well enough to go from NYC where she lives to her Florida condo as she couldn't take the amount of stress it would put on her unhealed surgical site to fly there. It's a nightmare that I have regarding knee replacement surgery, and I am holding off on that until I Hit 60 at least.. I'm still hoping that they will be able to regrow my cartilage instead of cutting me off at the knees and installing a metal joint...Gack! Get well Robert, and don't let that new doctor screw you up worse than you already are..

04-09-2016, 06:12 PM
Deborah, it's crazy. I had to go to the pain clinic twice and at least the new doc did continue my prescription but is now going nuts trying to get me to try everything else there is, at the expense of my health. I hope I never need an MRI again. Round Latest is that the state covers only 124 pills a month so that choked Walgreens on filling my prescription and for this month half of it's coming out of pocket, before I lose the flexibility of two 50mg pills for one 100mg pill. Can't just take half of it on a good day (which may be why it never lost effectiveness).

Anyway, at least that's just money, I'm not doing without. Just overexerting and wasting my life on medical appointments.

Barn Cat Golden Sutekh and the First Iris, Life
3" x 5"
Pen and watercolor on 140lb cold press watercolor paper

Only two more pages left in this journal, but I finally found my pocket Moleskine Watercolor so I'll switch back to that once it's full. Feels wild to be actually finishing a journal!

04-09-2016, 07:08 PM
Painted again, just now. Watercolor pencils washed, again from life. That same lily plant, new blossom.

White Lily from Life
3" x 5"
Cretacolor Aqua Monolith watercolor pencils
140lb cold press watercolor paper in Strathmore Visual Journal.

So there is now only one page left in that journal. No idea what I'll put on that page. I'd meant to sketch a goat but by the time I came back out with my pencils, she'd moved off out of sight along with all the goats and kids! But the lily was still there, its newest blossom unbroken and clean...

Deborah Susan Hill
04-10-2016, 08:08 AM
Lovely Drawings Robert! I'm going through my tree journal faster than I'd anticipated as well. I'm over halfway through it, But have two more journals waiting in the wings that I threw together on a lark. I'll likely put together a couple more in a week or two.

Deborah Susan Hill
04-10-2016, 08:12 AM
As for the doctor/ drug situation I hope for your sake they get things right eventually. I got jerked around by my insurance company a few months back and they refused to fill my controlled release OxyContin because I hadn't tried the much cheaper Controlled release Morphine.. So I had a couple of days fighting to get enough meds to tide me through until I could get my doctor to write a new script for morphine which has given me nightmare side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and severe constipation. I am now condemned to a laxative regimen because some multi millionaire insurance CEO decided to screw with everybody on OxyContin who hadn't tried Morphine first..

I guess he needed that money for his bloated bonus at the end of that fiscal year. I know it wasn't just me either as many of the people at the pain clinic went through the same thing as per the nurses there. I think we would be better off with single payer national health care and think that it likely would be more portable if the government worked the program than a different group of idiots for each state. The insurance corps just care about their bottom line and not about the people whom they are supposed to serve. My meds don't cost anywhere near what my mother's meds cost when she was still alive battling Parkinson's disease. But the Oxycontin cost $500 a month with a $50 co-pay. The Morphine only costs $40 for the entire prescription and my co-pay is only $10 so at least I don't have the insurance Corp. jacking me around trying to refuse coverage. If the Fed gov had control of it all, the pharmaceutical corporations would be forced to bring their prices down on medications because they would have only one customer, Uncle Sam.. No more stupid Television ads hawking their pills and potions either. I just wish they'd lay off the doctors and their patients who need painkillers to function.

The DEA is shifting its focus to them, trying to justify its existence in the face of the de-criminalization and legalization of their main focus, Marijuana.. The whole situation is stupid.. They should just legalize everything like they did in Portugal and get out of everybody else's business. They could quit incarcerating people for addiction which is a medical problem and should be treated as such..

In regard to kids getting hold of grandma's meds, anybody on a pain control regimen needs to be extra vigilant and make sure their meds aren't accessible by children who could overdose and die on a single dose of those meds. That means that they should be stowed out of reach and locked away as necessary. I am fortunate that my relatives and grandchildren live far enough away that I don't have to worry about that. As Always, Deb Hill

04-10-2016, 04:39 PM
Lovely lily bloom.

04-10-2016, 08:31 PM
I agree, completely! You took the words right out of my mouth. We need to really get out and vote this time. You understand! Purr!

Today I finally finished my Strathmore Visual Journal! That's something a little special, filling a sketchbook. Even the little convenient pocket sketchbook. I spent two weeks hunting down my pocket Moleskine Watercolor one, so I have something for tomorrow. I even bought two extra ones so I know I won't run out. The finale came out well. I'm happy with it.

Unidentified Purple Flower from Life
3" x 5"
Pigma Micron 01 and 02, Daniel Smith watercolors
on the last page of my Strathmore Visual Journal, 140lb cold press paper.

Deborah Susan Hill
04-10-2016, 10:41 PM
Wonderful pic of some spring ephemeral or another! Your botanical drawings are lovely Robert. A fitting end to a journal well filled in! On to the next! Keep on chuggin' along and You'll get to be pretty darn good at this art thing.. It's an addiction that neither one of us should ever fight! one book after another keeps the brain functioning well and your eye hand coordination in optimal condition!
My mother was drawing and painting in journals and books right up until we lost her last year, and I'm certain that it is what kept her around as long as she was able to draw. She was a pepper!

Deborah Susan Hill
04-11-2016, 03:18 PM
The flower looks like crepe myrtle/ vinca/ periwinkle. It is a spreading ground cover.

04-12-2016, 12:14 PM
lovely Vinca - I have them in my garden, they spread like mad!

