During the past few weeks I’ve helped my parents unpack what seems like a hundred boxes, used who knows how many cans of Lysol and Pledge, a million paper towels, and discovered three dying roaches. (The roaches were the worst of it.) The house is looking much more home-like now, but due to the dust I developed a nasty sinus infection. (My fourth one this year, I think.)
Now that most of the boxes are gone and I can breathe again, I wanted to do a quick post with a few updates. Starting in September, I will be taking Rebecca Guay’s SmArt School class. I’m really thrilled to have a chance to learn from her again. The last time I attended the IMC, I knew I needed more instruction than could be crammed into a week, and I decided to save up for SmArt School. I’ll be posting my assignments as I work through the course, however–
–I won’t be posting here. Starting next Sunday, I’ll be launching my new blog. The new blog has an amazing design, thanks to my sister-in-law, Stacey. I’ve had this blog since January 2010. I’m transferring all the old content to the new blog so that nothing will go missing.
I’ll be posting a link to the new blog soon. I hope many of my subscribers will follow me over there!
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Saturday I went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to see the Magna Carta, on loan from the Hereford Cathedral. I spent an hour driving in circles searching for parking. At last, several blocks from the museum, I found a metered spot next to a park where two girls in huge pink dresses and a bevy of male attendants (wearing tuxedos and hideous pink shirts that matched the dresses) were having their Quinceañera photos shot.
I started chunking quarters in the meter. I fed the machine about $3 worth of quarters before my math-challenged brain realized it was only giving me THREE MINUTES per quarter. By then I only had 39 minutes on the meter, which was barely enough time to walk to the museum and stand in line for a ticket. So it was back in the car and several more long loops around the museum before the previously “Full” parking garage was no longer full. I parked, went to the Museum, and saw some history.
The exhibit included displays about the time and culture that produced the Magna Carta, and a lot of very interesting information. I was disappointed that the only authentic items in the exhibit were the Magna Carta itself and the King’s Writ. Everything else (period tools, costume, weapons) were reproductions. There were two blacksmith’s hammers that the display invited viewers to “try” to lift. They were HEAVY, but I lifted them. Yes, I’m worthy of Mjolnir. Apparently oak galls were used for dye as well as ink. I wonder whose fun job it was to climb trees and harvest all those wasp-larva-infested lumps. Peppercorns used to be more valuable than gold. Who would have thought? (I hate peppercorns.) Obviously I was not going to copy out the full text of the Magna Carta. I did sketch how it had been folded– in half, then into thirds. The script was so tiny and delicate. No one has penmanship like that anymore. No space was wasted, the lines were crammed so closely together. It’s humbling to stand in front of a piece of parchment that was here long before I was born, and (hopefully) will be around long after I’m dead.
The exhibit also said that 17,000 people in the USA can trace their ancestry back to the twenty-five barons who forced King John to seal the Magna Carta. Seventeen thousand from twenty-five! They were fruitful and multiplied indeed.
Posted in Sketchbook | Tagged houston museum of natural science, magna carta, sketchbook | Leave a Comment »
A few pages from my sketchbook– all of these are on toned paper, with pencil and white pastel:
A study of the feet from the statue ‘Ugolino and His Sons‘ by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.
Male back from a figure drawing class last year. I love the way light and shadow work across the human form.
Studies of wolves for a commissioned painting. Having no live wolves nearby for observation, I found a documentary and paused the footage from time to time to sketch the wolves.
Posted in Sketchbook | Tagged anatomy is amazing, figure drawing, life drawing, sketchbook, studies | Leave a Comment »
Watercolor and gouache on illustration board. 14.5″ x 18.5″
Click for larger image.
Owl-light is an archaic term for dusk. If you linger in the woods at dusk, you never know what may step out of the shadows.
(Lately I’ve been fascinated by owls. They have such curious faces.)
Posted in Art, Watercolors | Tagged fae, illustration, owls, stag-centaur guy | 2 Comments »
My Wacom tablet arrived this week. I was so excited to unpack it. It’s the first tablet I’ve ever owned.
It came in a box inside a box inside a sleeve. As my mother said, you can tell something is special when it comes in complicated packaging.
Inside the box in the box in the sleeve was a card that said “Welcome.” I feel special: officially welcomed to the world of digital art.
Now all I have to do is set it up and learn how to use it.
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Pencil and white pastel on toned paper.
The Winter Soldier, from the end of the film. I really enjoyed drawing this, though open mouths and teeth are always a bit of a challenge.
“I’m with you ’til the end of the line.”
Posted in Silver Screen, Sketchbook | Tagged captain america, drawing, toned sketchbook, winter soldier | Leave a Comment »
Odette’s Secrets is the story of a Jewish child in occupied France during WWII. The book is based on the real Odette Meyers’ autobiography, Doors to Madame Marie.
The book is written in verse, but don’t let that intimidate you. This is good poetry: simple language, no flowery words. It’s easy to read and vivid as an Impressionist painting:
Today, rain drizzles down on Paris.
Nuns in white-winged bonnets hurry across the square.
Gypsies huddle in doorways.
Ironworkers sip bitter coffee and read newspapers at the café.
Life looks the same as always,
but it is about to change.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Books | Tagged bluebonnet award 2014-15, book review, maryann macdonald, odette's secrets, world war ii | 6 Comments »