What Time Does

Time slips away.

Months pass.

Gorgeous moons rise and fall beyond the horizons. Deep golden ones with red auras.

Living spaces change.

Habits develop.

New people walk into your life, unexpected.

I’m still drawing, still painting, and I feel more inspired than ever. I’m just recording it less these days.

More inspired than ever. It feels wonderful.

I’ll share again.

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Orchids II

For my second batch of orchid photographs (see the first here), I have chosen two pinks – hot pink, and a more purple, muted pink. I love the way this first one looks like a blossom explosion. It’s as if, a second ago, these all could have been tiny buds, then you blink, and POW! they’ve blossomed. They look like they have only just stopped moving. They also look they like are whistling.

hot pink orchid flower photograph

At the orchid show I experimented with taking photographs at more unusual angles, as in this next one:

orchid pink purple photograph

I like how this angle highlights the little spiraling tendrils on each flower.  The leaves in the background provide a contrast to highlight the delicate, precise shape of each flower. In addition to these photographs of orchids, I’ve been taking shots of new spring flowers, which I’ll be sharing on my Facebook page.

Salted Crimson

The following is a painting that I created especially for one of my brothers. I was trying to think of a painting that he would really want to put on his wall, whether his sister had painted it for him or not. And now that he’s received it, I can post my artwork without ruining the surprise:

enterprise star trek outer space spaceship

This is, admittedly, a bit of a poor photograph. I quickly snapped it before I wrapped it up to send, and did not check the photo before wrapping it. The top third of the photo should appear much less grey.

Paintings and drawings like these have always been a big challenge for me. Architectural shapes, as opposed organic shapes, cause so much more brow furrowing, frowning, and erasing. However, it was a great exercise and a reminder that I should practice drawing highly geometric forms more often. The background, however, greatly contrasts the tightly drawn ship. I used several layers of paint mixed with lots of water to create the nebulous shapes. In the first layer or two I sprinkled salt, which highlights watercolor’s unpredictability wonderfully. The texture in and around the light crimson nebula on the right side was largely created by adding salt just after painting. I brushed away the loose salt after drying and let the remaining salt adorn the paper.

I loved adding all the details to the ship. After I was done painting, I outlined choice areas in black ink, then moved on to colored pencil. By adding colored pencil over the top of watercolor, I can achieve detail, contrast, and effects that I cannot with watercolor alone.

Flowing amoebic forms, sharp geometric details, deep texture, and bright colors made this work of art fun and interesting to create, even though it was not one of my normal subjects. What have you created recently that was out of the ordinary?

Orchids I

I recently visited my local greenhouse to attend a special orchid event. My sister and I took our cameras along, and there were dozens upon dozens of gorgeous orchids to photograph. I’ll be sharing some of the best photos I took there, in between my regular posts about my painting and drawing.

I photographed this particular orchid because I loved the draping, clustered, pointy-petaled bunches of blossoms. They covered this great big plant and reminded me of party decorations. Each flower was very small and delicate, but together they were a very impressive display. Looking at the photo, I noticed the great variety of color present in the plant – several greens, yellows, fuchsia, deep pink, white, and even the bright yellow in the aging stems.

By contrast, this specimen had a very limit color palette. I loved the vivid orange, and the ruffled edge of the rolled petal. I’d really like a blouse inspired by this orchid.

Flowers are so artistically inspiring to me, and although I have rarely painted them recently, they are one of my favorite things to look at.

 

 

Cut and Paste Cardinal

I started this collage because I found an advertisement inside of a Jerry’s Artarama catalogue for a “junk mail challenge.” I thought it sounded fun, and I’d just received a catalogue from Bags and Bows, which provides lots of great patterns for perfect collage material. I was working on several sketches of cardinals in preparation for my “Proud Cardinal” painting at the time, so I decided to maintain the cardinal theme and make a collage based on one of my drawings (upper left hand corner below).

The drawing was originally a female cardinal, with lots of browns, greys, and blues, but since I had so many more bits of red in my catalogue than anything neutral, I decided to go with a male cardinal. On the right you can see the scissors I used to create the collage, and that was no easy task! Large scissors for detail work = sore hands afterward. I’ll have to buy a nice sharp Exacto knife for future work like this.

