Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 27

old stone house sketch
sepia pen in Cotman Field sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Look! A sketch of something that isn't found in my house! I bet my readers are relieved. I know I am.

I often have my sketch book with me when I am running errands. In fact I carry a Moleskine Cahier pocket sketch book and a pen in my purse. But most times I end up kicking myself when I get home and realize that I forgot to actually sketch something while I was out. The bruises were getting hard to explain.

This day I actually remembered before I got all the way home, and I decided to pull over into a parking lot and sketch this old house. It is an old stone home situated right next door to a high end restaurant. Obviously the home was built first and the restaurant came much later.

I don't know if anyone lives in this house. The front and sides are covered with some sort of vine that seems to be taking over (I chose to leave it out of the sketch). And the bushes in front of the house are getting pretty tall. But what I notice most about this place is the fabulous pair of windows up on the roof. I love their curved shape. What an extravagence they must have been when this house was first built. There are numerous stone buildings in this area, but I've never seen another one with windows quite like this. 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Days 25 and 26 - Dinner and Dessert

The daily question, what to sketch when it's cold out and I'm running out of obvious subjects at home? Food seemed like a good answer these two days.

Day 25 found me at dinner time still with no sketch. So I arranged the ingredients for our vegetable quiche on the cutting board and took a quick pass at them with a pen. I left the cheese and sour cream out of the sketch so I'd look virtuous, but included them in the quiche so it would taste devine.

sketch of dinner ingredients
sepia pen in Cotman Field sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Day 26 I sketched my dessert instead of my dinner (so much for looking virtuous), a delicious dark chocolate truffle from Gail Ambrosius.

truffle sketch
sepia pen in cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

My husband got a box of these from someone at work and was kind enough to share with me. They were so delicious, and disappeared so quick, that I requested a second box for Christmas. I froze the new box so I could stretch out my enjoyment over several weeks. YUM! If you love dark chocolate I highly recommend that you check these out. The truffles in the "Tea Inspired Collection" are my favorite.

(I am not being paid or compensated in any way for my recommendation. Ms. Ambrosius has no idea who I am or how much I love her chocolates. I'm just being nice and sharing a good find, which I will regret if her chocolates become so popular that I have trouble getting them for myself.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 24 - Poinsettia

Another entry for my sketch a day project. This time it is a small poinsettia left over from Christmas.

poinsettia sketch
sepia pen in cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

I always feel bad for my Christmas poinsettias because I have a really hard time keeping them alive. It seems I either over water them or under water them. Plus I don't think they like the cool overnight temperatures that we like for sleeping. But so far this little one seems to be doing okay. Maybe it will beat the odds.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Days 22 and 23

Tap class started up again last Friday. A perfect excuse to sketch my tap shoe. I chose to show off the actual taps and sketched the bottom of it.

sketch of bottom of tap shoe
graphite in Cotman Field sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

The next day I wanted to get my sketch done early. My sketching time had been sliding later with each passing day, which seemed like a dangerous trend to me. So as soon as I was done my morning shower I started looking for a subject. I settled on this basket in my bathroom. It holds hair brushes and various lotions and creams. I decided that the items int he basket were more interesting to sketch than the actual basket itself which explains the odd crop you see here.

sketch of brushes and bottles in basket
graphite in Cotman Field sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 21 - Birds

For day 21 I decided to try to sketch the birds that come to my feeder. One thing I realized pretty quickly is that the birds don't stay still for more than a second or two. So sketching them required studying the repeated movements and then trying to get them down on paper.  It was quite a challenge!

bird sketches
graphite and watercolor
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

The dark gray and white birds are juncos. There were several flitting around taking turns at the feeder.

The brown and red bird, to the best of my knowledge, is a house finch. It flew in and out pretty quickly. It was gone so quick that I only really noticed the red on its head. I looked it up in a bird book later and followed the coloring I found there.

All sketches were done with mechanical pencil. The watercolor was added later. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Days 19 and 20

Another post with multiple sketches.

sketch of watercolor brushes
2B pencil in Cotman Field sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Another Tuesday spent with the watercolor ladies, so when I came home I decided to sketch some of the "tools of the trade". I tried this first in pen, but the large bottom brush "melted" a little without the use of a center line. I redid the sketch in pencil, sketching the bottom brush first then erasing my construction lines after the top brushes were added. The result was much better.

sketch of my legs and feet
2B pencil in Cotman Field sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

This is a sketch of me sketching - well at least part of me. I was relaxing on the bed with my sketchbook and decided to sketch what was literally in front of me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Days 16, 17 and 18

Playing catch up here. The sketches are being done daily, they are just not being shared daily. Such is life.

