Friday, September 26, 2008

As I'm scrolling thru my image files on my computer, I'm finding images I've taken and never even opened! Is that a sign of someone who takes to many photographs?   Actually I take a lot of them as reference sources for my artwork. Some I'll get around to using but many of them I won't. So.. I decided to share a few more images, even thought they aren't new.
My hubby and I, took a little trip out one VERRRRRRRY COLD January morning this year. Just for fun, to try out my new lens I'd gotten for Christmas and see what came along. For those of you in the colder climates, you have to realize I'm a little desert rat.. and I like warmth! We woke early, donned our thermals, camoflage, some food and left before dawn. When we arrived at our location is was still BRRRRRRR dark, the wind was blowing and it was 22degrees!
The first faint glow of dawn was beginning to peek over the vast landscape to the east. There is a little spot where we like to go, an old windmill that still pumps water, into a trough for the cattle and wildlife. We set up the blind, got settled in, and waited.  It didn't take to long to realize this wasn't going to work to well for me. I'd grabbed the wrong hiking boots, not thinking of cold feet. Well, my feet got cold, as in numbing cold... and in turn everything else got cold too. We sat as long as we could but after awhile I had to get up and move. While hubby was folding up the blind, I walked over the the water trough that was just behind us.
Wearing camo clothing these little guys had no idea I was standing by the fence post. This little cactus wren was sitting ever so patiently waiting for the sun to warm him. The wind gusts were so strong that he was really having to hand on to that post... but I love the vastness of the landscape behind him, and the colors of my world that I love so much.
As I stood there leaning against the old fence post, (which, with the wind gusts was the only thing that kept me from swaying in the wind too) I found these little things to be very comical. Now, I've never been what one calls a "birder" but these little funny ladies were so amusing.  Even thought the sun was up, we were still in a hard freeze. These little ladies fluttered and fussed and pecked at the ice, wanting a drink.  They'd go from one side of the trough to the other, and back again. You could almost hear the conversation ... and to me it was like watching a bird version of  " I Love Lucy".  I took a few more shots of these guys.. and BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR had to move. It's hard to hold a camera still when your shivering!
Just as a side note, hubby broke the ice for them before we left ;)
We hiked for awhile, then decided to take a drive. The morning was finally warming up!  We found a waterhole, that we didn't know was there before. As we walked down to it, Hubby, in front of me says "hurry come see this bird!". Of course the camera wasn't on... but at least I had it with me. As I rounded the hill I saw this gorgeous guy, but I had no idea what it was. He was so quick, he didn't stick around long.. fluttering over the water. I was lucky to get this quick shot. It wasn't until later I realized I had bumped the settings on my Nikon.. so this image isn't what I wanted or desired lol. But oh well, live and learn.
Then as we walked around the waterhole.. who did I find but the Mrs.... isn't she pretty?  As soon as I got home, I had to research what these guys were... Vermillion Flycatchers! Ahhhhhhhh I'm going to have to make a trip back out to the waterhole when it cools off for more pictures.
Oh.. and I bought new boots! ;)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wet Paint!!!

Wet paint is horrible to photograph! So sorry about the glare.

Today I hid out in my studio, and smooshed some paint around. I needed it. Lots on my mind today, and this is my way of coming to terms with whats on my mind. I cranked the music up.. and away I went. No sleepy classical painting here... lol gotta get some rockin, movement, energy goin. Works for me!

Still no where near done, but beginning to get real excited about doing a figure / portait in oils. This piece is 11x14 and I find the size constrictive. I have a natural tendancy to paint larger... hmmmm I should buy more paint if I'm gunna keep this up.

Tomorrow is Lisie and the Iris..another update soon!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Beginning to see the colors of fall...

I noticed the light had changed a couple weeks ago, does anyone else notice too?

While alot of you are feeling cooler temps, the high here today will be in the low 90's. Considering thats cooler than our summer temps, the plants have gone into fall mode, such as it is.

These have recently started blooming, not sure what they are yet. I'm just enjoying the small burst of color the Lord has blessed us with, if one just takes the time to look. All these were taken just off the mile and a half dirt road to my house this morning. Today I decided to take a moment to share them with you.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jelly making....

" Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware!
Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear
Try to use the claw
But you don't need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw
Have I given you a clue? "  ~ excerpt from "The Bear Necessities"

lol.. ok so thats what my kids chant everytime the sneak another jar of jelly out of the pantry... or when we made prickly pear simple syrup for .. whatever. ;)  Did I tell you they were all comedians?

We had a plethera of prickly pear fruit again this year, so ... what the heck lets make some jelly!

Much easier said than done!

