Monday, April 14, 2014

Save The Dates For A Beach Adventure!!

Leave behind the bitter cold and snow of January.
Soak up the warmth of the sun on white, sugar-sand beaches.
Sketch and paint dolphins and seabirds, beach cottages and turquoise waters…sound good?!

Get ready to join the fun!

After you spend the morning sketching and painting the beach and attractions with me, Laure Ferlita, you have afternoons to do your own exploring.

We'll be staying at a resort at St. Pete Beach with plenty to do within walking distance—assuming you can pry yourself out of that royal-blue cabana!!

I will be providing all the juicy, glorious details just as soon as the ink is dry on the contracts.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Recent Sightings of the Manaphin and the Banana-phin!!

Manaphin off Clearwater Beach
Photo Credit ©
Did you hear about the recent sighting of the manaphin off from Clearwater Beach!?! The marine experts in the world had long thought this unique creature was extinct.

It is a mammal and thought to be part manatee and part dolphin.

And oddly enough, the same week of the manaphin sighting, a "banana-phin" showed up on my kitchen counter!
You never ever leave food out on the counter at our house!
Watercolor and ballpoint pen
Stillman & Birn Zeta Sketchbook
The banana actually came from Chris' sister. She wanted us to try the banana as it is about half the size of a regular banana and she says it tastes better than the larger fruit.

As Chris studied the banana, he began to see "shapes" and with the help of his trusty pen, he'd created a banana-phin!

Of course, I had to put it in my sketchbook.

My husband's food art is legendary.

We used to have waiters that would get excited when they saw us come in the door because they couldn't wait to see what Chris would create for them to find after we'd finished our meal.

All that time his mother just thought he was playing with his food…

Anyway, if you'd like to know more about the really cool manaphin, please visit here. You can see photos and hear what it sounds like underwater.

To learn more about the sighting off from Clearwater Beach, please read here.

As of yet, no further information is known about the banana-phin.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Most Beloved Toy In All Of Catdom

Beloved Toy
Watercolor and Gouache
Stillman & Birn Zeta Sketchbook
5.5 x 8.5 inches
That's a mouse.

Yeah, that gray fuzzy thing at the end of the red string.

Actually, it's the remains of a mouse.

It's lived survived through six cats and counting.

It has outlasted balls, feathers, springs, pieces of paper wadded up into balls, toilet paper rolls, catnip toys and all kinds of other things that pass for toys in the eyes of a cat.

And it, above all others, has been the most played-with, tugged-on, gnawed-on, swatted-at, chased, cherished toy in all of catdom.

It currently hangs off the back of the chair in our living room.

Without fail, if you pass too close to the chair, at least two bright, eager eyes will peer over the seat waiting for you to make the mouse move.

And you do.

Because what kind of human would you be if you did not entertain the feline-in-residence?

And the small, frayed little mouse is leaving—tug-by-tug, fiber by fiber.

I wanted to capture it before it was completely gone.

The string, while picked and pulled, is still in good shape.

We could probably attach a new mouse…but it just wouldn't be the same.

This one has staying power, history.

And you can't replace history.

Because it's just not the same.

I consider this another sketch in the Ordinary to Extraordinary Series.

What have you elevated from ordinary to extraordinary lately?

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Beach Visit That Almost Didn't Happen

Maderia Beach Visit with Terry and Jim
Watercolor, Ink and Gouache
5.5 x 8.5 inches in Stillman & Birn Zeta Sketchbook
Despite a cold front, rainy, gray skies, horrible (and I do mean horrible) traffic, a truck hitting a power pole and knocking over a live wire across the road, I finally managed to meet up with Terry and Jim for a visit at Maderia Beach. 

I almost didn't. After getting stuck by the downed power line just blocks from where I needed to be, I nearly gave up. Instead, I parked illegally at a church and hiked down the beach to meet up with my friends. It took over two hours for us to connect!

By the way, I have to tell you it is NEVER a good idea to park illegally in a beach town…they will ticket and tow you! They're very aggressive about that kind of thing and it's because they have to be. Thank goodness, it didn't happen to my jeep! 

