Monday, July 14, 2008

Start Spreading the News, I'm Leaving... Tomorrow!

YES! I want to be a part of it--- NY, NY! And with the help of the wonderful Pinellas County Cultural Affairs Department, I am leaving tomorrow for a week of studying and creating art in New York City.

For those of you who did not already know, I was awarded an Individual Artist's Development Grant through the Cultural Affairs Department of Pinellas County, Florida for Cycle 2, 2008.

What this means to me is that for a whole week I will be able to fully devote myself to taking classes, attending life drawing sessions, making art in the city, and viewing and studying Public Art there- a big interest of mine.

I feel so fortunate to live in a county and state where the arts and artists are valued and supported.

Did you know that whenever one of the Florida- State of the Arts license tags are sold in Pinellas, $20.00 comes back to Pinellas County to help promote the Arts locally? Some of the funds are then allocated for grant monies to help artists further enhance or advance professional development here in Pinellas County. This is what is making it possible for me to take this trip. I know that I will reap many professional benefits for years to come by being able to have this week to enhance my skills as an artist, as well as learn more about how my own talents could be used to create public art in the future.

I have a jam-packed agenda for the week, visiting several different areas in Manhattan as well as the boroughs to view public art. I am also taking several days of painting sessions with artist, David Pena, life drawing sessions at Spring Studio in Soho and at the Society of Illustrators, keeping a sketchbook of my New York art week that I can use as a tool in the drawing classes I teach, and visiting museums and galleries, some where I will also sketch what I see.

If you e-mail me this week or comment on my blog, I won't be able to respond, but it is for very good reason. I am purposefully not bringing a computer to New York because I am wanting to soak up the experience and get the most possible from it. I don't want to distract myself with e-mailing, blog posts or uploading photos. Just know that I will have lots of great stuff to share when I return.

So until then-
Ciao for now!

The St. Pete Crawl

YAY! The St. Pete Crawl was a success, and a lot of fun for the folks that made it out for the evening. A big thanks goes out to both Chris Jenkins, St. Pete artist and resident whose blog is here, and the lovely Jo Ellen Schilke at the funkadelic Globe Coffee Lounge for making the arrangements and setting it all up for us to enjoy.

I headed down to downtown St. Pete with my 11-year-old daughter, Kayli, and we had a nice time catching up with the other folks who came out for the crawl, as well as -of course- drawing!

A good friend of mine, artist Brian Young-who co-created the Peace Be Still mural with me at Unity Church of Palm Harbor- came down with his daughter Kelly, who is an amazing talent, and Kayli and I had fun sketching in fairly close proximity to them all evening.

Kelly and Kayli persuaded us to try out the somewhat locally famous "red chairs" for size. Artist Douglas Kornfeld created these whimsical interactive sculptures which are located in the lawn of the St Petersburg Judicial center at 545 First Avenue North. The piece is titled Face the Jury. Here are some pics of Brian and the girls in the red chairs.... Kayli mentioned that she had always wanted to climb up on them, so I am glad we had some part in helping her achieve one of her stepping-stone goals in life. Just one more fun "to do" we could help her check off her quite-long list.

I seemed to be more into chatting with the other artists and dreaming about my upcoming trip to New York then drawing, but I managed to squeak these two spreads out during the crawl.

I know that I will drawing and painting my brains out for one glorious week beginning tomorrow, so I didn't worry that I lacked focus. More on my NY trip in the next post...

I tried to manage a few quick sketches while in the Globe, but I was distracted and my subjects were moving, of course. I just didn't feel up to the challenge of working too hard on them, so we moved on down the street after Kelly finished her coffee.

I settled in at the old Post Office, an open-air portico surrounding the post office building. This building has a lot of architectural detail- some tiling and ornate columns. I worked on capturing a bit of the detail, but again, being distracted by my thoughts, I didn't get into it too heartily.

We then moved on to the Mirror Lake area, where I settled down on the lawn in front of the Library. I worked a little on the building and also the statue that was out in front.

The sun was starting to go down and our stomachs were starting to grumble, so we got up and headed back to the Globe for a bite to eat. I had the Eggplant Parmesan wrap and Kayli had the Veggie Quiche- both good and affordable too. With our drinks, we spent only about $13 bucks total for dinner. Hooray for the Globe, still offering eats that don't break the bank.

