Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bahamas Sketches

The other day my sister wrote a blog post about doodling, or as I call it, sketching. Her post reminded me that I hadn't yet shared my two vacation sketches.
The first is a quick pencil sketch. This sketch was done in my Moleskine (5" x 8" ) sketchbook and was done partly from memory. Sketching from memory was not my intention, but it turned out that the local taxi parking was directly between me and my subject. So, whenever the taxis returned I couldn't see what I was drawing! And I was too stubborn to move! The sketch isn't finished, but I'm happy with what I have.

graphite sketch copyright 2007 Stacy L. Rowan

The second sketch is the same size and is in a watercolor sketchbook. I loved the bougainvillea growing over the shed at the cottage where we stayed. It was beautifully vibrant and tumbled playfully over the roof of the shed. I had a great view of the scene from the second story deck. I started the sketch with a black 005 Micron pen then added color using watercolor pencils. Since I was anxious to get to the beach, I waited to add water. I wet the sketch using my Niji 12mm water brush after I was back home.

watercolor pencil sketch copyright 2007 Stacy L. Rowan

Before I left for vacation, I shared pictures of my work space in this post. I also mentioned that my sister has a craft room to drool over. Now you can judge for yourself since she has posted pictures here. Just make sure to have a pencil and paper ready when you check them out. You are going to want to take notes for your wishlist. (The counter top that is in the last picture is only about one third of her overall "desk" area!!)

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Photo copyright Stacy Rowan 2007

Every year around this time my wonderful husband buys me daffodils. He knows yellow flowers are my favorite and the daffodils are available at his work from the American Cancer Society Daffodil Days fundraiser. Most years I take pictures of my lovely daffodils with the intention of using the pictures as reference for some future painting or drawing. As a result, I have numerous daffodil references in my computer files and photo reference box.

Now I ask you, how many paintings or drawings of daffodils do you think I have done?

Take your time.

Really think about it.

RIGHT!! Not a single one! Go figure.

I wish I had some witty explanation for this, but unfortunately I don't. I can tell you that dear hubby brought this year's daffodils home yesterday at lunch. And this morning they looked so sunny and cheerful I just had to take some photos of them. I'm quite pleased with the result - two or three of the photos definitely have the makings of a great piece of art. I just know that someday I will paint a fabulous daffodil!

If you don't want to wait for my results (after all, my track record suggests it could be a long time), you can jump over to Dave's blog and see his lovely loose daffodils.
(For those wondering, Dave's blog does not belong to my Dave. It belongs to a different Dave, who I met through Wet Canvas. My Dave's art experience is currently limited to games of Junior Pictionary.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Odds and Ends

I haven't been working on any large pieces for the past few weeks, so I thought instead I would share some odds and ends with you.

This weekend I drew out designs for two altar squares. Our church makes an altar cloth every year for First Communion. All of the kids who are receiving communion for the first time submit an altar square. A kind volunteer from the church then sews all of these squares together to make the altar cloth. Next year at the same time, the cloth will be dismantled and the squares will be returned to the kids as a keepsake to remember this special time in their lives.

So I drew up squares for two kids and transferred them to the fabric. I let the kids tell me what they wanted on their square (believe it or not they had very specific ideas!). Then I took their idea, drew it out and showed it to them for their approval. Once I transferred the images to the cloth, I traced over the pencil lines with a thin bead of Crayola Squeezables. The kids will then use fabric paint or markers to finish coloring in the design. The Squeezables should make it easy for them to stay in the lines. Here are the two images. The blank area at the top of both designs is where I erased out their names to protect their privacy.

The other image I have to share with you is some pen work from my class last week. (This week we started working on a drawing which I hope to post here later.) Last week we worked on drawing trees. You can see at the top and on the left where I was playing with some bark textures. At the bottom is a tree I started. I wanted to use straight lines to indicate the leaves because it seemed more challenging. Unfortunately, instead of following my reference which had very few leaves, I went for a fuller tree and it turned out a little "cotton ball-y". While it was fun to get caught up in experimenting, the results would have been more realistic if I had followed my reference. Of course I feel like I learned more by experimenting. So here is my cotton ball tree for all of you to enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Back from the Bahamas

Well, my vacation is over. After a rough start was put behind us it turned out pretty well. After all, who can really complain when the views look like this...

I didn't do much art on vacation - only two quick sketches. Instead I spent my time soaking in the brilliant colors and natural beauty. It was overwhelming in the best sense of the word and provided a lot of creative inspiration.

While I clear the decks to get back to work, I suggest that any aspiring artists (or aspiring anything for that matter) read this blog post by Maggie Stiefvater. Maggie is a wife, mother, full time artist, writer and musician. This post is her answer to the question, "How do you find time to do it all?" I think she makes some excellent points about priorities and goal setting. Read it and see what you think.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A Quick Hello!

Wow! Life around here has been full of activity - unfortunatley not art related activity. I apologize for my lack of posting and my failure to respond to the wonderful comments some of you have been leaving. I expect to be able to post more regularly come May or June if you can hang in there with me that long! Today's post will be short, but image heavy.

The other day I was reading Illustrated Life, a blog by my Wet Canvas friend Jeanette. Jeanette posted some pictures of her workspace and it reminded me how much I enjoyed seeing other artist's studios. I love that little glimpse into their lives and find it helps me better imagine the creation process when I view their artwork. So I decided I would share some pictures of my "studio" with you.

Right now my studio shares space with our master bedroom. Luckily my husband has learned how to fall asleep with the lights blazing, since I often work on my art in the evening hours.

My studio space has expanded quite a bit over the last few years. I recently told my husband that the next expansion will require my studio having a room of its own. I wonder how he feels about sleeping in the family room??

Now if you really want to see a swanky work area, maybe my sister will post pictures of her craft room in her blog. My brother-in-law is very handy and built this room specially for her. I'd say she's spoiled, but that's just because I'm green with envy.

I also wanted to show you the results of my second pen and ink class. Last week Katherine commented on the challenge of cross hatching within a shape. Even though we are still working with very simple shapes, I know exactly what she meant. You can see that some of these shapes turned out a little wonky. (Yes, that is an official art term.) The wonkiness was caused by concentrating too much on the cross hatching and not enough on the shape boundaries. I think more practice is needed.

Unfortunately, I am going to miss class this week. I am leaving tomorrow for a week of vacation and during class time will hopefully be enjoying some sunshine and warm tropical breezes. Since I will not have Internet access, I also will not be able to post here until I get back home and settled in. In my absence you might want to check out some of the art blogs in my link list. These blogs are the ones I read daily.