Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas is over, back to the drawing board

It was lovely, but I'm glad it's over so I can start to look forward to other things, like art and gardening, and some little trips.       For now, it's drawing.       I was checking back thru my database of collected images from all kinds of sources, from books, films, online, family photos, etc.      The first one is a Parisian.     He's long been a favorite of mine.  I cut him out of a book and have used his silhouette in collages and paintings, but most of the time he stands in a little birdhouse on my desk.       Now, I tried to capture his scowl in my drawing journal.       These are all done with #2.5 pencil and a smudge stick.   Plus an eraser.   Thank goodness for erasers.  

Next is a photo I saw for sale on ebay some years ago.       I liked his open expression and who can resist a cowboy with blue eyes?  

 Next are two drawings I did before Christmas.     First is Picasso from a self portrait he did.   

And last, is the 2nd drawing I've done of Gianlorenzo Bernini from his self portrait done in 1635.
I'll soon be getting out the paints again with the next 30day challenge starting next week.    See you then. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas eve posting

I just posted some of my december activites and decorations on my family blog.   Here is the link in case you'd like to see my little house decorated for the holiday.   Most of the holiday decor homes I've seen on line are all in white. White walls, white trees, white everywhere.    They make me shiver they look so cold.     My house looks warm.    And cosy, and cluttered, and inviting.  At least it does to me.    Come on over and have a little visit.

Merry Christmas Past

Here is a scan of a Christmas Card my dad sent to his dad from Alaska in 1923. I believe it is printed directly on a piece of thin bark which has been pressed flat.     Maybe my brother can use it in the video he is preparing on Alaska using photos from Dad's time and also from his trip there.      

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pitt Pastel Pencils

Once I had the Pitt pencils out, I decided to do another face.    Giovanni.      Pitt pastel pencils and other colored pencils.     The Pitt's are so chalky I rubbed it with a dry bit of paper towel which blended the colors together more.  Actually doing that muddied the colors, and I don't like the look.      I'll know better next time.

Face with Pitt Pastel Pencil

If I didn't read the label, I would think I was drawing with charcoal.     Here is a quick sketch.

Winter's Child

Here is a quick sketch I did this morning - where the weather today at 11 a.m. is up to a grand 42 degrees.      Lately it's been in low to mid 20s at night and daytimes may reach as high as mid 50s.      California Central Valley is not used to this cold.    Icy railings and steps outside.     Birdbath frozen solid.     Many succulents have taken the cold bite and are drooping and turning to mush.     Geraniums!   Poor things.    I'm glad I have some inside for new starters in the spring.       Even some in my solarium, next to the walls, got frostbitten.      Anyhow, here is the sketch.
No fancy tools for quick sketches.   A number 2 pencil and my sketchbook, followed with colored pencil accents.    

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

30 paintings in 30 days - starting again in January

Here is the link to Leslie Saeta's 30 day challenge.   I'm signing up again.      I must be a glutton for taking on another challenge in January.   This is one of the paintings I did during the last challenge.   

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A face that I've been saving

During Project Runway Season 2, I was fascinated by three faces.      The most expressive face was that of Santino Rice.   I wanted to draw him for a long time and finally today I decided to give it a try.   Santino was not my favorite designer that season, but I loved when he emoted on camera, because his facial structure fascinated me.      It's like from another era.    He was the bad boy that season and he was brilliant at it.     I kept rooting for him so he would be there to the end, and fortunatley he was.     He presented a beautiful show at fashion week, although as Heidi pointed out, the clothes looked like he had not tried them on models.  They had been constructed on a dress form, so the fit was not perfect.   But, he had ideas and really delivered despite that.        Here is his face.  These are quick studies I did today.  

Now if I want to see him on TV, I have to watch RuPaul's drag race.  Santino is one of the favorite judges.     

One of these days I'm going to try harder and maybe even paint him.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Give a gal a pencil

I  had not drawn anything for several days.   It's been too hectic around here.    And I was starting to get interested in altering a book so that took me astray.        Well, the book can wait another day, I just had to pick up a pencil and do a couple quick studies from pics online.      

The first one is Ingrid.     The second is Serena.    They just look like Ingrid and Serena to me.   

