Saturday, April 30, 2011

Artistcally Speaking Radio Show

Just a quick reminder that I (Carol Sloan) am the guest
on the BlogTalk Radio Show "Artistically Speaking" tomorrow, May 1 at 6:30 EST.
I hope that you will join us!
Be sure to sign in (register) so you can be a part of the give away too!

Branching Out

Jane LaFazio here. Branching out....using color pencil with my watercolor!

April Prize Winners!

Chosen by random draw, the winners of Aprils prizes are...
(click on the winners names to see their sketchbook page)
Winners must email Sue at with their full name and mailing address by 5/14/11 in order to claim their prize.
From Sketchbook Challenge Artist Laura Cater-Woods

A copy of the e-book "Idea to Image"

The Winner is:  DionDior!

The Winner is:  LorileeG!

A $50 gift certificate to ProChemical and Dye!


The Winner is:  Debhomecb!

Congratulations to all the winners!
Winners must email Sue at with their full name and mailing address by 5/14/11 in order to claim their prize.

The Italian Clown

Hi all, Diana here with more from my Italy sketchbook.

First up, Canio (I don't actually know his name, but he is Italian and makes a living as a clown and thus the reference to the opera Pagliaccia).

I was bombarded while traveling through Italy and so used my sketchbook in a very "sketchy" (pun) way to suck it all in.

Here is the sketchbook drawing of Canio
I drew him later after the whole train experience. Today, I roughed out another little watercolor of him. 
I like the sketchbook drawing better. It has a certain looseness that I feel was lost in this more formal drawing. I'll revisit it. Practice will help me to distill the whole Canio-ness and allow a looseness to energize my drawings. 

You can read the story of Canio and my experience on the train from Roma to Fabriano here on my blog. It was magical.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Blind Contour Drawing

Susan R. Sorrell chiming in on April's Theme....

Since I am trying to refresh my "sketching" skills..I am getting back to the basics with Blind Contour drawing. If you are not familiar with Blind Contour Drawing, it is a method where you do not look at your paper as you draw, but follow the outline of an object with your eyes. You hand interprets what your eyes are looking at. I love this method of drawing because I can really capture the essence of a subject. 

Here is the photo of the tree I was sitting under for the Branching Out Challenge..branches for trees and me actually sitting outside trying to draw! The end result really doesn't matter with this method of drawing. It is training your eyes to see details and shapes.

Betty Edwards whose book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" is a great one to have if you haven't drawn much and covers how to Blind Contour Line draw.

Try This Exercise: 

Try drawing your thumb and hand.

Blind contour drawing is done by drawing the contour outline of the subject without looking at the paper as you work. (See example at right.) Many artists use blind contour drawing as an warm-up exercise before a drawing session. Drawing is a very special skill. It's about coordinating your hand to draw what you are truly seeing.

When you take a pencil in your hand and trace the contour of the subject without looking at the paper, you learn to "feel" the lines of the subject. If your eye sees a line leans to the right, your hand pulls the pencil to the right. This "feel" of a line is very important. It leaps past logical thinking (which would be saying something to you like "get out a ruler and compass and measure that line exactly!") and takes you right into a special "drawing zone" where you draw what you see without thinking about it.

If you think about what you're drawing too much, your logical brain tells you what the subject "should" look like, and that's where a good deal of bad drawing comes from. We all have preconceived notions of how things look. 

(Lesson by Carol Rosinski of Toad Hollow Studios)

Book Release!

Tuesday, April 26 was the official release date of my new book, Adventures in Mixed Media. Thanks to all of you who have pre-ordered it from Amazon, or otherwise bought a copy. I invite comments, questions, feedback of any sort via e-mail, Amazon (or other book seller) reviews, or comments on my blog.

Adventures in Mixed Media is a book of projects and techniques, with lots of side bars on creative process Here is a little teaser video on my "fusion fabric process, described in Chapter Four of Adventures.

I am grateful to the many artists who contributed their work to this book, including Sue Bleiweiss, Elissa Campbell, Ingrid Dijkers, Pamela Hastings, Autumn Hathaway, Sherrill Kahn, Carol Owen, and Dawne Polis.

