Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Zen Doodle Coloring Book

I was notified by F&W Media (North Light Publishing) that they published Zen Doodle Coloring Book this past month and included some of my artwork in it! I do not know which Zen Doodles they included, as I have not yet received my complimentary copy. But it is exciting that my work has been published in another book.

This coloring book is built of lovely Zentangle®-inspired art  and coloring in these inspiring and unique designs will help you relax and relieve stress. You'll clear your mind, you'll have fun, and you might even have a pretty piece of art to frame when you're finished! Find more than 100 Zen Doodle illustrations selected from some of North Light's bestselling titles, including Zen Doodle: Oodles of Doodles, and Zen Doodle: Tons of Tangles

If you would like to buy a copy of the book, please order through my blog, so that I receive renumeration. You can click on the link in the right-side column to order your copy.

Also, North Light is offering the book as part of a coloring kit. It includes the Zen Doodle Coloring Book, the Zen Doodle Summer 2015 Workshop (a book that has great ideas, easy techniques, and step-by-step projects for your doodling, as well as techniques for shading, adding drama with dimension, incorporating color, and drawing eye catching patterns), and a 5-pen marker set of Earth Tones Chameleon Color Tones. These color-changing alcohol-based markers will change the way you doodle! You can change the tone of your marker from very light or no tone at all, to a deep vibrant shade. This unique transition enables you to add great depth to your art and is especially suited for Zen Doodling! You'll have the ability to create stunning effects including smooth transitions, highlighting, shading, gradations, and blending, all with one pen. The 5-pack Earth Tones set includes these colors: Spring Meadow, Bark, Seville Orange, Hot Cocoa, and Olive Green.  If you would rather buy the kit, you can click the appropriate link on the right-side column.

Thank you for your support and encouragement!

Keep creating!

Week 25 - Weekly Art Challenge - Old Paintings

I'm going to post a couple of paintings that I did some time ago for this week's challenge. Babysitting grandchildren keeps me busy and leaves me exhausted, so I do not have as much time for creating as I would like to. Also, since I'm behind due to life and computer problems, this is an easy way for me to work on catching up with where I am supposed to be (I believe on Week 27 - so I'm getting there!) Thank you for your patience!!

Grandchildren - 14" x 20" colored pencil on hot press illustration board. I drew this for my mother-in-law of all her grandchildren. The seven older children had spontaneously posed themselves for a photo that I used for the drawing. I added the 2nd youngest working from a photo of her standing against her grandfather. Before I had the painting completed, the youngest grandchild was born. I rearranged the arms and had one of the girls hold the baby. It was fun to have everyone ask me how I managed to get all nine grandchildren posed at the same time!
Grandparents - 11"x14" unframed colored pencil drawing on hot-press illustration board. I worked from a photo of my grandparents taken when my grandfather turned 90 years old. Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away the following month. I painted this for my grandfather as a surprise. I had never seen him cry, until he unwrapped this painting. I am so glad that I made this for him. 
Carrie, 11"x 14" unframed hot press illustration board, double-matted and framed (14" x 20"). This is a black and white colored pencil commission that I did for my husband's cousin. He surprised his wife for her birthday with it.

I enjoy working with colored pencils. They blend nicely and can be layered many times. They are transparent, so layering adds a richness that is hard to achieve with paints. I love the challenge portraits bring. However, I would like to improve drawing portraits without working from photos. 

Keep creating!

Week 24 - Weekly Art Challenge - Faces

This week I continued working with Jane Davenport's Drawing and Painting Beautiful Faces,  This week the exercise worked with "latitude and longitude". Davenport treated her simple faces (or Draw Happy faces) as globes with latitude and longitude lines. Using these as guidelines makes it easier to draw faces that are tilted, rather than looking straight on. These are my results, with the "globe" I used as a guideline in the lower right-hand corner.

3/4 view - 4"x 4", Pencil on mixed-media paper.

Tilted up, 3/4 view - 4" x 4" - Pencil on mixed-media paper

Tilted down-3/4 view - 4" x 4" - Pencil on mixed-media paper.
Tilted up - 4" x 4" - Pencil on mixed-media paper.

