Sunday, 27 April 2014

It's Been a Slow Week But...

Happy end of the weekend everyone!

Yeah, it's Sunday night and I haven't been art-active quite as much as I would have liked to.  But I'm still happy to have a couple of things to show you.

My lesson in Sketching Skool last week was taught by Prashant Miranda.  He's a totally cool artist who works between India and Canada.  You can check out his blog through the link on his name.  With him I was required to look to the skies!  Watercolor is all about push and pull - washes wet on dry and wet on wet.  I pulled off a couple of scenes from my window doing a wash each way.  Can't wait to get outside and do more sketches around town. If only the weather would cooperate.....!

Now...what do you think of the next picture?

I think it rocks!  Not because it's has great composition or excellent brush stokes or anything artsy like that.  It rocks because it is a completely DIGITAL picture.  How wild is that?

My sister and her hubbie gave me an Intuos Pen at Christmas.  So cool!  I downloaded one of the free programs which lets me use watercolor, pens, stamps, ink, acrylics and more - all digital.  The banner of my blog is made with the pen -- it was my first try at a person!  Prash had us doing skies so I got busy and tried one digitally.  Loads of fun and extremely addictive.  I have lots of ideas for this little tool...... hmmmmm.

As for my Soul Food classes, I haven't finished anything there yet.  I've watched several lessons and I'm waiting for supplies for a couple of them.  I've started on this very organic, creative lesson which I plan to do as I watch the video rather than watch the whole lesson then work on it.  Makes it a lot more "in-the-moment-picture-with-the supplies-I-have-on-hand" kind of style which is definitely a challenge for me.  Have to see where it takes me!

Have a great week!


Saturday, 26 April 2014

On Being Creative

This is a must-watch for anyone who is remotely interested in being creative and afraid to try.  Or for those creatives who are trying to create but really struggling with the process.  It's also a great boost for someone who has been creating for a long time.

I first saw it when it was posted by one of the Soul Food instructors.  The words resonated with me in a way I can't describe.

Then, blow me away, it was posted by one of the Sketching Skool instructors!  Seriously!

These are good words so check it out.  It will only take 2 minutes of your day.



Monday, 21 April 2014

And Some Sketching Lessons...

Here is some of the work I've done this past week in the other on-line course I'm taking - Sketching Skool.  There are hundreds and hundreds of students in this course.  The work runs the gamut from total beginner to total awesome professional work. It's amazing to see all styles, not to mention inspirational and some good-to-steal techniques!

The idea for this course is to get into the practice of drawing everyday in my journal, illustrating life and interests at the moment.  So far I HAVE DRAWN EVERYDAY since the course started.  I'm only showing you some of the stuff though - my more favorite pictures.

So far I've completed klass with Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene.  Oh, to be able to draw like these two! 
 Danny's advice? Draw from our life.  Draw something that has meaning to us.  Comfy socks are important to us, right?
Koosje showed us basic techniques with colored pencils which is totally intriguing but takes lots of time to add layers.  I think it's a medium I will come back to in the future....
This young thing was not posing for me seeing as she lives on the other side of the world.  I found out it is not cheating if I use photos to sketch from during this course!

This picture resulted from a question posed by my third instructor Prashant Miranda.  Can I draw a picture that shows the essence of my day?  I watched his video at 10 pm after a busy day so I thought sketching my comfy, welcoming bed was a pertinent subject! 

Two things to help you decipher the picture:   a)  I am sitting at the end of my bed looking at the pillows with the bed covers turned back and b) if you want to read the words, please read all the way across then go back to the beginning again for the next line.  I should have written first in one corner then the other but didn't so it is kinda weird to read.  It's a learning curve thing.

Prashant's klass runs this week until Friday so maybe I will have more to post after that.  Depends on how it goes.


Two More Lessons Complete!

