Saturday, December 13, 2008

Final Exam Project

Here we are, the final project of Drawing One class - a self portrait, adorned by "ribbons".

Oi. As though just staring at myself in front of a mirror was not enough, I had to add a ribbon to the mix!

So I found this wide, silky, gold lame beaded lovely in my sewing closet, tied it around my neck and started to draw! The ribbon is weak, I know.

Dot said I nailed my eyebrow and she helped me with my lips. God-children asked who the drawing was of! I love them. Then god-daughter said, "I knew it was you!!"

Fun that my hair is long enough to not be a silly, gawky length. I think I made my nose too long and my eyes too big. One a nightmare, the other a dream!

The joy and miracle is Teach wants to mentor me, one-on-one, next semester in portraits! I am so fortunate, blessed, happy!!

So funny that in the middle of showing this to god-son tonight, I dropped and broke my glasses. Thank God I had already ordered a backup pair Friday. Hope they get here fast. Please pray for my clients on Monday and Tuesday!! I never should have said I could cut hair with my eyes closed!! LOL!!

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Friday, November 14, 2008


Friday night. I am tired of trees. So I sketch me!! At least if I mess up, I don't hurt anyone's feelings!!

Eliana has been wanting me to paint this of her and her beloved dog Roxie. I started. It was hideous. I decided to "work it out" in a sketch. We'll see how she feels about this rendering.

I love people. I gotta get back to doing them. That is my passion.

I ordered CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN at my assistant's suggestion, because in that movies, the trees come alive. I had forgotten that. Maybe I will love painting/drawing trees more after watching that movie.

Meanwhile, I actually framed and hung the charcoal and pastel of the single tree in our gallery/dining room for D's birthday party! They look good!!!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Almost Quit

We were to go to park and draw in charcoal. The first day was too cold for me so I stayed in the car. I did this with vine charcoal which smudges all over the place in transit.

Then we were to do an oil pastel in the next class. Teach taught us to us Mona Lisa solvent with a brush to get rid of the crayon type markings. She said no black or brown and not to try to make any of the colors realistic, just squint at our charcoal renderings and get the values right (lightness and darkness) I had a rough time.

I thought it was my cheap pastels, so I ordered some good ones. I never finished the steering wheel or rear view mirror. I was beginning to sink. . .

The next class we returned to the park. This time I sat on a footstool and really got into this tree. I liked this one, alot. I just knew I was going to produce a masterpiece! (You know, since I had the pricey pastels!)

I cannot tell you how badly I hated this one. I thought it was hideous and stopped before filling in the smaller branches, leaves or fence.

I seriously considered not going to today's class, since it was Critique Day. But I don't like being a quitter and darn it, I really like my Teach, so I rebelliously arrived twenty minutes late. Errrrg, she had already started the critiques.

Long story short, something happened to my eyesight when I saw this foursome across the room on the bulleton board. They weren't so bad as I had thought. As a matter of fact, I was not at all embarrassed of them. I gathered them into my bosom and came home and finished him!

Why do I give ear to that condemning and critical voice that is forever debasing me? Teach is not a gusher, not even particularily complimentary, but she has this way of honest appraisal with just enough encouragement that I leave her words with my shoulders a little straighter and my heart a little more hopeful.

Thanks Teach!!
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Self Portrait

I have begun reading and working through the book "Drawing from the Right Side of Your Brain".

A quick self portrait was assignment one. Sitting in front of the mirror.

It was late. I had had two glasses of wine.

Hmmmmm. . .
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Okay, I have a LOT to learn about landscapes, but I was pretty happy with how the trees in the background actually look like they are far away.

Not so good on the shadows up front though!! LOL!
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Letter to Teach

Dear Teach,

Your lesson today was so exciting. The specifics of instruction made me feel empowered to attempt something I have never done, which is sit and draw a landscape!

I loved the explanation about the atmospheric moisture and why things at a distance lose the contrast and are lighter. Also, the importance of placing the horizon. . . of how shadows turn into just a line the farther away they are. . . thrilling!

I got my oil pastels and am waiting with baited breath for Monday. I love your instruction and how-to's on different details. I don't know if you have planned Monday to do any exercises on like "how to draw a tree" "how to draw a bush" "how to draw grass" "how to draw shadows", etc, but those basics would be so helpful for me.

My parents taught round and square dancing. They were well known for being able to teach even the clumsiest to dance and dance well. Their secret was they majored on the basics. They would teach one small set of steps at a time and have their students repeat over and over until they were fully confident. Then, they would introduce the next set of steps. To some of their peer teachers, their method seemed childish. But to their grateful students, Mother and Daddy were dance saviors!