These has been an eye-opening experience for me. I had never thought of thinking of the faces as a globe and using latitude and longitude lines to determine the placement of the facial features. Even though these are fairly rough sketches, I learned much creating these. The next section of the book starts working on the details of facial features. It's exciting to think I can start getting a fairly realistic looking face without working directly from a photograph.

Keep creating!!

Week 23 - Weekly Art Challenge - Blended Photos

I blended photos this week using my favorite photo-editing app, Pixlr, to create these compositions (except for the first one).

I bought a new Smartphone - my first one - Whoo-hoo!! In taking photos of my granddaughter (4 months old in this photo), I found this photo in the gallery! I don't know how I managed to get a double exposure without trying! But I love the way it turned out, so I had to share!
This photo is the brick work of our walkway beside our driveway, covered in Mesquite tree flowers and leaves. This is one of the original photos I used to create the blended photos this week.
I used filters in Pixlr Express to create this collage of the brick work.
My friend, Lynn, took this photo of wood in their barn.
I blended the original brick work photo with the barn wood photos.I added a green overlay. I think this would make a wonderful fabric for quilting or a background for mixed-media artwork. 
Another photo of the brick work and barn wood blended, but with an ombre overlay. Again, I think this is a great starter for mixed-media artwork or for digitally-printed fabric for quilting or fiber art.

I enjoy exploring photography editing with the Pixlr app. I love to see what I can create!

Keep creating!

Week 22 - Weekly Art Challenge - Cactus photography

I'm still trying to catch up on my weekly art challenge posts. I'm at week 22. An online art group I belong challenged us to take photos of something close by. I chose to photograph the cactus garden in our front yard.

New growth from old. The texture the dying cactus arm captured my imagination.
The main trunk of the cereus cactus died, but new branches have sprouted.
The red cacti fruit  contrasts nicely against the green branches. 
Water trapped on petals of a Wandering Jew plant.
 The bright green of the philodendron contrasts nicely with the dark
purple Wandering Jew and it's delicate pale lavender flower.

I'm trying to improve my photography and composition skills.  Digital cameras are a god-send, since I can take as many photos as I desire without worrying about film and developing costs!

Keep creating!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Week 21 - Weekly Art Challenge - Other Artwork

For Week 21, I didn't get anything new completed to post. So I'm posting a couple pieces that I finished some time ago. 

Dad's Hunting Dog - 20" x 16", oil on canvas
 This is an oil painting I did for my father-in-law of one of his favorite hunting dogs that he lost too early. He was very pleased and it hangs in the dining room of his home.

Mom and Dad - 20" x 16", oil on canvas
I painted this portrait of my parents from a photo I took of them when they stayed with me in Florida one year while I had surgery. My parents had fun figuring out when I photographed them in the clothing they are wearing, as they couldn't remember having any such outfits! I had to laugh and tell them it's artistic license! (Mom is an artist, so she should have guessed this!). Dad had a white T-shirt with a wild print on, so I painted it as yellow. Mom wore a bright, printed button-down shirt. I painted a plain blue jacket over her brightly-colored top. They were very surprised with the gift and it has a prominent location in their home, overlooking photos of the rest of the family.

I no longer work in oils very much, as the smell bothers me more and I'm starting to react to the oils if I get them on my hands for any length of time. It's a shame, as they are easy to work with and so forgiving if a mistake is made!  However, water-soluble oils are now available. I don't know if I would react the same to these, since I wouldn't have to work with solvents. I might have to give them a try.

Keep creating!

Week 20 - Weekly Art Challenge - Faces

For this Weekly Art Challenge, I worked on the next exercise in  Jane Davenport's Drawing and Painting Beautiful Faces. (See previous posts here). Jane described drawing and shading spheres; then explained how the face can be represented by spheres to help create dimension with shading. Working with the "Draw Happy" faces, she added spheres for the cheeks, nose, chin and lips.  These are the two faces I did in this style. 

"Baby face" - 4" x 4" - charcoal and 0.005 black Sakura micron pen on mixed-media paper.
In this sketch, I started with the guidelines and eyes. I added spheres for the nose, lips, chin, and cheeks. After adding the shading, I saw a baby's face, so added just a few tufts of hair.

