Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another day sketching in the rain

I can't say it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood yesterday because Mother Nature decided to give us some much needed rain, all day. Still, I braved the elements and went over to Swan Lake to sketch....I did this one pretty quickly because it was working up to be a down pour...But it was fun to try to capture the drab colorless day.

Another two pages filled in my Art House Coop Sketchbook............only thing bad about these sketch books is the paper is so thin, everything bleeds through. I've been trying several techniques to beef up the pages....I'll be posting those as they are complete, some of these beefy pages are works in progress....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The book -The Journal Junkies Workshop

I just read "The Journal Junkies Workshop" by Eric M Scott and David R Modler. I purchased it from North Light's a keeper. There are many similar books out there that tell you how to journal or keep a sketchbook. I've read many of them, once you read a few they all seem to sound similar, but I liked how they gave "newbies" some step by step instructions that build from chapter to chapter, so the skills you learn in one chapter, carries over and they show you how to take it to the next level. That was nicely done.

There were a few techniques that I don't remember seeing before like doing a transfer with packing tape. That was pretty cool. There were a few other things that make this book handy, but you'll have to get it and check it out yourself.

This is a good book to keep in your art book library and would be handy for non-art teachers if they would like to include journaling into their curriculum. Some of the techniques would carry over nicely to a classroom or to a journaling/ sketch group, and would be perfect for art school instructors to entice college art students to keep a sketchbook. This book wouldn't be a bad book to use as a textbook for sketchbooking or journaling and it's reasonable, it has simple and easy to follow instructions.

Happy Reading and sketchbooking..

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weekly goals, a day late

Normally I like to post this on Monday:

I can't believe I still haven't created my new website yet.....On the TO DO list.

Facebook posts intermittently, I post when I can or when I remember.

Work is coming along very well on the Art house sketchbook...getting there, I might just get this done without cramming at deadline! Have about 30 pages left to do! I just prepped about 8 pages for mixed media work.

Egg Tempera...winter's coming, indoor recreation!

Personal sketch book, might get this one done in the same year!

Big to do, learn to make my own sketchbook!

Oh, and Chloe is above modeling one of her outfits....

Monday, October 25, 2010

Everyday Stuff/Haunted Gallery/PAC Arts Festival

Isn't it amazing how you can make things more difficult for yourself sometimes, for instance, taking quick pictures to post on a blog or other digital venue....I've been trying to take pictures with either my camera or my IPhone to quickly pop something on line....and making more work for myself when I am trying to lean over to take a picture of my sketchbook and I am getting shadows of myself because of the way I have to get the book to lie flat and how the lighting is in my studio in the evenings...instead of making life easier by just SCANNING the image! (Head smack) Why didn't I think of that before? The above image was sketched in my Art House Sketch Book during last week's sketch outing and I scanned it in with the scanner on my printer.

This week past week was pretty full. Bellydancing, sketching with the group, doing other chores in the studio, catching up on my reading. Friday evening, I participated in the Brookhaven Arts Council/Phoenix Gallery's "Haunted Gallery." It was fun and neat...the school kids in Bellport painted some murals and left boxes for artists to add their touches....I brought my pastels and added a spooky cemetery, added a ghost walking a lonely road and my favorite, (I couldn't resist) was adding my touch to a spider web that one class painted...I had to add a fly with a human head, being attacked by a black widow, I almost added the "Help MEEEEE" but I figured some parent might get upset, LOL....a touch of Good Ol' Vincent Price.

We had the Patchogue Arts Council Arts Festival which went well. Our Sketch Club was given a window to show off what we've been doing. It was nice that we were added to the Walking Arts Tour. I was glad some of the artists that have been sketching (or painting) got the opportunity to show off some of their stuff.

As far as meeting goals, the Art House Sketch book is moving along, above is two pages from that. I worked in my sketchbook, gesso'd and prepped a few more page for free style or for sketches that could be done on the back page of another sketch. The pages are thin so they need to be beefed up so I have a bunch of pages I beefed up. I was going to color them up and use them for the free style (collagey stuff) but I may try a few pages to see how the absorbent ground holds up with watercolor sketches.

