View Full Version : All-Media Book started 2006...

Pages : [1] 2

05-16-2010, 03:12 AM
Recently in reorganizing my stuff, I found this great 9" x 12" Canson Montval All-Media book again, so that's what I'm titling it. I got it in a very handy Sketch Folio set that a friend gave me for my birthday in 2003 or 2004. It was a great portable sketching kit. Unfortunately, I was bedridden so I didn't go out, so I didn't use it for the longest time.

It's a black folding canvas portfolio with a big pocket behind the one the sketchbook slips into where I can tuck a 24 color pencil set, the other side has a pocket for a Sakura Koi 12 color watercolor set that came in it plus lots of brush loops. I put in a sandpaper paddle and a few other things and used it often, but didn't use the book because I was saving it for when I went out. Which I never did. If I went to doctors' offices I took a smaller kit, something like a 4" x 6" pad so that I could finish the sketch during the wait.

I did silly things like that then. Back in 2006, I decided it was stupid not to use it so I did the first page. This one.

All-Media Book, Page 1
9" x 12"
Derwent Graphitints and Pigma Micron Pen
Canson Montval All-Media Book

The buffalo is from a photo reference a friend gave me, though I no longer have the file or remember which friend. I didn't save references I didn't have permission on, it could've been any of my DeviantART friends or eBay friends.

The Celtic knotwork piece is original, I designed it and didn't copy it from any ancient source. I created a shape and experimented with laying out knotwork to fit an irregular shape.

Really nice first page, isn't it?

I fell prey to first-page willies. After an opener like that, how could I fill it up with crummy sketches? This one has a spiral binding, a hard cover, 90lb watercolor paper... it was too good to waste on scribbly sketches. It was for good drawings. So it went in the stack of Sketchbooks Too Good For Everyday and stayed there till the summer of 2007 when in Kansas, I joined a Life Drawing Group for some months.

Oh yes. That's why this thread has the Butt Icon.

I might keep my nudes and figure studies in it, since most of the rest of this book is the charcoal and Conte life drawings I did while I attended the life drawing group. All of the models are artists who took turns modeling. Nudity was optional, some wore more than others. This group is where I first successfully tried and succeeded at gesture drawing.

It changed my drawing methods completely, and any conciseness you find or speed in my using any other mediums comes from the one and two minute poses one of the models did later on. I used 12 pages in it so far, some of them back to back. If I start a thread for it, I'll actually keep it out and use it again, maybe for more nudes and figures!


Figures start in the next post.

05-16-2010, 03:17 AM
Page 2 was from the first meeting of the figure drawing group. Each scan is an entire page. This is before I started sketching the way I do now fitting more than one drawing around each other well, some of them are proportioned oddly because I cropped out unused space. I wasn't as good at placing art on the page and was lousy at composition back then.

But I could do people. I'm not going to title them and don't remember exactly what I used, whether charcoal pencils or sticks or what, though the sanguine ones are Conte crayon. All are from life now.

All-Media Book, Page 2

All-Media Book, Page 3

All-Media Book, Page 4

05-16-2010, 03:25 AM
All-Media Book, Page 5

All-Media Book, Page 6
Charcoal and Sanguine Conte

I decided to do a foot study on this model for some reason, I think it was because another artist was blocking my view of the body or just that I liked the foot. I know I wanted to do a good foot study to see if I could. It was about a ten minute pose.

Followed by the first one-minute gesture from the next model, which I did in Sanguine Conte crayon.

All-Media Book, Page 7
Sanguine Conte Crayon

All-Media Book, Page 8
Sanguine Conte Crayon

05-16-2010, 03:38 AM
All-Media Book, Page 9
Sanguine Conte Crayon

Same model as the gesture sketches. She really was wearing shorts in the gesture poses even if one of them looks like she took her shorts off. That's because I didn't have time to get the line of where her shorts fell and they were pretty tight shorts. I had to get going on her next graceful movement!

All-Media Book, Page 10

I loved the light on this lady's body. She posed in a perfect relation to the light and I was one of the first to sit down, so I got a good view of the effect I wanted.

All-Media Book, Page 11

Last page is slightly out of order because it's on the back of Page 10, but I did it much later. Last month, when I reorganized my stuff and found this book. Charting my Graphitints in it wet and dry will make it easier for me to use them in this book, which I'm planning to do. It's chronologically last though.

I might go back to using just one side of each page though. I'm sure there are other 9" x 12" or 8 1/2" x 11" wirebound watercolor books with a heavy back that are bound on the long side. Just checked Blick and there's two of them side bound, one from Canson with a hard back and paper cover and 60 sheets, one from Strathmore with only 15 sheets and a paper cover. So it's not like I can't replace the book when it's full, or slide any side bound 9" x 12" sketchbook in there.

It's not doing much good being held aside because the portfolio wouldn't be useful without pages left in it, is it? So now I'll use it whenever I want to sketch figures and also for other watermedia experiments. I'll see if I can add something to it now and then. This is definitely the one that I'll use though, when I want to do something that's legally "for mature audiences" and needs a butt icon.

05-16-2010, 11:48 AM
Awesome studies, Robert! Must be fun sketching from real live models!

05-16-2010, 01:25 PM
Thank you! It was great being able to go to that group weekly, though when the season changed in Kansas I couldn't keep up with it any more for health reasons. I loved it that all those healthy people would pose nude or near-nude and let me get a much better grasp of figure proportions and modeling shadows on the human body.

I have some manikins and photo reference books of nudes as well as figure drawing books, so I may return to this one sometime soon and keep going with figure studies. I prefer drawing healthy people to recording my own deformities for history though.

The one time I modeled for the group, even clothed, it disturbed half the artists because they thought they were getting my proportions wrong. Some of them normatized my body, others exaggerated the misproportions. Many got them accurate but thought they'd made huge mistakes in everything from my neck to limb length to the asymmetry of my right side hemi-hypoplasia.

The right side of my body is about two full sizes smaller than the left and that will distort everything. It also causes odd musculature as some muscle groups bunch up exaggerated by the extreme efforts it takes to walk. I also often get minor injuries that cause extreme swelling, especially on my right knee, ankle or anywhere on my leg because of the imbalance. So I'll be shrimpy on the right side but with a hugely fat looking right leg or a scrawny calf going up to swollen knee and thigh like a fat guy's leg.

I starved myself as a kid one year trying to get healthy and worked out constantly. The net result was that I had giant muscular thighs from the difficulty I have walking, usually swollen on the small side from sports injuries, with a bony skeletal upper body from not eating enough. I looked in the mirror and realized I looked worse than I did at my normal stable weight, so I quit dieting and my weight has remained stable ever since.

What's amusing is that only medical people and artists see these distortions, and not all medical people do. A lot of times I'll meet non-artists and they overguess my height by my facial proportions, underguess my weight by more than the 30lbs of extra bone weight from the scoliosis and assume I have normal proportions for my torso size. Now that I think of that, overguessing my height is natural if I'm sitting down.

Standing, my short legs reduce my overall height. But if you took my torso and assumed normal leg length to go with it, I'd come out at the height people think I am. It's kind of cool, certainly helps me socially -- and most people don't see me standing for more than a minute or two because that's as much as my back can take. At least now I understand it... this is something I just worked out today thinking about some of the bizarre sketches that came out of my one and only modeling session.

Thanks for letting me blather. I'm not going to diagram it either, but it's good to at least know what creates the optical and social illusion that I'm taller and thinner than I really am.

05-16-2010, 02:24 PM
I believe that drawing the human body is one of the most difficult thing, and it's amazing how you can "grasp" so much expression is so little pencil strokes! :) I could never draw persons, even copying from magazines or drawing books... ^^

And don't you worry about the post length: I think that, especially in this Art Journal section, it is the background stories that make the drawings/painting even more meaningful :)

05-16-2010, 02:26 PM
I'd be cool to sketch from real life, but I'd probably feel uncomfortable being the model :D I would definitely lose concentration if I draw (or try) someone I know personally, I don't think I would take it seriously! :lol:

I guess it's the same illusion that we get from women sometimes. I often mistake them as taller when I see a slender woman but when I get close, I realize that I was in fact taller! Proportions are really tricky!

Oh, and don't worry about blathering. I like the little chat in here from everyone. As always, thanks for sharing. :thumbsup:

05-16-2010, 06:18 PM
Figure from Manikin 1
8" x 5"
Derwent Graphitint "Russet" and wash
Canson Montval All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

I'm a little rusty and it's been a while since I sketched figures from life. I got her torso too short, which makes her head seem a bit too large and her legs too long. However, she's still esthetic because those specific distortions are sexy and just make her look a little more like a cute manga figure.

I had something real to draw from, an Art S. Buck female manikin. Blick put both male and female African-American (brown) ones on Clearance a couple of years ago, so I snapped them up because I'd intended to get them eventually anyway and liked the brown color a lot better than the gray used for Caucasian manikins. I could've dealt with pure white, like a marble statue, but the gray was just too ugly, looked like cooked meat.

I condensed her body in sketching in the underside of her leg, kept it because I knew that specific distortion might still be esthetic and I wanted the whole leg in. But that's the kind of artistic decision you can make while working on a figure -- it's good to be aware of it and not do it every time (or do it deliberately every time if going for manga).

I also put short hair on her because the manikins are bald. It's easy to put hair on someone, harder to see the skull underneath. The size of the forehead and back of the head are things it's easy to get wrong intuitively, since they are very strange proportions compared to any other animal. Eye to eye on the same level, my cat has no forehead at all and his ears are sitting on top right over his eyes and off to the side a bit.

Sandra, I don't think it's any more difficult to learn to draw the human body than it is to draw the feline body or any particular species of living creature. Half the problem is getting the model to sit still, and humans can at least be persuaded to do so. Or you can look in the mirror and do yourself, which gives the advantage of being able to get back exactly into the pose.

After a while it becomes possible to do idealized or improved versions of the self, or make even more dramatic changes like Michelangelo turning a muscled construction worker into a soft and alluring lady. Granted, some artists were better at that than others, Michelangelo was in love with muscles.

It took me as long as it did to start getting human proportions to get my cat's proportions right. My first attempts looked like dogs, because I'd seen much more of my birth family's small poodles than any cats except on television. The result was long-legged, dog-faced cats with nonetheless recognizably catlike tails. Much later I got a real cat of my own and then wrestled with cat proportions for decades... and finally got it.

Manikins are a lot of help because they're reasonably accurate and if they can't do all the poses a real person can, they can do a lot of them. Even the blocky wood-bits ones are pretty good for getting the volume of the body and can be expanded on and changed very easily. They're designed to block in foreshortening easily without the distraction of details. They're also cheap if you don't get a large one, often on sale or included in sketching kits.

Raymond, getting self conscious about sketching someone you know is something that wears off if you do it a lot. One of the models in my 2007 life drawing studies is a very close friend of mine who was my art buddy every Thursday night for three years. I had a little less trouble drawing that friend than the other models because of familiarity.

But then, everyone else in the group looked good to me by comparison. I had decided not to be self conscious until I saw the results and realized that I'd wound up distorting half of the artists' work and perceptions by my deformities.

If you draw someone you love and it doesn't come out well, they're likely to understand and cheer you on anyway, see the progress. They know you that well. If you get drawn and don't come out well, you know that other artist well enough to know that's where they're at and can see the progress. It's possible to desensitize on both sides of the self conscious thing.

One thing that happens to couples is that you wind up married to the most beautiful human being in existence. It's just what love does. Everything's endearing. Everything about that wonderful other is cool. Getting it wrong may feel awful for a while, but that's also what kneaded erasers are good for and lots and lots and lots of fast gesture sketches.

It was so much easier for me to forgive myself a bad foot or missing half of a head when I only had a minute to draw that girl in the first place. Drawing in more detail is where the mistakes start to feel awful, because fifteen or twenty minutes or an hour is going to be a sizable investment of energy and emotion into getting it right. Some bits of it will come out right, but attached to bits that really didn't.

I let my artist friend draw me many more times than the life drawing sessions. My friend was the only one there who just took my deformities in stride by familiarity and knew my stubby fingers or short arms or outsize thighs weren't the same as other people's.

Raymond, your post also made me think about women's high heels. I'd never thought of this before, but maybe one thing that gives them enduring popularity is evening up the average height distance a bit to make body language easier. You're also right about proportions, a slender woman may look quite tall until you're right next to her. Conversely, a plump one may seem short until you're close.

People's builds vary a lot. Part of getting used to drawing people was becoming aware of the range within what's normal -- height, waist to hip ratio, head size to body size, shoulder size, leg length, this all varies a whole lot. Then there's little kids with big eyes and oversize heads and small bodies, where an experienced artist or parent can judge age at a glance by proportions. I've been watching my grandkids grow up and it's educational.

The best book I've ever found on it is still my old favorite, Jack Hamm's "Drawing the Head and Figure." It's $10 at Amazon and while the hair styles and so on are a bit dated, half of them are coming back in style now and then anyway. I tend to just look up the thing I want to draw, be it a hand or black hair or an eye or something and then study that page or two intensively. Someone working through the whole book would probably learn faster than I've learned though.

05-16-2010, 08:32 PM
How cool to get to life drawing sessions. That's something I have never tried. I hear artists talk about them. And, I can see how they are beneficial in learning to draw the human form. Your drawings are very interesting. I can see how you couldn't "finish" a drawing if you aren't quick.

05-16-2010, 09:20 PM
Having a live model is the best way to really get the human form. Part of it is that people can't hold a pose for hours -- you do have to get it in twenty minutes at best, and then the model gets a break, so you have to be able to get the essentials down fast and then look at the details. I learned so much with that group, few as these sketches are.

Other than that, though, photos or a manikin can really help to get the basic proportions right. It's not the same though. When a person moves, his or her body isn't solid and stiff like plastic or wood. Soft parts will sag or fold, skin stretches taut over bone, muscles bulge in particular ways. It's fascinating.

I'm going to continue with photos and manikins though, since I don't have that group any more. Maybe sometime I'll get to draw with a group that has a model again. I'd enjoy that.

05-16-2010, 10:52 PM
Great figurative sketches Robert. The figure is something I haven't tried yet, but I do have a one day workshop coming up next month in figurative drawing so I'm gonna give it a try before then.


05-16-2010, 11:21 PM
Very good figure sketches,Robert. I have never been drawn to sketching the figure, but I have always admired those who did. It is quite a departure from your other drawings, but still interesting to look at.

I enjoy reading your comments and envy you, because writing doesn't come easy to me. Now talking, is a different matter.


05-17-2010, 08:54 PM
Thank you both! Doug, it's a lot like talking with my fingers, except I can talk faster with my fingers. It may help to type faster. I know that sounds crazy but the easier it was for me to type, the easier it was to write well. I guess because I wasn't thinking about the process any more than I think about how to move my tongue while talking.

Now for Something Completely Different...

I belong to a group called Mixed Media Workshops on NING, run by a good friend called Deb Company. Okay, that's her handle, I am not sure if she has Company on her birth certificate or married a Mr. Company, but you never know.

One of the new workshops is a 21-day plan for building a daily sketching habit. I decided to participate because I've already got the habit -- nothing like taking on an easy challenge, right? Does wonders for morale. So today's challenge on it was a bit weird and involved collage...


It's not my usual thing at all. I hate cutting up magazines because I always really like the articles in them or I wouldn't like the images either. But I found an out of date seasonal art supply sale catalog and cut out three images from it, glued them on with acrylic gloss medium because I don't even own a glue stick, then embellished with watercolor pencils.

The result still looks too abstract and randomly modern-art looking to be something I like, but I'm rather proud of how I rendered the paint blobs to complete the range of colors for a basic palette and extended the pine branch bit from another image. That did work, it just came out sort of -- cut and pasted stuck together without any coherent meaning, that's all. So I put swatches of the colors above it to try to give it some meaning, as in, "basic palette."

This is exactly opposite the pretty manga girl nude, so I could actually do something panoramic across the bottom of both pages. Or not. Anyway, there will be more! The book is out and handy and it's got watercolor paper, so anything goes on that. Even collage, not that I'll be doing it that often.

05-17-2010, 10:54 PM
Great idea to use a catalog rather than a magazine. And, not too cluttered. I like that in collage.

05-17-2010, 11:41 PM
Thank you! Yeah, I've noticed a lot of collages tend to get very cluttered.

05-18-2010, 09:41 PM
Robert this is amazing work, I LOVE life drawing but I also am restricted to been able to get it. HOWEVER, there is no doubt that your good!!!!!!

05-18-2010, 10:54 PM
Thank you! This is what's on the bottom left underneath the manga girl nude:

Coral III
5" x 7"
Derwent Watercolour Pencils and wash
Canson Multi-Media Book 90lb watercolor paper
Photo reference by lisilk for WDE May 14-16

I'll post the full page when I do something to the right of the coral. For some reason I've been doing coral pieces with a slanting edge on the right side, streaming out wider on the bottom. It's just the layout that's appealed to me lately.

05-18-2010, 10:57 PM
Corals are so varied both in looks and colors. It's no wonder you are having fun drawing and painting them. This one is lovely too.

05-18-2010, 11:51 PM
Thank you! I had so much fun with them today.

05-19-2010, 01:27 PM
Page Thirteen finished! I've been following a group called "Start a Sketchbook Habit" that has a 21-day plan to encourage daily sketching. I did this collage for Day 2 of the plan on the top of Page 14, facing the pretty manga girl:

"Art About Art"
8" x 7"
Collage and watercolor pencils
All-Media Book 90lb watercolor paper.

That was back on the 17th. Then I did the coral already posted. Not sure if I posted the collage thing already, but thought it should be on here if I didn't. If I am reposting it, sorry, it's my memory vanishing in the fibro fog. That happens.

Right, I mentioned that I finished the page with the pretty manga girl up top and you're probably wondering where it is.


All-Media Book, Page 13
8 1/2" x 12"
Derwent watercolor pencil, assorted pens and graphite pencil.
90lb watercolor paper, cold press.

I skipped the Day 3 exercise by two days, but I didn't not draw on the 18th, I know I did something yesterday because my scan folder exists. Somewhere I paid attention to some sketchbook. Oh duh, that would be starting the two Folio ones... lol... anyway, I'm doing this 21 day thing on the days I remember to do it and will be either following the prompts, changing the prompts or adapting the prompts. I'll keep the Suzette Morrow stuff in this book so it's all in one place.

I've got one or two spaces on the facing page and will do that one next. I should start numbering the pages so that they make sense and I don't have to count off in order to do the next ones!

I also think All-Media Book is going to turn into "Miscellaneous" like The Goof Off Book was, very easily. Doing the collage page really opened it up for that. I might try acrylics or oils or oil pastels on some of the pages.

05-19-2010, 02:51 PM
New sketch on bottom left of Page 14 of All-Media Book...

Scavenger Hunt 177
#4: Favorite Mug
3" x 5"
Delft Blue Derwent watercolour pencil
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

Still not a pretty girl or human body parts. Maybe I should do a body part next to it. Something cool to get back to the topic of figure studies.

05-19-2010, 04:14 PM
Finished off Page Fourteen with the Day Four exercise from my NING prompts. There's 21 of those and they are all likely to be odd creativity exercises. This one was full of surprises.

I had to draw simultaneously with both hands, doing the same strokes at the same time. I'm right handed. Neither of these are as good as I could draw with my right hand and my full attention -- but it was a huge surprise to see that my off hand, the left hand cats, came out looking better both times! The best one is the bottom left, where I had already tried it once and begun compensating for the problems I had.

All-Media Book, Page Fourteen
9" x 12"
Collage, watercolor pencils, Pigma Micron and Tombow dual-tip pens.
Canson All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

It was fun, if weird and not something I'd want to do every day. It also gives me hope that if I break my arm or something I wouldn't go out of my brain while in the cast, I could always try to train up that left hand if it happened.

05-19-2010, 06:10 PM
The blue cup is so vibrant. Some people can work with their off hand, some people can't. Found out I could at the tender age of 11, because I broke my right arm. :rolleyes: Looks like you can too.

05-20-2010, 01:48 PM
Thank you! That scared me so much as a kid. Some friends broke their arms and I kept getting injured in gym, but fortunately nothing that kept me from writing. I admired some kids for being left handed.

The teachers forced the left handed kids to use their right hands all the time and then marked them down for bad penmanship and illegible writing. I thought that was completely unfair and decided if they had to be ambidextrous, I'd try using only my left hand at school and did just as badly. I got in trouble for it, but that didn't bother me when it was over a protest.

It did make me realize how dependent on my right hand I am. But years of typing seems to have improved my control over my left.

05-22-2010, 02:26 AM
You have never ending talent! Love you feet, even including the veins! Great job!


05-22-2010, 02:43 AM
Thank you! I remember the veins were some of what drew me to do a foot study of that particular model's pose, the foot was well lit and interesting. I've always liked veins, tendons, the interesting bumps and hollows on some people's hands, feet and limbs.

05-22-2010, 02:23 PM
Did another day on the "Start a Sketchbook Habit" exercises by Suzette Morrow. I'm not sure if I skipped one or not, it's hard to keep up with daily things and remember to do them. But I know I drew yesterday so maybe that counts. Actually I know I skipped yesterday because I would've been doing these thumbnails.

Page Fourteen, All-Media Book
9" x 12"
Pitt Artist Pen, black brush tip
90lb cold press watercolor paper.
From life or from video without pausing.

05-22-2010, 03:48 PM
Next page, decided to do Scavenger Hunt items and fitted seven of them on one page, all in the same mediums. That was fun. They're looser than some of my pen and wash drawings but I enjoyed it nonetheless and think the page layout worked fairly well.

Scavenger Hunt #177
6. Can of Food (cat treats)
7. Keepsake (orange paperweight gift from deceased friend)
8. Chocolate (point Ari paw)
9. Broom (drafting brush)
10. Salty (salt cellar)
11. Iron (circle made by my daughter in farrier school)
12. New (Zebra G Comics Nib)
9" x 12"
Sakura Pigma Micron pen size 05
Sakura Koi 12 color pocket set watercolors
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

05-22-2010, 07:27 PM
That's a lot of drawing. But oh, so interesting. Where is this scavenger hunt? I know what and where WDE is.

05-22-2010, 08:16 PM
Here's the link: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=621839 -- it's in the Artwork from Life forum. Every nine days there's a new one. Hosting rotates, after you participate once you can put yourself on the sign-up to host, make up a list and see everything you thought of get drawn by your friends. It's fun. I'm planning something extra special for the next time I host, which is going to be June 17-25th. Be sure to participate during those dates. Mwuhahahaha!

It'll be a fun challenge!

Today was just insane. I've actually done something new in all five of the art journals I've got currently open. That's something for one day... if I keep them all up, then my sketch habit has gone from "Daily art" to "at least five artworks a day." And I suppose my growth will go up that much too!