So sorry to hear your medication problems. Thank heavens for our NHS here. What I need is free. Seeing GP tomorrow, xray next week and no costs to worry about other than parking at the hospital. It must be a major worry for you. :( I do hope it is all resolved soon. Being in pain is so debilitating.

I have my classes doing spring flowers at the moment. Someone brought a dandelion and I brought it home along with some other flowers they were going to bin at the end of class and sketched it this morning. Like a little burst of sunshine even if it is a weed. A weed is only a flower in a place that someone considers wrong :)

Minerva C
04-12-2016, 01:25 PM
Lovely spring flowers in your sketches Rob!
vhere, I love dandelions. Yellow fields of them are so beautiful. I saw this year´s first dandelion this weekend.

04-12-2016, 03:32 PM
There's one on my sketchbook thread Minerva :)

04-12-2016, 03:41 PM
Congrats on finishing the sketch book. Beautiful flower.

Joan T
04-12-2016, 05:02 PM
Robert, the sketch of the blue flower is really lovely! Congrats on finishing another sketchbook.

Deborah Susan Hill
04-12-2016, 10:52 PM
It still puts stress on us where we don't need that sort of crap in our lives. Arrgh! May they have to endure the same some day!

04-14-2016, 03:31 PM
Purr thank you, Deborah! Yes, it's just like that. Vinca! Glad to know what it's called. It only grows about a foot high and covers over its patch very thoroughly. I love the colors. I had that one in a jar of water on my desk for days, then the bloom fell off so I tossed it.

Purr and thanks everyone! lol yeah, I envy the NHS, seriously, this country needs single payer healthcare.

I drew and painted yesterday back in the pocket Moleskine Watercolor:

Black Marin Hen, goat, cat, rocks page from life.
3" x 5"
pen and watercolor on pocket Moleskine watercolor.

I like this one too, just getting used to it again.

04-14-2016, 06:28 PM
Great montage.

04-15-2016, 04:42 AM
specially like Calcifer :)

04-15-2016, 05:33 AM
Great sketches all around :) Love your story about your indoor cats and barn cats too. Congrats on completing the journal :)

04-15-2016, 11:32 AM
Purr thank you! I'm happy Calcifer is such a success. He was in my lap at the time, on cold days I usually have both hands tucked under him while he puts his nose in my elbow or armpit to warm up. He's my most frequent lap friend.

Yesterday while it was sunny I overdid it and hiked past the driveway to the far edge of the property, to sketch and paint the big light purple iris I could see from a distance. I forgot to bring a chair so I really overdid it, but don't regret it at all!

Iris from Life
3" x 5"
Pigma Micron 01 and Daniel Smith watercolor on
Moleskine Watercolor pocket journal 140lb cold press paper.

Deborah Susan Hill
04-16-2016, 02:20 PM
Really nice Iris!

04-16-2016, 05:35 PM
Beautiful iris. Shame you overdid it to get the image.

Joan T
04-16-2016, 08:42 PM
Nice sketch of the iris!

04-17-2016, 02:49 PM
Purr thank you! Today I did not wreck my back. I got my granddaughter to carry a chair out for me and used my cane, which helped a lot. These grew about four feet away from the light purple one, also very large and well shaped. I love these gorgeous irises! There are hundreds of them, these are just the start. Every few days a new one opens different from the rest!

Two Red Irises from Life
3" x 5"
Cretacolor Aqua Monolith watercolor pencils on
Pocket Moleskine Watercolor Journal

04-17-2016, 06:00 PM
Spray of Light Purple Flowers from Life
3" x 5"
Pigma Micron size 01 and Daniel Smith Watercolors
Pocket Moleskine Watercolor

Sascha brought in some more unidentified wildflowers so I had to draw and paint them. The top petal is not quite as dark as painted but there is a value difference - it's exaggerated in the photo.

04-17-2016, 10:07 PM
Beautiful flowers.

Deborah Susan Hill
04-18-2016, 01:40 AM
The. 2nd Iris with the pink central petals and burgundy falls looks like an heirloom variety I have here on my place called Indian Chief. It was a German Iris that originated around 1930

Joan T
04-18-2016, 11:06 PM
Love both sketches of the flowers! Great colors and shapes. Glad your granddaughter is so good at helping you out.

04-19-2016, 10:17 AM
Purr thank you! There are so many varieties and I didn't know any of the names, just like them. It's very striking. The pale purple one is still blooming too and a white one's about to open up.

Thanks for all the comments!

Deborah Susan Hill
04-19-2016, 05:17 PM
Iris are my favorite flowers. Even the plain old purple ones are beautiful planted in large drifts and beds around a property like they were at Claude Monet's Giverny.

04-22-2016, 06:41 PM
Robert, sorry about the health problems that you're having. On the brighter side, your sketches are really gorgeous and it must have felt good to finish that sketchbook. Well done and keep going as your health permits.

04-23-2016, 10:19 PM
Deborah, that's what the iris patch and hill are, there are several huge drifts of them. My son in law brought bulbs from their previous house and from where he works year after year propagating them and splitting them, it's wonderful. Next year I'm going to add some gladiolas.

Purr thanks, Sandra! Yet another round of craziness, a different medication delayed, maybe for an entire month. Ugh. Arkansas medical laws and system are a huge bummer.

Last night my granddaughter brought in a found rose that blew off a neighbor's bush, so I drew it in Graphitints:

Rose in a Saucer from life
4" x 6"
Derwent Graphitint on paper, washed.

It's still on my desk and I might do it again if it doesn't fall apart before I do.

Joan T
04-24-2016, 04:13 PM
Nice job on the rose, Robert! The irises here haven't come out yet...we've got tulips and blooming trees so far. I love when the irises come up!