I feel pretty clumsy on the working end of the "paintbrush". But I have this roaring desire to "dance" on canvas!

Thank you SO much!


Sunday, October 12, 2008


I think we all breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday. Teach gave us a quick lesson in perspective, then turned us lose in the hallways to practice. My walls on the right are tipping. . . I did not do so well without an easel and without standing back from my work. We used the Conte Crayon instead of Vine or Compressed Charcoal. Ah, something besides black or grey!!

Our assignment, due next Monday, was a staircase. Several students asked which medium and she said it did not matter. I know I have really stretched it using pastels.

This is the staircase from my childhood. I used to stand at the bottom of those stairs and long to climb up and visit my sisters' room. But Mother had her rules and so I could only stand there and wonder what the second floor of our home looked like. Seems cruel.

What that built in me was a fascination of stairs. So when Teach assigned a staircase drawing, I knew what I was going to draw. And I had to do it in color, annoying wallpaper and all!
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Did I say that this painting was from an Art Party night? It was wonderful to be together again and paint.
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Ahhh, it was so good to paint again!
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Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Torture continues. . .

Teach helped me a bit with shadows on the tray and showed me how to work the edge of it. Valuable lessons. She makes it look so easy. I would actually like more of her one-on-one. She didn't want to "take over" my unmasterpiece, which I love her respect. But I learned so much from those few minutes of watching her rework my mess. If I were her, this would get a C or C-.

How fun! We get to do a second take on the errrr still life! This time in landscape instead of portrait format. I rebelled. I loathe those irksome drapes, so I zoomed in to avoid them.

I can see the error in my texture/lighting on the coffee pot. It looks kind of wavy, not cylindrical enough. There is supposed to be an apple between the hook of the cane and the basket in the background. Ha. I just ran out of steam. We have an hour more to work on these lovelies before the class critique.


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Birthday Gift

My friend asked me a couple of months ago if I would paint her dogs. She had taken this photo of them in the backseat of her car and said it was a perfect depiction of their personalities.

I stammered around, "Uh, I dunno, that's a tall order. Don't think I am that good yet." It was a lie! I was screaming "Yes!!" inside me, knowing her birthday was October 2 and this would make a great gift!

Art Party Girl helped me begin the portrait. It was the funnest painting I have done yet.

I guess Sh loved it. She, her husband and their daughter all exclaimed a slow and major "OMG"!

Ah, I love painting!
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Going Backwards?

I am struggling. I love Teach. But I think my work sucks. I LOVE color. I feel frustrated, imprisoned, aggitated, irritated.

Yet also determined, resolute, hopeful and trusting her leading. My life is about color. I am a black and white person, a "yes" or "no", "now" or "never" person. I read life like the sports pages. Headline first, bottom line, then the details. But somehow, art without color is choking me.

Sketch from Monday. I still am horrible at drapery. Those are the wierd and meaningless scratches below the hatbox! I did run out of time. I don't know that time would have helped.

This is Wednesday's pathetic sketch. Like I said, I feel like I am falling backwards.
For the next three or four classes, we are working on still life. I hate this. She purposely has us drawing a bunch of junk, ugly crap that no one could have any emotional connection to so we can learn form and value. I get her reasoning and do not fault it. The result is what is glaring me in the face is my horrific lack of talent.

I return to my first epiphany. God gives us the desires of our heart. I have this huge desire to paint. Meaningfully paint. Passionately paint. Purposefully paint. Powerfully paint. I am a person of passion and faith and compassion. I want that to transfer to canvas. I trust that He will enable me through Teach's lessons to learn and grow and widen my foundation.

At this point, I am triply grateful she is a kind and encouraging Teach. I feel very fragile.

But I know better.
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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Final Drape class work?!

Monday we worked on drapes again. As Teach headed to closet to get some music, I requested (in jest!) Taps!! She asked, "Is it THAT bad?"

This was silver velvet. I cheated. I used my phone camera to check my work. I don't know why, but I can "see" my work better that way. I still struggled. Improvement though, because I did not get my brain headache til about 30 minutes into it!

Wednesday was critique day. This thing got many positive comments including, "I feel like I can grab the fabric." I was so flabbergasted.

The black jacket critique was stony silent. I didn't love it either. I liked the unfinished one. Teach said she liked it. She is very kind. Honest I think, but a mercy triumphs over judgement kind of woman.

That made me think about how fearful I was to even begin taking art classes. Son-in-Law had warned me his art prof had called drawings and paintings "a piece of sh*%" and would rip things up right in front of everyone. I have no respect for that "teaching" style. Most likely would have withdrawn. Hopefully I would not have let my Irish show!!