05-22-2010, 09:52 PM
Thanks Robert. I'm reading thru the thread now. Just stopped to come back and say thanks.

05-22-2010, 10:32 PM
Hope to see you there, thank you!

Here's one more page -- good grief, I think I may have set a one-day sketching record for myself. I should probably count everything up. I just haven't stopped today...

All-Media Book Page Seventeen
9" x 12"
8B Derwent Sketch and Wash dark wash pencil washed
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Figures are adapted from examples in "The Practical Guide to Drawing Figures" by Barrington Barber. The figure on the right was just a line drawing but I shaded her, that's why I'm doing the photo so you can see how the shading came out. The figure on the left came out much darker than planned and some of her shadows moved around because of that.

Here's a photo that shows her shadowing but darkens the left side figure a lot because of where the light was. Contrast had to be brightened a lot and color shifted to make the right side figure come through as true as possible.


Finally got back to some figure drawing. I'll definitely want to do more in this book.

05-23-2010, 10:56 AM
This one is a dark page. The day seven exercise in "Start a Sketchbook Habit" with Suzette Morrow was "Synectics" -- you make a list and then start drawing next to it, anything the words on the list make you think of. It scared me, I wasn't entirely sure why. So I did it anyway since that's what I do when something scares me, brazen it out in hope it turns out to be one of those pointless fossil fears that has no relation to present reality.

9" x 12"
Sakura Pigma Micron pen size 05
Canson All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

What shocked me was how this page looked as if it belongs in an underground comic on the topic of "disability in the 1950s." I didn't sign it. By the end I knew I was writing and drawing about a whole lot more than me and it doesn't even matter who I was. It happened to a whole lot of people. The symbol beside IEP is an eye looking to the right with a big symbolic tear coming out of it.

IEP is Individual Education Plan, something now mandated in schools. A kid who can't get to class before the bell rings without breaking a rule by running in the halls now never gets marked down for being late. Doesn't have to run. I would have got out of gym and gotten that permanent F off my report card.

I would have gotten remedial math in order to catch up to my age level, rather than shoveled through maths at my reading level, which didn't match. I got D's or F's in it depending on whether math came after gym. If I was in pain I couldn't manage it at all.

Drawing this did a lot to ease the pain of the memory. It's the final stage, turning dirty laundry into art. When something's ready to be presented like this, just part of the world, then it doesn't hurt as much. I'm surprised and relieved that I did it.

05-23-2010, 11:09 AM
Robert, your ladies are beautiful. And I never knew butter was a condiment. I thought it was the required part of toast. :lol:

Your list was very moving. I could feel some of your pain. I sincerely hope that you feel better now.

05-23-2010, 11:49 AM
Debby, you are 100% right -- it absolutely is the required part of toast! Well said! It is a condiment though, technically -- you put it on food, you don't serve a plate of it by itself.

Thank you. I couldn't have done that page if it didn't feel better -- doing that was like shoving my tongue in the hole where an infected tooth used to be and discovering no pain, no tooth, it's gone. I didn't even sign it because today I was so deeply aware this was an Underground Comics type of thing -- that it wasn't just me, it was so many people back then. Not even a call to action -- IEPs are real now, disabled kids don't have to do that and Child Services is a lot better at catching abusers.

Heck, they probably know disabled kids are at extra risk for it. And as abuse goes, it wasn't severe. No broken bones, no haspitalizations, no nearly-killed moments other than rages in which, ultimately, no gun was reached for even if the fuse was lit. It was mostly psychological and verbal, and the longest lasting result was a total denial of my physical disabilities except the scoliosis.

But without that denial, in those times and that place, I'd have been locked up for life in a prisonlike institution, not allowed an education because it would've been wasted. They'd have lied about what happened to keep the family from being ostracized. Other families did.

Those were the customs then, cruel as they were. But historical horrors are just that... it's such a cool feeling to know there are IEPs now. I told the story because it needs to be told. If there's a call to action, it's more to not let it happen again. There are some problems with modern education but one of the biggest ones has been solved... and some schools are even advanced enough to have anti-bullying programs instead of the teachers helpfully pointing out the correct victims to the bullies and egging them on.

05-23-2010, 01:54 PM
I'm liking your figure studies! I've heard the human body is the hardest thing to draw (and horses the second hardest..), and I always have troubles with it! Also found the drawing with your non-dominant hand interesting - I've tried it myself too, it's always good to have a backup incase the dominant hand gets hurt :D

The "Synetics" page kind of reminds me of automatic writing/drawing! Something I find very fascinating.

05-23-2010, 09:06 PM
Thank you! I thought so too, until I tried drawing horses. Maybe it's living with a farrier who's been a horse nut all her life, but horses seem harder to me!

It helps to have good photo references or examples to do the figure, and I've improved with practice. I'm still working up to some projects I really wanted to do with figures in them.

So true about knowing I could train my non dominant hand. It was hard but that's a lot better than being incapacitated.

05-23-2010, 09:36 PM

There are several things that caught my attention about your thread.

I, too, have a "multimedia" journal from 2006, and so it was fun to see what you did with yours.

The idea of "books too good to use": ah, yes. Yes, I know this very well. Actually one of the reasons why I've started lookin at this topic is that I need to nudge myself from such a place of fear and joy-kill perfectionism and to a place where I can create a lighter, more joyful and accepting attitude towards art and my abilities (or lack abilities--but that's okay too!) for it.

I liked the progression of the sketches. I really liked seeing the first figure and how you developed it in the third sketch with the subtle blending of the shadows.

I also liked the black background of one of the sketches of the women that you did, and how the contrast makes the lines of the figure stand out.

I enjoyed your commentary as well as the sketches themselves. Thank you for sharing it with us.

05-24-2010, 06:23 AM
Robert, I always thought the part of your life when you were without home was hard, but reading through this list I realize that your childhood was probably way harder.

Except for this list, have you actually ever tried expressing these feelings through painting or pictures? Talking and painting about such things can be very relieving at least for those who can stand going through traumatic memories.

How did you come up with the keywords for this list? They are rather unusual. Did you have to create this list yourself (some kind of brainstorming?) or were they given and you had just to illustrate them?

And do I understand this correctly it is forbidden to run in your schools :confused: :eek: How about slow jogging?

05-24-2010, 12:55 PM
Robert, because I'm new here I didn't see pages 2 and 3 before. I wanted to respond to your list.

I thought it was incredibly powerful and moving. It has given me a lot to think about.

If kind words and thoughts could provide just a little bit of comfort to you and help heal even one of the horrible memories you suffer, than please know that I am sending many kind thoughts and prayers your way.

I was lucky; I grew up in the early 70's. I had a severe speech impediment but recieved 6 YEARS of twice weekly speech therapy at school. People say that they can't tell I ever had a speech impediment at all. But it was because of all the help I received. When I was 5, no one but my brother could understand me. He was my "translator" ;)

I actually feel very sorry for kids these days because the many, many stories and instances I've witnessed re: kids with speech impediments are not addressed the way it was when I was growing up. Kids get a session or two--no more than 3 or 4--and are expected to "get it". It doesn't work like that. It took 6 years of practice for me to say the "r" in the word "roll."

My husband has NF (neurofibromotosis); in his case, it is expressed in his left hand, which looks sort of like a baseball mitt. We met when I was an undergrad the first time around (now I'm back in school). Both of us didn't have many friends when we were growing up. I think one of the things that "sealed the deal" of my love for him is when I told him about a birthday party I had and nobody came. And he looked at me and said: I would have come. :) (We'll be married 21 years in July) :)
I'm currently back in school for Interior Design, because I felt a deep need to do something visual. But I was perplexed because I also have a deep need to live by my values, and I was afraid ID has rather superficial values. But I discovered a niche that is perfect: it's called Universal Design, and it is intended to include as many people as possible, regardless of size or physical or cognitive abilities. There are so many inexpesive, beautiful, creative ways to make space more accessible for everyone: coding hand rails in Braille to help the blind find their way; installing heating elements under sidewalks so wheelchairs don't get stuck in the snow; using levers instead of knobs for door hardware; etc. etc. etc. And so that is what I hope to specialize in, in conjuntion with hospitality or residential planned community design. I want to create accessible spaces that are function, beautiful, and healing. I would also be very interested in knowing how certain set-ups have helped or hindered you in terms of getting around in your own place or other places. I would especially love to know more about how you have set up your studio to accommodate your needs.

I know this is all off topic, but I just wanted to share this with you because your experience underscored for me what this life is all about, which is each of us using our abilities, past, experiences, and talents to help eachother through.

05-24-2010, 04:13 PM
Sparkling, no, I have not painted these things before or drawn them. Except while they were going on -- during high school all my art and poetry was dark, angry, expressive and powerful. I did one very large sketch of a number of naked male and female figures standing on a barren cliff looking away out into the distance as if they weren't aware of the precipice they were on or even really, each other, just staring away. In the face of the crag facing the viewer was a small hole with a rattlesnake among its many cracks.

That one gave the creeps to everyone that saw it. They looked and they were stark scared. I knew it was powerful when I did it but didn't understand just what I'd expressed until much later -- that I had gone to the heart of a universal fear. Shown in a drawing what it felt like to be completely shunned by everyone, to see right through them as if they were naked but be completely ignored. The figures were all healthy, youthful and slim.

That's about the most expressive one I ever did. I did it at a time I was enduring it, when no one thought anything was physically wrong with me and I had to run to keep a walking pace. Yes, it was against the rules to run in the hallways. I got punished if I ran and got there on time, or I got punished for "tardiness" and the punishment was the same whatever I did.

Anne-Marie, thank you. It's not off-topic at all. My journal turned intensely personal in that exercise and I let out some of my dark side, the things that I put behind me when I focus on beauty and paint the joyous things in my life. I paint my art supplies and fresh fruit, I paint trees and flowers and animals and my beloved cat. I didn't have those things growing up and I didn't have most of them at the shelter.

I've got 50 years of horrible memories to shovel out. That is a lot of slag, also a lot of lost time to make up for by immersing in beauty and color and time to enjoy it without fearing for my survival or putting up with constant abuse. I've had a lot of trouble with institutions and hospitals for not having a normal illness -- not being healthy with just one thing wrong with me.

I've had more medical mistakes around me than any one person I know, including really stupid ones like four doctors in a row trying to give me penicillin for pneumonia when I am allergic. I'd have died if I went in unconscious. One of them actually had the needle an inch from my arm before he understood what I said, he ran away and threw up at the thought he almost murdered a patient.

I've had a lot more trouble surviving institutions than any situation on the outside and that includes the couch surfing near homelessness and the bad households with abusive housemates that were sometimes my only alternative. I'm not standard, don't fit and can't keep up with the institution's demands, so get sicker and that lets them restrict me further. They tend to cut off anything that gives me support, comfort or help by their rules.

My cat does a lot for my health. Being loved by a cat is one of the most wonderful things in my life. He is so loyal, so passionate, so gentle and caring that I'm amazed at him. If I get sick he literally comes over and washes me or lays on me and purrs and comforts me -- it'll knock my pain levels down faster than anything getting the Fuzzy Tummy Treatment.

What I do to get along is pile everything in my reach and slowly, a little at a time, keep what's in my reach organized. Occasionally the stacks get too big and I shovel it all back out to the shelves, rotating my art supplies and the books I just reread to grab new ones. My room looks cluttered and is very organized. It also has always looked sumptuous.

I collected fancy bedding and good art, my own if not other people's good art. I always had art on the walls, not just one well chosen picture placed well but the whole Victorian twenty pictures on the wall shebang. Victorian furniture and some older styles are heavy, well padded and sturdy.

They stand up to the fact that I break other chairs and don't wreck my back. Most scoliotics can't sleep on soft beds or sit in hard chairs. I sit cross-legged in fat squashy armchairs, padded arms are best, with high padded backs, sometimes with an extra cushion or two tucked in to prop me up in a way that doesn't hurt. It's the lopsidedness.

On my short side, I break chairs. I'll break the chair arm off by leaning, and can't stay in an armless chair long at all. I can't sit up long unsupported. So the more supports around me, preferably padded ones, the more I can actually do sitting up drawing, writing, whatever.

Emotionally, I loathe modernism. Neutral bland colors, undecorated plain boxy furniture, unpadded furniture, plastic surfaces, oversimplified stuff gives me the creeps. I grew up in Danish Modern ugliness and loathe the sort of decor where a bookcase has three books on it, two vases and an empty shelf... where do you put the books then? Or the art supplies?

I love fancy cabinets and bookshelves with glass doors, but don't have any yet. I'd love to find some. The more places to put things where they won't get dusty, the better, then the clutter around me is only the working clutter of what I'm using at the moment. I cycle my art supplies between my table and the stacks on the floor to the shelves. I'm out of shelf space but not by much, at least I bought two extra bookshelves moving in here.

I'd love to have more and love to have beautiful wooden ones with carved decorations. I like sumptuous, interesting things that are either antique or traditional in the styles of those antiques, the fancier the better. To me that means personal, it means comfort, it means real wealth and resources in a way that no amount of high priced "sleek simplicity" ever could.

Those barren styles look like I'm going to have to hike to get to the bathroom and stand by the classy little dining bar to eat my meals. The furniture in those styles is flimsy too, and the chairs never have cushions or arms. Those are furnishings for athletes who don't stay home much.

It's a vague improvement seeing some of the current way too simplified versions of those ornaments on buildings, sometimes there's a half circle window over the door or something. But what I'd really love is actual stained or leaded glass in a design that is something specific and real. I like representational ornaments. I like silver plates with stags on them and stuff like that... not impersonal, not normal, not standard, not chic and trying to impress the athletic wealthy but colorful, interesting, unique and weird.

Spiderwyck would probably be my dream house. At least that's the look I love. And the heavy Victorian furnishings and antiques would probably stand up to my actual habits far better than modern things since they tended to be made better out of solid wood rather than particle board. It's that magical atmosphere I like -- but not cutesy or modern, more like the furnishings of a curious mind that's always into something interesting.

So... how does that strike you as a decorator? Most of the interior decorators I've known were sort of horrified by it and made suggestions that sounded like compromises with modernism, like an Oriental carpet but a plain glass table over it rather than something oak and carved or glass with Art Nouveau lilies holding it up. And color schemes that relate to fashion instead of to my palette... my real palette, the full intensity colors and strong values that I love to paint with.

I actually live in an art studio with a bed in it. That suits me well enough for now. But I'm very curious to find out how many rules of design I violate atrociously in my deviant personal tastes! "Simple" and "Uncluttered" is not for me -- it creates a prison, because simple or not, cluttered or not, I can't leave that room that often. So it must have enough interesting things in it to keep me occupied and delight my eyes with strange little surprises everywhere I turn.

One really important thing... I may have 50 years of slag to go through, but I'm taking my time about it. I prefer to relax and savor the things that are good in my life today, the fact my medication does give me more good days and more functional hours, the beautiful view from my window, the incredible beauty and love of my cat, my happy young family who don't stress me about anything, my friends and active online social life. I"ve worked on sorting it out for five years and that page was a major relief, an introspective chore completed.

But a lot of the time I'd rather make up for all that lost time just enjoying myself. I've been doing that a lot in the past five years once survival stopped being that precarious, especially since I moved in with Kitten and life got safe and sane. Those times are over ... and gods, I hope I never have to go through anything like that again. The shelter was like an ugly reprise of high school horrors, but it still didn't get as bad as childhood. Nothing else has ever been as bad as being a small grade school child was.

Have you ever seen The Shawshank Redemption? I loved that movie. That meant life to me. That was me, I was like Andy and way too often also like Red, the Institutional Man. Right now at this point in my life, I made it to Mexico. I got out of those situational prisons, most of them not labeled as such, and I'm in Arkansas where the weather is fine and gentle and flowers bloom outside. So there's this weird joy too that just comes from the contrast, from feast after long hunger.

That's what I like to dwell on, whether it's being able to have fresh fruit or look out the window at the green or roll myself a smoke without dreading running out. Ari has been with me through all of it since the shelter, he's been through some of the hard times. He's sleeker now and healthier, his fur got soft again where it had gotten dull and brittle, he's happy and purrs a lot.

Oh yeah, I need to post the latest page! This started out with this morning's Value exercise in my "Start a Sketchbook Habit" 21-day workshop. Then I did some fruit from life because they're there in the same pencils, then a couple of Scavenger Hunt items to finish the page. I'm not sure what I'll do next.

All-Media Book, Page 19
9" x 12"
8B Derwent Sketching pencil, Dark Wash (Sketching is the Sketch-Wash one)
Canson Montval All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

05-24-2010, 07:23 PM
I especially love your figure studies. First time I also see Derwent Sketching used! Thanks! That dark page was indeed moving. It's scary what our subconscious can trigger.... so many memories. That page made me look back in time.

There are a lot of things I wanted to change but also at the same time wanted to leave as is, knowing how very blessed I am to be where I am right now with my wife. We've had a long wait and seeing each other for hardly even 2 weeks a year was torture.

I cannot say I feel your pain because honestly, I do not know how it feels, at least not entirely, and I never want to say "I understand" if I truly have never experienced something enough to understand. I can only imagine. I could however, hats down, applaud your courage and hope everything is better now, which it seems(thankfully!).

I love woodwork too. Cabinets/bookshelves with glass doors are some things I'd also like to have. Back where I live, I had 4 bookshelves and yet my collection was still growing. My cousins and sister would go browsing through my books/novels when they were in my room. That made me dismiss the idea of those glass doors :lol:

05-24-2010, 09:37 PM
Thank you! I've been enjoying the Derwent Sketching pencils. I should use the Light and Medium Wash ones too, but the Dark Wash scans so beautifully!

I look at where I am now, and while I know at some earlier points in my life things might have turned out a lot better with other decisions, I might not have come to this place. There's no changing the past. Only coming to terms with it and moving on. That page was a big part of moving on.

But of course I've also got loads of rants along the way too. At this point most of the time it's not pain if I'm focused in the present. Each year when I've got another good year behind me, it feels different. I get stronger. I also get stronger physically because a lot of what I went through getting to this point was hard on my health.

That's so rough that you only got two weeks a year with your wife. I'm glad that's over and you get to be with her all the time. You two are such a great couple, you're both so passionate about your art and learning together, bouncing off each other. That is so beautiful it moves me.

Thanks for caring.

Also I'm glad I'm not the only one that loves those glass-front wooden bookshelves. They're so beautiful and so practical -- and hard to find. But maybe I'll get my chance someday. I know right now living in a small art studio with a bed in it, that I'm a lot more comfortable than I've ever been in my life and nearly every square inch of my walls is filled with something interesting and beautiful.

05-24-2010, 11:30 PM
Ooh, I love bookshelves filled with stuff. Mine are full to overflowing. I never understood walking into someone's house and not finding any bookshelves. Or the ones that are artfully sparse. :rolleyes:

Great scavenger hunt sketches. I appreciate you always noting what tools you used to create the pictures. Thanks.

05-25-2010, 12:32 AM
I'm not sure where I got into that habit... oh actually, now I remember. When I started my original watercolor journal I was trying to keep track of which watercolors worked best with which effects, so listed which ones I used. It helped me sort them out better. Glad you like it! I didn't realize it was helping others that much too.

05-25-2010, 12:36 AM
Hi Robert!

It's true, it's true: my design aesthetic would disappoint you. I lean towards ultramodern. Even my husband, who generally prefers modern (and whose preference influenced me, as I tended to be a Roccoco girl before him!) finds my designs cold and uncomfortable (one of my many dream jobs would be at 3-form: www.3-form.com. I just can't get enough of the ITT staircase! http://www.3-form.com/installations-case_studies.php?id=24 )

And yet: the designs my husband complains about are not for actual clients, but for my portfolio. When I design for other people, it's all about them--what they love, how they live, what makes them comfortable and feel good. I feel best with pastel colors, sand-colored hardwood floors, (pastel-colored) leather furniture, frosted glass, and chrome. But I respect other people's taste and their design needs. I designed my husband's study, and truth be told, I don't like it at all. I find it incredibly uncomfortable and don't like to spend time in it (the acoustics are all wrong; there is no storage space, etc.) But HE loves it, and since it's his room, I consider that a success.

Your post gave me lots to think about in terms of designing for people with different physical needs, though, and it's the opposite of what is taught in school, although it makes perfect sense. I have a friend with MS, for instance, and--DUH!--he definitely prefers big soft chairs that he can nestle into. Why didn't I realize that before? We are always told that benches are they way to go, because they can accommodate very large people and also it's easier on people with limited mobility, i.e. people in walkers or even people in wheelchairs who prefer to transfer to regular seating rather than stay in their chair. But you're right: there is a subset of people who need seating that supports leaning. Thank you for this--I will incorporate this in future designs.

One last design note: Even though I am generally modern-modern-modern, I am very tradtional in one room, and that is the bedroom. And so our whole place is modern-modern-modern but you get to the bedroom and it's always a surprise, because we have this huge 17th century-inspired mahogany sleigh bed, complete with a down feather bed topper, down comforter, my grandmother's quilts, and a ridiculous number of pillows. I tell my husband: in the livingroom, I want to be Mies Van der Rohe. But in the bedroom, I want to be Marie Antoinette!. ;)

(given your descriptions, I think your True, Feel-Good Design match is Roccoco/Louis XV, although Baroque/Louis XIV would also be suitably ornamental.)

I did want to comment on your beautiful relationship with your kitty: we were lucky enough to share a long, lovely life with our beloved Mau-Mau, a Maine Coon we adopted from a shelter and who lived with us over 19 years. He died two years ago this June and I still think about him and miss him every day. When I was as sick as I've ever been, he wouldn't leave my side, going away only to use the cat box or get food and then he would return right away and lean against me and purr. I loved him so.

We do have two feral kittens we adopted shortly after Mauie's death. I have a huge, huge need to provide shelter and love and be loved by a furry little being. I have a sub-set of kitty stories on my now mostly defunct blog with lots of fun pix of my Boys: http://www.organizationquest.com/organization_quest/the_boys/

05-25-2010, 07:52 AM
Robert, thank you so much for sharing. I cannot say I understand, this would be rude from someone who never had to go through all what you went through. I am sincerely happy to see that you made it through, and I admire your courage. :)

Your note about Modernism made me smile... I was born in a family where my dad build about half of our furniture himself (lamps, shelves, bookshelves), and he also gave my husband and I a lot of shelves and and little things... He also have a knack to create small objects, such as miniature space shuttle, planes, trains... most of them had to be sold (this was in a time when life was a bit hard for my parents), but I dearly keep a plane he did for me... I can remember a house full of things, books filling up the bookcase, plants, cats, old armchair.... it was no-style, but everyone felt at ease there...