"Young girl" - 4" x 4", charcoal and 0.005 black Sakura micron pen on mixed-media paper.
Again, I started with the guidelines and eyes, adding spheres for the various facial features. This young girl still needs work, but I think I got the concept Jane was illustrating with using spheres to help add dimension to a face.

I'm enjoying Jane's book and learning more about how to draw faces. However, for me, it's tough to get a good face without a photograph.

Keep creating!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Trip to CA

This year when attending the quilt retreat (see previous post), I flew in and out of San Diego, instead of driving. My sweet cousin, Betsy, picked me up and took me to the retreat and then came back for me on Monday and took me to the airport. We had some time to spare before I had to go to the airport, so we went to Seaport Village along the marina in San Diego. It has a lot of little touristy type shops and eateries. It was a fun place to walk along the water.

Seaport Village sign. Didn't realize till I got home and looked at
photos, that I didn't have a photo of Betsy! 
Navy ship across the bay at the shipyard.
Duck swimming in pond located in the center of the shopping area.
There were about 4 of these birds sleeping in this tree by the pond,
where the ducks were swimming. Not sure what kind of birds they are.
This bird had just woken up and I was able to get a shot of his face. They're about 2 feet tall and appear to be in the heron family, but have never seen anything like them.
There were several children playing by the marina and a few flying kites. This one
 stood out in the beautiful blue sky. There happened to be a kite shop close by in the village.
The kite shop had several of these mobiles - birds, ducks, flying pigs, elephants, giraffes. They were darling and I had to get one to hang by our front door in memory of my time with Betsy. She's a wonderful person and cousin!

I enjoyed my trip thoroughly. It was very creative and productive!!

Keep creating!

Week 19 - Weekly Art Challenge - Patt Blair Retreat

I'll be trying to post the last few weeks art challenges in the next few days. I'm running behind due to computer issues and life (especially babysitting three grandchildren that range from infant to toddlers!)

For the last three years, I've been attending a quilt retreat in May with Patt Blair at Vina de Lestonnac in Temecula, CA. It's an awesome time, with many of the same people returning each year. So it's more like catching up with old friends who all enjoy the creative process as much as I do! These are a couple of bird quilts that Patt showed.

Another bird quilted and painted by Patt.
This is a small bird quilt that Patt painted.
I love the detail and the quilting Patt
chose. She is such an accomplished artist.

I didn't take as many photos as in past years (see posts here).  I really enjoy the Vina de Lestonnac's grounds. They are beautifully manicured with many roses and other flowers, bushes, trees, and grape vines. They are located close to several wineries and horse ranches. Love the country!

One of the beautiful rose plants in the garden. 
The rabbits are cute and often out in the early morning and evening.
They will pose for photos if one doesn't move too quickly.
Looking out over the neighboring winery and country.

I mainly worked on my project (plus it rained the first two days!). Patt teaches wholecloth painting on fabric with Tsukineko inks and how to quilt the resulting painting. I enjoy portraits, which I have done in colored pencils and oils.  I had never used Tsukineko inks for portraits and wanted to pick Patt's brain on how to accomplish this. I combined a couple photos of my 4 month old granddaughter and am adding fairy wings to her.I didn't get finished, but will show what I have completed so far.

Line drawing of granddaughter. Haven't combined the two photos of her yet in this line drawing. She was about to cry in this pose, so chose another photo for her face. In the 2nd photo, she is cooing and has her lips puckered. I also moved her right arm up towards her face as it is in the 2nd photo. Added wings to make her a fairy. She was blessed with long hair at birth, which is wild as it stands straight up! 
In progress painting of granddaughter. Still have more work to do on her eyes and hair. Need to add background color and wings, too. 
 I did figure out how I'm going to do her hair by practicing on a scrap piece of fabric. It came out great. Can't wait to add it, once I get the background color painted. I also plan to add beads and crystal to the fairy wings.

Keep creating!

May ATC Challenge - Tea Party

I'm running really behind in posting on my blog. Between my computer acting up, my granddaughter getting her first illness (which was scary with the heart defect - she is fine now!), going out of town, and just life in general, time has gotten away from me!

