Montag, 29. Februar 2016

New Blue on Leap Day

Leap Day

This is a Leap Year so we get an extra day: 29 days in February. As I read somewhere this morning - maybe you did, too - we should make a point to put it to especially good use:
Give thanks for 29 things.
Smile 29 times (an hour).
Walk an extra 29 minutes.
Junk 29 useless or toxic things in the closets and cupboards.
Spend 29 minutes doing something special you've intended awhile.
Don't make your To Do list 29 items long, just for a break for today.
Read for 29 more minutes.
Call someone and let her talk to you for 29 minutes.
Read Psalm 29, and Proverbs 29.
Go to bed 29 minutes earlier.

I've got half that list checked and am trying for a few more before the day is done.

Blue Boy

Mary, this is for you. I did another sketch of your little Sweetie. Because I was working on colorful colors today, I decided to draw this new face this time in non-standard colors. This is done in five colored pencils, three blues and two purples. It still, I think, gives the effect of warm and cool tones. What do you think?

It is actually brighter than this, but the weather today is awful and the light is gone.

Contest Coming

Watch for information about a contest in March for Lent. Another one will follow, D.v., for Easter.

Sonntag, 28. Februar 2016

Finished and Next


Pam sent a picture of her slightly revised still life painting, now finished. As I wrote to her, I think the composition comes more forward now with less distraction from the background and more definition in the foreground. I like it.

Nicely finished. With a next still life in the works. Notice on this one the details and shine added to the tabletop.


Look for an upcoming art contest for Lent.

Samstag, 27. Februar 2016

Felted and Horned

Remember the Elm Creature? Sometimes I start things and it takes a while (or forever) for me to get back to them, but this one I have been working on.

The beginnings of felting, over the base, with bead eyes added

I know it is easy to ask,"What is the use of that?" (not that anyone is so impolite to say so out loud yet), but I am enjoying working on the many, many things that I put off for many, many years while I was busy being Mom/teacher/and all those other shoe-fillers we must be. I still am those things, but just less intense right now. So I am trying various materials, and techniques, and styles, and subjects that have filled my sketchbooks and shelves for years. The resulting product is not that important right now. I am in the stage of  "The first hundred don't count," as I practice new things or refresh old things.

Most of the felting done, except leg-tops

It is important that when we begin new things, we not try to produce a masterpiece first thing. We should just dive in, do our best, enjoy the making, and then let it go and move on to the next piece in the same series. That is the only, only way to get to the stage where we will be happy with and competent in what we are doing. Then we can set about wow-ing the world with our masterpieces, but not until then.

So, I was enjoying felting.

All felted, with ears and shadings, awaiting horns

Then the critter need some horns, so I pulled out my FIMO and made a set, and few other things, because, when one is setting up the craft oven to bake the clay anyway, one may as well do a full load for future projects. Now I have ideas for those.

Various polymer clay shapes (some from molds, with additions, like hairs and ornaments), including horns

Then with some fiddling and fussing I got it in some shape and called it done.

The Elm creature, something like an Alpine Gemsbok, (otherwise known as a Chamois), but grey, not brown, because that is the color I had

Sweet Boy

Grandma's.... they love their little darlings and know the little darlings will grown up before you can blink, so how about we capture a look in a picture? How about it is not a just a photo? So, for a happy Grandma, by request: Mary, this is my first drawing, so you know I am working on it. More to come.

Colored pencil study sketch

Donnerstag, 25. Februar 2016

Changing Color

From Pam

This post could be titled "How I spent My Valentines Weekend". I was not drawing, cutting or coloring valentines for my loved ones. But I was giving a gift of sorts to my sweetheart.

Typically during the winter here we do updates in our home- painting and updating and just generally doing some freshening up. Once spring arrives all our efforts at upkeep turn to the farm and gardens outdoors so I try to get something done in the house during the depths of winter. With the wedding occupying all my time in January, there isn't much time left for anything big. I decided to repaint our master bathroom since my husband was never very enamored with the color and I was just ready for a change.

I have to the need for change a part of the creative mind? I really don't like things to remain static in my life and that goes for anything- colors, decor, arrangements, menus, etc. Every few years I have a need to change my environment- move the furniture around, paint the walls or a piece of furniture, buy a new rug- something to shake up the visual landscape I live on. Is that just me? Or do other creative people do the same? I know some people are content to live with things always the same- the wall colors always the same, the furniture arrangement or wall decor the same, and they are perfectly happy. Not me. This is an example.

A few years ago I painted the walls of our bathroom a rich chocolate brown. A surprising choice to some but I loved it (still do). With cobalt blue tile that I hand made myself with clay and a rolling pin, and a matching blue glazed sink that I made on the pottery wheel and fired in my kiln, I am restricted in the color pallette. I really like how blue goes with beige, brown and white so that is the color pallette I used. Chocolate brown was an accent color in my adjacent bedroom so it tied them together.



I made the sink and tile probably about fifteen or more years ago. I made a sink for our other bathroom also and last winter I remodeled it and took it out. When we first built the bathroom it was important to me to have those hand made elements.

I still really like the richness of the brown walls but my husband never liked the color. I decided to give him a pastel color that he liked better since this is his space too (though he doesn't care about aesthetics as much as I do). I chose a pale blue grey for the walls and repainted the cabinets (which were originally stained oak before becoming white in the last remodel) a medium grey. 


That color change really changes the feel of the room don't you think?

