Monday, November 30, 2015

December Art Challenge

As you know, I've participated in several art/doodle challenges. But December is tough for me because as much as I love all the Christmas things, I don't celebrate Christmas. So I created a generic art challenge for this month that hopefully everyone can participate.

If you would like to participate with me, I'd love to see what you create. You can use the tag, #abyartchallenge on Facebook, G+, Instagram, or Twitter or you can send me an email! 

I look forward to what you create!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Mandala Monday - Semicolon

Last Monday, I posted three free mandala patterns. I hope you had a chance to download and color them. If you missed it, here's the post. And here is one of mine I colored.

I used Inktense blocks to color. I used minimal water because this was just a copy paper and it can't hold up to much water. I love this pattern because there are so many ways to create different designs by manipulating the shapes within the mandala.

I really enjoyed creating and coloring mandalas so I decided to make this a regular feature on my blog. This week, I used the semicolon as my inspiration. Do you know about Project Semicolon? It is an organization created to support people struggling with depression, substance abuse, and self-harm. It has been featured in many publications like the Huffington Post.

I have family members who struggle with depression and self-harm, so I decided to offer my support for this organization by creating art using the semicolon. What you see above is a mandala done with only semicolon and colored with colored pencils.

I also created a semicolon Ensō (for an explanation of Ensō, here's my post about it.)

I used Copic markers to color it. I love how the colors blend. To me, the circle is eternal, a continuous process. And this particular Ensō suggests Pause-Continue and repeat. Life is full of obstacles and you do need to pause and process the negatives yet focus on the positives. I've had to do that a lot this year. 

And if you would like to try coloring these here are the blank files. Please email me your finished page or tag me on social media. 

Happy coloring!!

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg

After months of preparation, 7th students at Desert Shadows Middle School participated in an epic reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg on November 12, 2015. My daughter, T, was to play the Union captain, George Custer. And I volunteered to grade a group of soldiers so I got to tag along the entire day.

The Preparation

As a captain, T was required to have a sword and she had a strict guideline to make it out of wood and not purchase one already made. After watching a few YouTube videos on handmade sword, I purchased a coping saw and a flush cut saw and started work.

I started with a pieces of balsa wood and
got to work, cutting, sanding, and gluing.

I put the rounded handle on the wrong side so I had to pry the joints.

Once T and I painted the sword, it looked like this.

The uniform was much easier. I went to a local thrift store and purchased a navy suit jacket, blue pants, and boots. I added gold buttons and snaps to the jacket and created the epaulet (the fringed shoulder thingy) with felt, cardboard and gold fringe. On the pants, I sewed yellow ribbon along the side. I added a loop on the belt to act as a sword holder and the outfit was complete.

Students worked with teachers and reenactors to learn commands, drills, and battle strategies. In the classroom, they learned the typical facts about the Civil War. 

The Reenactment

As a grader tagging along with a Union troop, I had to wear something navy so I wore my husband's sweatshirt. The reenactment took place in a park next to the school. There were 25 union troops and 17 confederate troops and when they all lined up, it was an impressive scene (can't post pictures).

Here is my daughter's troop.

Each troop had a flag bearer and 8-10 soldiers. The day consisted of setting camp, 4 learning stations to cycle through and re-enacting 3 days of battles. Before each battle, the troops lined up and heard speeches given by generals and even by President Lincoln. 

Each student was given a fate card for each battle and they were to act that out and after each battle, Taps was played to honor the fallen. And each successive day, students saw the number of wounded and killed grow. It provided a visual account of lives lost.

This is the scene after the third day of battle and for students and spectators, it was a chilling scene.

I was there as a grader so I didn't have much time to draw except when they were at each of the four learning stations. I did two sets of painting for each learning station except for one, one "live" and one after the fact from a picture taken. At the first learning station, I was not confident enough to draw "live" so I took a photo first and drew it while students listened to the lesson.

Station 1

Station 2

Station 3

Station 4

With each set, the first is the "live" version and the second is from a photograph taken. There are things about both versions that I like. In the live version, I think you can feel the energy of what was happening better. And in the second, you see more details. And this was my very first attempt at plein air painting, not only was I painting "live", but I also had time constraint (less than 10 minutes) and I was painting people who were constantly moving. But I would like to try more urban sketching.

Finally, here is a link to a news story about the day and you'll see my daughter at the very end.

