Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sketchbook Project, page 4

And the sketching continues. . . Today's sketch was a special request by my artist gal pals here in the Phoenix area.  They wanted to be sketched.  The inspiration for this piece was a picture I snapped on my camera phone of them tearing into a clothes rack at a cute little boutique.  The shop owner came out to observe the scene and said that they looked like a bunch of piranhas devouring the clothes.  Amber (far left) replied, "Gnar! Gnar! Gnar"!  Ah, I love those ladies!  Yes, many purchases were made, and I got me a cute frilly scarf.

Not all sketchbook pages are going to grace the blog.  However, I WILL post all of them on my Facebook Fan Page.  I hope that you will "Like" me so that you can see them.  And who knows. . . you just might find yourself in there!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sketchbook Project Progress

I finally have begun to fill the inside pages of my little sketchbook.  Here is a glimpse at one of the pages.  Portraits are calling me lately, and there's going to be a bunch.  I know it sounds crazy to do the cover first, but it just sort of happened that way.  Since time is limited, I'm just going to go with the flow of the creative process and see where it leads.  It's always more fun that way!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cactus Monday: Nest

A teeny little nest snuggled between two pricklies.  This photo was taken with my camera phone, since I didn't bring my good one to a spur of the moment trip to the Desert Botanical Garden.  Happy Cactus Monday! 

New Facebook Fan Page!

It's about time, right?  Click on the image to go to my page and find out everything I am up to that may not get posted here.  I hope you "Like" me!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sketchbook Project: The Cover

Well I finally started it after a month or so of trying to figure out my take on the theme I picked. . . "Adhere to Me".  I have until January 15th to have it completed and postmarked by that date.  I'm going to be sketching like crazy!

Stay tuned to see how it unfolds. . . I'd like to know that myself! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cactus Monday: Moleskine time at the Desert Botanical Garden

Lunch with an artist friend always seems to end up with a drawing session or some sort of creative process at the end of the day.  I love that!  Annie over at Chaos in color and I, went out for some good local Mexican food and decided to jet off to the garden and we stayed until twilight.  Twilight in the desert is my absolute favorite time of day to capture in art form, everything is so beautifully illuminated in amethyst hues, bouncing off of the green cacti.  I love that place, can't get enough of it.  Above is the sketch I did on location.  Another good reason to always have my moleskine and watercolors on hand and ready to go in my purse!    

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sketchcrawl 10-16-10 at the Phoenix Zoo, and the after party

A day at the zoo for a sketching marathon = lotsa fun!  I haven't been to the zoo since I was a kid, and had a blast.  I met up with a local group I belong to called Sketchydoodle, and we all hung out and sketched together representing the Phoenix group for the worldwide SketchCrawl.  Above is just a few of us crawlers.  

Here are some of my watercolor sketches from the day, in order completed:
 First sketch.  A handsome and curious little turkey vulture preening his feathers, watching us sketchers and enjoying the attention.

Depressed rhino with his snout in the mud.

One horned gazelle basking in the sun and being a perfect still model.

 Pink squawky Flamingos fluffing their feathers, establishing the pecking order.

Following the zoo was the after party, purple themed with wine and chocolate.  What fun!  One of the group members hosted a party at their house and hired a model, Crystal, who is a burlesque/fire/belly dancer.  Those gals make for great models, with those flamboyant costumes and artful makeup.  I decided to keep it simple and did an ok job. . . considering that I had a few glasses of wine!  What do you think? 

Cactus Monday: Desert Watercolor

I did a quick piece today in my new Moleskine watercolor sketchbook, just for Cactus Monday.  I never really work in watercolors, but love this new technique that I've been seeing for quick and easy portable color rendering.   Not to mention, the book and supplies fit nicely in my purse, yay!  It makes me want to carry my sketchbook everywhere I go, like I did when I was a kid.  This is a scene from the Desert Botanical Garden, featuring that very special cactus, a Saguaro. . . a few barrel cacti, ocotillo, rocks and a mountain view.  Many more watercolors to come! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

IF: Transportation

I couldn't resist illustrating a cute little hot air balloon for this weeks theme.

Monday, October 11, 2010

This is what blogging is all about.

Beautiful and talented lady Deborah Mori over at Life without Novocaine and I met for breakfast this morning while I was in her town of San Diego. 

