WIP: Greek Guy

Work in Progress: Greek Donkey Herder. Also known as "Greek Guy". LOL! He has been staring at me for a while, so I did a little work on him, today. I think he is coming along, but I don't know about the orange paper...

WIP greek guy.jpg

I have been making firm decisions to get totally off the internet. Then I will find various reasons not to. Then I will get frustrated with my lack of concentration and much shorter attention span, in addition to creeping social media addiction and decide "This is it! I'm getting off the internet!" Then, I find other reasons to stay on. One of the big ones is that online schools are about the only ones I can afford.

So, I have decided to use a system for keeping me off the computer during the day and I will have limited time, in the evenings, to do my online work, including making posts and taking classes. We will see how that works. My first day, yesterday, was very productive and I was able to get back to peace and quiet. Lovely!

So, what do you think of Greek Guy, so far?

New Art School

Greetings!  I have joined a new art school and I am taking my first class.  The emphasis of this school is illustration, which I am still having a hard time defining in my mind.  I cannot seem to understand the difference between illustration and any other art.  However, I think a little light is dawning with the name of this new school:  Society of Visual Storytelling.  Hmmm...  So, illustration is making art that tells a story.  Doesn't all art tell a story?  Well, maybe not in the same way.  Anyway, I am determined to learn about this.  So, I am starting at the beginning, again.  LOL!  I have started at the beginning so many times!

IMG_20180612_2037457_rewind.jpg
IMG_20180612_2037536_rewind_kindlephoto-399212318.jpg

I am in the process of a class called "How to Draw Everything", which is basically the fundamentals of art.  I know I have already been through the fundamentals several times, but it is nifty to get it from other points of view.  Every time I have taken a class on the same thing from someone new, I have learned something new.

pebbles.jpg

I am doing lots of repetition and it is getting my creative juices flowing.  So, this is where I am at right now.

Also, my garden is almost floating.  LOL!  It has been raining for a while, now.  I need to get my wellies on and get some salad fixin's. 

100_3087.JPG

Early Season Garden Update

Okee-dokee!  I have the garden in and it is growing.  I tilled the soil at least eight times before planting.  It was heavily grown over with weeds, which made it difficult getting it ready for planting, but it also meant that it was fertile.  There are lots of earthworms, which is always a good sign.

IMG_20180517_112032615.jpg

In past years, I always started my own seeds, but this year I bought almost all of the plants.  Plants include:  yellow squash, marigolds, tomatoes, lettuce, snapdragons, kale, kohlrabi, and sunflowers.  Seeds include:  green beans, zucchini, and radishes.  I have to hoe every day, because weed seeds are vigorously sprouting and growing with great glee.

I have them in raised beds, because our clay soil is very slow draining and, in past years, the boggy conditions have been very discouraging and I have given up.  I don't want to give up, this time.  I have planted almost all of it on raised beds and plan to put on my wellies, if necessary, to weed the garden.

The fence is an electrified fence, with a battery, to try to keep out raccoons and rabbits.  We have deer problems, also, but there is not much I can do about that.  One year, I planted a beautiful leaf lettuce mix.  It grow beautifully, but it never got high enough to cut some.  I kept watering, weeding, and wondering when it was going to grow.  Then I finally realized that the deer were keeping it mowed.  I never got a salad from the garden, that year.  LOL!  The deer can easily hop over the fence and wipe out the garden, however, if they would just touch the fence with their noses, I'm sure they would go elsewhere...

I will take more pictures as it grows.  I must attend to spring cleaning now.  It's hard.  I hate cleaning.  If only I could make my first million and hire someone to keep up with my messes.  I much prefer to make the mess!  LOL!  It is chilly and rainy, now, so it is a great time to stay inside and putter.  

Taking a Break

It is spring and time for spring cleaning and gardening.  So, I am going to take a break for a little while.  I don't know how long.  I have a lot of work to do and artwork and posting on the various places on the internet take a LOT of time.  It is surprising how much...

Here are some pictures from past gardens:  (By the way, I can't figure out how to make the font in the photo captions larger.  Sorry!)

 Our doggy, India, in our garden in Deltona, Florida, in the late 1990's.  Notice her ball?  She never was without it.

Our doggy, India, in our garden in Deltona, Florida, in the late 1990's.  Notice her ball?  She never was without it.

 In Florida, we had our garden completely planted by March 1.  Here in Ohio, often I don't have it planted until June 1.  What a difference!  LOL!

