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Showing posts from 2009

Summer is Winding Down in Cloudcroft

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This summer has been the wettest and lushest Cloudcroft summer in my memory. There was a storm during the night and the village was blanketed in a fog when I first went out to walk the dogs this morning. A nippy 40 degrees had us walking at a nice clip. The interesting thing is, that despite the waning of summer, many berries continue to add blooms to their branches. The second blooming of elderberries and the wild strawberries is rather unusual. In addition, many of the wildflowers have continued to exhibit their blossoms. There are hints that the aspen leaves are beginning a subtle change and I suspect the wildflowers will be caught unaware by an early frost. I have seen many cottontails here this summer and watched two of them playing one morning. One was charging and then jumping over the other. That happened several times and then they finally chased each other around and around in a circle. I suspected they were siblings. It makes me smile to remember it now and their appearances …

Trying Something Different

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It's 8 something in the morning and I am on the deck in Cloudcroft. Hummingbirds are feasting on the red and white petunias and their feeders. The sun has just begun to rise above the pines and aspens and the temperature is knocking at 60 degrees. I am in a light sweat suit with a cup of coffee and would think I was in heaven if I didn't have a long list of things to do. There are numerous illustrations waiting to appear and it seems the employers all finally decide what they want at the same time. I'm thankful for the work.
Yesterday, I took some time out to work on the painting above. It's done in colored pencil. I have been trying to figure out a way to work in a different technique. I like how it turned out, but the paper is translucent and keeps the whites from looking as bright as I'd like. I will continue to work in this vein to see if I can duplicate the style on my fav Stonehenge paper. I will be doing a companion piece to this one of hollyhocks. Let me k…

Some illustrations are black & white

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Virtually all of my illustrations begin as rough hand-drawn images in graphite pencil (black and white or grayscale). Some employers want black and white images only. When that is the case, I continue by cleaning up the drawing and shading it in pencil. If the employer wants line drawings only, I transfer the outline for the finished drawing and then go over it with ink. For colored illustrations, I continue with the graphite and use water color markers, colored pencil, acrylics or gouache to color the images. After that, I scan them in and usually tweak them a little more in Photoshop. Here are a couple of black and white images done for fantasy type illustrations. Hold tight to your dreams ~ Linda








Illustrations, illustrations

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Illustrations have been keeping me busy. I'm including some samples of just a few of the many I've been working on recently. Most of them have been for children's books. Some are in color, like the Taco Dog (shown above gobbling Santa's tamales).
Some have a message like Petula Pelican, who struggles for women's rights issues. Part of the fun of it all is becoming "acquainted" (at least via the internet) with people from all over the world. Petula's author is a wonderful, 85-year- young woman who lives in Kansas and has al- ready published several other books. She is a wealth of knowledge regarding homeopathic remedies and is an inspirational lay minister as well. I haven't been blogging in a while because of all the other activities. Stay tuned for more illustration samples to follow. All the best ~ Linda

From DIVAS to DOG CATCHERS

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Have you missed me? I have been busy, busy, busy doing illustrations recently. It is fun, but a LOT of work and I have been putting in long hours. Part of that is my own tendency toward perfectionism. One of the most fun jobs I have been working on is a children's book about a frog who lives in the bayou of Louisiana and dreams of being a princess. I have made a new friend with the author and am stretching my skills back to illustration which is where I started as a professional artist many years ago. So many things have changed since then with the arrival of computers in the world of art and they continue to expand. The Photoshop images that were state of the art a few years ago are giving way to Vector images which can be resized without distortion. I still start all my illustrations with hand drawn images, and I am hoping there will always be a place for that. There is just something about the feel of the artist's hand in that artwork compared to digitally created work. May…

Finally! A photo of the Green Jay Painting

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(You can click on the photo for a larger version of the picture.)

