Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sam Is At It - Again!

The Bag Saga continues....
Bag Prototype I
Watercolor and Ink
Sam* got loose at the fabric store the other day and decided we just have to have a new bag for our big adventure!** I'm not even going to tell you how much material we came home with, but let me just say that if we make up all the material she just had to have, we'll have a coordinating bag for every outfit in the closet!

But I digress and Sam is giving me that look that tells me I need to get back on subject....the bag you see in the sketch above is actually made. It is missing the handle(s) and the flap is not sewn on yet. That won't be done until after handles are complete.

Sam wanted to use the two materials, the blue stripe and paisley....until we returned home and she found the green stripe in our stash to use as the lining. Of course, the whole point of this is to create a bag that's not too big and not too little and has just the right size/amount/type of pockets.

Much debate ensued with regard to what was big enough and what was too big. It turns out this one may be a bit too small. Which thrills Sam no end as she gets to make more bags. When and where we're going to find the time, I have no idea, but that small detail doesn't bother Sam. She has no concept of time.

Must be nice.

*Welcome to new readers and followers! For those of you unfamiliar with Sam, she is my muse, alter ego and all around troublemaker that gets me into worlds of trouble....and loads of fun!

**Big announcement about the big adventure Sam is excited about later this week!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rude Awakening

It's not quite daylight.

I roll over and look at the clock. I've still got 20 minutes before the alarm goes off.

I'm thinking about whether I want to go ahead and get up....or just drift off again......

Before I'm completely comatose, I feel a large "plunk" on the bed.

Next to my head, I suddenly hear a Harley crank up.

Even with eyes closed, I know it's Joey. He always sounds like a happy Harley with his super loud purr.

And worse, he knows I'm awake.

I reach out and scratch him on the head, eyes still closed, hoping he'll go lay at the bottom of the bed until I'm ready to get up.

No. Such. Luck.

He gently head butts me when I haven't moved in the last three minutes.

This time I crack an eye open to locate the not-to-be ignored cat and again, scratch his ears.

Somewhere, deep in the recesses of my mind, an unpleasant notion starts to take shape and creep upward.

I ignore it.

I lay there trying to drift off again when an odd thought drifts across my mind about not remembering the toy I just saw in Joey's mouth.

It's not full light yet. I just didn't recognize it.

Still resisting the vague but insistent worry becoming stronger in the back of my mind, I note that the cat is walking up and down the length of the bed, occasionally pouncing on something.

Suddenly, the vague panic breaks through the surface of conscious thought and I bolt upright in bed!

To see a very happy feline sitting there looking at me, very proudly I might add, with what's left of a brown wolf spider in his mouth.

"Gwof mrfing!! Lokf wha I brft uw!" says the happy boy. (Translation: Good morning!! Look what I brought you!)

Gonna be a fine day.

Just fine.

Joey and His "Toy"
Watercolor on
Strathmore Aquarius II Paper

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fresh From Garden!

Watercolor and Black Carbon Ink
3.5 x 8.5 Inches
Handbook Watercolor Journal
Someone's garden, anyway! Would love to say these are from my own, but they're not. I didn't put one in this year. These tomatoes were fresh, though. Anybody want a BLT?!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Another Grand Finish to the 100 Paintings Challenge!

Tiger's Nest Monastery by Brinda Crishna
© All Rights Reserved
Please join me over on the 100 Paintings Challenge Blog to congratulate Brinda Crishna of a fabulous finish to the 100 Paintings Challenge (and she says she may do it again!!)! Brinda's work has been inspiring as her "window to the world" shows a view of India and other places she's visited while completing the challenge. I think you find some words of wisdom in the interview as Brinda shares what she's learned about her work and style.

Again, Brinda, congratulations!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fountain Pen Inks: Buyer Beware

I have a renewed interest in fountain pens. Maybe I should just go ahead and confess to having a new (old) obsession with fountain pens as I've purchased a number of them over the years and very much enjoy writing with them. However, I'd never used them in my artwork as the inks tend to be impermanent.

With my renewed interest, I've discovered there are actually some really nice inks on the market that are permanent and waterproof.....as well as those that simply make the claim, but do not deliver.