Enjoy the video, check out the contributors' web sites, and, as always, THANKS FOR VISITING!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Scribble Sketching

Carol Sloan here.

One of the things that I want to do is practice sketching people in public places.
I'm not used to the fast paced work this requires so I thought I would try my hand at it.
This weekend I was at a college baseball series; I sat at the back of the stadium- sketching people around me.
You'll be able to tell when you see my work that I need more practice at it...
You could join me (so I won't feel so bad about how my work looks!) and let's learn together!
I really think it is a matter of practice - just like any form of making art is.

I'll share my attempts with you here.
The first one was done at The Battery in Charleston SC. A lazy, sunny, beautiful day in Charleston.

This next page was done at the College of Charleston baseball game. Notice all of the baseball hats!

I did do a little bit of sketching that didn't involve people.
Here is a Palmetto tree at the ballpark.

If you've never been to Charleston this time of the year , you're really missing a wonderful season there.
The Confederate Jasmine (Star Jasmine) is blooming all over the city and it smells wonderful!
Here is a small sketch of one on a chain link fence. I pinched a small piece to take home and sketched it on the ride.
I love the way that I could really study the shape of the seed heads, the  way that the  flower swirls when it opens..
We really need to take the time to look at things closely...really look at them.

So, I'm here going out on a limb while I sketch people moving around.
I found it very difficult to do - that sketching when your subject keeps moving!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Trapped in an Alternate Universe

By Violette

A Journal Page i created in my new Strathmore Art Journal

Last night Mr. G couldn't sleep - you see he suffers from Sleep Apnea and violent leg twitches - sometimes they are so violent the twitches boot me out of bed......Read more here (you'll find out how quirky thoughts can lead to funny sketches!).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Branching Out: The Sketchbook Project 2012!

Leslie here.  Many of the contributing artists involved in the Sketchbook Challenge were originally participants in the Sketchbook Project, part of the Arthouse Cooperative based in Brooklyn, NY.
Participants select a sketchbook theme, or you may elect to have one randomly assigned to you.  You receive a sketchbook with a barcode attached to the back.  The main rule is that, no matter how you alter the book, the finished surface must remain the original 5.25 x 7.25 area.  The book is similar to a moleskin-style, soft cover book, and is made of 100% recycled 70 lb text-stock paper.  If you submit your book by the deadline it will be included in the book tour.  Please stop by their website to peek at all the places your book will travel!  
I signed up and chose the theme "the writing on the wall".  I hope many of you will consider participating in this project, too.  

Monday, April 25, 2011

Branching out into Simplicity

Hello, Jill K. Berry here. I am branching out by finding simplicity in my sketchbook.

Many years ago I saw a small painting of Van Gogh's in the Courtauld Gallery in London called "Woman at a Window". This small painting struck me, the very few strokes he used to create such a narrative. I stood for a long time and studied it, and all these years later I still am inspired by its simplicity.

Since I am going to teach in Italy in September, and because the everyday in Italy always inspires a narrative for me, stories of riches, I worked with that subject all week, and wrote haiku to go with the sketches. Enjoy!

Follow a holy man
Shrouded in linen dark black
Aged faith pure white

Don't miss anything
Stalwart and dedicated.
Cook, clean, shop and spy.

It looks romantic
The shape and craft of your broom
And the shape of you

Dreamy light falls on
The finely dressed seed thrower
Feathered fans gather.
For more Haiku my Heart, visit Recuerda Mi Corazon.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Branching Out all the way to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Jane LaFazio here. I've just returned from teaching a fabulous art retreat in the beautiful colonial city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. So much color! You can see my photos here, or check my blog, I've been posting the past few days about the trip.
While I was there,  I got some time to draw and paint on my own.
My inked drawing with the subject (an antique wooden cross)
Watercolored, with my paint set on my knee
The completed 5x7" sketchbook page.

Art Journal Page: Inspired by a Fish

The Journal page before the journaling....

Detail of Journaling........

Fish Head girl by Violette

This weekend i had lots of fun creating a 2 page journal spread. I began by preparing the papers so i didn't have to stare at a couple of blank more here.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Branching Out with The Tree of Life

Jamie Fingal - I am drawn to the Tree of Life theme, and find it in my work, rather unexpectedly.  This art quilt was made in 2009 and depicts the seasons. 