Now our own apartment is the cluttered kind too, with many books, notebooks, and even more books... I simply cannot understand a house fill out with empty shelves... If feels like nobody lives there, and it makes me feel uneasy!

Living so far apart from my husband was indeed really harsh. Now we re together, but some of our "friends" still cannot accept it as a happy event as it is for us. They bury themselves under their rules to follow, ignoring the human factor entirely. Ah well.

05-25-2010, 05:37 PM
Anne-Marie, that sounds interesting. That's a wonderful attitude for a designer. Not all my designer friends shared it, they'd impose their tastes. I like Rococo stuff and Baroque too, but is that the sturdy solid very padded stuff or is it the gilded curly-legged stuff with poufs that'd break if I sat on it? If it's the heavy lion-clawed chairs and sofas, those are cool.

Wow. Thank you for explaining about the benches thing! Yikes. The only thing that would happen to a bench anywhere I lived is that it'd become another spot to pile stuff until you couldn't see it. It'd get in the way and cause clutter by being an extra tabletop, too low to be convenient.

Very glad I could help you by mentioning the armchair thing. That will probably help more than one MS person and other mobility-limited client. I also have tons of extra pillows on my bed, usually interesting looking ones. Some are artworks by friends.

Of course, my armchairs have to be thrift store ones because they get distressed and textured by Ari. He's gotten to where he only claws my chair rather than all furniture, but he still does that to mark which person and chair is his with paw-scent. If I had my dream studio-home-library, I'd still need to have a sturdy patterned cloth to toss over the armchair before any studio tours!

I think of what's beautiful and I think of what's livable, they don't entirely overlap. Some things I think are cool just aren't practical for me to live with. Others are fantastic because they're also useful but don't look institutional or normal or standard.

Thank you for telling me about Mau-Mau! That's so wonderful. It's sad, and I understand all too well why you still miss him. I still miss Jessie, she died at 13 and I held her while she was in terminal pain and was so relieved from the shot that she purred and snuggled. Your boys are awesome! So cool you got shelter cats. They need good homes.

Ari wasn't, he was the son of a friend's cat when I lived in New York and the friend had moved to Nebraska. Her dad was a friend too. So when I was thinking of getting a shelter cat, she kept emailing me pictures of "One week old kittens that look just like your cat," with little notes like "We know which one's yours, the boys call him Mr. Robert's Cat," and "This is a picture of a kitten that looks just like your cat, but yours has black ears."

So I got a baby kitten instead of a shelter cat death row save. Turns out all three of his littermates died, killed by my friend's husband's pit bull -- one inside the house, then the two that ran away came home and got mangled in the yard. So I saved him from a form of death row anyway, it was meant to be. To my great surprise since Snow was a lynx point, he really did have black ears even at six weeks old!

He was so puffy that I scritched him and my fingers kept sinking deeper and deeper into the fluff without finding solid kitten till I was past my second knuckle. He was almost completely round with a tiny black mask over a larger tabby mask at that age, feet no bigger than my thumbnail.

He had just one day, at six weeks old, of Adorable Greeting Card Stage... the morning after, he achieved Warp Three and became The Pop-Up Kitten. He'd shoot straight up from the floor and dangle on my shirt from the middle of my chest, purring, when I least expected it. If I crossed the room he jumped on me for the ride.

Now he's a 15lb magnificent colorpoint long hair with many online fans. After ten years, I can finally draw him well enough to sketch everything he does, and I'm having so much fun with it. We're a couple of middle aged males together. I hope that he lives a long time, the way your Mau-Mau did.

But I still embarrass him online with his kitten stories. lol

Thanks for the link! I am enjoying all your stories about the boys, the photos are wonderful. I commented on a few of them too. Great blog.

Sandra, thank you. You understand one of the big things -- "I survived that" is a brag, not a cry for help or plea for sympathy. I did survive it. I'm all on fire with being able to tell the tale afterward. It's a special joy when some of it is Historical Horrors. I have enormous relief knowing the kids in my granddaughter's school have a much better time of it.

I think the real core of my style is that no-style -- comfortable, an art studio and library with a bed in it. Fancier, it could be fancier, but it'd have to still function as that more than anything. So the fancy stuff needs to be cool and decorated, but not delicate and not hard to keep clean.

That's odd about your friends, I'm surprised they don't see how happy it is for you two to be together again. I can feel your joy in it in almost every post and it's one of those cool things online that just makes me smile, knowing how much you love each other and what you've jumped in together with doing watercolors. That's so fantastic.

Maybe it helps that I met both of you together, that it's not as if one of you two is a stranger. You probably had separate circles when you were parted that long. I just think it's great to have met you at this good point in your lives when you have gotten together again, got past that and are now doing something so cool together.

Okay... now I need to post today's page! LOL that really was something I started to do till I read the comments! There's a good conversation going and I love that. Here's the day's exercise from my "Start a Sketchbook Habit" workshop. Most of these may fall into this book because it's multi-media paper and can take anything Suzette throws at me.

All-Media Book, Page 20
9" x 12"
Tombow dual point brush pen
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

I don't actually get into stamps or collect them, or do stamping. But today's project was to design some, so I designed the ones I'd probably at least think about using and did them far simpler than I would actually do if I were going to have them made up as stamps. Several of them turned into things that might make good button designs, Cat Worship or Remember Carlson's Landscape Guide! might be cool on notepads.

But I'd redraw them much more carefully if I were going to use these design ideas on anything. They're more just idea drawings. The plein air ideas just came up because people continually mention that they want to exercise more, but don't stick to calisthenics plans.

Yet I'm always meeting these skinny nature artists who hike out to the edge of gorgeous things carrying big French easels to spend the whole day standing at them ... it's not exercise if you're doing it in order to get somewhere you want to and do something you enjoy. But your body will respond as if it is and maybe better than punishing calisthenics!

One of my nutbar health ideas, when I should not be giving health advice to anyone because whoever copied my habits and the diet that keeps me strong would wind up fat and sick, fast.

05-25-2010, 07:38 PM
Robert, your studio/library with a bed sounds like fun. When I was single I often thought of making a loft into something like that. But, I really don't like cities. :rolleyes: So, now I'm in a tiny country house squeezing in all the wonderful books and art supplies plus the many other parts of my life.

When you described your overstuffed chair, it reminded me of the ugly green chair I used to have. (Lost it in a move) While I do not have the same issues you do, I loved that chair. It had these great arms that were over a foot wide and flat, but padded. You could put something down on the arm of the chair like a side table, it was great. But, it was soft enough that when my son was little he could comfortably sit on the arm of the chair and lean back on the wide back next to me to watch TV, with a bowl of popcorn sitting in front of him. :heart:

The stamp concepts are great. I particularly like the one about cat worship. I would buy something like that and I'm not a stamp user.

05-26-2010, 12:09 AM
Robert. . . you are just amazing. I would say more but other words are just escaping me now.

05-26-2010, 12:54 AM
Thank you both! Debby, that rocks. I noticed the cat worship one is the most popular, maybe I should put it on a refrigerator magnet or something at CafePress. Your old ugly green chair reminds me of one I used to have in New Orleans, it was so cool I could put things on the arms. They'd often collect stuff like my sketchbook or coffee cup or a cat leaning up against me while I leaned.

05-26-2010, 05:30 PM
Hi Robert!
Okay, you're right: Roccoco is a little swirly/delicate for you. Sturdy is Jacobean and Elizabethan, but those aren't usually padded. But that just means it's ripe for re-invention/re-interpretation, right? So one could have those magnificent, sturdy carved oak frame with super comfy upholstery! That would be fabulous!

I LOVE your stamp designs, btw! I am a stamper, and I would definitely buy them! I actually think my favorite is the snail--just love the stipple work and how it fades out as it gets to the center. The little head and horns are adorable, too. I also like the itty, bitty, tiny figure in a boat up against that giant wave! Yes, that's EXACTLY how I feel at times, lol! You need another one in the set of the tiny figure on TOP of the wave--having mastered it--and with the paddle over his head in victory stance!

I don't know what a "Carlson's Landscape Guide" is, so I'll have to look it up.

I should take a picture of my "kitty-distressed" sofa and leather chairs. The current joke I make with my friends is : I USED to have such a nice place and NOW look at it! Because, yeah, the kittens have basically trashed it. Kitty paw prints on the walls, where they little jump up and bounce off. The couch is a wreck. The chairs are a wreak. But you know, secretly I think their claw marks are kind of cool. Do I feel a Hot New Thing coming on? Wouldn't that be excellent? Outrageously-priced "designer" furniture, "Paw-distressed by SnapDragon and Lickity Split". Oooh, I'll make my million yet! :cat:

It's very true that "what's livable and what's beautiful" don't overlap at times. Like you, I like to surround myself with interesting things to look at. My studio is very cluttered for this reason. I know my design friends would be horrified. But again, while I like things clean and modern in general, it doesn't work for me in the space where I actually create. Ultramod looks great, but it's hard to live with unless you have a huuuuuge amount of space, little or no stuff, no kids, and of course a staff to keep things tidy.

Useful without being normal or standard or institutional--yes. That's exactly it. A good matra to add to my design values.

I'm sorry to hear about your little Jessie--so sad. But what a comfort you must have been to be there for her in the end. Mauie and Alpay (my husband) and I spent Mauie's last evening together, watching the light fall from the sky. It's a memory I hang onto.

I love your Ari kitty story. Gosh, that is so darned cute! Up to your second knuckle in fur! Mauie was a fur ball. My former cubemate told me: your two new cats don't have as much fur together as the last one did by himself! Which is absolutely true. I was so amazed at how much less fur I had around the house with two cats than with Mau-Mau.

lol re: embarrasing Ari with online kitten stories! My Snapdragon and Lickity can relate! (I imagine Lickity pleading: mom! PLEASE don't tell everyone the story about me splashing around the toilet!)

Thanks, too, for visiting my blog. I haven't been active on it in a while, and thinking of starting up again--

05-26-2010, 08:50 PM
Hee hee! Yes, I'd go for it! "Pre-Distressed Cat Lovers' Furnishings!" It would be great. Ari would figure out fast that these strangers had used it before and immediately add his paw-scent to overmark them and say hi.

When I had to take Jessie in to the Humane Society for euthanasia, the people explained that they had a new formula that was gentler and caused no pain to the animal, but took longer. They asked if I wanted that for her. As they started to take her away, I started crying. I couldn't help it.

We had our last hour together. She knew what it was and wanted it, and we had that last hour. I don't regret one moment I ever spent with Jessie and it was worth the grief to have her in my life.

Here's today's Sketchbook Habit exercise. Another one for "Historical Horrors."

All-Media Book, Page 21
9" x 12"
Tombow dual point brush pen, black.
Canson All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

I'm really enjoying the design discussion. I also wrote a horribly long post about it noodling on a thousand details including my long term plans. Let's synopsize that to keep the thread sane!

In 3 years and 10 months I'm moving to San Francisco. My dream studio with a bed in it will become a reality, because I have that long to save up, plan and figure out just what I need to become self employed again. That's when I'll become self employed again -- not sooner.

It's expensive to live there, but if I have the logistics to become self employed again and get up to a working person's income, it'll be more than cost effective. It would be stupid to live anywhere the gap can't be crossed. I need a tourist city with good social services, extreme liberal society, beauty and history, thriving art market, acceptance of diversity and fantastic transit including nights and evenings or I'm stuck living like an ascetic. In a climate where I'm at my physical best.

Only one place I've lived ever had all of that. San Francisco. So I've quit saying to myself it costs too much to live there and I'll save up to make the move a graceful one that does not involve possibly dropping down to sub-survival poverty again. I want that bohemian life back, it's physically easier and happier than anything else I've ever done.

Sascha needs her own room at age ten. That's the timeline. If I succeed in planning well and relocating without disaster, getting on my feet in a good art and writing career... then I can afford to come back and visit every summer or pay to fly them out to visit me. Probably alternating, all things considered. That's how the Grandpa thing goes, doesn't it, if Grandpa isn't in town?

I also realized that a beautiful Chinese screen or two solves the problem of Public Studio Tours and "bed in it" without even making the bed. Throw an attractive brocade drapery over everything on the bed, put up the screen, and ignore anything under the cloth. Don't sit on that, it's a full wave waterbed.

A power chair will mean the space needs to be more spread out in activity-clusters, but I don't have to worry as much about getting from one to another with the power chair. Other people cleaning up means lots of cabinets on heavy casters as well as bookcases and cabinets with glass doors, so the stuff inside does not need dusting. Someone mopping out the place can just shove all the rolling stuff out of the way, and when I change mediums I'll either move to the watercolor station or pull the watercolor station over to my good chair by hitching it to the power chair.

Steampunk may be a very good theme. Decorating any runaround machinery with brass bobs and a few engravings gives it style, and is a nice bridge between the eclectic ornaments and the lack of any single nationality to them. I also want a model's dais in there somewhere, with draperies and a few nice bits of furniture to drape beautiful women on and paint them along with a good costumes and props chest. Also enough seating and spare easels etc. that unfold or get stored in a closet so that up to a dozen students can get all that stuff, settle in and do a class or an art jam without my going out for it. That would rock.

I almost built that life in New Orleans, but not realizing how much my mobility problems impaired me scuttled it. Now I do know and I've got Social Security. Knowing what the problem is, that's half the solution.

I don't worry about whether my art is good enough to sell or my stories are good enough to sell. They did when I wasn't this good, by such a huge degree it's almost like a whole different person. It's whether I can manage the logistics of living with the consequences that's going to take almost four years to plan and save up for -- and that savings will make this the weirdest, least desperate relocation of my whole life. It's going to be fun.

I love my family. But I don't need to live with them for the rest of my life to love them or to stay in touch and pay attention to them either. This is going to be a good thing and part of it involves doing well enough that the summer after I move, either I can travel to visit them or pay to fly them out to visit me for a fun vacation in San Francisco.

Now I hope this one's shorter! Brainstorming is appreciated!

Oh, and a Rococo mirror frame or picture frame wouldn't be out of place at all. It's just the furniture that needs to be solid stodgy Victorian Overdone Overstuffed, preferably with lion'-paw feet even if casters get slipped in under them. Or sort of inside if the steampunk blokes get clever with their brass inventions. Steampunk is a good influence, a combination of ornamentation and science.

05-26-2010, 09:32 PM
Hi Robert!

Yes, that is scary about having to move out. Such a strange rule about having to have one's own room. I shared a room with my brother growing up. I have a sister, too, but she was prissy and bossy. I much prefered my brother, who was my "translator" and protector.

It's good that you have a plan. Three years does give you time to plan.

When reading about your requirements, it did seem to me that Chicago would be a good fit for you as well. Plus it's a LOT less expensive than San Francisco. But the weather is crummy, admittedly: hot and damp in the summer, cold and damp in the winter.

Elevator high rises are common, with $750 being about the going starting rate for a one-bedroom ($1000 or less will rent a place with a view). In my case, my MD is next door to the south; my dentist, physical therapist, and chiropractor are accross the street. There is a supermarket, a pizza place, a dry cleaner, and two mini-marts across the street, a Chinese food place next door to the north. There is a second supermarket and the El about 100 yards west. The bike path and the lake about 100 yards east. The country's only free zoo. There's an acquarium, a field museum, the museum of science and industry (which is actually great fun). Of course there is the Art Institute, with its Van Goghs and Picassos and Manets and Monets. There's a Contemporary Museum, a Swedish Museum, a Mexican Museum. A Holigraph Museum. Most things have free days or free events. I saw Elvis Costello for free, for instance. There's jazz. We have a ballet. Opera (although Opera tickets are ridiculously expensive). Symphony. There are all kinds of free events at Northwestern University--concerts etc. All the busses are wheelchair accessible. There is a great organization that is devoted to helping with independent living:


(access living is also on my list of dream jobs--they have a whole Universal Design program, which is where I learned about Universal Design)

Just some thoughts. (I always like to know about other places and what it's like to live in other places. Full disclosure: I do feel a bit battered down after living in Chicago for 10 years. It seems increasingly dangerous/crime-riddled/rude/crazy and I'm yearning for a kinder and gentler place. My husband, who works almost 100% at home for a Fortune 100, is able to work from just about anywhere. We are considering moving back to Turkey, which has the kinder, gentler vibe and better weather and easier living conditions.)

05-26-2010, 09:39 PM
Duh! I forgot: you should contact accessliving! They have an Arts and Culture program featuring the works of disabled artists. They procure works from artists and feature it online, as well as in their permanent collection. It is amazing and very cool. This is from the website:

"Access Living is one of the most influential centers for disability advocacy and service in the United States. Our new headquarters, opened in 2007, has allowed us to establish a Disability Arts and Culture Program. Disability Culture is an international movement that includes visual art, music, dance, theater, literature and sports.

The Permanent Collection at Access Living is unique; comprised of art by professional artists with disabilities, as well as work by non-disabled artists whom have made disability a central focus of their investigations."



05-26-2010, 10:26 PM
Robert, I really like the idea of a "Steampunk" theme to your large loft studio with a bed. I could picture all kinds of neat design elements that would look cool and yet be perfectly functional for you. (It's that engineering background. :lol:) I'm surprised that the San Francisco weather is acceptable to you. But, if you can get past the fog, I guess it's within 30 degrees winter and summer.

Your sketch is interesting. I'm not sure I get the purpose of the exercise.

05-27-2010, 02:58 AM
Sandra, thank you. You understand one of the big things -- "I survived that" is a brag, not a cry for help or plea for sympathy. I did survive it. I'm all on fire with being able to tell the tale afterward. It's a special joy when some of it is Historical Horrors. I have enormous relief knowing the kids in my granddaughter's school have a much better time of it.

I think the real core of my style is that no-style -- comfortable, an art studio and library with a bed in it. Fancier, it could be fancier, but it'd have to still function as that more than anything. So the fancy stuff needs to be cool and decorated, but not delicate and not hard to keep clean.

That's odd about your friends, I'm surprised they don't see how happy it is for you two to be together again. I can feel your joy in it in almost every post and it's one of those cool things online that just makes me smile, knowing how much you love each other and what you've jumped in together with doing watercolors. That's so fantastic.

Maybe it helps that I met both of you together, that it's not as if one of you two is a stranger. You probably had separate circles when you were parted that long. I just think it's great to have met you at this good point in your lives when you have gotten together again, got past that and are now doing something so cool together.

Thank you for the reply Robert :) Not only is it odd, but it hurts a lot coming from friends I've been knwowing for around 15 years now... I feel both sad and angry, unable to take a decision: they are my friends and I respect them, but at the same time I do not accept them trying to dictate me what I should do/not to do, not even KNOWING a thing about us, about our life together... It's been on my mind since last weekend, as a result I don't even feel like painting or drawing... I somehow wish a final decision would come, either my friends breaking any relation with me or the reverse...

Sorry for the rant, I just needed to get this out of my chest... Luckily this forum is full of beautiful journals to follow as well as yours, and it brings joy and relief... Love the page 20, by the way, ant the "Plein Air" sketch !!

I took my Bijou Box with me, maybe I can play with it a bit at lunch, wish me luck! Oh, and I got a little sponge yesterday, I'll try to test the sponge technique you described in your Watercolour journal !

I guess everything will settle in time :)

05-27-2010, 03:37 AM
Hard one to answer. But I think you know the answer, you wrote this: Just some thoughts. (I always like to know about other places and what it's like to live in other places. Full disclosure: I do feel a bit battered down after living in Chicago for 10 years. It seems increasingly dangerous/crime-riddled/rude/crazy and I'm yearning for a kinder and gentler place. My husband, who works almost 100% at home for a Fortune 100, is able to work from just about anywhere. We are considering moving back to Turkey, which has the kinder, gentler vibe and better weather and easier living conditions.)

Fibromyalgia -- stress makes me physically sick. Even if the stressor gets resolved, I'm still out of it for hours and sometimes days or weeks. Those are factors that would write a city off my list as fast as I knew about them.

Other point: the Midwestern climate is so bad for me that I only get two months a year when I'm in my right mind and fully capable of anything I can do. They're in the fall, a full two months if it's a good year. A bad year, they're whatever weeks Indian Summer is.

I can't live in a high rise elevator building. The view isn't beautiful, it's terrifying. I lived in one once for nearly a year and several times had to work in them. The elevators always go out. When they do, I am trapped. Period. Abled people grumble and use the stairs and wish they could stick to using them for their health. Or get fit and do so.

I eventually figured out that fear of heights had some biological reasons. Directly connected to the fact that I can't do pull-ups or pull myself up if I'm hanging from my hands. My hands give way and I fall. Many gym mats and sports injuries convinced me of this, no matter how hard I tried.

So that's why Chicago is not My City, and not worth going back to. I gave ten years to it and I look back on them mostly as lost years. Chicago has a motto: The City That Works. I always wanted to scribble Itself To Death under that, because that's what it likes. I couldn't count the number of Chicagoans who loved the place and said "Stress? I love it. Pour on the pressure and that's when I feel alive. That's when I perform."

New Orleans was as close as I could get to something like San Francisco that I could afford without doing jobs I couldn't manage. It was second choice, but a beautiful place and she taught me to enjoy myself and live frugal. New Orleans has a motto: Let The Good Times Roll.

San Francisco is mellow. There's an attitude of acceptance, of cheerful xenophilia that runs under everything else. I belonged there. I think the real reason I belonged was that I didn't get shocked at anyone else's oddness. It's okay to want to be happy more than to want to be rich. It's okay to choose whether or not to play the game, to be on the sidelines if you want to be. It's even, barely, possible to be Not Political but that takes a little eloquence to explain why, you need to at least assure your political friends that you understand what they've said and are choosing not to take a position for some good reason of your own -- it ought to be articulate.

I think at the moment that might be "I used to love debate but since I started to manage my fibromyalgia, I've had to give it up. I get less eloquent the more passionate it gets and that shuts down my arguments."

It's the city's personality. I belonged there in a way that I never really belonged anywhere else -- and it had open doors for me all over the place that the only reason I didn't see them was that I had that denial about my disabilities.

Going there feels like going home in a way no other place I've ever lived has. So maybe it is, and maybe it's not too late to change my mind about the bad decision that I knew was bad right in my gut on the day I left.

05-27-2010, 10:56 AM
I hear you, Robert. It's the feel of a place, its personality, its spirit. It's what I myself have been looking for all my life; I don't think I've found it yet, but not for lack of trying. My highschool years were in a tiny place called Olalla, in Washington state; I longed to get out and see the world and I did: school in McMinnville (Oregon); summer and semester in Paris; a transfer to Redlands, California. Los Feliz. Los Angeles. Milpitas/San Jose/Santa Clara. Seattle. Taos. Portland. Rome. Istanbul. Iowa City. Provincetown MA. Pittsburgh. North Illinois suburbs. And now here. We've been here, in our place, for almost 10 years--as long as the previous 13 places combined.

