Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Redhead Beauty

My husband's sister -- isn't she gorgeous? This rendering is in charcoal on paper.




...And a few non-relatives:

Monday, December 19, 2005

Doodle art

This doodle started and nearly ended as a series of swirls, then evolved into women's faces.

Tomorrow I'll post the same drawing, except upside down, which will look similar but will have all new faces.

I'm putting off that inevitable errand to the post office, even though I know the lines will only get longer and longer. How crazy is it to wait? But it's so cold outside and so warm in the house...

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Photoshop + Janet = bad art

Playing with Adobe Photoshop Elements...and I've got a lot to learn. I am not good at using this software.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Christmas Card, Ashley, Degas' Ballerinas in Blue

Well, the Christmas cards are finally done. I wanted this year's handmade card (shown at left) to reflect my belief that it's okay to acknowledge the meaning of Christmas as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, without fear of offending someone. It's okay to say "Merry Christmas," and not just "Happy Holidays." I wouldn't say it to my Jewish friends, of course, but you get the idea. The press makes us think people are so very sensitive...

...and although I wanted to emphasize the religious rather than commercial character of Christmas in my card, I still placed an old drawing of a Christmas tree inside!

On a quite different topic... Nineteenth-Century impressionists Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt got me started drawing with soft pastels (pastel sticks). Degas drew dozens of groupings of ballerinas in various poses and different colored dresses. I tried my hand at one, based on his rendering of four ballerinas in blue. Here's my 11x14" drawing which a friend asked me to do for her daughter's bedroom:

Last, do you remember Ashley Smith, the woman who was kidnapped and released by Brian Nichols a while back? I painted a small watercolor of her at the time.

So I've posted examples of four different art media in today's posting: pen and ink, markers and ink, soft pastels, and watercolor. Until next time......

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Adobe Photoshop Elements Example



This is the same drawing I did before, posted below on November 28th -- except I altered the colors in Adobe Photoshop Elements from their original brown tones.

I like bright colors so this is more my style, although I realize most people probably prefer the muted browns I used below and that Adolph Wolfli himself (my inspiration) used; but he was insane, wasn't he? Surely the brighter colors are more intriguing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My First Scratchboard Art

I tried my hand at scratchboard yesterday. A year ago, I bought a package of 5"x7" boards, made up of three layers: Masonite (like wood), coated with white clay or chalk, and topped with a thin coat of India ink.

I spent a few hours reading about the art form on the internet, spread a cloth on my lap to catch the dust and ink crumbs, and started scratching.

For inspiration, I used an image of flowers and a mouse from an old pen and ink postcard from a museum. The layout and letters I made up -- but the letters have secret meanings to me, like dates that are special to me, words that I've scrambled up, etc.

I learned that scratchboard is hard on the hands! You really have to clench the instrument, and the old finger joints are complaining to me this morning.

I like the woodcut look, with the black scratches remaining in the white areas, but I also know I did a lousy job compared to how it is supposed to look. Once my fingers feel better, I'll do another one.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Outsider Art, Art Brut, whaaaa??

I draw and paint--my favorite pasttime--but when does a person get to be called an "artist"? Technically, I suppose I am an "outsider artist" or "self-taught artist," but even those well-defined labels are incorrect, as I am not psychotic or from an impoverished, sheltered background. The art world insists on labels, however, to categorize the vast amounts of art they deal with. I like reading about the debate: what is art brut vs. outsider art vs. folk art vs. naive art, etc. There must be ten similar labels which some people think all mean the same thing and others insist are all different. Today I don't care what I am called. I might care tomorrow.

Here's another piece. Since this writing is about outsider art, I've posted a drawing I did that was heavily inspired by Adolf Wolfli, probably the earlier/best known art brut artist (art brutist? Nah!).

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Meet my cat

This is my sweet little guy, Andy. He's my buddy, a smart and sensitive blue-eyed cat. This is his "Am I cute or what" pose, not to be confused with his "See my slim-waistline" pose. His cousin, Lucy, lives in Long Beach with her parents Denbug and Wicked Jan.