Hi!  It's taken me some time BUT I have finished two more Soul Food lessons. 
I'm posting photos of my work, and I'm also going to post a link to the instructor's website/blog for the lessons from now on.  Each lesson I take is from a different artist (more or less - there are a few who offer more than one lesson).  That's why you see such a wide variety of styles and ideas. These projects are the brain children of many different and talented people.  This way, if you like the project idea, you can go and check out more of the artist's work. 
Disclaimer:  My finished pieces are no way representational of the work of the instructing artist.  Their work is awesomely good and I am so privileged to be learning techniques, tips and styles from them, not to mention the shot of confidence I get each time I complete another piece!!!! 
Lesson 7  - Zorana
Zorana introduced us to the magic of irisescent bronze fine fluid acrylic paint (I used Golden brand - I don't know if any other company makes this paint or not). 
Notice the bronze and green colors the pictures?  When you add lots of water to this bronze paint, the paint separates and swirls and dries into these two beautiful colors.  This is so cool.  I'm totally going to make more of these. 

We created three different pictures then used them in three different projects - a small, handmade book, a card and a journal page.

Lesson 21 with Susana Tavares

I love this little woman!  The fabric is all hand painted my moi so it is a one-of-a-kind can't-find-it-anywhere doll! 

It intrigued me to do a project which involved painting on fabric.  My very talented sister works with painting on fabric so I wanted to give it a try.  This however, is completely different from what she does.  One day I'll show you some of her stuff.

Notice the greyish, blackish shades to her hair?  I tried to add some wisdom to her by doing this.  My thought was "gray & black = mature person = wisdom"!??. 

I'm not sure the wisdom part worked out or the different shades, but I love how she turned out! It was a great class with Susana.

I'm not actually doing my lessons in order any more.  So far there are 33 lessons posted.  I've completed 14 of them.  Since I'm so far behind (hard to keep up with two lessons a week) I decided to bounce around and work on what catches my interest and more importantly, which lessons I have supplies on hand for at the moment.  In the meantime, I can order some of the supplies I don't have to get ready for other lessons.  Basically - I'm all over the place so bear with me!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

If We Only Have Eyes to See It

"There is so much in the world for us all if we only have the eyes to see it, and the heart to love it, and the hand to gather it to ourselves--so much in men and women, so much in art and literature, so much everywhere in which to delight, and for which to be thankful."
--L.M. Montgomery
In my backyard, April 19, 2014

Monday, 14 April 2014


You know what one of the best thing things I like about the internet?  Online art classes!  Through the magic on internet I can get art lessons in practically any medium I want. 

Some of the extra bonuses?  I can work at my own speed and when it is convenient for me. I can re-run the video as many times as I need too.   And it's totally cool that the instructors can be from anywhere in the world. 

Of course, I would love to be able to take these courses in person - nothing replaces that one-on-one interaction and energy.  But I don't see myself flying down to New York  or over to Amsterdam for a week long course anytime soon. courses are IT!

There is a teeny, tiny problem with online courses though.  This is the story.

You know from my previous posts that I am enrolled in Soul Food which I am loving.  They offer two new lessons a week for a six month period with 36 different instructors.  How awesome is that?  Fortunately the course is open for an additional six months to complete the lessons 'cause I can't manage two classes a week while I'm working fulltime.

The thing is, there are tons of online courses I would love to take.  So many classes, so little time...*sigh*. 

Well, for a couple of months a while back I started seeing ads for a new course just coming online for the first time.  It looked juicy good! Then I found out who some of the instructors were going to be. Holy cow did I want to take this course.  But it started April 4th, smack dab in the middle of my Soul Food-mega-number-of-lessons course.  I couldn't do both.  No way, no how.

I "liked" the new course's Facebook page.  No harm in that right?


The skool posted lovely little tidbits and quotes and videos from the instructors on what the course would be like. 

Man, it was torture.

I kept telling myself, "Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope."

Then......April 2nd came along.

I couldn't help myself.

I signed up!


Now you know why I haven't been posting so much from my Soul Food class.  I'm still working on it though.  I'm almost completed two more lessons.

And you will get to see some of my work from Sketching Skool with Danny Gregory, Jane LaFazio and company.  It's an illustrated journal course - lots of drawing with pen indoors and out and super fun stuff.  Six weeks long, one lesson post per week with homework to do throughout the week.

I can handle it!


Actually it's lots of fun.  I love sketching this way and it's making me do it often with all the mistakes and screw ups and lines in the wrong places which I totally have to get over and realize that it just adds character to the picture (still working on that part!!!)