In Florida, we had our garden completely planted by March 1.  Here in Ohio, often I don't have it planted until June 1.  What a difference!  LOL!

 Sunflowers in our Ohio garden.

Sunflowers in our Ohio garden.

 Mr. Beloved harvesting beans while I am canning them as fast as I can.

Mr. Beloved harvesting beans while I am canning them as fast as I can.

 A good year in the garden...

A good year in the garden...

 Our first wheat crop.  

Our first wheat crop.  

 Our second wheat crop.  We planted about 75% of the garden, that year, in wheat.  That was very nifty!

Our second wheat crop.  We planted about 75% of the garden, that year, in wheat.  That was very nifty!

I will see if I can give you garden updates every once in a while.

Do any of you plant vegetable gardens?

Spring Flowers and a WIP

Okay, who watched Loving Vincent?  Please comment below and let me know.

100_3073.jpg

I took some photos, today.  I was trying to get some of my own reference photos, but I don't know that I got anything I can actually use.  They are pretty, though, so enjoy.  The one, above, is the chicken coop, which is not being used by chickens, right now.  It is scheduled for some renovations, this summer.  Also, I will be tilling and planting the chicken yard with good things for chickens to eat.  It won't last long, once chickens are using it, but they will have something for a little while, at least.  For the plants to last any time in the chicken yard, there must be very few chickens.  Like, maybe six, but we usually have at least a dozen, so it turns to bare dirt, soon.

100_3052.jpg

Spring Beauties.

100_3055.jpg

These wild violets are the most wonderful thing that ever happened to grass!

100_3079.jpg

Ants lovin' on Peonies.

Redbud 1.jpg
Redbud 2.jpg
Redbud 3.jpg

My favorite Redbud tree, in front of our lovely River Birch.  I tried to capture the bees that are swarming the redbud tree, but was not successful.  I do like the pictures that I did get.

100_3082.jpg

I started another portrait.  I found a nifty photo of a Donkey Herder from Greece.  I love faces with character.  I hope I get it...

100_3084.jpg

Book and Movie Reviews

I have had three very intense migraines this week, among other health issues, and have not done any arting the last couple of days, so I thought I would give a couple of reviews.

PortraitofEmilyPriceKatherineReay.jpg

My friend, Traci, gave this book to me a while ago and I started it, but it was slow going in the beginning.  However, it picked up and then I couldn't put it down.  It is called "A Portrait of Emily Price" and it is about Emily, an artist and art restorer, who is having personal issues and has traveled to spend some time on a job in Atlanta.  She meets an Italian chef, they fall in love, get married, and move to Italy, where there are issues, too.  The book is filled with the beauty of humanity, art, Italy, and I cried over that beauty quite a bit.  She was able to articulate what I feel when I am making a portrait and, yes, I cried over that, too.  LOL!  Thanks, Traci, for thinking of me and giving me the book.

You can find a copy of the book here.  I try to avoid Amazon, if I can.

loving-vincent-2017_0003.jpg

Now, for the movie!  Oh!  What a wonderful movie!  It was amazing!  It was "Loving Vincent".  I'm sure you have heard of it, perhaps even watched it.  If not, please do.  It takes place about a year after Vincent died and a friend talks to those who were around when it happened.  There are flashbacks and I don't know if the story is totally accurate, but I don't know that anyone will ever truly know.  The best part of the whole thing is that it is an animation done with original oil paintings in Van Gogh's style.  Some of them are based on his own works.  It is truly amazing and wonderfully beautiful!  I almost could not follow along with the story for looking at the brushwork.  I did not cry until the end and while the credits were rolling a lovely voice sang the song, "Vincent:  Starry Starry Night" by Don McLean.  So, I sobbed.

I watched the movie on hoopla, a free library site that you can sign up for, if you have a local library card.  Here is a trailer.

Have you read A Portrait of Emily Price?  Have you seen Loving Vincent?  If so, please tell me what you thought.  Do you plan on giving them a try?  Please comment below.

Two Mugs and a Bottle

I thought I would do a little graphite still life.  It was just practice, but I think it came out okay.  I need to work on folds of cloth.  Boy, is that hard to make look real!  LOL!

Still Life bottle and two mugs medium.jpg

Glass and shiny stuff is so much easier...

This was done on smooth toned paper with graphite and white charcoal.  Usually, I use a rough paper with tooth, but this one has no texture whatsoever.  I think it makes it a little more difficult to blend.  Or maybe I am just not used to it.  Well, I like the picture, anyway.

David!

