Friday, April 27, 2007

Hold Off on the Missing Person Report

Over the next ten days I am going to be buried in house cleaning and entertaining chores. I have two big events in that time, one each weekend, and one of the events entails 13 women coming to stay at my house for 3 days. Needless to say, I will probably be missing from my blog over this time. The good news is that once these events are over I hope to have much more time for my art. (Please don't anyone ruin that fantasy for me! It's the only thing keeping me going!)

I also wanted to announce that if anyone is in the Bethlehem, PA area tomorrow, my gladiolus print

copyright 2004 Stacy L. Rowan

will be available at the Miller Heights Tricky Tray fundraiser. (Click here for a description of Tricky Tray.) The school is located at 3605 Allen Street in Bethlehem, PA and the event runs from 10am til 4pm. You do not need to be present at 4pm to win a prize. All winners are notified by phone.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Color Chart

Yesterday I was getting ready to start a new painting. I have a couple of new tubes of paint that I wanted to use. So, before getting down to business, I decided to make a color chart. The purpose of a color chart is to show what hue is achieved when two paints are mixed together.

The first time I made a color chart I was taking a beginner's watercolor class at my local community college. The color chart was one of the class assignments. I still have that chart and refer to it whenever I need mixing guidance. For instance, if I am painting a landscape and need a variety of cool and warm greens.

Making a color chart is easy. First list each of your paint names in a column on the left hand side of a piece of watercolor paper. Then list the same paints in the same order in a row across the top of the paper. Draw horizontal and vertical lines to create the structure of your table. I use a ruler when I draw my lines only because crooked lines might slowly drive me crazy. If you are mentally more stable than I, feel free to make your lines freehand.

Now start filling in the chart. Make a mix using the paints listed in the first column and the first row and paint in the corresponding square. Continue making each new mix on your palette and painting in the appropriate square. You may notice that, aside from the pure colors which form a diagonal from the top left to the bottom right, each mix occurs twice in the chart. You can choose to paint in half the chart and still have each of the mixes, but I find the second square gives me a chance to darken or lighten my mix or adjust it if I didn't quite mix equal parts of each color.

Here is the color chart I made. The paints I used are all Winsor Newton paints. The colors are Terre Verte (yellow shade), Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, Sepia, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber. This is my first time using Terre Verte and I found that it has a very low tinting strength.

So before you start your next painting, I encourage you to create your own color chart for the colors you will be using. Or, if you are feeling really ambitious, make a chart using all of your paints. It is a great learning experience and you will be amazed at all the wonderful hues you can mix.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


copyright 2007 Stacy L. Rowan

This is just a quick little sketch that I did while waiting to pick up my kids. The outside landscape was uninspiring and I didn't have many subject choices in the van, so I resorted to sketching my purse.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I really hate when I come to check the dates of my blog posts and realize it has been a whole week since I last posted. The guilt...the's almost unbearable.

So to relieve my guilt and prove I have been working, I am sharing the ugly stage of my pen and ink WIP. You can see I was jumping around a bit. The right hand side of the building has one full layer of shading and two partial layers. I did this because I was anxious to see if my sloppy lines would be noticeable in the end. Thankfully, it seems the top layers will cover my flaws. Now I know not to work on pen and ink too late at night when I am already bleary eyed.

copyright 2007 Stacy L. Rowan

I am also sharing this value sketch for a new colored pencil drawing I have started. I get double points for this because not only does it show that I am working, but also that I occasionally do some preparatory work like a good girl before jumping into the meat of a project. Excuse me for a minute while I polish my halo.

copyright 2007 Stacy L. Rowan

In addition to these two projects, I've also started the drawing for my next watercolor painting. I won't show that now, but will save it for next week when I am again feeling guilty about letting a whole week pass with no new blog posts.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pen & Ink WIP

Today I am sharing a pen and ink work in progress (WIP). This is the final project from my recent pen and ink class. The class is over, but I would still like to finish the project.

The objective of the project is to put all of the different techniques we learned in class into one drawing. Our instructor chose our reference so I know it is possible. The challenge is to not resort to the techniques I am most comfortable with but to push myself to use them all.

The main topics covered in class were drawing grass, drawing trees (wood texture and leaves), hatching, cross hatching, drawing stones, and creating areas of even tone using parallel lines.

copyright 2007 Stacy L. Rowan

You can see that I still have quite a bit of work on this drawing but I am enjoying it so far. It will probably take some time to finish because I also have one colored pencil and two watercolor projects in the works. I guess it is better to have too many ideas than not enough! When I am further along I will post some close ups to show the details. I realize it is hard to get a good feel for technique from the small images posted here.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Good Thing I am Not a Designer!