My regular sketch book is also being used, I'm trying to add entries and other ephemera nightly. Plus, I am trying to document what I am doing so that I can show the sketch club folks other techniques I've learned to play in your sketchbook. As the weather and standard time drives us indoors in the evening, we need to have other sketchbook activities.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Good book on sketching

Just finished a pretty decent book about artist's who keep sketchbooks, An Illustrated Life, by Danny Gregory. I thought it was great to read about other artist's that sketched, what they sketched in, what materials they used, whether they used a commercially made or homemade sketchbook, etc.

The pretty common thread was that they liked to do it, it improved drawing skills, creativity, kept records of an artist life but many of them say that it records your growth as an artist and that all pages, good or bad, should be kept in the book so as an artist, you can see how you have grown as an artist.

Some are private, some don't mind who reads them. Some use them for work, some for pleasure, some for both. Many common comments about using them to record vacations and special events make them more memorable in a sketchbook than a photograph.

This book is a recommended read for those who sketch, and those who don't......You could even sketch little princesses, like Chloe, pictured above.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What is there to like about Jersey

I was catching up with an old friend that I haven't spoken to in a while, and talking with my friend made me remember some things that I liked about living in South Jersey.

Like the Jersey Devil....Jersey has some pretty awesome folk tales, the best being the story of the Jersey devil. My kids learned Jersey Devil lore in school, how cool is that? My friend from the Philly Sketch Club, Rik Viola, did the original painting for the really neat Jersey Devil poster hanging in my studio. My son and his friends, being the typical Jersey teenagers, would go on Jersey Devil road trips (of course I didn't find out until after....) into the Pine Barrens, looking for the Jersey son claims that he and his two identical twin friends, saw the Jersey Devil near their old house in Berlin neighbors had a group that they called Stubums, and I used to participate in the group activities like barbecues and Phillies games...they would host overnight camp outs in the Pine Barrens for Jersey Devil hunts. I didn't go on those, that was sort of tempting fate. I never asked if they saw anything. There's just some things you'd rather not know.

There are parts of South Jersey where you can drive down a lonely road for quite a ways a not see one house, and on a dark autumn evening, you're thinking to yourself, "if I break down, I'm screwed." With the Jersey Devil flying around, breaking down would not be a good thing.....

Go to Fortescue. Look for it on a map. Try driving out there. Boy, is that a remote place, that's a place that you think, "If these people out here have a medical emergency, they have a LONG way to go for help!" Imagine that on cold moonless night....yikes.

The legendary "Blue Hole." Heard about the place, wanted to go, haven't been there yet. Folks I worked with knew exactly where it was and how to get there. No one swims there, they say the Jersey Devil likes the water there. I'll visit in the summer during the day.

Then there is a road in Atco where drivers claim to see a ghostly lady walking on the road at night....of course my son had to check that one out....

Down in that area past Atco, is a town called Tabernacle, located in an awesome woodsy area....spooky and just ripe for ghost stories...we used to go apple picking and raspberry picking over there. Don't wanna be there on the roads at night....might run into that ghostly lady on the way back............that place is eerie even when we played soccer games there during the day. It's in Burlington County, one of the haunts of the Jersey Devil.

There's some great haunted houses/farms, like Creamy Acres, that are in the perfect area to promote the mystique of Halloween. Better gas up before going, no Super WAWA in that area.

Jersey is a happening place in the summer, folks traveling to the Jersey Shore and it bustles with people in the summer, the roads heavy with people heading back and forth, quiet roads in the winter are busy in the summer, people making stops at diners and produce stands on the way... but once summer is gone, the only thing left is gamblers on the AC Expressway heading down to see if they can make it big in Atlantic City or heading back to Philly with empty pockets, with those signs on the Expressway that say "STAY AWAKE" STAY ALIVE" to remind you that you are still in Jersey; don't fall asleep until you reach the Philly side of the Walt Whitman Bridge, the Jersey Devil doesn't seem to cross the Delaware... the side roads are quiet and almost remote at night, just ripe for the spooky story, it would be best if you aren't a local, to stick to the Expressway.... those dark frosty nights are the times that the Jersey Devil seems to like best and are the best time to go Jersey Devil hunting, or get out of South Jersey while you still can.