At any rate, I am so appreciative of a kind and gently inspiring Teach!

Had intended on trying to do another drape this weekend as she gave no homework. But I took a three mile walk down 12th Ave instead and started some Christmas shopping!

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Sketch Book

Okay, I can see it. I am improving! I also have fallen in love with vine charcoal and will be just as happy if I never have to use a pencil the rest of my life!

I love how forgiving the vine charcoal is, how I can smudge it and "move it around" as Teach says. Compressed charcoal is still very tough for me. Once on paper, it is so THERE.

Next week is still life with a huge assortment of objects. I had fun practicing with a couple of them.

I am already pondering what class I can take Monday/Wednesday morning next semester!
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Drapey Homework

Remembering Teach said it is important to love what you are drawing, I thought I better listen so I would not become suicidal over this assignment. I have this black pleather crop jacket I just love. I think I way over worked the finished piece. I like it better at this beginning point!

I will definitely NOT be hanging this anywhere for anyone to see.
Erg. Grrrrrr. Humph. Chortle. Spit. Spew. Phooooey.

I'm with Scarlett O'Hara. . . "after all. . . tomorrow is another day!"

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I love my teacher. I hated Wednesday's class. She had a red drapery over a bar stool on the platform. What a freakin struggle to draw the values that created the folds in the fabric.

I thought I would be smart and zoom in on a small section. She said I would need to really get the detail in to make it work. I kept saying to myself, "This is the geometry of drawing. I NEED to learn this. I NEED to press through. My brain NEEDS this challange." I wanted to throw myself on the floor, burst into tears and kick my feet.

I decided that would be way embarrassing, so I continued the above mantra as my head began to throb!
I guess our second attempt was supposed to be really special, because we switched from newsprint to the better sketching paper. Great, I could start over for a new torturous attempt.

Thank God, I was saved by the bell and we stopped so she could critique our homework.

I felt good about my work. One guy did a milk can and a pile of books and a clock. It was splendid. I could not stop looking at it. That milk can had such shine. HOW does he do that? Another memorable one was a potato chip can, a water bottle and a coke can. So real I got hungry looking at it! The other one I liked was a glass jug with water and I think some other bottles. The water in the jug amazed me.

Teach said she liked my shoe and the lighting detail on the candlestick, loved the flame! She said my shadows should have been much darker since my subjects were so dark. Asked about my crazy circles, then graciously made comment that perhapes I felt there was too much empty space and the darkness of the objects needed balancing out.

Oh joy, I get to do more drapery stuff for homework!!
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Monday, September 8, 2008


Today's class was on foreshortening. We drew an axis at the angle of the bones. (Dead, dry bones laying out on the platform at nine a.m. Mmmmmm!)

Then we drew the front part of the bone. Hold up your vine charcoal an arms distance away and squint and "measure" the width of the front section of bone. Then use that measurement to check how many widths the length of the bone appears.

Measure the width of the front of the bone that you have drawn and then make it as long as above directions would dictate. Is that clear as mud?

I was okay on the first bone, hating it on the second. I kept telling my brain, this is like geometry, it is GOOD for my brain!! Was really happy when she switched to boots and shoes for the second drawing! (Cuz the bones kicked my butt!)

I have a hard time translating the value (dark and light) with compacted charcoal which she instructed us to use. It seems like I cannot find midtones with it.

I got to chitchat with our teacher. She has horses (drool)! No wonder she has such a gentle soul. A fellow animal lover! And she recognized my portfolio bag fabric (from my mother's collection) as houndstooth. I made my bag to save the $40-100 for a ready-made one after observing her handmade one.

Can't wait to get back to my painting I started at Art Party last night. I have to keep quiet about this one for a while!
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Saturday, September 6, 2008

First HomeWork Assignment

Still life with three objects and single source light. I don't know what she will think about my circles, but I had to add some umph to it!! Ah, if only I could wear that shoe!
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I had a black and white photo of her. Had no clue how to mix her skin color. Got it too dark and too cool. But I still like her!
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School Work

Drawing One Class

Single bottles from the first class.

Teach did a bit of a "critique" on the last one. She said she liked my roundness on the vase, the third bottle looked morphed (I agree LOL!!) and that she liked how it looked "dirty"!!

Considering I have never wanted to draw bottles or any kind of still life, I am pleased. I am now not the eldest of the class! And I would say my work is in the middle of the talent in the class. I am very happy!
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Monday, August 11, 2008

My Heart

"My Heart"

My mother and my daughter.

I did this charcoal for my daughter for her 30th birthday.
Risky, giving art as a gift. She is prettier than this. But, I am learning.
I will try this again after more lessons!
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