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last post/ending

I found this interesting enough. Thinking and writing about my artwork. I don’t have anything to add to it, it feels finished. I did not want to just leave it hanging, so this is a formal ending. I have been hampered by ill health and circumstances beyond my control. I won’t pass this way again.

I hope every artist can find some peace of mind and marvel at their unique place in the mystery we share.


digital painting



This digital painting was done over a pencil drawing I did the other day. You can see a lot of the pencil drawing underneath. I used an ipad tablet with the Sketches app and a stylus I picked up at a Walgreen’s.

I don’t know if I will work any more on this. I was tired and it was just something to occupy myself with that didn’t take much effort. I find it refreshing to try something new once in a while or to do something I don’t do often.

I have seen some really involved youtube videos on how to work with digital  programs – there must be a milion tips about brushes, brush settings, layers on and on.

I know a few basics and I feel like I know enough to do what I want to do with digital painting. Could I maybe be some virtuoso digital artist? Who knows. My preocupation has been to learn to draw propertly because for me it all starts there for the kind of art I like to do.

The unfinished “finished” look is debatable. If anyone wants to weigh in on whether they might consider this finished or whether they think it needs to to really be a more finished piece without the pencil drawing showing through and so forth, feel free to comment, I would be very interested to know what you think.


What’s in My Sketchbook


The first drawing is the back view of a doll. The second drawing is of the doll again, but from the front and she is no longer alone, she is with the teddy. I am not sure why. Teddy seems a bit mystified that she is there. I was in a hurry to finish because I was tired – this is not a style I aim for, but it was that or no drawing at all today. I try to work when I can really focus in a better way – tomorrow is another day and I am not perfect.

I don’t often have the wherewithal to paint, which leaves me to draw. In the past I went through a long period of photo greeting cards, dabbled briefly with collage and also tried my luck with some journal making not to mention trending on the color book thing for a while.

Drawing is the most difficult of the things I work with. Truth be told about quite a few of my paintings – I arranged my compositions from my photos in a graphics program, cutting and pasting various objects, sizing etc. This was no cure all for lack of drawing because inevitably once I started painting the drawing disappeared under the paint and I was on my own.

I am a realist painter so this was a huge problem. The last few years that I have spent scouring videos to learn about the mechanics of drawing – guidelines, basic shapes before details started me on the road to really begin to draw and consciously see things in a “drawing way.” It takes a good deal of focus to see things as flat, to draw the negative shape and not the object and enough ability to slow down the mind deciding which is the better way to go. It took focus off some of my better abilities such as quality of line but that comes back in time; it really is an orchestration – time and tempo and instruments and sheparding your players toward a theme or vision – theme and vision also getting lost in the shuffle in search of draftsmanship.

As my drawing improves I feel a greater ability to express my subject matter faster and with more confidence. It is a hard won first step. I believe the emotional element for lack of a better term is still there because that is me – I am a person drawing not copy machine.

But it has been a while since I gave much thought to an overall goal or mission as I work. My subject matter remains dolls and toys. I hope to get back to what feeling there was for me about that in the past or see what it is in the present or maybe explore how theme evolves as I face mortality and so forth.

The stretch here has been to include a doll with the teddy. Not sure what their story is. Time to think about backgrounds.




where does the time go???

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I had some energy this past week. On all the days I wasn’t well enough to do anything I would daydream about painting and fear I would never paint again. It spurred me on to do the three color ink of the teddy. To make the project unambitous enough to be undaunting, I painted a panel cut off a Kleenex box to use as a background. I coated it in acrylic paint. After that I used tracing paper to trace the teddy. I rubbed pencil over the back of the tracing paper and tansferred onto my background – sat in bed with some water and brushes on a nearby table alongand with a  box of acrylic paints. Rembrandt I am not. I hope to finish this. The drawing as well as the light and shadow are going well.


This pupkin teddy was splashed across a piece of white cardstock in a bit of  hurry. I think the legs could use some definition. The whole thing could use some work!


I used a mix of straight gesso and acrylics brushed together on a scrap of marker paper for the background. I drew the toy over that in pen. Good thing the pen didin’t bleed into the paint (Pilot, fine point). I like this very much.

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I used my own photo referece of an old wing chair for this. I started with the chair and worked the backgound and floor behind it. I took some liberties with the structure of the background. What looks like floor molding is actually the wood nailed into the wall to prevent the backs of chairs sccraping away paint over time. The original chair sat in the corner, but because of the way I have done this, it sits in the middle of the floor with no particular reason to be there. I call this The Crazy Chair.

I wanted to add something to the picture. I could have painted a teddy sitting there, a huge teddy overwhelming the deliecate chair, perhaps, but I  feared to ruin an othewise good painting. So I did a little ink drawing of the teddy to get some idea of  what it might look like – does look kind of funny. I could repaint this to include the bear or just photocopy it and paint the bear on top of that. I used to be such  a perfectionist but I am actually enjoying some old skool style. I think its faster than to cut and paste on the computer.


These other things are sort of miscellaneous. A doll with a toy I – had a bit of a scribble so that day wouldn’t have been a total no art day.


And then this painting of a doll (acrylic on sketch paper)) was actually the first painting I had during my having a ittle energy week.

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Or maybe this may have been the kick off to the weekly arting. I put some acrylic blobs on some scrap paper and pushed them around with a brush. I gave it some more defifnition and contrast with a dark pencil. I saw a little animal starting to emerge, so I helped it along but I have no idea what it is!