04-25-2016, 01:24 PM
Lovely rose. Your grand-daughter should get the title of "muse" always bringing you things to draw. :)

Deborah Susan Hill
04-25-2016, 08:32 PM
All very nicely drawn indeed! Keep at it and let the youngsters do the heavy lifting for you as needed. when I was young and attending life,drawing courses at the university, An elderly gentlemen approached me and asked me if I would help him with his garden. I spent the summer digging up Iris roots and replanting them for the lovely wage of $10 an hour. I wore my cut off jean shorts and T shirts and while I dug out the iris roots he spent his time sketching me in his sketchpads. It was a good time all around and I learned to appreciate hard work and gardening while he was able to draw a model at work gardening. It worked well for both of us and he was like a grandfather to me!

04-26-2016, 10:22 PM
Great to catch up on your sketching since I last checked in about a month ago (where does the time go!?). I particularly like your pen and watercolor flowers - really well done. I've just dug out my fountain pens and inks after not having used them for a couple years, and I'm looking forward to some pen and wash sketching. Keep up the good work!

04-29-2016, 12:45 AM
Gorgeous rose sketch in Graphitints, Robert. When you use them in sketchbooks, how fast do you think they fade (I know they are notorious for not being lightfast)?

06-11-2016, 01:34 PM
I haven't had a problem with Graphitints fading in sketchbooks. It's something I learned years ago, decades now actually. The same pigments used in terribly faded medieval paintings in museums are still bright and true in small books of hours and other medieval books! If it's between colors and only viewed infrequently, it's actually almost as safe as if it's shoved down in an archival box for storage. Put the full sketchbook on a shelf and you're pretty good!

So I tend to use Graphitints more often in sketchbooks and journals, along with anything else that has light fastness issues. However, check Derwent's website for the actual ratings on each color. One of my favorite blues was relatively fugitive yet another one is very lightfast, some colors are strong.

John, awesome! One thing I love about that is the way it's so easy to go back and clean pens and get back into it. I need to use my pen cleaner and get at all my fountain pens some time.

Deborah, wow that sounds so cool! Wish I was there, I might have sketched you too!

Debby, yeah, Sascha is an amazing muse. And as a student she gulps down anything I teach her at unbelievable speed, she'll get it on the overview, try it and master the technique just that fast. Currently she's doing fan art of some animated characters on shows she loves that seem to be online rather than on TV - I hadn't heard of any of them till her but she'll show me her art and then give the character backstory!

At LAST, another dry spell ends. I got new medication and it wound up temporarily increasing the amount of sleep I needed, also still somewhat reduces my energy - the up side is it's very effective on the pain. I was not sleeping well before this even with all my meds.

I started these two pages in pencil from life and the Muscovy Drake took five or six pencil sessions to get him accurate. Mostly that was because he'd lumber away immediately so I didn't get to see him for long when he came in the front yard. Finally I got him more or less right, so here he is. The blue wildflower is one that I first saw in Westchester, NY and was very surprised to see again in Arkansas!

Muscovy Drake from Life
3 1/2" x 5 1/2"
Pen and watercolor

Blue Wildflower from Life
3 1/2" x 5 1/2"
Pen and watercolor on pocket Moleskine watercolor book.

06-11-2016, 02:23 PM
good to see you back :)

06-11-2016, 06:27 PM
Good you are getting some relief from the pain. Glad to see you back to making art. The flower is just lovely. Weird looking birds, can see where they would be hard to render.

06-20-2016, 09:56 AM
Purr thank you! I've got another weird looking bird, this time in Pitt Artist Pens. Finally bought the set of 60 to replace the set of 48 that I gave Sascha when I moved to San Francisco... the 12 new colors are all very useful and it was a delight sketching with them.

Black Maran Rooster head studies
7" square
Pitt Artist Pens on Stillman & Birn Beta journal white WC paper.
Life and my own photo.

And then yesterday morning sketched outdoors...

Grasses and Tree - life
7" square, Pitt Artist Pens on S&B Beta journal white 180lb WC paper.

I'm loving these pens!

06-20-2016, 02:39 PM
Yeah art supplies. Well done on the rooster. The grasses are delightful.

06-24-2016, 12:53 PM
Still goofing around with new Pitt pens. This time loosely from life, though my granddaughter suggested adding power lines with birds to liven it up.

Life Sketch with Added Birds On Wires
9" x 12"
Pitt Artist Pens on sketch paper.

06-24-2016, 03:35 PM
The lines and birds make it rural instead of wilderness. Sweet sketch.

06-25-2016, 11:28 AM
I like what you did with the Pitt pens! I always find those a little hard to handle so it's enlightening to see what you did with them. Love the line and the birds; your granddaughter definitely has an eye for beauty.

06-25-2016, 01:26 PM
Thank you! I had fun with this one, did it as a demo with my granddaughter. The real view doesn't have those birds and cables but only because that's not the direction they show. Yep. Rural rather than wilderness, but the road does that too.

Otherworlder, I got used to Pitt pens a decade ago. One big trick is to spare the tips by angling them to the side for fill ins, use the side of the brush tip rather than mashing down the point. It takes some practice getting used to the variable line width by pressure and how expressive they are.

07-01-2016, 09:16 PM
Here's one I missed posting from the 14th:

Dandelion Clock
3 1/2" x 5"
Prismacolor Watercolor pencils dry on Moleskine watercolor journal, life.

And latest:
Oak Portrait (life)
3 1/2" x 5"
Pigma Micron 01 and water on Moleskine watercolor journal.

07-02-2016, 02:10 PM
Wonderful sketches. The dandelion reminds me of blowing the tufts as a child.

Munin Raven
07-04-2016, 10:41 AM
Great dappled leaves on the tree. :thumbsup:

07-05-2016, 11:56 AM
Purr thank you! LOL - I wound up sketching the lone dandelion in the grass because I remembered blowing the tufts as a child! Some things are universal, I think. We aren't trying to get rid of them though, the lawn is basically a place for goats to graze anyway. It's nice living out in the country where lawns don't have to be perfect.

Here's what I did on the weekend...

