Gage Academy of Art – Week 3

Well, friends, today we started week three of our five week course. We started charcoal and a two-class drawing. We covered preparing the contour and then adding some initial value. I assume next week we will continue to turn the form and finishing it up. I felt like I had a bit of a break through with my contour tonight.
Now, I don’t know if it was due to the fact that we were using charcoal pencils instead of graphite or if I am just starting to get muscle memory for the new way we’ve been holding our pencils.  Regardless, I was pleased with my progress.  After I got to the point shown above, I was nervous to move on to adding value. I ended the class on the image below, having added some initial tone but not completing it.  That’s how I’ll be spending my three hours next week.

Gage Academy of Art – Week 2

Hello again! Last week, contour drawing. – This week we were turning form. I think mine turned out ok. The paper I was using had a lot more tooth than it should have. For some reason the recommended brand doesn’t come in smooth any more. The new way of holding my pencil is also holding me up a bit. I need to practice.

The roadblock with the pencil is my left-handed brain.  So, it may sound weird to you right-handers, if you’ve never had to learn something from a lefty.  But looking at how a pencil is being held in a right hand and converting that to how I would hold it and use it in my left hand is kinda tricky. Try to learn something from an “other” hander and you will understand.

Once, in wood shop in 9th grade, I was using a jig saw.  I had my hands placed exactly where the shop teacher explained they should be for safety. My hands were backwards.  You know what that means? I came about five jig saw cuts close to cutting my left thumb off.  Luckily, I moved my hand in time.

Next week we start charcoal.  This week – practice adding value!

Gage Academy of Art – Week 1

Well, just finished my first, 3-hour drawing class for week one at Gage Academy.  I decided to take a beginners course because I haven’t drawn for a while or had any real instruction, so, I thought it would be a good refresher.

I think my contour drawing turned out ok. There are a few issues but for a first attempt it worked out. This week, I have to practice doing more contour drawings. I was on target with the rest of the class.

Next Tuesday, we work on value.  I have a long way to go; practice will be the key.

Drawing Again.

I watch A Show with Ze Frank regularly.  Last week, I re-read the transcript of the video above. After that, I realized I was feeling unhappy and needed to make some changes.  So, I decided I was going to add more structured art time to my life. I don’t do enough of it and I love it.  No point in wasting time wishing I was creating art when I could just be doing it!

Since, most of my work lately has been mixed media, imagination, abstract, and nonrepresentational art. I haven’t really drawn from direct observation with any level of seriousness since the stone age (or 1996).  With this in mind, I’ve recently registered for a class at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle.  I’ll be starting there end of this month.  It’s a beginner class – because I was worried that my skills had deteriorated.  I figured this class would be a good kick-start to warm up my skills.

Since I have a good three weeks before the class starts, I thought I would read Betty Edwards, Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain book as a pre-class warm up. Today, I did the three pre-instruction drawings of a self-portrait, my hand, and face from memory. I will post a side by side after I’m done reading the book and completing the exercises.

After doing the drawings today, I thought I would just sit down and try to draw something simple from direct observation – Enter LED flashlight. It’s not perfect but it’s pretty good for not drawing in years. In fact, the self-portrait I did today was better than the one I did three years ago when I started the Betty Edwards book back then.  In fact, I’m not even sure if I will see this through to the end but I’d like to and I have plan – which I should probably flesh out into a “smart” goal with a timeline and tasks and such.

LED Flashlight – direct obs, pencil on paper – 15 min

Off we go! No point daydreaming when I can just make it happen.

Love Birds

Acrylic Painting from a Paint and Sip


Acrylic, paper, gel medium, watercolor, pen, text.


Acrylic, paper, gel medium, watercolor, pen, text, ribbon,
and grommet.

