View Full Version : Drop in to Cafe Michaelangelo-March 2010

03-01-2010, 07:16 AM
I know there may be some out there in the world who are basking in sunlight and warmth, but I'm certainly not. It seems like we have had this gloom and doom forever. I wait for some snow or rain to fall just as a climax to all this grey...but nothing much happens where I am , though it swirls all around me.

Well there is always music, books and ART....that should be enough. Please let us know how your winter has gone and if you have any plans for spring, even though it is early days.

We have some new threads this month and are continuing Monotypes for a while...at least until I get better at it. :lol:

If you have some St. Patricks Day paintings or greeting cards...post them here. Easter comes right at the beginning of April...so some Easter cards might be nice too.


03-01-2010, 12:55 PM
Hi Janet - "In March the wind blows down the door and spills my soup upon the floor, blowing once, blowing twice, blowing chicken soup and rice." -

from Maurice Sendak's Chicken Soup and Rice a book of months.

03-01-2010, 10:09 PM
And here I am back after one of my weeks of night shifts, and this time round have three weeks of leave, so perhaps I'll find some time to spend on WC. It is five in the morning; I have not slept a wink the entire night. That is what comes of night shifts! Perhaps in another week or two I will have managed to shift back to day shifts, and then I have to go back to work again. AAAARGH!!

Oh well, until then, I have an art project or two I want to get my teeth into...

03-02-2010, 12:00 AM
Welcome back, Brian. The week whizzed by too fast, and so was February.

I've been busy baking and cooking for my kids and I have 4 more days of freedom before full time work. But I get to sleep in on weekends. I'm looking forward to sleeping till 9 in the morning.

Have to get some art done soon. So busy taking family here and there to doctors, basketball matches, games...etc all week.

03-02-2010, 10:31 AM
I like Maurice Sendak's work!

03-03-2010, 12:49 AM
Hi Brian - good to hear about the time off.

Sandra - cookies are good, art is too!

June - Yes Maurice Sendak does poetry & art. The book Chicken soup and Rice Book of months is lino cuts . I wonder if I still have it around? Gotta go hunting

Here is a link to some bookplates I got printed up for artomat. (100 of each design) http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=610797

03-03-2010, 12:52 PM
our new pup - Lucy- small delicate feet - looks like a mix between a pit bull and a pomeranian. There is not supposed to be chichuachua but looks a little like some snuck in somewhere along the line.

03-03-2010, 01:14 PM
Glad to see you're home from the salt mines Brian (at least for a while) and can get some rest and do some ART.

Sandra is this new job the one you had to take the lasted forever test for? I hope the hours are a little bit better for you.

Well, Robin I love your artomat prints. How did you ever manage to do them so small? You didn't do 100 prints each by hand, did you? :eek: Please let me know your process. They are really good. :heart:

03-03-2010, 01:15 PM
Sorry, I forgot Miss Lucy Anderson. She's adorable and I'm jealous.

03-03-2010, 02:49 PM
That is one very adorable puppy!!

03-04-2010, 06:34 AM
our new pup - Lucy- small delicate feet - looks like a mix between a pit bull and a pomeranian. There is not supposed to be chichuachua but looks a little like some snuck in somewhere along the line.

I seem to perceive a little bit of Dalai Lama in there as well, although that is difficult to believe what with the pitt bull blood... ;-)

03-04-2010, 07:21 PM
Well, now that it is a bit too late, I finally got around to participating in last month's expressionism project. Feel free to go have a look at my masterpiece, but, erm, wear sunglasses and take a shot of whiskey first... ;-)

03-05-2010, 09:55 AM
Such a cute little dog, Robin. Now that would give you a lot of inspiration for art!

Yes, Janet, that is the job with that took a while. Actually, I was offered a job by both the sheriff's office and the district attorney within 5 minutes of each other after prolonged background checks and tests and I chose the latter.

Welcome back, Brian. Looking forward to see your new pieces.

03-05-2010, 06:56 PM
thanks for the warm welcome to Lucy, ya'll.

Brian - LOL about the Dalai Lama. Maybe he has reincarnated in my dog!! If Lucy starts sitting in lotus fashion I'll be sure....not to mention RICH.

03-08-2010, 12:32 PM
IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!!

our first grand - I hope we go down tonight and see the little sweetie -

my son was so choked up he could hardly talk!!!!!

03-08-2010, 02:19 PM
Hearty congratulations!!