Peach and Barn Cat
5 1/2" x 8 1/2"
Watercolor pure (peach), watercolor and Pigma Micron 01 (cat)
Moleskine watercolor journal, both from life, cat painted and inked from pencil.

Played with pure watercolor on this one and used white as a glaze to get a sense of the fuzz - it worked even better in person, photo caught some of it but not how well it modulated the color as it shaded out.

07-05-2016, 11:58 AM
very juicy!

07-06-2016, 03:20 PM
Delightful, both the cat and the peach.

07-06-2016, 11:43 PM
Purr thank you! The cat isn't one of our barn cats, she was at one of the horse owners' barns. I met LOTS of lovely barn cats since I've moved!

Today I did a pastel on a Mi Tientes pad!

The Bright Green Plant (life)
9" x 12"
Cretacolor Pastels Carre' on orange Canson Mi Tientes smooth side.
Fun in the sun, from life, I loved its mad green against the paving stones and dirt and sky.

07-07-2016, 06:58 PM
That is some green! Great sketch.

Joan T
07-09-2016, 08:49 PM
For some reason I haven't been on WetCanvas for a while. It is great to come and catch up on what I've missed. Your drake and the rooster are super! You are doing some really nice pieces.

09-01-2016, 11:54 AM
Purr thank you! Dog days came and I haven't been doing much due to heat, but here's a pastel sketch and a couple of art journal pages from my small Moleskine:

Calcifer and Thistle Page
3" x 5"
Pen and colored pencils on pocket Moleskine watercolor journal

9" x 12"
Hard pastel on paper

Knotwork landscape
3" x 5"
Pigma Micron pen, pocket Moleskine watercolor journal

09-01-2016, 02:45 PM
I hear you on the heat. Looking forward to Autumn. Great pages.

09-01-2016, 03:33 PM
Nice cats as always :) and the thistle too, the blue grey greens are spot on

We've had a generally cool summer with only a few scorching days - which suits me as I don't cope with heat.

09-01-2016, 05:37 PM
Robert, great sketches. I like what you're able to do with the Pitt Artist Pens. You're leading me to think of doing sketches primarily with Pitt Artist Pens once I finish using all the graphite and colored pencils I have.

Munin Raven
09-05-2016, 02:10 PM
Completely loving the curled leaf and twig. I'm also very envious of that knotwork. Just lovely!

Speaking of knotwork, or illuminati, I'm wondering how you personally approach that kind of thing? I need to incorporate some kind of celtic weave/border for a project, but the way I have always naturally worked is very loose and... well, just let it flow out, if you know what I mean. I tried plotting everything out with a light grid and angles, but it is honestly driving me up the wall, haha. I thought if I created longer periods between the repetition, and filled in with little swirls, or pictures, or other bits, it might work for me; but any tips you have would be superb.

09-08-2016, 04:32 PM
Love the knot work, simply great!

09-11-2016, 03:38 PM
Catching up on your sketches which are great - the cats are wonderful as always!

09-17-2016, 02:28 PM
Purr thank you! I love the Pitt Artist Pens, they're one of my favorite sketch mediums. The light colors are actually light, I can get fine marks, the hues are varied enough and they're so expressive. Also archival, something I don't forget. Very good with water media over them since they won't melt.

Knotwork tips... I have a book by George Bain - Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction. It has thousands of detailed examples and photos of historical pieces, stone work and manuscripts. That's a good place to start. I had another set of books by Aidan Meehan that were wonderful, broke it down to types of Celtic ornament and his construction methods are easier, get the one titled Knotwork first but be sure to check out the others in the series. In the Knotwork volume there's a page of 12 Basic Knots that some Scottish society worked out, which I hand copied and used as a sampler for design for years. Unfortunately I can't find even one of the handout sheets with it, when I find one I'll copy it again into one of my journals to keep it handy.

I'm still looking for it and will do something with that again when I find it. Till then, my methods of construction are to pencil in just the lines where it will go, then draw lines around that and erase the first lines, then do the crossings over and under consistently, then ink the penciled version and erase thoroughly. I pencil very lightly. This is a streamlined version of the George Bain method, often done without measuring. If I do measure I place dots somewhere they will fall under the line in case erasing isn't thorough enough, like say, where a crossing goes.

I finished the knotwork page with watercolor pencils and washed it, so here's the finale! Also have the horse and donkey life sketches from last week finally online and processed to post. I don't get online much by way of laptop problems but next week that will change as I'm getting a new laptop on Thursday. One with all the keys on its keyboard!

On this piece I tried a different construction method with grid dots that was in a class I took. It's useful for simple braiding and possible to expand or contract it but I still prefer my old method.

Landscape with Knotwork Border
(Life and imagination)
3 1/2" x 5 1/2"
Pigma Micron pen and Prismacolor Watercolor pencil
Pocket Moleskine watercolor journal

Salvador and Jack (from life)
3 1/2" x 5 1/2"
Pigma Micron pen and Daniel Smith watercolors
Pocket Moleskine watercolor journal

09-18-2016, 02:43 PM
Beautiful sketches. The horse and the donkey look so personable.

Joan T
09-18-2016, 03:40 PM
Robert, great job on these. Love the knot work.

09-18-2016, 04:27 PM
Rob I have the exact same knot work books. Creepy.
Main difference is that I've never quite managed to do what you do. I bow to your superiority....or possibly infinite patience. Both of which I clearly lack!
Loving your blue rendition above.

09-21-2016, 06:23 PM
Purr thank you! I love those Aidan Meehan books, his instructions are a lot easier to follow but the Bain book is like an encyclopedia. Habit makes the knotwork a lot easier. Most of all penciling it first! That was the first time I actually bordered art with it rather than using it around calligraphy though.

I've done two more pieces since, painted all three barn cats from life!

