Monday, January 9, 2017

Illustration Friday: Sound

A few years ago on a warm, bright spring day I was working at my carving desk. A door to the outside was open wide to let in the sun and the fresh green smells, and I heard a bird cheeping.  The sound of it was so sweet and high-pitched that I was startled, and I stepped outside to see what kind of bird it was. In a little tree just budding out I saw a light olive-green bird that seemed too small to be real.  My surprise at its being so small lasted for a good long gaze before it flitted away. Its legs were thin like fine inked lines.

I learned from a bird book that it was a female ruby crowned kinglet.


I did this drawing with my brand new crow quill dip pen and india ink. Its really fun to use--I love how flexible and expressive the lines can be. Today I figured out that drawing out a line slowly gives me much more control than scraping out a line quickly and nervously

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Angel with animals coloring page

Here's the coloring page. The angel ended up looking a bit like my seven year old daughter, which I didn't mean to do, but I'm happy about it.


I'll be moving on to watercolor and colored pencil next. The coloring page looks stiff and like stained glass, which I'm OK with, but I'm hoping to get the painting a bit looser and livelier. 

I went ahead and posted it on Illustration Friday where the prompt for this week is "talk." I admit this is a stretch, but perhaps a small one. Communication is occurring, though not actual talk.

On another note, I haven't been doing my sketching of great art because my kids gave me a most thoughtful gift, a month of classes from the Society of Visual Storytelling. So until that runs out, I'll my learning time will be spent there.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Still more progress

I am pretty much ready to transfer this design to nice paper. I don't plan to outline each leaf as I did in this design step, but will outline just the masses of leaves. They will also recede into cool starlit shadows, while the angel and animals will be warmly lit by the lamp flame. Woodland blossoms may also show up dimly behind the animals, but I'll figure that out in the tracing stage.

I realized while working on this drawing that it is influenced by Holman Hunt's Light of the World


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Work in progress

I've been working on the composition of my next angel picture, which I plan to make twice--once as a coloring page and once as a finished watercolor and colored-pencil piece. There has been lots of erasing and relocating in the peaceable kingdom at the feet of the angel. I hope I'm done with that, but I may see more to do tomorrow. When I'll really see how to do it better will be when it's all done. But that's OK. Learning is good whenever it happens!


Sorry about the weird shiny pencil glare.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Nativity by Margaret Tarrant

It wasn't so bright and clean in the stable. Mary wasn't sitting up fresh and alert in a speckless white robe just after giving birth, though I think this prettiness can show a reality of goodness and spiritual cleanness invisible to our physical eye. But what I love about this picture is how the air is thick with angels. Our world is thronged with spiritual realities good and ill, and I love the image of eager, bright spirits bearing witness to the great mystery, the greatest of all happenings.


A merry Christmas and happy holidays to all! I'll be back next week sometime.

This image by Margaret Tarrant (1888-1959) is from here.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Sketching day five, another Bouguereau

The photo quality of this sketch is pretty bad. The midtones completely washed out, and the printer paper got a pretty bad crease through one of her eyes. Sigh.

But its all about the practice, not the product, I tell myself dolefully.




Thursday, December 15, 2016

Illustration Friday: Spiral

Spirals of steam rise from a bowl of soup and a mug of tea ready to warm a hungry patient. And if I were sick in bed, I wouldn't mind a visit from a sweet kitten, either.


I haven't drawn one of these little angels for awhile. The pocket on her robe is like Mary Poppins' carpet bag--it can carry all sorts of useful objects out of all proportion to its size. It probably held all the ingredients for this light meal, as well as the dishes and tools for making it.

I mean this drawing as a coloring page. Feel free to download it and use it for that, if you like. I've meant for awhile to make a collection of free coloring pages accessible in the side bar of the blog. Maybe I'll get to that next week.