Who knows, he may introduce himself.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Studio catching up and clean up

My daughter is recovering from knee surgery. She injured it last month when soccer season started at school. We took her over yesterday morning and the procedure was done to fix her torn ACL. Having your 15 year old go into surgery isn't just scary for the teenager, it's scary for the mom, too. Because of her surgery, we are home this weekend instead of normally out and about on weekends. This has been a good time to catch up on reading those emails, blogs, magazines and other paperwork and "to do" stuff.

I read a really good article about studio lighting in The Artist Magazine October 2010. The November 2010 issue, which I already received, had a great article about winter painting and what gear to wear to keep warm. I FB'd a friend to ask about pastels in the winter because I don't really want to buy oils just to paint in the cold, so it would be nice to know what other pastelists are doing to paint in the winter.

I actually had time to chat in Facebook. I found out via FB that a friend that I lost touch with had passed away. I was very upset about that for two reasons, that I won't be able to talk to her anymore and that no one told me she was even sick and she had passed away.

Studio Clean up and paperwork is no fun but it is part of the business side of being an artist and it's better to be organized so that things don't slip through the cracks. Some paperwork I was able to toss out, others became reminders in my calendar. This is Autumn and Halloween time so paintings need to be done that reflect the season. And Halloween paintings are always fun to paint. So, with all the paperwork and self inflicted required reading out of the way, I can get my mind focused on some fun Halloween paintings...I'm thinking pumpkins this year. So cleaning up also gave me time to think of new projects.

The whole process of cleansing, even if it's your personal space, also helps cleanse the mind of clutter and gives you time to birth new ideas. I read on The Painters Keys latest post about preventing choking in your career, no matter whether your career is professional sports or something else... the way to break the "choke," researchers are finding, is to it's cleansing to clear the mind and singing to focus it and bring it back to what it's been trained to do.....hmmm, didn't Disney have something about whistling while you work? Interesting.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Things to be grateful for....

I attend a bellydancing class on Tuesdays at the Goddess Shop in Sayville. I've been going since I was still on crutches, the physical therapist thought it would be good for me and it has been. I go for the exercise, the stretching of muscles that you wouldn't normally stretch, including the ones in my ankle. I go for the company; we have a really great group of ladies and we share some common bonds.

It's interesting that we all seem to have found this shop, either by stumbling on it, or by word of mouth. We come together and we share our lives with the rest of the group. We had a few new people today and Jess tried out something new by having us sit for a meditation at the end of the dancing session. The meditation had us focus on what we were grateful for in ourselves and our lives. It really made me think of what it is that I was grateful myself, I am grateful that I can paint and I can draw, because it's what I like to do best. I am grateful to have such a wonderful husband who encourages me to paint and arranges my life and activities so I can paint. I am grateful that he loves me enough to let us bring a pup like Chloe into our life, even with the few sleepless nights when she isn't feeling well. I am grateful for my daughter, that she is such a sensible teenage in a time of no sense among teens. I am grateful to have my son, who is away attending college at my alma mater. I am grateful for my mother, who never ceases in her encouragement of me living a creative life. I am grateful to the lady who's 40 years of experience of breeding brings wonderful Chihuahuas like Chloe into peoples lives.... And that I can send pictures of her out to people to make them smile, too.

I am grateful that my husband took me down to Cape May County to attend Terry Ludwig's workshop. Terry is a wonderful person and a pleasure to take a workshop with and I love his pastel line. I am grateful for the rain that forced us inside into Stan Sperlak's Gallery/Studio so we had to paint from photos. All the time I spent outside painting and sketching plein air taught me what I needed to know in order to know how to use the photos as a tool and a guide to paint convincing scenes. If it wasn't for the rain, I wouldn't have rediscovered that resource again! I am grateful for those pastels of Terry's that my husband bought me.

I am grateful to be able to paint by Cape May Bird Observatory again, where I have painted so many times before. While we were there painting, I got see tons of Monarch butterflies and learned how they are tagged and that it can take them as little as an hour and a half to cross the Delaware Bay. And for the laughs of just being in that workshop.

Take time to stop and remember all the things you are grateful for....take time to smile at the simple things in life, like a pup terrorizing her owner's shoe or that butterfly that travels further than most humans.

Gina Lento on Facebook