This colored pencil painting was actually finished a week ago, but I have been waiting for a decent day to get a photograph of it. I prefer to take photos of the artwork outdoors but ever since finishing it has been very dark and overcast or the wind has been blowing like crazy. Today there was nice light and less wind, so I took this outside and got a photo of it. Hope you enjoy!
I'm already at work on redwing blackbirds with roses. I've managed to get some good shots of the Eastern bluebirds this past week, so they will be appearing soon, too.
I was able to work outdoors on this painting several days and enjoyed the great natural light and pleasant weather.
All the best! Linda

TIP: Colored pencil breaking? Time to start baking!

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It is so frustrating to be "in the zone" working on a colored pencil painting and have the tip fall off the pencil. Then, you sharpen it only to have the tip fall off again - or worse - to remain in the sharpener clogging it. Sometimes that requires a screwdriver, a few expletives and an unwanted interruption in the work process. When colored pencils are dropped, the "lead" can break inside the pencil and no matter how many times you try sharpening them, the tip will continue to fall off. Well, I received a wonderful tip on resolving that problem fromAudra Stevens, Product Information Specialist with Blick Art Materials. Here are her instructions:

What you will want to do is put your pencils on a cookie sheet - preferably lined with wax paper or a silicone pad - and put the pencils in the cold oven. Heat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and let them bake at that temperature for 2-5 minutes.Then let the oven completely cool down to room temperature before you ta…

Taking the Good from Failure

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I thought that I was getting very close to finishing this picture. I was working to quickly fill in the background and wasn't sure which direction I was taking with it. I had originally considered a light blue background, but it was competing and clashing with the other blues in the picture. I switched to greens and was happier with that. Initially, I had thought the green jays would blend into a green background too much, but found that they didn't. I had added a tree trunk to the left side of the picture, made some changes to the bottom limb and started filling in the background. (You can refer to the photo from my previous post to see the differences.)
To get the background done with soft gradations and variations, I had switched from the colored pencils to Neocolors II . They are used by Ester Roi, who uses heat to melt the wax in the crayons and colored pencils and has developed a heated drawing surface especially for that purpose, and Ranjini who likes to work on sanded s…

Art Interrupted by Spring

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I have been busy working away at the green jays with the wisteria and have the two birds pretty much done. W may be harder is figuring out how much of the background to include. I want to keep the rest of it quite a bit lighter to avoid having it compete with the birds.
In the meantime, spring is knocking at the door. That brings some pleasant interruptions including an early morning visit to a friend's to take some photos of the birds that flock to their house. She keeps dry dog food available in big tubs outdoors and the birds love it. I got some photos of the cardinals, green jays, brown thrasher and Audubon's orioles.

My corn plant is blooming! I've had this happen with 2 other corn plants (Dracaena Massangeana), but believe it is rather rare. The flowers take a while to develop and open, but when they do, it is very fragrant. I was disappointed at first, because the flower stalks (there are 2 on this plant!) had gotten quite large with no fragrance at all. Last night…

Illumination - Latest Colored Pencil Painting

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I completed this colored pencil painting yesterday, photographed it and uploaded it, along with the cypress tree painting, as entries in the CPSA 2009 Int'l Exhibit. Last year was the first year they accepted digital entries, but I didn't enter last year. It was nice not having to deal with taking slide photos with the 35mm camera, but on the other hand, what I see on my computer monitor is not what I see when I look at the actual painting. Then, how do I know what the judges will see on their monitor? My colors look washed out to me on my monitor. Since the judges only get one impression of your work, that feels risky to me. If I had better techie skills I suppose I could calibrate my monitor, but alas that is not my forte. So I continue to muddle along.
I used some of the Neocolor II crayons when working on this picture along with heat. I didn't discover that combo until I was almost finished. Now I am anxious to give that another try. I took over the glass topped range …