Day 16 - watch sketch
sepia pen in Cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Day 16 I was trying to squeeze my sketch in before company arrived which explains my watch as a subject.

Day 17 - sketch from the lunch table
sepia pen in Cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

I did my Day 17 sketch while out to lunch for my aunt's birthday celebration.(Happy Birthday Aunt Toodi!!) Luckily she is one of my biggest supporters so she didn't mind. In fact, most of the people at our table didn't even notice until I was about a third of the way through. After they noticed I lost my focus a little and I think it shows.

Day 18 - leather bag sketch
sepia pen in Cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

On this day I sketched my leather bag. This is the bag I take with me when I'm running the kids to their activities. I fill it with whatever I need to keep me busy or entertained until they are done. It's held up amazingly well for all the running around we've done. I suppose the same could be said for me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 15 - Chilly

penguin sketch
watercolor on paper
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

This is Chilly. He's a stuffed penguin. He lives on the half wall between our kitchen and family room during the winter months. He's so cute that he makes me smile even when the winter days are gray like today.

I did this watercolor sketch of him on last Friday (the 15th) which was actually a sunny day. I have been doing my daily sketches every day, just haven't had time to scan them and post them.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 14 - Dirty Glasses

It's amazing what some people will resort to in order to escape doing the dishes. By some people, I of course mean me.

sketch of glasses, mugs and cups
sepia pen in Cotman Field sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

I sketched this collection of dirty mugs, cups and glasses yesterday because, even with all of those ellipses, sketching them seemed much more fun than loading them into the dishwasher. Unfortunately I had to sketch FAST because my husband, behaving a tad more responsibly than some people, was loading them into the dishwasher. I think he decided that he'd like to have a clean cup to drink out of the next morning.

Of course, I could have asked him not to load these items into the dishwasher since I was in the middle of sketching them, but guess who would have been left with the job then.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 13 - View from my Window

How often do we really look at the world around us? As we rush through our day, do we stop and look at the things and people that are a part of our everyday life?

Yesterday morning while I was putting on some makeup, I glanced up and the reflection of the view out the window caught my eye. (I had opened the bathroom shades to take advantage of the sun that was streaming through the back windows of my house. We don't see a lot of sun here during the winter, so I try to take advantage of it when we have it.)

And the view surprised me. I had forgotten that from the second floor I could see the hills in the distance. And I had forgotten how much I like seeing them. I decided right then that my sketch would be of the view.

sketch of view from my window
pencil in Cotman Field sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

So today's sketch is a little different, but how boring would it be if I did 365 days of the same thing? As I was doing this sketch I was thinking it might actually be nice to try it in watercolor. I think it would be easier to get a sense of distance with a color sketch. Something to think about for another day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 12 - Pretzels and Mushrooms

sketch of pretzels and mushrooms
sepia pen in cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Pretzels and mushrooms, yes I admit it's an odd combination. But there is a method behind my madness. Well, maybe not a method so much...

On Tuesdays I meet with some other ladies to paint. We meet at Dana's house and paint in her basement. We talk about our lives and our art and while we are there, Dana corrupts us with peanut butter filled pretzels. You think I'm kidding!!

She buys these peanut butter filled pretzels and leaves the container of them sitting on a table. We have to walk buy them whenever we enter or leave the room. Or if we need fresh painting water, or a ruler, or to sharpen a pencil, or... well, you get the idea. She leaves the pretzels there so we can help ourselves. And we do, because let me tell you these things are more addictive than crack*.

*Okay, truthfully I'm just assuming they are more addicitive than crack based on what I've heard about crack, because I've (thankfully) never actually tried it. But I've tried the pretzels, and I can tell you they are way addicitive. Like the old potato chip commercial - you can't eat just one!

Anyway, if I ever see these little pretzels anywhere else, I know I will think of our painting group, so I thought they'd make a good sketch for a Tuesday. Unfortunately, the sketch of the three pretzels was a little puny. It didn't feel like it was quite enough to qualify for my sketch of the day. What to do, what to do???

The solution came to me while hubby was cutting up some fresh vegetables for dinner. Add other food to the sketch! I was planning on sketching part of a Bell pepper, but it had already had its meeting with the knife. The mushrooms seemed like the next best choice.

