Wednesday, 30 September 2015

September Challenge Day 30

Ta da! All done! Today is the last day of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge hosted by Leslie Saeta and I am sure most of us are ready for a short break. One of the goals of challenges like this is to encourage artists to try new things and to instil the useful habit of working daily at our craft. As many of us know, life sometimes takes over and, if our art gets put on the shelf for a while, it is sometimes difficult to get back in the swing of things.

Today's card is just a fun little picture of an ostrich chick.
Ostrich Chick
A number of years ago, I did a series of cards for a friend who was raising ostriches. They gave tours and had a little gift shop. I visited and took lots of photos for reference and then spent a few months drawing these interesting creatures. I pulled out my old reference drawings and picked this piece to end the challenge.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog which will have a collage of my art for the month.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

September Challenge Day 29

I wasn't sure that I would be able to complete today's card. I made the mistake of spending too long working in the garden the other day and my right hand has been swollen from too much pruning and work with the trowel. However, by only doing a little bit at a time and resting my hand between sessions, I was able to finish this piece.
Great Horned Owl
On this 5 x 7 pen & ink with watercolor card, I used Reader's Digest "Book of North American Birds" as my reference. It was a tricky drawing with WAY too many feathers - lol.

Now I am off to my studio to figure out what to draw for the final day of the challenge!

Monday, 28 September 2015

September Challenge Day 28

There are a number of different types of strokes used in pen & ink drawing but I think the most difficult is stippling.
A Rose
Like most of the other strokes, stippling can be used for many subjects but it is probably most suited to delicate items. However, I find that I get carried away and often end up with a section where the dots are too dense. That means I have to go back and increase the dots elsewhere to balance the composition. Stippling is also very time consuming and, while I like the effect, I usually want to work at a faster rate.

Now, on to the next....

Sunday, 27 September 2015

September Challenge Day 27

I mentioned to a friend that I was running out of ideas for the last few days of the challenge: not everything works well in pen & ink. I have been looking through my photo records to see what strikes my fancy.  Today's card is based on a watercolor painting I did a number of years ago.
Pine Perch
I believe the bird is a Pine Siskin but I can not remember what I used for a reference. A number of these little birds spent a lot of time here this summer devouring the sunflower seeds we provide. As they are messy eaters, the squirrels and turkeys were able to feast on the ground under the feeders.

I am happy that I finally have a bit of time to check out all the wonderful art and artists that are participating in this 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. I have found a number of artists to follow through blogs and Facebook pages. I hope you will take some time and check some out too.

One of these days I will figure out how to share the link to Leslie's page without using the URL - I promise, Sheila!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

September Challenge Day 26

This piece was a bit more complicated than most of the cards I have done this month. The small size made it even more difficult but I think it turned out okay.
A Working Wharf
The distant trees and bushes are all done with parallel lines which I think helps to give depth to the picture. My hand got pretty tired doing all those small lines so I ended up jumping around instead of just working from top to bottom.

Sometimes I work free hand but this card was drawn in pencil first. It is very hard to correct a mistake in pen & ink so one needs to plan ahead.

Four more day to go!

Friday, 25 September 2015

September Challlenge Day 25

It is hard to believe there are only five days left in the Challenge. For the most part I have stayed true to my plan to work on pen & ink pieces for the whole month.

Today's drawing/painting combines a free style flower drawing and a precise rendition of a wall and window - the contrasts were fun!
The other day a friend mentioned that she was surprised that none of my pen & ink cards sold at the recent Art Club Fall Show. I have found over the years that most people seem to prefer color in the art they buy, which is one of the reasons I don't do black & white often. However, my friend's comment got me to thinking. These original pieces are are not just cards! They can easily be turned into wall art just by adding a mat and a frame.
This is today's piece in an 8 x 10 mat:  a group of these cards would make a wonderful and inexpensive display.  I guess I have to make a sign stating "Frame-able Cards" to help people see beyond the obvious.

Thanks for stopping by - please leave a comment! 