I can't even express how wonderful it was to finally meet a friend that I have been conversing with and really getting to know these past few years.  We have laughed together, cried, sent packages, cheered each other on and celebrated each others' successes.  It's really amazing how people all over the world can connect with like-minded others and develop meaningful friendships over the internet.  She is one of those special ladies that I really admire, and have gotten to know.  Deborah, it was so nice to meet you finally!  

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Well look what I got myself into!

After what seems like a long absence from my last post, I decided to take on a big project to make up for it.  Yes that's right, I signed up for the 2011 Sketchbook Project and got my sketchbook in the mail today.  Excited!!!  All boxes have been unpacked, furniture has been re-arranged a billion times in the new house and now I am ready to get back into my creative routine. 

So what is this Sketchbook Project you ask?  It is described to be like a concert tour but with sketchbooks.  My little sketchbook along with thousands of others, will make it's way around the country for all to see.  It will have a barcode on the back so I can track how many times it has been viewed.  After the tour, it will arrive to it's permanent home at the Brooklyn Art Library in NY.  Which makes me happy, because I have a good friend in Brooklyn who can check it out whenever the mood strikes.  Keep an eye on her for me Bridgette!

Each sketchbook has a theme, and I chose "Adhere to Me".  I'm not quite sure exactly how I will execute the theme, but you can count on  things being adhered with adhesives.  Maybe a cut and paste is in order of all of my archived sketch books throughout the years.  Maybe some collages.  Maybe a little of both.  Will it tell a story?  I don't know.  We shall see how it evolves!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cactus Monday: Sedona

 Prickly Pears and Mountain View

It's been a while, but I'm back!  Life is sort of chaotic right now, as we are trying to get our new house set up in time for house visitors and still going out and enjoying the sights of Arizona.  We had some friends visit from back home in Maryland, and stayed with their Mom at her house in Sedona.  It was my first time there and I absolutely fell in love with it.  Sedona is only about two and a half hours from where we live.  A little less then a trip to Ocean City for my friends and family back East.  I would trade Sedona for a weekend getaway any day for Ocean City!!! 

Just look at these pictures:

Red rock trail overlooking mountain views

A cute little red biplane. 
The plane sorta looked familiar, but when I saw this sign it was kinda weird.  I mean. . . look at my blog header!  Sedona looks exactly like it!!! 

Next week we will be going to Vegas, which we have been to twice.  My husband and I got married in Vegas almost 10 years ago.  We thought it fitting to drive there and make a vacation of it with friends and family flying in for a 10 year vow renewal ceremony.  Same place, same day!  Not much art creating lately, but certainly lots of excitement.

I'll be back creating soon, don't worry!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Photo Friday: Motionless

Above is a photo taken of an embellished compass that sits on the top of a lookout point in the South Mountains of Phoenix.  The closest arrow in the photo points in the direction of the Superstition Mountains, and I am sure they aren't going anywhere any time soon!  Hence being the theme for Motionless.  There are many points of interest on the compass, I just so happened to quick capture this one.  With taking 600 plus photos that day, I have to say that this one is my favorite.     

Cactus Monday: Quail with a Prickly Pear

A quick whimsy and loose little 4" x 6" study on balsa wood with acrylic paint and pen.  I have a bunch of these cut to size, and think that they would make perfect mini paintings to keep around while in the middle of moving again.  Paint has been calling me back, and that's all I want to do lately!   

The inspiration for this piece is this past weekend's full moon I was admiring, and the stately little quails I often see on evening walks.  The scenery and the wildlife is very different around here, and so inspiring!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cactus Monday: Our New House

We found it!  And much sooner than anticipated.  This house was just on the market for one day, and we snatched it right up. . . unknowingly beating another couples' bid.  Can you believe that?  It pretty much has everything we are looking for, except for that big Saguaro in the front yard I was really, really hoping for!  But let's be realistic, those things cost some big bucks.  So I'll just quick Photoshop one in from my sketchbook and dream, LOL!

We settle July 19th.  So in the meantime, I'll be doing lots of sketches of yard concepts.  I'm thinking desert in the front, maybe a few Palms off to the sides and in the back.  The back especially needs work.  We got an incredible big lot full of rocks, and I'd love to make it nice and lush.  Any suggestions or recommended landscapers in the Chandler area from my fellow AZ friends would be greatly appreciated!  Wow.  This is exciting and intimidating taking on this big project.  I'm so glad we finally found our house!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cactus Monday: Renewal

A pretty and perfect red bloom, taken at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Just the other day my Mother-in-Law told me that she misses my Cactus Monday posts.  I missed two of them simply because I forgot!  I have been so pre-occupied with life events and getting settled, that I completely just forgot until Monday had come and gone.  Yikes!!!