First.. ya gotta gather your fruit. Didnt' take us long at all, there were so many, and good sized ones too.

To pick these little beauties we used some long metal tongs .. and a shovel. Ok, I admit the shovel was just in case we came across a rattler, but they lucked out. Lots of fruit, no rattlers.
we gathered 2 buckets this size...
after picking you have to get rid of the spines on them, so we elected to lay them on our BBQ grill and took the propane torch to them. A quick pass over or two, then roll, repeat until all visable spines are gone.
Next it was time to scrub...
These are about the texture /firmness of a tomato thats just turning red.
What a fun color of juice these guys have! I was sure I would be magenta for days but nope. Just pretty pink for a few hours ;)
I had read several recipies on the internet, which alot of those seemed to have a hard time "setting up" . Prickly pear is low in pectin, but those recipies were peeling their fruit. hmmmm. I opted out of peeling, because I was always taught the pectin was in the fruit skin. So I decided to  simmere until soft enough to mash, then strain thru cheese cloth.
I have to add here that when my family came home they were pretty grossed out lol. Seems straining red thru the cheesecloth and the leftover pulp reminded them of.. uh well nevermind....
Now onto the jelly! Finally!!!
pectin sugar water and lemon added to the prickly pear juice...
waterbath.... to set the seals
and WA LAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Prickly Pear Jelly! Which, I might add as set up just wonderfully!
(btw I have several more batches of juice in the freezer just waiting to be finished lol)
Isn't it pretty?

Prismacolor Color Wheel Exercise

I was asked about a prismacolor color wheel, and I could have simply answered the question. How much more fun is it to do it for yourself?

Haha.. ok, ok, ok.... I know color wheels are boring, tedious and well... a necessary evil. Knowing your medium is so important to creating successful pieces. You can read all the books you want, but until you actually put pencil to paper you really won't know the magic for yourself.

I've created a Tertiary Color Wheel for you to use for this exercise. Feel free to right click>save as in a folder where you know you can find it. For personal use only please. This should print out 8"x8" (at least it does for me)

Here is the list of prismacolor pencils you'll need for this exercise, in alphabetical order :

Aquamarine PC905
Canary yellow PC916
Chartreuse PC989
Dahlia purple PC1009
Orange PC918
Poppy red PC922
Scarlette lake PC923
True blue PC903
True green PC910
Violet PC932
Violet blue PC933
White PC938
Yellowed orange PC1002

I've intentionally not told you what goes where, because I want you to figure it out. Really, it's not hard. Your primary colors are yellow, blue and red. Secondary colors are your primaries mixed together. Tertiaries are your secondary and primaries mixed together. Did I lose you on the tertiaries.. have your eyes glazed over? When you actually start your color wheel you'll understand! ;)


Please allow plenty of time for this exercise, take your time in your applications, in order to get the most out of it.

Either print out the color wheel on printer paper and transfer to your usual support, or print right on your regular drawing paper, whichever is better for you. Please do not do this exercise on typing paper, you'll most likely be very unhappy with the results. If you transfer using seral paper or graphite, lift any excess dark lines with a kneaded eraser, as needed. Graphite will contaminate your colored pencil and for this exercise we need clean applications.

Select your primary colors, apply each of them in their own color triangle. Use light layers, a sharp tip on your pencil, whichever pencil stroke is comfortable to you, and gives you a consistent, even application. Did I mention a sharp pencil? The primary colors triangle will start whenever you want, but in between each one there will be 3 blank triangles. Complete the entire triangle, and don't worry bout the inner circles, those are for later, just do the entire triangle. Use several layers, (sharp pencil!) we want a nice vibrant color application, with almost no paper showing thru, but don't max out the tooth of your paper quite yet.

Next comes your secondary colors. Keeping those pencils sharp, use the same application but the secondary color triangles will be found in the middle of the 3 blank spaces between your primaries.

Lastly.. the tertiary colors!! whooohooooooo lol... remember sharp pencils! These are the colors that you get as a result from mixing your primary and secondary colors together. Same application as before.

To finish up, go back to the orginial outer ring, and saturate the big end of the triangle with a sharp pencil. The goal is to completely saturate the paper, no "powderd sugar" specks! If you had kept your pencil sharp, and used an even application then you really shouldn't have any paper or "powdered sugar" showing thru.

Now.. isn't that pretty?

Next were going to add the complements for each color, in the inner ring. Using the complement ring shown in the diagram below your going to add a few layers of the colors complement here. What is the complement you ask? The complements can be found directly across the color wheel from each other. The complementary color in this ring should be applied just as the original pencil was. You can apply a couple layers, then another of the original, back and forth until the ring is fully saturated. Complete the complement ring for each triangle with the complement for each specific color.