Tiny Book Page 1 - Sekhmet the Barn Queen
1 1/4" x 3/4"
Pigma micron and watercolor on tiny red leather handmade book with heavy ivory pages, probably bristol. I stitched the book in a class and decided to make it a sketchbook of miniatures.

Barn Cats Page - Calcifer tabby and golden Sutekh
5 1/2" x 8 1/2"
Pigma Micron pen and watercolor on Moleskine Watercolor journal.
Both cats pages are from life.

And if it's relevant here, also painted a pre-printed award scroll for the Society for Creative Anachronism. I did not do the calligraphy or design, just painted it and tried to give a period look to the coloring. The gold background on the big letter is Daniel Smith Iridescent Gold watercolor over a layer of yellow ochre gouache, not visible through the gold paint.


This is for a historical recreation group, every six months a new King and Queen take office by way of winning a Crown Tournament six months previous, they get practice as Crown Prince and Princess and then reign at events for six months - and give out these awards. This one's given by the Queen to people who seriously helped out with things like organizing events and getting the stuff together etc. etc.

I chose the ultramarine and vermilion colors for being authentic to 12th-13th century styles like this, used yellow ochre for the leaves as another traditional color (Cadmiums came along too recently for medieval stuff), and used the DS gold paint on the big capital to fancy it up. I had fun with this, have a few more to color and will also be doing some original ones where I also do the art and calligraphy. But just coloring is still fun and useful on a relatively bad day, took a couple of hours with layers drying.

09-21-2016, 08:16 PM
Sweet barn cats. The certificate looks great.

Joan T
09-21-2016, 09:30 PM
Love the scroll and the sketches of the cats!

Munin Raven
10-14-2016, 11:15 AM
Thank you for your thoughts on knotwork and patterns, and your own approach. I checked out Aidan Meehan's work and it's just fantastic. I will certainly be looking to grab a copy of Knotwork, but was also drawn to Animal Patterns. Much appreciated. :thumbsup:

Great cat sketches too. Full of character. :)

Jo Castillo
10-27-2016, 10:49 AM
Robert, love the cat sketches and your calligraphy work. Haven't seen you around in a while. Hope all is going well.....

10-28-2016, 08:12 PM
Purr thank you! I have been busy sketching, but it's dark out and so I haven't gotten photos of most of the next series in the little mini sketchbook. Here is the one on the overleaf of Sekhmet though, beloved and very cuddly lap addict Calcifer. Whenever I'm outside smoking, Calcifer jumps into my lap and sometimes I wind up out there for hours petting this affectionate little tabby. He isn't large as cats go but has a big heart.

He's also known as the Dim Squeaker because he's not very bright about some things - but he is an excellent mouser. He gets cute when going after mice, bouncing repeatedly and boinging around. Yet he will always get it and eat it. When the indoor cats kill mice, they don't eat them. I bring them outside and Calcifer is very happy to gulp them down in one or two bites, daintily. He also loves baked goods and pizza. We think he may be one of the few cats who can taste sweet things, because of his fondness for donuts and cake and other sweets. Not a fat cat, burns it off in an athletic lifestyle.

Barn cat Calcifer from life
3/4" x 1 1/4"
Pen and watercolor on heavy cream paper handmade book.

Jo Castillo
10-28-2016, 10:31 PM
Robert, I love Calcifer. Sounds like my kind of cat! Thanks for sharing the sketch and story.

10-29-2016, 11:20 AM
Awww what a cute story about Calcifer :)

10-29-2016, 05:18 PM
Purr! Thank you both! Today I've actually gotten the photos of the Rest of the Mini Book, so here come lots and lots of heavily enlarged photos of art that's only 3/4" x 1 1/4" - this is my Book of Tiny-Tinies, all miniatures. Some pages may seem silly or overly simple but I put them all into photos anyway. Others are wow, even I'm surprised I got that much into something that little.

Page 3 of Mini Book: Horse Silhouette
3/4" x 1 1/4"
Pigma Micron pen on cream heavy paper.

Mini Book Page 4: Sutekh the Big Barn Cat
3/4" x 1 1/4"
Pigma Micron pen and watercolor on heavy cream paper

Sutekh aka Tom Sutekh is the Big Orange Fluff of the barn cats. Very cuddly and likes being picked up and held by Karl, my Viking son in law, only cat he's ever actually bonded with. Friendly with everyone else too. Likes being a lap rug, enjoys having his belly rubbed. Actually enjoys having his belly squeezed and purrs louder when pressed on the sides, also known as the Cat Accordion for this. Amazing big fluff boy about Ari's size when he was husky, fifteen pounds if he's an ounce. Ginger swirl tabby with extra long hair.

Mini Book Page 5: Calcifer Sleeping with Mouth Open
3/4" x 1 1/4"
Pigma Micron and watercolor on paper.

Calcifer was sleeping on my lap with his head tilted a bit and mouth falling open, while I sketched him from life. Completed this painting without waking him up, which takes some serious trust on the part of the dozing cat. He twitched a bit but didn't really move out of the pose.

Mini Book Page 6: Two Bright Leaves
3/4" x 1 1/4"
Pigma Micron and watercolor on paper. Life.

All of these are from life unless otherwise mentioned.

Mini Book Page 7: Cow Skull
3/4" x 1 1/4"
Pigma Micron and watercolor on paper. Visited a friend named Bethany and sketched from the skull of a former pet now mounted on her porch.

There's more to come! Just keeping it to five images per post.