At any rate, May's ATC Challenge, hosted by Blue Twig Studio,  was Tea Party. I made two cards. The first was a collage.
Can You Lend Your Ear? ATC Card, 2 1/2" x 3 1/2". Collage on multimedia paper.

I layered the background with Dylusions Spray Inks through a couple of stencils. Then I added a photo of a tea cup with a fairy peeking around a column under the moonlight that I cut from a fantasy magazine, adding steam to the cup with a micron pen. Finally, I added a piece of Washi tape with a teapot that says, "I'm just very lucky. Can you lend your ear for a while?" 

The second ATC card was from a favorite nursery rhyme:
I'm a Little Teapot. ATC Card, 2 1/2" x 3 1/2", Watercolor pencils on multimedia paper.
I found a free clip art with a picture of this vintage teapot. I drew and painted it using Derwent watercolor pencils.  I'm a Little Teapot was one of my favorite nursery rhymes as a child. I taped two 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" cards together with Washi tape featuring music. I painted the background blue with Derwent watercolor pencils and wrote out the I'm a Little Teapot nursery rhyme. The "I'm a Little Teapot" ATC card opens up like a tiny book, featuring the nursery rhyme inside.

Inside of "I'm a Little Teapot" ATC card.

The ATC Challenge is taking a break for a couple of months. I will let you know when it restarts! 

Keep creating!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Week 18 - Weekly Art Challenge - Blended Photos

These weeks seem to be going by quickly with having our daughter, her boyfriend, and our granddaughter living with us!  I'd rather hold Lydia and care for her than do much of anything else!! She's so adorable, tiny, and a good baby. Also, I'm the taxi to take her to all her doctor appointments of which she has several due to the congenital heart defect. Making time for art can be daunting sometimes!

This week, I played on my tablet some more blending photos with the Pixlr Express app that I've mentioned in previous posts.

Floral Garden Sunset. I blended a floral garden ZIA that I created (see post dated Mar 12, 2015) with a sunset photo I had taken a year ago. This is the "difference" blending. I added some doodle stickers to complete the photo. I like how the garden color changed when blended with the sunset.
Floral Garden Sunset #2. This is the same floral garden ZIA and sunset as in the first photo. This time I "added" the two photos. This blending created a whole different look. The mauves, purples and blues of the sunset were kept. I added an bubble overlay which created an interesting texture.
Floral Chickens. I blended a photo of two of our Americauna chickens with a flower photo
I took in California last year. I like how the color of the flowers affected the chickens coloring!  

I'm still learning much about blending photos in the Pixlr Express app. I've made some blended photos that I did not save as they look terrible, but it's fun to experiment and find what I like and don't like. It's helping with me understand composition and design better, too.

Keep creating!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Blue Twig Studio - April Product Review and Projects

This month, I received a package of Twinkling H2Os by Luminarte for review for Blue Twig Studio.  I had heard a lot of great comments about these from friends the last few months and had been wanting to try them, but couldn't justify buying yet another type of paint. Therefore, I was very excited when I received these for my April product review!!

Twinkling H2Os are highly pigmented, light fast, lusciously luminescent mica-infused watercolors. The H2Os are non-toxic and archival safe. The amount of water used determines if the color is opaque, translucent or transparent. This set contained 12 jars of H2Os, along with a free spritz bottle. The colors in my set included: poppy, rose gold, persimmon, mango mamba, mustard green, autumn butternut, black cherry, plum crazy, blue zircon, sweet alfalfa, cedar wood, and pearl red.
     (Note: my spritz bottle arrived with a crack starting at the spritzer and running a third of the way around the spritz head. Needless to say, it didn't work very well as a spritzer, but was still able to use it as clean water. I could spritz, if I didn't mind water spraying )
Twinkling H2Os by Luminarte
Open jars of Twinkling H2Os. Colors listed on cap to right of paint jar.
Color chart for Twinkling H2Os. 
The watercolor comes as a solid hard-pan cake. When you open the desired jars, the colors can be "woke up" by spraying the surface of the paint cakes. Directions state: after allowing the water to soak in for 3-5 minutes, mist the jars a second time and wait a couple more minutes. The paint begins to soften and it easily mixes into a creamy texture when dipping a paintbrush in it. I actually had to wait about 10 minutes and I used a toothpick to mix the paint. The Twinkling H2Os can be used for painting freehand, creating color washes, to color inside the lines of a drawing or rubber stamped image, or to apply to a rubber stamp before stamping with it.