It certainly was a learning experience for the kids as well as for adults!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who follow my blog! And if you celebrate, Happy Thanksgiving!! <3

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Coloring Fun

I haven't used my colored pencils in awhile. And today, I felt like coloring, just for fun. I do have a few coloring books for grown ups but I decided to create my own. So I got out my compass and got to work.

I drew these on heavy copy paper so using any type of water-based media was out. So I got my Prismacolors out. I love my Prismas... they are very creamy and so blendable. And because they are so soft, the lead breaks easily when you sharpen them. So you can sharpen them with a craft knife or try this.

I had just toasted a couple of pieces of Exekiel bread so my toaster oven was warm. I lined my pan with waxed paper and placed all my prismacolors on the tray. I left them in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes while I ate my breakfast. Since the pencils have lots of wax in them, the lead softens and fuzes any breakage. When I sharpened the pencils, I only had two that broke during sharpening an the second time sharpening did not break them. So I think those two pencils had a break in them already that might have been too far apart to fuse. I will let you know if I have any more breaks..

Back to coloring..

The right "petal" has a bit of shading. I used ultramarine to shade the purple, the blue, and the green sections and even a bit on the yellow. On the red, I used Tuscan Red and Dark Umber to add depth. I also used the same two colors for the gold part. I'm not done with them but at least I write down the colors I used so I can go back.

You also don't need the expensive Prismacolors. I like Crayolas almost as much. Are you ready to color?

Here is the blank copy!

Here are two more.. The last one has lots of possible ways to combine and rearrange so make sure to print a few copies!

Please let me know if there are any issues copying these blank copies onto your computer or on your phone. And if you do color them, please send me a copy of the finished pieces! I would love to share them on a future post! 

Happy coloring!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Happy Monday!

It's been a week since I last posted. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I've been creating every day. I just haven't blogged.  Sometimes, I feel like I have nothing to say. Words are always difficult for me and just posting images only seem redundant if you follow me on any of the social media out there. 

For today, the prompts were:
DND Challenge - "Never give up"
Tinker Lab - sprinkle 
Let's sketch it - Magazine

I know I could have drawn what I did in a magazine cover format but that was too much work! There were two different directions I considered for this art. One was using a donut as a temptation to say never give up on your diet. Perhaps that would have been more inspirational. Instead, I let my inner child speak and created what you see above.

Most adults lose their inner child along the way to becoming a grown-up. I, on the other hand, cannot get rid of my inner child. Now people who think they know me may say that's not true at all.. I'm afraid I'm forever stuck in my 12-year old self. Why 12? Maybe someday I'll explain.

So here are the daily art pages from last week.

I drew this from a photo of my dad for Veteran's Day.

These are from the Battle of Gettysburg re-enactment my daughter participated in. I'm going to blog about this later this week.

My daughter, Jessica, has come up with many quirky sayings all her life. I wish I wrote them down somewhere..

I hope you have a great Monday!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Monday Art and Top 10 Fauxbonichi Supllies

Today's drawing prompts reminded me of chalkboard drawing I used to do everyday to write down what I was planning on making for dinner that night. The question that all my kids ask me every day is, "What's for dinner?" When I was drawing those everyday, they didn't ask, they simply would look in my Fauxbonichi. Lol.

I was supposed to do menu planning over the weekend but well, things happened and I just didn't get around to it.  So as of 1 p.m., I still don't know what I'm making for dinner. So for today's art, I just used what I made for dinner yesterday.

Let's sketch it - Chalkboard
Tinker Lab - shiny (my plate is shiny?!)
DND Challenge - graffiti (well, maybe)

The bacon-wrapped green beans were delicious! My kids actually ate all their green beans! Yummy. I think I'll just wrap everything with bacon. Ha!

The reason why I still haven't worked on this week's menu planning is because I was working on a video about my top 10 Fauxbonichi supplies. Our trusty leader asked us to video the list instead of just listing them. Well, I've made videos before but I've never spoken in them. So it took me all morning to film it and to do my voice over. I don't know how people do it. I used my phone to video while mounted on a selfie stick. Lol.

You don't have to watch it, here's the list:
1.  Waterproof pens
2. Watercolors
3. Inktense blocks and pencils
4. Colored pencils
5. White pens
6. Brushes
7. Markers
8. Freezer paper
9. Shitajiki (pencil board)
10. My phone

And after all that, I used two things for today that are not on my list.