And there you have it. I enoyed the work I was doing. It was a lot of fun and a challenge to work with my own creations and expand upon them. I do what I can to find some meaning in a limited life.

Artie’s Journey

This is Artie.


Artie, tin lithograph windup

This is Artie the Clown and the Crazy Car, with Jo Jo the dog riding on the hood. As it states on the side of the Crazy Car, this tin lithograph windup toy was manufactured in Newark, New Jersey at the Unique Art Mfg. Co., Inc. Where this toy travelled between there his only other known destination (at least known to me)  and the hallowed halls of ebay I will probably never know except to say from what I read online which is that the toy was manufactured sometime in the 1920’s or 1930’s.

This is my first work I have done with the toy, gearing up with my first ten scratchy sketches, but I only have six so far! Artie is a bit of a challenge!

Artie Skethbook

You’ll notice I covered my notes. I like to leave a little mystery.

Side Tracks

snakesea lion

I have enjoyed very much using all my new colors (the full Prismacolor set of colored pencils). I can aimlessly while away the hours in my Millie Marotta Animal Kingdom coloring book.

The book was a gift and only my second coloring book. The pages have an animal or two and or some birds in trees and a number of decorative mandalas. Entire scenes might be nice – there are some beautiful books out there with fairy forests – you can find anything imaginable in a color book these days.

I am happy with this because my goal is just to relax and not think. I would do a lot more thinking with more complex pictures. I sometimes think about painting the backgrounds or using watercolor, but going back to that not thinking and relaxing…..

I do wish I had been more careful. After so many hours of use the pages can get grubby – especially in the hot and humid months. Sometimes I use gloves or put a piece of paper under my hand.

I like the surface of the pages very much. Almost a completely smooth bristol. Takes color pencil better than anything else I have used color pencil on so far. So I must make it my business to get some paper like this for my color pencil drawings.

Below is a birthday card I made for myself. Yes, Happy Birthday to me! I drew one of my windup toys. I gave him a balloon to hold and put a present for me by the hooves of the donkey he rides. I don’t know what the present is….I’ll think of something – with the help of Amazon, probably, lol.

I didn’t give too much thought to the card either. It’s a birthday card. Nothing new about that – balloons, flowers, cute fuzzy things…..I am in favor of unique and exciting images, but I have let that get in the way so often and ended up not doing anything that I try to let it go a bit. There is always tomorrow.

Birthday 2017

I used the closest paper to hand which was some scrap paper. I take the scrap paper thing too far. I have gone from one extreme of it all has to be perfect paper and all to drawing on scrap paper I could easily toss in the garbage forgetting I drew something on it.

I did order some paper recently, online, and unfortunately it has too much tooth for what I wanted. It might be good for charcoal but I have not tried that yet.

I broke one of my sharpeners because of the color pencils. :(. When you use an electric sharpener for color pencils you need to sharpen a lead pencil after every couple of color pencils or else the wax builds up and kills it somehow. So I got another one and have been careful with it, but I have decided not to use it for color pencils. It is such a waste grinding down perfectly good lead pencils!

Instead I used a tiny hand held three hole sharpener that I have had for years. Decades. And then it disappeared somehow. So I got another one. In fact, I got two. In case one of these goes missing. I have some other sharpeners as well. One of the cheap plastic one works just as well. It is all a matter of taste.

As far as sharpening method – I have seen a number of artists lately describing a method that is new to me. You hold the pencil in the non-dominant hand and the sharpener (a handheld sharpener, not an electric) in the other. And then you turn the sharpener, not the pencil. I tried it and got a super sharp point in seconds! Great tip, thanks ladies!


prismaDo I need all these colors? Yes.

This is the Prismacolor Premier 150 Count color pencil set. There are lots of brands with varying numbers of pencils and color ranges. Not to mention different types of actual color used in the pencils and so forth  (oil or wax base for example).  I got this because it was in my price range and looked like it had more than enough colors to explore and just admire because they are so pretty. Oh, and yes, I do draw and color with them.

You can make art with a few colors or a lot of colors and your ambition and skill and intent is really more of a factor in deciding if you have made art you are happy with or that other people like.

But I am going with I need these colors based on my own artistic experience. I had only done a few drawings as a child before I acquired my first paint set, which was an oil painting kit.

I did a few simple paintings in which the drawing was actually not bad in some and made for a botched painting in others. I just assumed there were enough colors in the kit and you just picked a color that looked like the thing you wanted to paint.

It is actually that simple in concept. However, once you get more involved for lack of a better word and interested in the paints themselves and what colors can accomplish in terms of mood or creating three dimension there is more to it.

Mixing grey could be an entire long post or a blog even….which is where my color pencil kit comes in. Many of the colors are almost identical. But I can study them laid out in the range and study a range of blues or greens or reds or……… I scribble colors over each other or next to each other and see what happens.

I did drop the open box once with the pencils landing over the floor – I had to pick them up and squint at the tiny picture on the back of the box to get every pencil back in its place. As I use them of course, I can’t keep it that way, but they are roughly arranged in warms and cools etc. – enough for me to feel like I am learning something….

I can pick any of the color sorted trays to stare at. I particularly  enjoy the tray with the grays and metallics and the three neons (orange, yellow and pink). I get a real kick out of comparing the french grey 50% to cool grey  20% to cool grey  30% to warm grey 90%…..I like having the ability to do the comparison without having to take the time to mix colors or make color charts. Less muss and fuss – no water, solvents and so forth, less hand and brush cleaning……I like to save the bulk of my energy for my projects.