Saturday, July 27, 2013

Drawing Older Faces

As I've talked about before, I've been working on faces.  My artwork has always been geometric or abstract - never people or animals.

So I've been drawing faces - really cute, pretty faces.  However, a few minutes ago, I was perusing and on their blog, there was a video, The Pixel Painter.  Hal Lasko is a 97 year old gentlemen who has, due to his macular degeneration, discovered a different way to paint.

My grandfather has macular degeneration so I have seen, first hand, how debilitating it can be.  My grandfather has described it to me as a big, blurry, black ball in the middle of your vision.  He can see shadows in the ball and see a little more clearly around the edges.

A few years ago, Mr. Lasko's grandchildren gave him a computer and showed him how to use Microsoft Paint.  Now he creates beautiful paintings on the computer.

But, back to faces.  When the video started, Mr. Lasko's face filled the screen and I was immediately intrigued by the sagging skin under his eyes. (hey, he's 97 years old, what do you expect).  I hit pause, grabbed a pencil and drew the outline of his eyes and the sags.  Then I moved on to the nose with the deep crevasses and the wrinkles around the mouth.  I had never drawn a real person before.  The sketch took about 3 or 4 minutes and even kind of looks like him.   I'm sure that people that know him would think the drawing looks nothing like him, but too's my first real person.  This guy's face is so interesting to me that I'm going to try to find a better image that I can pause in the video so that I can really try to capture him

This was a great, little drawing exercise for me this evening.  Thank you Hal Lasko!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

No Match for a Mommy Bird

We saw the cutest thing yesterday.  Our property is like the Wild Kingdom.  This summer I've seen foxes, raccoons, opossums, rabbits, squirrels, turtles (I'm not ready to talk about the turtle yet), lizards, a panther, owls, hawks and every kind of bird you can think of.  We had a bear spotted on the property next door and a 4 ft. tegre lizard on the next street.

So yesterday, I heard tweeting and a scratching sound at my laundry room door.  We've had a tiny sparrow build a nest on top of our cabinet in the laundry room every spring.  We leave the window opened an inch because we don't have the heart to shut her out.  We are suckers when it comes to living creatures.  Anyway, I got my husband so that he could handle the laundry room situation.  I was afraid that the bird would fly into the house and then we would really have a problem. 

Not actual baby - but very similar.
He knocked on the door before he opened it and the bird flew up to the sill. He shooed it out the window, then closed the window so that we could access the situation.  I noticed, what looked like, a large piece of dryer lint next to the door that leads outside.  Mark said "no, that's a frog".  But after closer inspection, it was a baby sparrow. 

We opened the exterior door, then got a dustpan to try to pick up the baby without touching it (we didn't want the mother to disown him).  The baby was so tiny, I didn't think he would be able to move by himself, but when Mark got near, the baby released a very large poop and hopped over the threshold.  At that point, the mother comes hauling butt around the corner of the house, resting on the clothesline to rescue the baby.  We closed the exterior door, went inside, and watched out the window to make sure that the baby was going to be safe.  That mother bird and another bird (probably the father or, perhaps, the nanny) flew down to the baby and coaxed him into the wooded area, then started flying lessons.

I was crying like a nut.  Watching that mother bird and her husband/friend teaching and protecting that baby was such a precious site.  Little creatures have so many lessons to learn to enable their survival.  I've seen mother birds attack dogs, squirrels, my chickens, and my husband when they felt that their babies were being endangered.  Evidently, being brave has nothing to do with size!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Re-painting Syroco

I've been "prettying" up lots of stuff lately.  Yesterday, I painted all day.  Today, the plan was to photograph everything.  So, of course, it rained all day.  This morning, I was able to squeeze a few things into a little sliver of sunlight on my deck, but then the clouds rolled in and that was it for the day. 

My photos are always better when they are taken in natural light.  I've tried to set up a photo area with lights and background, but the colors are always distorted.

So, since my picture taking plans were shot, I picked up the paintbrush again. 

When I first started re-painting things, I thought the easiest and best way to do it was to use spray paint.  Even though I was putting a coat of primer on everything, the paint seemed to chip if a breeze blew by.  Now, I'm brushing everything and I really like the way it's turning out.  Of course, it takes quite a bit longer,  but if I'm going to sell some of these things, I want them to look good and have strong, solid coats of paint on them.  I was afraid that I'd end up with brush strokes, but it turns out fine.

