Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I am rarely given to abstract subjects, but once in awhile an idea just flows from me and onto the paper.  So it happened with this piece.  This was done many years ago, but I was looking at it the other night and I still really like it after all these years.  The simple lines with the varying thicknesses and graceful curves allow my eyes to wander around and through the figure viewing it almost as a landscape instead of a series of organic shapes.  I apologize for the poor quality scan.  I didn't want to take it out of the frame and the decision to post it was spontaneous.  As usual, this is 2B pencil on Strathmore paper.  4 x 6.25 inches.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shiny Things 2

Sometimes no matter how much you like your subject or how you try to portray it, it just doesn't work out.  I just don't like how this turned out because I wasn't as successful as I was with the first piece.  Sometimes a good piece wasn't meant to be duplicated.  I'm posting this anyway because when I started this blog I made a decision that I would post the bad along with the good.  Actually, I like the clover leaf coin much better than the star.  I should just photoshop the star out, but it seems a lot of work for something I'm just not feeling the love for.  So, there it is.  I'm done.  Going to go work on my color WIP for a while.  Charcoal, graphite and 2B pencil on Strathmore paper.  5.5 x 6.5 inches. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

WIP IF Muddy

As soon as I saw the concept word for Illustration Friday, I knew what I wanted to draw;  my muddy mountain bike.  But, I didn't realize just how difficult an endeavor it would be.  It has taken me a whole week just to lay out the drawing.  You can see all my erasure marks on the paper.  I was doing well until I came to that back tire. The bike is positioned at such a slight angle that I couldn't get the ellipse right for the tire.  It looked so bad in just the line drawing that I was thinking of scrapping the tire altogether and just showing the muddy frame of the bike.  But, I'm stubborn and bullheaded and kept trying everything I knew how to do without just printing out the photo and tracing over it (that would've been too easy!)  

I actually went so far as to make a grid and lay it over my monitor.  That got it close, but then I realized the front of the bike was off.  Argh!  I didn't touch it for a day.  I was actually thinking about giving up.  Then I went back and turned it upside down.  I could see where it was wrong, just couldn't correct it.  Sigh.  Then I got an idea.  It was still cheating, but I figured, it was my photograph!  When I was a little girl, I had received for Christmas one year a drawing set, and for the life of me I can't remember what it was called.  It consisted of a piece of tinted plastic that you slid into a stand that held it upright.  Whatever you wanted to draw went on one side of the plastic, what you were drawing on went on the other side.  Then you  copied your subject and the result was perfection!  I had some plexi in the garage and took a small piece and fixed it with red tape, propped it up on my light table and went to work.  By this time, I found that the outside diameter of the tire was really close to what I had drawn, but the inside of the tire and the negative space was what was giving me a headache.  It is now right, and I think it's safe to go ahead and add shading and details. 

All this frustration took away from the happiness of using my new graphite and charcoal pencils.  I'm really enjoying putting in my dark areas with these pencils and having no shine from the lead. I'm also having fun drawing the mud splatters on the frame.  The abstractness of these patterns on the traditional drawing is interesting.   

I'm only writing out this whole sordid tale, because I especially want those newer members to EDM to know that even experienced, seasoned artists have troubles  with subject matter.  I have some very wonderful friends that help me out in situations like these.  I sent my sketch and the photo reference to one such friend, thinking a fresh set of eyes would help.  She was able to guide me and offered a few suggestions on how to resolve this issue.  In the end, I got what I wanted, but with some misgivings as to what I did to achieve it.  I will never tackle another drawing like this. Anymore wheels for me will be straight on circles or viewed as a straight line from the front.  

This is the fifth WIP I have on my table.  I have so many ideas and I feel like there is not enough time to do them all!  I'm going to spend some time on my other WIPs and leave this sit for a little while.  I feel the need to distance myself from it since we've had such a rocky beginning to our relationship.  This is about 7 x 10 inches and done on Strathmore paper.  Please share your own frustration stories that you've encountered in your art with me.  It'll help me feel not so alone. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Shiny Things

I was taking a break from my WIP color piece.  I began this drawing while not feeling well and on pain meds.  Needless to say, laying it out was an adventure and I had a really tough time with the perspective.  Imagine that!  I was not happy with it until today when I almost started over.  But, I tweaked the shading and worked on the highlights and voila!  I am feeling a little timid about using the charcoal pencil and stepping out of my comfort zone, but I will try to keep utilizing it and hopefully it will grow on me.  I'm going to try another of the coins and use both the charcoal and the graphite, too.  2B pencil with charcoal pencil for the real dark areas.  4 x 4 inches on Strathmore paper.  I picked up these little trinkets while I was in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia for a girl weekend a couple of years ago.  We were doing the whole spa experience and we were so relaxed.  The town is small and quaint with galleries and boutiques everywhere.  I found these little coins in one of the shops and couldn't resist.  They have little totems on one side and words on the back to describe them.  The backside of the man in the moon with the star says DREAM, the music note says LISTEN and the heart says LOVE.  I have about half a dozen of them that I keep in a little black satin pouch.  Sometimes I put them in my pocket and just like feeling them there and rubbing them like a worry stone.  Buying these little coins earned me the nickname Magpie from my friends.