I'm getting real good at planning my free time!!!!

So that's my story about the problem with online art courses.

Not such a bad problem is it?

Here are a few of my sketches from the first week.

Maxie continuously shifted around so I kept having to start over. She seemed to be aware of me staring at her.  So weird!  She'd look at me like I was a bit nuts, then stretch herself into a new, more comfortable position. 

                         My dad, on the other hand, hardly moved at all!  He was so "drawn" into the hockey game that he did not feel me staring at him intently while I "drew" him.  You are a much easier subject to draw Dad!

I love the memories these type of sketches capture.  Flipping through my art journals is even better than looking at photo albums.  The sights, the smells, the textures, the sounds -- they all come rushing back.  I think it's because when you draw, you are slowing down.  You are observing more and absorbing more, so more gets registered within you at a cellular level.

Anyway, I love it.



Monday, 7 April 2014

"Faith Is" by a Talented Person

Hello All!

I've been working but I haven't got anything to show you today.  A big part of my weekend was doing the dreaded "paperwork".  Necessary but not as fun as art.

One of my plans for this blog is to show off my wildly talented family and friends.  I haven't been jumping on that so far, but today I decided would be a good time to start.

Elizabeth Fraser is actually not my friend.  She is a friend of my children.  She is a wonderful young woman blessed with a decided talent for words.  She's studied journalism out east and also here in Manitoba. 

I've read a number of articles Elizabeth has done for the Winnipeg Free Press as part of an internship through school and I tell you, she really knows how to get to the heart and soul of the people she interviews. 

Last month she had a book launch at McNally-Robinson bookstore in Winnipeg (the absolute most rockin' bookstore ever!).   Her book,  "Faith Is", started out as in independent assignment for school. 
She was curious about people and their faith - what brought them and God together.

For her research Elizabeth interviewed eleven people including Olympic speed skater Cindy Klassen, Amazing Race Winners Tim Sr. and Tim Jr., and Lindor Reynolds of the Winnipeg Free Press.   The result is a thoroughly enjoyable, inspiring, and thoughtful read.

When Elizabeth is rich and famous I can say I blogged about her when she first started out!

Congratulations Elizabeth!!

Elizabeth's book is available through this link 
you can check out Elizabeth's blog "A Life in the Day" right here.



Thursday, 3 April 2014

A Few Birdies....

Soul Food lessons are back on the front burner!!!  The latest two both had me working with birds.  Birds represent a lot of wonderful things to people like beauty, freedom, peace.  I don't know what these guys represent exactly, but it was sure fun making them!


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Sketches From Hawaii

Aloha guys!
Yup! I've been to Hawaii. That's why it's been so quiet here for a bit.  Hawaii is totally amazing.  We hit both Oahu and Maui. The islands have such spectacular views and unique features. 
Of course I  hauled some of my art supplies with me.  My plan was to try "plein air" sketching to see what I could do.
Wow!  Working plein air was crazy intimidating at first.  It took me a few pages to relax and get the hang of it.   I started out with pencil the first couple of tries, switched to pen alone, added watercolour on another couple of sketches (field kit and watercolour pencils), then tried one with straight watercolour. 
Basically I had WAY too many supplies and couldn't decide what to use.  I haven't mentioned yet I also had extra watercolor tubes, glue, a spray bottle, watercolor crayons, charcoal and so on.  Between hauling my supplies, my sketchbook, my notebook, my camera, my iPod, my water, my hat, my sunglasess - you get the picture!  I was the most weighted-down person in the group. 
So my pencil sketches are NOT below as they are pretty sad.  I felt more comfortable when I picked up my micron pen, plus when I added my iPod and earphones things started to click for me.
I've scanned most of my pages for you to take a pick at. 

 The lady in the foreground turned out to be an animal and portrait artist from Vancouver!

I started out to make a bunch of little sketches but the big one just grew and grew.

 Awesome fish tacos at Horhitos food truck in Kihei, Maui.

We stayed at the Maui Banyon.  This is only a fraction of the size of the complex.

One of the many beautiful lava outcroppings along the beaches.