Sunday, September 30, 2007


This is a contribution by Nava who used her self-portrait and created two different versions. I see the possibility of some very exciting paintings from these images. The drawings can stand alone as they are exciting and intriguing. Keep the drawings coming!
I took some pictures at an art show at Fort Mason in SF some time ago of some very exciting wire sculpture art. One of my favorite artists makes very three-dimensional animals - birds, roosters, etc. They are extremely complicated and intricate. Unfortunately, I didn't get to photograph his work and I can't even tell you his name (I don't remember it!). The artist represented below uses wire in a very different way - more like drawing with wire. I think these pieces are brilliant! Notice how a wire sculpture casts shadows which becomes an important element of the piece. Again, I failed to record the artist's name. I must do better next time

I spent yesterday at the Gallery Concord putting up the rest of my paintings. I am so excited to have two of my series well represented at once! It was a long day but I managed to do a few drawings in my sketch book. Today I woke up and did two contour drawings while still in bed so I could make sure to do some art. I spent the day in San Francisco at the Society of Western Artists annual exhibit and reception. I was honored to receive an award. There were many many fine paintings in the show, so I was very fortunate.
Tomorrow is the first day of the month, so stay tuned for a month long painting challenge! It is going to be something that I have been promising myself to do for a long time.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


FANTASTIC! I already have a wonderful response to the wire drawing challenge. This is the message I received from Louise Christy: " When I picked up the e-mail and saw the challenge I couldn't wait to start drawing. What a great face! Here are my four attempts. Many, many, MANY thanks for the inspiration." What a great job. I have put up 3 of the 4 drawings. I love how she tried different lines for the forehead and self corrected anatomical problems with the next drawing. Don't erase, just make mental notes for the changes you want in the next effort. Keep the drawings coming!!

Friday, September 28, 2007


My blogger plan was to create challenges for myself and to encourage others to join in. Now that I am up and running, it is time to put the plan into action. Each Friday I will create a drawing challenge for the week and at the beginning of each month, I will post a painting challenge for that month. If you would like to participate, send me a photo of your finished drawing and/or painting and let me know if you want me to post it on this website. Even if you don't want to show it to the world, I definitely want to see what you are accomplishing.
I LOVE wire sculpture because it is like a 3-D drawing. I have seen some incredible work and even broke down and bought the one pictured here. One image is straight on but the 2nd is at an angle so you can see the 3-D effect. Recently, I was drawing in my sketchbook, getting familiar with some of the faces I had photographed and I was trying to simplify and just get the essence of the person when I hit on the idea to draw the face as if I would create a wire sculpture. This created some interesting and exciting images! So, that is our first challenge - A Drawing that could be translated into wire. I am posting a photograph and resulting drawings to give you the idea.

I am also posting an image for you to use....or use any of your own. It doesn't have to be a head. It can be any object. Do lots of blind contour drawings, modified contour drawings etc. to get familiar with the image and then simplify it down to it's essence. Don't forget that your lines have to "connect" to another line but can twist and wrap and bend etc.

If you click on this image, you will have a bigger image to work from.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


It's been a very long day but I did manage to do some blind contour drawings of chairs at the hair salon while I was waiting for the gray to magically transform into reddish brown. Better living through chemistry! It is great practice for eye-hand coordination. The practice is so beneficial. This type of drawing is not results oriented. The value is in the action. The results were not worth posting so I thought I would post some drawings from my sketch book that I did in preparation for my self portrait paintings. Click on any of the images for a better view. These were done in a "modified contour" drawing technique. I am looking back and forth from the photo to the page as I draw without picking up the pencil. I often draw with the image upside down. This is my favorite way to sketch. A good description of this technique is in any of the books by Charles Reid. It is how he draws. I learned to work this way by following the instructions in one of his books.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


After a long day it is good to put your feet up! I spent the day hanging my show at the Gallery Concord. It turns out I have an amazing opportunity. Since there is no additional guest artist this quarter, I have soooooo much space to hang even more paintings. I can now show lots of my Vern Series as well as the Nick series. I will have to fill the additional space on Saturday when I will be sitting at the Gallery. Keeping my committment to myself to produce some art work each day, I decided I could draw my feet. It's easier to see them when you are relaxing in a lounger chair! I placed my sketchbook on my lap and took out my pen - An Elegant Writer fine point designed for caligraphy - and did several drawings. Then I wet a brush and let the lines bleed into a beautiful blue and pink shading. My friend and student, Rita H., shared this wonderful drawing tool with my class. It is inexpensive and easily found at craft stores. The pen comes in different colors but black is the only one that seems to have this two-toned effect.
I have been promising myself for "ever" that I will work through the "Experimental Drawing" book by Robert Kaupelis, so today was my first drawing exercise. Want to join in? I am starting on page 21 for assignments. The description for Blind Contour Drawing is on page 17. It is best to draw something from life rather than a photograph to begin with. Basically, you can't look at your drawing while you are drawing but can stop, look, and reposition your pen, then draw some more without looking. The results are wonderfully quirky. Want some inspiration? Do an internet search for Grandma Elizabeth Layton. Her contour drawings are incredible and she didn't start drawing until she was 68 years old!