10-29-2016, 05:37 PM
Round Two of the Wonderful Mini Book that I've started keeping in my pocket for life sketching when I'm out riding with Kitten the Farrier, my daughter. Or sitting outside smoking and hanging out with barn cats. Either way it's a seriously convenient little thing along with a Richeson mini-tin of watercolors - watercolors replaced with 8 Daniel Smith watercolors in lemon yellow, warm yellow, pyrrol scarlet, quinacridone rose, quinacridone gold, pthalo blue, ultramarine blue and Payne's Grey. Running low on quinacridone gold now but can't find the tube, did refill the Ultramarine, can't find the exact light yellow either (Hansa Yellow Light? Lemon Yellow? What?) so will continue hunting for the lost tubes. Last, I toss a mechanical pencil, kneaded eraser, Pigma Micron size 01 and a Niji waterbrush into my pocket, then I'm good to go. Occasionally also grab an 02 Pigma Micron.

The mechanical pencil is just a normal one with tiny skinny leads and a white vinyl eraser, not a fancy artist one with Turquoise leads though I love those. It's just convenient. The main thing is these supplies fit literally in a shirt pocket and are always handy including the book itself. The book was a project at a book binding class and I have come to love it more every time I draw in it. It was this or write a story in it with the Pigma Micron and magnifier glasses on.

Mini Book Page 8: Dawn Trees
3/4" x 1 1/4", Pigma Micron and watercolor on paper.

These are trees across the street from my house, love the light on them.

Mini Book Page 9: Cedar Branching
3/4" x 1 1/4", Pigma Micron and watercolor on paper.

One of a row of cedars at the edge of our yard right before the ditch and then the road. The foliage from Dawn Trees is of the mass of trees across the road. I skipped the road but may paint it sometime too with foliage shadows on it, different studies of the same view. Living here I am surrounded by paintable beauty.

Mini Book Page 10: Colorful Leaf
3/4" x 1 1/4", Pigma Micron and watercolor on paper.

The same colorful leaf as the red tipped one on two leaves page, it's gone now. Glad I painted it twice before it fell and faded, it was spectacular. Camera cannot quite describe how beautiful the colors are. Took both reds, both yellows and ultramarine to get all the colors shaded in, some wet in wet.

Mini Book Page 11: Yellow Wildflowers
3/4" x 1 1/4", Pigma Micron and watercolor on paper.

I picked these from the driveway and brought them over to my smoking area to paint, they grow profusely around here. About 5/8" to 3/4" wide in real life, with many blossoms on a branch.

Mini Book Page 12: Calcifer Crouched On Stone Wall
3/4" x 1 1/4", Pigma Micron and watercolor on paper.

Calcifer loves to pose as much as Ari did, in fact he poses a little bit more often. He doesn't jump away when I get his photo but will do successive poses, likes being drawn. With his sweetness, vanity and cooperation plus his lap addiction, he'll likely become my most-drawn kitty of the five Arkansas cats. I haven't drawn the two indoor girls yet but got some photos.

All of these as previously mentioned, are from life. There's still more!

10-29-2016, 05:59 PM
Last of the Update Batch! I had a lot of trouble getting photos, getting photos online and posted due to laptop problems. New laptop finally has Gimp and the Kindle Fire drivers on it, so now I can update all new photos onto new laptop and upload them easily. For a while I had to use the old laptop with its missing keys to pull photos from the Kindle, then email them to myself for posting and then manage enough online time to get them processed in Gimp (on the old machine) and then posted. So there may be some other catching-up too as I check the pocket Moleskine and large Moleskine for what may not have been photographed and posted yet.

Up to current! All from life so far - coolness! Oh the cat prints were from dusty cat prints Calcifer left on my pants when he jumped on my lap, just painted the patterns the clear ones made as he stomped around before settling down for a three hour lap nap.

Mini Book Page 13: Blue Wildflower
3/4" x 1 1/4", Pigma Micron and watercolor on paper.

These grow a few feet away from my smoking spot, right next to the outdoor ashtray. There were lots of them in the flower bed behind the stone wall but the goat ate all of those. What's left is next to the ashtray, where the goats can't reach.

Mini Book Page 14: Foliage and Cardinals
3/4" x 1 1/4", watercolor on heavy cream paper.

This is the detailed miniature that took my breath away when I finished. Loved how it worked. Didn't even have a tiny-point detail brush and it worked. Wow cool. Just a new Niji large tip waterbrush.

Mini Book Page 14: Cat Footprints (Calcifer's)
3/4" x 1 1/4", watercolor on paper.

Painted from dusty imprints on my pants while resting the book in my left hand on the cat's actual back. He did not mind being a drawing table, he purred. Sweet lap lump Calcifer.

Mini Book Page 15: Yellow Daisies from Memory
3/4" x 1 1/4", watercolor on paper.

This is the most recent page, the back of Cat Prints is blank because of how I held the book but will probably get my next sketch out of order. I broke the pattern of life sketching with a memory painting because the last yellow wildflowers dried up and then got eaten by goats, not many flowers around now. I missed them so painted some and experimented with daisy forms, from the little multi-blossom version of Black Eyed Susans that showed up last Spring and early Summer on the roadsides - but not near my house.

That's it for now. Happily the Mini Book has lots and lots of pages. I filled one signature entirely and a bit into the second, there are seven, so it'll be a while before it's full. I will have to do another hand made one when it is because this has become just too convenient and the stitched signatures and traditional binding are very solid. It's standing up to pocketing and banging around well. Has a red suede floppy cover that folds over and ties wrapped with doubled golden linen heavy thread.

10-30-2016, 07:14 AM
you have been working hard!

11-06-2016, 04:30 PM
Purr! Thanks! I got in one more before I started noveling:

Autumn Foliage from Life
3/4" x 1 1/4"
Daniel Smith watercolor on heavy cream paper, mini-book handmade.

This is the facing page to the golden daisies, from life. A spray of bright orange leaves caught my attention, so once more I painted a cluster of trees and weeds focused on that bright spray. The colors are turning fast now and I'm still outside sometimes.