I sure wish I could make eyes look right.   I almost always like the eye on the right side of the drawing, but not the left one.   Maybe I need to get out the eraser too.    LOL    

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Day

Who blogs on a holiday?  Who has time.      Well just a quick minute.    Here's the Thanksgiving card I mailed out this week.    You may be on the receiving end.         This is one corner of a collage we did at the Mixed Media group last year, with Roberta as instructor.     I knew this would come in handy one day.  These are my folks.       My aunt had them pose in this position, as they were often puttering in the garden.     Give my mom a pair of pruning shears, and my dad a shovel or pitch fork, and they were right at home.       I'm truly grateful that I learned my love of gardening from them.    

Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving.      Janene

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Here is a new profile I'm working on.    

Friday, November 22, 2013

Drawing a chicken thief

One of the photos I'm drawing from is a mug shot taken in 1912 of a chicken thief.      He looks so cocky!   I liked the rakish angle of his hat and raised eyebrows.    is he trying to look innocent?      Imagine posing for a mug shot like that?    Bonnie and Clyde move over, I would not trust this guy for anything.    LOL    

 I tried to capture his expression.    I was half satisfied yesterday when I looked at it again, but when it set it up to take a picture all of a sudden I could see how "off" the eye on the left side is.  It's too close to the nose and not at the right angle.    Now that I can see the errors, maybe I can fix them.   If so, I'll be posting his pic again later.     There are lots of changes to be made, not just that eye.      My friend Vivian remarked that straight on poses are hard to draw.     Perhaps she is more right than I first thought.     Maybe it would be easier to start over!   

BTW I found this mug shot on EBAY - a great source for images.

Drawing in the gallery

Last Sunday Phyllis and I sat the gallery together.    Between visitors we had some time to watch the Julie FeiFan Balzer's video workshop "All About Faces".   We decided to pull out some paper and our pencils and do a little sketch along with her on the little DVD player screen.          Here are two I did very quickly.   One was supposed to be on a tag, so I just drew a little tag first.    

I think I will start playing some of the workshops I ordered in the studio while I"m working.     It will be fun to try the new techniques while watching  rather than watch it and then later try to remember whatever I might have learned.   

I should have taken pictures of what Phyllis did, because although we were sitting side by side and watching the same video, you couldn't tell from the results, they are that different.   In fact they don't look like Julie's either.  

Something very special

A friend has got a few of us involved in making a necklace.     In looking for things I could use in mine, I dug out some old jewelry.   This is a piece my mom did in teachers college back in the 20's.      I wore it a few times when I was a young teenager because it went well with a sweet dress I made over from one of her college dresses.   I remember it was a pale green and pink print on dotted swiss.      My mom taught home economics so you can bet I learned a lot from her.    There was not much she could not do.   From baking to sewing, she had it all down pat.

Here is the necklace, I set it on an envelope my dad mailed back from Alaska (where he was working in a copper mine) around the same time period.  They did not meet until the mid 30's.   What the heck, I think I'll post their pictures here as well as the jewelry.    

Mixed media show and tell

Yesterday the mixed media group met in Lodi.     We had no particular project to work on so we had show and tell, then took a jaunt next door to the bead shop to look around for the first time.  Amazing beads.      Every kind of bead imaginable - and prices from 10 cents apiece, to way up there.   

First I will show you some of the show and tell items.      Linda McAllister did a collage on theme of what she is thankful for.     Her senses and movement.  Being able to get out and go.      So important and so often just taken for granted.     
I like it very much, I like the sense of movement in it, and also the sense of joy.   I like that she used some music in the background because this month as I have been thinking about all I have to be thankful for, I was considering the music in my  own life.   I'm thankful that there are composers and musicians and arrangers, and producers that bring the incredible sounds into our lives.      And the sounds of nature. windy days and dogs barking.    LOL   I hear that a lot.     And their little toenails as they run across the room, and their growling when they wrestle or pull on a toy.
My granddaughters choral group has introduced me to a lot of new music these past few years.       They don't always sing the tried and true pieces.  They experiment with new composers and other culture's music.      I'm thankful for that and the importance of music and art in the schools.