With our sketchbooks in hand, we left the Globe to head back up to north Pinellas. The crawl was good, and we look forward to the next one! Y'all should think about coming on out for the next one we do. Keep posted, we'll announce something soon for September.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Grab Your Sketchbooks and C'mon!
St. Pete, Florida SketchCrawl Planned

Hope you'll be able to join us for our 2nd official Tampa Bay Area SketchCrawl on Saturday July 12th, 2008!

It will be held in downtown St. Petersburg and will be an early evening crawl this time.

Artists of any and all levels are invited to join in and c'mon down for the crawl, which will begin at 4:00 PM at the cool and funky Globe Coffee Lounge, owned by JoEllen Schilke, host of the long-running radio show, WMNF 88.5 FM's Art in Your Ear.

We will meet at The Globe, 532 1st Ave. North, where we will get maps for those who would like them, and then begin our crawl. Here are directions to The Globe Coffee Lounge. From The Globe, either walk to the nearby points of interest for your sketching opportunities (linked below), or drive to other interesting spots nearby, like Beach Drive or the Pier.

Either way, you will want to be sure to come back to The Globe at 8:00 PM to share sketches with the other artists that were on the crawl. When we did the Dunedin crawl, everyone really enjoyed the part afterward where we got to know each other better and could see each others' work.

At the Globe, not only is there great coffee of all types, but there is great food as well. If you're hungry after the crawl, there are some yummy offerings on the Globe's menu to try. JoEllen will be offering SketchCrawlers free coffee with any $5.00 purchase of food or dessert, which we appreciate.

Here is a birds-eye view shot from Google Earth of the area near our meeting place. Below, I'll highlight some of the places that you might want to check out to draw on the crawl:

Some points of interest within walking distance of The Globe, most of which are historical buildings on the National Historic Register:

The State Theater

The Green-Richman Arcade

The Alexander Hotel

US Open Air Post Office, 400 1st Ave. North (shown below)
Also nearby is the historic S&H Kress and Co. Building at 475 Central avenue and the Snell Arcade/Rutland Building.

A short walk to the NW of the Globe Coffee Lounge, takes you to the pretty Mirror Lake area, with it's banyon trees, the historic Library Building, and the cool but crumbling 1920's St. Pete Lawn Bowling area- lots to sketch in that area.

If you rather go to Baywalk to sketch people bustling about, or the Pier or the Museum of Fine Arts/Beach Drive area or several others, you may prefer to drive, depending on how much of your time you want to walk.

If you need any other information, please contact Chris Jenkins, who generously set this all up for us, or you may contact me as well. If you want to get in touch, just leave a comment on the blog with your e-mail, or check back on the blog for my reply.

Or just show up- that's what I'm gonna do! See you there!

Barbados Painting Trip Announcement

My good friend, artist Valri Ary, is organizing a trip to Barbados for a great week of painting in a fabulously beautiful place.

The pictures shown here are ones that she has taken on past trips there. She knows the area very well, having visited on many different occasions. Valri's sister, who will also be on the trip, lived in Barbados for four years, so your guides will have the inside track on what to do and where to go for the best of everything on the trip.

Here are the details:

Barbados Painting Tour September 20th -
28th 2008

$650.00 per person - $300.00 deposit up front

Included in Tour:
9 days/8 nights
8 breakfast, 2 dinners
3 days of touring and painting the island
1 day city tour
1 day Bathsheba tour
4 - 2 hour morning painting instruction

Not included in Tour:
airfare to and from Barbados
taxi to or from Barbados airport
meals other than those listed above
alcoholic beverages
tips and gratuities

Packing lists, recommended food to pack as well as an art supply list are available upon request.

Accommodation Amenities:
shared apartment hotel with 2 full bathrooms
living area, full kitchen and deck
high speed internet - bring your own lap top
maid service every other day
swim up bar
full restaurant
located in St Lawrence Gap
close to shops, bars and restaurants
1 block from beach

Contact Valri Ary @ 321-507-3688
or visit for more info

Monday, June 30, 2008

Solo SketchCrawl at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Srings, Florida

Yesterday afternoon, I headed up to Tarpon Springs' St. Petersburg College Campus, and I visited the Leepa Rattner Museum for a solo SketchCrawl. After three hours, I came away with one spread and three additional drawings, so it felt like a good day.

