Thursday, July 28, 2011

Featured Artist: Grace

My niece, Grace, has always been very creative and artistic. Lately she has been drawing with colored pencils, so I thought that it would be fun to share her wonderful artwork here... in honor of her 10th birthday today!
She is also a devoted reader of my blog,
so if you leave her a comment below,
she'll definitely see it!

Happy Birthday, Grace!

She likes to draw people,
(that's a self-portrait on the left)

and  fruit, 
(like her Aunt Sarah does)

and some amazing animals! 

(She made the frog at clay camp this summer, and drew her cat, Daisy,
just the other night. Isn't that one great? I love the expression on Daisy's face. 
I think Grace has a future as an illustrator of children's books, don't you?)

Happy Birthday, Grace!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Illustration Friday: Perennial

Blueberries...a perennial plant, and a perennial summer favorite. After doing that detailed drawing of the Royal Burgundy beans over the weekend, I decided to just do a quick sketch of these guys. (And yes, this is another in my unplanned summer preoccupation with drawings in blues and violets.  Maybe when the warm weather subsides, it will too.)

When I was scanning my sketch, and making my thumbnail for IF, it reminded me how much I love being able to crop artwork digitally. I never draw digitally, and when I scan, I try to keep the colors as close to my original as possible, good or bad. But cropping...that's one digital tool that I could play with for hours. When I start a drawing, it's nice to know that if I don't get the placement on the page just right, that cropping gives me a second chance. Even on a sketch this simple and small, cropping it differently can really change the look. What do you you prefer one of these alternatives to the straightforward view above? Are you cropping-tool-crazy, too?



Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer colors

"Royal Burgundy" beans from my garden
Prismacolor on Strathmore Bristol - Vellum

(My summer obsession with cool colors continues...)

These beauties come from equally lovely plants—deep green leaves with purple stems. And they're tender, stringless and tasty. Interestingly, their color changes to green when you cook them, which just sort of adds to their rather exotic appeal, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Illustration Friday: Gesture

Giving flowers is a gesture of caring—whether it's romantic love, remembrance, or just an attempt to bring a little sunshine into someone's day.  Flowers from a florist can be dandy, but some of my favorites have been the handfuls of blossoms plucked from the backyard and proudly presented to me by one of my kids.

This time, I did the plucking—these delphiniums (or larkspur, a name I like better) are from a pot on my front porch. They're the July birth flower, and are symbolic of an open heart, according to the Victorians. As any fan of the Bront√ęs or Jane Austen knows, the Victorians felt that it was improper to express strong emotions verbally, which led to the popularity of a whole coded language of flowers, also known as floriographyWhile a bellflower meant "I'm thinking of you", a yellow carnation meant "You disappoint me".
So polite, so proper.

Maybe it's the warm weather, but my last three posts have all been drawings in very cool colors—have you noticed? That's unusual for me: usually those blue and violet pencils are languishing in their jars while the warm colors (and the ever-present greens) are front and center. I also played around with a something I've seen in traditional botanical illustration - combining color with black-and-white drawing. The "plant hunters" of the Victorian era would sometimes color only part of their field drawing...just enough to accurately record the colors and get back in time for tea. So polite, so proper...sigh.

If you're into botanical illustration even the slightest little bit, you must check out this blog from the exhibit at the NY Botanical Garden before it wraps up at the end of this month. There are some really spectacular pieces!

Note to visitors from Illustration Friday: Thanks for stopping by in spite of my messed-up blurry thumbnail on the link viewer...that's what happens when I try to post late at night...