I used black gesso for the chalkboard and Conte pastel pencils for the dish.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Weekend Art and October Video

Last night, I actually worked in my art journal. Yes, I do daily art in my Seven Seas Standard journal AKA my Fauxbonichi, but my art journal is different. How? Sometimes I don't even know. 

What's more confusing is that I have several different art journals, some wire bound, others are like the one you see above. I tend to use lots of mixed media techniques in my art journal. 

And in my Fauxbonichi, I also include my daily thoughts, ideas, or general nonsense. It really is meant to be a work in progress, not really planned. 

And here are my weekend pieces from my Fauxbonichi.

The prompts were:
Tinker Lab - Stencil (I used circle stencil)
DND Challenge - Paisely (I turned my Paisely into an enso)
Let's sketch it - Favorite meme (there are so many but this is one of them)

For today, the prompts were:
Tinker Lab - Copy (I copied the ribbon and the information)
DND Challenge - handwrite "be brave"
Let's sketch it - medical (this is what I used for the theme today)

And here is my October video! Music by Alexandre Tharaud playing Bach's Goldberg Variations No. 17

Friday, November 6, 2015


I am really excited to be taking an online art class by Jane Davenport and Joanne Sharpe called Miss Quoted. Jane taught me how to draw faces and use color to express mood. Joanne taught me that illustrating quotes means making your words stand out. And now, they have combined to offer a new class!!

So in honor of them, my art today is about putting together what I've learned so far from them. And it fits my prompts for today which were:

Tinker Lab - Whimsy
Dawn Nicole - "Be Joyous"
Let's Sketch It - well-loved

And there is nothing more well loved than my Seven Seas Standard journal and my Platinum Carbon Pen! I've put the Daniel Smith paints in my travel palette (an old Altoid tin and empty gym tray as the paint holder). And did you know today is National Fountain Pen Day? 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

More Coffee, Anyone?

Yesterday, I found a local art supply store, not a hobby store like Michael's but a real art supply store. It's not quite as big as Blick's but certainly small enough that you could look at every single item there. I have been thinking about buying artist's grade watercolors and I finally bought a few. There are so many colors to choose from but I settled on the essential kit plus quinacridone gold. I should probably have gone with quinacridone orange but maybe next time.

With these 7 colors, you can mix to produce so many different colors. Daniel Smith also provides a handy PDF to show you how.

I am really excited to try these but Im afraid to use them for everyday art. But how crazy is that? 

Today's daily art isn't what I had imagined at first but I'm happy with it. The prompts were:

Tinker lab - drip
Dawn Nicole - tree
Let's sketch it - cuppa 

I was imagining a tree with coffee cups overflowing with coffee but instead I decided to go with coffee beans. I was able to play with my new paints to create different Browns.

If there were coffee trees that would drop coffee into my mug, that certainly would be a tree of life because I would be unbearable without coffee. 😊

Have a creative day!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My Daily Process

Here is today's based on several challenges:
Let's Sketch It: jug
Dawn Nicole: dreamers
Tinker Lab: Boundary

And on Fauxbonichi Journaler's group, we are to journal about our Fauxbo process. Perfect for today's blog post.

As you know, I usually start with a quote. But to fulfill these prompts, I start with images and then look for the quote. For today, I started with the word jug and immediately, coffee jug came into mind. So I looked online for a reference photo and found this.

I had the word "boundary" in my mind thinking about how to incorporate it. I could use it as a metaphor because I always try to push the "boundaries" of my art abilities. But then I decided that I would place the quote inside the jug's boundary. So I looked for a quote about coffee and dreamers. By the way, that's exactly what I put in the search field.."quotes about coffee and dreamers".. There were several I liked but ultimately chose, "They call us dreamers but we're the ones who don't sleep." I love this quote because that's me when I'm really dreaming! And unless you are a coffee or tea drinker, you may not get the relationship between the jug and the quote, I decided it needed a picture of a woman drinking coffee. 

Here is the drawing without color.

A detail shots..

And I journal wherever I find space. I love these challenges because they really get me thinking about how I connect words to images.

And speaking of connecting words and images, I saw a poem by the author FE Feeley, Jr about autumn and had to illustrate it.

I drew the image you see on the right and took the image and blurred it to create the background on the left. I stitched the images together in PowerPoint and added the poem. I did share the poem with the author and he loved it. I just love connecting words and images!

And I apologize for the glare in my photos. It is actually raining here in Phoenix and I had to use the overhead light. Hope you have a great day!