The first drawing was an abstract compilation I did from impressions I got while spending some time in their Challenge of Modern Art Interactive Gallery. I sketched and painted while my daughter made art out of words and images on their giant magnet wall in there.

Two of the other sketches I did were of works by Abraham Rattner, located in the large gallery in the back of the museum. I am fascinated with the design of the building. In this gallery, there is a window that is ankle-high and runs the length of the room, which gives you a peek of the water outside- very cool.

I sat in the comfortable chairs in that gallery and sketched Abraham Rattner's bronze sculpture, titled Torso, which he completed in 1966. I also sketched an impression of one of his paintings, titled Fairmount Temple (Anshe chesed), 1956.

My daughter and I then headed out to the lobby area of the building, and I had just enough time to draw one of the wooden sculptures by Esther Gentle, titled Painted Figures, before the guard threw us out at closing time.

I have viewed some Modern Art collections that seemed somehow cold or un-relatable, but I find this collection is very approachable and easy to enjoy.

I didn't have enough time to thoroughly look at the fiber exhibit that was going on, because there was a gallery talk going on in there, and I really wanted to draw rather than listen. I will have to go back and check out the rest of the exhibits on another day before it is time to change them.

If you are in the Tampa Bay area and get a chance to go, the Leepa-Rattner is definitely worth a visit!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sisters, Friends and a new art job!

These are just some of the benefits to the last SketchCrawl. I think other benefits will still be coming in. It was so much fun, and I can't wait to plan another one!

I REALLY enjoyed the time I was able to spend with both of my sisters. One sister lives right around the corner from me. but having our other sister come down from Charleston for the crawl made the whole weekend fun. We talked, drew, ate, drew, drank drew, shared plants, drew.... well you get the idea.

My friend, Valri, who drove over from the east coast of Florida was also a lot of fun to hang out with. We met for the first time this weekend, but both felt like we had known each other forever from all of our correspondence as well as a few long phone calls over the past several years.

Valri just sent me copies of her pictures from the Dunedin SketchCrawl yesterday, and I thought you'd enjoy seeing them. Hers were all taken inside Casa Tina, and I was glad that she took them, because I couldn't get the interior settings right on my camera.

As I alluded to in the title, I also picked up some work because of the publicity from the Crawl. Tina, the owner of Casa Tina, liked the style of my sketches that were shown in the newspaper article, and she wants me to draw some of the artwork she has on display in Casa Tina from Mexico with a "key" that explains some information about each of the objects d'art.

One of the areas that I know she wants me to draw is the wall of crosses shown above and some of the Day of the Dead skeletons. Valri sent a good picture of that area, so I can show you what that looks like here.

The drawing I am posting is one I just worked on yesterday, while I was chatting and drawing with my sisters. It is graphite in my Moleskine Sketchbook.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It Rained, It Poured, But We Drew Anyway!!

Today was our inaugural SketchCrawl event for the area, and I was very happy with how it all went, ESPECIALLY since the weather was not at all cooperative.

Still, even as it rained- (poured actually), we attracted a head count of about 23 very enthusiastic participants, many who asked when we were going to have another one when it was time to go!

Most stayed through lunch until about 2:00, sketching all of the cool memorabilia from Mexico all over Casa Tina Restaurant. Tina was nice enough to give us a 10% discount on all of our food and allow us to come in and sketch even before the restaurant was officially
open. I was very grateful to have a comfortable, interesting place to be while all the rain happened, and with great food to keep us all happy....Who could ask for more?! (Thanks, Tina!)

The photo shown at the top of this post is of part of the group who sketched along the Pinellas Trail near the Historical Society building (which was the old train station back when the Pinellas Trail was railroad track that ran between Clearwater up to Tarpon Springs through Dunedin).

Other participants in the Dunedin SketchCrawl chose to sketch areas near the fountain closer to the Marina park, from the porch of the old Paper Players shop, and several other locations in and around downtown before the downpour started, about an hour and a half into the crawl.