I sure get off the track sometimes, don't I?   Anyway then next photos are of work shown by Frances this week.    One is a carving she did awhile back.  It was done in pine.      She is grateful for her hands, her art, her kids and particularly for the life of her son that barely survived a motorcycle accident this year and is still recovering.  The next photo is one of her experiments on Yupo paper.       She is so bold and imaginative.   She just "goes for it".   At 81, she is an inspiration to all of us, and we are thankful she is one of us.    

Monday, November 18, 2013

Faces from mug shots

Roz got me interested in drawing from mug shots.    Recently I was drawing the faces from artist self portraits, so this is a change.       Here are two pencil sketches with the photos I used for reference. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Adding more faces....

Okay, so I'm addicted to drawing faces just now.   It's only a phase and will pass.  Just bear with me. Here are a couple new ones I did with the tombow pens I bought awhile back.    

The morning after I did these I was checking in on some of my fav blogs, and one caught my eye for a read through. If you are into drawing faces, you might like to check it out.  Roz is a phenomenal artist. She can DRAW.    I have admired her work for a long time.   She writes a very worthwhile, interesting and enlightening blog.      She mentioned drawing faces from archivel mugshots.     Right up my alley.   The photos in archives were part of my responsibilities and I loved them all.   The mug shot books were really interesting, seeing the faces and then finding out why they were booked.     

Now, I can find mug shots online and I have already found a few to draw.   I started on a really challenging one today and should be able to finish it at the senior center in the  morning.   I left it in the car or I would be working on it right now.    I'll  post it later.     Another profile with an interesting long neck with an Adam's apple.    Another first for my drawing practice.

Phyllis worked with me at the gallery today and we had  plenty of spare time to sketch.  In fact the first couple hours were so quiet, we watched the Julie FeiFan Balzar video on Making Faces.     She is fun to watch.     We each sketched from the same source and our drawn faces were entirely different. I gave mine the long face like my favorite artist, and Phyllis gave hers a short squatty face.   We decided there must be a happy  medium between our two opposite approaches, but we were both happy with the little exercise.    

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Small Works Show in Lodi

Tis the season..... tra la, tra la.       The local art groups put on small works shows this time of year in the attempt to seduce the public into purchasing small works of art for holiday gifting.     The show runs from the beginning of November until the end of the year.       The gallery needs the sales badly.   It is hard to get established in a new location, and even though there is more walk in traffic, the sales have not been as good as anticipated by the driving forces that made the move happen.   It all takes time.   And lots of efforts by many people.  

My grandson Trevor and I worked for three days taking in over 200 pieces of art.   Not all wall art.   Some pottery, some jewelry, some buttons, glass work, fiber arts, etc.      A really nice variety of things.   I also put in some of my embellished cutlery. 

I entered two pieces, the chicken and the rooster.   I had them framed and they are now in the front window. Here are pics from the gallery.


Let's face it ...

More little faces in my journal.      I like working in this size journal although it's hard to do details on such a small format 3 1/2 by 5 1/2.    I'm up to the 1600 point datewise in the self portrait book.       Here are the latest three.
 When I started this series I had not thought about how many men would be sporting beards of all sorts.    Makes me wonder what they were using to shave in those days.    I would think beards would be the rule as it could not be comfortable shaving with a knife!  Some of the men portrayed have very carefully manicured beards.    Interesting.

For me, these have presented a new challenge.  Hair is a challenge too, but I spend little time trying to capture it.

Most of these originals are painted against a very dark background.     Having them on the white makes them stand out.    I may want to go back with paint and brush later and see how they look with painted backgrounds.   I dont' want to do that with pencils.  

Speaking of pencils, I bought two new sets from Amazon, to fill out an order to take advantage of the free shipping.   I never seem to have the red I want.     I borrowed a Prang pencil from a friend and it was the perfect red.     Now, mind you, I have lots of red pencils.   Funny how fussy we can get!      I ordered a set of Prangs, expecting the one I wanted would be in the set.   Nope, it wasn't.     I also ordered a set of Sargents.     None of these are the watercolor pencils, but good for sketching and layering colors in the journals.     Here is the sampling from the recent order.

