Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Art Tools

When working in coloured pencil, it is imperative that your pencils are sharp. Well, I disliked using the hand sharpener because, well- it took too long and my pencil leads kept breaking. When I expressed my desire for a new sharpener, my husband did some research and came back with this one. It is great :) Nice sharp pencils, no power necessary, no sore wrists. Also it has the auto stop so you can't grind the pencil down to nothing!

In fact I was so impressed with it, that I drew it ;)

Monday, February 22, 2010

More Coloured Pencil

So keeping the theme of sketching in coloured pencil, I start trying... The car wash below was on the spot, in the dark, and unfinished by the time we left. The little booklight above it- was my answer to trying to finish the picture in the dark- I can clip the light to my book and finish it while the memory is fresh :)

Sunday, was warm and I had the opportunity to sketch en plein air in the front garden. The paperbark birch was my subject, and I faced the challenge of trying to render the paperbark in coloured pencils. I think I need to work on my technique some more :)

The mockingbird was added after it stopped by for a visit, briefly :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sketching in Coloured Pencil

Since I decided to focus mainly on coloured pencil for the next while, it means that my on site sketching needs to be done in coloured pencil as well.

This sketch was done on site with a small kit I carry in my bag. Sunsets are notorious for changing quickly, so I had to do a rapid up-and-down scribble to lay in the colours after I had completed the silhouettes- which I drew first because I needed to be able to see them ;)

It is always difficult to decide just which pencils will go with me. I have a pencil case I stole from my son (he never used it) with sketching pencils and some watercolour pencils in it. And I have a little tin with some pencil stumps in it. I also added a pencil holder, an eraser and a pencil sharpener ;) Any coloured pencil that is kind of small, gets put into my box. When they become too small for that, they'll probably be glued to the end of a new pencil, but for now they stay in the tin.

The tin is slightly larger than an Altoids box- which I tried at first. Some of my longer stumps couldn't fit, and I wanted those colours ;) I had found these Disney themed tins at Target a while back, and this one I finally found a good use for!
It is very useful- the box is compact and discrete, allowing itself to be held in one hand- the lid fits comfortably under the tin too. So far, I am very happy with it :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Coloured Pencil Trials

So here I go now, with my 'pencil project'. Whats that you ask? Well I added a goal to my art goals. Now I also plan to go in depth with colour pencils and learn to use them well :) So most of my art for a while will be coloured pencil art ;)

After reading Ann Kullberg's books, I wanted to try out some of her suggestions- so I found a photo of DD on her birthday and quickly sketched her, before adding some colour. It's not a bad likeness, and had I been a little slower I might have been a little more accurate ;)

I had to get some more photos recently- so many of my others were not quite good enough- the bird was not in a good position or there was snow in the way... so yesterday, when this fellow appeared, I grabbed my camera and got a few good shots.
He has not got his summer plumage yet- his 'epaulette' is still kind of yellowy, with just a flash of red at the top.
Since it was warmer, he is not as puffed up as my other birds, and his glossy plumage was certainly challenging to capture :)

Prismacolor and Derwent Coloursoft on Matboard

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Some Older Work

Well, not THAT old. But a few weeks :) I realised I had missed scanning some of these! Above I was trying to draw my nephew in colour- I found it rather inspirational, it made me want to do more portraits ;) (Which I have done, you'll see later).

After the last snow, we wandered around the neighbourhood to see how bad the roads were. I took my camera, and snapped shots as we walked, and later painted one of the scenes I had enjoyed :)

Recently, I decided to concentrate a little more on my pencils. This is from a sketch made with them- a snowy backyard scene. I admit, I was wishing for some spring colour, but the closest I got was the little wren that landed on top of the arbour. It flew off before I got the details down, but I added it anyway :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Anniversary Pine Warbler

Anniversary Pine Warbler
Originally uploaded by Spinneretta

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to my wonderful husband!! This picture will be my anniversary present to him- he is amassing quite a collection of my work ;)
We celebrate 11 years of married life today, and it just keeps getting better! We'll have a special meal tonight, and I am not sure what else he has planned ;)

This is not a certain identification of the bird by any means- but this bird and the previous one are new visitors to our feeder. This one actually comes every winter, and was initially mistaken for a goldfinch because of it's bright yellow colouration.
I must have worn 2 or 3 pencils down to stubs drawing this one-I think I need a new sharpener :(

Prismacolors on Matboard. 4.5 x 5 inches.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Monthly Sketch Project Part 2 Feb.2010

Monthly Sketch Project Part 2 Feb.2010
Originally uploaded by Spinneretta

The monthly sketch project for February 2010 had 2 pictures- the butterfly from before, and this beautiful mountain scene from Ann.

I don't think the colours appear as bright as they look on my screen- but perhaps yours differ :)
I have never really attempted a landscape in coloured pencil before, so this was a bit of a different experience!

Derwent Coloursoft on Cartridge Paper (drawing paper 130 gsm)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Myrtle Warbler (Feeder bird #3)

Myrtle Warbler (Feeder bird #3)
Originally uploaded by Spinneretta

Or at least that is what I have tentatively identified it as. It and the pine warbler are not regular visitors to the feeder under usual circumstances, but what with the snow recently, these two are seen somewhat regularly!

This is the third bird in my feeder bird series- I am working on getting my reference photos for the rest ;) This means a flurry of activity whenever a new bird is seen at the feeder :)

Drawn in coloured pencils on matboard.

Monday, February 08, 2010


Originally uploaded by Spinneretta

I am planning a series of pictures of birds at our feeder in the snow... this is the second bird- the cardinal was below the feeder and I wondered how the coloured paper would take the white.
Not so thrilled with the white aspect, but I am quite pleased with the Cardinal :)
He will be going to England on my sister's birthday card :)
I dont think I will be using this paper much though, the texture was just a little rougher than I liked- I preferred the effect from the matboard :)

Sunday, February 07, 2010


Originally uploaded by Spinneretta

Went to check on the rabbit this morning. I have been carrying my camera with me because of all the snow (I know I will use some of the snowy images for drawings or paintings later)... and I caught the bunny in his nest area watching me.
I liked the view and took a couple of pictures to use back in the nice warm house ;)

Derwent Coloursoft on Matboard.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


Originally uploaded by Spinneretta

A couple of bluebirds visited our feeder recently. They couldn't get to the food, so I had to adjust the way it was set up- I hope they come back!
In the meantime, I DID get lots of photos- enough to make this drawing :)

Prismacolor and Verithins on matboard.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Monthly Sketch Project: Feb 2010

Monthly Sketch Project: Feb 2010
Originally uploaded by Spinneretta

Picture 1 from the monthly sketch project. Had to adjust slightly in my photo editor- for some reason greens just don't like scanning well!!

From a photo by Chrissy.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Some February Fun...

I realised I needed to make my February calendar and planner pages. I got a little lazy and made a couple of last minute pictures- all of which are ATCs lol

Of course- it IS Groundhog day. I couldn't resist drawing one- he saw his shadow, but the creme egg took precedence. I love creme eggs!

Valentine mouse- a little mousie with a valentine. I figured it kind of matched my other mouse ATCs and pictures- I used some in the calendar and planner pages for January- so I wanted a themed one for February ;)
Snowdrops. I just had to have a little spring there, somewhere!!
I was using my new Derwent Coloursoft pencils on Drawing paper (cartridge paper- a heavyweight drawing paper, this one from Strathmore). They don't make very sharp pictures, but I do like their softness. I need to play with these some more ;)