I loved meeting all of the other artists who came for the event. Everyone was so nice, and were genuinely happy, I think, that we could get together and do something like this in the area. Several came over from Tampa, one came from New Port Richey, one even from Homosassa Springs, all after reading about it in the newspaper.

The participants who came the farthest for the event were my sister, Sandy, who came down from Charleston for the weekend and my online friend, Valri, who came over from Melbourne (east coast of Florida) and stayed with me the night before Sketch Crawl. I was so happy to finally meet her, after talking online and on the phone for the past three years.

On the Thursday before the crawl, I was fortunate enough to have a really terrific article run on page 2B of the The St. Petersburg Times. I had sent press releases out to all of the local papers, and got quite a few listings in the event calendars, so that helped stir up interest. For our very first SketchCrawl, I was impressed with the turnout we had, especially on a very ugly day outside. I know that the newspaper coverage was instrumental in helping us muster up the great attendance.

Here are the sketches that I did on the crawl. I know that I wrote that we had 18-20 participants in my sketchbook, but after I tallied up the latecomers and those who didn't make it to lunch, I realized I had left some people out of the total so it was really 23.

It was a really fun day, and I probably could have finished a few more sketches if I wasn't chit-chatting so much, but it was great to talk with everyone and look through their sketchbooks. And of course we had to take some time to enjoy lunch at Casa Tina.

I feel sure that we will be doing more like this again.

Thanks to everyone who came out. I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

SketchCrawl is almost here!!

Hi everyone- just a quick reminder that the crawl begins Saturday morning at Pioneer Park at 9AM (Main Street and Douglas in downtown Dunedin).

Did you check out the article that ran in the St. Pete Times this AM? (Thursday, June 19, page 2B in the Tampa Bay Section)

There is a full post about the crawl here.

See you Saturday!!!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

One last version of the portrait- embellished!

Added a few things to the previous drawing- ribbon, metallic foil flakes, Fount India ink (drawn with the dropper) and some acrylic (eyes and ear).

Another version of the portrait

Here is anther version I did of the portrait reference from this weekend's Weekend Drawing Event (WDE) on Wetcanvas.

This one is a modified blind contour drawing (didn't look at my drawing; only the reference, but did look down a few times to put my pen down in a specific spot on the paper). It's Zig Millenium pen , 08 width, on watercolor paper, painted with watercolors.

In case you'd like to see the reference photo, I'll post it here. The poor woman is not going to like what I did to her nose or ear, but hey- it's a blind contour!

It was a heck of a lot more fun to do this one than fight with the Inktense pencil!

Some new work -experiments from the last two weeks

After a long hiatus from Wetcanvas!, I decided to participate this weekend and last in the Weekly Drawing Event (or WDE as it is fondly referred to ) in the All Media Art Events forum there.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this weekly event, every weekend, a member of Wetcanvas! who frequents the All Media Art Events forum hosts, by posting up to 16 reference pictures usually around a theme, and folks from all over the world, who have all different skill levels, tackle these subjects in whatever medium they choose. The idea is to work on their piece for up to two hours and then post a picture at the two-hour point. Of course, additional time can be spent with updates to the post, but by requiring a picture at two hours, everyone gets an idea of what each of the participants can do in a limited time frame.

Last week, a challenge was offered up to make one of the reference pictures into an abstract. I posted a step-by-step work-in-progress about how I like to abstract things, and will post it again here since I am not sure that I can link to that thread and have non-members still be able to view it. The finished painting (acrylic on paper) is shown at the top of this post.

The original reference photo can be seen here, if you'd like to check it out. Basically, here is what I did in each of the steps:
1. A quick gesture drawing, getting the placement of the components to line up in better places.
2. A value drawing in pencil. I referred to the value drawing as much as I did to the reference photo as I painted.
3. A gesture/value underpainting
4. Color added in basic blocky shapes (a color underpainting)
5. The finished painting, with other colors layered and worked in over the base painting.


This week, I tackled a new medium- Inktense pencils- and tried a portrait. I will cut and paste my post so you can hear about my struggles trying to get that medium to work with a portrait. I plan to do a few more takes on the portrait this weekend and will post here again if I do. In case you can get to the link without being a Wetcanvas member, here is my post there. In case it takes you nowhere, here is the copy and past of the post:

"Ay yi yi- did I have soooooo much trouble with this one!