Monday, September 24, 2007


After framing 9 paintings today, I finally took a break and did a fast painting. I used Lana watercolor paper. First I sprayed it with water to dampen the surface then I dipped a new tennis ball into a dish with India ink and swiped it across the top of the paper, sprayed some more and worked the ink into the paper, let it run and generally toned the paper. Then I dipped the ball into more ink and started to draw. What Fun!! After things had dried somewhat I dipped a large bamboo pen into the ink and drew some details. Went back with the ball and added some more full strength ink in places for more contrast. Any ideas for more tennis ball experiments? Leave your ideas in the comment section. I am thinking liquid water color next! Click on the image to see it in greater detail.
Tomorrow I hang my 10 paintings (out of 20) of Nick with Guitar in the Gallery Concord. This is the first time I get to see them all hanging together. You can view the entire series on my website: under the series section.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Since yesterday was a religious holy day, I took the day off from any work. Today I decided to do two pieces to catch up. Working on pastel paper, I used the tennis ball and powdered charcoal. Wow, is that messy!! I decided to work upright rather than flat to avoid a distortion in the image. Today I used a photo taken in Bordeaux of a street musician with wonderful hair and a beautiful face. After working back and forth with the tennis ball and the kneeded eraser, I became impatient with getting more precision so I started using my finger to apply the charcoal and then a paper stump for finer detail. The charcoal is much more maleable than the graphite powder and lifts much easier also. Nicer paper doesn't hurt either! I am much more satisfied with the image than working from my imagination.
The second drawing, I toned the paper all over with the charcoal using the tennis ball, then started lifting out with the eraser. A little back and forth with charcoal, then eraser. No fingers and no stump this time.
The last image is using one of my favorite drawing tools, a Japanese brush pen on top of the last drawing. Tomorrow, tennis ball with ink and paint!

Friday, September 21, 2007


I was up early this morning, so, before water aerobics class, I decided to get to work and created this drawing using powdered graphite on a large sheet of newsprint. I was excited to see what kind of marks the ball would create. Had to use a new tennis ball - we used to have millions of used ones floating around but never when you need them! It is a messy process, so I think I will mark this ball graphite and the next one I will use charcoal and then I want to try ink and paint and see what happens. Then comes combining mixed media. One can always put acrylic spray over the image to fix it and then work any material on top. This image was from my head as I didn't take the time to find a picture to work from. I was just making marks and lifting with a white eraser and a kneeded eraser to see how it would work. The ball fit nicely into the top of the graphite powder jar so that made things easier. A shake or two and the ball was "loaded". This was great excercise as the whole arm and body become engaged drawing this size. It will be interesting to try smaller images for less detail. Also I will be trying different surfaces. Lots of exploring with just one new "tool". I finally downloaded my images from our trip to Israel. There are some very interesting faces to work with. So many images, so little time!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

First Entry

I went to the CWA Meeting last night. Ron Ranson was the guest artist. Very charming man with a great sense of humor. I gleaned some wisdom from his presentation. First, keep your publicity photos up to date! He is using outdated photos so it is a shock to see him because he is now 82 years old. Still teaching all over the world. He commented on another famous artist who was teaching into his 90's. I thought, " I have 15 or 20 years left to teach." He uses very simple tools to paint - his famous Hake brush (I was able to buy the last one!! which I played around with a little today) a rigger brush, his knuckles, fingernails, a cut up credit card, occasionally a round brush or two, and 7 colors. He has mastered his tools, therefore, he is able to paint with confidence and gets it right the first time. He can paint quickly and cleanly. The down side is that all of his work looks the same. I don't think I want to get to the point where everything is so predictable. Once I master something, I am off to the next discovery. I am in the process of framing 10 of the Nick and Guitar series for the Gallery Concord show. It will be great to see them all together. Between the framing and observing Yom Kippur, the next few days don't leave much time for art. I am anxious to start exploring some interesting drawing materials and techniques and doing some interesting painting. I read in my experimental drawing book about drawing with a tennis ball. I am going to try that this weekend. If anyone else would like to explore this unusual drawing "tool", send me an e-mail with the results. I will post my efforts as well.

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