Friday, January 31, 2014

Illustrated Alphabet

I'm making my first illustrated alphabet. I had various themes in mind, I chose French nouns. Très simple. I may re-do some. It's a process.I was inspired to finally make one by Edward Gorey's mini book, The Eclectic Abecedarium. When I'm done, I might create a book... or stitch them together in a hanging quilt sort of thing. The trick is TO FINISH~ all 26 letters! I wonder if you, Dear Visitors, have a favorite letter picture in this group.
I have several, but I can't tell yet...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Illustrated French Language Study Journal

Pages from a 2002 journal, 4 X 6", handbound (but not by me) book with high quality paper. 
When I was newly studying French I enjoyed copying French text from sources of interest & then illustrating it.

Above left: a class exercise: Imagine that you are visiting the famous fortune teller, Madame Soleil. 
What would you want to ask her? 
Excerpts from a favorite watercolor book: "Les clés de l'aquarelle",
translated from the English "Basic Watercolor Techniques". 
 Color charts are always fun, but learning French names of colors... 
...& learning French art vocabulary is double fun.
 A brief description from a brochure of the Tulip Festival in Ottawa, & some vocabulary related to fairy tales.

Triple Journal Fun: Art, French, & Subjects of Interest!

PS. To the noters who said my French was perfect: 
I must explain that it wasn't MY French, it was copied from texts in order to learn.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Passenger Side

A visit back home last week. A little vacation. 
Spent a lot of the week sketching in my book. 
Observational sketches, many rough. Many not to show. 
But I love the authentic connection that happens while observing/drawing.
Here, a moment from a day trip to Portsmouth.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Intensity & Value Practice

  This sketch was done from an on-location journal sketch (below). A tool here for seeing value & composition more clearly : viewing it in black & white

Some differences between the original (below) & the newer version (above):
Above: •More value contrast, using the white of the paper
•Less intense or pure greens  (mixing complementaries)
•Fewer "scribbles" (lines)
•Allowing more sky which defines the foliage a bit more
I was more conscious of the art elements in the revised version. I had written about the original sketch in 2012: "Such a tangle of plants! The challenge is to simplify.
     I'm trying to focus on value as well as color." 

And I'm STILL trying to simplify & to focus on value! I resist making value studies because want to jump right to the color.  Autumn landscapes are especially challenging with their enticing colors!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Traveling & Images

Each image is about 2 1/2 by 3 Inches. Except for the middle Maine island
these are scenes from Provence, recreated from journal sketches.

Looking out that window in the past post, I was dreaming of sunny places I've loved...One of the reasons I keep journals is to be able to re-visit those good places & moments.

I was also dreaming of places I hope to visit...of future journals that will be created...

Being here now & my recent portrait studies are good disciplines & often magical, but let me not forget to wander through imagery & descriptions, my own & ones that I visit in blogs. 

Imagine. Today, via blogs, I've already gone to Paris, Poland, Vienna, Nice, the Pacific Northwest, Texas & Portland, Maine.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


January...and she's thinking of...

Friday, January 3, 2014

Bundle Up

Self Portrait from Memory...How can I forget? 
These things go on & off so often these days...
Snap, wrap, pull, tie, zip...Those were good things we learned in Kindergarten.
But make sure you do them
BEFORE you put on those big old Bulkaroonie gloves!
Remember when once upon a time, 
you could just grab your bag, slip on some clogs...& go?
Hahahahaha from Winter Wonderland!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sketching From the Car: Winter

We took a trip inland yesterday, along the historic Penobscot River (known for log drives in another era), up to "the Queen city" of Bangor (largest market town in 5 rural counties). The ride showed us New England at its snow covered, ice laced, winter's best, (she said from the warmth of the automobile). 

Small mountains, farms, fields with dried grasses popping through. So many homes looking like they could be sources for those sentimental snow scened Christmas cards, wreaths still on doors. Vehicles in yards, buried in snow, a man walking on his roof clearing snow & icicles, trees sparkling like glass in late afternoon sun along valley roads.

At one point J stopped to take a call. I got the chance to snap photos & the above quick drawing was made from one of them. I'm still trying to figure out ways to represent snow. It looks like I'll be having more opportunities as another snow storm is on the way.

I highly recommend: If you are not the driver, sketch from the car (or train or plane). 

The scenes move by quickly so you don't have time to think or be self-consious.
You just scribble madly to record glimpses.

If you are the driver, find a place to pull over to sketch at a slower pace. Of course, this works better on a back road in Maine than on the New Jersey Turnpike...

Later on you can add details from memory or color, or add narration (which I have not done to the above pages). The list method, either by writing down in the moment, or the mental list for recording later also works great when traveling.
Happy 2014 to you, Dear Visitors, from me, wandering in Winter Wonderland. I recently heard it called Frozen Wasteland, but I'm going with the Wonderland view.