Sunday, November 22, 2009

David and Keslie Smith

So here's a fun one: a progression! This is a painting from start to finish. It was a gift for a couple who's wedding I coordinated last year, but they didn't get it till this week. ☺ It began with this excellent photo by Sam Ramsey (who kindly conspired with me) and went from there. I'm most happy with it because I drew the whole thing by eye.Masked, with a background wash.

That foot was a favorite. ☺

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mary's Corner

So tonight I drove home through the dark and the rain and the wind to arrive home at 6:00... or it would have been 6:00 if someone hadn't been driving an average of 27 mph on a 40 mph road in front of me. But it was okay because I figured God had a reason for me to go slowly, and even if I never find out what it is, it gave me a chance to study tail light patterns on the wet pavement. And then stop light patterns. That's what this is: from memory, Mary's Corner (looking south) on a dark and stormy night.I think this turned out to be a light-weight mat-board and not watercolor paper, but it worked. It's also fun to use black-- watercolorists aren't supposed to use black. But on this occasion I could come up with no better way to get the point across.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I could do this everyday....

I did a dragon for Elisabeth. Here is it:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Addiction Part 2

And here's another. Like I said, there's always an island... (This one has ruins.)


So I had some fun this morning when I should have been getting ready for work:

Found a sketching program on thanks to Kati Barker, and I will shortly be addicted. Knock yourselves out!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bookend Sketches

Two recent (and unfinished) doodles. One, a paisley pattern gone epic. I started with the classic shape, asked "What if?" and pretty much abandoned classic. Can you find Rainier, and the ship?
Two, a castle on an island in front of a Maxfield Parish sky. There is always a castle on an island in my mind.This makes me think of Guliver's Travels, and The Fisherman's Wife, and of days spent in the Red Books when I was a child. When I look at this sketch I want to dip my hands into the pictures and scoop the island right out of the sea and inspect it very closely. Grr.

Monday, October 12, 2009


So this is not "what I've been doing lately", but after a year of having it on the board I finally decided to quit and got it scanned. I may work in a few water ripples later and repost it, but we'll see. Today, I'm just glad to be able to bring you..................

Friday, October 2, 2009

Phipps at midnight

On Tuesday my drawing instructor asked me to bring in what I'd been working on lately. "There isn't much," I told him, but upon rounding up six different sketchpads I found more than I'd remembered. Here is the best of the lot, a sketch I did late at night while genius burned and I was supposed to be sleeping. It's left-handed, as most of my best stuff usually is. The original is a portrait of Mrs. Wilton Phipps by John Singer Sargent, c. 1884. The man is far-and-away my favorite portrait artist. This challenge was to open the book anywhere and draw what I found.
The lift of her right eye (on our left) is wrong and makes her look less awake than she is, and the smile I gave her is not nearly as sweet at the one Sargent gave her. I have her face a little narrow overall, and her ear too small and too prominent. But for an hour's work I'm fairly happy with it. And I really like her hair.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Russ and Annie

Last weekend I went to a wedding in California. It was a total gift. While there I planned and executed a painting for the happy couple just before, during, and after the ceremony. It was a really fun challenge to get something workable in that short time, but I'd had a chance to think about composition and test colors and sketch a rough before the actual event. Still, their position and the dog were a complete surprise, so God kept it fresh. ☺ I'd love to redo it of course, but at the moment, I'll take what I can get!

Monday, September 14, 2009


This is what I did today:

The first page says, "Fern kept a journal. (Most giraffes don't, you know.) She kept it because she liked the way it smelled, the way it looked lying open, blank, with light on it. And sometimes she even wondered what she might write in it."
The second page says, "There wasn't much to say, really, when it came right down to it. When you have beans in your feet, just how exciting can life be?"
Dana, bless her, picked up this giraffe for me the other day. We christened the cute little thing last night after a brief but alarming search (Ulysees? Ted? Edwina? Thank you, no). Boomer finally read "Fern," and there it was. Obvious. Like all names should be. This afternoon I set her on a stump and drew her. And later during band practice I set her on her "journal" and drew her again. The text of page one came to me while cleaning my shower. Most of my brilliant ideas occur in or near the shower. Page two came much later and was in no proximity to the shower. We'll see if it stands up as well as the first.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Work in Progress

So here's a fun one. I'm a little further than this now... Have refined our legs a bit and worked our feet in. But I'm stumped for a background, or background color. Xander and I were originally sitting on a white porch rail, back against a white pillar, green fields behind. For various reasons that won't do. Any ideas? I was most proud of this one because it was one of the first I just drew. Doing a lot more of that now, but this was a step at the time. It's from March I think.