I had the glass knobs on hand from a different project and absolutely love them on the grey cabinets.


Our small town has a great paint store where we know the owners who are extremely knowledgable and helpful. I have learned when picking a paint color to always ask for their advice. In this job I told them what I was doing. First we chose a pastel blue that would go well with the cobalt tile. When I told the owner that I wanted a medium grey for the cabinets but that the floor was also blue, he instructed me that the grey should have a warm tone and not a blue tone. I had been thinking that the grey would need to have undertones of blue to match. He said the grey would reflect the blues and if it already had a blue tone it would look blue rather than grey in the room. I think he was absolutely right and I am very happy with the way the walls and cabinets look together.

And my husband loves it.

Tropical and Not

Tropical Cakes

Mary sent pictures of her latest cakes.  The decorated sheet cakes are in a tropical theme. She likes warm weather.
Fruit topped

Fancy frosting, note center rose

Ah, tropics

And seashore?

Not Tropical

While in other parts of the world, the spring weather went away....

The raindrops froze.

Budding bushes and frozen drops

Spring is trying hard around changing temperatures.

....And the snow came back.

These fellows find the snow to be lots of work, while I was taking pictures of how pretty it was - different perspectives, depending on ones relation to it.

But it is pretty and already melting so the flowers are all right.

Mittwoch, 24. Februar 2016

Art School Update

Sarah and Leah are our houseguests (from Wisconsin) and attend Masters School of Art two days a week. They have ten different classes that they take on those days. 

Color theory class seems like a very interesting and useful hour.

For this exercise they mixed colors for the painting using only the three primary colors of red, blue and yellow.

The next week they painted using complementary colors from the color wheel, using the opposite color for the shadows of the pears. Leah said this was a much harder exercise.

Leah is taking a portrait drawing class and has been practicing facial features. (Sarah Marie's lessons have been timely additional instruction!)


An anime class takes another approach to faces-

And a separate class on figure drawing expands the study of the human form even more-

                                                  By Leah Y

      By Sarah Y

These girls have some talent to work with, don't you think? I do!

Dienstag, 23. Februar 2016

Card and Folds

This is a creative card I got - just noticed today, tucked in a book that came back with Florian. It was made by Alyssa.

Note the unique folded squares that make up the frame.

In two pretty papers, set in opposite directions
We will use the reason that "imitation is the most sincere form of flattery" to add the directions for how to make these folded forms.

Start with a square, and fold in half, then crosswise each way to look like this.

Push sides in on the folds to form a triangle.

It will look like this. (The end corners actually match; perspective is distorted in this photo).

Then turn one top corner to the middle....

..... then the other corner likewise, and you are done. Now make many more of these and create a border.
I anticipate using this for cards sometime. Thanks, Alyssa.

Montag, 22. Februar 2016

Drawing Faces: Eyes

In previous posts we looked at the general contours and proportions of the face, particularly female faces. Now we will begin looking at some features in more detail. Today has EYES.

Eyes in the Skull

Eyes are not almond-shaped papers glued to flat surfaces. They are relatively round balls set in hollow spaces, and to be convincing, must be drawn to indicate such hollows and protrusions.
When you start a face drawing, always indicate the hole in the skull in which the eyeball fits. This will give you your placement for the lids and brows, also. Very handy.

(Yep, I reworked some sections. Doesn't she have a pretty grin? And that should say "hollow" and not "hallow.") Anyway, the main thing to notice here is the cheek bone wrapping around the side of the head below the eye socket and the hollows under the cheek bone (that fill in when one gets older).

Face Muscles

To understand the contours of the face, and thus to draw it convincingly, it is helpful to have a general idea of the direction of the facial muscles. This will set the "hollows" and "bumps" of the face to get your shadows and highlights right.

Notice the indentations of the face make sort of a cross shape of the higher areas.

Eye Shape

The eyes themselves are made up of two pieces of skin stretched over a ball. The upper lid protrudes out and is rounded above the eye, further out than the lower lid.

The visible eye shape between the lids is somewhat of a rectangular parallelogram. Think of it in thirds to find the highest and lowest parts. Note also (to repeat from before) that the inner point of the eye is a little lower on the face than the outer point of the eye.

Always think of the whole eyeball when drawing, so it doesn't get too big (to long) for its socket, and does bulge nicely, and isn't flat on the face.


A crucial factor in making convincing faces is to remember to keep your planes rounded. Go ahead and use marking lines to help set your placings and then draw your features on those lines. Then if you decide to draw a face that is not straight forward, it will still be properly aligned and foreshortened.

We all remember Rule One of drawing lines, don't we? God likes S - CURVES. Almost everything in God's creation is made up of S-curves to a greater or lesser degree. We know something is man-made when it has straight lines. Keep the curves on your faces!

Next: Noses

Samstag, 20. Februar 2016

Rigi Birthday


Today I made a simple card of layered papers and stamping for Leo's birthday.

About mountains in life

And Someone bigger


Then we hiked up the Rigi for a family birthday dinner. Most of you know the path and the place.

The icicles on the huge rocks are always impressive

Along the path

And upward

A view across Lake Lucerne

A wintery garden

The FELSENTOR (I painted almost this exact scene many years ago.)

A farm house along the way up

A fence post hat

A fence, of sorts

After dinner, going down

Actually there is a path there

Some take the comfortable mode

And some can't resist a little war

It is as narrow as it looks and it is the path.

 Today it snowed; tomorrow is supposed to be spring temperatures.