Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 2012 Prize Winners!

The winners of the May 2012 give away prize packages, chosen by random draw are:

(click on the winners names to see their sketchbook page)

Winners must email Sue at with their full name, flickr name and mailing address by 6/9/12 in order to claim their prize.  

The winner of the prize package giveaway from Gelli Arts! is:

the lucky winner will receive an 8"x10" Gelli Art plate!
The 3 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, flickr name and mailing address by 6/9/12 in order to claim their prize.  Prizes not claimed by 6/9/12 are forfeited.

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

Our Classes, Workshops and More!

Workshops & Online Classes with 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.

Lyric Kinard
June 1, 2012 (six weeks on-line) The Artist's Toolbox 
You ARE creative and it IS possible to learn the basic alphabet of the visual language and begin to think and see like an artist. is an affordable and informative on-line class venue. Sign up today!

Aug 15-18, 2012 Surface Design Sampler Platter
Four fabulous days playing with fabric, paint, foil, photo transfer, beading, stamping, screen printing - and a little design too! Join Lyric at ProChemical and Dye in Fall River, MA for the most delicious sampler platter you've ever tried! More info here.

Jane Davies
Jane Davies is teaching at CREATE in Somerset, NJ, on July 18 and 19.  More info here.

Fabric-Paper  July 18, 9 - 4  More info here.

Introduction to Fusion Fabric  July 18, 6 - 9 More info here.

Unbinding the Visual Journal, July 19, 9 - 4 More info here.

Scribble Paint, July 19, 6 - 9 More info here.

Jane LaFazio

Starting June 7: Sketching and Watercolor: Journal Style ONLINE class.

Near Ashville, North Carolina, at Random Arts June 29: Monoprinting with Paper and Collage; July 1: Watercolor Sketchbook: Designs from Life; July 2: Wet Felting
More information here.

Sue Bleiweiss
Sue Bleiweiss will be teaching the Paper Bag Leather journal class at Ink About It  in Westford MA on June 2, 2012 More details here.

Sue Bleiweiss will be doing a book signing and Keychain Book make it take it at Ink About It in Westford MA June 30, 2012 from 10:00-2:00. Stop by Ink About It  where Sue will be signing copies of her new book The Sketchbook Challenge.  While you’re there you can make a keychain book to take home with you!

Judy Coates Perez
International Quilt Festival Long Beach
July 26   Alternatively Bound & Stitched
July 27   Color Theory
July 28   10 Textile Techniques Using Acrylic Inks

Deborah Boschert
Deborah Boschert is an instructor with STITCHED, a collection of 20 online video workshops. Her workshop is titled Branches, Buds and Blossoms: A Botanical Fabric collage and includes segments on surface design, composition and embellishment. More info here.

Deborah Boschert's new DVD workshop from Quilting Arts was just released! "Contemporary Fabric Collage: Design, Stitch and Finish" includes segments on fabric selection, using sheer fabrics and hand embroidery. More info here.

Sign up for Deborah Boschert's e-newsletter for regular updates and free pdf downloads. 

Carol Sloan
June 3, 2012 Blue Twig Studio Colorado Springs, CO
"Whimsical Mark Making" - A playful approach to drawing and fanciful journal pages.

June 4, 2012 Blue Twig Studio Colorado Springs, CO 
"Painted Papers"Carol will show you a variety of techniques to use to prepare backgrounds for journals, collages or sketches with her favorite journal paper.

June 7-11, 2012 Art Camp For Women- Winter Park, CO Book Making With Carol Sloan - create a one of a kind handmade book with all supplies provided! More info here.

Kelli Nina Perkins
2012 STITCHED Online Video Workshops. Over 20 projects with full video tutorials. Work all year, take as many as you'd like for one fee. More info here                 

October 2012 ART CAMP FOR WOMEN in beautiful Colorado. Join me, Carla Sonheim and other artists at an all inclusive art vacation retreat. We'll study self portraits and take in fresh mountain air with other creative spirits. Gourmet food and wine every day. More info here.

Pam Carriker
June 6th, 2012 Artful Gathering, the online Art Retreat
Can't make it to a Live Art Retreat? Take a 'Staycation Style' retreat with Artful Gathering-the Online Art Retreat! The first session begins June 6th and my workshop, 'Still Pursuing Portraits' takes an in depth look at drawing front, side and 3/4 view profiles using a simple face mapping system that makes the rules of drawing faces easy to remember and execute. From drawing in our journals we will then create mixed media paintings from some of the sketches. DVD of entire workshop is available for attendees!

July 30 - August 7th Art Unraveled 2012 From 'Puzzling Portraits' to carving lino blocks and turning them into mixed media art journal pages in 'A Cut Above' the 10th anniversary of Art Unraveled promises to be an exciting time! I hope you'll consider joining me for one of my workshops in Phoenix, AZ this summer. If you want to check out more of my lino cuts you can see them in the May issue of Somerset Studio. Also be on the lookout for my new line of stamps inspired by that article  in the Shoppe at Stampington this July! More info here.