On a recent trip to the art store, I discovered a bottle of Pen & Ink Brand Fountain Pen Ink. "Woohoo!!" I thought.
Ink Samples in the background
as well as my Esterbrook Fountain Pen
I brought it home and the testing began. I tested it on several papers all with dismal results. This ink is not waterproof. You cannot wash over it with watercolors and expect to get clean colors. It bleeds like a fiend:
The sample above is a test strip completed over 36 hours,
starting on the right side with a wash of water almost
immediately after the ink was laid down -
Click to enlarge

Starting on the right, I hit the ink with water immediately. I repeated the process at 60 second intervals, then 7, 10, and 15 minutes apart. Then I waited 36 hours and the ink still bled. I had the same results on different papers. 

I reread the statement on the bottle:

In case you can't read it, it says "Ideal for sketching, dry ink does not bleed when used with a wash." Well then, I guess the question then becomes "How long do I have to wait for the ink to dry?" 

If after 36 hours, I'm still getting a bleed, I'm not going to be using this ink to sketch with UNLESS I want tonal grays and have no intentions of putting down a watercolor wash.

On the good side of things, the ink does appear to be lightfast and permanent as there has been no fading in my samples so far. Still, if you're looking for a permanent ink, I suggest you avoid this one. 

If someone else has had radically different results, I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Video: Using One Pen In Place of Three!

When you find a new tool this good—you just have to tell everybody!!

Disclaimer: I nor Imaginary Trips are associate or affiliated with Duke Pens. Purchase and use at your own risk.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Don't Know That Dog!

An attempt to capture Andi
Gray ink on cheap paper
Andi had to go to the vet yesterday morning. At 8:00 AM (which is much too early). It takes two of us as she's like a tornado in a furry suit. Our best estimates are that she was born in 1999. When the vet came in to look her over, he asked if we were sure that Andi was nearly 12 years old. We assured him that she was.

He allowed that perhaps she was just hyper because we were in the vet's office. Again, we assured him that, no, she's like that pretty much all the time.

She's always been a tornado. From the day I brought her home and she refused to go into the cage but decided she preferred the front seat, riding shotgun. So you can only imagine the fun of trying to capture any part of her in a sketch. She's a blur!

I thought there might be a few moments of stillness at the vet's office in which I could capture a likeness. It was not to be. Not sure what dog I sketched, but it's not mine!
Tucker on the floor
Platinum Carbon Black Ink on scrap paper
A few nights before, Tucker curled up at the foot of my office chair. I thought great, he's still, he seems to be asleep, now's a great time to get a sketch! Ha. His internal alarm system went off and before I could get much more than an outline, he was sitting up. I tried for the second sketch of him in that position (in the upper left) when he decided to leave.

How do they know?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Practice What You Preach!

Wild Morning Glories
3.5 x 8.25 Inches
Handbook Watercolor Sketchbook
Coming home from my outing on Saturday I spotted a morning glory vine with hundreds of blooms! It was absolutely gorgeous!! I noted that it was close to the road and I'd have no trouble sitting on the sidewalk to sketch and paint.

I waited until this morning to go and paint on location. I should have guessed today was going to be an exercise in the adventures of painting outside.

We're having some serious wind today, 5 to 10 miles an hour with higher gusts. However, I had my little WHITE binder clip (I'm generally a quick study!) so I wasn't overly concerned. See prior post here to learn about binder clips.

And it probably wouldn't have been much of a problem except I also had a leaky waterbrush! Brand new, straight out of the package....and untested. If there's anything my students hear from me, over and over, is to test your supplies before you get to the field!

Between the wind, the drowned page and palette, I gave up on the notion of trying to capture some of the gorgeous shadows I saw and went instead for the blooms and a few leaves.

All told, this is about 50 minutes of work. I finally gave up, put the book (open) in the Jeep so it could begin to dry out and took some photos to try again later as the blooms won't last long with the dry, windy weather we're having.

I'm looking forward to working inside the studio. Away from the wind. I'm also going to see if I can figure out why that &*#$ brush is flooding the paper every time I turn it point down!

Working on location is always an adventure and never ever dull—get out there and try it!