What did you find?

Now, on to the tints. A tint is a color with white added. Your going to take your white pencil and apply it the same as you did the rest, except over the top of the tint ring, which is the pointy part of your triangle. You can layer the white with your original color, as long as white is the last color used. Also, I want you to use a little firmer pressure when your paper is full, to burnish this tint ring.

All done! Wasn't that easy? :D

Even after using colored pencil for as long as I have, I still refer to my color wheel on a regular basis. It's really an invaluable tool, keep it handy and when you have a color question, you might have the answer right in front of you!

More to come, I know your really excited.

Keep those pencils dancing!


Monday, September 15, 2008

Tennis anyone ~ or how about some puddle jumping?

Pip is our insane West Highland "White" Terrier (white being a non operative description seeing how playing in the MUD is one of her favorite things!) So besides mud, she love to chase tennis balls. Yes, she does bring them back and if your not paying attention she'll throw it at you too! Doggie slime and all...


We had been in the studio for a few hours, so we both went out to stretch our legs. Pip runs over to get her ball and just stands there and looks at it rather oddly....

lol, I guess she's not the only one who likes her favorite tennis ball!

just for an example.... My puddle jumpers!

Who's to say WHO the #1 instigator is here.. the two legged one or the four? I have my suspicions!
Now, isn't this a sorry excuse for a white dog? LOL!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lisie & the Iris, updated along with the oil painting

I have no idea on a title for the still life. Usually when I start a piece, whatever has inspried me also give me a title that sticks in my head. Easy enough? There are times when I'm blank.. and those are the pieces that are the hardest to title. Is it because the inpiration is missing or some spark? Hmmmm I'll have to think about it. What do you think, when do your titles come to you?

Whoah.. looks kinda messy! That's fine for now, because my brushes are feeling really nice as an extention of my hand, I think this one is going to be just fine in the end.... stay tuned, i've been known to be wrong! lol.

Yesterday I was ready to update Lisie and the Iris, but I had to leave the studio to run errands instead. Not fun! So here is yesterdays update, I smoothed out the skin with the Derwent blender that was passed out at the CPSA convention. I had never used one before, it worked pretty nice, but I felt like it changed my colors... almost muddied them. 

Todays progress I decided to scan, as I was scanning another update.... (for those looking for an update to H&S of a Woman... you know where to find it ;) )  Yay, I started on the iris! lol.. and a few other places..

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oil painting for fun?

It' really *is* fun... or would be if I didn't feel like my creative energy was cut short by the ticking of the clock.

Just when I feel I'm going good.. my time is up!

I thought I'd share with ya'll why my updates on Lisie & the Iris are a bit slow, I'm also working on this still life, which I'm doing from life. I'm bound and determined to get a handle on these things...  this is nowhere near finished.. ... a few hours yet to go.  11x14 canvas panel.

I'm finding I need to change a few things, like a  couple brush sizes to start with.

I did work on Lisie & the Iris today too... tomorrow I'll post an update on her.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


See what happens when I get off track?  Seems like ages since I updated Lisie & the Iris...

I wasn't happy with it, so I erased, and reworked her eyes.. moreso the shape of her eyes. This is the really rough version, in the middle of being repaird. Why wouldn't I share with you? Of course CP can be fixed... and artists sometimes do things we dont' like, that we need to change to be happy. Like this.

I am human ya know... I'm not a xerox machine!

Hopefully my updates will be a bit more steady now, but I have 3 other projects I'm working on.. so who knows?

Monday, September 8, 2008

dewdrops, sunsets & ....... rocks?

I hope this week finds you all happy and well! Might I add creative to that list? Weather it's with a camera, a pencil or a brush... enjoy!
One early January morning, I was coming home from my daily shuttle to the High School, and as I crossed the wash, these little beauties caught my eye.  Luckily I had grabbed my new camera and my brand new nikkor VR lens I had gotten for Christmas. I started to drive on by.. but what the heck! So I pulled over and walked back, and was awestruck by the tiny diamonds God had scattered about the humble desert.
As I clicked away, I was taken in by the abstract beauty in my viewfinder, and before I knew it, I was sitting flat in the mud, to get the light as it filtered down thru the dewdrops, closer and closer I had to get. No longer content with the average "point of view".  Cold, damp, muddy and late for my artgroup, I didn't even care. The 100+ shots I got of these diamonds were well worth it. I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
Ahhhhhhhh then there are the sunsets..... who can resist these?
I'm not sure whata it is about these silly things that I like to photograph!
whoops .. another one!
amethyst... georgeous purples!
Yessssssss I do have plans for this one... ;)