Between house hunting and planning our 10 year anniversary vow renewal trip back to Vegas where my husband and I were married, my mind has been somewhere else!  Well, a fresh start is what I wanted, and that's exactly what I got.  Renewing our wedding vows just seems fitting at this moment, and the 10 year anniversary date just convienently happens to be coming up.  I feel like as soon as we find our house, we can truly settle in. . . our new life here in Arizona.  I'm looking forward to that.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Special Request

I got a beautiful card in the mail today, with a little ladybug on the front that had angel wings and a halo.  Now if those weren't the two very things that my Mom loved best (ladybugs and angels), instantly I thought of her.  The card said, "Sending a little guardian angel your way. . . to protect and care for you everyday.  Signed, "From your Mom and Me".

And of course I knew right away who the sender was, my sweet Aunt Diane.  She has been sending me out of the blue cards like this my whole life.  She's a special lady I tell ya, and I bet I wouldn't even be interested in art if it wasn't for her.  She was the one who fostered the budding artist in me from the very beginning, with many museum trips and art starter kits.  She would gather all the newspaper clippings she could find about art, and send them to me in the mail.  And she still hangs all of my artwork from various stages of my life, all over her house.  I could go on and on about all the wonderful things she's done for me, and how incredibly kind she is!

So when I got this special request written in the card, "Have you ever done a painting of a ladybug?  I'd love to see one!"  I did just that.  In honor of my Mom's memory and for my Aunt Di.  The painting is on a teeny tiny canvas, 2 1/2" x 3 1/2", and will be on it's way in the mail to her in a few days!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cactus Monday: Prickly Pear Bloom

Yesterday I went out and got myself a new Moleskine sketchbook and some new pens for sketching.  I really had my eyes peeled for a watercolor Moleskine, but didn't find one.  So I decided to see how it worked on the first page, a heavier stock.  I also wanted to get a set of Windsor and Newton watercolors in palette form so I can easily stash them in my purse with the Moleskine along with a portable brush that is hollow to act as a water reservoir.  Have you ever seen them?  They are pretty cool!  The only one I could find was this extremely cheap set found here.  Determined to make this work, I tried it with what supplies I had.  You can't tell, but the page is really wavy from the water. . . and I knew that would happen.  I just had to do it anyway and get it out of my system! 

Do you ever do that?  Ignore the rules and try to make your idea happen anyway, and use whatever you have on hand to make it work?  Well, I feel much more satisfied that I tried, I'll tell you that! 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saturday sketching with the Phoenix sketch group

Charcoal and ink on chipboard

Charcoal on chipboard
Yesterday I met up with the sketch group in Phoenix at Vision Gallery for some life drawing.  These two sketches are the last two 30 minute poses that I'm content with.  I say content, because I still feel there's room for improvement with my sketches.  Its so funny how you can get so easily out of practice if you are not continuously working in all different mediums and sketching all of the time.  

I found myself bringing an array of different drawing supplies and surfaces to see what works best.  Out of the different charcoals, graphite pencils and even watercolors, I wound up grabbing an ink pen not intended for drawing and found that I liked that best, go figure!  I also really like the idea of a darker surface to add white highlights.  

I've been hearing about using chipboard from other bloggers and YouTube demonstrations that my group organizer Annie has been posting.  Having a stock-pile of that stuff for a few years intending to use it for binding books, I put it to good use for a drawing surface.  I love the drama it creates with the speckled texture and light and dark charcoals and ink.  

Getting back into drawing without the trusty Wacom tablet feels great!  Not to mention finding a drawing group and making other creative friends in the area.  I'm so glad I found my little sketch group!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

IF: Early

 Early Birds on a Century Plant, squawkin' away very early in the morning.

So yeah, they say that the early bird gets the worm.  I am surprised of just how many early birds live in Phoenix and squawk and sing and chirp and coo very early before the sun rises outside my bedroom window.  Thanks early birds for waking me up hours before my alarm clock goes off!  I work from home now and I like to sleep in, you know.  Your songs are pretty and very different from the birds back home in Baltimore, but that is just too freakin' early guys. 

