Checking in…

Hello!  It’s been quite a while since I last posted.  Life has a way of  getting away from you if you aren’t careful and I suppose that is what has been happening to me.  Although I don’t have any art to share, I wanted to touch base with you guys so I will call this post the Art of  Life.

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Well, I guess I will start off by sharing the exciting news of the smallest Ottaway, Alana.    In June, after many years of hard work she graduated from high school with honors and accolated with an advanced diploma and an aviation seal in the magnet program.  Her dad and I couldn’t be any prouder of her.  The weekend was full of family  and we all had a great time.  I could tell that the family  was betting to see how long David and I  would last before the tears fell but  I am happy to report that although her dad and I teared up, none were shed.  And I am very proud that I didn’t run down to where she was standing grabbing at her legs, screaming, ” I wanna do over!”

In the fall, she will be headed off to college.  I am so excited for her and I’m more than a little terrified.  So, when I feel a panic setting in, I remind myself that I am not the first parent to send their child off to school and I certainly won’t be the last.  Which doesn’t help much, lol but I guess it will have to do.

For the next Ottaway, my beloved David.  After years of dedication and hard work,  got another degree.  His job is demanding and he travels a lot often times working at night.  So his dedication to school and the completion of his degree (on the President’s List) is no small feat.   I am so proud of him!  And I am certainly grateful that I don’t have to share him for a bit.

And then there is me, lol and I’m still plugging a long… My nest will soon be empty, so there is no telling what kind of mess I will get into!

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copyright 2014 Alana Ottaway (used with permission)

My sister and brother in-law hosted a week-long stay in Hatteras celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday.  Oh my goodness, we had so much fun! The house was so beautiful and had a pool.  So when we got tired of the beach we could lay out by the pool.  We ate fresh fish caught by the fisherman of the house that were so tasty  and laughed until our sides hurt.  It was especially nice catching up with everyone and just enjoying each other’s company.  Thank you Vicki and Chris for a wonderful time!!!!

My sister-in-law and I zentangled shoes.  She was good and finished hers, I just got too nervous.  The shoes I was working on were  leather  so I waited until I got home to finish so I could use a soft pencil to make the design first.  Vicki’s shoes are so cool and she’s a pro at zentangling!!!!

****If you are a Zentangle artist you may want to read her post.  CLICK HERE. 

And also, check out the beautiful quilt she made Alana for graduation. CLICK HERE.

I guess that’s about it for now.  I will be posting my Zentangle project very soon.  I am working on an art project that will be house warming gift  for my nephew and his girlfriend that I will be able to post after delivery. So, until then…

Be Well and Happy!

Have my Supplies, Now What…

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You’d be surprised how fast your mind draws a blank when you are searching things to sketch.  Nothing seems to be appealing for some reason, so you spend a good chunk of time looking for that perfect item that you never find. Don’t be so critical of your objects.  You’d be surprised how nothing becomes something quite spectacular.

I remember sitting on the couch and there was a Mountain Dew can sitting on the coffee table. I had my sketching supplies out and being too lazy discard the can, I decided I would draw it.  To this day it is still one of my favorite sketches.

Below, I am going to give you a few ideas to get those sketching fingers a movin’:

1.)  Sit in a room and just draw random items that you see.  Everyone has at least a couple of chatskis that could be rendered.  Bathrooms are a great place to sketch small items.

2.)  Get your children (or grandchildren) in on the fun.  If a child was particularly well-behaved, tell them that you will sketch whatever they choose.  Trust me.  It is like a sticker to them…

3.)  Join the Every Matters Group on Facebook.  This group is based on the book written by Danny Gregory.  The EDM Group are the most supportive group of artists that I have encountered so far.  They provide a weekly prompt for you to sketch.  You can share or just sit back with some coffee and peruse some of the beautiful sketches from other members of the group.

4.) Gather some like-minded friends, hop in the car and go riding around in town. Stop at a great location and sketch what’s around you for an impromptu sketch crawl.