A couple weeks ago, my friend and I went to this fun little shop called arts-n-carafes in Renton, WA. It’s an awesome business. You choose a class based on the painting that will be taught that day.  When you get there you complete the scheduled painting with the whole class. A glass of wine and snacks are provided.  (Of course you can also buy a bottle during the class, which we did – meaning I had to go over all my outlines with a pen the next day because three glasses of wine does not equal a steady hand. Thank you 14 Hands Hot to Trot.) The first picture was taken after outline touch up.

While in class, I thought a text transfer would be cool over the birds. I chose a quote about birds and had Google translate it into Japanese characters. I added tissue paper to the heart and additional paper to the tree and sun. I also adjusted some of the highlights with a white pen.

I added additional paper leaves and gave the birds new, bigger beaks. After I added the ribbon  they are using to hold the heart, the birds’ beaks were practically non-existent. A grommet holds the ribbon to the heart.

Artist Trading Card Nostalgia

I was looking through some of my old scanned art files and I ran across my very first Artist Trading Card (ATCs) I created this in September 2002. The scene is made from scrapbook paper.

My last few large art projects have also used scrapbook paper – funny how I’ve come full circle in ten years.
Right now, I’m thinking about what my next project will be. I might just spend time working in my art journal.

With a little love….Turtles.

Besides the matchbox shrines, this is what I’ve been working on. Every time I do one of these paper collages I learn something new. When I did the painting for LnD, I learned not to use too many layers or glue sticks to put the pieces together because the self-leveling gel (SLG) caused a lot of wrinkling – although the final piece looked fine.

For this one, I used gel medium as the adhesive which prevented a lot of the wrinkling. The paper was thicker with more texture and the gel medium muted the glitter and other enhancements. However, when the SLG was applied, it evened out all of the brush strokes and brought out the glitter so it sparkled again.  This time though, the problems included a bunch of the SLG sitting over the turtles faces, bleeding ink, and my inability to not touch things.

The first set of turtle eyes were done with pen – same with the mouths. The SLG made the ink bleed so everything got really sad.

I never actually took a picture of the ruined eyes but you can see the original inked eyes and mouths above. At first I was so annoyed with myself for not thinking of just using paper to begin with!  So new eyes were added and another layer of SLG was applied.  The second layer wasn’t very thick – I wasn’t trying to heavily coat the thing – I just wanted to cover the new eyes and make them blend back with the rest of the piece.
Anyway, I’m pretty happy with the final and the person who received it liked it- which was the whole point. I’m really digging building these scenes with paper.

Matchbox Shrines: Love is…Home

Gesso on the outside of all the matchbox jackets


Testing out what kind of heart I wanted to carve for the
jacket cover.
Prepped all the boxes with contrasting but complimentary
scrapbook papers. I mixed a little acrylic paint with Modge Podge to
cover all the inside box parts. The modge gave the acrylic a nice
non-plastic finish.
Stamps: carved and stamped on to shrink plastic for heating
Assembled. Love is…Home.

Canvas 1 : Me 0

First layer: light blue/white color


Second Layer: Beige – I was not happy with the color. It
wasn’t quite what I wanted.


Third Layer: Lighter brown – everything looked like mud.


Fourth and Fifth Layers – tried more blue – too saturated
tried more dark colors and then….


Layer Six: Admitted defeat and applied gesso to the whole
thing.  Oh the beauty of starting over.

So, I’m working on this large canvas project where I plan to build up the subject in paper. I want to develop a deep rich background. I have a kind of beachy color palette that  I am working with. I really liked the first layer. If I had used horizontal brush strokes instead of vertical ones this could have been a nice color for the canvas.

Then, I added some beige (but I missed the mark on the color in my mind…it clashed a bit with the first layer.) I thought it might be salvageable. I added this brown with messy brush strokes to allow the blue to show through.

I thought a lighter brown might help. The entire thing turned to mud. Anyway, long story short,  I decided I couldn’t save it and just finished covering the whole thing. I love gesso.

That canvas will submit to me as soon as I plan out my color palette a bit more.