Well, today I have something new to show you. Believe me when I say this is not cause for excitement.

Next month I am hosting a group of my husband's female relatives for the weekend. This is an annual tradition in their family, and after attending the event over the last 10 years it is finally my turn to play hostess. (Basically, they wouldn't let me avoid it any longer!) In preparation for the event we have been doing every house project that we had successfully put off for the last decade or so...buying new furniture; hanging curtains, mirrors and artwork; cleaning out closets; vacuuming under beds; replacing throw rugs and hand towels.... I think you get the idea. It's been fun, fun, fun and is the main reason I have been spending so little time on my art. But I digress.

Last week I had to mail out the final details for the weekend to those invited. And, as I am prone to do, I got a "BIG IDEA". Big ideas always sound so good in my head. They are really hard to resist and this time was no different. I decided I was going to be way creative and come up with a fancy, stamped card which would cause all of the recipients to "ooh" and "ahhh" in wonder. (Sounds like this big idea was concocted when I was half asleep or after hitting the liquor cabinet doesn't it?!? Oh how I wish that were true.)

Anyway...I spent hours stamping and trimming and taping. I used my new stamps and some of my new inks. I created up a storm. And now you, my lucky readers, get to see the results of my hard work. There is only one condition... laughing!

The first image is the front cover. I used my flower stamps since this big event is happening in the Spring. Genius, no?

The next image in the inside front cover. I used my cute little girl stamps since the event is called "Girls Weekend". Some of the girls are holding a bouquet of flowers or an ice cream cone or a balloon. The lucky ones are holding two things. There was a third page to this magnificient mailing, but since it just gave the schedule for the weekend it was far less interesting. (Can you imagine???). I decided to spare you any more pain and didn't include it here.

(The blurred areas are super secret information that I wasn't comfortable sharing with the world. In the real version it appears as black text.)

Well, at least I put my birthday gift from my sister to good use! I think for now I will stick to fine art and leave the designing to people more skilled than I.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I haven't heard one "oooh" or "ahhh" yet. Maybe now would be a good time to visit that liquor cabinet. If only we had one.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

An Assortment of Sketches

Well, it might not be as good as an assortment of cookies, but I decided while I was on the topic of sketching, I'd post some more sketches. These were pulled out of my (finally full) sketchbook. The oldest one probably is from four or five years ago, but I'm not really sure since most of the sketches weren't dated. Note to self - make sure you date all of your sketches from now on!

I wanted to share this sketch because I remember it being the first one where I thought, "Holy cow! That actually looks kind of like what I'm drawing!" You will notice that it isn't really finished. As I was looking through my sketchbook I found a lot of sketches which weren't finished. I'm not sure what that is all about. All I know is that now that I recognize this trend I am going to try to break it.

This second sketch is of a conch shell that my husband found on the beach. It is a looser sketch. I admire people who have a loose, free style of sketching. A lot of times when I try for that style I end up with a sketch that looks hurried and sloppy, but this one turned out half decent.

I don't often sketch people, mostly because I am afraid I'll get caught and the person will be angry. But I did find these two sketches that I did on the beach. The people were far enough away that I didn't have to worry about being noticed. You can probably see where I lowered the guy's head. I didn't worry too much about erasing my mistake because I wanted to focus on capturing his whole body before he moved. I also left my construction lines. I like seeing the underlying work in a sketch. It shows off the process more than a finished drawing would.

Is anyone noticing a trend here?? I do a lot of my sketching while I am on vacation. I rarely seem to be motivated to work on larger works while I'm away, so it is a good time to keep my sketching skills up. And I don't feel guilty about not working on any of those unfinished projects, because I make sure to leave them all home!! These two sketches were done with my trusty 005 Micron pen.

This last sketch was done for a Wet Canvas composition class that I participated in. Obviously it is a more finished sketch than any of the others. Another difference is that I used charcoal pencils. I was pleased with this sketch for two reasons. One, because I set the still life up all on my own and really worked on getting an interesting composition before I put pencil to paper. And two, because it makes a great value study for a future painting.

I had planned on sharing some old, embarrassing sketches with all of you as a form of encouragement to those just starting down the sketching/doodling path, but most of them weren't finished enough to really make any sense out of. So you will just have to trust me that my first sketches smelled like three week old garbage.

All sketches copyright 2007 Stacy L. Rowan