We chose to settle here because it's the only place that seemed to balance what one could make at a normal little job and the kind of place one could afford. What I mean by a "normal job" is: in Los Angeles, to have the kind of place I have--small, modest, but with a view--it would be over a million. So a regular little corporate job wouldn't cut it. Even in Seattle, I was seeing places over 300K for little more than 300 square feet (!) downtown. My tendency is to prefer city to country and to be high rather than low. I like to feel like I'm in a treehouse, or in a nest. I have a tendency toward agoraphobia--I have few problems getting out to do meet my responsibilities,i.e. I go to work and school without drama--but can hesitate to go out when its more "voluntary". And so one of the things that really saves me is the fact that we have floor-to-ceiling windows. I feel like I'm part of the city this way--feel much less locked in than if I was in the burbs, in a house. So there are reasons why this has been a good match for us.

But I would love to find what you have found in SF. A true "home" and sense of belonging. I would say the place I loved the most (of course!) was Paris, but I've always been suspicious as to why, i.e. I had pretty perfect conditions at the time--I was a student, I had a secure place to live, I was young and healthy and attractive, had friends, a lover, independence but safety too. I've had chances to go back but I never have, because I'm hesitant about upsetting the apple cart of my beautiful memories. And as for living there as an adult (which would be much more difficult to swing): yes, I think that would be a completely different experience than being a carefree student there for five months.

I'm glad you found your place. It's like love: you know it when you experience it. If I found my place, I would move mountains to live there.

PS access chicago seeks disabled artists from all over the world, not just Chicago, to feature on their web site and also to buy pieces from. Do check it out anyway! It could be a real avenue for you!

05-27-2010, 01:17 PM
Thank you, Anne-Marie. I've bookmarked Access Living and I probably will contact them with some art -- when I'm ready to do large, serious pieces suitable to sell for people's living rooms. Most of what I do now are either small paintings or studies and sketches, and at the point I start entering serious competitions I'll definitely contact them.

I wish I could go to Paris. I might never leave if I did. I hear that they have as much respect for novelists there as pastry chefs or bankers, and that artists are as respected as athletes. I think that would be heaven. It's probably the only way I'd ever learn a second language too, also Paris from what I understand does not have a bitter climate. That's tempting.

But I think San Francisco is more in reach for a regular move with a moving van, shipping all of my stuff and bringing a cat to another country would be very hard. Some countries want the poor animal in quarantine for six months to bring a cat and relocate, and I think France wants you to already have a job. What do I say to their Immigration? Medically retired and just wants a nice place to live on the pension and paint?

Now if I were already in the working class income range with some reputation, Paris might look better on a novelist-artist. But I'd probably at least need more books in print and good sales on them for their Immigration folks to smile. New Orleans is supposed to be the closest thing to Paris in this country. That made it wonderful, especially in the French Quarter. But for numerous reasons, even that wasn't quite San Francisco.

I'd have to actually go to Paris more than once before considering a move there, it's just too hard to change nationality. San Francisco doesn't need a passport to get there and is the best place I have ever actually been. I love the ocean. Lake Michigan wasn't the same, though it was cool having big water it was still a lake.

It's that when I went back on vacation, SF was still exactly the same, so much itself. I knew it'd take a lot to settle in again and that my ex didn't want to. I knew I might not be living in as much technical luxury and my ex really didn't want to. But if I had been single and had the cat with, nothing would've persuaded me to go back to Chicago.

I never wanted to live in New York or Los Angeles. The "big city" legend and ambience didn't ever appeal to me, too anonymous, too cutthroat, too crowded and rough. What I need is enough city to have the services I need and everything in reach, and enough beauty and ease of getting around to delight every time I turn the block at what I find.

Old buildings not being torn down for modern architecture is essential -- modern buildings don't inspire me to paint them or to go there. I'm not into skyscrapers. They scare me, long list of reasons.

Sandra, thank you for the rant! It's very sad what happened. It often happens when people get married too, their separate friends get jealous of not having as much time or attention with their friend. Or if people break up, a lot of mutual friends you thought were very close will just drift away. Your husband coming back when he was so distant for so long must have had that "got married" effect on them.

It's rough though. I tend to just back off and ride it out, or if a friend is still seeking me out bringing the new (or returned) spouse along, get to know the spouse. Leaving gender out of it because my friends always came in both genders.

I'm very happy for you though, and delighted to have connected with both of you just as you got back together! I'm an old romantic at times, your love for each other is beautiful. It's awesome when two people, either of whom I'd be glad to meet and make friends with, happen to love each other too and be so much in tune.

This sketchbook has turned into the cool thread about life too and I think I enjoy that, though I need to control my urge to do long posts (or at least edit them repeatedly) and get more art time in! Today's exercise is a happy one, painting from the negative space and something to do with color. So I'll be having a really good time and post something quite soon!

05-27-2010, 01:53 PM
Sandra, thank you for the rant! It's very sad what happened. It often happens when people get married too, their separate friends get jealous of not having as much time or attention with their friend. Or if people break up, a lot of mutual friends you thought were very close will just drift away. Your husband coming back when he was so distant for so long must have had that "got married" effect on them.

It's rough though. I tend to just back off and ride it out, or if a friend is still seeking me out bringing the new (or returned) spouse along, get to know the spouse. Leaving gender out of it because my friends always came in both genders.

I'm very happy for you though, and delighted to have connected with both of you just as you got back together! I'm an old romantic at times, your love for each other is beautiful. It's awesome when two people, either of whom I'd be glad to meet and make friends with, happen to love each other too and be so much in tune.

This sketchbook has turned into the cool thread about life too and I think I enjoy that, though I need to control my urge to do long posts (or at least edit them repeatedly) and get more art time in! Today's exercise is a happy one, painting from the negative space and something to do with color. So I'll be having a really good time and post something quite soon!

A really heartily thank you for the kind words Robert, they did brighten up my day ! Ah here is one little more anecdote for the romantic in you: my husband and I actually met on a discussion forum back 2005... We became friends, then one thing lead to another, and I finally took a plane, flew 13.000 miles (first time I was getting on a plane) to meet him for real... on the other side of the world! Our story held true since that day, and we got married in 2007. By the end of 2008, things settled and we could finally live together :) Small miracles life has sometimes.

Come what may with my bunch of friends... I guess some parting are unavoidable, but I'll make sure there is no hard feelings if possible, that would be too sad.

Time to get to my watercolours, I've neglected them for too long now :) Hopefully tonight will bring some doodle - if just a feeling of peace. Looking forward to see more of your art! :)

05-27-2010, 02:31 PM
That is so beautiful! I met my last girlfriend online and even though we broke up, we are still good friends. She settled down with a fellow very much like me in personality who was also a good friend of mine, so I feel good about how that turned out for her.

Life is full of small miracles and when you meet the right person, it doesn't really matter how -- but the Internet does make that so much easier!

Yay for watercolors! I may get back to mine next, but right now I've used my Derwent Watercolour Pencils as dry colored pencils just to show how they handle as dry colored pencils. I was a bit looser and rougher on the Suzette Morrow exercises because they were just exercises and I wasn't trying for a smooth finished burnished look. When I did the Scavenger Hunt items, I paid more attention to pressure and went lighter on all of the colors, then burnished with white or a light color without going outside the set.

All-Media Book, Page 22
9" x 12"
Derwent Watercolour Pencils (dry)
Canson All-Media Book cold press 90lb watercolor paper.

05-27-2010, 02:36 PM
I like those stamps on the previous page, the raining plein air one made me grin :D I also like the skull, candle and brush imagery in one of the bottom ones.

Also interesting to follow the conversations, everyone is friendly and it's such a nice community here. I'm sorry your past has been what it has been! I admire your strength and courage. May you never run into any more walls. :)

Edit: oh, missed your recent post by a few minutes, it seems :D Just wanted to say, gorgeous colours! Especially the blue tones, I love blue, such a calming colour.

05-27-2010, 03:40 PM
Now I want a set of Derwent watercolor pencils. :o They look good dry too. I sure hope mom comes thru with some birthday money. I see an art supply order in my future. :lol:

Your negative space drawings in cool and warm colors are scrumptious. No, really, they look like something frosted on a cake. Neat collection for the scavenger hunt. I got the list, but haven't had time to sketch yet. I checked the thread and it's already several pages long. :eek: How do you keep up?

05-27-2010, 04:18 PM
Re: Derwent Watercolors: My husband gave me a 120 set of Faber-Castell watercolor pencils for Christmas but I'm on the fence about them. (I told him what brand I wanted, so he's not to blame!) Many of the colors are repetitious and the texture is a little waxy dry. Also, they tend to crumble when I sharpen them, which is the real deal-breaker.

My little 12-piece set of Derwent Graphitint are my favorites, I think. The colors are astonishingly subtle and beautiful, esp. wet. I do have a 12 set of regular Derwent and 12 of Staedlater as well. Think I will experiment with all four kinds and see which on I like the most. I'd also like to try "inktense" by Derwent.

05-27-2010, 07:32 PM
Wow, thank you! Aiylah, thanks for your comments. I'm glad the conversations are fun and interesting too. Thank you very much for wishing I never run into that kind of walls again. I hope so too. I hope that the hard part is all behind me and I never wind up that sick, that broke, that alone again. Many of the places I lived on my own were bad not because they were bad places for anyone but me, but bad places to live without being able to walk and without a car or be able to live in that climate. At least now I know better!

I'll never be one of those people who misses the snow and the seasons. I have noticed that people love the place they live, most people really love it for everything about it. Weather that would put off people from elsewhere, they laugh into its teeth or actively enjoy it. I need to live somewhere I love that much in every way, not spend all my time homesick for a place I only got to spend two years in when I had no idea of how to live.

Debby, you won't regret getting the Derwent watercolor pencils. They are great. They are currently my top favorite watercolor pencils, though I haven't really given a fair chance to Supracolor Soft ones from Caran d'Ache. They're nowhere near as costly as Supracolors though! They are the most versatile ones I have.

Aqua Monolith work well washed, but are a bit hard in texture and don't go on heavy or smear and smudge like a good soft colored pencils. There's a particular texture to most of the artist grade colored pencils I've used, it's a lot like the Aqua Monoliths -- softer than hard colored pencils but not as soft as soft colored pencils, an inbetween texture that can be useful but doesn't lend itself to burnishing and layering. Derwent's new formula can handle all the techniques.

Glad you like my fun little coloring from negative space sketches! They were a lot of fun to do and I might build something from them, they're cool preliminary sketches. I love the Scavenger Hunt and love switching mediums during it, just doing life drawings in anything I feel like using.

Anne-Marie, thank you! A lot of my friends and several good videos recommend the Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils from Faber-Castell. I had them high on my wish list for years until recently, when I read the fine print after a comment by a friend. They only wash once. They dry permanent and waterproof, like Derwent Inktense.

The range is longer than Inktense, but I'm not sure if they're as strong. From what you're saying, they don't fall on the super soft side of the colored pencils range, though Derwent Inktense have a texture exactly like Prismacolors. They come closer dry to Prismacolors than any other colored pencil, which really surprised me and is one of the things I love about them.

Crumbling on sharpening can have a lot of causes. Prismacolors do that too, to my annoyance. A lot of times it's caused by internal breakage -- a crack in the core that when the pencil's sharpened down that far, the point falls out. Repeatedly. Till it's a brand new two inch stub that hasn't been used yet.

I solved the problem with Prismacolors in two ways. One is making sure to always use a brand new pencil sharpener blade, bumping sharpeners down to normal graphite pencils if it even starts catching on points or it's too hard to push the wood through.

New sharpeners cut the wood on a pencil like a wire through cheese, it's a particular easy push feeling. I've learned by practice to recognize exactly how much pressure is "time to get rid of the dull blade." Or at least bump it down to normal HB pencils where it can go another many times before it's too dull to sharpen those.

The other half is protecting the pencils from dropping or banging into each other. I keep my Prismacolors and any delicate pencils (or any I want in easy reach a lot of the time) in Global Classic leather cases or my Blick Artists' set, in a Jerry's Artarama Pencil Easel. Either way, they live in an elastic band case and when I'm done with a color I shove it at least part of the way back into the elastic band. That way if my cat tosses the box, the pencil's safe. He doesn't get to play Drop Things one pencil at a time.

The leather and easel cases both are padded and shock resistant. These two things cut my rate of Prismacolor replacements in half -- though I still sometimes need to email Blick or go back to an art store with a brand new stub, because it got pre-cracked before I got it. If it loses a point or two, I don't bother. If it goes down more than an inch, I ask for and get a replacement. Most art stores know this about Prismacolors and just replace the internal-breakage flawed ones on request.

I love Derwent Graphitints. They're a wonderful pencil. They're so soft, and when washed the colors brighten so well. Inktense are fun. You'd probably enjoy those -- just rinse the brush immediately when using them and go lightly if you don't want full strength color. Testing them on a shading band before actually painting with Inktense is a good idea because they are well named. Think of getting concentrated liquid ink in solid pencil form.

Super concentrated. Like, that red will not make pink unless you do a very light application, it'll make lighter red a lot longer than you expect. That makes them last longer, of course!

I have Staedtler watercolor pencils too, up till now those were my softest watercolor pencils. Derwent's new formula ones are better. Which regular Derwents do you have, Artists or Coloursoft? They're very different, so much so that they had to come out with two different colorless blenders. Artists are hard but very pigment rich and beautiful and come in 120 colors if you get the nice wood box set. Coloursoft only has 72 range but are as soft as Prismacolors, maybe even a hair softer, sweet to use for textureless painting as well as drawing, and a little less crumbly than Prismacolor.

I have the Faber-Castell Polychromos and I think the colors are the same. I like the full range, but you could be right about extraneous orange and yellow orange and orange-red colors, there's short-step hue difference pencils but not as many light colors as I'd like to see, pale blues and pinks and greens and lavenders. I'd love to see a company organize a set of colored pencils with full spectrum tints, full spectrum lighter tints, full spectrum a bit wider bright colors, and full spectrum deep darks all with full color intensity, before getting to the neutrals.

Here's another Derwent watercolor pencils page, this one washed. A couple of studies of a branch in the May Landscape Challenge, photo by kindawet.

Branches with Spanish Moss
9" x 12"
Derwent watercolour pencils & wash
Canson All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper

05-27-2010, 09:46 PM
I'll have to see if I can get the water color pencils or not. I spent my indulgence money on a new digital camera. So I'm kind of hoping mom will tuck a little something in my birthday card next week. If she does, I'll be placing an order for those. I have a small 24 set of Lyra Rembrandt Aquarell. I had a pad of watercolor paper that I bound into a folio (hmm... maybe I should post that) I used for International Fake Journal Month. I used pencil, ink and those watercolor pencils to create a fake journal. Had fun with them. But, I had trouble creating some colors with them. Part of it is my lack of any painting background. I do ok with colored pencils, but... Anyway, hope to get some more paper that can take the water so I can play with them some more, and maybe some new colors to play with too.

I like the dripping moss off your gnarly branches. Very spooky looking.

05-27-2010, 10:52 PM
Already commented in the other forum on your latest pages, Robert. I'm with Debbie though in that these are REALLY making me want to get a set of the Derwent WC pencils (and I have not yet even gotten my last art order which was for the NeoColor IIs set of 15!). As always, love reading your reviews of the various art supplies, it is so helpful.

I always enjoy all of your Scavenger Hunt drawings but I have no clue as to what the scavenger hunt is. Is that something like the WDE events or like that?

05-28-2010, 10:00 AM
Debby, thank you! Yes, please do post it! That would be a brilliant title in itself. "My International Fake Art Journal." Even when it really is one. That's a title like "My Goof Off Book," it's just cool. I hope your mom does tuck a little something in your birthday card so that you can get some of the Derwent WC Pencils. I hope it's enough that you can get the full range, though their small sets are made up of really good mixers.

Mixing with them is done by overlays. If you have to get a small set, it's got good mixers -- so do a mixing grid overlaying all the colors twice -- same sequence both horizontal and vertical, which puts pure tone twice in a diagonal across it. Then wash half of each square on the grid. Don't put heavy layers, it has to be light enough the second layer can be added at the same strength with the tooth of the paper.

That grid can be very useful because with colored pencils and WC pencils, it matters which color goes on first. Once you know what you'll get in mixes, it gets easier. Try that with your Albrecht Durers.

Rainy, thanks! Yes, squeeze in some Derwent New Formula WC Pencils even if you start with a twelve color set. 24 is better if you fish for colors, there's a lot of good mixers in 24 color sets too and a few nice convenience colors. You won't regret it. If you can swing the full range set, that's a joy.

Here's Day 12 of the "Start a Sketchbook Habit" workshop by Suzette Morrow. Her example was done with collage and acrylic and something else, also it was mostly abstract except for the collage image. Hence the first cartoon at the upper left.

All-Media Book, Page 24
9" x 12"
Sakura Pigma Micron Pen (size 08), Sakura Koi watercolors, Sakura Expressionist Oil Pastels...
Canson All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

This is supposed to be funny, kind of making fun of some fears in an Underground Comix style. The bit of text upside down cut off from the scanner reads "I bet R. Crumb would have made you turn the page upside down!" but the first line of it got cut off.

The scary things I faced in it really were:

1) Using a permanent resist. I've never tried drawing in white oil pastel and watercoloring over it.
2) Drawing it in a loose style without penciling first.
3) Leaving a mistake in and just crossing it out. (Page struck through for Day)
4) Lightening up and getting that silly with all the captions and things.

I hope this worked!

05-28-2010, 11:51 AM
Did another page, this time trying the Continuous Line Challenge from the current Scavenger Hunt. Of course I went for my favorite model. But this is why I don't get into continuous line drawing unless someone else does it!

Scavenger Hunt 178
4) represents my soul
5) something soft
6) knee
7) foot
8) elbow
9) something sharp (Pencil sharpeners MUST be!)
10) something quiet (My cat's snores.)
9" x 12"
Sakura Pigma Micron pen without lifting it from the paper
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press paper.

05-28-2010, 06:26 PM
Robert, I know it was half serious, or more, but the "Flashback City" page made me smile. It just struck my funny bone.

Very cool single continuous line for all the sketches on the page.

05-28-2010, 07:23 PM
Yay! I wanted "Flashback City" to hit the funnybone hard. I was getting silly about a bunch of my fears all at once. Especially about how silly it is to be scared of wrecking a magazine and a piece of paper! Really! But I still don't have any magazines I want to get rid of by turning them into collage except for out of date seasonal holiday art supply catalogs. I wouldn't cut up an old Pastel Journal or Watercolor Artist or Artist's Magazine, after all!

Besides, if I did, the pictures would be the same as the ones in the seasonal holiday catalogs or chunks of a living artist's original painting. So I might as well use the catalogs when I do collage.

05-28-2010, 09:27 PM
Hi Robert!

I LOVE "Flashback City" Specifically, I love the super-saturated orange wash with the white resist--wow, that looks very cool. I know what you mean about being scared to try the technique, but the result should encourage you! Love the soft velvety texture of the resist--such a foil to the orange. I also love the bird's eye view of the buildings, and the complementary scheme with the blue. It makes the individual components pop.

The "inner child" is very expressive with the sweat and eyes. I am seeing a progression as the challenge goes on, definitely an underground comment vibe that is vibrant and pulsates with life.

I am a bit "behind" in following things/comments as I am currently embroiled in homework. (sob!) :crying: I took a walk with my husband tonight and I was like: I'm sooooooo bored of AutoCAD right now. Worse: I've been secretly "goofing off" by looking at art supplies and working on a new art journal. This however, makes things much worse for me in terms of putting on the pressure, as I have things a-plenty now to do and precious little time to do them before tomorrow's classes. Wah!

Thanks for sharing your stuff! :wave:

05-29-2010, 03:42 PM
All-Media Book, Page 26
9" x 12"
Sakura Pigma Micron pens, size 08 and 05, colors
Sakura Koi pan watercolors, 12 color pocket set
Canson All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

This is probably why every single adult I met swore up and down that I would be a Famous Artist someday, whatever else they thought about me. It is a genuine example of how I drew as a kid.

I earned the Rapidographs by cleaning and repairing my dad's Rapidographs. He was a real scientist and used them constantly, including during field work. He never threw out broken ones, just saved them to cannibalize for parts someday -- and handed the box over to me with some hours of instruction on how to clean them, figure out which points were still good and cobble all the working parts together into working pens. I earned one good one already in working order by doing some technical illustrations of Cretaceous mammal teeth for him.

The drill went: present the pencil sketches till one was accurate enough. Present sample tonal swatches of values in stippling and cross hatching until those were good enough. Ink it. Present finished inked drawings. Redo any that weren't good enough, which was one in a set of four or five and not the reconstruction of how the animal looked when alive. "A lot like a chipmunk," he'd said, "shorter and fatter than your rat." This was after I'd actually done many life drawings of the rat and figured out how to make him look white by sketching him in broken lines with furlike strokes.

A patient, but overworked parent can get adult work out of a little kid if he's a good enough teacher. My dad was a great teacher.

The ivy leaf and grapes border is something that decorated most of my homework, a number of writing journal pages (especially when poetry left space for it) and all letters I wrote anyone. Like the calligraphy, it wasn't authentic to any given period or nationality but cobbled together out of many examples, including secondhand ones in the titles and illustrations of fantasy novels and Victorian illustrated storybooks.

I used it lavishly nonetheless. It annoyed teachers or thrilled them, depending on what they thought of me in general and of my artistic tendencies. Not all science teachers really appreciated it, no math teachers did, some history teachers enjoyed it.

My white rat, Puck, was as smart as a dog. He'd bust out of his cage every day just to sit at the door and welcome me home from school. He knew his name, did tricks, loved me and was so gentle and friendly with everyone that he was incredible. He was a great rat.

Because I drew him constantly from life, I got to where I could draw rats and mice from memory and they too turned up in the borders of homework in various lively poses. Not all teachers appreciated them, especially when some became hooded or brown rats by different shading.

If this page goes in Historical Horrors at all, it'll get the top cropped off and Puck's name and story added somewhere in it. Didn't think of that when I did the exercise this morning.

At school I got told to draw "like a child" with repeated scolding that "other children get jealous when you draw like that." I was already so bullied that I didn't care, so never listened.

