Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 2012 Prize winners!

Chosen by random draw, the winners of the February 2012 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 3/9/12 in order to claim their prize.

The winner of the 8" x 10" Gel Printing Plate from Gelli Arts is:

The three lucky winners who will receive a piece of mail art from one of the Sketchbook Challenge artists are:

Winners must email Sue at with their full name and mailing address by 3/9/12 in order to claim their prize.

Thank you to everyone who posted photos in the flickr group and congratulations to all the winners! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sketchbook Challenge Artist Workshops and More

Check out these opportunities to learn from your favorite Sketchbook Challenge artists. 
We keep our commercial presence to one monthly post so that we can share other opportunities to take workshops, purchase art or enjoy other offerings from all of us. Check out our workshops and  books. Thank you for being a part of the Sketchbook Challenge! It's an honor to share this journey with you.


 April 4, 2012 (online, 6 weeks) Freeform Screenprinting
Journey back to the playful freedom of childhood as you discover exciting ways to transform fabric.  This improvisational method is much easier than you might think!  You can turn your favorite doodle into yardage or your favorite picture into a quilt block.  Lyric will show you how to create screened images ranging from rough and improvisational screens using easily found materials such as newspaper and flour paste to finely detailed Thermofax images.  All skill levels welcome. Four Lessons. More info here.

August 15-18, 2012, Fall River, MA  Surface Design Sampler Platter (4 days!) Are you are intrigued by the art of surface design but can’t choose which technique you most want to learn? Spend four glorious days trying a taste each! Play with paint, foil, photos and embellishments to create your own gorgeous fabrics. You will delve deeply into printing with screens, stencils, and with stamps you have carved yourself and play with beads to boot! More info here.


March 31, April 1, 2012 Join Diana Trout in Lincoln, NE on March 31 and April 1 for two of her most popular workshops: Rescue Book Journals and Wild Journal Rumpus at SouthEast Community College. You can take just one class or have a getaway weekend and sign up for both days. Pajama Party and more art journaling at the hotel! More info here.

October 12-16, 2012 Art Camp for Women is the best art vacation. Spoil yourself with a week full of art, food and fun. All 
supplies are included, so pack your jammies and join me and
Carla Sonheim for a creative retreat in Colorado! More info here.

STITCHED 2012 is an ongoing art adventure for crafters and stitchers of all kinds. Learn online with video workshops and a community forum. More than 20 projects for beginner to advanced fabric lovers. More info here.

March 29, 2012
Watercolor Sketchbook: Designs from Life
Online class from Jane LaFazio starts March 29 (6 weeks)
Each week, you’ll draw, watercolor and create designs and you’ll be given optional methods to use and leverage that design in your own work. This is a great workshop for anyone interested in improving their drawing skills to create original designs for surface design on paper or cloth. At the end of the workshop, your sketchbook will contain a treasury of original images, your own unique visual vocabulary. More info here.

May 31-June 3, 2012 CREATE  Mixed Media Art Retreat in Irvine CA. More info here.
June 16, 17, 18th  Art and Soul in Las Vegas, Nevada   More info here.

May 2012 Pam Carriker will be teaching four workshops at CREATE Irvine, CA at the end of May. More info here.

June 2012 Brand new online workshop from Pam Carriker at Artful Gathering-the online Art Retreat this June, 'Still Pursuing Portraits.' More info here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Working Large, Up Close

 Hi, Jane Davies here.  One challenge I set for myself for 2012 is to work large, say over 11"x15".  I did my first post here, last month, about re-arranging my studio to make room to work large.  And then I posted a video of myself actually getting down to it, which you can see here. I used 18"x24" cheap drawing paper as if it was a sketchbook, and did one after another large "painting sketches" in a black and white palette.  One point I want to make about this is that sketchbook is a mindset.  Since I am in the habit of using my sketchbook to generate ideas, it was not a big leap to translate this attitude into working on the wall!

So now I am starting to make big pieces, 22"x30", and I'm noticing that one thing that is different from working smaller is that I am CLOSER to the piece, in relation to its size.  I can work up close, then step back and get perspective, then move up close again.  This is just so obvious to anyone working at this size, but since I almost never have, it was a revelation.  So... here is another video, this time it is me working up close on the piece you see above.

You probably would not have guessed, but the piece below is actually the piece I'm working on in the video.  Still "in progress", I think.  I did not mean to obliterate the yummy bits of the image above, but that's what happened.  I'm going to let it rest a while before continuing.

Meanwhile, here are two more in progress.  I think you can see that I'm out there, unsure, in very strange territory.

If anyone has any tips on working large, I'm all ears. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

close up through the camera lens

Sue B here...

I really love the theme that Kelli chose for this month but I have to confess to having a bit of creative block about working with it.   To try and motivate myself to work in my sketchbook I turned to my favorite way to capture images: my camera.  I grabbed my camera and started with some photos from around the studio and then moved outside (thanks to an incredibly warm winter here in Massachusetts taking photos outside in February this year has been a very pleasant experience!), and I thought I'd share some of the "close up" views I saw through my camera lens ...