October 27th-November 3rd 2012 Art at the Speed of Life in Cortona Italy with Americana Tuscana!
Creating Art at the Speed of Life is about more than just creating art; it’s about finding the creative spirit that dwells within and feeding it on a daily basis. By incorporating daily sketching into our itinerary and expanding on it while we take field trips, feast on Italian foods and wine, and even learn something about Italian cooking, we will explore many mixed media techniques and mediums that both make art journaling exciting and doable! I’ve chosen one of my favorite journals to be our constant companion on this epic journey and it will provide us both a place to sketch and play with mixed media. I‘ll show you how to create you your own Personal Paint Palette right in your journal using Peerless Watercolor papers and Liquid Pencil Sketching Ink and we’ll make ‘Journal to Go Kits’ to take on our field trips through Tuscany, Italy.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Italian Fruit & Veggies

Sketchbook page by Jane LaFazio

Jane LaFazio here. I just returned from teaching in Italy, and managed to do a few sketchbook pages while I was there. One of my favorite places to go to sketch (and eat!) is the local farmers market. I did the artichoke/wine bottle page (items purchased at the market) in my room. The other page, I did with a water soluble pen (Tombow) while standing at the farmers market. 

Sketchbook page by Jane LaFazio 

farmers market, Orvieto, Italy

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spied in a Community Garden Plot: the Welsh Onion

Leslie here.  I visited my daughter in Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago.  After waiting several years she is now leasing a plot in a lovely community garden in the heart of the city:  Spring Gardens.
My daughter, Luren, working in her garden plot.

Her love of gardening thrills me.  She and her roommate have created a combination vegetable/flower garden.  On May 15th, which happened to be her 29th birthday, we wandered the garden together.
One of the things she is growing are Welsh Onions, a fascinating member of the Allium family.  One thing that is unique about this perennial is that it does not have a bulb, rather, the stems are hollow and tube-like, and sturdy, with lovely light sprays of blossoms at the top.  They are wonderful for cooking, and I find them very ornamental.

this is a botanical drawing taken from the Wiki entry.

I decided to look at the first photograph of the onions and start out with a very basic drawing.  I love working back into a basic drawing with gouache.  If I had not been traveling I might have used frisket along the edges of the stalks as a resist, but I didn't want to mess with a bottle of frisket since I was not checking my bag!  As a result, I'm not happy with my background, which I feel is a bit "overworked".

With water-based media I work from light to dark with the pigments as much as possible.
Determine where the lightest elements are on the drawing or painting, and preserve them.
Make sure to consider the shading, which gives shape to the object.

Call me crazy, but I see a lot of blue in the stems....

rather than use black, which I find rather harsh in both water and oil media, I prefer to use a deep
version of the compliment to create the shadows.  

In a more perfect world, I would have used frisket on the inner edges of my stalks, washed on the background, and THEN painted the stalks.  I did the opposite, without frisket, and it doesn't look so great at the edges.  Still I liked making the little painting.  You can see that I was not at all concerned with the background in the actual photo.  I was looking at the stalks of this plant as the sole focus.

One of the great things about making a drawing or painting is just that:  artistic license!  Who says everything should be included in the scene?  Heck no!  Pick and choose at will.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Please give a warm welcome to...

We've made a few changes to the line up of Sketchbook Challenge Hosts for the last half of 2012 so please give a warm welcome to these very talented artists!

Deborah Boschert  is a fiber artist who creates art quilts, fabric postcards, mixed media collages and other bits of crafty goodness. Her studio is a welcoming place with inspiration on every wall, piles of fabric, collections of doo-dads and something always in the works. She loves making art and encouraging others to create!  Visit Deborah's blog here.

Judy Coates Perez is a mixed media textile artist, exploring themes drawn from folklore, history, life and nature, often blending quilting skills with techniques drawn from her graphic arts background. Visit Judy's blog here.

Desiree Habicht is an artist, living her dream of painting and creating art everyday. It isher  journey through the process that is so exciting, the trials, the experiments the people she meets.  Visit Desiree's blog here.

Joanne Sharpe is a colorful mixed media artist and enthusiastic teacher with a passion for art journaling, lettering, doodling and illustration.  Visit Joanne's blog here.

Kari McKnight Holbrook is trying to live an appreciative, joyful and creative life, while enjoying the view from the porch.  Visit Kari's blog here.

Terri Stegmiller has been creating art of various types for as long as she can remember.  Her current work focuses on texture and color and she finds that she's drawn to creating female faces, flowers and cats.  Visit Terri's blog here.

Frances Holliday Alford  found her medium in Fiber Arts after experimentation with many  different art forms and mediums.  As a painter, she feels that her use of fabrics, fibers, and textile paints are an  extension of her medium.  Known for brilliant colors and for narrative  subjects, often humorous, she uses materials in fresh and innovative ways. Visit France's blog here.

You'll be seeing blog posts from all of them starting in June!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fruiting Bodies

Carol Sloan here.