Back to the visit...Terry and Jim come down to enjoy the warm weather and sea breezes will the great white North shivers under piles of snow and freezing temperatures. We started meeting up three years ago after Terry and I met in one of the classes. 

Last year, we sketched on location and had plans to do so again this year. Last year's post is here. Since it was spitting rain, we sketched from our table inside the restaurant that just happened to be out on a deck by the boardwalk and covered by clear plastic shades. Great planning on Terry and Jim's part!
My view from the restaurant.
You can see the reflections caused by the plastic
as well as the edge and grommets of the shade
The waves were rolling in a little stronger than usual as the front moved in and the glowering sky turned the water more gray than green.  The weather folks had predicted a much rainier day, but luckily, it held off. The next day, however, was a totally different story—it monsoon-ed!
Maderia Beach, Florida
The sketch at the top of the post is collaged page of several different views. The birds were actually to my left and behind me. Just as I started sketching the neck of the egret, he turned and presented my with a gorgeous view of his mating plumage leaving me to guess at his body shape. 

He looks like a bird so I'm calling it good enough!

The seagull was not a peg leg even though I only drew one leg. They often stand and sleep on just one leg. 

Sculley's was the restaurant where we ate so I added there sign afterwards as I could not see it from where we sat and no, the lighthouse was not that crooked. I was vertically challenged that day! 

All in all, despite the rain, lousy traffic and the downed power line, it was a great visit! 

Thanks, Terry and Jim—I look forward to next year! Safe travels home.  

Out of curiosity, would you come to Florida for a workshop on the beach? I'm thinking of putting something together for next year…if you're interested, let me know if the comments below!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Who Is The Fairest Of Them All? (White Pens)

Graphic used courtesy of © 
Every once in a while I come across a fabulously useful post about tools we all have in our collections.

Sometimes those tools are underutilized because we purchased a so-so tool and we can't figure out what all the big noise is about.

White pens fall directly into that category. If you don't have a great one, they're hard to get excited about.

All white pens are not created equally and being the owner of a number of the so-so pens that are now collecting dust in my studio, I was thrilled to see this marvelous post about all different types of white pens from

They list different uses as well as their favs (which happens to be the Uniball Signo Broad* which just happens to be my favorite!).

Bookmark it the post, print it, read it and you too will have more info than ever before on which white been works best for each project!

Speaking of using white pens, Warren Ludwig just posted an awesome tutorial on his blog, LUDstuff! on using a white Sharpie Poster Pen for painting silver eating utensils (spoons).

*If you're new to watercolor and how you might use the Uniball Signo Broad Pen read on. I use the pens to recover whites lost in the painting process or to create sparkle in a sketch. Since the ink is water-soluble, it can be softened to eliminate hard edges or to complete lift or melt if I get the ink in the wrong spot.

If I need more coverage (opacity) or permanent coverage, I opt for the Sharpie Poster Pen as the ink in this pen is acrylic and once it's down, it's down! If you opt for this route just be aware that it does alter the paper surface.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to dust off my white pens and do a little creating!

Please note: I am not affiliated with JetPens, Uniball or Sharpie Pen companies in any way.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Looking Beyond The Everyday Clutter

Hard Working Chucks
© Laure Ferlita
Watercolor and Ink
Stillman and Birn Bound Zeta Sketchbook
5.5 x 8.5 inches
It sometimes take seeing someone else sketch something to open our eyes to what is and has been around us all along.

Take for instance these dilapidated, falling-apart Chucks that belong to my husband.

They are his yard shoes. The ones that aren't good for anything else, but he can't quite bring himself to part with them.

As I stood in the kitchen, I found myself sketching them in my head.

This was after I pondered why they were lying in the middle of the breakfast nook. Look no further than the two kittens that reside with us for an answer—those strings make fabulous toys!

Gazing at them, I wondered why I hadn't realized before now they would make good sketching material. After all, they'd been there for a few weeks.

It's because I saw Jean McKay's sneaker sketch. You'll have to have a Facebook account tho see the sketch.

Her sketch provided the inspiration to make me take notice of the ordinary.