So there you have it, a perfectly logical explanation for my sketch of pretzels and mushrooms. Don't you feel better now? I know I do.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 11 - Hot Glue Gun

glue gun sketch
sepia pen in cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

I was packing up the last of the Christmas decorations yesterday when I noticed the star had fallen off a little, wooden church. I decided it was best to fix it now rather than during the Christmas rush next year, so out came the hot glue gun. A couple minutes later it was fixed, dry and packed away. I think the glue gun rates right up there with the microwave for best modern inventions.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 10 - Brass Bird

brass bird sketch
sepia pen in cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

This is a little brass bird that sits on a table in my family room. I would have liked to sketch the birds outside at my feeder, but by the time I sat down by the window with my pen they were gone. I'll have to try again another day.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 9 - Basket of Christmas Greens

This weekend is the great de-Christmasing weekend in the Rowan house. It's not a chore I look forward to. My beautiful glass ornaments from the Christmas tree take forever to pack safely away. And the house seems less cheery once everything is back in boxes in the basement.

basket of greens sketch
sepia pen in Cotman Field sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

This sketch shows a basket of artificial Christmas greens that I put on top of the china hutch. In addition to the evergreens it has groups of red berries, icy branches, an icy garland and little white lights. I love at night when it's lit because it gives a soft, warm glow to that corner of the dining room. I'm contemplating leaving it up for a while. I can argue that it's a basket of winter greens with all that ice. What do you think?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Blog Birthday

cookie with candle sketch
sepia pen in cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Three years ago today I started this blog, largely due to the influence of my sister. Now here I am three years later posting the sketches for my Project 365 which I agreed to after some coaxing from the same (in fact my one and only) sister. I'm still trying to decide if it's a good thing that I listen to her.  ;) 

My idea for today was to sketch a candle in a cupcake. But I decided there was no way I was bringing one more dessert into the house after the gluttony of the Christmas season. Instead I stuck the candle in a left over bar cookie.  However, I reserve the right to purchase a beautiful and delicious cupcake at a later date for the purpose of sketching. And not being the wasteful sort, I reseve the right to eat it too!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Days 6 and 7 - Winter Warm Ups

Here in the eastern part of Pennsylvania we are having a cold winter. High temperatures have been lucky to reach freezing and many days it feels even colder thanks to the wind.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm not a fan of cold weather. So when it's cold like this I need something to keep me warm.

sketch of mittens and hat
sepia pen in Cotman Field sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

If I am outside for a walk around the neighborhood I'm wearing my hat and mittens. I don't care how silly I look - just ask my walking partners! (Truthfully I'm surprised they will be seen with me. Maybe they are hoping that the cold weather is keeping everyone else inside.)

teapot sketch
sepia pen in cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Once I get back home, the teapot comes in handy for making warm, yummy drinks. Okay, so sometimes I use the microwave instead, but that would be much less interesting to sketch!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Watercolor Work-In-Progress

I thought it would be a good idea to post an actual painting in case there are people who aren't very interested in my new sketching project. This is to reassure you all that I still plan on posting my paintings and graphite and charcoal drawings when I have something new to share.

Red Poppy WIP
8"x10" watercolor on Aquabord
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Above is a painting of a red poppy that I am currently working on. The reference photo was graciously sent to me by a friend. I love the saturated color in the petals.

There is a funny story about this painting. I started it back in November just as life was starting to get hectic with holiday "To Dos". I decided that I wanted to use Aquabord for this painting. I happened to have a 5"x7" frame in stock, so I decided that I would paint this on a 5"x7" board so I could use the frame. I pulled out the board, sketched out the flower and started painting. It wasn't until the second or third time I worked on the painting that I realized I had actually pulled out an 8"x10" board and it wasn't going to fit my frame!! Now that I'm further into the painting, I'm really happy with my "mistake". I don't think a 5 by 7 would have done this flower justice.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 5 - Fruit

My sketch for day 6 - some fruit destined for a fruit salad. I was so tempted to title this post "Death Row", but I wasn't sure if people would appreciate my humor. I suspect my kids would roll their eyes at my joke. They are approaching that prime eye rolling age.

Sketch of banana, grapes and pear
sepia pen in Canson Field sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

The fruit salad was my contribution to a holiday lunch we had for our art group. One of the ladies wasn't able to join us in December so we postponed our celebration until yesterday. I had the foresight to realize that by January I'd be looking for something healthy to eat, which is why I volunteered to bring fruit. Of course that didn't stop me from enjoying the goodies that everyone else brought. Yum!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 4- Backpack

School and activities started for the kids yesterday. I completed my sketch before they left (with my subject) for the day, but didn't get a chance to post it. So here it is now.

Backpack sketch
sepia pen in cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

As an aside, I'm going to stop posting the name of the brush pen I use for my sketches. I have been receiving several spam comments a week that seem to show up on posts which mention that pen. Strange but true.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 3 - Hourglass

Today I wanted to sketch an hourglass to symbolize the end of our holiday break. Vacation time is up. Tomorrow it's back to real life's schedule of work and school, complete with homework and kids' activities.

