Sunday, 24 March 2013

What's On My Work Table

This is my little corner of the world where I like to work.  I usally listen to music or podcasts on the computer directly behind me, or movies on the tv in the next room.  I can't do much painting here though, as the table doesn't go down flat, and there is carpeting on the floor (I'm a bit messy).  So I move to the kitchen island when I have a painting project then cross my fingers that I don't spill big time.
Below is what's on my work table right now.  It's the last assignment from Carla Sonheim's Faces 101 online class (see post here for more pictures and info about the class).  I hadn't quite finished the class when my next online class with Alisa Burke started.  I was so excited to start the second class that I put this last assignment aside.  Then I got sidetracked from Alisa's class with our vacation.  When I came back I thought to myself, "Self.  Finish up Carla's class.  Alisa's class is not going anywhere." (thank goodness for unlimited access!)

The assignment is to make a series of 10 drawings using my favorite medium/technique from the class.  I loved doing these drawings with an ultra fine black sharpie and shading with a black watercolor crayon.  I spread the watercolor crayon with my finger dipped in water, so I can't get too fussy or perfect with it.  These guys took about 20-25 minutes each to do. 

I often think my drawing is so-o-o-o bad when I'm working on it.  You know that little voice in your head that throws all the negative gobbly-gook at you?  It trys to get you to stop and go wash the dishes or read a book or watch the next episode of The Big Bang Theory?  Well, I've been working hard on ignoring it.  I tell it to take a hike 'cause I'm finishing the picture no matter what he says.  Then I can really get into enjoying the process and I'm usually pretty happy with the end result.  Guess what I discovered?  I LOVE drawing chins.  How weird is that?  Chins are so expressive.

I've got 4 more of these to do to complete the series.  Then I will dive back into Alisa's Whimsey and Wonder online class.  Online classes rock!  Especially for people like me living in rural areas.  I do hope to go to an art retreat this year though.  Nothing beats hanging out with other artists-swapping stories, ideas, techniques, just being with people who are as passionate about art as you are.  But the online community and the classes are super great to keep a person going - lots of support and inspiration out there.

Thanks for dropping by.  Until next time...

xox Leah

Friday, 22 March 2013

Visit to Sheep Farm

The other day I went to none other than a sheep farm!!!  I was stoked.  I've seen a few sheep in my life time at petting zoos and from a distance sitting safely in my car and on tv...LOL...but never anything like this.  It was a whole other world, and amazingly, it was just five minutes from my home!  It is a relatively new farm as farms go (i.e. wasn't there ten years ago) so it's not like I was ignoring it forever.  But what a different world from my own, only steps from my backyard. 
I took both my camera and my sketch book, thinking I could capture these b-a-a-u-tiful animals two ways, but it was so COLD I could barely hold the camera to take pictures, never mind stand around for a half hour and sketch.  Fortunately we were able to go into the barn where more of these delightful animals were hanging out.  I ended up taking photos only and made my sketches from photo references.  Thanks to my friend Mary Ann for being such an awesome tour guide!
A few of my photos....
Me holding a beautiful black lamb. 
The lamb needs a feeding tube
'cause it doesn't know how to suck.
Fred the barn cat. 
 I think he is secretly a diva at heart.
He kept trying to sneak into my photos.
These guys know how to eat;
they just don't have a mama to feed them.
and sketches...
I made Fred look a little off-balance here.
He's so much more handsome in person.

xox Leah

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Happy Dance from Store to Store (aka Shoes & Art Supplies)

I shopped in the city today while I waited for my son to write an entrance exam for a college program.  I had to go shoe shopping. :(  This is NOT one of my favorite activities as I have such a hard time buying shoes.  Yes, I have those kind of feet that can't take flip-flops, high heels, any heel for that matter -- I need to wear orthotics. 
My normal shoe shopping place (with limited selection) closed and I needed a new place.  This time I braved the downtown driving and went to Canadian Footwear.  OMGosh, they have a great selection and a super-helpful staff.  In no time at all I had two new pairs at the checkout counter - a dress shoe for work and new winter boots to replace the ones that kicked the bucket last week. I could not get one more wear out of them. ( an you believe I bought winter boots on the first day of spring!  Felt more like a January day instead of March.  Last year at this time we were wearing shorts! That's a Manitoba winter for you.)  Here they are...
I know, I know - they are basic black.  But they go with everything, and right now, that's what I need.  Sandals are next, then maybe something with a little color???
I was so happy I did a little happy dance as I left the store.   Then my day got better.  Right across the street from the shoe store was an ART SUPPLY STORE!  Like it was sitting there waiting just for me.  (art supply stores/book stores/craft stores/fabric stores/antique stores/grocery stores /office supply stores-- these are my favorites).
This store was brand new to me so of course I went to investigate - just to look and see you know.  Yah, well, I could not leave without buying something.  Especially since they had this cool sale on - everything in the store that is purple and green is 30% off.  Sweet idea!   This is what I bought.....   

Liquid watercolor is new to me - one bottle just to give it a spin - red violet  (30% off) and same with the lime green acrylic ink (again 30% off!).  Of course I needed a lime green sharpie (30% off), then couldn't resist the pad of watercolor 140 lb paper and the pan of water colors 'cause they weren't that expensive.  You can check out their website here  Cre8tive Supplies
I had already picked up these double ended watercolor markers in the bookstore at the college (not knowing that a whole store of art supplies was waiting for me).  These are cool - brush at one end and fine point at the other.  I gave them a whirl during the final minutes while waiting for my son.  Here is a couple of quick flower sketches I made in a small moleskin book I had tucked into my purse.
The black zentangle styled picture in the corner is with the Staedtler 0.05 pigment liner.  My favorite size pen.
It was a super good morning and to top it off, after a quick lunch, I got to go to a bookstore!  Need I say more?
Thanks for stopping by.
xox Leah



Sunday, 17 March 2013

Creative Person Alert!!!!