Thursday, 24 September 2015

September Challenge Day 24

It is often difficult to find a reference photo that gives exactly what you want so you have to improvise.
Rusty Mailbox
The reference for this 5 x 7 card was a photo of an almost pristine mailbox that I found on the internet. I wanted something pitted by stones, battered by time and rusted by weather. I am pretty happy with the look I achieved although I think this piece looks better in person.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

September Challenge Day 23

Back to pen & ink! I am trying to do something a little more complicated each day. It takes more time but little sketches really don't stretch my skills.
Kitten in the Garden
I thought about calling this card "oops!" because the kitten looks like it got caught where it shouldn't be but decided I need a bit more to identify it. I have used this kitten before in my art but I think it is cute so I used it again.

There are only seven days left in the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge and I will be sad to see it end. Although I might complain a bit about not having the time, I will miss the structure that the challenge imposes. It is so easy in our busy lives to neglect taking time for our art. This is a shame, as art and creating add a wonderful dimension to us and make help to make life so much more interesting.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

September Challenge Day 22

Today's art is the culmination of a project I started back in the hot days of summer.  I had been doing some fabric painting and decided to make a few "Hot Weather Scarves" - scarves filled with gel crystals. Once these crystals are soaked in water and expand they stay cool for many hours and feel wonderful against a bare neck.
Hot Weather Scarves
All of the scarves are made with cotton and are painted with acrylic paint and fabric medium. The sections with the crystals range from 16 inches to 23 inches and the scarves, of course, are long enough to overlap in front to be pinned or tied.

 I hope to sell the Hot Weather Scarves, for, although the summer has passed there is always next year!

Monday, 21 September 2015

September Challenge Day 21

My intention to spend a fair bit of time drawing and painting went out the window today. It was a perfect fall day! The weather was a bit cool in the morning but the sun was shining and as the day progress the temperature rose, making it a great day for working outside among my flowers.
English Daisy
Here is my attempt at an English Daisy in pen & ink with watercolor. This was done in a hurry and I really should have used a smaller brush to add the color to the flowers because they lack the delicacy they should have. I am not sure if the pen work is even very visible but it is there - lol.

I am not sure what tomorrow will bring but the weather is supposed to be good again so I will probably be outside again. Fall is a favorite time of year and I like to get out and enjoy it!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

September Challenge Day 20

One of the advantages of adding watercolor to pen & ink is that you don' t have to be as detailed with the pen work.
The pen work on this card is pretty minor, almost more outline than detailed. Most of the shading is done with the paints but the two together makes for a nice delicate look.

Only 10 more days in the challenge and I am thinking of working toward something a little more impressive for my final pieces. I figure I should use the practice that I have been doing for more than cards but I will have to wait and see how things go.

Don’t forget to check out some of the other art in the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge -

Saturday, 19 September 2015

September Challenge Day 19

Today's card proves that I have to be in the right mood to do pen & ink!
Old Milk Can
I started this piece with high hopes but the more I worked on it the less I liked it. Finally, I quickly added a bit of background without using much care and called it 'done'. You might notice that I didn't sign it as I think this one will go in the trash.

Friday, 18 September 2015

September Challenge Day 18

I have another pen & ink with watercolor card to share today. Sometimes it feels a bit like cheating to add the color to the pen & ink because you don't have to do as much pen work but I really like the combination.
Red Tulip card
I used one of my stamps for the salutation on this card too. I think "You brighten my day" is perfect for a tulip as they are such cheerful flowers. I don't have many tulips in my garden because the deer really like them too but I enjoy seeing them in other gardens.

I am still catching up with various chores and have been using cards that I drew and painted when I was feeling better but now I have to get back to work because all my extras are gone. - Back to the drawing board!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

September Challenge Day 17

The day has slipped away from me and I almost ran out of time to post my work for the day. Here it is!
Yellow Star Flower
I decided to add one of my stamps to this piece as the salutation "There's Magic in the Air" seemed to fit. Another 5 x 7 pen & ink card with watercolor.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

September Challenge Day 16

I am happy to say I am feeling much better today! I had to spend some time catching up on a number of things that slid will I was under the weather so it is lucky I have a few cards already done. I hope to have some time tonight to do a bit of drawing but who knows.
Old Fence Post
This card is another quick pen & ink sketch with added watercolor. I enjoy doing wood grain in pen & ink although in this piece it doesn't show very much.