Pico Embellisher in 
irRESISTible Neon colors.
For my project, I was initially going to paint an 8"x10" canvas. I painted an abstract background and then planned to use a large 8 1/2" x 11" Crazy Lace stamp by Kari McKnight-Holbrook (see Blue Twig Studio large stamps) with black acrylic paint to create an overall design on the abstract background. Unfortunately, my black paint didn't stay wet enough by the time I got the whole stamp coated and did not print well on my canvas. Therefore, I scrapped this project. I'll try to salvage it for some other project in the future.

In interest of time, I chose to create several tags that can be used as gift tags, bookmarks, labels, luggage tags, and so on. My daughter joined me and made tags, as well. Following are the results. Besides brushes, a palette knife, and a freezer paper palette, I used Derwent watercolor pencils, black Sakura micron pens, and Pico Embellishers to accent the tags.

Lydia Tag, 2 3/4" x 5 1/5", Twinkling H2Os and Pico Embellisher on watercolor paper.
I started with the plum crazy color to create a "sea" background. Then pulled the paint to the 'sky' area with more water to make it lighter. Using mango mamba, I created sun rays peeking through a stormy sky, and added pearl red to the 'sea' to create more depth and waves.  I had planned to stamp dolphins in the 'sea'. However, the sea and sky didn't come out as they appeared in my head.After lifting some of the paint by adding more water, I used blue zircon to paint Lydia and outlined it with the mustard green (which appears more like an antique gold). I highlighted Lydia with a pink neon Pico Embellisher and edged the tag with pearl red. A couple hearts with a neon green Pico Embellisher in the corners, along with blue and multicolored yarn for hanging completed the tag. I am pleased with the results, as I thought this tag was a lost cause! (Painted by my daughter.)
Peacock Feather Tag, 2 3/4" x 5 1/5", Twinkling H2Os on watercolor paper. 
Still wanting to make a sea with dolphins, I used the blue zircon for my 'sea' and painted the bottom half of the tag. I added sweet alfalfa for depth and waves.  Now to create a sunset. I decided to practice the sunset on a different card (see dolphin card below). Since my sunset came out so nice, I just used that card instead of this one. Now what do I do with this card?  The paint was dry, however, I found by adding water to the card, I was able to pull the blue zircon paint up to the top of the card, creating a blueish background with sweet alfalfa highlights. The color made me think of a peacock feather, since the blue zircon appears more teal than blue. Using shades of mango mamba, rose gold, persimmon, sweet alfalfa, and plum crazy, I stenciled a peacock feather onto the background. A small brush helped get into the narrow openings in this stencil without any bleeding under the stencil. (Painted by my daughter.)
Dolphin Tag, 2 3/4" x 5 1/5". Twinkling H2Os on watercolor paper. Using mango mamba, rose gold, and black cherry, I freehand painted a sunset.  I used freezer paper as a palette for mixing the paints for the sunset. I was pleasantly surprised when I found I could reactive the paint on the freezer paper up to 30 minutes after it had dried. I did not test how long the paint could sit and still be reactivated. I added the blue zircon for the sea, with highlights of sweet alfalfa. Painting plum crazy on a dolphin stamp, I was able to stamp two dolphins leaping out of the sea. This is my daughter's favorite tag. (Painted by my daughter.) 
Music Tag, 2 3/4" x 5 1/5", Twinkling H2Os and black Sakura micron pen on watercolor paper.  
I created an abstract background by brushing swirls of colors onto the tag. I used plum crazy, blue zircon, sweet alfalfa, and persimmon paints.Some of the paints I left opaque and others I thinned with water for more transparency (can't see this well in photo).  I sprinkled salt on the wet paint. However, once dry, the salt didn't come off easily, so some was left in place. The salt created some texture in the plum crazy and persimmon colors, but not as much as I had hoped for.  I used a 0.02 black Sakura micron pen to draw in music staffs and notes, as well as a saying by Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Most of us go to the grave with our music still inside us.". I found this in the book Creative is a Verb by Patti Digh, which I am reading for book club for April, May and June (see my review for chapters 1-3 here). This saying really struck a chord with me, so I had to put it on a tag. (Painted by Lynnita.)
Blooming Tag, 2 3/4" x 5 1/5", Twinkling H2Os and Pico Embellisher on watercolor paper. 
I wanted to see how well the Twinkling H2Os did with a stencil, so I painted persimmon, rose gold, black cherry and mango mamba through a pod stencil.  Unlike the peacock feather where I used a small brush to apply paint, I used a stencil brush this time. In the smallest pod at the bottom, the mango mamba mixed with rose gold paint was too thin and bled under the stencil. I used a blue Pico Embellisher to add the saying, "Life is an empty square unless one fills it up with matter!" by Robin Antar. This was another saying in the book, Creative is a Verb. (Painted by Lynnita.)
Pondering Tag, 2 3/4" x 5 1/5", Twinkling H2Os, Sakura micron pen, and Derwent watercolor pencils on watercolor paper. I freehand painted the face first with pearl red, using blue zircon for the eyes and poppy for the lips. Her hair is cedar wood with autumn butternut highlights, while her top is rose gold with salt for texture. Using a flexible rubber stamp, I painted sweet alfalfa and blue zircon to create a background. The sweet alfalfa worked fairly well, but the blue zircon just bled everywhere. Once it was dry, I stamped over the blue zircon area with another stamp using the sweet alfalfa paint. I used Derwent watercolor pencils to add shading to the face and a 0.005 black Sakura micron pen to add the details. (Painted by Lynnita.)
Luggage Tag, 2 3/4" x 5 1/5", Twinkling H2Os on fabric. Using pieces of Tim Holtz's Electric Elements fabrics leftover from the Nov 2014 Fabric club kit reviewed  Dec 1, 2014,I cut small pieces of the fabric and enhanced the print with the Twinkling H2O paints in several of the colors. Once the paint dried, I heat set it.  I stitched a collage of the fabric for the front of the luggage tag. I finished the edge with a piece of fuzzy, multicolor, eyelash yarn. The hand of the fabric stayed soft for the luggage tag front. (Painted by Lynnita.)
Luggage Tag back. I scribbled with several colors of the Twinkling H2Os on the back of the luggage tag just to test the hand of the fabric. I used a substantial amount of the mango mamba in the center, but smaller amounts of several other colors. Once it was dry, I heat set the paint. Where I used the larger amount of the mango mamba, the fabric was stiff, but in the other areas, the fabric still has a soft hand. The twinkling H2Os work well on fabric, but use a small amount to keep a soft hand. I didn't realize I was out of the clear vinyl to create a pocket on the back of the luggage tag for the address. So this will be added later. (Painted by Lynnita.)