I truly enjoy sketching and viewing sketches when I see something elevated out of the everyday flotsam and jetsam that largely passes by unnoticed.

It makes me wonder what else have I missed, what else has the potential to become something special in my sketchbook if I pay attention.

Even though our sketches have little in common besides both being sneakers, it's fun to see the different ways we manifest our surroundings in our sketchbooks.

What have you elevated to the extraordinary lately?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

One Persimmon, Two Persimmon, Three!

Persimmons on watercolor paper
Watercolor and Ink 
Not too long ago, I found some gorgeous persimmons at the grocery and I decided they would make wonderful sketching models. And they did!

They didn't move a bit. They held their poses and didn't seem to mind at all when I became distracted or had to go and hunt for tools.

Rather than sketch in my sketchbook, I decided to test out some new watercolor paper.

All three were identical when I finished up, but since I was testing the paper, I decided to go one step further and add ink. When the paint was dry, I added black ink.
Black ink was added after the painting was complete
The white highlights are the paper showing through. 
Many folks like to draw in ink and then add watercolor. To me, this feels a lot like paint by numbers or a coloring book page. I sometimes feel restrained by the lines. By adding ink after the painting is completed, I can:

  • determine whether or not the art would benefit from adding ink;
  • avoid feeling like my creativity is restrained;
  • add ink for emphasis to either draw attention to one area or away from another;
  • create an entirely different look and feel to the work;
  • use ink as sparingly or heavy as necessary to create the look I want.
Persimmons San Ink
Taking a look at the images, tell me which you prefer and why if you know. Do you like the ink best or without better?

There's no right or wrong, just personal preferences.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Courage To Be Creative

Check out that helmet!
To step outside of mainstream, to show originality takes courage and whenever I see someone who has stepped away from the safety of the herd, I always take a minute to salute them. 

I passed this couple on my errands the other day and when I noticed his helmet, I had to smile. I may have even laughed out loud as I was so delighted!

If I could have, I would have complimented him on his creativity. 
He probably would have shrugged it off as if it didn't matter, and maybe to him it didn't. 

But for me, it was a reminder to embrace my creativity and to be willing to get out of the mainstream.

To be true to myself. I haven't done much of that lately. Unless you count wearing red cowboy (cowgirl?) boots. 

I need to kick that up to the top of the creativity to-do list.

What have you done lately to stretch your creative wings? 

If you haven't, what are you waiting for? And no, this is not a rhetorical question. I really want to know what holds you back.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Adding (Unusual) Texture To The Page (Tutorial)

If we keep our eyes and our minds open, we can often find texture in unexpected places…
Texture From An Unlikely Source
I often use small dishes when I'm working on a big painting where I need a large amount of paint. By using a separate dish, I'm assured I'll have a) plenty of paint; b) won't accidentally mix it up with another color; and c) I'll have it until the painting is finished…for a really long time. (I've been known to go back into a painting 6 months after it was finished.)
Messy palette dishes
However, years later it is unlikely I'll make changes and since the dishes seemed to be multiplying in the cabinet, it was time to clean up the mess.

As I began the big clean up (dang, there were a lot of those little dishes!), I became intrigued with what was left in the some of the palettes:
Texture left at the bottom of small dish. The textured area is about 2.5 x 1 inches in size.
I took photos and cropped out the dish so I was left with this:
Accidental texture from the bottom of the dish
After printing the page, I prepped the art by tearing down the edges: 
Tearing down the edges of the printed art with a deckle-edged ruler
Next, I began to consider what I wanted to do with the background of the page. Since I was on a "texture adventure," I decided to create even more texture:
salt, alcohol and lifting created the texture
Starting with granulating paint, I added salt, alcohol splatters and did some lifting with a tissue to create a build-up of texture on the page. 