The birds they sing at break of day, "Start again!" I hear them say.  -Leonard Cohen

So I guess I need to become an early bird too.  Are you an early bird?  I've always been more of a nocturnal creature myself.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cactus Monday: Sketchcrawl!

Organ Pipe Cactus under a Mesquite tree - Conté and ink.  

Garden scene with a mountain view - Ebony pencil.

Last Saturday, I attended my very first Sketchcrawl at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.  Sketchcrawl is a worldwide event where artists gather from all corners of the world and join in a day of sketching and journaling, and then share their work on the online sketchcrawl forum.  I encourage all of my artist friends to get on the forum, find your city and join!  The next worldwide Sketchcrawl will be on Saturday, July 31st.  

I have met some wonderful people and had great conversations.  We also exchanged useful techniques as well as each others' supplies to try out.  I can't wait to try a new method for the next Sketchcrawl and my idea of sketchbook journaling has since changed forever.  I have been so busy working digitally, that I sort of forgot how it feels to get back to the basics with raw materials and get my hands dirty.  Although I felt a little rusty, it felt great to be sketching again.

I found out about the Sketchcrawl through a drawing group in the Phoenix area called Sketchy Doodle, and I'm looking forward to more drawing sessions.  A big thanks to my new sketch pal, Annie for being the group organizer.  Pop over to her blog and say hello, and check out her art.  Being an Arizona resident, I think she would have fun with the Cactus Monday group as well!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cactus Monday: Messing with Cholla

Well hello there you cute and cuddly Teddy Bear Cholla!  You are so cute and plush and little and fuzzy, but I've got your number now you slick little cacti!  

Above is a picture of my husband poking at this little Cholla with a stick, testing the theory that it jumps.  It didn't.  And of course he thinks I'm crazy because I swear a spider jumped on me once years ago as well as this particular type of cacti, most recently.  We have a long running joke that just got a little funnier of awkward things jumping on me, that aren't supposed to jump in his opinion.

But as my fellow cactuteers know, Chollas DO in fact jump, (so do spiders!) and latch their little segments onto you, through your clothes and into their host's skin.  OUCH!!!  Just think of it like the force of a magnet near metal, once you slightly brush their little spines.  Slick little devils.

I took this photo at the Desert Botanical Garden just yesterday, as well as many others.  There are so many beautiful pictures I have taken from yesterday, that I have to pace myself and post just a few at a time!  This botanical garden has it all.  From abundant wildlife, gorgeous blooms, rolling scenic landscapes, mountains and all species of cacti.  Beautiful sculptures can bee seen throughout, and a Chihuly glass installation greets you as you enter the garden.  Did I ever mention that Chihuly is the sole inspiration of my glass blowing hobby?!!!  Just 15 minutes from my house, I got a yearly membership.  I plan on doing lots of reflecting there as well as photo shoots, plein air painting and sketching.  If you can't find me, that's where I'll be!  In cactus heaven.

Update:  I will be at the garden this Saturday at 8am joining a sketchcrawl.  And if any near-by fellow Cactuteers would like to participate, that would be sweet!  I've got one free guest pass just for you.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cactus Monday: In Bloom

There are more blooms and explosions of color here in the desert than I expected, and that makes me happy.  This is a wild cactus of some variety I found in South Mountain Park, with a pretty yellow flower.  Upon leaving the path to get a good macro shot of this cactus, I discovered that my jeans were COVERED in tiny cactus needles up to my knees!  Everything around here has thorns.  Even of the grass-like variety!  They have hooks on the tips that latched on my clothes and were proven tough to get out.  Looking back at this incident last week, it makes me laugh.  But I was a pretty grouchy girl that day, covered in pricklies!  Lesson 1 learned, beware of desert brush. . . it bites! 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cactus Monday: I'm here, in Phoenix!

I'm sitting here in our new empty house, borrowing my husband's sprint card to post my first Cactus Monday post as an Arizona resident!  It's been a hectic couple of weeks, and we are still waiting for our stuff to arrive.  I can't wait to get settled to get back into art again.  I joined a local sketch group, so more than likely you all will be seeing some cacti inspired sketches for upcoming Cactus Monday posts.  Can't wait!

In the middle of this moving mess I had a birthday, and my husband bought me an amazing digital SLR camera.  So we quick ran out to South Mountain Park, which is a bike ride distance from the house and took some pics with it.  I can't wait to figure out this camera and use it to it's fullest potential and get come cool new lenses.  I'm really loving where we are living.  We are at the base of the Mountains on a golf course community.  You can see golf carts zipping through the cul-de-sac and an occasional beer cart.  I haven't even ventured out yet to see much of the neighborhood and golf course, but I already love it!

