Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! It's my 1 Year Blog Anniversity!


It's official! This blog is now a year old! It's nice to have a place to be able to look back on past work and see progress and changes. I'm also glad to be able to see the blogs of so many artists and creatives out there in the world, and to be able to talk with so many different people. Here's to another year!

This is a finished seagull drawing that I just completed. This guy was making it clear that he wanted attention with his loud, repetitive cry, so I thought I'd let him show off. My apologies for the darkened scan. I need to get a larger scanner bed, or smaller paper. This was the first time I used a blending stump, and I really liked it, much better than using your finger, although that does work well for charcoal, not so well for graphite. Thanks to Sigrid Frensen, for her beautiful blog where she shows her gorgeous botanical artwork and gives great tips!

I believe he's a Herring gull, with his yellow eyes and red spot on the lower part of his beak (or is it bill? Probably beak since they are more into ripping up their food -or swallowing whole--than a nice little duck with their wide, non-sharp bills).

Seagulls are just so graphic, and so expressive, I love trying to capture their spirit. My backyard is filled with smaller birds, sparrows, blue jays, grackles and starlings (both of whom have been aggressively killing the sparrows lately, boo!), pigeons and mourning doves, crows, woodpeckers (both small and big, my neighbors putting out suet brought them to the yard), and one very large redtailed hawk (much to the dismay of two recently deceased pigeons, such powerful attacks that all was left was a ring of feathers, like a bomb blast crater). But it is very hard to capture the smaller birds in action, or perhaps it's because I need a better zoom camera, while the seagulls are so unafraid of humans and you can spend quite a bit of time studying them, or being studied by them, especially if you're holding some food. I've been doing some quick movement studies in pencil of the seagulls, but for some reason, I just love to spend longer on a drawing with them.

Hope everyone has a wonderful, long 4th of July weekend! Or a nice long weekend for those not celebrating. Enjoy!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The new studio!


A quick peak at my new studio! I created a bench out of two metro wire racks and a formica counter top from a discount building supply store. It's very sturdy and exactly the right height, as my still wonderful old work chair is made for benches and won't get any lower to go under a standard table. I love working from there on all my multi-various projects. The table is a family antique that has weathered all kinds of craft and household projects for at least 2 generations or more. The space is shared with 6 other artists, and it's a big open space, so there's lots of room to stretch out visually. One of the artists works on large canvases and needs the room to physically move around. My work is small and so I just need a small space, but I enjoy the big, bright room. Even though there are 6 of us, we all seem to be on different schedules, so when I go in from 6 to 9 during the week, I usually have the place to myself, which is nice.

The 9 x 12 painting that can be seen on the easle is the first painting I've attempted in a while, and my painting skills have seemed to have rusted up. I'll work on it a couple of more hours, but if it doesn't turn the corner soon, I'll end up painting over it with gesso. I have had success on another seagull pencil drawing, and I'll be posting that soon, just have to bring it home to scan it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Northern Mocking Bird


Here's a quick and loose watercolor and colored pencil sketch of one of the Northern Mockingbirds that live in the old fashioned rose bush in the parking lot at work. They do have such an assortment of bird calls, hence the name "mocking" because they copy other species songs, as well as some car alarm sounds (!), that at first I couldn't figure out what type of bird this was. And they certainly are very protective of their territory, I saw many a cardinal chased out of the rose bush this past winter, the Mockingbird guarding it's winter supply of the tiny red rose hips that the old fashioned rose produces.

And I have exciting news! This week I moved into my new artist studio! I've rented a shared artist studio space at the Lydia Pinkham building in Lynn, MA. (Mark your calendars for the December 2010 Open Studios!) I've got everything set up, and started working on a couple of new little sketches and washes to loosen up. I think it will be nice to be in a space with other artists to get some immediate feedback, and to breathe in the creative air. I'll take some pictures soon and post them once I get some new work going.