First, a 3/4 view is always challenging, Second- she is a beautiful woman, and at some points in my drawing she was NOT beautiful, Third- I was battling the medium the whole way, which was the new Inktense pencil in black.

About the medium.... I think these Inktense pencils could be very cool for certain things, but IMO were not well suited for portraiture, and I will tell you why. When you add water to the drawing, the black that was created was very intense (duh- like the name I guess!!) and it dried quickly and was very hard to soften. I haven't read much about these, but I think that you can only dissolve them one time- after that, they are waterproof.

Perhaps when I have done 20 portraits in this medium (which will probably not happen!), I could get a better handle on that, but there was too much lack of control in the lights and darks to tackle a portrait, in my opinion.

What I found myself doing was drawing a lot of dry Inktense, as well as another black colored pencil (Polychromos) over the original Inktense (which had been wetted and then dried) to help even out tones and blend. I do like a looser style, but I think the good old WC pencils will still be my choice for a dry-to-wet drawing of a person. More options and control...

After, I also bumped up some of the highlights with a white pastel stick.

I think that is about it.

i like certain things about the drawing, but know that I didn't capture her likeness exactly. I elongated her face in my drawing by accident, made her eyes a little too large, and didn't get the nose and mouth quite right BUT, I do still like the spirit of the work, and was happy to give a new toy- the Intense pencil- a test drive. My attitude with portraits is- If you can't get the exact likeness, try not to overwork it and make the drawing "sing" with linework and values. On that note, I did my best, and that is all I can expect, so I am happy.

I will be using Inktense again, but think it is better suited for landscapes and still life subjects, personally.

Enough banter- Here is the portrait! I will mark this a s MI, because I would like to try something else and add it to the thread. The weekend is still young. Hurrah!!"

To see the reference photo for this portrait, click here.

If you haven't tried out the WDE's, join Wetcanvas! and get your feet wet this weekend. it is really fun!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Dunedin Sketchcrawl Event, Saturday, June 21st, 2008

We will be enjoying our first organized Sketchcrawl for the Pinellas County area on Saturday, June 21st in charming downtown Dunedin.

I'll give you the basics here, and if you'd like to explore the whole world of sketchcrawling, be sure to visit
to learn more about the concept and the 19th Worldwide Sketchcrawl, which our event ties into.

What is a sketchcrawl?
It is a gathering of people who like to sketch, who get together for the day in a particular locale. Artists work however they like, either alone or in small groups, drawing whatever interests them. For the Dunedin Sketchcrawl, we will meet at 9:00 AM at the bandshell in Pioneer Park to get a map of the area with highlights of good sketching spots, and then we will have two opportunities to meet-up again for whoever would like to join us (Lunch at noon, afternoon snack/drink at 2:30 PM). Of course, everyone will pay for their own food and drinks.

Artists are welcome to come earlier or stay longer and can come and go as they please- there are really no rules. Whoever would like to meet-up for lunch or a drink can do so. It gives everyone an opportunity to meet each other and share drawings.

There are places both indoors and out to sketch, so you will not need to be out in the heat the whole time.

Here are some of the places of interest: (Click on the links for more photos of the area)
Our Meeting Place: Pioneer Park

Pictures of the Marina Area
First, there is a beautiful little park on the water, complete with a gazebo and view of the marina and its boats in the harbor. The park is a shady spot to sketch, and even in the hot months, a lovely breeze blows in from the Gulf. You can walk to the end of the pier and sketch there as well, where you will often see pelicans, egret and dolphins. If you are hankering for A/C, you can get something to drink inside Bon Appetit restaurant, adjacent to the pier.

People-watch along the Pinellas Trail

Here are some of the cute buildings and shops to sketch.

What should you bring?
Bring a sketchbook and any drawing or painting supplies you would like. Note: If you are planning to sketch indoors, please be respectful of the shop and restaurant owners, as they may not wish for you to have paints out in stores (even watercolors)- just ask first to be sure. Common sense prevails....

Other items to you may wish to bring:
A water bottle, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, a folding stool (ie. fishing/camp stool), and camera.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to call me
(Lori 727- 365-5575) or contact me (via comment feature on this blog) about the event.