I didn't really want to draw or paint a piece of fruit or vegetable (even though I like them).
I didn't know what to do I decided to look up the definition of "fruit" and was kinda surprised at what I read as the first entry.
This is from


  [froot]  Show IPA noun, plural fruits, especiallycollectively fruit, verb
any product of plant growth useful to humans or animals.
the developed ovary of a seed plant with its contents andaccessory parts, as the pea pod, nut, tomato, or pineapple.
the edible part of a plant developed from a flower, with any accessory tissues, as the peach, mulberry, or banana.
the spores and accessory organs of ferns, mosses, fungi,algaeor lichen.
anything produced or accruing; product, result, or effect;return or profit: the fruits of one's labors.

I always thought of a fruit as, well, a fruit.
Not as "any product of plant growth useful to humans or animals". 
I thought that was interesting.

But then my eye settled on the number two definition.
Ahhh...much more pleasing to my "I want to draw something" eye.
Then I recalled a page in one of my sketchbooks where I had done several sketches of "fruiting bodies".

Then I found another one that included several stages of a fruiting body as well as a lavender plant.

I often, quite often actually, get so interested in a particular shape that I can't seem to quit drawing it...I'll spare you the "fruiting body" phase I just went through though.

I hope that you all are exercising your creative muscles!
Don't forget to take your sketchbook with you on every trip outside of the just never know when you're going to have a spare minute to draw something.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Garden Color Wheel

Kelli here, playing around with fruit and vegetable colors. I think that's one of my favorite things about them. They are so gorgeous to look at! A veritable feast for the eyes. These are some quick digital sketches I made while sipping my morning coffee. "My Garden Colors" is done in digital soft pastel and "Garden Color Wheel" is digital watercolor. Why not make a palette based on your favorite fruit or vegetable combinations? Revel in the glorious color just beginning to show itself in the garden and the promise of more delicious color to come!

Friday, May 25, 2012


(Lyric here) It doesn't take much time to open your sketchbook and just play. Don't wait until you have the perfect sketchbook or brushes and paints. Don't wait until you have an uniterrupted hour of free time. 

Just DO it!
watercolors and colored pencils (just the cheap crayola kind!)
plain sketchbook paper
5 minutes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Play on Fruit

Jamie Fingal checking in, on a lighter, more funny note.  I had this little book of blank artist trading cards, where all of the pages are watercolor paper.  I thought "what if?"  My play on fruit, because we all need to be silly and funny at one point or another.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 21, 2012


(Lyric here) Every once in a while I'll be working on dinner and something will strike me, capture my attention. There is such beauty in the mundane world. Color, line, form. If you are looking, seeing, you will find it. This day it was a head of red cabbage.

It's often interesting how the photographs only vaguely capture what my imagination is seeing as I snap the shot. A little fiddling with a digital editing program often can bring the visual images closer to my inner reality.

Who knows what will happen with these images. Ideas float and flow as I imagine how they might be translated into some larger work of art. Perhaps for now this is enough; to simply gather and to play.

If there is a lesson here it is that there is beauty everywhere. Stop. Play. Feed and nourish your creativity. If you want a really great recipe for red cabbage here you go:

5 cups sliced Red Cabbage
1/2 cup dried Cranberries
1/3 cup Rice Vinegar
1/3 cup Sugar
2 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/4 cups sliced Green Apples
1/4 cup chopped toasted Pecans
Combine cabbage and cranberries. Whisk together vinegars, oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Toss with cabbage, cover and chill for 2 hours. Add apples and pecans and serve. I found a wonderful pecan, cranberry, rosemary package at Trader Joe's and it was divine in this slaw.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ramps, or Wild Leeks

Jane Davies here.  I've been pondering the fruit and vegetable theme, wondering how to tackle it without feeling like I'm going back in time.  For years, as a potter and then as a freelance artist, I created lots of fruit and vegetable imagery, first on my ceramics, then for manufacturers of fabrics, paper goods, stationery, and so forth.  Here are a couple of designs-from-the-past:

One design in a fabric collection for Free Spirit Fabrics

Leeks!  22"x30"

Another fabric design - I made myself a quilt out of it! It also appeared on a cookbook cover.

Here in Vermont it is close to the end of Ramp Season. Ramps are wild leeks that grow from South Carolina up to Canada in the spring.  They are the sweetest allium (onion family) that I have ever eaten.  [Chop bulbs and greens separately; saute bulbs in olive oil with salt til slightly browned, then add chopped greens and cook until wilted.  Y U M!!! ]  They are abundant around here, so we eat them almost every day during the season, and I freeze some as well.
ramps growing on the forest floor
single ramp, washed, with roots removed

ramps ready for cooking or blanching and freezing

So, what better subject for our Fruit And Vegetable theme?  I started by painting several versions of a single ramp.  Here are two of them:


Inktense watercolor pencils

 And then I decided to try using the ramp colors in some scribble paintings.  Here are a couple of those.

For more on Scribble Painting see my blog post.