5.) Join or Start a sketching group.

I hope you find this helpful and a great start on a very fulfilling sketching  journey.

Where do you find your inspiration to sketch?

Be Well and Happy!

 

 

My Sketching Essentials…

There are so many supplies available for the artist to work (or play) on the go.  The equipment can get really elaborate as well as expensive.  So, I have put together a few things I have carried with me from time to time with no problems.  By problems I mean,  I have never sat down to sketch and said, “Man! I wish I would have brought_____!”

Sketching

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I am first and foremost a graphite girl! I like to draw on a smooth papers. And the above are  my papers of choice.

400 Series Strathmore Drawing Pad – 8 x 10, 80 lb., pad is coiled so it folds flat (which is awesome).  Paper has a slight tooth, but I still consider this a smooth(ish) paper.

400 Series Strathmore Sketch Pad – 5.5 x 8.5, 60 lb., pad is also coiled, slight tooth and not as thick as the 80 lb.

-Canson Drawing – 5.5 x 8.5, 70 lb., pad is coiled and has very little tooth.  It is the mid range weight between the two pads above.

-Canson Drawing – 5.5 x 8.5,  65 lb., pad is coiled, slight tooth and also a good mid range weight

The two Canson pads are not available, but here is a link to see the Canson line.

Moleskine Journal – unlined, stapled and smooth tooth, compact and very versatile.

Tools

pencil

These are all the tools I need to keep me happy!

A stump – for blending

A kneaded eraser – erasing mistake of course 😉

2B lead – a very versatile degree of graphite. Depending on the amount of pressure and using a stump, this one soft graphite can give you anywhere from a 4H, 3H, 2H, H, HB,  as well as 2B!

Lead Pencil – Trimming your pencil may not be an option, so for me a lead pencil is a definite must.

When I want to sketch on the go and I don’t want to or can’t take a bigger pad.  I throw a Moleskine, stump, kneaded eraser, lead and a lead pencil in a Ziploc baggie and off I go!

Colored Pencil…Would be essentials

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I rarely take colored pencil on the go.  I may if we are traveling by car, but not usually as a rule.  If I decided to and I had no plan in mind, this is what I would probably take with me. I bought this portfolio from Dick Blick many years ago, and I love it.  The portfolio holds a pad of paper, 12 Prismacolor Pencils, and a sharpener.

The additional pad:

300 Series Strathmore Bristol Smooth – 6 x 6, 100 lb. paper, heavyweight paper that will hold many layers of pencil.

Tools

-Colored Pencil Portfolio – I bought this on clearance for a whopping $20.00…ikr, yay me!  Sadly, I don’t think this is available anymore.

A 12 color pack of colored pencils

A kneaded eraser

-Sharpener

Lead Pencilnot shown.

typing eraser – great hard eraser

Prismacolor blender pencil

-A Baggie – for pencil shavings

Watercolor….Would be essentials

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I haven’t had the pleasure of working in watercolor (yet).  But I do have a few things that I would choose as my essentials if I were to paint on go.

Paper

300 Series Strathmore Bristol Smooth – 6 x 6, 100 lb. paper, heavyweight paper that will hold many layers of pencil.

Other watercolor pads

Tools

Loew-Cornell dry watercolor pan

-12 color pan no longer available
Winsor & Newton – 12 color travel set – linked to a similar set

or Watercolor Pencils not pictured

Travel water brush

-A Mister

-a folded paper towel not pictured

A stump

A kneaded eraser

2B lead

Lead Pencil

Ink

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Sometimes, I want to  Zentangle  and this is perfect to throw in my purse!

Paper

300 Series Strathmore Bristol Smooth – 6 x 6, 100 lb. paper, heavyweight paper

Moleskine Journal – unlined, staples and smooth., compact and very versatile.

Tools

Micron Pens

2B lead

Lead Pencil

A stump

A kneaded eraser

I think oil and acrylic would fall under the en plein air category.  And since we all can’t know everything I have no idea what a charcoal or pastel artist would carry.  But I would definitely be interested in finding out.