If you arrive after 9:00 AM the day of the event and would still like to meet up with the group for lunch or afternoon get-together, we will be having lunch at Casa Tina Restaurant at noon and meeting up again at 2:30 for a wrap-up drink at Kelly's.

I know this will be a fun and art-filled day, so bring your creativity and c'mon and join us!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Exciting News! My Studio is Ready for "Prime Time!"

Over the past several years, I have been lucky enough to utilize a room in my house for studio space, but until recently it was shared with a lot of other things (storage, filing for taxes, home files, etc.). I never truly had a full room devoted to creating art- UNTIL NOW!

This has not come all at once for sure. It has been a process that has been coming for almost a decade, and contains supplies that I have accumulated over the past twenty years or more, but about two or three months ago, my family and I decided to move the behemoth piece of furniture which housed my computer and all of our home files out of our eat-in kitchen area and add it to my studio.

It makes so much sense, because much of my graphic art and photography is tied to my computer use, and I also run a website about dogs and do all the graphics for that site as well. I need a quiet place to write for my site, and since I already had a space I was using (albeit badly) for my studio, combining all my "stuff" in one place was a good plan.

I used to have a smaller room on our first floor, but my husband convinced me to swap rooms with the one he was using for an office/guest bedroom.

We decided to sell the bed that was in the room, since I could use the space more efficiently on a daily basis, and we could figure out an air bed for the few times a year when we might have guests. I really pushed for getting rid of the bed, and fortunately, my husband agreed.

He wanted the first floor room I had been using for a studio, because he can see when UPS is coming to deliver packages for his business, and he can bring business associates more easily to that room if need be (a very rare necessity, but still valid), rather than traipse them through the house to the 2nd floor, where he previously had his office. Also, my studio is not always the neatest room in the house, so if I am in the middle of craziness, it doesn't have to be on view for the whole world to see.

I ended up with a larger, sunnier space AND a walk-in closet for storage! I lost a built in bookshelf, but with the computer armoire being added to the room, that helped me have book storage. I also converted two shelves in my closet for book and sketchpad storage. We moved the home files out of my studio and into his office, which made more sense all the way around, and now we are BOTH happy. YAY!

For additional storage, I keep paper stacked in sheets on the top of the armoire, which is a large, flat space, and have purchased eight flat plastic bins to store other necessities.

My husband built me my work table, an L-shaped wooden counter, with seating for three. It is a multi-purpose work area. I use it for watercolor painting, scrapbooking with my daughter, and even for making glass beads with a hothead torch setup, and other jewelry items.

My drawing/drafting table is on wheels, and my favorite place to draw.

For painting on boards and canvases, I utilize a very heavy-duty folding easel for my studio- the Mabef M-32. It is great, because I can fold it up and get it out of the way. I can also utilize it outdoors for sketching and painting on location. I really enjoy products that have multi-functionality.

Since I teach several classes every week, I have all my resources at my fingertips for lesson plan preparation- my computer, books, and art supplies. The only thing I don't have is a color copier, but Staples is just a few miles away, and so I usually stop in and and make the necessary handouts for my classes on my way to teach. I print out the originals from my printer, but find it is more economical to run copies elsewhere.

Here are some additional pictures of my studio. I hope you like looking at them. I always enjoy seeing other people's work spaces, and I feel very fortunate to have such a lovely, useful one myself now. I just finished it over the Memorial Day weekend, and got a new chair to replace my folding chair. Much better for the long hours at the computer when I am writing away!

Besides having some of my own artwork on the walls, I also have some of my daughter's art and sculpture from many different ages and stages (she is now eleven). There are a few important mementos of my childhood (a little Owl and Pussycat figurine set), as well as some things that were my mom's. Her name was Madonna, and she just passed away two years ago. It makes me feel good to have her monogram jewelry box, and a bronze tree that used to be in her room on display in my studio. The tree used to hold ceramic birds, none of which survived intact, but I have a seashell propped in its branches because she used to collect shells, and I also have the passkey hanging there that I used to use to enter the assisted living facility where she lived. Mom lost her memory, which slowly declined over the final ten years of her life, and I feel better having some things near me that keep my memories of her alive on a daily basis.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

SDIM- Otis, our Pug

I just did a spread for my Gratitude sketch journal about the newest member of our family, adopted two days before Christmas 2007.