03-08-2010, 04:52 PM
Robin...That's wonderful...Pour the champagne. :clap: :clap: :clap:

03-09-2010, 12:57 AM
Just to keep the thread alive, here's one of my latest forays into botanical art, plus a bit of random philosophy:


I get this craze for botanical illustration every now and then, especially this time of year when the first hints of autumn are in the air and I can look forward to lots of colourful leaves. I just love old, dead or half dead weathered leaves, and the colourful suicides fluttering like a sort of funereal confetti from trees in autumn. One could fill entire sketchbooks with them and not scratch the surface of their endless complexity and variety.

I have long had this schizophrenic approach to art: on the one hand I like precise realism, on the other, I am an expressionist. I just had an interesting bit of correspondence on a mailing list with a professional scientific illustrator, and she told me it is exactly the same with her: as a sort of "antidote" to her very precise illustration work, she tells me, she does some Japanese brush painting.

I always had this idea that realists and expressionists are sort of inherently opposed to one another. Perhaps I read too much of the ARC's philosophy on their site! ;-)

I was glad to hear that in art, one is allowed to be a schizophrenic. :D

03-09-2010, 04:49 PM
Love that puppy!

I finally moved into my new house and am getting my studio room sorted!! so much space!

I think finally spring is here- its definitely getting milder and i've seen some sunshine!

I just got two cats as well- so cute!!



03-09-2010, 04:51 PM
Not schizophrenic Bri, just multi-faceted.

03-09-2010, 11:24 PM
Love that puppy!

I finally moved into my new house and am getting my studio room sorted!! so much space!

I think finally spring is here- its definitely getting milder and i've seen some sunshine!

I just got two cats as well- so cute!!

Well, waddya know, a cat enjoying a specially made scratching post. Mine insists the carpet is much better for that purpose. ;-)

That spring is coming for you does not surprise me: here in the southern hemisphere the nights are beginning to get a little nippy, and here and there I see a leaf going yellow. I jut love this time of year here, the days are absolutely glorious.

03-09-2010, 11:25 PM
Not schizophrenic Bri, just multi-faceted.

Well, thanks for that more positive way of looking at it. ;-)

03-11-2010, 10:45 PM
Robin, congratulations! A new grand baby. Very precious. Born in the year of the Tiger. She'll be a little tigress in temperament.
Brian, nice leaf there. Interesting remark by the professional scientific illustrator. Brush painting indeed is very relaxing. Perhaps you should try it too.
Ryan, looks like you have a very sunny nook there.
I'm almost done with the first week at my new job. Friday is tomorrow and then I could paint. So far, I've been only sketching with pencils or a small portable watercolor set plein air style. I don't have any opportunity to copy the great masters yet during this week. I'll catch up again tomorrow night.

Want to show off at least two of my more successful sketches though while trying out my Carbothello pastel pencils and my Conte pastel pencils in red, blue, yellow and white.

Acadamie Heavyweight Sketchbook 8.5x11 inch
Carbothello Pastel Pencil: red, white, blue, yellow


Acadamie Heavyweight Sketchbook 8.5x11 inch
Conte Pastel Pencil: red, blue, yellow
Primo's Charcoal Pencil : white


And also this oil pastel piece. This is the first time I used an odorless thinner and it's like using watercolor pencils and doing a wash.

This one is based on the sample on Painting Beautiful skin tones book.

Aquabee Superdeluxe heavyweight sketchbook 93 lbs 9x12 inch
Gallery Oil Pastel
Grumbacher pretested odorless thinner


03-11-2010, 11:48 PM
Brian - I too live to vary styles- keeps me from getting to restrictive. I try and do some stuff from imagination too....it always looks stiff but it helps me bring my life studies closer into my brain....if that makes sense . I think it is really good to do different stuff - push, be adventurous, don't play it safe all the time.

June, & Janet - thanks for the congratulations - I am so delighted. Here 's a photo. Little Malia (ma-lee-a) looks like her mom with a sharp nose

Sandra - very nice portraits - you are really good at keeping different approaches going. And yes, chinese brush painting is sooo relaxing. As soon as I get this artomat project out I've promised myself to get into the Mustart Seed painting book- got it sitting out on my art desk.

Here are some photos - of Malia and her mom and of some of the 300 little book plates I hand printed for artomat.all spread out and drying.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Mar-2010/88676-P3080036_copy.JPGhttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Mar-2010/88676-P3060021_copy.JPG

03-11-2010, 11:50 PM
Hi Lawrence - Multi-faceted is good.....specialization is for insects, eh!

03-12-2010, 12:16 AM
Robin, the baby has some hair on her. Very tall nose for a baby!! And look at all the bookplates!