Can't wait for the Stuffing

The diet resumes Friday. For the kids who might come over, some of the first of the "Bugglets" I drew.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Rome - HBO's best show

(Rome's season finale aired Sunday night on HBO. I'm so happy--the show has been renewed for a second season which will air beginning in a YEAR from now!
I adore Titus Pullo. Such a simple brute of a fellow. I couldn't watch Caesar's murder. And I'm devastated Niobe's suicide. (She is dead, isn't she?) I will miss her. I've been renting movies and documentaries about Caesar, Marc Antony, Cleopatra, and ancient Rome, immersing myself in the culture and beauty of the place and period.

In honor of Rome, I drew two pen and inks which I'm posting; "Urn" above, which is all about the detail which will not show up here oh well ---- and the drawing to the right of Ss. Giovanni e Paolo, a cluster of Roman buildings including a church and piazza, built on one of the 7 hills of ancient Rome called Caelian. The originals of both of these drawings are 8"x10".

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Lei River Silk paper and the Fresno State/USC game...

Ever tried watercolor painting on Lei River Silk paper? Sorry, silk paper people, but I really hated it. It's nothing like silk fabric. More like painting on a beige paper napkin. I must be doing something wrong. Research time.

But I did finish this abstract yesterday, on 140 lb. cold-pressed watercolor paper. A 9"x12" first effort at a particular style I'm going for. I did not capture the style at all, but I don't mind the look. Maybe tomorrow I'll put a bit more work into it.

I'm bummed that USC won its football game against Fresno State. But Fresno gave them a good time, didn't they? My friend Candace's nephew is an offensive tackle for Fresno State (Piligian, #75), and for his family's sake, and because I'm a UCLA fan, I wanted Fresno to win. Why UCLA? Because if you live here in L.A., you can't be a USC fan and a UCLA fan.

As an L.A. native, I can state that UCLA is considered the laid-back, beachy, Westside team, and USC has the privileged, snobby kids (sorry, but it is an expensive private school!). I grew up understanding these as truisms.

Friday, November 18, 2005

First Post!

Well, hello there! And welcome. Today marks the beginning of an exciting commitment I have decided to undertake: this blog. I consider blogging a really cool hobby because it's still pretty obscure, and like another of my quirky pasttimes, geocaching (that's a cache to the left), none of my friends do it, and some of them won't know what it is.

I like that. I like having something interesting to tell my brilliant friends about--friends whose lives are quite full and interesting themselves. For example, my friend "R" (privacy, you know...) trains to jump horses, and lives among the way-upper class in Malibu--she teaches me all sorts of things about horses and always has a good celebrity or Malibu housewives story to tell. My friend "H" is still practicing law, unlike "R" and me, and has good legal and family dramas to tell with her wickedly dry sense of humor. "J" is a temporarily displaced Boulder hippie who is back in school for her "interior architect" degree, taking design and art classes that I love to hear about. I also enjoy hearing her rag on the overdressed, cleavage-exposing, high-heeled women she thinks dominate this area. They're all so much fun. So you see, I want to be interesting to my interesting friends.

Computer technology is moving so fast I can barely keep up. I used to be computer-savvy, having bought my first computer in about 1981. Five years prior to that, the computer at my employer's office took up an entire, freezing-cold room. Now,, just two decades later, I'll be able to read these very words on a wireless, handheld computer while sipping a venti-nonfat-no foam-cafe-latte at Starbuck's (I added that detail for Dad's sake, who still gets a kick out of Starbuck's drink names, the longer the better). And the handheld will do far more than the room-sized computer ever did.

My 1980's PC (see photo) was a $1,000 Sanyo MBC-555 with two 5-1/4" floppy disk drives, one for the software program (like the old word processing program called WordStar) and one for the data storage. Two drives, to avoid having to switch out the software and data disks each time you save or print your data.

So here we go, off on a new adventure. I love it!