Oh, what a relief!  LOL!  I knew the Lord was giving it to me from the first, when I got the eyes.  After that, it was easy.  I jiggled it when I scanned it, but I think it looks okay.  It is graphite and white charcoal on 12x16 Canson Mi-Tientes pastel paper.  It took about 10-12 hours, I didn't keep perfect track of my time.  I believe that listening to the painfully beautiful music of Bach helped an awful lot...

David graphite small.jpg

Now, it is time to till the garden.  Yes!  I have decided to have a garden this year, after about four or five years of not having one.  Toby and I went out this morning and pulled wild mustard plants.  He loves to jump for them when I throw them and eat a bite of each one.  He will have to stay inside while I till.  He is going to hate that!

It is a beautiful, sunny, warm day and I hope you all have the same.  Enjoy!

Work in Progress: David, again...

Okay, first I just want to say that I have decided not to do anymore posts on commissions, because I just can't think of a thing to say about it, other than is already said on my commission page.  If you have any questions, please ask me, otherwise I can't think of anything new and exciting to say.  LOL!

You all saw my attempt at a pastel portrait of my nephew, David, and what a flop it was.  Since then, I have tried to do an acrylic portrait of him.  No go!  What a mess that was!  LOL!  I had determined, when I started this online art journey, that I would share all my failures, but I won't share the acrylic attempt at David.  I want to spare him the pain.

David WIP.jpg

So, Mr. Beloved suggested I go back to graphite and I have.  This morning, it took me about two hours to get the sketch down.  Now, to work!  You don't know how much I want this one to work out.  It drives me nuts when I can't get it.  Especially the eyes, my favorite part.

The Edge of the World

This poor little feller looks like he has reached the edge of his known world and is wondering what to do now.  LOL!

The Edge of the World medium.jpg

This painting took three days and when I was finished I couldn't see it.  You know, it is a strange phenomenon that when you paint a picture, you can't see it, but when you walk away and give your eyes a rest you can come back and suddenly see it.  Every single time, I despair that I have made a mess and every single time, after my eyes have rested from it, it is so much better.  (Sometimes, yes, it is a mess, but it is a much better mess after I rest my eyes.)  This is acrylics on canvas.  It is 8x10.

I thank the Lord for giving me the ability and desire to paint and draw.

Have you ever eaten snails?  I have not and have no plans in that direction.  LOL!

Fire Island Light

I love lighthouses, but I have seen few up close and personal.  Photos will do, though.  I loved this stone house attached to the light.  Lighthouses remind me of one of my favorite books:  Anne's House of Dreams, the fifth book in the Anne of Green Gables series.  Captain Jim is the lightkeeper and he is such a character.  If you have not read it, please do, you will love it.

Fire Island Light small.jpg

"As the dusk deepened, the great beacon cut swathes of light through it, sweeping in a circle over the fields and the harbor, the sandbar and the gulf.  'I feel as if it might catch me and whisk me leagues out to sea,' said Anne, as one drenched them with radiance; and she felt rather relieved when they got so near the Point that they were inside the range of those dazzling, recurrent flashes."

Have you visited many lighthouses?  Do you have a favorite?  Do you like the Anne books?  Do you have a favorite of those?  Anne's House of Dreams is my favorite, but I love them all.

Genesis 1:16

 "And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars."  

GALL.jpg

I have had this in my head for a while and I just love it.  The sun is a big hot glorious mess and the moon is a cold dead rock, but they are both beautiful and necessary.  And they and their companions, the stars, glorify God every moment of their existence!  Hallelujah!

This is three canvases: the middle one is 8x17, the sun and moon are 5.5x5.5 each.  It is acrylics and the canvases are 1.5 inches thick.

Do you like to walk at night and look at the stars?  I do and I have the opportunity almost every night, when I let Toby out before bed.  Sometimes the beauty is overwhelming and makes my heart sing with praise to the Lord!  I wish I could capture it properly.

Barn Party!

Barn Owl medium.jpg

Today's art:  Barn Party!  This barn owl is having a party.  I have never actually seen a barn owl, have you?  They sure are strange looking!  But, beautiful!  LOL!

So, because I painted one, can I mark it off in my bird watching book?

Evening Campfire

Well, after a few failures, I thought I would break out the acrylic paints and find some food for my soul.  LOL!  This is soul food in two ways:  painting with Jane, which is always relaxing, and a lonely campfire in the woods, which I can only dream about.

Evening Campfire medium.jpg

I did enjoy doing this and I got lots of paint on my hands, which is always satisfying.