New Day Sunrise

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I took a timeout from the colored pencil painting I am working on to do a painting of the sun rising above the clouds. In the past week, I have been plagued with the sudden onset of arthritis in my hands/wrists & feet/ankles. I would have blamed it on overuse of the hand with the prolonged use of scribbling with my pencils, but both hands hurt. I haven't been scribbling with my left hand, or my feet, for that matter, so that couldn't be the cause. My friend Alice told me it was because I just passed another birthday milestone. Probably right! I had a regular appointment to see my doctor yesterday anyway, so I bought a bottle of glucosamine-chondroitin and started taking it until I could meet with him. I knew that stuff would take 6 weeks or so to kick in - if it works for me. So, I have been scribbling and wincing at the same time. I started thinking maybe that is why I became more acquainted with collage recently. I figured I could do it with less stress to my hand and w…

Art Blog AWARD

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I was given this art blog award - my very first blog award!!! - by the very talented artist, Ranjini. I love her work. She uses colored pencils and Neocolor II crayons on pastelboard. I was intrigued by that and gave it a try and I'll just say, I'm back to the drawing board (or paper).

In return for Ranjini's generous award, I am listing 7 things I love and then will pass the award forward to 7 other artists whose blogs I love.

A mere 7 of the things I love (in no particular order):
1. Family
2. Friends (including my God)
3. Art
4. Music
5. Nature - flora, fauna, land & sea
6. Learning
7. Creating

A mere 7 of the artists whose work I love & who blog (in no particular order):

Elizabeth St. Hilaire-Nelson

Michael Chesley Johnson

William Hawkins

Robin Maria Pedrero

Julie King

Stevie Wren

Sara Chambers

Finally Finished Cypress Trees in Colored Pencil

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Could you sense my absence from the web recently? I've been working, working, working on a colored pencil painting. I am finally finished - I think. I said that last night and signed it. In the light of day, I decided (with my husband's critique) that it could use a little punching up in places, so back to work. Then, I thought it was done and was pretty pleased. I took it outdoors and sprayed workable fixative on it. I almost always do that. I've never had problems with it before. But this time...horror of horrors, my dark purple shadows morphed into something more like neon fuschia. Not so good. I used much more Verithin Prismas on this particular work than I normally do and perhaps that accounts for the color shift this time. So, back to the drawing board - literally. I busily attacked the purple with a marine green and think I might have counteracted the effects. I had been so careful to maintain my lights - which is always a challenge for me - and was annoyed that I…

Talented French Papier Mache Artist

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Oh my goodness, I was on Facebook cleaning up some of my email and ran across a person named Laetitia Mieral who has the cutest avatar. It looked like the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood. Ever curious and easily distracted, I sent an email asking her if the little avatar was an original painting she had created. She wrote back and told me that it is actually a papier mache figure she created and she sent me a link to her website. (You can click the name of this blog to get there.) It is just amazing to me that she can create all these fabulous figures from what started as strips of paper from the comics! Wow! You will love them. I can't read a bit of French, but she has her profile in English, so if you are foreign language limited like I am, there is hope.
Check it out, I think you will love it!!
All the best ~ Linda

Beach Memories Linger

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Back in Beeville, did my 5 AM 3-mile walk on the walking track at Coastal Bend College in 40 something degree temperatures. Hard to believe I was on the beach yesterday morning. Glad to be back to my art stuff, but the memories linger of my wonderful days at the beach. Lots of good resources for future works of art.
BTW, the moon was odd this morning. It was very a small sliver and yet the moon itself looked much larger in circumference than usual. It looked very much like an eclipse. I decided it was making room to hold all the hope for the world.
Here's hoping your week is fabulous!
All the best ~

What is the single best drawing tip you have given or received?

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Eastern bluebirds have been frequenting the bird bath and they are such a welcome sight! In the dreary days of winter their blue sky backs carry the reminder of brighter days. I am not used to seeing them in the winter, but with our current drought situation, they have been regular visitors to the birdbath just out side the window for drinks of water. They usually come in groups. A few years ago, I saw a pair of them at our previous house, but only for a few weeks one spring. Since we moved (a few hundred yards away from the other house) almost 4 years ago, I haven't seen them at all until a month or so ago. Now I see them perched on the phone lines and fences where they keep an eye out for food in the open fields. We have seen as many as 10 clustered around the rim of the birdbath. I have nesting boxes that haven't been put up. I read that the Eastern bluebirds were indigenous to the area many years ago but had been displaced by the sparrows which are not native to this coun…

Oh where, oh where did my photos go?

