Practice Practice Practice

Late at night I find it easy to fall into the painting groove. It is quiet and everyone else is asleep. There are no distractions. It’s just me and my current muse. Tonight it is sweet Jorgie, my Aunt Angel’s adorable fur baby, who passed from life suddenly.

I have decided to spend time between commissions painting the former and current pets of family and friends. They are just small portraits, none over 8 inch square. It’s an opportunity to work on developing my style, working through different color combinations and just trying to capture the personality of the pet. It is more than just practice for me (although I need all of the practice I can get), it is also my way of letting the people in my life know that I am thinking of them and that I love and care about them. Painting practice = heart practice.

Painting Videos

I’ve recently been working on recording my painting process. I’m self taught when it comes to oil painting, so it’s a learn-as-you-go kind of thing. I find that I get so lost in time while I paint, I tend to not notice what I am doing while I am doing it. So, I thought if I record the painting in progress, I would have a reference to go back to, when I want to use a particular technique again. I’m still getting used to the camera being there while I paint, but so far I find that it’s paying off. I’m making high speed videos to post here.

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Keeping tools at hand

I have recently rediscovered a creativity action technique that I had forgotten. An easy way to increase your sketching time is to keep tools at hand all the time. Besides carrying a sketchbook and drawing implements with you when you travel outside of the home,  leave a sketchbook (or sometimes in my case a stack of 24# bond letter size paper clipped on a clip board) and a pen/pencil in every room in your house. It will encourage you to draw something and give no excuses to not to. Any free moment you have, sketch your dog or cat, sketch furniture, cubes, spheres (all the foundation shapes) or just pull something out of your imagination. In my opinion practice is practice and can only get that hand eye tuned sharper. I, for one needs all the tuning I can get (LOL)!

Oh, the wind and the rain!

Winter weather is finally here! Blessed rain falling in sheets outside the window of my little retreat. The birds flock to the bird feeder between downpours. I find myself staring out the window enraptured by the power of nature. Now, those that live in a rainy climate might not be so enthused by so much rain but here, in California, where we are in the throes of a long drought and go months without seeing water fall from the sky are downright rapturous.

One upside for me in particular, is that the rainy weather inspires my creativity. I have been non-stop drawing and painting since the rain began a few days ago. “In the zone” my biggest concern is not confusing my paint water for my tea (I have mistakenly ingested plenty of paint water in my life). It’s all rain water color bliss!fullsizerender-11

What’s the Point?

fullsizerender-2I am obsessed to know what tools other artists use to create their works of art. I’m always in search of something new and exciting to try. Be it pens, ink, paint, brushes, paper, a new phone app…. yes, obsessed.

So today, I thought that I would share my favorite pencils, erasers and sharpeners.img_1296

From front to back: Wooden Pencil – Staedtler Mars Lumograph HB, oh so smooth and reliable. Mechanical Pencil – Sakura 127 0.7 lead, a fairly inexpensive pencil, but it feels good in my hand and gives me detail lines. Lead Holders – Koh-i-noor Hardtmuth Versatil, sturdy all metal body has a great heft to it, feels like driving an Audi. Rotring Art Pencil, nice tapered barrel (like a dip pen) gives this lead holder a super comfortable balance. I can draw with this all day and not suffer hand fatigue. Koh-i-nor Hardtmuth 5.6mm lead holder with the handy sharpener in the lid. Like driving a semi tractor trailer, big and bold strokes. Palomino Dual Sharpener (I love the Palomino pencils too). Staedtler lead sharpener, keeps everything pointy for super fine detail work. Lastly, my favorite graphite eradicators: Tombow Mono Zero, I actually use both the round and the rectangle shapes, you can really pull out details with these little guys. Moo PVC eraser is fairly new to my toolbox. It picks up graphite better than the art gum eraser I used to use. I actually will cut my own shapes from these erasers depending on the areas I need to erase.