Product Review:
I thoroughly enjoyed working with the paints - they are bright, luminescent and easy to use. I was able to reactivate the paints that dried on the freezer paper palette even after 30 minutes. This was awesome to find out! This ability to reactivate allowed my daughter to fix mistakes in a couple of her tags that she thought were lost causes. This also allows mixing the paints to create new colors, knowing that I won't waste paint from it drying out too fast.

The paints work well with both stencils and stamps, although you want to use stamps that are deeply etched, have thick, wide lines, bold graphics, and/or large surface areas. Avoid stamps with shallow tiny detail lines. These do not work very well. When using stencils, be sure the paints are not extremely wet, so they do not bleed under the stencil. Also a small brush can be used to paint in small stencil openings.

I have one negative comment. It was stated that the paint needs to be dry before closing the jars. Even in the 'dry' Arizona heat, the paints were still wet after 2 1/2 hours. I closed them, anyway, as I was ready to sleep by 1:00 am. When I checked them the next day, all the paints were still wet, paint had gotten on the lids making it difficult to open a couple of them, and two of them had actually leaked. So I left them open again.It still took another 2-3 hours before they were fully dry and I could close them. This will create a challenge for me to use them, as I do not have a dedicated work space at the moment and cannot leave opened jars of paint out where grandchildren could get a hold of them.

I hope you enjoyed this review and will consider using these wonderful, sparkling watercolors! They are worth buying, even if you have many other paints!

Keep creating!