We did a lot of camping when I was growing up.  I enjoyed it and I have lots of nifty memories, but I don't think I will do it, now, unless we have a big RV with all the bells and whistles.  LOL!  Do you have nifty camping memories?  Do you go camping now?  Please leave a comment below.

David

I have been wanting to do a portrait of David for a long time and never could find the right photo.  Well, I found a picture that I really love, but it is small and dark and I can't enlarge it and get any detail.  I tried drawing it, but I got frustrated and started whining about losing my mojo.  LOL!  It always seems to happen that when I make a piece that I really love and am excited about (the tiger), the next few pieces are such that weigh my spirit down until I despair of ever making another piece worth the time and trouble to make it.  Such was Sunrise in Hobbiton and such is David.  However, after scanning it and posting it, somehow my mind changed and I like it.  I could not make it look like him, and the eyes are horrible, but the overall picture is pretty nifty and I think I will repent and like it.  But, I am still in pursuit of the perfect picture of David...

David trellis portrait medium.jpg

He is my nephew and he was on a visit to a farm over in Vietnam, where he and his family live, right now.  That is a bamboo bean trellis on the banks of a pond, I believe.  The photo is really nifty.  I wish it was bigger, though.

The picture was done with only pastel pencils on 8x10 sanded paper.

Sunrise in Hobbiton

Well, I chose my own reference photo for the landscape class that I took.  I loved the naked tree.  It turned out a little bit weird, to me, so that is why I named it Sunrise in Hobbiton.  LOL!  I used a new paper and, of course, I don't like it.  I never seem to like anything new.  I am trying to recognize that and overcome it.  With patience, I usually can learn to like almost anything, so I need to keep reminding myself of that and slog on.  I have 20 sheets of this paper, so I better learn to use it.  It is Hahnemuhle Ingres paper and it is thin and doesn't appear to hold very much pastel.  I am willing to take a class on it and learn how to use it like I learned how to use the velour paper, if I can find one...

Sunset in Hobbiton medium.jpg

I am working on part three of the Portrait Commission series.  My next project just happens to be a portrait, also.

Have you read The Hobbit or seen the movie?  I remember reading it when I was a kid and wanting, so desperately, to live in a hobbit hole.  I still do...  LOL!  And the movie is great, although we all know the book is better!

Eye of the Tiger

I have been wanting to do a tiger picture for a while, but everyone has done it.  I guess it was time for me to do it.  I don't really like doing the same thing everyone else is doing.  LOL!

Tiger medium.jpg

This was done on velour paper with mostly soft pastels, but touching up with hard pastels and pencils.  I had decided a while back to never use velour paper, again.  But, I am enrolled in a new art school and have taken a class on how to use velour paper and I must say that knowing how to use it does make a difference.  And WHEN to use it.  Apparently, it is not good for some things and great for others, like fur.  I love how it turned out.

I have been wanting to do a self-portrait for a while now.  I don't have the exact photograph that I want to use.  Every once in a while I coerce Mr. Beloved into taking some photos of me, and they are okay, but none of them have screamed out to me that they will be my self-portrait.  So, in the meantime, I think I will try a landscape with one of my new classes.

Do you think I ought to do a self-portrait?  Please comment below.  Thanks!

Highland Cow

Today's art is a pastel drawing of a Highland Cow sitting on a little hill with most of it's body out of view.  I thought it was an unusual pose, that's why I liked it.  It was a rather dark shot.  It appeared to me to be during the gloaming.  If you know what the gloaming is, please tell me in the comment section, below.

 For some reason, my scanner did not get the whole thing, so it cut off my signature.  I added a digital signature.  I will have it scanned at the print shop for making prints, though, so the whole thing will be included.

For some reason, my scanner did not get the whole thing, so it cut off my signature.  I added a digital signature.  I will have it scanned at the print shop for making prints, though, so the whole thing will be included.

This picture was very fun to do.  I also got to use some of my new soft pastels that I just got.  A few months ago, I got rid of the soft pastels that I had, because they were cheapos that made life very difficult for me.  Now, I still don't have the best, but I got some Blick brand soft pastels.  They will do until I make my first million and can buy those fancy french pastels that cost about 20,000 Euros.  Actually, I don't ever see myself buying those even if I DO become a millionaire.  I will settle for Schminke or Unison or some such lesser fancy pastels.  LOL!

I am already working on my next project.  A close up of a tiger face with soft pastels on velour paper.  Yay!