Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sugar Pine Cone - Finished drawing!

graphite on paper, 6" x 17" (actual size of pinecone)

"Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world."—John Muir

Pinus lambertiana,
commonly known as the 
sugar pine or sugar cone pine,
 is the tallest and most massive 
pine (genus Pinus),
and has the longest 
cones of any conifer.

Note: I still need to clean up the edges and smudges but I had to post it, since it's been such a long process! I might have to have it professionally scanned, as this stitched-together piece of mine isn't great; graphite is so hard to scan! (Scroll through recent posts for the full story of the pinecone drawing.)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Happy feet

There's nothing quite like enjoying the first really warm days of spring.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sketchbook Skool

"Sketchbook Skool" (yes, that is the correct spelling) is an online class from the wonderful and amazing writer/artist and keeper-of-extraordinary-illustrated-journals, Danny Gregory. I've followed Danny for ages, so I was really excited to sign up. I've never been disciplined enough to keep a sketchbook, despite my best efforts, so we'll see how it goes!

So far, the class is definitely pushing me out of my comfort zone—my safe, cozy, pencil-ly, dry-media comfort zone. Yes, you heard right:  Sketchbook Skool is a "NO PENCILS" zone, at least for now, so I'm getting reacquainted with pens and wet media—sometimes it's a blast, and sometimes, well, it's a real challenge. Sketching a little preliminary drawing under the ink is a no-no; you have to just put that pen on the paper and commit.

I'd been drawn to their class klass description of sharing the experience and the artwork with the other students but I had no idea how many they'd have—I think it's over 700 at the moment! I exchanged emails with Danny about that issue, and he was very gracious about it; hopefully future sessions will be divided into smaller "study groups" or "studios" or something. So for now, I'm just watching the class videos and sketching away. It's refreshing to do a drawing that takes 15 minutes instead of hours and days...

Here are my first two pages. (I'm already sorry that I chose a spiral binding, but I love the paper in the 6 x 9 Bee Paper Aquabee Super Deluxe Sketchbook.)  No judging please, or I swear I'll make you look at another Pinecone Progress pic.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Pinecone Progress 4

You're probably tired of these pinecone posts—
I'm getting a little weary of the thing myself. 

And, to paraphrase Brody in "Jaws", 
"We're gonna need a bigger scanner."

(I do have some slightly more lively stuff over on
  my life-drawing blog if you're interested.)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pinecone Progress 3

Inching along...slowly
I can't work on this for too long at one sitting without going a little stir-crazy. 

(But I am listening to iTunes Radio as I work,
so I feel more up-to-date on popular music than usual!)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pinecone Progress 2

I'm not one for long projects (pardon the pun),
so this big sugar pine cone is trying my patience a bit. 

Five inches down, twelve to go!!

(Scroll down a few posts for more about this drawing. And yes, I'm a smudge-y worker.)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Some apples to hold you over

Well, I'm still working away on that pinecone drawing. (Scroll down if you missed that post.) My already-slow pace came to a screeching halt this past week while I've enjoyed some family visits. So, to hold you over, I'm posting a drawing of two little lady apples that I started during the holidays. It was intended to be larger (see below), but I got caught up in the holidays, and the apples started to look a little tired.  I love these beautiful little apples; the better produce markets always stock them at the winter holidays. The scale isn't evident in this drawing, but they're just a couple of inches in diameter—perfect for tucking in among evergreeens and pinecones on the mantel or on the dining table.

I've also got a new post on my life-drawing blog if that interests you. Now, back to that pinecone...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Pinecone Progress

Yikes, this could take a while.

(And this scan only shows about 60% of the height of the drawing.)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pinecones revisited

The first drawing I ever posted on my blog was this pinecone—and it's still one of my personal favorites. (You can read that original post here.) Now I'm starting on a second, larger pinecone piece. You see, I've wanted to draw a big, beautiful Sugar Pine cone ever since my son brought several of them to me from the Sierra a few years ago. I hang them in my three dining room windows every winter, and as I was taking them down this week, I thought it'd be a great time to draw one.

I'm drawing it in graphite, which takes less time than colored pencil, but I'm guessing it will still take a while, as I'm drawing it full-sized. (It's about 17" long!) So I've decided to share a few work-in-progress posts along the way. Today I'll show you how I set up my "model".

The pinecone is pretty fragile, so rather than handle it much, I wanted to hang it directly in front of me. This was a challenge right off the bat, until I remembered my new portable easel—perfect!

I know it will get a  bit confusing keeping the different parts straight as I draw, so I tried hanging a grid behind it (I marked up some graph paper) to give me some reference points, but I didn't like that. I ended up positioning a ruler up against one side which is simple and should work fine to help me "keep my place".

So, now I'm all set—time to get underway. Hmmm...I'm starting to reconsider my decision to use graphite for a tonal piece instead of using colored pencil—what do you think?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Backyard birds

Our family has had an interest in birds for years.  My daughter had a pet cockatiel that she got as a fledgling. As a boy, my son used to count the hawks on long car rides; his first job was at a store for backyard bird enthusiasts. (He's now 27 and is a field biologist working with peregrine falcons on the California Channel Islands.) My husband and I have become pretty good at identifying the many birds that visit our backyard, and  love watching why aren't there all kinds of drawings of birds in my portfolio?

Sure, I have these drawings of feathers, nests, and even an emu egg. And I've drawn my chickens a few times, but never our wild backyard birds.

So, yesterday I sat down in my kitchen to sketch some. Of course, they're always moving, so I just tried to get some basic shapes down; I had to take a couple of photos to examine them more closely.

Such fun! Maybe it's because I've been getting back into life drawing (of humans), but I'm excited to explore drawing birds a bit more.  I think I'll use this toned sketchbook to document the birds at our feeder a couple of times a week. Besides being great drawing practice, it will serve as a nice record of which birds are visiting.

A couple of years ago, I bought a wonderful book, Drawing Birds with Colored Pencils by Kaaren Poole. I think it's time to get  it out again!