Saturday, July 25, 2009

Stippling progress

Between other projects, I've been stippling to make some inroads into this drawing. Its going to take time... But I am enjoying the process and the progress.

I have ordered some coloured inks and will be trying those out on a new drawing which I hope to have the master line drawing complete tomorrow sometime. I do have some coloured pens - Nexus - and they're fine for sketching but the larger nibs don't give me the detail that I want.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I was playing around with coloured pencils and discussing technique with some others in a learning environment, so said I'd try this tutorial by Brian Duey, along with others and see how it turned out.

As I went through the exercise, I think it was fairly well explained if not a little weak on words regarding technique, and illustrated, however my only criticism is that there wasn't a reference image or a master line drawing to show areas of shade/light, so I was drawing 'blind' as it were. Simply following the images provided with some guidance from words. For a tutorial, these, to me, are crucial elements. Creating art involves a lot of observational skills as well as practical techniques and it made me think about what makes a good tutorial.

First I believe that a tutorial on drawing needs to be completed by an artist. No one else could understand the intricacies and problems that drawing involves except an artist who encounters them every day.

Secondly, a tutorial needs to be written by someone who can communicate effectively and who understands the learning process and how to enable it in others.

There are many artists, but few who can do both things well.

There are endless tutorials on every aspect of art technique and medium, from professionally made kits to DVD and online video. There are a lot of very good ones and also a lot of very poor ones.

Its true that a lot of beginning artists rely heavily on tutorials to give them a grounding in technique, but more experienced artists also use tutorials to help familiarize themselves with new mediums or techniques.

Because there are simply overwhelming numbers of tutorials, and the range of quality so vast, it would be impossible to recommend any. People always are asking for 'good' tutorials on various aspects of drawing or coloured pencil or painting etc. I understand that definition of 'good' as meaning providing answers to questions about a technique and making it easier for the individual to understand and apply it to their own piece. Many tutorials are aimed at beginners in whatever medium is being shown and often the quality of the tutorial usually speaks for itself and should provide answers to several questions:

1. Is the technique clearly explained and illustrated?
2. Does the tutorial explain what materials I need and how to use them?
3. Does the tutorial provide clear illustrations or photographs of an example of the technique. Is there a reference image and a final piece shown?

What do you need to find in an art tutorial to make it worthwhile? Do you use online tutorials or do you print them and use them for later reference? Do you use video tutorials and are they useful in seeing a technique being applied? Do you buy DVDs or CDs on art techniques or workshops and once viewed, do you return to them repeatedly?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Savage Cove rocks II

I wanted to try out my new sketchbook again and was considering what I should draw when I came across the rocks in Savage Cove again. I did my initial drawing in water soluable graphite but felt the rocks weren't quite rough enough.

So here they are again in pen and ink with a touch of charcoal white. I've developed a fondness for this particular rock, so you may see it again in another form yet.

Have you tried the rock challenge yet? You have until August 4th to submit a link in the comment section. After that I'll create a post will links to the art.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I bought a sketchbook by Daler-Rowney, called Earthbound in the Cachet series. Its a hardcover book with a brown kraft-like recycled paper with little flecks of fibres in it.

I wanted to see how coloured pencils would work on this paper and they seem to lay down well, so I played around with a portrait. I'll try another more serious attempt at a portrait when I can this week.

Speaking of which, David Lobenberg has created a Self Portrait Global Love In that everyone of all abilities are encouraged to participate in. The only catch is that you have to be wearing headwear of some kind. I'll have to see what I come up with over the next few weeks and submit something. The due date is September 12, 2009.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A glimpse into growth

a squash blossom

While I work on drawings and paintings, life continues on the little farm with many chickens and turkeys in the barn and lots of veggies growing in the garden and greenhouse. I love the scent of the earth at this time of year. After a couple of days of rain and fog, today was hot and sunny and you could almost see the plants grow before your eyes.

I thought I'd share some images that I took this evening so you can share a little of my world.


These foxgloves grow wild all around the place, becoming a nuisance at times and overcrowding flowerbed and woods. I let a few stay and this white one is especially beautiful with the contrasting purple. Its growing right up against the house near the front door.

leaf lettuce

I love being able to walk to the greenhouse or kitchen garden to pick lettuce for salads. You can't get fresher than that!

Heirloom tomatoes

There are about 6 or 7 varieties of heirloom tomatoes growing in the greenhouse this year, from Green Zebras to Black Russians and everything in between. Heirloom tomatoes aren't as prolific as modern hybrids, but they make up for that in taste and resistance to disease. This is the sea of plants taking over the greenhouse.

hot peppers

Still in the greenhouse, a variety of sweet and hot peppers are being grown. Some very, very hot. Anything called 'Dragon' has my respect.

The hay grass grew really well this year, even if its not really needed anymore, not having horses anymore. It moves in the wind as if it is one single unit, almost like waves on the ocean. It likely will be cut soon as the ducks enjoy having some hay to nest in during the winter and you never know what kind of animal will turn up here next.

moose skull and vertebra

Finally, the artistic find - the skull, jawbone and some vertebra of likely a moose found in a peat marsh. Knowing anatomical detail of animals and people is so useful in drawing and to purchase a skull is very expensive. These will be scrubbed then stored in the studio for future use and in teaching.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Moving pictures

There are a number of forms of learning and with many people, reading and seeing photos is useful and often used in home study. The next step up is seeing a technique being completed and hearing spoken words, which would usually take place in a class setting or one on one.

Technology can cross barriers and provide access where geography wouldn't normally allow it and bring people and information into your living room or studio.

I bought a Flip video camcorder and this is the first test of a tutorial just to get a feel for it. Lighting and set up are crucial and neither are perfect in this, so bear with me. I do often get asked to create video clips of techniques and thought this may be a possibility. I have noticed more and more bloggers providing video information and it is very useful to see how others create their work or speak about it.

Now I just need to get the focus right so people can actually see more clearly what I'm doing. Also the talking and drawing at the same time are challenging. I can see the appeal of just drawing and having a music background instead of voice.