05-29-2010, 04:25 PM
nice sketches and stories - rats are very intelligent

my daughter had pet mice that would sit on her shoulder while she did her homework

05-29-2010, 05:34 PM
I am appalled that you were told to "draw like a child" when you were in school. Tho' I'm not surprised you got into trouble for illustrating your homework. I might have gotten my feet wet drawing better if I had been so bold as to illustrate my homework. I was always the first one done with an assignment. Didn't matter if it was reading, math, science or history. So there I would sit, bored out of my mind. If I stared out the window I got in trouble, if I drew pictures in the borders I got in trouble. So, I practiced my penmanship on a separate piece of paper. I drew block letters, cursive letters, italics. It's too bad nobody pointed out I could learn calligraphy. I'd have been all over that. *sigh* And, I wish I'd been so bold as to be writing stories rather than the alphabet or passages out of my books. I was diligently writing when the teacher would walk by and glance at my desk, so I was safe, that's what mattered to me at the time.

I love your rat story and his picture. The grapevine border is so cool. Your dad sounds like a wonderful guy. The cat is awesome too.

05-29-2010, 06:59 PM
That's so cute, Vivien. My baby sister had a field mouse, later on we had white mice. They are very tame and smart, people don't realize that unless they have one. They are both much gentler and tamer than gerbils (neurotically scared all the time) or hamsters (violently psychotic but fat, tailless and cute).

Debby, thanks! It depended on the teacher. Some were convinced I was Talented and encouraged me. But I think of all the adults who swear they have No Talent and can't draw or learn to draw, and wonder how many forgot incidents like that.

There's a good essay by John Taylor Gatto that opened my eyes on some of why schools are like that. Against School (http://www.wesjones.com/gatto1.htm) is pretty shocking. Not all schools are that bad now, but it's something to think about.

Sascha seems to be enjoying school and doing well in it, something I know Kitten watches like a hawk and gets involved with. We almost homeschooled her, but the school passed muster and she's happier meeting other kids and having a social life.

Here's some more Scavenger Hunt items in Continuous Line drawing. I didn't try to connect this batch. I did a lot better stopping in between and paying attention to each one instead of stressing and trying to stop at a good point to continue. It's got only one major blooper, my hand proportions.

All-Media Book Page 27
Scavenger Hunt 178 items #11-17
9" x 12"
Pigma Micron pen size 08 (continuous line)
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press paper.

05-29-2010, 07:02 PM
Wow, I love the--is that a saber-tooth tiger? The coloring and shading is so subtle and nuanced.

Cool story about your Dad--I'm glad you had a nice adult available to you in your childhood.

The grape and vine border, the made-up font, the rat: made me smile. A glimpse into teenage Robert. :)

05-29-2010, 07:14 PM
Ooh,I didn't see the new stuff when I commented above. LOVE that drawing of Ari! His shoulders hunched just so! Today at school I got a book on animal physiology for artists. I'd like to be able to draw my cats. :)

Re school: school was hit-or-miss for me. Depended on the teacher. By and large, I loved school because they would show you how do things there. I was lucky enough to have either good, wonderful, or at worst non-malicious teachers in elementary school. Jr. High and High school was another matter, but I think because I made it through the early formative years with positive or neutral role models, it didn' have as much of an effect on me.

One thing I've been meaning to say, which I thought you would interest you on the school score: I was actually supposed to be left-handed. Does anyone else remember the days they made lefties be righties? The result is that my handwriting is ATROCIOUS!!! Really, really, really really bad, even when I'm trying to be neat. i.e. strangers upon seeing my writing have either two reactions: 1) Are you a doctor? or 2) Is that Arabic? I don't know which one makes me laugh more. :lol:

But I've noticed that when I draw, at some point, when I get really into it, I almost always switch hands. Like, I get impatient and switch and feel much better. So take that, mid-century school facism! :evil:

05-29-2010, 08:43 PM
My access keeps bouncing in and out. That's the second time I lost my post.

Do you still write with your right hand because of those teachers? Or did you try to relearn with your left hand and get stuck? My grade school did that too. I asked why they did that, they explained the lefties could become ambidextrous if they really worked on it and I wanted to be left handed. So I tried to learn to write with my left hand, be able to write with both hands like da Vinci. It did not work, and I got punished for trying.

That gave me quite a start when I did the dual hand exercise and sweated over it. I get that same flinch when I try to do nudes, from having Gray's Anatomy confiscated and some copies of classical style line drawings destroyed when they were the best things I'd ever done. I push through it and do nudes sometimes, but the fibromyalgia means I have to have a good day to try. Otherwise the fibro flare will reduce my control of my hands and I won't draw as well.

Like the IEP thing, I don't think they do that in schools any more. I sure hope they don't.

05-29-2010, 10:19 PM
Hi again!

Re: the access thing--that is happening to me, too. Wrote a long, complex post in response to the post you had the spanish moss drawing and lovely information and advice about Derwents, but then I got an error page and there was no going back to reclaim the lost post and I gave up. Still want to re-collect my thoughts to share with you on that one.

As for the left-handedness: I have tried to write with my left hand. When I do, I find I am actually much neater than I am with my right--but I'm also much slower. I actually never put 2 + 2 together before now: that's why it works to use my left hand when I draw: I seem to have more control. But like all things, writing with my right is a habit, one that I haven't gotten around to breaking. :)

05-29-2010, 11:02 PM
Cool scavenger hunt sketches. I have to say the continuous line thing is, well, scary. :o Glad you are having fun with it tho'.

Anne-Marie, not to hi-jack Robert's thread, but if you were born left handed and it feels more comfortable to draw and write left handed, you will feel better if you switch back. Speed will come quickly when you are doing what is right for you. I too was born left handed. However, an accident at 16 months of age put a stop to that. After my hand healed, almost 2 years later, I was already in the habit of using my right hand. It wasn't until age 11, when I broke my right arm, that I picked up a pencil with my left hand. That's when my parents revealed that I had shown a strong inclination to be left handed. :rolleyes: Now I use either, depending on what I'm doing at the time.

05-29-2010, 11:11 PM
Hi Debby! Your experience gives me food for thought. I do have to admit that it is useful to be able to use either hand for almost anything. Even bowling, my score is identical (and identically miserable: 69!) :lol:

05-30-2010, 03:02 AM
teachers can do a lot of harm with these rules and ideas :>(

I had a teacher when I was 15 in Scotland, who got really cross with me for doodling in my books (we'd just moved there) and used to make my life hell because he thought I wasn't paying attention.

In actual fact, if I'm doodling I AM paying attention and if I'm not then my mind may wander ... looking at the clouds out of the window/whatever.

When I came out top in the exams he stopped objecting and just made a joke of it and I got away with murder!

My art teacher there used to tell me to stop wasting my time on this rubbish.

When I went out to Malta to live, my art teacher there thought they were wonderful and encouraged me to do whatever I wanted :)

re: left/right hand - at uni they would sometimes make us use the 'wrong' hand. I can draw and write left handed but with less control.

and finally - nice sketches :)

05-30-2010, 08:36 AM
Ouch! Continuous drawings! Must be difficult as hell. It's hard not to have the ability to lift the pen and attack the drawing from a different angle and don't get me started on drawing on my left hand as it looks like a 3-year-old's work :lol:

Great sketches!

Oh, about posts, I always do my replies in notepad, word or any similar program just to make sure if there's a hiccup in the connection, I can always copy and paste :D

05-30-2010, 09:10 AM
Raymond, you probably have more sense than any of us. Writing my posts offline works but I never get around to it. I'm so used to what I do offline being private that I'd get really confused at chunks of posts sitting in my open journal, where I jot down my thoughts while I'm doing whatever. I suppose I could try to do it without saving the file, or remember to cut them out after it's flown.

Vivien, you'd probably be back to speed in a surprisingly short period of time if you went back to using your left hand.

Also, I forgot to mention -- yes, that's a saber tooth tiger, but not the best-known one, Smilodon fatalis. I wrote an entire fantasy novel involving Smilodon fatalis and am planning another one that'll just be a nature book seen from the point of view of the animal -- set in Los Angeles long before freeways, since the great predator trap in the La Brea Tar Pits gives such a great snapshot of all the big wildlife it lived with. Giant vultures, giant bison, more than one sort of mammoth... it was a beautiful ecosystem and I'm a cat nut anyway.

Smilodon was a social cat. They found a skeleton of an aged female with a broken back, who would not have been capable of hunting. She was crippled. She wasn't starved and the injury had healed for at least six months. So her pride, her cubs and possibly her mate and/or co-mates or cubs' mates, her friends (cats do make friends), hunted for her and shared their food.

For that reason, I made them a healing totem in the fantasy novel I wrote. Simply because they care for each other if injured. It warmed my heart, I knew I had to do something special with these cats. They may have been huge and odd, but they were cats as loving as my Ari.

Okay, maybe they'd have drawn the line at adopting a human, but that's not what the novel's about anyway. I will bring in the old female and she'll die a heroic death warning the protagonist-cat away from the tar pit.

Today's exercise is to splatter coffee or tea and then try to find shapes in the splatters... not sure if I'll do it straight up or paint with the coffee and then ... oh, that's a thought... yes. Oh yes. I need to remember that the watercolor will come out quite stronger than the coffee and it could make a really interesting background, the parts I don't use in the design.

Some of these exercises come close to "draw like a child" and set off that flinch, until I think of a way to do them and come out with a picture I like.

05-30-2010, 12:01 PM
Today's "Start a Sketchbook Habit" exercise was coffee stains -- first make a random pattern using coffee or tea strong enough to make a visible mark:


Then find designs in it and enhance them. I used a sepia Pigma Micron instead of a pencil in order to make them a lot easier to scan and liked the color combination.


The babysitter lamia reminded me of some cute but critical babysitters who weren't fond of my poetry. A lot of the things that came up reminded me of Calvin and Hobbes. I think it brought out my cartoonist side, but nothing like Historical Horrors.

05-30-2010, 04:09 PM
fun :)

I don't think I ever was left handed - just able to use my left hand reasonably well to draw as well.

05-30-2010, 06:39 PM
Hey, Robert. I have not seen some of your figure studies before. Very nice!
I also forgot to mention that I liked the page with the saber toothed tiger, the text is very good on that page also.
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

The thing about being left handed is interesting to me, also. I write and eat with my left hand, but I turn wrenches and throw with my right hand. That is the way it has always been with me. So I don't know what to call myself.

05-30-2010, 09:05 PM
Very interesting coffee/tea stains. But, are they archival? :wink2::lol: I liked the dinosaur in the bottom right corner.

05-30-2010, 10:17 PM
Jake, thank you! It makes sense -- tools and wrenches and things are usually made for right handers so learning to do that right handed would make it easier to use them. Pens and spoons work in either hand.

Vivien, you're just lucky to be relatively ambidextrous. A few people are. I'm just not one of them.

Here's the rest of what I did today, most of it downstairs celebrating Sascha getting an entire month of Green Days. She got to paint, she got to pick movies, she got lots of attention and treats -- and worked very hard for it all month to do so. I'm proud of her.

All-Media Book, Page 29
9" x 12"
Sakura Koi watercolors
Canson All-Media Book, 90lb cold press paper
Mushrooms photo reference by Desiree for WDE May 28-30, 2010

All-Media Book, Page 30
9" x 12"
Sakura Pigma Micron pens and Koi pan watercolors
Canson All-Media Book, 90lb cold press paper
All from life including the gratuitous puppy, except the cracked egg where I was showing Sascha how to paint something white by painting around it from the negative space. Then she asked how to put a crack in it so I showed her that too.

05-31-2010, 06:22 AM
Green Days??? a reward?

good sketches, nice dinosaurs and the corgi colour is perfect

05-31-2010, 12:48 PM
Cool dinosaurs. The corgi is so cute. The mushrooms glow. So great you are teaching Sascha to draw and paint.

05-31-2010, 07:11 PM
Debby and Vivien, thanks! Debby, I didn't see your earlier comment when I posted again, so thanks for mentioning the dinosaur in the corner of the coffee page. It's not archival but in a sketchbook it doesn't see much light either, so it's not a big deal. The penwork is.

I love teaching Sascha to paint. She's so interested in it and learns so fast! Yesterday she used negative painting as soon as I showed her and she knew what it was from watching me do it a few times -- knew it could be done and popped out with "How do you do white without using the white paint?" because I do so many times.

Here's today's page, which might get continued on the next page too or part of it. Day 15 of "Start a Sketchbook Habit" with Suzette Morrow is taking notes and sketching while reading, listening to an audio book or watching a documentary. So I went for Shark Week on Netflix...

All-Media Book Page 31 (Day 15 Morrow Workshop)
9" x 12"
Pigma Micron pen and Koi watercolors
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

It was fun. I realized I could pause because if I were doing this from a book I could very easily take my time studying an illustration to adapt it.

05-31-2010, 07:42 PM
Awesome sharks. Dumb guy. *shakes head*

05-31-2010, 09:02 PM
Yeah, he knew it. Hand feeding over 40 bull sharks in waist deep tropical water that had been chummed, standing out there for an hour... not bright. He knew that. I think that's why he didn't blame the shark.

But being an actual shark scientist, he did think of something pretty smart to get out of it alive when he raised his leg so she'd have to close her gills. She couldn't breathe like that, so she had to let go. So she got his calf muscle and he got to keep the rest of his leg and live through it. I thought it was pretty cool how he kept his head when it happened, even though it was Amazingly Stupid to do it in the first place.

I also hope he and Nigel Marvin got paid very, very well for that stupid stunt.

I did draw his bitten leg on this next page twice. Pretty realistically, about like EC comics. So if that grosses you out, scroll down real fast and skip to the end where the amusing Prehistoric Sharks aren't biting anyone and have been dead for 320 million years anyway.

I'll make









Dive right in! After all, it's not your leg and you might like the EC comics sort of thing. I do, and I was thrilled to actually get the tattered shark bit leg looking that true to life in a pen and watercolor sketch.

Those old illustrators before the Comics Code were really good at the gore. They did their research, knew their anatomy and did not jack it up or soften it up one bit.

All-Media Book, Page 32
Continuing Day 15 "Start a Sketchbook Habit" exercise
9" x 12"
Pigma Micron pen and Koi watercolor
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

Painted from "Shark Week 20th Anniversary Collection" Episode 3 (Shark Bites) and Episode 4 (Prehistoric Sharks), by stopping the screen to sketch and taking notes on the narration. Butt icon is for the gooshy shark bite sketches at the top, if you didn't guess. Eric Ritter was wearing shorts when he got bit on camera in April 2002, it's not like that's a male nude. But for the record, he survived and kept his leg minus his calf muscle. He still likes sharks and likes bull sharks best despite what one of them did to him.

06-01-2010, 12:16 AM
Wow! This is great stuff!

I love those mushrooms--the softness of them. Is that what they mean by "glazing"? Or "washes"? The thing I like about watercolors is the sublety and variation of color. So pretty!

LOVE that coffee table! It is most excellent!

Re; the step stool: we have the exact same one!

The corgi is very cute and petable.

The shark stuff: I'm not a big blood person. Found it suitably terrifying. :-)

I don't know why I wasn't informed of the last several posts to this string, as I'm supposed to get "instant email notification." Actually came on tonight because I thought: wow, Robert hasn't posted anything in a few days; hope he is okay. (I know you were experiencing a lot of pain last week :-( I hope you are feeling better.)

06-01-2010, 12:40 AM
Definitely, and actually wasn't so much experiencing the pain as fogged out and not noticing it but noticing afterward that I was doing dumb things. That happens a lot on bad days. I'll distract myself, it'll work, but the result is goofy long posts, messing up names, making other dumb mistakes and not drawing as often or well.

Thank you. The mushrooms were done wet in wet in sections. I got a light first layer on and while it was wet or damp, swished more colors in. Successfully avoided blossoms or hard ridges within them by going from thinner paint to stronger paint.

The trick of hard edged shapes with soft edges inside is to paint the shape with just water or with a very thin wash, then start painting stronger color into it and sometimes tilt the paper so the pigment runs the direction you want. Everything gets blurry and soft edged and you can have a lot of fun doing flowers petal by petal that way. I learned it in a flowers article in Watercolor Artist.

I like Kitten's coffee table set (she has three or four of those in different sizes and shapes with the same curly legs) a lot. I lucked on the tabletop shading it dark at the near part and fading it, again washing it lighter and then putting more paint in where I wanted it darker. Same technique. I added the yellow ochre edge after it dried.

Coolness! I have much less practice with dogs, so getting the Corgi right when she's actually the first Corgi that I met or saw in my life is a biggie. Glad she came out cute and pettable. She is. She got drawn because she kept poking her nose into my hands and licking them. If I bent down I got my face licked.

She is a very lovable puppy and adores being petted. Attention is Rhiannon's middle name. So if she looks cute and pettable, I got her personality right. She would agree with me and be all over you if you visited.

Thanks for looking at the shark stuff even if it was suitably terrifying. I didn't intend it to be lightened up, was going for real and natural, and in the case of the shark bite, very much the scary end.

I don't have a fear of sharks because I'm not actually in deep sea water. I would if I was anywhere in it, because just moving normally I move like a wounded thing so I'd be at a bit more risk than most. But dangers that are far away and I'll never run into them unless I've got a whole lot of money to go somewhere else and then do something stupid, those are just exciting like things in novels!

Email notifications, it helps to click on the link. If you don't open the email notifications and click the link, or at least open the email, it stops sending them. I am always noticing this thing where "Email notices will stop till you return to the thread." You have to actually visit the thread after X number of notices or it stops sending them. I noticed that too but I always check them anyway so it doesn't shut mine down. At least I think it hasn't shut down any of my regular ones.

I think it's something to keep WC from stuffing your mailbox if you lose interest in something and don't ever open those emails. I don't know how many you have to not use for it to click over and do that though.

06-01-2010, 01:04 AM
I love your long posts, Robert. They are full of insight and interesting thoughts.

I am so-so with fake blood, terrible with real blood. I always warn the technician when I have to have a blood draw: I'm both a barfer and a fainter and if you're lucky I'll do both. I feel back for the person stuck drawing my blood, but I also know that I have helped make all the other technician's day by not getting me, lol. Happily, my need for anything requiring a needle is pretty infrequent.

Yes, you got Riannon's personality across all right! I also wanted to thank you for your e-how article on drawing a black cat. I was surfing one of your blogs the other day when I came upon it. Am in the process of deciding on pastels to buy. Was interested that you seem to prefer Mt. Vision. I liked the "thunderstorm" collection of grays, but am a little reluctant about the rest due to the tint/shade system (opposed to Unison's unique pigment system) But then: Mt Vision (I think is the name? Now I actually forget!) is not toxic. I got a sampler from Dakota pastels so I can try out one pastel each from 17 different manufacturers. Could not follow the black-cat instructions because as of right now, I don't have colors that come even close to the ones you used to such a great effect. And surprising, too, that THAT's the way you can do a black cat--with BLUE! Which blew my mind. Pun not originally intended,but after I saw it I thought, ah, what the heck. ;-)

Homework homework homework for me. I have decided to take the summer off, though, about which I'm really excited. Planning on taking a 3-day water color workshop in August, a 6-week pastel class, and a 6-week sketchbook class at a local community center. My honest interest is in children's books and in continuing to learn and grow in drawing and painting. I don't know if it will ever "come to anything" but why does everything one does have to be profitable? Eventually I will have to turn back my attention full-time to a full-time career. But for now this time off is such a gift. And I don't want to fill it up just with obligation (i.e. school).

This will be the first summer off since 1993, when I was temporarily unemployed. I'm as giddy as a 12 year old. School's almost out! And then SUMMER! Yay!

You did put your pain at an "8" last week if I remember correctly. That seems like plenty enough pain to me. Praying that this is a good week for you, artistically, physically, etc.--

06-01-2010, 02:03 AM
Sorry about the phobia. I'll try to warn you if I'm going to post something bloody -- it isn't that common but I do try to work on it. Good to know that's what it is about it. I was so the reverse, always fascinated with blood and staring when the phlebotomist would get at me even as a kid when they'd tell me not to look. I had to explain it was a lot easier on me if I did look and could see what they were doing.

Yay for taking the summer off and enjoying all your time with so many good art things. It'll probably be inspiring.

Favorite pastels are very personal. The best way to find out which ones you like is to email Blick and Jerry's Artarama, ask them for samples of all the brands you're in and try them on different papers. Definitely get a pint of the Colourfix sanded pastel primer too, because sanded paper makes pasteling a joy. Clear Colourfix sanded primer really is clear, so you can wash your watercolor paper any color you want for a tinted background or do good underpaintings.

I got hooked on sanded paper and bought all the colors of Colourfix primer and a big liter can of the Clear so that I never run out of my favorite surface. But Canson Mi-Tientes isn't expensive in pads, they're about $5 and you get a lot of colors to try that way. It's what I mostly used when I did street portraits and I still like it for sketching.

If you've got a pastel class coming up, maybe email the instructor and ask what's needed for the class. You might get some good ideas. Some good brands that don't run too pricy are the new Richeson ones -- hard pastels, medium pastels and hand-rolled softest ones. I'm thinking of getting a few of their hand-rolled ones, but it's frustrating when I look at the sets because they don't include my favorite colors in the sets until it gets to the full one but have lots of lookalike colors in the full range.

Also check out the Soft Pastel Talk forum where there are lots of threads on the different brands from people who bought them. Mount Vision is a good bargain because it's not super pricy but the sticks are gigantic hand rolled sticks with great colors. A workshop assortment might have what you need for the class and can be augmented with some of their additional smaller workshop sets later on if you like them.

Also, with Mount Visions you can break the sticks into two or three pieces and store the rest with the label, then put all the colors in one box. If I get another set of those I'll probably do that and keep all the colors in one of the boxes like I did with the 60 Art Spectrum that I bought.

Yeah, my pain went up to 8 last week. But it hasn't hit 9 except during the deep winter and did not hit 10 at all since I moved here. I was so happy about that. It's all relative. Summers are usually better. Today wasn't as bad, it's been easing down, yesterday was 7 and today roamed around 6 so I'm doing okay. LOL -- enough to spot last week's bloopers and flinch.

Tomorrow, I need to draw buildings and the personal challenge to me is to do it reasonably quickly and recognizably rather than get every detail. If I can pencil it, then use light loose inking and some washes and give it character, then I'll be really proud. I'm going to look for one of the Painted Ladies and try again. If it doesn't work, I'll keep trying till I find the best way to do them.

With four years to practice, I don't need tomorrow's to be professional quality yet. But it'll probably be better than the last time! The buildings I like the most are the hardest ones to draw. I could do an ugly house pretty easily -- your basic suburban one across the street sort of thing. But what I want is to do the gorgeous Victorian town houses that I remember so well, and do them well enough you could recognize which one it is if you lived there.

I haven't tried it since I started simplifying my drawings though. I've been so nervous about the last failures at it that I never really tried again for years. It should be substantially better than previous attempts.