First from inside the studio...

from the paint shelf
on the worktable

Inka Gold tubs
and then outside...

up close and personal with a pine cone

a flower bud

a fallen tree
bleeding hearts
a tree bud looks glorious when viewed up close!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Up Close, Imaginary Worlds

Hi all, Diana here. This theme reminded me of my teenage drawings. I drew everyday objects HUGE and then tiny people having all sorts of adventures. Coffee cups with ladders and diving boards and people climbing up and diving in was one of my favorite themes.

I still do this as evidenced above in the close up of a meadow with a wee house hidden among the flowers.

I rooted around in my very old sketchbooks and found one drawing (pencil) that dates from the early 70's (gawd). In the top one, you can just make out the swimming scene. We have someone holding his nose and jumping into a little puddle on a leaf, someone in the puddle and someone climbing out, dripping. These are such fun to do!

This sketchbook page was covered with a drawing of a flowering vine and there are all sorts of scenes in there.
 I've always loved cats.

I've used this as a scale exercise when working with kiddos. I love the children's book Wendell, by Eric Jon Nones about a cat who is the only family member who can see the tiny creatures carrying away the aspirin, monkeying with the tv antennae and other hijinks.

The small top painting was done on a bit of watercolor paper that I glued into my Smash Book. I've been hugely enjoying this journal (guilty pleasure) and you can read my review of them here on my blog.

I've just started a new series on my blog called Taming the Critic. I invite you to come on over and join us. There is nothing to sign up for and it is free of charge. Here is the first post (and there are a couple of more recent ones.)

A Sense of Scale

(Lyric here) What happens when you take the sketch of something you've drawn... something nice and small and detailed... and you blow it up REALLY BIG!?

Burr Oak sketch by Nancy Cook
Scale is a basic principle of design and composition. It always relates to the size of the work of art in comparison to the size of us as human beings. Taking something tiny and often overlooked and spending the time necessary to draw it in great detail gives an artist a deep appreciation for the beauty of the form. I'm constantly telling my students that sketching is more about seeing than anything else. 

Maple Seed Design by Nancy Cook
How do you convey that sense of beauty to your viewer - the wonder and awe of the complexity of nature? One way is to create your work of art on a scale much, much larger than the object you are rendering. Nancy Cook takes a seed, a leaf, a branch - and blows it up larger than life with beautiful details in her textile work. She gives us an easy window into the understanding of nature's beauty.

Burr Oak by Nancy Cook
I was very fortunate to see an exhibit of Nancy Cook's work at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill this week. (Unfortunately it comes down next Tuesday the 28th.) It's worth seeing - and then wandering the beautiful landscape - sketchbook in hand.

Echos of Tulip's Summer by Nancy Cook
So as you sketch, as you observe, keep in mind a sense of scale. Might your sketch be a study for a final work of art? What scale would you like to work with? What will your final product be?

(By the way - Nancy blogged about a wonderful class she took with our own Jane LaFazio here.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

From Drawing to Stitch: A Close-up Element of a Still Life

Leslie here.  Drawing selected elements from nearby objects is something I like to do.  Recently, I've had a number of exchanges on Facebook and in small groups about how difficult it is to overcome the fear of taking the first step, and, more importantly perhaps, how important it is to just "do the work".  Part of the "work" is taking time to really look at things.  When I'm in the zone, I'm often trying to see the object as a set of colors or shapes rather than the actual entity.  It is fun to play around with a drawing in a few different ways.

I took a photograph of the source of my drawing, an aging flower arrangement left over from Valentine's Day.  Instead of drawing the entire arrangement I focused on a stem of greenery in the foreground:

My first drawing is a selection of leaves from this stem.
I'm focusing on the shadows and highlights.
I apologize for the quality (or lack) of the images (I'm using my phone camera in iffy lighting!)

To get a better understanding of the drawing, I trace it onto tissue paper
and play with the shapes and contours a bit before I do a basic tracing on cloth with the aid of a lightbox.
I don't need a lot of detail in the drawing on the cloth because I have the paper drawing as my reference.

 I think of my sewing machine as a stationary paintbrush.
Rather than moving the brush across the cloth, I move the cloth under the "brush".
My lovely thread is the "paint".

Even though it is less portable,
I hope you consider the idea that the sewing machine is a drawing tool!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Close up of one of my Sheroes

Hi all, Jill K. Berry here. As you may remember, last year I had the first post, which was "Highly Prized" based on a painting I grew up with by Corita Kent. Here is the post. Below you see the picture.

See the orange spot on the bottom? That has text in it. As a child I liked the words, but did not know where they came from. Here is what is says.

I care. I care about it all. It takes too much energy not to care...The why of why we are here is an intrigue for adolescents; the how is what must command the living. Which is why I have lately become an insurgent again.

These are the words of Lorraine Hansberry, as it turns out, who was an author and a playwright who was an activist for racial equality. She wrote A Raisin in the Sun. I have lived with this picture my whole life, and just now got close enough to figure this out! I drew a picture of Lorraine in my journal.

I am glad I took the time to get closer to this painting and discover another Sheroe for my list.