Category Archives: Drawing/sketching

A (belated) Halloween riddle

Life gives you lemons by floating ink
Life gives you lemons, a photo by floating ink on Flickr.

Yeah, it’s Thanksgiving weekend and I’m only just now getting around to posting this photo of Second Child’s Halloween garb.

Her concept, my freezer stencil printing on the t-shirt and the deep canvas bag (which I stitched together by hand because I have a new sewing machine and I’ve lost the manual already).

She wore the bag over her shoulder, Johnny Appleseed style, and filled it full of individually wrapped LemonHead candies, which she handed out at her high school and at the diner where she was working after school.

People either didn’t get it, or found it highly amusing.

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Clay bowl, charcoal sketch

When I need to draw but don’t know what, I always turn back to my most primal motif: bowls.

Zero Armadillo

My not so hidden agenda sort of tutorial

Last June my computer had a little snit and ate my calendar. For the second time. Not all of it–I could still access most of the years on it, but not all. But that was it. I could no longer trust it. I still keep a calendar on my computer, but my main computer is kept on stone tablets now. I sat down the day after the Palm betrayed me and made a paper agenda. It has served me well.

On Saturday of this past weekend, though, I realized I’d come to the last page of my year, which, just because of what happened when, now runs from mid-June to mid-June. Time was up. I spent the rest of the weekend making a new one. I started with this:

And took these steps. More pictures here than words, and I apologize for the fact that the shadow of my head is in some of the photos–it was a dark stormy weekend and the lighting was just weird.

Soft Kut from Dick Blick:

The carved block and the printed page:

After flirting briefly with hand-cutting and block printing the name of each month and each numerical date, I came to my senses and wrote them in by hand with Sharpie markers matching the color of the ink I’d used on each page:

Cutting scraps (they look like the homemade noodles First Child and I made a couple of weeks ago). I’m so cheap that I spent a ridiculous amount of time pawing at and trying to figure out how to reconstitute and reuse these. Common sense prevailed and they went into the trash, but it took a while and was fairly wrenching. Seriously, think there’s gotta be a use for these somewhere:

A little cover decoration was in order:

And then, maybe, a little color:

Second child likes the black and white prints better. I left a few like that. And I don’t know why I printed so many, but it’s just as easy to do a run of quite a few prints and I’m already thinking up some good uses for them (stay tuned).

I’m always seriously in love with the blocks from which I print. Would it be weird to mount and hang them somewhere? They’d have to be accessible for repeated use. I also have among my treasures some woodcut (actual wood) blocks that my dad carved many years ago. Some of them were commissioned for the covers of a magazine for which he was the art director back in the 60s and 70s. My sister has some of them, too. Hmm . . . I might actually have to print some of them in the near future.

For now, though, these are just mine.  And this, finally, is my new calendar, complete with its own sunflowery cover, its nice tabs (scavenged from some monoprints that didn’t completely work out), and its important back pocket (everything should have pockets). I’m happy to have a nice place to keep track of what day it is.

Harmony and me

Have you found Harmony yet? I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time playing with it since I found the link to the program on Geninne’s Art Blog. And I’m making all my friends try it, too.

{NOTE: A couple of you have written me to say you can’t access the site from my link. It has definitely worked for some people, so I think it’s alright. When you get to the Harmony page, you don’t see much: a tiny black square at the top edge of the page, a box that says “web,” and a couple of control words like “clear” and “save.” Just grab the cursor and move it around–all will be revealed.}

Sort of like a drug.

But look! The things you can do with this! And it’s free!  I seem to have gotten fixated on the “web” tool, but there are others.

I like this one of some hungry ghosts:

And also this, a boatman and his dog:

And this little simple one:

And one more, a bit more complex:

What are you waiting for?

Go . . . play!

Art lessons

I spent last weekend in Vermont with some folks from my dojo at the home of our teacher (a gorgeous cabin he and his family built with their own hands). It was a great weekend. We ate (a lot), drank (more or less moderately), roasted a whole pig, hiked around in the woods marveling at things like the beaver pond, the requisite fall foliage, the dark dark skies (enabling us to see many falling stars–or alien scout ships, depending on who’s doing the telling). We even squeezed in a tiny bit of karate.

One of my fellow students, an artist by inclination and training, has been helping me with my kata and my art. He believes there is a connection, so I packed amongst my weekend gear two cheap sketch pads and a box of conte crayons–relics of the one pathetic art class I took in college (not saying that was a long time ago, but the sponge sheets between the two tiers of the crayons turned instantly to dust the moment I picked them up).

I got these things out during a quiet part of one afternoon when the nine of us were just sitting around telling karate stories (and tales of a few alien encounters) My fellow student/teacher set me to doing quick motion sketches, and when he decided the crayons were slowing me down (“Faster! Bigger! No thinking!”) he had me swap them for a little pot of black ink and a brush.

Now, I’m untaught and awkward. And I think too much. But I had a blast doing these and have kept it up a little since getting home. Not saying that anything I did was “good” (or, in most cases, even recognizable as human beings), but it was soooo much fun.

And I’m not completely convinced it helped my kata. But in class last night I got the kumite set I’ve been laboring over right all the way through. Nobody said perfect, okay? But at least I’ve got the basic choreography down right.

Hee, hee. Where did I put that sketch pad?