I just love the old Syroco home d├ęcor items.  When I was a kid, my mother saved Top Value and S&H Green stamps.  I loved to stick them in the book for her.  She bought lots of gold Syroco with the stamps.  We had the, obligatory, ornate, gold shelf, mirror, and candle sconce set.  (I don't think there was a single home in the 1960's without this set).  I also remember a set of large gold keys hanging on the wall.

Over the past few years, I've started seeing the Syroco being re-painted in all kinds of different colors and I really like it.  Here's a couple of my painted pieces.




Here's some picture frames that I re-painted.  I still need to distress and seal the teal ones.  The big, greyish frame is going to be a chalkboard after I finish the distressing and glazing.  I can't wait to see how it turns out.  The frame is really beautiful.

Maybe tomorrow the sun will shine for a couple hours.  I have some vintage glassware and pottery that I want to photograph so that I can put it on Etsy.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to Learn to Draw Faces

As I've mentioned before, I have been learning how to draw faces.  I've always loved to draw and doodle, but I've always been a geometric doodler.  I would draw three dimensional shapes and expand from there.  I rarely ever tried to draw a person or an animal.

A couple months ago, I watched All About Faces by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.  She taught me the basics about drawing a face, like eye spacing, lip shape, and shading.  Julie has lots of videos on You-tube and on the Interweave website.  She has a fun personality and takes her time to really show you what she's doing.

I bought Mixed Media Girls by Suzi Blu.  She draws the most adorable, round-faced girls.  She taught me about using the Prismacolor pencils to build a beautiful complexion.  What can I say about Suzi Blu?  She is crazy.  She is so animated, happy, angry, sad....  Her girl's faces are just so pretty!

I also got Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts.  I enjoyed that book.  She didn't focus that much on faces, but I learned how to draw angelic girls.  She also shows you how to do a lot of great backgrounds.

I recently took Tracy Bautista's Girlie Glam Faces online workshop. This was fun because I learned more about decorating a face with whimsical doodles and flowers.  Her work is so colorful.  Love it!

Last week I ordered The Whimsical Face by Jane Davenport.  I finished my first real face from the workshop.  Her faces are a little more realistic than what I have been doing.  Still, certainly not a totally realistic drawing, but slightly less cartoon-like (I can't think of any other word for them).  Obviously, the eyes and lips are over-sized, but that's what I like.  I'm not really looking for total realism.  Jane has a beautiful British accent.  She is detailed about showing you everything she does.  There are a couple times in the video when her head gets in the way of seeing the drawing, because of the camera angle, but still well worth it.

So, I'm very pleased with what I have learned from these women.  They all have different styles, but I feel like I'm learning something from all of them and will develop my own style.

My Jane Davenport-style face.
Suzi Blu-style face
Julie Fei-Fan Balzer-style face
Kellie Rae Roberts-style girl
Traci Bautista Girlie Glam-style face
I know that I still have a long way to go with my faces, but this is proof that anyone can learn how to draw faces, even someone with a history of just drawing straight lines.



Monday, July 15, 2013

July in Florida

July is Florida is HOT!  I've lived in Florida for 35 years and I hate hot weather.  That really doesn't make much sense, does it?

This afternoon I ignored my heat hatred and took a stroll around my yard.

I think that we are going to have a lot of grapes this year.

White Lantana is my favorite.

The first two beets.  We jumped the gun a little on picking the one on the right.

For some reason, our tomatoes will not ripen on the vine without rotting.  Here's another batch that I just picked to ripen on the window sill.  Any helpful hints would be appreciated.
See ya!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Rainy, Rainy Day

It's pouring!  Lightening, thunder, the whole thing.  But look at this cute little baby.  She's sleeping right through it.
She's really not a baby anymore.  She's almost 15.  But, she will always be my little baby!

Stay Dry,

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Greeting Card Series

I made a couple collages awhile back.  They're hanging on my wall and I've been looking at them thinking what great cards they would be.

So, I made little miniature collages on blank cards.  I used paper that I had stamped, washi tape, book pages, and cut out pictures.  I glued everything down with a glue stick.  Then, I sponged some pan pastel around the edges.  I am pretty pleased with them.


I think that they would make cute postcards too.

As I write this post, I'm realizing that my ipad camera might not be cutting it anymore.  I have 2 other cameras, but it is just so easy to use my ipad and the pictures used to be so crisp.  But, as  you can see, above, they aren't looking so good.  Oh well!!