Also did some experiments with watercolor sticks, comparing Daniel Smith ones and the new Winsor & Newton ones. DS ones are much stronger, better pigment concentration. Neither work that well used dry but a wash brings out the color on the DS product well, and a wet brush pulls lots of color. Trying that with the WN ones it's still pale and low pigment saturation, the Alizarin Crimson stick came out a pink rather than a red even though the stick looked dark red as it normally would. Very frustrating. I do like the DS sticks as portable watercolors similar to pans.

Jo Castillo
11-07-2016, 10:49 AM
Wow, such a tiny sketchbook! These sketches are amazing. Fun to see your work.

Joan T
11-13-2016, 06:37 PM
Love these sketches in the mini book!!! It is fun to make your own books to use. I've made a few and am signed up for a bookbinding class next month to learn the coptic stitch.

12-04-2016, 03:04 PM
Purr thank you!

Here's a drawing of my new cat, Cissy. She's super affectionate and fluffy. I haven't done much other art lately but this was the most recent piece.

Cissy my New Cat
9" x 6" Pencil on paper, from my own photo.

Here's the reference:
I love this cat, she looks like she could be Ari's daughter or sister. She has a tabby face but the same smoky legs and tail, the same blond mane and extremely fluffy coat. She's a touch less silky and more woolly, but very soft and fluffy and she's extremely friendly. She chews on my beard at night and kneads me with wide dark fluffy paws.

Joan T
12-04-2016, 09:51 PM
Love the soft look of the sketch of Cissy!

Jo Castillo
12-05-2016, 12:10 AM
Robert, Cissy is very sweet. Lovely sketch, too.

12-07-2016, 01:33 PM
Purr thank you! She is such a sweet cat, it's a joy to draw her. I'm going to paint her sometime too, at least when the weather lets me.

12-08-2016, 05:34 AM
She's beautiful!

12-16-2016, 03:27 PM
Purr thank you! Got photos off my other pocket sketchbook, some dating back to November so please, patience if you saw any before. Plus latest pen drawings of adorable Sissy. Yes, that was how her name was spelled, not Cissy. She's wonderful and cuddly and right now tucked up into the best present of all (for a cat), a cardboard box!

She's in the small box normally favored by Kyra, so her fur flows out in all directions, you can't see the box.

These are all from a 3 1/2" x 5" Pentalic spiral bound book.

Foliage in watercolor from life, Daniel Smith watercolors.

Dried Oak Leaves, pen and watercolor

Stag demo from imagination to show granddaughter angle of antler placement on real deer. Not so sure of the face. Sharpie pen.

Gnarly Oak Tree, Sharpie pen fine point, life

Sissy sketches from life, Sharpie fine point pens

Cedars from my front yard, life, Sharpie fine point

All caught up now on the Pentalic sketchbook. Still sketching my cat. But not so much outdoor sketching because it's getting bitter cold outside. Weather's been knocking me over, this year is worse than last winter. Though I hear that last winter was unusually gentle so that's not too surprising.

Jo Castillo
12-17-2016, 12:37 PM
Robert, lots of info in those small sketches. The leaves and Sissy are super. Much gesture in the tree. Nice to see.
Hope the cold isn't too hard on you. Merry Christmas and blessings to you and yours....

12-18-2016, 11:19 AM
Purr! Thank you! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you and yours. Grandson is singing Christmas carols, occasionally mangling the words...

Joan T
12-18-2016, 06:38 PM
Robert, I'm glad to see any of your sketches...even if I've seen them before. Glad you have such a great new companion. I hope Sissy loves to pose!

12-18-2016, 08:45 PM
Purr thank you! Sissy does pose for me. I've gotten two good photo shoots already, actually several. Got a good one a couple of days ago, may as well share that too since I finally got her body.

Sissy in the Paper Box
Feel free to paint as if RIL, would appreciate seeing your version!

If it fits, they sits. Tiny Kyra became my daughter's cat, by her own idea of crawling into the marriage bed, following her around, pestering, living in their room, just all around attachment. Though she's now on the top shelf of my desk, since all the cats like my corner.

Sissy doesn't have a good place for sketch posing but we're going to start work on my studio-cottage in March... and hopefully have it finished by summer. Once we're in there, it'll be much easier for Sissy to lounge about posing for me while dozing. Here, she needs to avoid a bouncy kitten and a dog or two.

Kitten (my daughter) just got a new dog, or rather we're trying out the new dog for adoption. Maggie is half Australian Shepherd, half Border Collie, she looks a bit more like the Border Collie if you replace the black part with black-and-gold patterns like a tortie cat. Maggie has very silky fur, she's a very pretty dog and I might be sketching her soon too since she does have a tendency to sit still and pose sometimes.

She's also a good dog to be around me, instead of bouncing on me she will sit politely and look up with a pleading expression and a swishy plume tail thumping for attention. That usually works. She's also understanding about being petted like a cat.

She has herding instincts, so her chasing the cats is in a friendly way. She's trying to herd them, something that will likely get her nose sliced a few times. She's rather large but otherwise very well behaved and I hope this works out. She lived with cats before and seems overall respectful, but for that tendency to want to play tag.

Also, here's the half done pastel painting I started yesterday, a Christmas present for my table top gaming friends.

"Stryker" the Longhair Chihuahua half done
Pastel on Colourfix Aubergine, 9" x 12"
Will be finishing with pastel pencils, sharpened those today.

After this, next up is the nice pastel portrait of Sissy for her former people. I am so grateful they gave her to me!

12-20-2016, 09:18 PM
Doggy's DONE!

Stryker the Long-Hair Chihuahua
9" x 12"
Pastel on Aubergine Art Spectrum Colourfix sanded paper
Photo by Stryker's owners, gift for Stryker's people.

Next up is my fluffy sweetie girl, Sissy!

Joan T
12-20-2016, 09:59 PM
Robert, Stryker is so cute!!! Nicely done!!

12-21-2016, 01:04 PM
I love the dog, it really pops!

12-23-2016, 03:13 PM
Purr! Thank you!