06-01-2010, 02:16 AM
These are awesome, Robert! I love marine life (hate boats though!). I'll look back in later, not much time today!

06-01-2010, 05:06 AM
those teeth - aaaagh!

They've been spotted off the south west of England but not yet attacked anyone.

06-01-2010, 07:59 AM
Oh, I love the Megalodon! Dinosaurs! Excellent coffee table too! I like the little notes you put into them, it's like reading an encyclopedia, always enchanting.

06-01-2010, 01:18 PM
Thank you! Didn't realize the sharks would get such mixed reactions. I love all marine life and rather like going out on boats too, though I would have bigger problems than sharks if I went overboard in cold water. I had a bad incident just with a swimming pool that was too cold and learned to avoid cold water immersion.

But I'd love to go out in a glass bottom boat someday.

Here's a couple more shark sketches, but nothing quite so scary. Megalodon's been extinct a long time and the Angel Shark is a bottom dweller that ambushes small fish and crustaceans. It was pretty though.

And an Ari sketch for my first Scavenger Hunt item.

Partial page 33 of All-Media Book
9" square
Pigma Micron pens
90lb cold press watercolor paper.

Today's "Start a Sketchbook Habit" exercise is drawing a building, so I'll need to find an interesting reference. Yesterday's was to do those notes, Raymond, but once started it's too interesting to stop. I'd wanted to do that for a long time and the exercise just opened it up.

Vivien, I hadn't realized they were found off England, that's a bit surprising. I guess not that surprising though, for something that migrates in the deep ocean to pass an island country. From these documentaries, I gather they don't usually hunt humans anyway, they want seals and fish. I know there's seals off the British Isles so that's probably what they're there for.

06-01-2010, 02:43 PM
Page 33 as a whole wound up being a Pen Drawing Page in various colors of Pigma Micron without washes. I'm mostly updating this because I decided to keep the Suzette Morrow 21 day sketchbook workshop in it. This page could easily have gone into Folio One instead, but I didn't realize that when I started.

All-Media Book Page 33 with
Scavenger Hunt 179, Item 1 and
Day 16 exercise from Sketchbook Workshop
9" x 12"
Pigma Micron pens in black, Sepia brush tip and assorted colors
Canson All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

06-01-2010, 04:45 PM
It's rare and the fishermen kept quiet at first as they thought they wouldn't be believed - global warming has expanded their range I think

The textures on that tooth are amazing - wear/erosion I wonder? or where they like that?

06-01-2010, 05:51 PM
The big Megalodon teeth were like that, grooved and serrated. I used to have a large one as a child and I've decided some future month to buy a large one again and keep it for a still life object. I have no keepsakes from childhood but that's one I wish I'd hung onto. Would've been worth $200-$300 today at least. The gum part is rough and irregular, but with waves of more irregularity and slightly smoother areas. I was following the textures as close as possible between several specimens.

Of course the site warned the one I get might have the serrations worn off, because these sharks would lose teeth constantly throughout their lives as they wore out. I think it's more expensive if they find the ones that got knocked out before the animal was ready to lose it.

The documentary mentioned angel sharks were very rare and didn't go after humans unless you did something dumb like tease them by pulling their tail. I thought it was beautiful against the rippling light of the surface so I sketched it. They're so interesting, almost like a shark evolving toward skates and rays.

06-02-2010, 12:21 AM
Oh, got one more thing to post for today. It's on page 34 but nothing else is yet. Still, you might like to see it.

I got Ari in motion for the Scavenger Hunt! Yes! Walking down a big pile of pillows to get from the windowsill to the bed.

Scavenger Hunt 179, #2: Featherless Animal in Motion
4" x 5"
Sakura Koi watercolor and Pigma Micron pen (black)
90lb cold press watercolor paper.
From life of course.

He was only in that pose twice and he didn't hold it, he moved fluidly through a lot of others. I managed to concentrate well enough to pencil him and then develop the gesture with detail, ink and paint it. I'm getting a lot better at painting my cat!

06-02-2010, 03:23 AM
That one is absolutely gorgeous of Ari! one to treasure

and thanks for the follow up info

06-02-2010, 10:01 AM
An agile pose, Robert! Love the shark bits too. Interesting info about the great white's tail. I have never thought that it wouldn't be the same as other sharks!

06-02-2010, 11:11 AM
Page 33 is cool !! Reminds me of a nicer R. Crumb kind of thing. So where are all those figures you were doing huh Robert ???!!! <g>

06-02-2010, 12:51 PM
Ah, what great updates! That last one of Ari is lovely, and what a great pose to capture! Also love the sharks, fascinating animals. I'd be scared for my life if I were to ever meet one that threatened me, but I'm not scared of them in general. I think they're lovely creatures. Your sketches of them are great!

The continuous line drawing looks fun and difficult, I think I've tried it a couple of times as a child. And the tea stain project looks fun too :D

@left hand/right hand.. I think I'm a fair bit younger than a few people here, we didn't have the right handedness forced upon us in school. I've always been dominantly right handed until I injured my wrist (tendonitis) which is unfortunately chronic, though I don't get it as often anymore. But through this I learnt to write with my left and have also used my left hand on large canvases for painting.. I found it easier to paint the left side of the canvas with my left hand, rather than crossing over. Since the injury I do certain things with my left - open bottles, heavy doors etc. I find it quite useful to be able to use both hands :D

Keep up the great work :)

06-02-2010, 01:03 PM
Vivien, thank you! I think it's one of the best I've done. Drawing him in motion is observing in a glance and picking up details when he's in another position.

Raymond, thanks! Yeah, the great white's tail looks very fat from a certain angle but normal seen from the side. I think it's bulging muscles like the throat of a big male alligator, it looks swollen but it's actually muscle.

Kevin, thank you! I did a couple of figures but then got caught up in this sketchbook workshop and have been mostly focusing on that. Day 21 is the last day of it so I might be getting back to figures around then.

Aiylah, thank you! I always loved how sharks look, they're some of the most beautiful fish in the ocean. Large dangerous creatures that are either extinct or live so far away that I'll never run into one are fascinating to me.

Continuous line drawing is very difficult and it can be fun, once I started getting it, it was more fun. I could use some practice though. That's cool about your learning some left hand skills after the injury. It makes a ton of sense for a large painting and I'm so used to both hands for typing that I know I can train my left hand if I put in the practice. I just never have for writing or drawing since grade school.

This is not actually in my sketchbook. I'm posting it here to fill a gap, because it is part of the "Start a Sketchbook Habit" series that's otherwise entirely in this sketchbook. It's the digital page, because I found out on facing this one Just What It Is About Collage.

It's not that I don't like it when other people do it well. It never was. I don't like it when I do it because I can't do it well without throwing my back, wrecking treasured possessions and making myself sick only to get of course, a substandard beginner-quality collage because I don't have any practice at it. Unless I was willing to take it up as a regular medium and had the storage space for tons of used magazines including duplicate issues, and the body energy to sort them and organize them, and didn't throw my back doing anything that physical, I'd never get good at it.

Suzette put some collage exercises in for people who hadn't yet learned basic drawing and needed a page that would come out well before they could draw easily. While to me, collage is incredibly hard and unrewarding while drawing is easy. So I did this one digital, and the last collage exercise will get my doing sketches of the subjects instead because they're that easy by practice.

It's a scavenger hunt through magazines and ads for examples of design principles. But if I sketch those online examples when I find them, I'll have that much more sketch practice and see the principles at their basics anyway... without having to tear up my good art magazines for examples, then wreck some sketchbook pages with bad gluing and then have to clean up and get rid of the trash that used to be good reference reading.

Collage Face
400 x 600 pixels
Digital photo collage using sea photo by JustGranny, lightened and altered wall photo by Masperius and "electric_mexico" by ink8290.

06-02-2010, 03:07 PM
Today's first actual drawing -- a piece of fan art for Terry Pratchett's "Diskworld" series. I sketched trying for a comics style, then inked and colored Sergeant Angua so that she'd scan better. Still working on scannable skin tones, got her complexion a bit too light trying to keep it from being too dark. There are some errors on her armor.

Most serious is that it's just not practical to tuck a chain mail shirt into her leather skirt with the flaps, that bit of Roman armor she's always depicted wearing because it's cute like a miniskirt. It would hang out over it, but I got it wrong and didn't realize that till the coloring stage. Oops! Well, next time I'll try for more plausible armor. It isn't plausible doing a breastplate over chain mail anyway but Pratchett always describes that, so that's just being authentic to the book.

Fan Art - Sergeant Angua from Terry Pratchett's Diskworld.
3" x 6"
Pigma Micron Pen and Koi watercolors
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
This character is copyrighted to Terry Pratchett. My drawing is entirely from imagination. It's not for sale nor will any prints be sold of it, in a sketchbook for practice as an homage to one of my favorite authors.

06-02-2010, 03:57 PM
Suitably gross shark torn leg. Did look, didn't dwell on it. Blood doesn't usually bother me, but leads to the OMG I've got to stop the bleeding! Whether it's my own or someone elses blood. :lol:

More great shark drawings. Ari is gorgeous as usual. :cat:

Oops, missed a whole page. Realized that not being online yesterday I needed to go back a page. Responded to page 7, then noticed it posted to the end of page 8. :o

Ari walking down pillows is so precious. He is a gorgeous cat and seems to know it. It shows in his stately progression down a pile of pillows.

Interesting collage. Doing it digitally is brilliant. Also like your warrior woman, tho' I agree, a chainmail top would not be tucked into a leather skirt.

06-03-2010, 01:12 PM
Thank you! I'm glad you liked my digital collage too and didn't think it was out of place. I hate collage when I do it, now I know why so I'll just classify it with "doing murals" and enjoy other people's good collages.

If you read the book, Sergeant Angua is a hilarious character. I really like her. Of course it doesn't hurt that she's also cute and sexy!

Page 34 is going very slow because I overdid it cleaning up under my drafting table day before yesterday. I haven't had the energy for pages and pages of drawing, but hopefully I'll be up to doing one or two more sketches and finish the page today. Here's my next "Start a Sketchbook Habit" exercise -- it was a lot easier, practically smack in the center of my comfort zone. I do this all the time in watercolor painting.

Day 18 "Start a Sketchbook Habit" exercise
Positive/Negative Space
3" x 6"
Tombow dual tip brush pen
Canson All Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper
From life, vine leaf clusters on the pecan tree outside my window drawn by negative space.

Vivien Maloney
06-03-2010, 02:51 PM
Robert - I haven't checked this Forum for a while but you have been busy. You are such a prolific sketcher, we could all learn lots from you. I also like the way you present your sketches on your pages. Great work!

06-03-2010, 04:39 PM
I love Terry Pratchett's book - so sad that he has a form of Alzheimers :(

are you going to do more of the characters?

06-03-2010, 05:57 PM
Thank you both, Viv and Vivien!

Vivien, I might do some more Pratchett characters. I was shocked when I found out he has a form of Alzheimers. I keep praying that he'll recover, that they'll come up with a treatment.

He's one of the greatest living writers I've ever read. His books are on permanent reread circulation -- happily he's written so many that when I'm done I can just go to the shelf and find one I haven't read too recently again. I'm still collecting all of his works in print. That's my reward any month I succeed in adding to my savings, I get to order another Pratchett book from Amazon.

Viv, my page layouts used to be horrible. I'd have one smallish sketch placed so poorly that I literally could not do anything else on the page in my older sketchbooks. Last year I decided to do something about that and have been concentrating on it ever since, so glad that's working!

A good start on Page 35, with about 2/3 of the page free for more drawings...

Scavenger Hunt 179 #4 Flowers
(Echinacea and Lavender)
3" x 8"
Sakura Pigma Micron pens and Koi pan watercolors
Cotman All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

Scavenger Hunt 179, #5 and #6
Glass Paperweight and Kneaded Eraser
5" x 3 1/2"
Sakura Pigma Micron pens and Koi pan watercolors
Cotman All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

WC Lee
06-03-2010, 08:32 PM
you are getting really good at capturing your cats in motion :)

oh how would u compare W&N pans with Koi pans? I have both but only used the W&N so far ...

06-03-2010, 09:04 PM
W&N Cotman pans and Koi pan watercolors are about comparable. Both are much stronger with better pigment load than most student grade watercolors I've tried. W&N Artists' is a lot stronger of course.

Give them a try. They're so convenient that I love them. I've been using Koi a lot lately.

06-03-2010, 10:04 PM
Oooh, there is so very much here--it's a feast for the eyes! I think my favorite is of the "cat in motion" Is that Ari? What a beauty! You really capture the soft feeling of the fur. The flowers are splendid. Your colors are always so spot-on and gorgeous. Love the volume of the petals and the stamen.

I have an 18 set of Koi. It is my second set. The first one--also Koi--I got back in the early 90's. The paints came in metal tubes, like Daniel Smiths. I do think the formula has changed. The old one seemed creamier. But the colors remain nice. I esp. like "Prussian Blue."

Just wanted to pop in. We are full steam going into finals for the next couple weeks, so I may be more or less AWOL. :-(

Thanks for sharing this--it is always very inspiring--

06-03-2010, 10:48 PM
Very cool negative space vine leaves. Love the interpretation of "blob". :lol: The flowers are lovely, you even got the distortion of the stems and leaves through the vase.

06-03-2010, 11:55 PM
Great stuff Robert! Love love love the last one of Ari in motion - wow! Great colors and movement!
The shark - bitten legs had me laughing! Beautiful Coneflowers too :-)

06-04-2010, 12:44 AM
Anne-Marie, thank you! Good luck on those finals. Blick carries a set of 12 Koi watercolors in tubes too, but I haven't tried them since I'm so happy with the pans. I've got tons of Daniel Smith watercolors in tubes, so when I use up the pans I'll probably refill them with Daniel Smith.

Yep, that is Ari, my one and only wonderful cat, my closest friend for the past ten years. We have this interspecies male bonding thing going on.

The little tortie with a line down the middle of her face, black on one side of her forehead and orange on the other, is my daughter's cat Gemini, who's very dainty and sort of pushes both of us around sometimes because cats are a matriarchy. She's only half Ari's size but he will step back from the food bowl like a gentleman to let her go first. Or she hits him. "Ladylike" to a cat is a little different.

I love drawing cats. I've still got Big Cats and their Fossil Relatives out and may try some more big cats from the anatomical diagrams again too.

Debby, thank you! That's practice. I started looking for distortion and just doing patches of color, light and dark whenever I look at any glass vase and it comes out right. I love doing glass now that it comes out right, but it was a real pain for years.

Try negative space leaves like that sometime, it's fun. I got into the habit doing watercolor by doing backgrounds first, because I kept losing the masking fluid even after I bought some.

Rachel, thank you! So glad you like my shark bitten guy. I'd seen that once when they first aired that episode and wanted to draw it someday, when it came up on Netflix I knew now was the time. Also cats in motion. I'm good at sleeping cats and those statuelike seated poses at the window, brick position, all the poses they hold for at least a couple of minutes. But when I only had maybe a second or two with the actual pose and had to remember it, that was tough!

That it worked has me determined to do some of his other memorable poses that he doesn't stay in long enough to draw. This is also a step toward getting his full-stretch yawn. When he gapes, you'd swear he was part saber tooth. He has very big fangs even for a cat and it's magnificent. I'll have to do a lot of studies to get those mighty jaws just right.

Then put a lion or a leopard in that pose for a completely different effect.

06-04-2010, 01:18 AM
Hey, Robert. I can't keep up with you. Great job on the cat. I can really sense the movement. Your use of ink and watercolors works well on your echinacea and lavender and paperweight sketches. Good to see you are keeping busy,


06-04-2010, 01:37 AM
Robert, I also wanted to thank you about pointing the way to Suzette Morrow's "21 day sketchbook habit." I actually started the program last week! Sometimes I'm too stressed or tired to do her exercise, but then I draw JUST SOMETHING, i.e. last night I drew Snapdragon's tail, which was actually enormously gratifying because I feel I get the fur just right. :-)

I'll post from that book after I'm done with my first, which I may not get back to until after finals. But in the meantime, I've been wanting to say something to you because you are such a great resource of information and so generous about sharing your passions and experiences.

06-04-2010, 09:11 AM
Anne-Marie, She's only half Ari's size but he will step back from the food bowl like a gentleman to let her go first. Or she hits him. "Ladylike" to a cat is a little different.

Cracking up... LOL!

This is also a step toward getting his full-stretch yawn. When he gapes, you'd swear he was part saber tooth. He has very big fangs even for a cat and it's magnificent. I'll have to do a lot of studies to get those mighty jaws just right.
Then put a lion or a leopard in that pose for a completely different effect.

I think you'll do a great job! I know it must be hard because they do move so fast. I guess you could always get a camcorder at the ready for when he stretches. Then you could pause it where you wanted maybe to get the lines? Or using a camera that takes consecutive photos at a time... get the whole range in motion, fangs and all !!! But then I don't think you need that anyway as you're so good at capturing what you've seen from life.

06-04-2010, 01:24 PM
Doug, thank you! Yeah, the more I do "Sketches and Studies," the more of them I manage to do in a day. It's been gradually building up. I can almost believe that someday I'll do a sketchbook in a month the way the Leonardo da Vinci Sketchbook recommends. (Of course a sketchbook printed by an art supply company would say that, they'd love to sell you a dozen a year!)

Anne-Marie, that is so great! I'll bet all the ones I find hard are easy for you, with your collage and design experience. I can't wait to see yours, it's going to be awesome. Thanks!

Rachel, thank you! I could try doing video with my webcam, but it's tethered to my laptop and he usually gives me the pose if I'm in the bathroom or he's sitting in low light or something. I'm better off just observing carefully, trying for it gradually, get the basic shapes and then study the details in successive yawns. It's a matter of seeing the pose lots of times before even the first gesture sketch that helps with the motion things, really paying attention and imagining myself drawing him.

I get distracted by his beautiful teeth, but if I get the shape of his head and mouth right, putting in those details will be easy. I can also crib by checking the anatomy drawings in several cats books for tooth arrangements. They have a big gap behind the fangs before the carnassials start, the back teeth for slicing up meat or kibble. Their little incisors are so tiny too.

Gemini pushing Ari around is hilarious every time she does it. She puts down her little foot and he backs up, looking big and embarrassed, sort of a feline Jimmy Stewart look. They are good friends though. She hissed at him a lot in the first few weeks but now she's warmed up to him through his patient appreciation and gentlecatly deference.

Today I've got part of Page 35 again plus all of Page 36. I skipped ahead to use an entire page for my "Starting a Sketchbook Habit" exercise so that it'd be coherent, while I still have a third of page 35 blank for more Scavenger Hunt drawings or something from the WDE that starts today.

First, the cool stuff from Page 35:

Scavenger Hunt 179 #7 Bone (dinosaur bone) and #8 Pencil Sharpener
4" x 6"
Sakura Pigma Micron pens and Koi pan watercolors
Canson All-Media Book 90lb watercolor paper.

Then the page following, in full:

Day 19, "Start a Sketchbook Habit" exercise, "Attributes."
Page 36 of All-Media Book art journal
9" x 12"
Tombow dual tip brush pen, black
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

06-04-2010, 05:38 PM
Yeah. This one's becoming my regular one. Go fig. I should open up Water Folio or Folio One again sometime, they're slipping -- but this one's really becoming my regular one like The Goof Off Book was.

Scavenger Hunt 179, Item #9: Mouth
Tooth of Carcharocles megalodon, from extinct shark's mouth.
4 1/2" x 4"
Pigma Micron pens (black, blue-black, sepia) and watercolor
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

The real tooth is a 2" long "commercial" Megalodon tooth from Steve's Fossil Shark Teeth (http://www.megalodonteeth.com/) online. The ones that don't get photographed separately and sold with a specific price, just good condition whole tooth with minor flaws by size. I measured it and this 2" tooth is actually 2 1/4" held straight upright, so he was generous with which one he sent. Also it does have very fine serrations. It was $15 with $5 shipping for Priority Mail.

I used to have a huge one, over five inches long, when I was a kid. One of these months I'll actually replace that with one of Steve's big ones, either from the "by size" list or choose one within my budget from the individual with photos ones that come with a display frame. But when I went on my sharks kick with the documentary sketchbook exercise, I decided to get a small one right away. Now I'm glad I did, this is a lovely specimen and even has tiny sharp serrations. I could cut steak with it.

06-04-2010, 11:24 PM
At last, finished page 35! No going back tomorrow, only forward.

All-Media Book, Page 35
9" x 12"
Pigma Micron pens and watercolor
90lb cold press watercolor paper.

And here's the kitten by herself, unreduced:

Kitten in the Pillows
3 1/2" square
Sakura Pigma Micron pens and Winsor & Newton Artists' watercolour
Canson All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Photo reference by scattykat for WDE June 5-6, 2010.

Her eyes were just starting to turn, so I had to create that indeterminate color with glazes. I used Sap Green and let it dry, then glazed a thin layer of Yellow Ochre which gave a very natural golden-green cat eye color, then at the last when I did the blue cloth, I glazed over her eyes again with Cobalt Blue. That gave exactly the shade of murky changing-from-blue kitten eye color she had, so I'm pretty proud of her eyes.

Scruffy little kitten, how could I resist doing her first out of all the WDE references?

06-04-2010, 11:30 PM
Interesting attribute page. Very cool having a dinosaur bone to draw and a shark tooth! The kitten is just too cute. Does Ari get jealous when you draw other cats?

06-04-2010, 11:37 PM
Thank you! I always wanted a really good (though not large) fossil collection, and now I'm starting to put it together. Three is a collection, right? I've also got a Cretaceous leaf impression in red sandstone that Kitten gave me several years ago for my birthday.

Ari doesn't get jealous when I draw other cats, as long as I stop what I'm doing to scritch him on demand. Priorities. He slept right through this one, so that's okay. But if he head bumps, I need to stop and give him some snuggles before getting back to drawing, reading or anything else I do.

This was a fun kitten to do -- scruffy looking, short haired, very very young and with eyes in that indeterminate color that's so hard to get accurate. She was a challenge! Only females are tricolor, and she's got little ginger bits as well as grey, so she's a girl.

06-05-2010, 01:30 AM
WOW Robert, what a feast for the eyes! What fun things you put in your journal! I'm just loving all the color-and-ink work going on here. I marvel at how your "blob" actually LOOKS like a kneaded eraser (when, I'm quite certain, my "blob" would look like. . . .a blob. lol)

What a tender expression in kitten's eyes! You really capture the personality of animals--something that I think is very hard to do.

We are big paper weight and fossil fans over here. I have a lovely paperweight DH gave me, golly, back in 1993, I think. It has a real pansy inside (or at least I THINK it's real) I never thought about painting it before, but now I'm getting an idea to do so! My husband likes fossils, and about the same time--around '92--I gave him a shark's tooth fossil. It is very cool.