Nothing is set in stone and you should carry what makes you feel comfortable. For me these things mentioned is what makes me comfortable to sketch in the past and what I shall continue to have with me in future.

What are your go to sketching essentials?

Be Well and Happy!

What is sketching?

Sketching is quick drawing and/or painting studies.  Oftentimes, artists uses thumbnail (miniature) sketches before beginning larger works. This enables the artist to make adjustments in perspective, design, color and cohesiveness before beginning larger works.  Sketching is also practiced for relaxation, introduction to new mediums and as well as for someone who wants to learn to draw.  So, it stands to reason that a sketch book is a collection of all that has been mentioned above.

There is some debate in the art community whether graphite drawing is considered a legitimate medium.  Some believe that drawing falls under the sketching category, while others believe that drawing should receive the same accolades presented to other mediums.   Myself?  If you want to make me good and mad?  Tell me a drawing that I have 80 hours invested in is a nice sketch and I will go from zero to wolverine with no stops in between.   But I digress…

If you want to start sketching, the most important question you should be asking yourself and thinking about is what medium are you going to use in your sketchbook?

Will you be using dry mediums?  Such as:

 graphite?

colored pencil?

ink?

charcoal?

pastel?

Or will you use wet mediums? Such as:

watercolor?

qouache ?

I would not recommend oil or acrylic.  The drying time for oil and acrylic takes too long.  You may be able to use acrylic, if it is used as a wash and you have a spiral bound sketch book that can lay completely flat.  Acrylic can take up to an hour to dry so be aware….

Whatever medium you choose will have a great bearing on what type of sketchbook that you would need to purchase.

So, I guess that is where I am going to leave today…In contemplation…

Be Well and Happy!

To sketch or Not to sketch?

Yep, that’s my question.

I was creeping in on a discussion from a popular artist in one of my online groups.  The short version of this discussion was that she was informally accepted in a Gallery, but they wanted or needed to see her sketch books.  WTW, sketch books?  I don’t keep sketch books!  How do you keep a sketch book?  The poor woman was coming unglued.  Of course, their were lovely people a plenty on hand to help her in her hour of need.  But it got me thinking.  I wonder how many artists out there keep a working, bona fide sketch book?  I use to keep sketch books a long time ago, but not in years have I sat down and intentionally sketched for the sake of sketching.  And I couldn’t find them now if my life depended on it.

Have you ever kept a sketch book?

Do you keep a sketch book now?

Would it be a prudent move in your career to start keeping a sketch book?

I’m thinking that it’s a definite yes!  You and I should!

Don’t get me wrong, I draw and paint because the desire to do so is there.  But Come On, I’m not an idiot, LOL  And if by chance, in my wildest dreams a Gallery approaches me, I want to be ready!  And if not, then we will have some awesome coffee table books 🙂

I think I am going to dedicate at least couple of posts to this very subject…I’m a little rusty, but I am more than willing and happy to share what I know.

AND If you are subscribed to this blog and have always wanted to learn to draw but can’t?  This would be especially helpful for you 🙂

Be Well and Happy!

Happy 2014!

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“Lola”

Graphite on Bristol Smooth

I hope this post finds everyone excited for the new year.  I know there are a lot of exciting things happening this year in the Ottaway household.  So much so, that I don’t think I could handle making any resolutions let alone keep them.  I hope times are as good as I anticipate them to be,  though they may become a little bittersweet.

Above is a commissioned piece that I completed over the holidays.  Sadly, this lovely girl has crossed over the rainbow bridge.    But you can tell she was probably a rambunctious little priss pot and spoiled rotten by her owner, lol

Not a whole lot going on right now to blog about.  I have been spending my time like everyone else. I ate so much food that my jeans are tight and the thread is screaming.  I watched  a copious amount of Hallmark movies. I enjoyed a lot quality time with my loves (more than they would have liked) , and A LOT of time spent in my P.J.s.  That’s pretty much it.