Next, I decided to rid the art texture of that harsh white border by painting it with a wash of the same paints used on the background:
Painting the edges of the art so that it blended with the background
Gluing it down, I began to build up the page with rubber stamps and additional pieces of torn paper:
Using rubber stamps, a variety of inks, and torn paper, I created more interest in the background
and around the art itself.
It was fun to choose stamps at random, going on instinct and intuition, as I had no idea how the page would finish out.
An added "shadow" on two edges of the texture art gives it more dimension
When all was said and done, this was my completed page:
Finished Page in a
Stillman and Birn Zeta Journal
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Watercolor, stamps, torn paper, dip pen, Pitt pens and foil
Even Willis wanted to check it out a little closer!
Willis checking out the page. I think she favors the other page,
but then she's fickle.
What was fun to me is that the art texture, now a print, has been made into a finished page. A one of a kind page. Because I still have the "art," I can see dozens of ways to use the texture and it will probably show up in another project.

This has been somewhat of a break-out project for me as I continue to explore and look for different ways of doing what I enjoy—creating a page in my journal. A rather unusual way of marking cleaning up my studio, don't you think!?! I also think this kind of play will have an impact on the way I create location sketches as well.

The next time you see unusual texture, take a photo and think about how you might add it to your page.  You might just be surprised at where it will take you!

Friday, March 7, 2014

UPDATED!!!! More On The Messy Desks Of Creatives

This post was suppose to go up on Monday. Then Tuesday. Then Wednesday…you get the picture. And here it is Friday! Time has a way of flying no matter if you're having fun or not, but let's not get off on that tangent.

Several wonderful folks reached out to me to let me know their desks were messy too after seeing this post. (Yay! Now I don't feel like such an oddball. Okay, maybe I still do but for different reasons.)

So, without further ado…

The lovely Elva of Elva's Field Notes (great blog—check it out!) sent me photos of her desk and talked about some of the items that had landed there: bag of wild rice, jewelry, projects in progress and the usual mail and receipts that just seem to migrate to horizontal surfaces as if by magic:
Elva's Desk from Elva's Field Notes Blog
Elva's Desk from Elva's Field Notes Blog
The wonderful Timaree from Freebird Drawing (another great blog) also sent me an image of her adorable workspace. She's recently moved to California which brought about lots of changes to her creative lifestyle:
Love the fun colors, Timaree!
Desk Area Close-Up
The lovely Ms. Winna (you can see her fabulous work over on Flickr) sent over a quick snap of her work area too, but she's not all that messy if you ask me. In fact, she admits to cleaning up after each session to keep sane. Ah, to have such good habits:
Love the organization, Winna!
Kathy from over at sent me a photo of her desk as well. I'm not sure this qualifies as truly messy! However, she does have a "helper" in stirring the creative juices…Ms. Prudy is seen here in all her glory, taking a time out from "rearranging" and "redistributing" items normally found on the desk top. But isn't she cute?! She'd be hard to scold, dontcha know!
Is that a bundle of furry perfection…or destruction? 
And lastly...unless someone wants to send me a shot of their workspace…is another shot of my desk. I cleaned it up. Really. I did, but by the following Friday, you (nor I) can tell it. I think this is partly because I'm a flyby artist—when I can grab 5 minutes. When I'm desperate for a break from technology, I dive into the studio and then rush out again. Sigh. Thy name is messy:
Lots of pen work going on
If you have a photo of your desk you'd like to share, send it on! I'll add them to the post as they come in. It's nice to catch a glimpse into others' creatives lives, kinda like a peek through a keyhole of a closed door.

Thanks to all who have shared as it's nice to know we're not so very different after all!

Okay, two of these I forgot! My apologies to Jan and to Jeanne…can you tell I'm a little scattered these days?

So, Jeanne posted this image on her blog a few days back. You can just see her studio buddy below the table. Seems a lot of us have furry companions!
Jeanne Grant's Worktable
And Jan Faught, a traveler I met through Imaginary Trips, shared this image of her workspace:
Don't you just LOVE those fabulously yummy colors?!
Clare from Bear's Traveling Circus blog also sent over a quick peek of her studio that's a corner of her living room. Of course, like a lot of us, she admits to having lots of crafts spread out all over the house!
Love seeing all the fun things artists collect to put on their desks!
You're very organized, Clare!
Okay, anyone else want to join in the messy-desk fun!?! Keep checking back!