I just love your aesthetic and also your choice of subject matter, which I find both personal and universal--which is to say, perfect for you. I find your journal very nourishing. Thank you for sharing it with us.

06-05-2010, 04:03 AM
great sketches :)

I particularly like ammonites and the leaf print fossils - such lovely patterns

06-05-2010, 03:31 PM
Thank you both!

Vivien, leaf print fossils have so much cool variety and they're not hard to find in rock shops, ebay, online fossil sellers. The ammonites ran a little pricy but it's the sort of thing that I'll take my time choosing, buy once and enjoy for a lifetime.

Anne-Marie, that pansy paperweight sounds so cool. I've seen some like that with real flowers embedded in resin. I don't know how they get them to keep their color, but they might be dried before the paperweight gets cast. Thanks for appreciating my subject matter. I'm drawn to things that are beautiful or interesting, then I'm happy to find out other people think they are too.

Working on today's "Start a Sketchbook Habit" exercise, which is finding examples of design principles. Instead of collage, I'm doing quick sketches in pen to practice my quick-sketching.

All-Media Book, Page 37
9" x 12"
Pigma Micron pen and Koi watercolor
90lb cold press watercolor paper.

06-05-2010, 06:50 PM
Hey, Robert. Back from my vacation and I have to say how much I missed keeping up with all the goings on at WC!!!! In the mountains the reception is not very reliable so the smart phone was not a good choice at keeping up with all of you. I have a question for you. I've been considering a new set of watercolor pencils and know that you love the Derwent ones, the new formula. I was checking on Blick and didn't know if those were the new formula or not. Any idea?


06-05-2010, 07:32 PM
Robert you said you were practicing quick sketching. How long did this take you? I liked the one "Chased by Dinosaurs."

06-05-2010, 08:10 PM
Hi Dena, glad you're back! Hope it was a good vacation. Yes, Blick has the New Formula in Derwent Watercolor Pencils. Look at the tin photo -- if it's Venice with a gondola or part of that scene, those are the New Formula. They are really good and not that pricy for artist grade ones, you'll probably love them.

Debby, thanks! Not long, I don't think I spent more than ten minutes on any of them, more like five. I wasn't timing myself but I was working fast. I drew those directly in ink too.

These, I roughed in with pencil and then inked, then added watercolor on some of them.

All-Media Book, Page 38
Scavenger Hunt 179
# 10 cartoon self portrait
#11 Nose (mine)
#12 Square (Kuretake ink bottle from above)
#13 Round (Cap of Kuretake ink bottle)
#14 Rectangle (Koi watercolor set)
#15 Ellipse (Brush cap in box)
#16 Tree (back yard)
#17 Light/Lamp (Daylight table lamp)
9" x 12"
Sakura Pigma Micron pen and Koi watercolor set, Tombow brush pen
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

06-06-2010, 10:04 AM
Great studies, and how cute is that little kitten on the previous page :lol:

06-06-2010, 11:30 AM
Hi Robert,

I finally got a chance to go through this whole thread, and enjoyed it immensely! You are really prolific, varied in your subject matter...and very good! Having just completed two figure drawing classes at school, I appreciate and admire your figure sketches - plus of course the animals. :)

06-06-2010, 01:27 PM
Cool cartoon of you and Ari. The tree is awesome. I like the things you come up with to sketch for the scavenger hunt. I'm still wanting to try that, but this last week has been horribly busy.

06-06-2010, 02:40 PM
Wow, thank you all! Today is the last day of "Start a Sketchbook Habit," but today's exercise is a bit of a tough one and I'm having a hard day with fibromyalgia flare and my back acting up. I might need a couple of days to do it or I might go at it much simpler than planned.

06-07-2010, 08:52 AM
Today I felt a lot better, so I did Day 21 -- the finale of "Start a Sketchbook Habit" workshop by Suzette Morrow -- first thing when I got up. It came out pretty well.

Day 21 "Start a Sketchbook Habit" workshop with Suzette Morrow
9" x 12"
Sakura Pigma Micron pen, size 08 black
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

I liked this exercise. It could've been anything but I chose some still life objects I love so that I could develop something later into a good painting using all of them. Had to use the new shark tooth in it, that's just too much fun.

06-07-2010, 09:10 AM
Robert ,
i like the way you sketch everday items from different angles and make them so interesting!


06-07-2010, 01:04 PM
Thank you! I've been participating in the Scavenger Hunt for a while now, several months. Most of the items on the list are everyday things so I need to do something to make them interesting. Of course this last batch weren't really that everyday except for me -- I keep my fossil collection out where I can enjoy it and sketch it, also my favorite glass bits and bobs.

Here's a couple of new things from the next page:

Heir of Tyrannosaurs
4" x 5"
Sakura Pigma Micron pens, color size 05
Winsor & Newton Artists' watercolour
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Photo reference by gakinme (Sandra) for June 2010 Southwest Challenge

Scavenger Hunt 179 #19: Feathered Animal
1 1/2" x 3 1/2"
Pigma Micron pen size 08 black
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

I'll post the page as a whole when it's finished.

06-07-2010, 02:13 PM
That top down arrangement is very interesting on your compositions.

The rooster looks like quite a character. Very vivid coloration. Wow, you had to be fast to catch that bird in flight.

06-07-2010, 08:26 PM
Thank you! Oh yeah, on that bird I had as much time to capture the pose in a glance as I did with Ari walking down the pillows. I don't think I'd have tried it if I hadn't already successfully done Ari walking. But it worked! I was beginning to think I'd have to do some little squiggle in the distance 1/8" long bird silhouette for it or catch Ari playing with a feather.

I generally work top to bottom, left to right usually. That has to do with holding it in my lap and not liking to drag my hand over areas already done. It's just habit, not something I plan for artistic reasons. Whatever space is left at the bottom, I'll pick something to fit it or several smaller things to fit it. This time I just went big and took up a bit more than the bottom half of the page with the third painting -- it fit best that way.

All Media Book, Page 40
9" x 12"
Pigma Micron pens in colors and black
Winsor & Newton Artists' watercolors
Photo reference for rooster: gakinme
Photo reference for mountain goat: just chaos

06-08-2010, 11:55 AM
Great pages there! I especially love the subtle yet amazing resemblance you give to the rooster and goat. Great contours on the goat's head! Haha, I hope Ari doesn't mind, though :lol: I guess all cats just don't mind the attention :D

I like the candid pose of Sergeant Angua too! The armor works as well. It's obscured by her belt anyway, we can always assume that her plate mail is a bit short and that it's covered by the belt :D

06-08-2010, 12:34 PM
The mountain goat does round out the page of animals. I really like the pen and wash work you are doing.

06-08-2010, 01:55 PM
Raymond, thank you! Good point about Sergeant Angua's chain mail, it could be covered by that wide belt. Much appreciated. Ari does love the attention, he's gotten much better about letting me sketch him and not playing his little game of "move if Dad picks up the camera."

Debby, thanks! I'm enjoying the pen and wash style. It goes pretty fast if I pencil first, then I'm not finding my way hesitantly with the pen trying to get it perfect. Of course if I sketch in pen I've given up on perfection from the start and just want a sketch, which usually comes out better than if I worry about it.

This one's in Pitt pens though. I found my old sets of six in the bathroom when I went in to do the faucet so decided to use those for that Scavenger Hunt item.

Scavenger Hunt 179 #20: Faucet
4" square approx.
Pitt Artist Pens grays
Canson All-Media book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

I had fun getting the shadow on the sink right to imply the curve of the sink.

06-08-2010, 02:56 PM
the rooster is really well caught and nice mix of media going on too

06-08-2010, 03:06 PM
WOW! Its hard work just keeping up with you Robert! I LOVE completed page 35! Then all the other pages since then. Your cartoon of yourself and Ari is very cool! Love the tree on that page too. But page 40 is AWESOME! Love that rooster, what gorgeous colors in it! I was just captured by the flying bird sketch! But then you finished it off with a bang when it came to the goat! Fabulous page!

06-08-2010, 03:51 PM
Terrific rooster and goat, Robert!

06-08-2010, 06:01 PM
Viv, Rachel, Michelle, thank you! So glad that page 40 came out well. After getting the rooster right I was a little hard put to do something equally good on the page, till I thought of going back to the same challenge for the goat. I might lighten up on page 41 though with the faucet on it, just do Scavenger Hunt stuff and so on.

06-09-2010, 01:54 AM
I love them PITTs! Really great to work with without smearing or bleeding. Perfect reflections on the faucet, it's shiny!

06-09-2010, 01:09 PM
Oooo I just remembered I have some Pitt Pens! I've really not done much in pen before but did do a scribbled sketch once in a fiber tipped pen and thought "Oooo I like this"! So got a set of 4 FC pitt pens. I REALLY want the sepia toned ones thought and want to get those soon. I remember seeing them in our local craft store. Is that a sepia colored pen you used for the shadow or a grey?

06-09-2010, 01:35 PM
Raymond, thanks! I love doing reflections on shiny metal, once I started getting that right it became a joy to do anything shiny.

Rachel, thank you! Pitt pens are great. The shadow is the light warm grey, not Sepia though. If I'm gentle with them not mashing the tips down, I can still get very delicate small marks and thin lines with just the tip of the brush point.

I think the Sepia set is something like the Pigma Microns sepia set -- all the same color, three nibs that are medium, thin and extra thin straight lines plus a brush tip. That can be great for monochrome ink sketching. I only bought brush tip ones though since I already had Pigma Microns for doing narrow clean lines. Both brands are archival, pigment based, waterproof inks and seem to last a long time.

06-09-2010, 03:52 PM
The faucet is great. The "shiny" really comes through. Though I do have to wonder about art supplies being found in the bathroom...:wink2:

06-09-2010, 11:23 PM
I think the Sepia set is something like the Pigma Microns sepia set -- all the same color, three nibs that are medium, thin and extra thin straight lines plus a brush tip. That can be great for monochrome ink sketching. I only bought brush tip ones though since I already had Pigma Microns for doing narrow clean lines. Both brands are archival, pigment based, waterproof inks and seem to last a long time.

Maybe? I can't remember exactly now? Just remember seeing the "sepia" and thinking it would be useful. The black ones I have are Small, Fine, Medium and one Brush tip. I will have to check again next time I go in to the store!

06-10-2010, 12:58 PM
Debby, thanks! The reason I've got art supplies in the bathroom is lack of shelving. My bathroom has a lot of built in shelving and cabinets, so overflow supplies and books go in there.

Rachel, the sepia is great. Yep, sounds the same as my Sepia Pigma Micron set. Good combination for being able to do different things with the different points. The brush tip's good for filling in large dark areas as well as expressive strokes.

06-12-2010, 11:06 AM
Page 41 finished, still doing Scavenger Hunt things on it. Today's is that set of three knobs or handles at the bottom, but I didn't try to crop those out separately.

All Media Book, Page 41
including Scavenger Hunt 180
Items #1, 2, 3
Derwent Watercolor Pencils, Pigma Micron Pens
90lb cold press watercolor paper.

06-12-2010, 11:09 AM
Ari is beautiful as always. I really like the one of him laying on his side. The knobs/handles are well done as well.

06-12-2010, 04:03 PM
Thank you! Here's another page with more Scavenger Hunt items including Ari again, a lot less comfortable in his cat carrier.

All-Media Book Page 42
including Scavenger Hunt 180
items 4 and 5
9" x 12"
Daniel Smith watercolor sticks used as watercolor, Pigma Micron pens, Derwent watercolor pencils and wash
Canson 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

06-12-2010, 05:43 PM
Ari has a great sense of humor, Robert! LOL

06-12-2010, 06:54 PM
Thanks! Here's a couple more, WDE images. I took my time doing Claudia Nice style pen and watercolor with them.

Dudley Castle and Meerkat from WDE
9" x 5"
Pigma Micron color pens and W&N Artists' watercolor.
Canson All Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper
Photo references by artbyjune for June 11, 2010 Weekend Drawing Event.

06-12-2010, 08:05 PM
Good job on the castle and the meerkat, Robert. What is a meerkat, anyway? I like Claudia Nice's work, and have one of her books, but I don't think I have the patience to do all that detail in the pen work. I'm hoping to develop a somewhat sketchier style that will make it easy to do quick sketches outdoors.

06-12-2010, 08:41 PM
Meerkats are little animals in Africa that live in colonies like prairie dogs. They eat bugs mostly, they're carnivorous but not very large and scavenge everything they can get. They burrow. They have complicated family relationships. There's a show on Animal Planet called "Meerkat Manor" that follows a clan of them like a soap opera. I bought it for my granddaughter and so now know a lot about meerkats, she loves it and also constantly plays with the toy meerkat I bought her at the same time.

It's funny, the penwork doesn't take as much patience as I thought it would just skimming the book. If I get it penciled in well, then the pen work is a lot lighter than it would be if I wasn't using washes. It goes fast and the watercolor covers the kind of tiny errors that bug me when I'm doing pen and ink by itself. Makes it easier to loosen up and cover areas with texture rather than say, trying to draw every stone on that castle.

The wash goes very fast and I do about half the shading and coloring with the wash, so it's faster than just pen drawing by a lot.

Carole A
06-12-2010, 09:35 PM
Robert - Your journal entries are all terrific. I especially love your critters, kitty and meercat. Both species seem to always be smiling.

Carole A

06-12-2010, 10:15 PM
Thank you! On the meerkat, the photo reference looked as if it was smiling. On cats, sometimes they do. But only if they're human-loving cats, feral cats don't bother to smile. The ones that grow up with humans come to understand it's our way of purring and they try to reciprocate.

06-12-2010, 11:01 PM
Ari in the cat carrier is too funny. That castle is awesome. The meerkat is adorable.

06-13-2010, 01:23 AM
Thank you! He's on my lap now purring, he likes it when people comment on his pictures. The castle was tricky, but I'm starting to get better at architecture. Meerkat was perfect for what would exactly fill that odd little space next to it.

I'll have to see what else to do on this page, think I'll try to keep this page to pen with watercolor instead of mixing mediums on the page.

06-13-2010, 11:13 AM
These are terrific as usual! I love your work on the yellow crystal and the blue bottle in the scavenger hunt page! Where do you find the scavenger hunt items, under what thread?


06-13-2010, 11:46 AM
Reggie, thanks! Here's the link: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=625187 - the Scavenger Hunt is always located in the Artwork from Life forum under Subjects in the main index. If you participate in one, you're eligible to host one and sign up on the hosting list. I'm doing the list for the next one and it'll be fun. Full of stuff from nature and stuff with ellipses.

06-13-2010, 01:17 PM
He's on my lap now purring, he likes it when people comment on his pictures.

lol, Robert. I am so enjoying your notebook! Looking through it is my "treat" I get on study breaks (LAST WEEK!!! YAY!) Looking at your castle, I thought: my God, is there anything he CAN'T draw? People, animals, botanicals, architecture, acquatic life, "icons", fantasy . . . you amaze and inspire me. Thank you for that!

I read on the pastel board that you were planning on buying a Unison set? Have you already and which one did you have your eye on? Are you going to incorporate pastels into your notebook too?

I thought I read somewhere else that you like Mt. Visions, and so was surprised to see you decide on the Unisons. I myself was not crazy about the Mt. Vision I tried (too gritty, couldn't get the edge I wanted without breaking them and I don't have to break the Unisons; felt clumsy in my hand) but I'm curious as to what pulled you to Unisons after all--

06-13-2010, 02:17 PM
I do like the Mount Visions and have the Chromatic Set. The colors and texture were great and the giant sticks are a bargain. But I'd like to get the big Unisons half stick set in part for its compactness. I collect pastels in a number of brands I like, I'm horrible that way about art supplies. The more colors, the better. I don't have it yet, but plan to get the big 120 color Unisons half stick set soon.

I need to curb my new pastels spending sometime though, because I don't have the space to spread out with everything or get a full range big set of any of my favorite brands. I'd need a big table dedicated to that in order to be able to use it, which is frustrating. So instead I'm going for compactness. Mt. Visions are great but they are gigantic.

There's not much I can't draw if I have a good photo reference, but there are some things I like drawing more than others. Nature is high on that list, architecture takes a lot of work to bring it up to snuff with what I can do with rocks, cliffs and trees. Fantasy, I haven't really let myself go yet but might sometime soon. About half of the things you mentioned gave me big trouble until very recently, when I started on this sketching spree. Heck, landscapes did until I took Deborah Secor's snow class and Charlie's Colorful Still Life class in the pastels forum.

I just apply things I learn to other mediums, that's all. Though I think it's settling down into several favorites -- pen and wash is great, so are pastels, and when I want to do something very small or slow I turn to colored pencils realism. I haven't done much with oils yet but I'm getting into the season where I can, by going outside with my oils set. Considering my last few, I've got a long way to go with that medium.

Yay for your last week of school! Bet the long break is going to be a big relief and a boost to your painting time.

Pen and wash is another development of my sketching spree. The sketches are in pencil and too light to see, but once they're done I have fun inking and coloring them. I'd like to get to where I can do costumed superheroes and their backgrounds, because I do have a good graphic novel story in progress and would like to be able to create it completely from scratch -- draw well enough to do the story justice, then self publish, post it online or sell it to a major company like Dark Horse.

Right now I'm focusing mostly on learning -- improving these skills. I can see the gaps in my skills easier than others unless they draw better than I do, which some people in this forum do. I'm getting there though, and getting this active with it is helping a lot.

This morning I did another WDE pen and watercolor painting a la Claudia Nice. Spent the whole morning from 8am till 1pm sketching it, inking it and then using watercolor on it. I think the signature got pretty buried though. Waiting for it to dry, then I'll edit it into this post.

Here we go! The big picture -- just the water lily scene. Then the page as a whole.

Bud and Water Lily
6 1/2" x 7 1/2"
Color Pigma Micron pens size 05
Winsor & Newton Artists' Watercolour pans
Canson All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Photo reference by artbyjune

All-Media Book, Page 43
9" x 12"
Color Pigma Micron pens size 05
Winsor & Newton Artists' Watercolour pans
Canson All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Photo references by artbyjune for June 11-13, 2010 Weekend Drawing Event.

06-13-2010, 03:16 PM
The lily pond is excellent, Robert! Nice job on the inking.

06-13-2010, 05:13 PM
Thanks, Michelle! I think I managed to push the style a little farther this time, get a bit closer to Ms. Nice's level of mastery.

06-13-2010, 07:35 PM
I really like the lillies, nice job.


Carole A
06-13-2010, 10:35 PM
Thank you! On the meerkat, the photo reference looked as if it was smiling. On cats, sometimes they do. But only if they're human-loving cats, feral cats don't bother to smile. The ones that grow up with humans come to understand it's our way of purring and they try to reciprocate.

My dog, a big black lab, smiles often and when I smile at him, his ears perk up. He knows smiling's a good thing. Lately he's learned something new: I'm always sneezing due to allergies. I think Bogey believes it's a form of communication and he'll wake us up with his fake sneezes and walk down the hallway toward the bedroom sneezing to distract me from my book when I'm reading. :lol:

Sorry, Robert, I didn't intend to hijack your journal thread.

06-14-2010, 12:43 AM
Like what you did with the lily pond. It's dark depths are great.

06-14-2010, 03:27 AM
Carole, that's cute and it makes perfect sense to me. Why would Bogey understand that it's involuntary? It sounds like all the other sounds humans make. Ari and I were talking this evening when I woke up. He looked at me and churped some beautiful cat sounds that I can't quite replicate, so I talked to him and he voweled back. Then he purred. He was smiling, I was smiling.

He yawned, stretched and got out of my chair. Sometime I have to draw that big toothy yawn of his, he's beautiful.

Debby, thank you! That was the hardest part, getting the dark water right with all its color shifts. Water that murky full of various stems and rotted leaves and sprouts coming up and other things is fascinating as much as clear water but it was hard bringing the color down dark enough. I washed it in with Burnt Umber and then charged other colors into it, mostly Paynes Grey and Burnt Sienna, after establishing some areas in Burnt Sienna where I saw reddish bits coming toward the surface. I worked around patches of duckweed that I inked in and then washed with Sap Green. Then at the end I glazed more of both Sap Green and Viridian over it here and there.

06-14-2010, 10:37 AM
I got up at seven today and started another major project. This one's for the Classical forum's Bouguereau challenge, which runs both June and July. Bouguereau was overwhelming to me as a boy. I saw some of his paintings when I was very small and the world around me very uptight. His beautiful goddesses, nymphs and maidens drew me in and fascinated me, whispered of a world richer, freer and more beautiful than the way I was supposed to think.

They weren't fig leafed and they were Great Art, so they were good enough to be allowed in a way that Playboy magazine wasn't. Beauty could suspend Puritanical rules, become so important that it was allowed when nothing else was. So I was enthralled and I also wished I could have one of those paintings in my home. Not being a millionaire, I don't -- but I may purchase a good print from the site someday anyway to add to my collection.

I was equally fascinated with how classical painters handled drapery, silk or velvet or brocade, pearls, jewels, waves, all these beautiful things out in the world along with their lovely young models. How could he capture a wave that changes even during your glance? How could he get the lady to look as if she was hanging in the air, how did his poor model stand and pose for him? Was she hanging from wires like a girl in the circus?

Half of me wanted to walk through the painting into the world of beauty and never return. Half of me wanted to be able to paint like that myself, and write the novels that would go with these images.

So here she is, my first Bouguereau copy, in pen. I was planning to do her in pen and wash, still might, but I scanned her at the pen stage in case I completely mess up with the watercolor. You have to see her as she is now, the way she came out right -- the way that little boy wished he could draw when he just stood and stared.

Why pen?

At the same age I was exposed to many beautiful 19th and 18th century engravings as well as older woodcuts by Durer. I loved pen drawing and had a genuine Rapidograph that I'd earned by doing technical illustrations for one of my paleontologist father's papers on Cretaceous mammals. I tried to copy Victorian engravings and etchings with that pen, once managed a Victorian lady in full fancy dress, tons of ruffles and bows and bits and bobs only to see that drawing thrown in the incinerator as a punishment for not doing my homework... when I'd gotten her face perfect and her hands perfect, gotten every pen detail accurate.

Being able to draw a girl that beautiful that well in pen was the other dream that came into this Bouguereau copy. I think I succeeded, even though this time I did not have an engraver's example of exactly where to put the lines and curve the hatching. Also, I didn't want to copy Le Crepuscule in the same medium. In order to make this copy mine, she had to be in a different medium and style yet still retain her identity.