The Beautitudes

My "regular" blog, being a theology/current events blog, has received the integrated stew of my female existence. However, in an attempt to "boxify" some things I've created this virtual portfolio. I'll be uploading bits of my sketchbook and projects-in-process if all goes according to plan. And so I give you The Beatitudes.
This is acrylic on second-hand salvage-yard canvas (thank you, Emily), painted entirely with my fingers, tubes of paint, and a couple toothpicks. It was an eleventh-hour attempt to compile a summer's worth of Bible Study notes on Matthew 5:3-12, and as a friend stood there and watched I talked my way through it and so know exactly how to explain it to you.
Words and concepts have always been associated with colors in my head. I didn't really notice till about seven years ago when I discovered not everyone though that way. Then I started actually paying attention. Mid-August of this year I decided to test the thing by taking a look at the colors of the Beatitudes in my head. This is what I found:
My favorite response so far has been (in the sweetest possible voice) "Oh!" :-) To make sense of it, read the following key.
*"Blesseds" are blue. There's a swath of blue under each "section."
*Starting in the upper left-hand corner and going clockwise, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven. "Poor" is that somewhat-regrettable brown. "Spirit" and "Heaven" are that vibrant yellow.
*Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Lots of black and red and deep magenta.
*Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. The blue and white are gentle, but, as the original Greek assured us, there is a strength in humility that is almost counter-intuitive, thus it's not a walk-over-me blue.
*Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. "Righteousness" and its accouterments have always been red.
*Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. This is the only one I'm not completely happy with. "Mercy" is green, but not exactly this green. It's too dark. There's a light and a spark to mercy, in color and concept, which I could not capture. Mercy is no dead thing. It lives!
*Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. "Pure in heart" as a phrase is very black and red to me. All the more, since I associate it with a person.
*Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. This is my favorite part. That vibrant, living green, almost what Mercy should have been, and therefore perhaps they are kin. I love the marbling. So cool.
*Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. More black and red and deep purple, but with lots of blue showing through.
*And at last into the middle. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you, falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Here, all the colors meet, for He culminates His list with this one.

What was so cool to me was the way God "verified" some theological concepts through the paint. We learned that each verse had a link going forward to the next one and back to the previous one, and that in general they built to a climax. (Boomer put it this way: "Could the first beatitude mean that if we are poor in spirit and humble, we start a journey into Him? From a humble person, to one who mourns for what he has done; to a meek, gentle person who understands evil; to one who, after seeing that evil, cannot help but hunger and thirst for righteousness; and once they have been filled, see they must give mercy to all, for they have been there; after that they have become pure enough to be blessed to see who God really is; and one of His main attributes is loving peace, but in a fallen world peace has to be brought, not kept; which brings us to the last beatitude, for all peace we have brought, and all the righteousness we bring, we will be persecuted. But that in itself is a blessing.") And we learned that each verse related to every other verse in the series. So my colors go forward and backward, and then across to every other pile. Some ended up with more colors from elsewhere then I expected, and then I had to stop and think why those two verses might be deeply related, and so on.
Then, the white loops. He showed me that's the unifying thread-- His voice speaking it all, tying it all together, and at last exploding all over the last verses where He suddenly brings the list home and applies it to our relationship to Him.
Lastly, if you make the image big you can see the mosaic effect I got by dragging toothpicks through the piles. I did it because I liked it. A lot. But then He showed me what else was there: us. We're all those little tile pieces making up the shared experience of the body of Christ, and each of those little tiles experiences most of these verses/colors one way or another.

Isn't that cool! I was so high by the time I finished it that I couldn't quit planning the next one. We'll see what comes of it. I want to try to do 'portraits" this way. Watch out-- you just may end up seeing what you look like in my head!