Friday, February 28, 2014

It's Not The Size That Matters

I've always heard size matters.

However, in the case of our studios, I'm not sure it does.

Above is a photo of my desk's current state. The greenish colored cutting mat is 3 feet by 2 feet and it's on top of a desk that is 5 feet by 3.5 feet…and yet, I work in an area that is maybe 14 inches by 10 inches!

The area where the glasses and pen rest are the only clean horizontal area on the desk! (Actually, in the whole studio, but that's a discussion for another day.)

What's odd (to me) is that this desk was "mostly" clean last weekend. I think.

I had a pile in the upper left corner, my palette on the lower right along with my journal.

What happened!?!

Looking at the image, you can begin to get an idea of what I've been "messing" around with this week.

I've been working on learning and practicing pointed-pen lettering, working in my journal with some different ideas that include stamps and various pieces of paper as well as a hodgepodge of stuff that has accumulated on the desk.

For whatever reason, the desk is the landing place for just about any and every item that finds its way into the studio.

I have to say it's getting a bit crowded.

My husband's off to play with his dad and uncle tomorrow and while he's otherwise occupied, I see a big clean up in the very near future!

Normally, I'm not a huge fan of clean up time (you'd never have guessed, right?), but one thing I do like is the discovery of things forgotten.

Those items that have been buried at the bottom of the pile that I had big plans for when they first landed on the table.

And with that mess, who knows what I might discover!

So what's on your desk? If I were to walk into your work area, could I tell what you've been working on lately?

If you have a photo of your desk, please share! I'd love to know that I'm not the only one who suffers from pile-itis!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sketching Foolishness

Okay, let me explain…
I wasn't sketching the woman. I was sketching her scarf. It was gorgeous with colors of blues, turquoise and aquas.
Unfortunately, the scarf happened to be worn by the woman and so I had to sketch her as well. Otherwise, the scarf would look like it was levitating on the page and since I didn't plan well, she didn't turn out so great.
She turned out like some kind of demonic mutant in my first attempt.

When I showed it to my husband, he had the audacity to laugh—can you believe that?!

I can. She's pretty funny looking.

By the way, in case you're wondering…it does not bother me that she turned out like a mutant or that she doesn't look a whole lot like herself in real life. You see, I don't know her from Adam's house cat. It's okay that she doesn't look like anyone I know.

Now, if I knew her…that would be a completely different kettle of fish!

After the sketch bomb on the left, I attempted to redeem myself by re-sketching her face to the right. This one turned out a little better and more proportional to her body.

The lady at the bottom was engrossed in her phone and had no idea anyone else was even in the café.
HINT: Folks who are playing with their phones make great sketching subjects! They seldom look up find you staring at them.

On Sunday, Chris and I went to one of our favorite Greek restaurants and sat out on the patio. The little English Sparrows were busy, busy, busy! The chirping was so loud at times it was a bit distracting.
I waited until we'd finished eating to get out my journal* and start sketching. I only had his** little face sketched when the birds disappeared. I'm can only guess it became too crowded for them. We sat for a little longer before I gave up and we went on about our day.

The odd thing about this is that even though I don't consider either of these pages to be anything to crow about, I really like them!

They were done in the flow of my day rather than a "special trip" just to sketch. My favorite sketches are almost always those that happen in the in-between moments of my day rather than those I create when I make a grand production of going out just to sketch.

How about you? Which are your favorites—the ones you plan out or those that happen organically?

*I've recently had some back issues so I switched to a smaller purse. This forced a change to a smaller journal as my usual Stillman & Birn Zeta would not fit in the smaller bag.

The journal seen above is a no-name watercolor journal from one of the big craft chains. It's 4.24 by 5.5 inches. It's okay, but not my favorite sketchbook by any means.

The palette is a converted lipstick sampler. I cleaned out the leftover makeup and painted the mirror and lid white before adding my paint. It works in a pinch when I want to add just a hint of color to the page.

