Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Artist Panel by Ampersand

These Ampersand artist panels are a delight to use for mixed media, oil and acrylics. The ones shown above are 5x5 cradled 3/4"profile canvas texture. Colors do come out truer and brighter. Brush control is lovely. I love using Golden products on these such as Glass Bead Gel and Pumice Gel.

Some of my mixed media paintings on cradle boards.

 I have four boards on my art table right now ready to work on.  What are you working on?


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Strathmore Artist Papers & Strathmore 2016 Online Workshop Series

Hurry, go to www.strathmoreartist.com to find out more about the 2016 Online Workshop Series. It is in process now. If you like or desire to start sketchbooking Graham Smith will help build your mojo. I value and appreciate this FREE resource every year so much that I wanted to say thank you and do a bit of a tribute to Strathmore. My first online workshop was with Strathmore. The first art paper I purchased was Strathmore. Strathmore papers and sketchbooks are staples in my studio.

500 Series Strathmore Pre-Cut Watercolor Paper (140lb Cold Press 11x14)

500 Series Strathmore Pre-Cut Watercolor Paper (140lb 11x14 Cold Press)

This drawing is on www.strathmoreartist.com 500 Series Strathmore Pre-Cut Watercolor paper. It is also available in hot press. I love working watercolors on the smooth hot press although the slightly textured cold press is what I go after for mixed-media. (Apologies for not seeing the entire drawing because it is too large to scan.)

I scanned and made copies, from the cat illustration above. I cut out the cat characters, table and typewriter, window, etc. (The chair is from another drawing.) to use them as collage elements. (See image below.)

Cats Dancing

Here are the pieces glued onto the substrate. I'm currently working on this "Cats Dancing" mixed-media piece. It is on a 9x8 cradled wood panel. I almost always use my own drawings and painted paper when I need collage fodder. Strathmore papers are a perfect substrate for the many choices of mediums I like to use...i.e. watercolor, acrylic, pastel, charcoal, ink, oil pastels, gesso, pastes, bead gel.

Below are two samples of painted paper I'll use as a background to draw on or to cut up and use as collage fodder. Here I am working in the www.strathmoreartist.com StrathmoreVisual Journal.

Strathmore has a beautiful selection of papers. I especially like 500 Series (which also comes in an art journal.) Their sketchbooks choices are spiral or hardbound...even a soft cover. They also carry toned paper, drawing paper... oh, simply too many choices to mention here.

Strathmore Visual Journal 9x12

I place cut or torn pieces of my painted papers directly onto the scanner glass to make a copy. (See image below) Then I can cut or tear shapes or strips and use this in my sketchbook or to build up layers in a painting. I usually copy in color, but black & white option is awesome, too. I always have snippets or full sheets of collage paper ready to create with.

Here are just a few samples of www.strathmoreartist.com Strathmore paper I have in my studio. And I'm just about to order a Strathmore art journal...wanting to try the soft cover. Merci and cheers to Strathmore!


Saturday, March 19, 2016


I like to glue a print of my art onto the covers of my Stillman & Birn sketchbooks.

Inside cover of a Moleskine sketchbook.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Viola Shipman's "The Charm Bracelet" Book GIVEAWAY


Not just any book but Viola Shipman's debut novel "The Charm Bracelet."

Viola Shipman is a pen name for Wade Rouse...one of my favorite humor memoir writers. Think David Sedaris and Erma Bombeck. I first learned of Wade when I found his book in a nearby bookstore. I was browsing and picked up "At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream." I had the day to myself so I sat down in an overstuffed chair and read it through. I laughed so hard people started to stare. I was hooked and ordered his other books on the spot. A couple of years ago I attended Wade's weekend writer's retreat. That experience impacted me profoundly. (Thanks Wade and Gary)

His new book will be released March 22nd- it is "a compelling story of three women and a beautiful reminder of the preciousness of family. Viola Shipman's, The Charm Bracelet" is a keepsake you'll cherish long after the final page."

FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK LEAVE ME A COMMENT. Tell me if you've ever had a charm bracelet or know any one that did. Check back here on March 22nd and I'll announce the winner!

Much of an author's success for a new release comes through pre-order sales and reviews. It would be awesome if you ordered a book, and/or left a review on Amazon. Cheers for helping or mentioning this book title to a friend.

www.waderouse.com (Go here to see how awesome Wade is.)

His tour schedule: (He may get to Columbus & Cleveland. I love meeting authors.)

My best,

Drawing Pens for Twenty Minutes a Day

Before I enrolled in Sketchbook Skool I didn't think to draw common objects such as ink pens. Now it is one of my favorite subjects to draw, so much so that I am trying to capture every pen and pencil I own in my sketchbook.

I won't be able to sit down and accomplish this in one go. First because I have too many and second because I know I'd give up on the project if I try to monster mash it into the challenge. I have learned it is easier, more fun, and I'm more likely to complete the task if I go slow and easy.

I've learned to do regular, small amounts of creative work every day, at about the same time every day from different artists (Danny Gregory, Kossje Koone, Tommy Kane, Prashant Miranda, Brian Johnson with  his "Optimal Living" Program), but the most recent influence is Michael Nobbs.

Michael is a British artist living on the west coast of Wales. He drinks lots of tea, eats cakes and takes lots of naps. He believes and teaches on taking small, sustainable steps on a regular basis in order to reach our creative goals. This really relieves the pressure. Whew!

He is also an instructor for the "Expressing" kourse at Sketchbookskool and the author of "Drawing Your Life." I am participating in his "20 Minute Challenge." His podcasts are inspiring and relaxing. His soothing voice, Brittish accent, and throaty-hearty laughter cheers me.

Michael also has a fabulous web with courses, podcasts, and creative coaching opportunities. His web is here Sustaining Creativity.  Find him on Facebook here facebook.com/michaelnobbs .

Today, as Michael recommends, I'll set my timer for twenty minutes, and I'll draw some colored pencils. I probably have over 200 Prismacolor colored pencils. (Some of them are repeat colors.) See this is exactly why I can't monster mash it into this drawing challenge.

Have you seen the awesome timers out there? Amazon has ladybugs, cows, chickens, etc. get a nifty timer, set it for twenty minutes and do your work. Tomorrow repeat.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Acroball Pen Review and Some Drawings

I am a pen addict so when I saw this pen by Pilot (Acroball) I had to try it.  The package states...

Pure White
Advanced Ink
Incredibly Smooth
Amazingly Comfortable

Supposed to write "with the vibrancy of gel ink with quick-drying ball point ink to let your writing glide across the page." Instead, I found that it skipped across the page. Frustrated as I adore Pilot pens, so I'm wondering if I simply got a bad pen. Me being a positive soul will try another one. After all that is what a pen addict would do.

These drawings were done in a Moleskine. Colored pencil and watercolors.


Friday, March 11, 2016

Illustration Friday

Illustration Friday theme for this week is DRAGON! I hope you've taken a peek over at Illustration Friday to see the variety of talent exhibited there. It is a great place to see exceptional artist's work. Click on their name and it takes you to their web or blog.


Friday, March 4, 2016

It's Illustration Friday Again

The theme for Illustration Friday today is "childhood." I illustrated this for a SCBWI art show and I think it fits for this theme.