A Complete Departure For Me

So–if this sounds weird–well, just get over it…because it started out weird for me too–and then I shrugged and said, as my good friend Kerry has told me and given me permission to announce and embrace–‘I’m not weird; I’m an artist.’

I went to take a shower the other morning.  Turned the shower on to let the water heat up.  And I looked into the mirror…and looked past the face and saw the shapes…and thought–I have to sketch that…

The artist in me booked it to my work space to find a sketch book and a sepia conte pencil (I love my conte pencils, really.).

By the time I found my sketch book…and made it back to the bathroom…1 the boy knew that I was up to something, but was still engrossed in his cars … 2 the shower had begun to cloud up the mirror…and that particular space has excellent lighting at that time of day–the lighting in this house sucks–even if I didn’t have our bedroom blacked out (to ensure a sleeping toddler, the room must be pitch black — no quarter there), there is no light to be had in this house…

I digress…

Since the bathroom mirror was now mostly unavailable, I tried the bedroom mirror…this sketch took me less than three minutes, because I had to hurry–toddler could erupt in at any moment, plus water running and ready–I made it quick…

And, nope, no glasses…I cannot make myself sketch those in yet…I physically cannot wear contact lenses, but that doesn’t mean I have an appreciation for my glasses…not these ones anyway…

So…for what it is, and this being my first one, I am impressed with what I accomplished…even if when you see the painted done version, the lines that I was most fascinated with and proud of have basically disappeared within and beneath the paint…


My daughter saw me working on the color part of this and asked if I had drawn myself–she said it did kinda look like me.

It’s just so far outside of my comfort zone–and that is exactly where I want to be…

I do have a page where I am posting my self-portrait work…this piece does ring in a new reign for that work as well…so … please stay tuned for more…


Prompt: Anais Nin Quote

“There are two ways to reach me: by way of kisses or by way of the imagination. But there is a hierarchy: the kisses alone don’t work.”

Painting The Feminine

Connie Solera offered a free spreecast yesterday.  Click here to check out the recording, if you missed it.

I had an interesting experience while participating in this spreecast.

First of all, I was called to use watercolor paints…not acrylics or anything else, to begin.  So, I have about ten pieces where I have flowing shapes and contours that are waiting for me to come work with them…

Yes, hush, I know this is another series…just hang on to that thought…there may be more on this later…

Then after I had those ten–no clue why it had to be ten, but there ya go–I pulled out a completely different art journal, one with a background already waiting–it was intended for a different piece all together…but we’ll let that go now.  It was actually done with watercolor paints–synchronicity there, eh?

I started to let go.  Surrender.  Which was the focus of this spreecast.

As if surrendering to the process of creating unfinished pieces that all spoke to me on some level wasn’t enough…

I pulled out chalk pastels and went with that.

I did use some acrylic paint, only to paint the skin of the face…just to have it more even…rather than the undulating shades of the background.

After the spreecast, I took a black conte pencil–I’ve said it before–I love my conte pencils…truly…and drew out the shape of the face.

Then I had to walk away from it–because I was a bit afraid to put the face in…I wanted to contemplate only finishing out the hooded robe and her hair, leaving her face blank completely…but … she did not like that at all.

Eventually, I came back, sketched in the face with my beloved conte pencil.  Watered that in a bit..then took out a sky blue soft pastel and filled in the robe and hood.  After which I pulled out a darker blue and re-added the folds and wrinkles… I smoothed that all in with my fingers to blend.  And it was gorgeous.

I added the hair (shades of pink soft pastels) … then went over all the features and lines with a brown stabilo marks all pencil…and that I watered out a bit…

Then–I sprayed the whole thing…with sealant…and when I brought her back inside…all that lovely pale blue of the robe and hood basically vanished…she’s still beautiful…but now I know–take a picture BEFORE you seal it…no matter how dusty the piece is…


A Background Made Good

I have a ton of backgrounds lying around at any given time.