So here she is, my posthumous collaboration with an artist I've always admired. Maybe I should keep her exactly as she is and do another one with pen and wash, I'm feeling nervous about the watercolor even though I know that'll complete her. I got her too right on the pen stage.

Le Crepuscule after Bouguereau
7" x 11"
Sakura Pigma Micron color pens, size 05
Canson All-Media book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Possibly a WIP, first intended as pen and wash.

06-14-2010, 01:24 PM
Excellent, Robert! Since it came out just like you wanted it to, I would definitely leave it as is and do another one with pen and wash.

In the incinerator??? Wow, that's cruel and unusual punishment.

06-14-2010, 01:49 PM
She is so beautiful. Hard choice whether to leave her in ink or add water color.

Your remembrances from childhood are so vivid. Having been a parent myself, I have to say that something so cruel probably did not get the point across (do your homework). It probably only made you angry, not reformed.

06-14-2010, 04:44 PM
Michelle and Debby, thank you! So... one vote for keep as she is, one for whichever I do... I'll watch for some other comments. She's growing on me just as she is, it's tempting to just move on.

Yes, it was cruel and unusual, Mickey. Debby, you're entirely right about it too -- that didn't motivate me to do my homework or anything else she wanted. That's exactly how I reacted. It wasn't the only cruel thing she did, but it was one of the most memorable.

Sometimes if I mention something from my childhood, it takes other people's reactions for me to understand how abnormal and unhealthy it was. Thank you both for letting me know that. It helps a lot to be able to look it in the eye and understand the roots of that fear.

I've sorted out most of it. My mother probably has a serious undiagnosed mental illness. I found a thorough online screening questionnaire that clarified what went on when I was growing up and helped me to understand. But every now and then I'll trip on something that I hadn't sorted out yet.

This is one of those things. Both of you helped me a lot. I've rewritten this post a dozen times. It hurts, but only the way if you're frostbitten that it hurts to slowly warm the injured limb in tepid water. I know that pain well and know that after it comes deep relief. You've given me back another chunk of my soul, so for that I thank you.

06-14-2010, 08:00 PM
OK - your talent should be illegal!! :D I go out of town for a long weekend and come back, turn on the puter and come here to see what i've been missing! I am never disappointed! I just love your page with the lilly's and castle, absolutely awesome! As for Le Crepuscule - Amazing! I love her just as she is, but think you could also do a great job by painting her, but on a "separate" ink drawing first!!! This one is just too perfect! And I can tell you love her just how she is, so do another one to paint! At the end of the day the choice is yours and I know that whatever you do she will always look beautiful :)

06-14-2010, 08:10 PM
I can't stop looking at her... !
Gosh - if you were to paint her... where would you start!? I don't have anywhere near the talent or confidence you have so I'd be scared to touch her lol! A second ink drawing... :-)
If you could remember that drawing you did as a kid I think it would be great to try and capture her again, from memory! Make her your's again, bring her back to life :-)

06-14-2010, 10:57 PM
Rachel, thank you! I don't think I can recreate that drawing from memory. But if I can draw figures and fabrics that well, that's enough to recreate her in spirit. I feel as if I have by doing Le Crepuscule, because she's better. I could easily do a Victorian lady with a lot of ruffles and fluff, as long as I had an example for the costume -- the costume elements are fairly rigid. The main thing was her face and her hands, if I can do those features and those hand gestures justice it doesn't have to be a recreation of a childhood drawing.

It's more that I'm freed up now to copy the masters too. The same flinch I had about doing nudes, I also had about copying Leonardo's drawings or Durer or anything else -- and yet that's the way to learn to become as good as they were, that's how to gain their techniques. What I learned from the unknown illustrator for the Godey's Lady's Book was how to ink mouths that looked real without outlining them completely -- getting the lower lip with just a little curving mark that doesn't connect rather than outlining both lips. I did that with Le Crepuscule, transposing her. I got her hands right too, and know I could do those delicate hand gestures again. I got the drapery right -- and that's harder with a floating gauze than it would be with the stiff almost stylized ruffles of Victorian garments.

I'll probably just sketch and ink her again, then watercolor that one. Or sketch and wash her in watercolor pencils first, because that'll give me a good sense of tone and color but go swiftly. I can work up to this in stages so that a pen and wash version comes out well -- or do pen and wash in sepia and burnt umber as one of those stages too, just work with value in monochrome before dealing with those delicate pale skin tones.

Bouguereau has some cool shadows that are very light, they're almost shadows only by hue rather than value on her body. That gives her a translucent look, miraculous, supernatural -- as a moon goddess that fits her mythic character too. As shadows they were so faint that in penwork I could only very lightly hint at the darkest of them. In the original oil he rounded her body so perfectly with hue that he didn't need to have strong value shifts to show her form.

I'm used to doing figures in very dramatic lighting, not this kind of pearly indirect lighting. So having done this, I'm starting to understand how much more there is to learn from this painting.

I got good at roses when I did one rose a dozen times before it wilted and a dozen times again working from my sketches after it faded. This shining young goddess could lead me to all sorts of techniques I don't understand yet, and then they'll come back with my own chosen subjects and models. I might alternate working on this project with some of the Eadweard Muybridge photos, the girls in that book of photo references had very similar features and that period style to them.

06-14-2010, 11:58 PM
Great job on the copy. When I was very, very new at this I didn't understand the concept of copying masterworks either, obviously I've overcome that and can see the benefits now.


06-15-2010, 10:42 AM
Robert - you are absolutely right. You HAVE captured the hands, face and everything else just perfectly and you are excellent with fabrics and textures of all kinds. Just keep on doing what you're doing! Can't wait to see where this Goddess leads you :-)

06-15-2010, 10:52 AM
Thank you both! I'm so glad the challenge runs through June and July, so that I'll have several weeks of studying Bouguereau. There are several other paintings of his that fascinate me just as much so I'll be getting to them too.

06-17-2010, 05:28 PM
All Media Book, Page 45
Scavenger Hunt 181 #1, 2, 3 Three Views Challenge
9" x 12"
Derwent Watercolour Pencils and wash, Sakura Pigma Micron pens
Canson All-Media Book 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

This one is all about Ellipses and getting them right, which I did on most of them. I think I goofed on the base of the blue cup seen from above slightly, but it was a bit hard to see on the black top of the air filter.

06-17-2010, 05:33 PM
Man... I can't wait till I get me some of those D. Watercolor pencils! Nice job!

06-17-2010, 10:59 PM
That's a lovely blue cup. Great views of each item. I checked out your scavenger hunt thread. Don't know if I'll get to it this time either. Time keeps slipping away from me. :rolleyes:

06-18-2010, 03:09 AM
great practice on ellipses - they are so important to get right

Joan T
06-18-2010, 10:24 AM
Robert - Somehow I missed your sketches for last weekend's WDE. The ones of Dudley Castle and the meercat are super...but that water lily pond has my mouth hanging open in awe!!!! Love the one of the maiden too. I think you should leave this one as is and do another one with the watercolors.

06-18-2010, 04:36 PM
Thank you! Rachel, I think you'll really enjoy the Derwent watercolor pencils. Their new formula is fantastic, soft and easily dissolved, good strong color.

Debby, hope you get time to try the Scavenger Hunt list. I came up with a fun one and there's things besides ellipses on it.

Vivien, I needed the practice on ellipses as much as anyone, and intend to keep going on that.

Joan, thank you! Yes, that's what I decided to do -- keep the pen version as is and do more versions with watercolor and pen and with watercolor pencils.

06-18-2010, 07:29 PM
Four more Scavenger Hunt items at the top of Page 46:

Scavenger Hunt 181, items 4, 5, 6 and 7
5" x 9"
Derwent watercolour pencils
Canson All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

06-18-2010, 08:02 PM
You get such vibrant colors out of those Derwents. All the translucent items are marvelous.

06-18-2010, 08:59 PM
Thank you! Colored glass is one of my favorite subjects in a still life, especially blue glass.

Iris Versicolor
7" x 5"
Derwent watercolor pencils
Canson All Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Photo reference by skappy for June 18 WDE.

06-18-2010, 09:24 PM
Hi Robert!

After having been away from commenting for so long, it's hard to know where to start commenting on this magnificent thread! All of your work is so beautiful and so inspiring. I truly appreciate your participation in this forum. It's really fun to have a group of people not only showing their artwork, but also disclosing a bit about who they are.

You already know that you inspired me to try the Suzette Morrow workshop, and I've really enjoyed seeing all your exercises. The colors you are achieving with the Derwent watercolor pencils are amazing. I am considering your suggestion to sell off my 72 pencil set and buy the newer ones but am wondering whether the newer watercolor pencils are similar to the 72 pencil set of Inktense pencils (which I also have). (Can someone send me the name of a good 12-step program for art supply addicts???)

Among my favorites are:

Bud and Water Lily
Le Crepuscule
The Meerkat
Every drawing of Ari - especially the color ones!

This is by no means an exclusive list. I admire everything you have done here, but I can't mention everything! :)

Even when I am unable to comment, I am trying to stay current with what is being posted and I always enjoy seeing your work.


06-18-2010, 10:54 PM
Thank you! Jean, don't sell off your Inktense. They're quite different and work together well -- Inktense don't rewet when they've been washed, they're permanent. Derwent Watercolour Pencils can be lifted. So glazing the latter over the former is very effective. The new formula are wonderful. I didn't like the old formula, but that was about 15 years ago at least so they may have had formulas in between.

LOL -- I think art supply addiction is one of the happiest ones around. It's always inspiring and leads to even more drawing and painting.

Thanks for commenting and listing your favorites. They are some of mine too!

06-19-2010, 12:04 PM
Nice flower there. Do you know what kind it is? I don't think I've seen one like that before.

06-19-2010, 12:40 PM
The photo reference comment was "Iris versicolor" and it looks like a wild iris or blue flag -- not like the big bearded irises in gardens but the wild irises I've seen here and there. I think they're about worldwide now from garden escapes because even the wild ones, people collect the bulbs and put them in gardens.

Here's the finished page with two more Scavenger Hunt items.

All Media Book, Page 46
9" x 12"
Derwent watercolor pencils and wash
Canson All Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Photo reference on the iris by skappy for WDE June 18.

06-19-2010, 04:42 PM
that pencil looks real! as though I could pick it up

06-19-2010, 05:51 PM
Thank you! It's always fun drawing art supplies, sometimes I love to just study them in all their subtle shapes and colors.

7" x 8"
Sakura Pigma Micron pen and Winsor & Newton Artists' Watercolour
Canson All Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Photo reference by skappy for June 18 WDE.

06-19-2010, 05:56 PM
Oh, that's a super mountain lion! You did a great job balancing him on those branches.

06-19-2010, 06:31 PM
Beautiful penwork on "Le Crepuscule after Bouguereau"! I see what you mean by getting her too right on the pen stage. I think it was a good idea to leave it at that.

I look at some sketches I make and sometimes I put too much detail on the sketch that I don't want to apply color or pen anymore and on other occassions, I don't know when to stop :D

I feel torn with all these media that I love but have limited time to explore all to the maximum.

I somehow guessed that glass and crystals were one of your favorites based on the works I've seen you draw before! Like those glass and tin subjects, that pencil is dead real!

Thanks for sharing, always a pleasure taking a look-see!

06-19-2010, 08:46 PM
Nice finish to the page with the paintbrush and pencil. However, that mountain lion is fantastic. Balanced on the branches like that is just great.

06-19-2010, 10:14 PM
Mickey, thanks. I felt so inspired by the photo, his pose was irresistible. It took a lot of concentration for me to get the sketch right at the pencil stage, after that he went a lot easier. But I hesitated for almost an hour before starting the wash because I ran into that same nervousness about messing up the pen drawing.

Raymond, so glad to see you again! Thanks! I know that feeling of having too many media to explore each in depth -- but they feed into each other. I rotate my different mediums, every time I come back to one I've learned a lot from the others.

Once I got the knack of silver and crystal I couldn't resist doing it. It's fun. Start with something simple like a plain water glass and be sure it's on a white tablecloth or something, very simple background. What's clear reflects everything around it, but if you sketch in the shadows right and leave the rest blank, it comes out looking true.

Debby, thanks! That balanced hunting pose is what made me fall in love with that reference. I almost want to put an elk or something on the opposite page exactly where he'd be poised to leap, where he's looking.

06-20-2010, 02:40 PM
Finished off the cougar page with three Scavenger Hunt items:

All Media Book, Page 47
9" x 12"
Pigma Micron pens and W&N Artists' watercolor
Canson All Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Cougar photo reference by skappy for June 18-20 WDE.

I could've placed the snowflake obsidian a little closer to the right, now that I look at it as a whole. But by and large I'm happy with the layout.

06-22-2010, 11:13 AM
You cover so many different subjects! The lily pads are fabulous and I love the crosshatching with the rich deep colors!!!

Your nude is beautiful, so elegant and graceful!

Love the cougar!! I have had a thing for them since I saw one years ago here in VT. I would love to see another and be able to photograph it. Here they are called Catamounts.


06-22-2010, 03:49 PM
Reggie, thank you! Yes, I remember, catamounts. They've got many names but they've always been my favorite big cat.

All Media Book, Page 48
9" x 12"
HB pencil and 9B pencil
Canson All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
From life, six Scavenger Hunt 181 items.

06-22-2010, 09:53 PM
A Mastodon
9" x 12"
Sakura Pigma Micron pens and Koi watercolor
Canson All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper
Photo reference by skappy for WDE June 18-20

The colors in the ice are greener IRL but I couldn't get the balance right for both the mastodon and the ice, so I tilted it toward getting the animal right.

06-22-2010, 10:17 PM
Oh wow that Mastodon is amazing! You can almost feel the power of him! I love the ice being that blue, its just stunning! I can just imagine it tromping around eons ago in that cold land!
I was going to comment on the wonderful cougar, and of course beautiful Ari but then the Mastodon jumped out at me when I got to the end of the page!! Wouldn't want to get to near THOSE tusks!!

06-23-2010, 01:55 AM
Thank you! I wasn't sure of him at the inking stage and half way through the painting I was really nervous about it. I've always loved prehistoric animals, the bigger and more majestic the better. I'll have to do some saber tooths again too, and maybe a woolly rhino sometime.

06-23-2010, 07:32 AM
my favourite is the one of Ari labelled 'tummy' - you've caught the attitude beautifully. One of mine is out on the patio in the sun in much that position :)

06-23-2010, 04:24 PM
Vivien, thank you! That's so sweet, they do love to relax that way. I got his tummy but I had to draw the whole cat in as well, it just wouldn't look right otherwise.

Scavenger Hunt 181: 18, 19, 20, 21
6" x 8"
Sakura Pigma Micron pens and Koi watercolor
90lb cold press watercolor paper.

06-24-2010, 06:35 PM
That Mastodon is awesome. Is it in the sketch book opposite the cat in the tree? Ari is beautiful as always. Really like looking at your sketches. Such a treat.

06-24-2010, 07:11 PM
Thank you! It's in the same sketchbook but not the facing page to the cougar. The pencil drawings of Ari are in between.

Here's page 50 complete:

All-Media Book, Page 50
Scavenger Hunt 181 Items #18, 19, 20, 21 and
Scavenger Hunt 181 Items #23, 24, 25
9" x 12"
Sakura Pigma Micron pen, Sakura Koi watercolors and Yarka St. Petersburg pan watercolors
Canson All-Media book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

06-25-2010, 12:15 PM
that's a really good series with their different textures :)

06-25-2010, 03:28 PM
Lovely, lovely work. You are amazing in your pen and wash technique.

06-25-2010, 04:18 PM
Thank you both! I'm particularly proud of that crystal, it's one of the best ones I've ever done. I was always fascinated with crystals and have sketched or painted them in many different mediums.

Here's the start of the new Scavenger Hunt:

His Hairiness, Ari the Curled Up Cat
4" x 5"
Derwent watercolor pencils and wash
90lb cold press watercolor paper.

The green patch next to Ari is the underpainting for the second Scavenger Hunt item to go on this page, vine leaves on the tree trunk outside my window. I wanted to draw them from the negative space but for that challenge I needed a green wash first so they wouldn't be white leaves.

06-25-2010, 04:31 PM
Love everything on pg 50, esp the little box and the crystal. LOVE that little saphire blue eye peaking out of Ari!!

06-25-2010, 05:38 PM
Thank you! So glad the crystal worked, it was tricky getting the shading just right on it.

Here's the finish on item 2, "vegetable" -- the leaves on the vine on the pecan tree are created by painting around them in negative space. I did them once in black and white for the Sketchbook Habit exercises, but now I've done the same thing in color.

Vine on Pecan Tree (and fluffy cat)
5" x 9"
Derwent watercolor pencils and wash
90lb cold press watercolor paper.

06-25-2010, 05:43 PM
Thats very cool. I've done a little of that before from an exercise in a book that came out OK! Is that Virginia Creeper growing up your tree?

06-25-2010, 06:51 PM
Rachel, thank you! It's a great exercise, I've seen it in books before and it was one of the exercises in "Start a Sketchbook Habit." One of the cool things about doing it is that you'll usually get more accurate outlines than trying to draw the outline of the object as such. I think that's because when "that weird shape of bark around a space" has no preconceptions, you draw it as at is. If I was to draw a leaf cluster I'd probably flatten it or even out the size of the leaves or something rather than show them as they are.

It might be Virginia Creeper. I'm in Arkansas and that isn't too far away from Virginia. I don't know the name of the vine, only that it's growing on the tree outside my window and its leaves turn red in the fall.

06-25-2010, 09:21 PM
Right - it does make you pay attention to what you're actually SEEING rather than what your mind THINKS is there and filling it in for you!!
Virginia creeper is native to the US (not just Virginia) and is common in our areas of AK, TX, and all surrounding states. 5 leaves (as apposed to the 3 of poison ivy) and glows a wonderful red in the fall :-)

06-25-2010, 09:45 PM
Rachel, that's great! It probably is Virginia Creeper. All the leaf clusters have five leaves, something not always obvious if one of them's under another or folded or something. That's so cool to know what it is! Thank you!

I remembered that today was Plant Parade. Usually I miss the challenges with reveal dates. Either I do it early and forget to post, or I decide to paint it on the reveal date and don't remember till it's over. But today I remembered with enough time to do one!

Plant Parade June 2010, Reference 1
5" x 6"
Sakura Pigma Micron color pens size 05
Sakura Koi watercolors
90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Photo reference posted by agnesdale hosting.

I've got a little space to the right of this, a bit too much to just leave it and a bit too little to do anything large, so I'm not sure what I'll do there. But when I do, I'll post the full page.

06-25-2010, 10:19 PM
Ari peeking with one eye is so cute! The vine as negative space is great. I remember the black and white version. The flower is gorgeous.

06-26-2010, 12:20 AM
Thank you! I love drawing Ari. I think sometimes I come close to drawing that cat daily.

06-26-2010, 05:24 AM
that last one is lovely

06-26-2010, 07:16 AM
OK coming in late here Robert so gonna jump in with the plant parade. I like the delicacy of the flower and "cleaness" of the colour....

06-26-2010, 09:49 AM
Love the blossom.

06-26-2010, 01:00 PM
Cherry Blossom? Very lovely sketch. I like the bark on the tree branch.

06-27-2010, 12:45 PM
Thank you all! Coolness! I like how it turned out too, though the clean color of the petals is actually glazes in Violet, Permanent Rose and Carmine, two cold reds and one violet. Glazing and mixing analogous colors does not lose their intensity.

Here's the finished Page 51! Today I did two more Scavenger Hunt items to complete it. Yesterday was a miserable sick day with literally no art at all, but I went back to bed after doing the rose in the Scribble Sketch Book and when I got up, felt a lot better. It must have been the weather setting off my fibro and arthritis, it's also sunny today.

All Media Book, Page 51
Scavenger Hunt 182 items 1, 2, 3, 4
plus Plant Parade
9" x 12"
Derwent watercolor pencils, Pigma Micron pens and watercolor
90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Photo reference for twig and apple blossom posted by agnesdale.

06-27-2010, 01:26 PM
The tiger eye is really cool.

06-28-2010, 09:52 AM
Robert - Fantastic Page!!

Ari looks gorgeous as he normally does.
That Apple blossom is stunning - i can't stop looking at it and the same with the mineral/tiger eye!! Looks like you've photographed it on the page and not like a drawing. Really great to look at!!

06-28-2010, 01:40 PM
I agree the tigers eye is very cool :) and I already admired the blossom - a nice page

06-28-2010, 02:48 PM
Thank you! I have no idea what I'll do next, but I'm sure to continue. This book's starting to look about 3/4 full, I might even complete it.

06-28-2010, 03:05 PM
hope you are feeling better today

06-28-2010, 07:28 PM
Sort of, not really. I've been having a hard time with the weather lately or something, it's annoying. But I got in three more Scavenger Hunt pieces.

Scavenger Hunt 182 - 5, 6 and 7
5" x 12"
Pigma Micron pen and watercolor
90lb cold press watercolor paper.

06-28-2010, 10:33 PM
All of these are great. The sea shell really stands out. I love what you did with the shadow.

06-28-2010, 11:05 PM
Thank you! I took a chance and went with brighter shadows this time, used Cobalt Blue. I like the higher saturation palette sometimes.

One more for this page:

Scavenger Hunt 182 #9: Fluffy
4" x 4 1/2"
Derwent watercolor pencils and wash
90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Misnumbered, but I'll fix it before posting the whole page. No, that isn't misnumbered. Cool.

06-29-2010, 03:00 AM
Ari is lovely again

and that seashell is really good - they aren't an easy subject and you've got the 3D and twirl of it beautifully

sorry you aren't feeling too good.

06-29-2010, 02:29 PM
Thanks, Vivien. It comes and goes, today is better so far. It's chronic so it's really just the usual ups and downs. I get annoyed when the downs start causing really stupid mistakes though.

Definitely felt better this morning, I've finished page 52 and pushed on with the Scavenger Hunt.

All Media Book, Page 52
Scavenger hunt 182 items 5-12
9" x 12"
90lb cold press watercolor paper.

06-29-2010, 06:23 PM
what a beautiful page Robert! Love it all and really liked the Tiger's eye on the previous page! LOVE tiger's eye! I have a piece of that somewhere.... also have some in a pendant too, somewhere... lol.
I hear you regarding the weather! I've had a headache for the past two days and tooth ache, cheek ache and just all the bones in my face are on edge. I get that way every time its going to rain or if there is a sharp drop in barometric pressure. Realized it about 25 yrs ago. Can be cool sometimes, I can most often predict the weather better than the weather channel! :-)

06-29-2010, 06:48 PM
Nice page. The pinecone is brilliant. I tried to draw one once and gave it up. Have to try again one of these days. Ari is beautiful as always. Glad you are feeling better.