So you bought Mustard Seed the English version? Do you like it? I am thinking of getting the Chinese version.

03-12-2010, 07:26 PM
Brian - I too live to vary styles- keeps me from getting to restrictive. I try and do some stuff from imagination too....it always looks stiff but it helps me bring my life studies closer into my brain....if that makes sense . I think it is really good to do different stuff - push, be adventurous, don't play it safe all the time.

Well, I have just developed a new craze, namely using an extremely limited palette of colours. Haven't actually started experimenting along those lines yet. I thought I'd get a lot of painting done while on leave, but I find I am so exhausted I spend most of the time sleeping!

Oh well, I still have a week left, so perhaps I'll get something done.

Go check out this page:


One cannot believe what this bloke does with only three or four colours! And I find I very much like this somewhat subdued colour scheme. Combined with expressive brush work, it just might be something to explore. I rather like the notion of developing a post-impressionist/expressionist sort of style, but with less garish colour, which tends to make my head spin after a while. ;-)

03-13-2010, 02:41 AM
Lovely mother and baby photo Robin!

The new cat looks contented, Ryan.

Brian, I must admit, I like realism and expressionism too. I like to switch between them ....when I get fed up with one I go to the other.

Sandra, seems like you are enjoying the new job.

I'm not doing much ..I bought a book on Henri Rousseau...so I am reading the essays in it. Called 'Jungles in Paris'. I've never seen an actual work by Rousseau. I wonder of they 'tour' his work these days...and will it come to my area of the West Midlands??;)

03-14-2010, 01:42 PM
Brian, thank you so much for the link. I wonder if I could do the same with watercolor or soft pastels, or oil pastels. I'm going to try that today.

Yes, June. I enjoy my new job quite a bit because it's so easy going. Brian, now that I am not on shift work, I can say how taxing it is to work shifts. It's very hard on the body. Have tons of rest!

I've been doing some Gustave Dore studies last night. Here are a few.

Wolff's Carbon Pencil 2B
Office Memo Pad


By now, I was getting tired of copying his work and so I doodled on my own. I'm going to get 9xxb pencil and 2H charcoal pencil too as recommended by J.D. Hilberry. I love dark pencils.



03-14-2010, 10:20 PM
Nice work, Sandra. Copying after the masters is always a good idea. One learns tons in the process. I like your somewhat expressionist translations of Dore's work.

I think one can probably do much with a limited watercolour palette, though I'm not sure it will work as well. One will have to see how the colours mix. I find it amazing that without blue in the palette , one can still work up fairly credible blues and greens. Do let us know whether you manage this in watercolour as well. With pastels it might well be very difficult.

As for my latest sketch, I have a whole story to tell. On Saturday afternoon our power suddenly cut out. Some or other substation got hit by lightning and blew up. Or something. That evening my neighbour came over and we barbecued our dinner (no other way to prepare food without electricity!) and then he sat playing a sodoku game on his cell phone while I played my guitar. All of this illuminated by candles and kerosene amps, and it took me back to my childhood when we lived on a small farm and had no electricity either.

But of course it did not take me long to play through everything I know, so eventually I set up an apple next to a candle and tried to sketch the arrangement. A pencil would have worked better for this, but I couldn't find one in the dark! I ended up doing it in ballpoint pen, but it is tricky to try sketching a candle by its own light because every time you look directly at it you are slightly blinded, and as it is the paper and developing sketch are difficult to see in that light. So the thing turned out so rough I thought it might fit well into our expressionism thread. Or perhaps I can even post it in the symbolism thread, with the apple symbolizing the sins of humankind and the candle our search for enlightenment. :D

Anyway, here's my sketch:


Believe it or not, it took a full 24 hours before we finally had our power back. Power cuts are not that unusual here, especially during lightning storms, but jeez, this one was a bit much!

Still, it sort of illustrated to me how much time we really waste staring at the TV...

03-15-2010, 01:33 AM
Oh Brian, you had a power outage too. I did too, yesterday, from 2 pm to 9 am this morning. It was a planned outage because they had to fix power boxes.

So I drew a candle by a battery powered lantern.

I was testing out my Carbothello, Conte pastel pencils. They all are watersoluable with the waterbrush. I would say Conte leaves an exciting residue when you need it to show texture. For Derwent watercolor pencil and Carbothello pastel pencils, you wash it with a waterbrush, the color intensity lessens.


This morning, added background to it.


Before the sun totally set, I drew this guy with Girault pastels on pastel mat and towards the end, the light from the lantern was too dim to make out what color I was putting on and I called it done.