**I say "his," but in reality this is a composite of several different birds.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Visiting A Past Vacation…And Other Classes

BRAND NEW Journal Cover For My Alaska Trip
taking 17 years ago
Way back in 1997, Chris and I, along with his family (8 of us if you count the nephew who was on the way) took off to Alaska for a week long visit. Upon our return, I had grand plans for all the cool things I was going to do with everything that I had seen on our visit.

This is as far as I got:
I created a journal for some of our panoramic photos with paper I could also draw, paint and write on.

Other than the front cover, it sat empty.


And it was mocking me.

It was mocking me for calling myself a sketchbook artist.

We also have a box of ephemera and collect bags, books, photos and a recipe or two from the trip that's been floating around our household since…you guessed it, 1997.

I finally decided to remedy the situation by creating a class that would "force" me to sit down and start creating a sketchbook worthy of our trip and to get that blasted box out of our house!

That's the background for "An Imaginary Visit To A Past Vacation."

The Bigger Story

It turns out this was one of the most fabulous classes I've hosted! The response was great and the artists that came to play had taken trips all around the world…and all of us were able to live vicariously through the pages and images posted by one another.

It was magical!

I've long believed we can't live long enough to see it all, do it all, make all the mistakes or create all the successes there are in this world and this class turned into a number of different adventures we all got to go on because of the sharing of sketches by these generous "travelers."

To see the world through another's eyes, to experience even a part of what they saw and were touched by made this class experience so much richer for all of us.

Come and Join The Fun

So I'm going to invite each of you to come and join in the fun as this class starts again on March 4th.

It doesn't take a trip to an exotic location or even out of your home country. One individual journaled her honeymoon in and around Crater Lake National Park (it made me want to visit!).

If you have a fabulous family vacation, a trip to the beach or Disney World that you'd like to journal about, consider joining us.

While I found it a bit embarrassing to be journaling about a trip I took 17 years ago, I can't begin to tell you how many old memories have resurfaced by talking about the trip, looking at photos and sharing what we remembered.

Again, the class is "An Imaginary Visit To A Past Vacation." Click here to come and join in the fun!

2014 Class Schedule

I have also posted a partial class schedule for 2014 and you can download it here. More classes will be added as we move through the year.

If you missed the latest i•Trav•e•logue Newsletter from please click here.

As always, I hope to see you in the Imaginary Realm very soon!

Oh, and that mocking journal? It's been silenced. I stuffed it with photos! However, the box has not yet been banished…more to come on that.

Do you have any trips you'd like to revisit? Where'd you go?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Get Yourself Some "Zeta" Love!!

I have recently filled my Stillman and Birn Bound Beta sketchbook and moved over into a new SB Zeta sketchbook…that I absolutely love!

I was warned that I may not like this particular paper as well because it is much smoother than traditional watercolor paper. It is similar to hot press but different. It's almost as if Stillman and Birn have managed to combine the properties of hot press (smoothness) with the responsiveness of cold press (absorbency). I gotta tell you, I love the smoother surface as it works well for pen AND it makes me think differently!

As I've mentioned in the last several posts, I've been working towards working looser. The page above is testament to how changing up our media can bring about changes in our style.

Moby is our youngest kitten and she became quite ill towards the end of January. She curled up into a ball on the couch and quit playing, interacting and basically slept 23 out of 24 hours. This is so not normal for a kitten and it scared us witless.

When the vet starts throwing words around like meningitis and spinal column injury or infection, you tend to freak out.

Two trips to the vet, two rounds of strong antibiotics, and a new, cutting-edge anti-inflammatory drug for cats later and we have a furry, purry, playful kitten again.

When I started the page, I knew I wanted to capture a quick image that showed Moby's stoic withdrawal from us. She felt so bad and it showed on her face even in sleep.

I had captured a moody picture of her with my camera a few days back before she became sick and the left part of her face was in deep shadow. When I went to sketch and paint this image, Moby climbed up into the big chair in my studio and basically sat in the same position as the photo. I was able to sketch from the live model while using the dramatic lighting from the image.

The Zeta paper is easy to paint, draw, and write on. I've found it to be very versatile and easy to use. Because it's different from my usual paper, it also challenges me to be in the moment rather than working "as usual."