Otis, our pug, belonged to neighbors two doors down, but he walked into our garage just before my daughter's big Nutcracker ballet performance, and when we tried to return him we found out that his owners were moving and were looking for a home for him.

He is great in all ways except that he wasn't totally housebroken. He is 3-1/2, and set in his ways, so this has caused us much consternation, but we are getting there. He is used to having three long walks a day, and more if he doesn't go to the bathroom right away. This is nearly impossible for us, so trying to get him to jibe with the routines of our other two dogs has been the big goal.

Anyway, here is a sketch of Otis along with some of my journaling.... It is Conte' pencil (3B) and three shades of Conte' crayon from my portrait set in my hand.print sketch journal.

SOME days in May (or SDIM!)

OK folks,
Although I applaud each and every one of you wonderful people that has been able to keep up with the EDIM challenge, and I love French Toast Girl for contributing the great idea to try it, I have fallen woefully behind in my Every Day in May sketch Journal plans.

I fretted about this- even posted about it on the EDM forum, and the fabulous, smart, encouraging people there told me I was worrying too much and to not let it stop me from moving forward.

I decided that I would approach this as a SOME Days in May challenge, and do the best I could.

Turns out, I was slightly in denial when I thought I could do this in the month of May. It is one of my busiest months as I gear down for the summer, with the wrapping-up of two of the classes that I teach, my daughter's end-of-the-school year activities and my volunteer efforts. By mid-month, I was realizing that, even though I loved the whole idea of drawing everyday, I was having trouble keeping up with my day-to-day responsibilities of life in order to keep the EDIM challenge going. My priorities were getting a little skewed.

SDIM makes much more sense to me right now.

I altered French Toast Girl's Every Day in May logo, and I hope she will think it is funny and not be offended by my lightweight approach to the challenge. It seems to be the right thing to do for me anyway....

I have been able to get a few drawings done since I last posted, so I will upload them and include them in this post.

The first one was done as a demo for one of my classes. I was showing how you can use a water wash with Conte' crayon. This particular drawing was done on watercolor paper, drawn with a black Conte' crayon, and then clear water was applied to create the different tones for the wash. I worked from a stock photo, so it is not from life.

The second illustration was done when I spent last weekend at the Nickelodeon Hotel in Orlando with the Girl Scout troop I am the Asst. Troop Leader for. I know it sounds crazy- why weren't we camping, right? We were actually spending our cookie money proceeds on a trip for the troop.

The Nick Hotel had some built in activities for the MANY Girl Scout troops that were there. Parts of it were really fun, but being in that crazy Orlando atmosphere made me know that one night was all I can really handle of the Mousetown. Too many people, too much indulgence, and "fun" found everywhere outside yourself (the worst part, in my opinion).

One of my biggest goals as a parent is to help my daughter find ways to beat boredom besides automatically going to TV, computer, Ipod and Nintendo DS. I feel that, if she can learn to find more interactive ways to create her fun, it will be beneficial to her later on in life.

I was listening to a podcast episode of This American Life a few days ago, and they mentioned that the average American watches 25 hours a week of television. I seriously can't imagine that, but that is what they said. As a family, we watch less than half of that and it STILL feels like too much to me. I'm not dissing TV. I do admit to liking it. I just think that if we cut down on it, it frees up much more time to do something useful and creative. Ok, I am stepping down off the soapbox now, I promise!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Every Day in May #13 -My Husband

This drawing was quite a challenge, and my inner critic is still screaming at me for posting it.

I sketched my husband today while he was working on his computer, and he kept moving and changing his position. He even changed his glasses once while I was doing the drawing, but I asked him to put the first ones back on.

Clearly, the drawing definitely has issues, but I am trying to lighten up and not be so perfectionistic about every stinkin' thing, so here my drawings is- warts and all. (Though I an assure you HE doesn't have any warts!)

I have a great husband, and I love that I have been with him for almost 28 years now. We met when I was just eighteen and did a lot of growing up together along the way.

We have a great life together, and I am so grateful to have him as my life partner. He is funny, honest, loyal and dedicated. He is a great father to our daughter.

Today (and most every day,) I am grateful for my marriage to this wonderful guy.

Pencil and Micron pen in hand.print journal