By the Old Log
Here is a painting I did a few years ago that shows wood grain better. "By the Old Log" is a mixed media piece with  pen & ink, watercolor and acrylic.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

September Challenge Day 15

Today's card was a bit more difficult as I was doing trees. I often find that all my trees end up looking the same except for size and I wanted these to look a bit different.
Wind Warped
I wanted these trees to look like they survive on a barren slope where the wind blows fiercely down the hill making life a challenge for everything.

Today is only the half-way point of the challenge although I feel like I have been at it for longer than that. Who knows what the next few weeks will bring!

Monday, 14 September 2015

September Challenge Day 14

It is back to simplicity again today as I still don't feel well. Just a little winter scene today, nothing very complicated but I hope you enjoy it!
Winter Snow

Sunday, 13 September 2015

September Challenge Day 13

After a few days of not feeling well I decided I needed some color in my card.
A simple little pen & ink sketch with watercolor washes on Strathmore Watercolor Card.

I tried something more complicated today and really messed it up - straight to the garbage it went! I guess it takes good health to concentrate; maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

September Challenge Day 12

Although I have spent most of the day sick in bed, I find I am well enough now to share my piece for day 12.
Along the Bay
Another 5 x 7 pen & ink card based on a couple of sketches in my reference folders.

Friday, 11 September 2015

September Challenge Day 11

Today was the first day of the Creston Art Club's Annual Fall Show & Sale and I missed it because I got sick - bummer! Fortunately, my husband, Bob, was kind enough to take my art in and a few of my friends set up the display for him (and me). Good friends (and husband too) are wonderful!

It was good that I had done a few cards in advance as I certainly didn't feel like doing art today.
Falling Apart card

Now back to bed for me!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

September Challenge Day 10

Another busy day ahead for me so I have no time to write more. I hope you enjoy this one!
At Anchor card
Another 5 x 7 pen & ink card. I will have most of the cards I have made available at this weekend's Creston Art Club Show & Sale, as well as a selection of my paintings.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

September Challenge Day 9

I was just wishing that this challenge was happening in October when I expect to have more time!

Here is today's pen & ink card.
The Park Bench card

Now, I need to do some yard work, make some goodies for the art show, get some of my other cards packaged, etc. etc. etc.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Septmeber Challenge Day 8

Today's card was actually done a few days ago and I had to take about 8 photos before I got one that worked. They were fuzzy, blue, shadowed - you name it! And, many of them were impossible to adjust with GIMP considering my limited skills.
Little Chipmunk card
I have been doubling up my drawings as the next few days are going to be super busy. The Art Club I belong to is having its annual fall show and sale this weekend so I have to get my art ready. I am also treasurer of the club so I have that to organize as well. On top of that, I coordinate 2 local art displays: Art in the Library and Art in the Chamber and this is the week that the art gets changed - it never rains but it pours! Which by the way is a very silly statement as it often rains without pouring - lol.

Don't forget to check out Leslie's blog to see some of the wonderful art being shared by the other artists in the 30 Painting in 30 Days Challenge -

Monday, 7 September 2015

September Challenge Day 7

The Bee Balm card from day 3 left me wondering whether adding the leaves was a mistake and comments were divided. I decided to do another card of the same flower using a different photo reference.
Bee Balm #2
The Bee Balm is a very messy flower; the petals go every which way, overlapping, falling over or standing up straight, so one has to be careful to draw the back petals first. I might look into getting some of these for my garden.