Pages smeared with random paint.  Pieces that were started with intention that I didn’t get to work on.  Random bits and pieces of who knows what glued onto a page.  Random globs of spackle and gel medium left over from other projects thrown down on whatever is handy.

So, this page began its life as a background piece culled together from random bits left over or not used from several other projects.

The other day, I had gone through my background pile looking for a certain something…and this one made it to the top of the pile and it sat there–and it kept looking at me…

And late one night, I grabbed a black stabilo marks all pencil and just … started to scribble…by the end of the night, I painted it out and left it to dry.

I find her very compelling for some reason, maybe because she just showed up for no good reason other than she felt like it.

watermarked-trust the growth

The title of this piece…Trust The Growth…

A very timely message when she came to me…

Earth Day Mandala


For some reason, this background, created using suminagashi inks, just said Earth for me when I started looking through a stack of backgrounds…I wasn’t particularly looking for something for Earth Day then, as I had something entirely different in mind at the time–but when I saw this…it felt right, so I went with it…

I added white gesso to the background to push the colors back some so that the mandala would stand out a bit more.

Those flowers just keep showing up in my work…so I keep going with them….


New Moon Piece…Yes, It Is Late

But it was done on the proper day.

This is an interesting piece for me.

It’s in my hand-bound art journal.  I am trying to play in that a lot more these days–it has plenty of pages and plenty of space.

Originally, I started this spread weeks ago, in response to a quote I saw somewhere online.  I had taken a graphite pencil and written the quote all over the spread, up and down, back and forth.

And then–I went into a different journal, one of my altered books, and I created a spread in response to that quote.

Then, the New Moon began to approach.  So–I decided it was time to complete that spread.  I have this weird thing about going forward in my journal, one spread at a time, in order.  I am nonplussed about going back and re-doing or working over an old spread instead of moving on to a fresh page…but there is something in me that requires I work through my book in order.  Yes, I missed my calling as a librarian.

Anyway–I went back to that spread and with a felt tip pen of some sort (probably an ultra fine sharpie), I journalled all over the graphite quote…all over both pages of the spread…up and down and all around.

Then, I threw down a very light coat of gesso–for whatever reason.

I picked five random colors and began to spread them willy nilly across the spread.  I used a credit card to spread paint at first…then my fingers…then the brayer…and then back to the key card.

I walked away and let that dry.

Then next morning, I sketched in the flower and the face with a black stabilo marks all pencil.

That flower has more paint and more layers on it than the face and hair combined.

This is one of those where I laid down a glaze of color for the hair–and a base glaze of color for the face…and a little white on the nose…I didn’t even water out the stabilo–anything that looks watered out is due to the paint I put on.

I walked off to let the base layers dry before I came back to work the face…and when I came back…she told me quite clearly that that was all she needed, thank you very much…and so … here she is, in all her glory…



For all her beauty, she does not photograph well at all…I about beat the scanner to a pulp after trying to scan this spread five or six times.  The scanner kept picking up the layers of grey under everything…this is actually a photograph and the best one of about ten…and still…that grey is very prominent…and yet, in person…you don’t see that grey–not in her hair and not in her face…all you see if the grey lines in the background between the face and the flower…

Go figure…

Stage Two Piece

So, in February, in Mandala Magic 2015, we were introduced to Stage 2 of the Great Round, which is Bliss.

This is one of the last pieces that I completed for this stage:


Yes, she is rough, but I had a lot of help from my youngest while I was trying to finish her…and a couple of other ones.

And, yes, although his handiwork is not visible on the page (unless you count the random splatters which I kinda like), she has an areola because Duncan does not like it when I draw or paint breasts with no nipples or anything…it bothers that boy to no end…so she has hers showing…

If you would like to see more of my mandala work for Julie Gibbos’s Mandala Magic, click here

Oh, and I did scan this sketch before I painted her in this journal.  I knew when I drew it I was going to want to do a much better spread on much better paper with her.

I’ll let you know when I do that.