Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Illustration Friday: Space

 Paradoxically, mastery of light and air originates in dim confinement.

I drew this for a friend, Eve Ahrens, who is starting an online life-coaching service called Chrysalis Coaching. She is a sensitive, intelligent and insightful person. Her site is still under construction, but as soon as I can provide a link, I will do so. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Watercolor flowers by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

When I came across this Charles Mackintosh watercolor on the Metropolitan Museum of Art website it pulled me up short. My heart didn't exactly skip a beat, but I did feel like everything stopped for a minute while this painting took hold. I love how the fluffy peonies and delicately veined leaves contrast with the sleek vase and the orange, patterned background. The silver vase speaks so clearly I hear it like a sweetly ringing bell or the pure tone of a flute. (That sounds high-flown and hyperbolic, but it's true. That silver vase gives me a cross-sensory experience that sounds like a flute in my brain.) 

So I looked for other Mackintosh watercolors. I found these pinks in Wikimedia Commons. I wonder if he designed their box.

I found this iris at TheGlasgowStory. I love how he captures gloss and reflections without belaboring them. He expresses the essence of shininess.

This watercolor of an autumnal looking rose is up for auction at Oh, those beautifully articulated rose petals and that luminous pallette! My birthday is coming up, you know.

Next week I plan to share some Mackintosh watercolors painted in a less finished style.  I found so many beauties I couldn't pass up, I decided they needed a separate post.

Sharing and reacting to art I find online has become my Sunday afternoon treat. I hope it's a treat for you too!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Embroidered felt by Lucy

Posted by Lucy

For Christmas I received a gift card to Jo-Ann Fabrics. I went there to spend it and found that all the felt (something I'd been wanting for a long time) was on sale. Hurray! Also embroidery thread. Hurray!

Behold the results:   



and works in progress.

The brooches and earrings will be going on Etsy in a day or two.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lovely old illustrations

I love the clear, delicate lines; the graceful patterns of leaf and flower; the billowing curves and circles; and the soft colors on aging, brownish paper of these Paul Vincent Woodroffe illustrations. 

Go slow when you get to The Fairy Ship. It's my favorite.

I found these illustrations on the Metropolitan Museum of Art website. I wouldn't have known to look for them there if I had not first seen some of them at A Polar Bear's Tale, a blog full of beautiful and interesting images.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Illustration Friday: Twisted

I made this months and months ago for the Illustration Friday prompt "robot." I didn't post it because I was confused by the technology involved. All those mysterious links and URLs and stuff. Embarrassing.

Her head is twisted around, but no one will accuse me of slavish devotion to staying on topic. Maybe you could say it's a kind of twist for a happy robot girl to walk a robot puppy chasing robot butterflies.

I'm happy, too. I laid down a watercolor under-painting before finishing this with colored pencils. It was fast and easy, and it reproduced well. I've been mostly dissatisfied with how my colored pencil work looks on the screen, especially when it is scanned. I work hard building up glowing, subtle layers of colored pencil that look washed out after scanning. I try to fix the pictures in Photoshop, but I don't know how to use it well and lose nuances. Underpainting with watercolor is my answer for now.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Illustration Friday: Prehistoric

The tree of  life is an ancient and even prehistoric concept.

Thus do I justify my decision to draw just exactly what I felt like drawing for this Illustration Friday prompt.

What you see is pretty rough in some ways. It has smudges I can't get rid of and the lighting was uneven for the photograph. I was torn between waiting for my husband to come home and help me fix it digitally, and just getting it posted. I settled for posting it, because I really need to spend time carving.

Here are some work in progress photos of a tree of life pendant I am carving, with a cross in the background. It is about an inch and a quarter from the bottom of the circle to the leaf extending beyond the circle at the top.

My swan heart is at the pewter caster, along with the bishop's cross. We will soon be getting the dove cross to a silversmith.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Springtime with Albrecht Durer

I am overjoyed by thickly falling snow, I am awestruck by the brilliant glitter of fresh snow in the morning sun, but between times when the snow is just sitting there getting old, I have a dull feeling of endurance with no sense of waiting for anything else. The smell of dark soil warming up; green, green grass, silky and long before its first mowing; juicy, crumpled pale green leaves--things I love about spring seem so far away and foreign to this world of white I am not aware of any desire for them to return.  

But these springy watercolor paintings by Albrecht Durer seem nice. I love the exquisite focus on weeds and wildflowers competing exuberantly in their patches of soil.

Some places primroses grow wild, but not anywhere I have ever lived. A primrose growing wild is a romantic, wonderful notion to me.

We do sometimes see wild columbines.

Lucy is longing for spring. She has dreams about finding violets in the grass, and always thinks, "Oh, I keep dreaming this, but finally its real." Come spring, she will arrange violets in tiny glass bottles, twist them into garlands for her head, and press them flat between pages of the telephone book.

The columbine is from Kunstopie, an online store selling fine art prints. The rest are from WikiPaintings

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Illustration Friday: Exotic

This is my take on the decorated window frame of a rustic Russian dacha, or summerhouse. I don't think the design motif I chose is particularly Russian, though. I would love to learn about these children and tell their story. 

I had great fun doing a whole picture in graphite. I haven't used a regular pencil for anything besides laying out a design for decades. I was hungering for color early on, but I knew I didn't have time to do this picture in colored pencil. 

Every so often I'll take a look around the internet at these little fairy-tale houses. They are mostly small and inexpensive, lacking electricity and running water.  The owners live in them in the summer to escape city pollution and have gardens. A large proportion of Russian vegetables are raised at the dachas.

I want my very own, falling down dacha. I couldn't read the Russian captions in Wikimedia Commons where I found these pictures, but I think this one is for sale.

To me, this poor, decaying porch has a kind of beauty it never had when it was spiffy new. I think its beauty has become more like the beauty of natural things, where beautiful patterns are everywhere, but are usually somewhat broken and irregular. 


These next shots are from the Etsy store, AlenovPhotography, where you can find lots more dacha windows to inspire longing and dreams.

I love the juxtaposition and layering of patterns in these pictures--the lace curtains with the lacy cut-out wood, the leaves and branches reflected in the glass, the potted flowers.


And that wee window pane opening out! Note the onion domes in the reflection.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Heart ornaments

I made a handful of Valentine ornaments that I'm putting on Etsy. I made the first four last week.They are hand-painted with acrylic paint, sanded to give a time-worn look, then protected with a light coat of satin polyurethane varnish. I especially love the ribbons, which are vintage seam-binding. I was delighted to find a lot of old seam binding at the Goodwill, unopened, in the original cellophane packaging.

The next three I made awhile ago. They are hand-painted with acrylic and protected with a satin polyurethane varnish. The ribbon is vintage rayon seam binding, soft and a little bit sheer, though the slight sheerness doesn't show in the pictures.

The red one is my favorite. I love folksy black ribbon with bright embroidery. I made several of this type that sold before I blogged them.

I will get these onto Etsy today or tomorrow.