It is a good thing that my pen & ink cards don't take long to do, because I spent a large part of yesterday trying to get my photos 'right'. I took photos with 2 different cameras, my phone and 2 tablets, both inside and out - fortunately the sun shone for a while. As I am technologically challenged, Bob helped me out by setting the camera to black & white. This method actually worked very well when taking photos in sunlight but I am afraid that having to remember how to set the camera will just annoy me. I like things simple! At any rate, both tablets and the phone seemed to leave a grey aura around the card, which required a fair bit of manipulating with the Gimp program. The new little camera is almost impossible for me to hold steady, all of the 'buttons' are too small and the pictures rarely turn out. I prefer my old HP camera and will stick with it! I think I have figured out the best way to take photos of my black and white drawings so they only needs a bit of tweaking to be 'white' - time will tell.

My friend, Sheila, is still on the ball and has sent me a few tutorials that I hope will help even more. Guess what I will be doing today!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

September Challenge Day 6

After my last post where the photo of my card was grey instead of white, a Google+ friend, Sheila Delgado, offered to help me by removing the grey for me. (see Sheila's blog here -

When I take photos and look at them on the computer, except for cropping, fixing perspective and maybe increasing the size, I pretty much leave them alone. If the color is off I just shrug because I really don't understand how to do anything else. My husband bought me "the Book of Gimp" to go with the computer program but 95% of the book is gibberish to me.

However, I decided to try to fix my card photos myself - figuring I can always call on Sheila if it doesn't work.

Here is today's card - ta da! no grey!
The Lantern card

Unfortunately, I seem to have deleted most of the edges of the card. I am finding it difficult to take a photo that doesn't have any shadows and getting rid of the shadows requires too much brightening. Oh well, maybe the next photo will work better.

Here is yesterday's card with the grey removed:
Okay, it is still a bit grey but making it white removed all the edges and it no longer looked like a card - what a conundrum.

I guess I need to work on this a bit more.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

September Challenge Day 5

Sometimes you just have to go with quick and easy!
#5 Mushrooms card
All of my cards are done on white cardstock although in the photos some of them are looking very grey. This little piece is a tribute to the rain we have been having for the last few days. It is a much needed rain as the forests have been very dry and there have been many fires in the area. So, although the weather is grey (like the photo - lol), I don't think many of us are complaining.

If you are interested in seeing more of the art from the 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge go to Leslie Saeta's blog - it is a great way to find new artists to follow.

Friday, 4 September 2015

September Challenge Day 4

Today's drawing is almost a complete copy of an illustration from Claudia Nice's book "Drawing in Pen & Ink". I don't usually copy like this but I felt that I needed to practice the various different strokes used in this piece. I also felt that I needed to be reminded  about the subtleties of shading with the different strokes.
There may be a few more 'direct' copies until I get my groove back but I plan to use my own images for most of the month.

Four down - twenty-six to go!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

September Challenge Day 3

Sometimes things don't work out quite the way you think they will.
Bee Balm card
This piece started out as a line drawing of just the flower based on one of Claudia Nice's illustrations, then I added the shading. I was reasonably happy with it but thought that the bottom of the card needed something. So, I went on-line to see what the leaves of the Bee balm looked like and added some to my drawing.

I am not sure if leaves add or detract from the whole; maybe simplicity would have been better.

To see more of the art that has been submitted in this 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge go to

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

September Challenge Day 2

To help me get back in the groove of doing Pen & Ink, I have been using some books by Claudia Nice for ideas and reference. A number of my cards are based on her drawings.
Aged Cedar card
I find that it takes some time to get back the flow of a different medium when you have not done it for a while. Also, 'seeing' colored things in black and white can be difficult.

Practice, practice, practice!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

September Challenge Day 1

And the challenge begins! I have entered another 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge, hosted by Leslie Saeta -
Check it out regularly to see the art of over 700 artists from around the world. Or enter and stretch your wings.

For this challenge I decided to stick to working with Pen & Ink because I am a little rusty and it is always good to keep your skills lubricated.
#1 Still-life Bottles
I am going to work exclusively on 5 x 7 cards as they will fit better in my time schedule, take up less room than a full size work, and, hopefully, be saleable.