I went to one of our Chemin Chez Nous concerts last night and was introduced to a great new-to-me Manitoba singer - Jocelyne Baribeau (link up to her here).  She has such a beautiful voice, and I love her lastest CD Petits Papiers. The songs are all her own creations. I just wanted to give her a big shout out and say KEEP CREATING. 

Chemin Chez Nous = a great way to hear new musicians in the comfort of our homes.  The musicians travel a circuit of several different communities and set up in our living room or kitchen or basement or wherever it is comfortable to have 15-20 people over.  All ticket sales go to the musician and we get to have an intimate and fun performance.  I think the english version of these house concerts is call Home Grown Music.

I love, love, love listening to the songs created by musicians and learning about the backstories to the creation of those songs.  Then of course, I have to buy their CDs to support them (LOL). 

xox  Leah  

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Face 101

Here they are!   A few of  the 101 faces I made while taking the online course FACES 101 with Carla Sonheim (here) .  It's a five day course but as I work a day job it took me a bit longer to finish it.

 India ink with an ink dropper
One continuous line drawing with a water soluable pen
Fine and ultra-fine Sharpie pen.


Ultra-fine Sharpie pen and watercolor crayon for the shading.
Watercolor and pencil
Pencil crayon
Chalk pastel and kneadable eraser.

Hope you enjoyed them.  Thanks for stopping by!

xox Leah

Monday, 11 March 2013

Sneak Peek of 101 Faces

This is one of the 101 faces I created during Carla Sonheim's online class Faces 101.  I thought I'd give you a sneak peak.  Later on in the week I will post a bunch more, now that I have my scanner operating again! 

xox Leah

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Sketches from Cuba


This first picture is of the sketches I made while travelling on the plane to Cuba. I drew first from my imagination, then drew pictures of my fellow passengers, then back to the imagination again.
A close up of one of the pages above.  I'd been thinking, as I drew these people whom I did not know, that for a few hours we were sharing the same experience, breathing the same air, feeling the movement of the plane taking us to Cuba.  Yet, in all likelihood, we will never see each other again.  Our lives have intersected, but not connected.  
 In the same sketchbook as I used on the plane, I tried to capture poolside.....
.....and oceanside.

In a different sketchbook I laid down some random watercolors and drew various scenes from our balcony (except the starfish - that's the logo of the hotel were staying at).

Close-up of the page above.

On the next page I painted the colors of sand, sea, and sky then drew while soaking up sunshine at the playa (beach).  A paper coaster from the hotel found a spot on my page too.

It had been quite windy for a few days and many of these jellyfish were pushed on shore by the waves.  I've since learned they are called blue bottle jellyfish. 

The waves also deposited tons of shells. 

View across the bay.  I think it's a lighthouse.

There is a story that goes with this picture.  We were in the markets at Varadero and I saw an artist drawing caricatures of people.  So I drew one of him (see below) real quickly.  Then I ran over to show him.  He loved it.  I sat back down in my spot and not two seconds later he handed me the above caricature sketch he'd done of me and walked away.  Didn't ask for any money.  Of course I went over and gave him some pesos.  He indicated that he would like my pen, but as I had only one of that kind I didn't give it to him.  I felt bad after and intended on giving him some different pens on our next trip to town.  But we never went back. :(   I taped the picture into my journal and decorated around it to remember him.  Next time I will be better prepared.

We took a excursion into Havana.  The historical buildings were amazing.  This is part of a castle which I believe the tour guide called Castle of the Royal Court.  But don't quote me on that.  I was too busy drawing to listen!!

This is the most sketching I've done on my travels.  I really had fun making them.  Notice I've got three sketch books and a few different pens plus watercolor.  I also had some charcoal and watercolor crayons and a few markers.  I simply did not know what to bring!  I've discovered that I love doing sketches with pen (I didn't even crack out my pencil at all!) and adding watercolor really intrigues me. I'm looking forward to doing more with these two mediums.

I hope you enjoyed looking at these sketches as much as  I've enjoyed sharing them with you. 

Until next time...

xoxo Leah

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Artisan Markets in Cuba

Hola!  I was lucky enough to spend a week in Cuba with my husband and friends.  We spend a few hours wandering in the markets in Varadero.

 There were dozens and dozens of stalls, most with pretty much the same stuff.  But there were some one of a kind gems....

Beautiful handpainted terra cotta pieces in vibrant colors -- funky and fun.

 Gorgeous metal work.  These pieces are stunning in real life.  I love the rustic, rough vibe. It's like they've lived a tough life yet still retain the beauty of their soul.

The handpainted fabric canvases come in all sizes with all styles of painting.  My favorites are the monochromatics you see at the back of this picture though pieces like the colorful dancers below often caught my eye.

I was beyond words when I stumbled upon these tucked in the back corner of a stall on the highest shelf (I had to stretch tall and stand on my tippy toes to take the picture).  Set against the wire fence background with the metal roof above, they reached out and grabbed my heart.

 Next time, I'll show you a few pages from the sketch books I took with me.

xoxo Leah