Below are some pics I took with my new camera.  Enjoy!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Cactus Monday: Tilt Shift photography in South Mountain Park - Phoenix AZ

See the cacti in there?  Trust me, this picture is riddled with Saguaros!  Just click on it for a close up view.  Above is a picture of my husband (on the left) and his co-worker overlooking Phoenix from the mountain top.  This was taken on the relocation trip the company arranged for us.

So what is Tilt Shift photography?  "Tilt-Shift miniature faking is a creative technique whereby a photograph of a life-size location or object is manipulated to give an optical illusion of a photograph of a miniature scale model."

I have been wanting to try this for a while, and this is my first attempt.  It's sorta there, but I think it can be better achieved.  I just googled "how to do Tilt Shift photography" and went all Photoshop ninja on this image!  In addition to the instructions I found, I dodged and burned, blurred and sharpened, adjusted hues and saturation, variations, levels and curves.  It was fun, and I'm looking forward to doing more!

Happy Cactus Monday fellow cactuteers!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Photo Friday: Pleasure

Running out for a plein air painting session with my best friend on a beautiful day always makes for the most pleasant days!

Friday, March 19, 2010

IF: Expired

Recycle those old expired energy burning household items and make way for the new! 

In celebrating the upcoming Earth Day and the fact that I get to keep my job with CBS Radio Baltimore when I move, I'm posting the cover I illustrated for their annual Eye on Green publication.  Yay work!!!  Work is always good.  In fact, I'm going to see what else I can get into when I get settled in Phoenix.  We move April 21st!

But back on the topic of being green, my husband and I are big advocates.  We started out small, but it's kinda grown on us throughout the years.  We have managed to upgrade mostly all of our appliances to new energy star models.  Compact Fluorescent light bulbs are in every room in the house.  We recycle everything from all recyclable trash items & car fluids (oil, brake & transmission fluids) to old electronics, batteries and donating our old stuff to goodwill.  We even have a built-in water filtration system that was easy to install, and carry reusable aluminum water bottles around.  And the reusable grocery totes. . . I don't do that yet, but it's next on the list.  Wow. . . it sounds like we do a lot, but it really doesn't feel like it!  It's easy once you get into the habit.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cactus Monday: "Rushin' Around"

Last night I was up late working on a project for one of the radio stations I do work for.  I was given 4 days to design a van wrap (YIKES!!!), and the illustration above is sort of similar to the design I submitted today.  I want to keep the real design under "wraps", (har har!) until the production is complete.  With all that is going on, I'm trying to best utilize my time so I can do all of the things I want to do/need to do and still get to submit a post for Cactus Monday.  Please keep in mind that this is super thrown together. 

This concept made me think of two things.

1.  I'll just use my existing art and create a cactus van!
2.  Wouldn't it be super cool to have my little Rav 4 wrapped in my very own design with illustrations?!!!

How cool would that be?  Of course, you would be able to spot me miles away in every direction, and that could be good and bad.  I would have to be less of a lead foot driving around with a shameless self promotion vehicle to avoid getting mean emails since it will be plastered on it.  Unfortunately, I always seem to be in a big hurry kinda like I am today!  Also, I wonder how a vinyl car wrap would withstand a blistering Arizona summer.  Just some random thoughts! 

Friday, March 5, 2010

IF: Brave

Brave.  I'm mustering up every ounce of it to leave the place where I grew up on the East Coast, where most of my family and friends are.  Here's to new adventures, new opportunities and lots-a sunshine!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Photo Friday: Cleanliness

Smell that?  That's the smell of clean Arizona air with a clear blue sky.  So yeah. . . I can't get enough of all things Arizona lately and I have to admit, I'm running out of photos!  This was taken at South Mountain Park, right outside of Phoenix. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I don't want to work. . . I just want to scratch on the tablet all day!

And wish Dr. Seuss a Happy Birthday.  In honor of him I'm serving up some green eggs and ham, Seuss style!  Dr. Seuss certainly sparked my imagination as a child, and still does to this day with his insightful and playful view of the world through a child-like adult perspective.  I believe a successful childrens' book illustrator must never forget their child-like brand new view of the big wide world, yet apply a certain wisdom gained through life experiences.  And who could do that better then Dr. Seuss?