Taking more progress photos on this portrait of Sissy my cat. Here's the sketch for her portrait!

Sissy Portrait Sketch Stage
Carb-Othello Stabilo pastel pencils on
Fresh Gray Art Spectrum Colourfix pastel card, my photo ref.

I can see I need to extend the cheek fluffs a little farther looking at it critically, but that won't be hard at all. She's so beautiful this is going to be a joy.

12-24-2016, 06:13 PM
Today I finished Sissy's portrait. First, I got the background in and took a progress photo...
Background in warm blue-grays defining the shadow. Blended with a chicken's wing feather rather than fingers or other blenders.

Sissy, my Maine Coon Sweetheart
9" x 12"
Pastel pencil and Unison pastels on Fresh Gray Art Spectrum Colourfix sanded pastel paper.
Photo reference my own, of my own sweet cat.

And I also drew Sekhmet today, finishing the little page in the Robert Bateman sketch journal.

Pigma micron on paper, 3 1/2" x 5" journal page.

I am so glad I got going again. Maybe I can keep on painting now, even get back into daily sketching again. Still looking to paint something with pen and watercolor using my new Sennelier watercolor mini set of 8 colors. I liked the red in it, the French Vermilion is a bit like quinacridone coral - it does give good violet tones mixed with blues! So I can do some cool things with it, just need to actually do them!

Might be doing more birds soon since I bought a field book for Arkansas birds and that's inspirational. Helps to have some idea what that gray bird is when it looks so much like all the other gray birds.

12-25-2016, 05:22 AM

and twitchers over here (birdwatchers) I know refer to LBB's - little brown birds. I know sparrows and wrens but all the others are so similar I can't tell them apart. Living in the city, though not a huge one, there is a limited range of birds anyway. At the moment there are gulls in from the coast and their calls remind me of my childhood in Cornwall :) Their effortless soaring and swooping always seemed the essence of freedom to me as a child - and still really.

So useful haviing your artists materials grown by the hens - models and art supplies too, got to be good ;)

Merry Christmas - seeing the family later but all is quiet for now

12-25-2016, 01:52 PM
Purr thank you, Vivien! I loved painting that cat. Not the last time I'll paint her either. She was just talking to me in the bathroom, she talks a lot.

Oh yes! Come Spring or Summer, I might have to try Egg Tempera the traditional way, seeing as art materials are grown by the hens. Or even more next year once I have my studio, the hens will be down next to my studio. They're building the chicken coop onto my house on one side so that it all has one roof and counts as one building for tax purposes. So the hens will be quite nearby and handy when I want fresh eggs - and it'll be pretty easy to sketch hens from my porch too!

Here's today's sketch, a life painting of a chip of bark with shelf fungus and moss on it that I thought was intriguing.

Sennelier Mini pocket watercolor set and life painting of mossy bark
3 1/2" x 5"
Pentalic journal 110lb watercolor paper, painted with the Sennelier Mini.

Had to put the watercolor set in there too since it was just being inaugurated. I found I really liked it. When I did the swatch tests I was impressed with how that orange cast red created lovely violets with both blues - French Vermilion acts like Quinacridone Coral that way. It really can work as a single red in a small pocket set. I think the colors were chosen for very easy summer outdoor painting, two greens and a sky blue for the green cast blue, a strong clean yellow and red, burnt umber and payne's grey so there's warm and cool darks for shadows. All colors that I tend to use by themselves sometimes.

After carrying it around for a couple of weeks, today I finally painted with it as I'd finished my big Christmas projects. All but one, but that friend hasn't provided me a photo reference yet and his cat is so shy I wasn't able to get one any of the times we visited. The cat was constantly darting across the room to run under something, rarely held still for a photo. She's pretty though, Miss Hades is a white cat with two black markings over her eyes like stylized eyebrows.

12-26-2016, 02:26 AM
Interesting sketch; I love how you can find the interesting texture and color in small things that most wouldn't even notice.

PS: how do you like the Sennelier watercolor?

Joan T
12-28-2016, 04:50 PM
Robert, I love the portrait of Sissy and the sketches too. Glad to see you are back to working on your art again.

12-29-2016, 06:31 PM
Purr thank you! I like the Sennelier watercolor. Particularly like that striking red, the French Vermilion is extremely versatile. Cinereous Blue is new to me too and the Ultramarine is lovely. Good colors, good solubility, strong pigment load, good artist grade watercolors. I like them as much as Winsor & Newtons.

Today finished the pastel painting of my pomegranate, which means I can eat it now. Next up may be something done with Inktense since I dug out my Inktense 72 color set and it's handy, looking forward to doing something colorful with those.

Colourful Pomegranate
6" x 8"
Unison and Mt. Vision pastels on Uart 400 grit sanded paper, from life.

12-30-2016, 02:30 AM
Thanks for the review of the Sennelier Robert! The pomegranate is lovely, really nice colors; it's a simple composition but really striking.

12-30-2016, 02:57 PM
Yay kitties!

Jo Castillo
12-31-2016, 10:06 AM
Partial to pastels. This is rich and fresh!

01-01-2017, 07:20 PM
Purr thank you! Got the pastel paintings framed yesterday, love how those came out. Haven't yet done my first art of the new year. But soon... got my Inktense set at hand, just haven't chosen a subject...


Cut the nice white mats though and got the art safely framed.

Next up either a pastel or an Inktense sketch...

Joan T
01-01-2017, 10:35 PM
Great job on the pomegrante! The two framed paintings came out super!

01-02-2017, 11:44 AM
Purr thank you! I drew yesterday and am finishing the color now, so I will be starting my 2017 thread soon! PURR and thank you so much!

I loaded up on the sanded Colourfix paper so I will be able to do more things like the pomegranate, especially now that my Unisons pastels are in reach.

01-02-2017, 12:30 PM
Looking forward to seeing more of your sketches especially the pastel work!