Yearly Archives: 2015

Barn Owl

Barn Owl - Pastel on black charcoal paper

This year one of hubbby’s Christmas gifts was a pastel drawing of a Barn Owl (Tyto alba). I have always been fascinated by owls and the barn owl is no exception. The colored banding on their face and dark eyes gives them an other-worldly look.

This drawing was done with PanPastel, soft pastels, and pastel pencils on black charcoal paper. I used the PanPastel to block in the major shapes then switched to the soft pastels and pastel pencils as I added the finer details. The texture of the charcoal paper really grabs onto the pastel so I was able to add many layers in order to build up the different feather textures.

One of the benefits of working in black and white is that you can focus on value (how light or dark an object is) rather than color matching. Value is what makes a piece realistic; the dark eyes look round because I have used a full range of tones. The bright white highlight and light gray crescent under the pupil help create the illusion of the eye having dimension. Placing lighter feather near the eyes helps them appear to sink into the face which gives it a more natural look. The next time you work on one of your drawings look for those areas of light and dark. The more you train your eyes to see them the better your drawings will be!

Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!


Chinese Brush ACEOs

Bamboo Moon - Chinese Brush ACEOsI have added a new section to my shop – which features miniature (2.5″ x 3.5″) original paintings. The first set of them are Chinese Brush ACEOS (art card editions and originals or artist trading cards). There are plum blossoms, tiger lilies, poppies, wisteria, and even bamboo with a full moon. Some of them also have a mood seal to add to the overall composition. The painting on the right has a seal that means Peace.

Many of the pieces are first painted on mulberry paper and then mounted onto heavy-weight archival watercolor paper. This gives the delicate mulberry paper stability so that it won’t bend or tear.

These little works of art can be displayed on a mini-easel to brighten a desk, shelf, table or mantle; they can be matted and framed; stored in a photo album; used as bookmarks; included in a Christmas stocking as an extra surprise; or group several of them in a larger frame to make a bold statement – the possibilities are endless! I hope you’ll take a look and add one of them to your art collection.

Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!


A Treat for the Holidays!

Use coupon code CASHMOB during checkout at my art shop and save 25% on your order; including the new Chinese Brush ACEOs!

Give the gift of art this holiday season.

Coupon expires December 15, 2015

Northern Flicker Woodpecker

Northern Flicker WoodpeckerFor the past few years in spring we have had flocks of Northern flicker woodpeckers visit our yard. It is so fun to watch them poke their long beaks into the ground searching for ants or grubs to snack on. If you are lucky to see them fly off you can see a flash of copper in their wings. Personally, I like the the way the bright red patch on their heads contrasts with the blue-gray feathers around it. And, the spots on their chest lend themselves so well to a colored pencil study.

Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!


Holiday Shopping Special!

All items in my art shop are 25% off when you use code CASHMOB during checkout before Dec. 15th. Give the gift of art this holiday season.

Dachshund Puppy

Dachshund PuppyWhen I saw the photo of this dachshund puppy I knew he would be the perfect subject for this week’s drawing class. The short fur on his face combined with the longer fur on his ears will give us ample opportunity for practicing our fur strokes. His black and tan coloring and head tilt give him an extra level of cuteness.

The key to successfully drawing fur is to use a sharp pencil. When the point is sharp you can vary the weight of the line just by increasing the amount of pressure. With a blunt tip all you’ll get is a thick line but fur is finer on the ends so you need a sharp pencil to create a more realistic line.

Even though our dachshund puppy has black fur, it is not one solid color. There are hints of cool gray and blue within the black so be sure to add those colors in. If you don’t have cool gray in your art box apply a light layer of white over the black. That will help create a blue undertone.

Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!


Colored Pencil Elephant

Colored Pencil ElephantI am so excited, this week is the beginning of my Drawing Animals class. Our first project is going to be a colored pencil elephant. We’ll be learning techniques for drawing wrinkles and reviewing value. Value (the lightness or darkness of a color) is the key to making any subject appear dimensional.

The inner most part of a wrinkle is very dark but as we get further away the skin begins to lighten and then gradually darkens to a middle tone (in between light and dark) on the other side. It takes some practice but if start by shading a circle into a sphere you will begin to develop your eye for seeing values.

You can use the techniques for drawing wrinkles on more than a colored pencil elephant. You can apply it to drawing the folds in clothing, drawing other animals (e.g. rhino, hippo, Chinese Shar-Pei, turtles, etc.), and even the wrinkles in a person’s skin. I hope you’ll give it a try.

Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!