But I admit I was intimidated by my subject matter as soon as I sat down. All those ellipses did a number on my confidence and it shows.

This sketch I did directly in ink. You can see that I restated some of my lines and that some of my ellipses are off.

Hourglass sketch 1
Pitt sepia brush pen in cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

I wasn't completely happy with my sketch so I decided to try again. This time I used a pencil and inked the lines at the end.  The second sketch is a bit better from a technical stand point, but still not completely right. Also I prefer the energy of my marks in the first sketch.

Hourglass sketch 2
pencil and Pitt brush pen
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

So one lesson for me today is that I need to work on my ellipses when sketching. With ample time and the ability to restate my lines I do just fine, but those aren't the conditions for sketching. Also, I learned that a lack of confidence shows up in the sketch. My solution for that - feel confident or at least pretend I do until the sketch is done!

As a side note, I am sure during this year long process I will have other sketches that I am less than thrilled with. Sometimes, like today, I may chose to share them, other times I may not. If you feel you learn anything from viewing these imperfect sketches and reading my thoughts on them, please let me know in the comments. I'll be more inclined to post them if they are helping other people.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 2 - Angel

Christmas Kitchen Angel sketch
Pitt sepia brush pen in Moleskine cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Making use of the Christmas decorations while they are still up. This is a rather fussy angel that sits on the kitchen windowsill during the holiday season. She has a home in the kitchen because when we first got her, quite a number of years ago, her garland and crown were adorned with cinnamon sticks, berries, peppercorns and star anise. Some of it is still there, but definitely worse for the wear of being packed away each year.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 Goals

Around Thanksgiving my sister started talking about doing a Project 365 during 2010. She wanted to take a picture a day, every day for the entire year. Being the supportive sister that I am, I tried to talk her out of it. Committing to EVERY day - that's just insane. I suggested a project 52 instead (one photo a week for the year) or a project 30 (one photo every day for a month). Nope. She wanted the full 365.

At Christmas she said she was still thinking about it. I just shook my head.

When I saw her a few days after Christmas she told me that if I would do it with her, she would do it. WHAT?! No way!! I couldn't commit to a painting a day! It would take too much time. And I already had goals in mind for this year. Goals like...
  • complete 3 new charcoals for my tap series,
  • complete 3 new watercolors for my "Locally Grown" series and
  • try a couple of tap pieces in watercolor.
I need these larger pieces to complete my goal of entering a couple of juried shows. I don't have time for a Project 365. End of discussion.

But she had planted a seed. And it started to take root. So a half an hour before we walked out the door on New Year's Eve, I sent her an email. I said if she was still interested in the photo project, I'd sign on with her. But since I haven't totally lost my mind and I don't want to give up on my other goals, I committed to complete a sketch a day, every day for the entire year.

Truthfully, I'm scared silly. I don't know if I can achieve this goal. It feels like a huge stretch for me. But stretching is good for me, right? If I don't stretch, how will I ever test my limits?

So below you see the first of my 365 sketches - a holiday noise maker. As a result of this project, you will probably see me posting more sketches to my blog this year than I have in the past. And while I promise to be honest about my progress on this project, I am not committing to posting every day or even every sketch. That would be stretching just a little too far I think.

Pitt sepia brush pen in Moleskine cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Well here it is -- 2010. Another year has come and gone. And it seems like just yesterday I was trying to remember to write a 2 for the year. How could that be 10 years ago? I have no clue.

I know a lot of people were happy to see 2009 end, but I will look back on it fondly. In terms of my art, I will remember it as the year that I started to combine my love of art with my love of tap. I created five drawings for my tap series and had four drawings (the four that were available) accepted into a gallery. I found joy in taking my own reference photos for this series and bringing the references to life in my drawings.

"A Quick Turn of Phrase"
copyright 2009 Stacy L. Rowan

I also realized that I had another series in the works in 2009 and formally named it "Locally Grown". My outings to the local farmers' market where even more enjoyable as I held this series in mind. My photo files are bulging with references waiting for their turn under the brush.

"Peter's Missing Snack"
copyright 2009 Stacy L. Rowan

I challenged and stretched myself last year by attending two watercolor workshops and a series of local portrait drawing sessions. It was fun to try my hand at new things.

watercolor portrait WIP from workshop
copyright 2009 Stacy L. Rowan

Overall 2009 was an exciting and productive year. And now we are moving on to a new year. I have my goals written out (more about that to come) and I'm ready to go with high hopes for all I plan to accomplish.

Wishing all of you all the best in 2010!