The kids had fun chasing each other with torch light tack even though our house is so small.

03-15-2010, 08:05 AM
Looks like your candle was even the same shape as mine!

Arround here, power outages are not always planned, I fear, so we have to plan for them. They can sometimes actualy turn into very pleasant evenings away from the TV, but it does get inconvenient when they go on for a long time and you can't have a hot shower anymore. Or of course log onto the web and visit WC. ;-)

03-15-2010, 08:42 AM
I like the portrait Sandra.

03-15-2010, 07:13 PM
Nice studies Sandra
Brian that sketch just about flickers on its own especially the shadows.

03-16-2010, 12:31 AM
Nice studies Sandra
Brian that sketch just about flickers on its own especially the shadows.

Thanks! It is one reason I like ballpoint pen for sketching - it tends to create a vigorous sort of surface all by itself. Especially of course when you are working by candlelight, cannot see your sketch properly and in desperation to get something visible down on the paper, end up scribbling ever faster and more vigorously. :D

03-17-2010, 12:51 PM
and Thank YOU Brian for sharing that art moment - complete with desperation, and fast vigorous scribbling - an honest thrill ....it's that akward moment we artist live in . I try to avoid it myself but find it is those moments are the most rewarding.

03-18-2010, 10:22 PM
Happy Birthday June

03-19-2010, 12:31 AM
It's June's birthday today? Happy Birthday, June. Wishing you a very properous and healthy Year of the Tiger!!


03-19-2010, 01:49 AM
I want to show off another portrait of mine but this time, it's manganized.

Soft pastels of many brands on Colourfix paper. If you would like to see what I used, here's the long blurb (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8614403&postcount=14).


03-19-2010, 03:25 AM
Many thanks for the birthday wishes!! Another year, phew! Luckily, I am enjoying my 'old' age. Ooops, twenty-one again!!

03-20-2010, 03:27 AM
Hi folks!

I am featured as the artist of the month on theartsite.com.

They asked me some questions and featured some of my work,


Nice birthday present.:D ;)

03-20-2010, 08:02 AM
You are right...a very nice birthday present, June. It was a good article and a further insight into you too, my friend. Also, that's a pretty cute picture.

Very strong portraits Sandra. I like your use of many different mediums..sometimes together. I'm envious, you must have a lot of art supplies.

Neat candles, guys. :heart: :heart:

03-20-2010, 12:39 PM
Very nice article, June. Your animal paintings are so full of color. Very nice style.

03-20-2010, 03:19 PM
Thanks for taking a look at the article/interview, Sandra and Janet. I am still working on those websites. Doesn't it take a lot of time and effort to build your site?

03-21-2010, 04:26 AM
Thank you, Janet, for your comment.

I do have quite a bit of art supplies, but nowhere close to some people who buy lots and lots. I plan only one or two sets of artist quality soft pastels, two sets of oil pastels. Up till now, I've been using student quality materials and I'm ready to move on.

I've collected 4 sets of watercolor and have abandoned more or less my colored pencils. Collected lots of pencils, charcoal because I draw so much from them. And only have one basic set of 5 tubes each of water mixable oil, acrylics, one set of student quality gouache. A set of Bombay India ink of 24 bottles, and one set of Chinese ink of five sticks. And enough paper to do the walls in my house and enough picture frames to put on all three walls of my bedroom.:lol:

I've done another piece here. For the blurb on my feelings about the new soft pastels, you could read it here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8621505&postcount=27). But here is the work.

This one is based on Ruben's work. I only had the black and white copy and I colorized it with my new soft pastels not knowing what it really looked like in real life. Testing out all the artist quality soft pastels on smooth paper.

Canson Mi-Tientes Pastel toned gray paper 9x12 inch
Great American, Terry Ludwig, Schminke, Rembrandt, Art Spectrum, Girault, Blick, Unison, Sennelier soft pastels
Faber Castell Polychromos hard pastel blue stick

The painting is not expressionistic but the colors are.


03-22-2010, 01:08 AM
Nice work, everyone!

Well, I'm off to one of my fearsome work weeks of long, hectic night shifts and too little sleep again. See you next week, if I survive this one!

03-22-2010, 09:55 AM
interesting piece Sandra - building lots of textures punctuated with verticals(sticks and smoke)

Brian - hope it is a good week for you there in the midst of it all.

03-22-2010, 09:59 AM
June - that is a wonderful feature - congratulations - it thrills me to know your art is being viewed - it is delightful