Well, there WERE photos with the blog I did on Jan. 12 showing the progression of the ice cream cone collages. For some reason after I posted the last blog they disappeared. I have asked for help from the support forum, but so far, no help has been provided. So, yes, I know there are blank boxes where the photos used to be and I don't seem to be able to figure out why. Thanks for looking at the other pics anyway! Linda

Ice Cream Cone Collages - Done!

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The ice cream cone collages are done. They were SO much fun! I can't wait to do more. The only thing left to finish these two are a couple of coats of varnish. I especially enjoyed including little "surprises" in the torn bits of paper. The cherry on the chocolate cone includes foil paper from a Baskins Robbins hard candy wrapper. The word "chocolate" was ripped from magazines and included in the ice cream. Musical note paper is worked into the cone.

In the strawberry cone painting, again there is Baskin Robbins wrapper paper, the word "strawberry" appears several times, along with Flavors and Gather round. Gathering round are a doe and fawn, a buffalo cow and calf and even a wolf appears - to wolf down the ice cream!
I hope you enjoy looking at these as much as I enjoyed making them.


Have a great week!

I scream 4 ICE CREAM collage begins

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I have started my ice cream collage as you can see here. First, I began with a simple pencil drawing on a 10"x8" sheet of birch plywood. Next, I painted very general areas of color and let that dry before applying paper to the collage.
And then there were two...



So what can be better than 1 ice cream cone, but 2? I decided while I had the paint out I should go ahead and make a quick background prep for a second cone. Besides, I couldn't decide between chocolate and strawberry anyway and I think a companion piece might be twice as nice. You can see that I have begun applying paper to the background of the chocolate one. I ordered some mulberry paper from a seller in Thailand that took a while to get here - about 2 weeks - but it love it and it is so much fun to work with. It is spawning ideas for other things like big cabbage roses or copying the photo of a confederate rose I am using as wallpaper on my computer these days. Since most of it is sheer, it is fun to layer over…

ACEOs & Making a little progress

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Yippee! I am making a little progress. I uploaded photos of my artwork which will be added to the Cloudcroft Art Society Website.
And, I got my check in the mail to cover my dues for CAS 2009 along with the website. It's great to scratch something off the list. This business of art keeps us from making art but has to be done if we want to generate any financial benefits from our efforts.
Now, about ACEOs. It's an acronym for Art Cards, Editions and Originals. There is a great article about them here that you might consider reading. Originally, the concept started as artist trading cards(ATCs). Artists who couldn't afford to make investments in art by their fellow artists exchanged small pieces of artwork among themselves. There was no money or payments involved, simply trading of artwork. That has evolved into the more recent ACEO movement. The only restriction on ACEO's is that they must be in the same size format: 3.5"x2.5" which is the size of a baseball…

Another Year and so many goals

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How could it be that a year has passed and I have attained so few of the goals I had last year? I start the year with a burst of resolve to achieve certain things relative to my art career, but somehow I get distracted. It's not that I don't do ANYTHING, it's just that what I do is not what I had intended to do. I would like to blame it all on my A.D.D., but I think that would be using a cheap excuse. Maybe I will just resolve to be more focused this year and that will make things fall into place? I love it that my mind fills to abundance with ideas and creativity, but I get equally as excited as each new idea pops into my head and they are so frequently unrelated. I spend hours and hours gathering reference materials, making sketches and gathering my tools and materials in preparation for the fabulous idea I'm nursing. Unfortunately, by the time I've done all that, I'm onto a new idea and preparations for it. It is frustrating with little to show for the effo…