I have to think about what I'm doing, how I'm laying down paint, how I'm engaging with the paper to create the image I seek.

The new header at the top of the blog is also painted on the Zeta paper and I'll have a number of other examples to share with you over the coming weeks.

So if you are looking to change up your style, let me suggest to you that you change your media. The Zeta sketchbooks are a great way to accomplish this!

I also want to comment on the overall Stillman and Birn experience. From the time I first started playing around in with the SB sketchbooks several years ago until today, I've been impressed with the overall consistency of the paper and the binding.

My books tumble around in my bag, get dropped, shipped, and drug through airports—without incident. The binding has never given way on me. The sizing on the paper is consistent and I know what I'm getting every time I pull the plastic off a new book. I can't say that about any other paper line I've ever worked with!

So do yourself a favor and get a Stillman and Birn sketchbook—you'll be glad you did!
Have you already purchased one? What was your experience?

Please Note: Painted Thoughts Blog, nor I, Laure Ferlita, are affiliated with Stillman and Birn.

Friday, February 14, 2014

An Iced Rose—Maybe

Iced Rose
Watercolor and Ink
Stillman and Birn Bound Beta Sketchbook
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Be honest…if I had not said this was an iced rose, could you have guessed?

Perhaps you would have said snow?

Either way, it's okay.

I wouldn't have guessed that was ice if I'd seen this out on the internet somewhere.

Simply put, this was a miscalculation on my part.

When I saw the image, I thought, "Oh, I can do that with no problem."


While it does look like a rose, it looks like it's lying in the snow.

It wasn't suppose to!

Nor do I think that looks like a blob of ice.

A blob of something, but not ice.

Still, it was fun. It was a learning experience and I'm not totally dissatisfied with the end piece.

This to me is what art is all about.

Doing. Experimenting. Learning.

Going again until your reach a level of satisfaction you're happy with.

What is your definition?

No matter if you observe the holiday or not, I wish you happiness, friendship and love 
on this Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

More On Changing Styles and A Guest Artist

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

                                                                                        Henry David Thoreau

In our last discussion about Changing Styles, some of you mentioned "how you saw" something determined how it went down on the page. 

Last December, my husband and I went to Bok Tower and Gardens to celebrate our anniversary. One of our favorite places to visit at Bok Tower is the Window By The Pond. 

There is a small building that will seat a dozen or so people with a large glass window that looks out onto the pond you see in the image below. 
Window By The Pond
at Bok Tower and Gardens
The day Chris and I were there, the day was sunny and bright, but there was not a bird, squirrel or bug in site. The photo you see above was taken on a cold, rainy day when I went back with Kathy at Catching Happiness to visit Pinewood Estate

Knowing I always take my sketchbook with me everywhere, brought his as well and we spent a very fun half hour sketching at the pond.

And this is where what we see and how we see it becomes fascinating... 

Here's what Chris saw: 
"Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting"
by Chris Ferlita
Now remember, the day we were there, there were no birds, no squirrels, no nothing, but this was what Chris saw. (Each time I look at his sketch, I hear the song, "…and everybody was Kung Fu fighting…" but that's just me!)

If you know my husband well, you would take a quick look at his sketch and think, "Yep, that's definitely Chris' sense of humor." 

When I asked him what his catalyst was, he said, "You mean besides that fact that there were no birds or squirrels anywhere? It's just what popped into my head. The birds and squirrels are always fighting over the food so this is what it would have been like if they had showed up."

And this was my take:
Window By The Pond
Bok Tower
Much different! 

My focus was on capturing the bright, sunny day as well as the peaceful feeling I always get when I visit the pond. 

Is one more accurate than the other? No, not really.

Is one better than the other? I don't think so. Not when you take into consideration the artist's approach and what they sought to capture on the page. 
Stop and think about how you look at things, places, life, when you sketch. 

Are you attempting to capture the actual place, a feeling you have when you sketch that place, the colors, the light, the reflections or something else? 

Our approach to the page starts long before we ever put down the first mark.

If we change our approach, how we see things, can we change our style or is style embedded in our skills and technical proficiency?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!