Hot Glue Flower Masks

I'm so excited.  (it doesn't take much).  I was browsing around Traci Bautista's site about a month ago and saw a short tutorial on making designs out of hot glue, then using them as stencils and masks in your backgrounds or wherever you think they might look good.

I kept meaning to try it, but I couldn't find my hot glue gun.  Then, of course, when I found the gun, I couldn't find the glue.  Then, I found the glue and couldn't find the gun again, and so on, and so on.

Today, I happened to run across the gun and the glue so I knew that today was the day.  In her tutorial, I believe that she says to do this on a teflon mat.  I don't have a teflon mat, so I used freezer paper.

I took my time and carefully formed each design.  No I didn't.  I just started making designs willy nilly.  I had glue strings everywhere, but I figured that I could cut them off at the end.  I was surprised at how easy it was.  I let them completely cool, then began pulling them off the paper.  If I had used the teflon, they would have popped right off.  Mine stuck to the paper here and there, but for the most part, I just used my fingernail and scraped them off.  The glue is strong, so they didn't break or pull apart.  On the ones that stuck to the paper, I just scraped or cut the paper off with a small exacto knife.

I tried them out right away on a piece of art that I was never happy with.  I sprayed Dylusions Ink, but you could use any kind of spray paint.  You could even put paint or ink on the flat, back of the designs and use them to stamp.

I am pleased and plan to make some more.  They will be great for using on backgrounds or art journal pages.  I don't know if Traci Bautista made up this technique.  She probably did because she is so creative and talented.  Anyway, thanks Traci!

Here's some pix.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Morning in the Wild

Time to feed the chickens.

There is a beautiful red fox that is just dying to get his (or her) claws into my chickens.  I've always known that we had foxes living on our property over the years, but they used to stay on their half of the land and we stayed on our half.  This little red fox (he's not really that little) keeps strolling by the coop in broad daylight.  I'm sure that he is hoping that one of these days, we are going to slip and leave the door open so he can make his move.

We think that we have the coop protected, but foxes can be - well, foxy.  I have asked my husband to pee all around the chicken coop.  Someone told me one time that human urine will keep wild animals away.  It makes sense.  Fortunately, we live in the country, because I don't think neighbors would appreciate the site of my husband peeing while they are out pushing their kids on a swing.

I haven't seen the panther again.  I have been told at the corner store that others have seen it.  A bear was spotted on the next street over a couple weeks ago.  A freakin bear!!  I live in Florida.  I only live 5 miles from town, c'mon.  Our cute little college town is expanding out in my direction.  Due to the building, I'm sure that a lot of animals are being displaced.  I feel sorry for them.  They are just trying to live their lives, feed and protect their young, and do whatever wild animals do for entertainment.

However, when it comes to my chickens - Rhodey, Molly, and Zebra, those wild intruders need to watch out!! 

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My First Painted Girlie Glam

Happy July 4th!

I mentioned last week that I was taking a workshop by Traci Bautista.  Here it first painted girlie glam face.

This one is on an 8X10 piece of Masonite board, painted with acrylics, koi markers, gel pens, and Luminaire paint.

Here's one that I did with watercolor pencils and a water brush.


The Crocheted Tattoo

I would love to have a tattoo.  The problem is that when I was young and brave enough to withstand the needles, tattoos weren't that popular.  Now that I'm older and a scaredy-cat, everyone has one.

I've thought about the tattoo that I would get if I were brave enough.  Perhaps a colorful, little fairy on the back of my neck or a small cross on my ankle.  But yesterday I found Issue 3 of Crafty Mgazine.  Jessica Boudreau manages a knitting store in Washington, DC.  (she also lived in Gainesville, FL which is where I am).  Here's her tattoo:

I took a picture of the magazine with my ipad, so the pix isn't that great.

I love this!  It's not really crochet - it's knitting - but what a great idea.

Since I crochet all the time and I have started painting, I've been thinking about painting crochet, but I have never seen it before. 

Since I'm way to chicken to tattoo myself, at least I've seen this and have become more inspired to draw or paint something that was crocheted. 

Thank you Jessica Boudreau for being brave enough to get a tattoo and Crafty Magazine for writing an article about it.

Photos taken from interview in Crafty Magazine, Painted Ladies, interview by Sarah Adie
Interviewed: Jessica Boudreau,