Most of the time that I was working on cutting pieces for the cardinal I placed them directly on top of my drawing to get a better idea of the shapes I wanted to create. I quite like the look of the paper pieces placed over parts of the drawing. Since I haven’t worked much in collage, this project took a lot of trial and error. I’d cut a few pieces, fit them in, cut more, cut even more pieces, and then realize what I had in the first place was a bit boring. So I’d take it out and continue. It’s very satisfying to fit abstract pieces together like a very complex puzzle to make an image.

I did not include any watercolor in this piece of work, even though you can see my palette in both of the photographs above. Even though I work in a very small space (in the top photo you can see nearly my whole working area), I like to have at least a couple of projects in progress at once. This method ensures I have a second project to work on when I need a break from my current piece. It also allows my work to closely influence and inspire my concurrent project(s), which helps me develop my style and color.

I am very pleased with my cut and paste cardinal. Starting out, I had no idea just how it would turn out. I’m especially pleased because I was one of the winners of the contest! I now have some new canvas, paints, paper (Arches!) and pens for lots of new projects. I love new supplies.

After I finished my little collage, it was awarded prime real estate on my cork board over my desk. When I turned the calendar to March a couple of weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the fox on my calendar matches the coloring, posture and pointed shapes of my little bird.

I plan on framing the collage when I find just the right frame for it, but for now it will live on my board along with my origami ornament, my Brooklyn Art Library card (from the Sketchbook Project), and other cards from lovely people.

Sketching for “Scalloped Owl”

My painting “Scalloped Owl” currently hangs in Lucy’s Art Emporium in Dover, New Hampshire. If you’re in the area, go visit Lucy’s! My paintings will be there until the 2nd of March (and there are great art exhibitions and gifts there all year round!).

I started this owl painting with a photograph of a barred owl from a book I got from the library.

I started with a realistic pencil sketch (as you see on the left, below). I got a feel for the general shapes in the owl, its posture and its feather patterns. Next I drew the stylized drawing you see on the right, which I based on the first drawing and the photograph combined, as well as a good dose of imagination.

owl sketch pencil drawing

I emphasized the dark ring of feathers encircling the owl’s face, the very round and shiny eyes, the variegated bib of feathers about the owl’s neck, and the striped effect of the feathers on its body. I also added a background in the second drawing, experimenting with contrast, texture, and stroke direction. The eyes in the second sketch remind me a bit of Raggedy Ann, an aspect which I enjoy in the drawing, but I didn’t wish to emphasize it in my final piece (below). I painted lots of dots and feathery details around the eyes, but not in the same eyelash pattern as in the drawing.

scalloped owl barred bird painting watercolor

In my final work, I combined my favorite aspects of the photograph and both the sketches. I exaggerated the rounded body, head, halves of the face, and eyes. This round quality kept the owl looking cute, which I wanted to achieve with this painting because that was my first reaction to the photograph I saw. I kept my palette limited to balance detail with simplicity. The photograph had a dark background, which I included in the second sketch, but in my final painting I chose to keep the darkest tones in the foreground and left the background light and subdued.

I plan to add more owls to my bird series. This one was a joy to paint, and I’d like to explore owls in flight, sleeping, in multiples, and perhaps even hunting. Do you have a favorite owl?

(I painted another owl, which you can read about here.)

*Update* The show at Lucy’s Art Emporium is over, but this painting is now available in my Etsy shop, matted to 8″x10″!

*Update* This painting has been purchased, but it is now available as a greeting card in my Etsy shop!

Sketchbook Project Complete!

Here it is, finally: the compilation of all the pages of my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project 2011 for Art House Co-op.

sketchbook project racoon rooster scavenger illustration

I’ve uploaded larger images of my illustrations on my Jem’s Imajes Facebook page, so you can see all the fun details more clearly.

Now all the sketchbooks which have been sent in are being prepared for their tour, which begins in February at the Brooklyn Art Library.

Looking forward to the project again next year!