I have a few things planned for my blog, so stay tuned!

Be Well and Happy!

Tricks and Troubleshooting…

  1. Rubber shelf liners are perfect to lay under your work area.  The rubber like quality will keep your pencils from rolling in the floor and breaking.
  2. When your lead is broken in the shaft.  you can wrap the pencil in a paper towel and microwave for a few seconds at a time.  When your pencil is very warm to the touch, lay the pencil to the side until the wax/oil hardens.  (the broken pieces will melt and harden back in to one piece)
  3. Can’t find that perfect colored paper?  Simply paint your white paper with a watercolor wash for custom colors.  You may need to do a test on scrap to make sure your paper doesn’t buckle.
  4. Always wear a max when working with solvents and in a well ventilated area.  Even if the solvent is odorless the chemicals are still in the air.
  5. Dust off your pencil after every sharpening to avoid smearing the color dust on your work.
  6. Workable fixative will add more tooth to your paper.
  7. Unless the drawing aspect of your painting is off, keep going no matter how bad you think it looks.  The painting will have  ugly stages. It is during the ugly stages when most  gives up. DON’T ! Keep going until you are either satisfied or have no more tooth left to work with.  I have to remind myself of this constantly, with any medium.
  8. If you lose you whites, you can go over that area with a little gouache or a white Stabilo pencil. Be aware!  If you use these methods, your piece becomes a mixed media for contests in most cases.
  9. If your pencil is too short, super glue your pencil stump  to a longer colored pencil of the same color.
  10. I learned this lesson the hard way!  If have to trim a brand new pencil, make sure the color the number and color is on the opposite end of where you are sharpening.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this little mini series. I certainly enjoyed sharing.   If you want to learn anything that I glazed over, it can be found easily on the internet.    Best of Luck in Colored Pencil endeavors!

Other Lessons:

Color Wheel and Color Theory

Techniques 1

Techniques 2

Mixing Colors

Mapping Color

More on Colored Pencils

Be Well and Happy!

More on Colored Pencils.

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Lighfastness

Lightfastness is how fast the colors lose their vibrancy and fade due to chemical breakdown in direct sunlight.  Most if not all colored pencil manufacturer’s have some pencils colors that are more robust and handle the sunlight better others.  Some artists will choose pencils that are more lightfast.  All mediums stand the risk of fading as well as anything exposed to UV rays.  My opinion is, anything with any pigment or dyes exposed to the direct sunlight will fade over time, so I don’t concern myself too much.

To aid in preventing your art from fading, Don’t hang your art near windows and doors. OR Make a print of your art and store the original in dark, dry place at room temperature.

Wax Bloom

Wax Bloom is the oxidation of the wax creating a white cast of film over your completed art.  To combat this:  First wipe your art down with a dry soft cloth and spray with a fixative.

Next week will be the last post in this series. Below, you see prompts for you to color map and paint.  It is not necessary to use my prompts.  Walk around your home.  Choose simple items in color and design, paint the items in your purse, tool bag, or junk drawer.  Choose anything, everything.

  1. leaf
  2. light bulb
  3. tree bark
  4. your favorite beverage
  5. all or part of a remote
  6. your front door
  7. a tube of lipstick / chap stick
  8. a tool
  9. a kitchen utensil
  10. a cookie
  11. sunglasses
  12. gloves
  13. jewelry
  14. a child’s toy
  15. a coaster
  16. a candle
  17. purse / wallet
  18. comb
  19. a colored pencil
  20. breakfast food
  21. favorite keepsake
  22. snack
  23. hairbrush
  24. a book
  25. nail file

I can’t stress enough how important it is to be proficient in mapping color.  It may be a pain, but it is so easy and helps you stay quite a few steps ahead of the game.

Other Lessons:

Color Wheel and Color Theory

Techniques 1

Techniques 2

Mixing Colors

Mapping Color

Enjoy!

Until Next Week….

Be Well and Happy!