At the bottom are the Pitt Pastel Pencils that generated the other orders.   I had read good reviews and recommendations for these and could not find them locally.   I could order a case of them, but not a single set. So, it was Amazon to the rescue once more.
First thing I do with new pencils is try out the greens.     Here are the two new sets.    I tried to burnish the colors, thus the smear at base of each color.      Some were more successful than others.      See all those reds?     Still not the red I'm searching for.     Although each set has one that is pretty close.    Some of the names of colors are confusing.     I guess eventually I'll figure them out.     I usually keep a scratch pad next to me so when I'm ready to use a color, I can audition them first and pick the appropriate ones to use.    

Do you have a favorite brand?  A favorite red? I'd like to hear about them.        Now to go post to my old personal blog.       I haven't checked in there for a long time.

Friday, November 8, 2013

An old face, a new face

here is a new drawing of an old face from the self portrait book I mentioned a few posts back.       This is Paglo Veronese (1573)
- or at least my version of his painting.     This is now a favorite because of his awesome profile.   

The next one is anonymous.    

The other day I took a pomegranate to the Senior Center as I wanted to draw something easy, something I could work on but it would not take my full attention as there is so much talking/gossiping going on, it's hard to concentrate.        Here are my working materials followed by the drawing. It's very handy to have a little project and easy to carry materials.     Most of the people in our art group haul in big canvases, paints, wheeled carts, easels, etc.    When I carry my little bag, I have an extra hand available to help someone else with their loads.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Art Journal - drawing

Someone asked, so I'm responding here, in case anyone else is wondering.      The little art journal I'm working in is from Hobby Lobby.     Ir measures 3 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches.   It cost $2.99.       It works well with pencils and can be painted on with acrylics.    Not good for watercolor as the pages will warp.      Also good for collage if you remove some pages.  Some of the juicier marker pens bleed through the pages.     

Right now since I'm working in pencil, my challenge is to stop the soft leads from one page from smudging across to the opposite page.     One of my first assignments working in archives, was to interleave archival tissues cut to page size into each of John Muir's journals.   It was the practice in those years to do this, to prevent further smudging.      Muir had carried them in his pockets in the field and they held up remarkably well, considering the use they had and the conditions in which they traveled.   (this image is a page from one of his journals.   They can all be seen on the California Archives site, you can google it)   Most of his drawing are still very sharp images and are useful in research and illustrating the geology and flora of the different areas and times.       For instance, the sketches he did of Glacier Bay are the first views we have of that area and scientists now compare his detailed drawings to how the Bay looks now.  I digress.   

 I am challenged now by what to interleave into my own little journal.     I think I'll use deli wrap instead of tissue.    It seems like the finish of the pages with that light wax will be more protective.     I could spray them with a sealant.   But, I try to use "green" methods when I have a choice, and adding chemicals to the air and pages is not my first choice.

art journal - practice, practice, practice

I've been working on more of the faces found in the self portrait book mentioned previously.        I'm afraid you would not really recognize the faces I've drawn.      But, it is practice.       Here are a few new ones.

The first one is a really aged artists.    I was concentrating so hard on each ear and the wrinkles, nostrils and eyelids, that I didn't realize the ears are two different sizes.    I'm not going to erase one and even them up.  I'm leaving it alone.    It is a learning experience.      A reminder to myself to stand back and look at the overall image before making this mistake again.     That's the plan.     Hans Baldung, 1516

This second one is a young fellow.     Two different size eyes.    Oops did it again!     I love  his nose.     Filippino Lippa, 1487
 Another good nose to practice on.   I seem to like crooked noses best. They are certainly a challenge.     Another eye that's larger on the left than the right.    And lower.     Hmmmm.... gotta work on that.   

This is the one I did last night, listening to the trick or treaters screaming in fright at the sight of my grandkids and their friends.   I stayed out of it this year and just relaxed with my drawing.  They had it under control without me.      I chose this man to do because I was intrigued with the squareness of his bearded jawline.  And the slight crook to his nose.   Hans Holbein the Younger, 1540.

This portrait was a sculpture, but I thought I could try to capture it in a drawing.       I could not resist because of his nose.    And I seldom do side views.      Perfect opportunity to draw something that I did not have to match the size of the eyes or ears.     Nothing had to line up.

Leon Battiste Alberti 1436