A page from my sketchbook - drawn with a black Flair pen - I love a line drawing with fun details.  I could have colored it in, but I really like the black and white.
This began as a drawing on an ATC card while I was at the International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati.  I decided that I wanted it to be larger, so I glued the ATC card onto a watercolor postcard and just continued with the drawing.  I used a Parker fountain pen and the blue it a Pitt pen.  After I got home, I realized how much it was like the art quilt that I made in 2009.  Funny how that happens.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Diana Doodles and Jane Tangles

Jane Davies here. Want to try a little twist on a doodle exercise? One of the sketchbook exercises Sue Bleiweiss and I offered at the Sketch-In last Sunday at Ink About It, was Diana Trout's Doodle Game. I urge you to watch her video and try it! I took it in a slightly new direction in honor of this month's theme: Branching Out / Out On A Limb.

Here are a few of my results. I really got out on a limb! Purposely putting yourself Out There, not knowing how you'll get back, is good practice in going out on a limb in your art.

Here are two that I did in the Sketch-in. The one on the right is where I went out on a limb.

Here is the one I started in the video. I was totally baffled and unable to get back to where I began, so I was unable to fill the page. But I got an interesting and unexpected shape.

I added another JaneTangle to this in a darker green marker, then started playing with water soluble crayons to fill in some of the shapes.

Here is another one I did, in which I did get out on a limb, but managed to cover the page a little more.

I hope you have fun with this. Thanks for visiting the Sketchbook Challenge!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Raleigh Sketch-In April 30th

Saturday April 30th
10:00 am -12:00pm

Meet  near the front door to the new wing - at those tables under the trees.

We'll do a couple of drawing exercises at 10:15 while everyone fills out their sketch pass.
(no tripods or easels inside, dry media and sketchbook only)
You can sketch in the permanent collections.

Or in the Museum Park.
for directions to the museum
2110 Blue Ridge Road | Raleigh, NC | (919) 839-NCMA

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Branching Out in Italy

Diana here. I just spent a delicious, deliriously happy week traveling in Italy from Fabriano (yes, where they make the paper) in Le Marche to Assissi in Umbria to Roma. I brought along a watercolor moleskine to work in. You can see the rest of my sketch equipment here on my blog. I travel light! One carry-on is crucial.

The journal came home just about filled. Not just sketches but also writing, stories and impressions. I recorded a ton of information that needs to be sorted out in the same way that you might sort the rest of your luggage contents.

Here is what I'm doing with the sketchbook ...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Carol here.
Thank goodness for friends that actually read the contents of the blog posts!
The next regularly scheduled Sketch In in Greenville SC will be May 18...
Not April 16 but MAY.
Thank you Denise!

Susan Sorrell and I will post the dates here and on our Facebook page.
Hope to see you all there!

branching out and off the sketchbook page...

Sue B here...

This page in my sketchbook:

branched right off the page and got turned into this silk screen using a PhotoEZ screen:

which got used to add some imagery to a page in the book I blogged about in this post:

I'll definitely be using this screen on fabric too!

proof that what happens in the sketchbook doesn't have to stay in the sketchbook...

Monday, April 18, 2011

sketch in at Ink About It

Jane Davies and I held a sketch-in workshop over the weekend at Ink About It and good grief did we have a great time!  We spend the day with 14 very talented students and did a series of drawing exercises, book making demos, painting demos and introduced everyone to lots of different supplies and materials to use in their sketchbooks...

Here's Jane doing a painting papers demo:

We did some white crayon bind portraits (which Jane talks about doing in an earlier sketchbook blog post here) of the person sitting across from you which was a lot of fun (I don't remember whose sketchbooks these photos are from so if they're yours, email me so I can label them)

and some students decided to do a white crayon resist drawing to the branching out theme:

We also did some Diana Trout doodle game exercises...

And of course we made time for some show and tell ...

A good time was had by all and Jane and I will be scheduling another one for sometime later this year. 

posted by Sue Bleiweiss