Portrait number three finished

Pastels finished

Do I even know what a peachy mauve color is?  When I got the photos of this house, it was obvious that they had been taken at different seasons and in different light conditions.  In one set the house had a reddish/mauve tint, but in the other it was more pumpkin orange.  A rather large difference.  I asked for clarification and, along with some new photos, I got the word that the house could be described as a peachy mauve, with blue trim and peach spindles.  And could I make the foliage indicate the summer.

So, what did I do?  I went for the mauve first and then put peach colored pencil over the top after I sprayed on the fixative.  Evidently, I came close because everyone was happy when I delivered it.  It is a cute little house, isn’t it.  Like so many other times, I wish I could see inside.

Color, finally

Wooden doorway

Wooden doorway

Color, finally, on the doorway.  I have made a preliminary fixative spray as I was having trouble deciding how rich the dusty rose for the woodwork was going to turn out.  So far, so good, but I definitely think I need to darken and delineate the shadows more.  It’s too flat yet.

We’ve had an up and down fall so far.  First very warm and then quite cold.  The animals have been hiding too, perhaps because some of the hunting seasons have started.  We’ve been hearing gunshots in the woods lately so hiking the south trail may be a bad idea for a while.  I did see flocks of tom turkeys twice this week, so that was nice.  And coyotes have been howling some.  Too bad we didn’t see pups this year.  The flower beds have given up the ghost, although I had one wayward white iris that decided it was okay to rebloom in November.  That didn’t last very long, but it was pretty.

I started an instagram account under ruthsartwork a couple of weeks ago.  Slowly, with the help of my son, I am being dragged into the social media webs.  LOL  It’s been surprisingly fun so far, though.

All colored up

Pastels on the commission

Pastels on the commission

The picture went out on Monday.  I used mostly the pastels for the color, but did some fine work with the colored pencils.  There is so much detail crammed into the space, that I needed to edge some areas with the pencils to neaten them up. The finished drawing is a bit browner and less red for the bricks in the photo, but all in all, it turned out fine.  Since it is a newer home, I enlarged the greenery and added some flowers.  I almost forgot to put in the wicker bench and side table on the porch but luckily noticed it before it was too late.  There were also some wreaths on the doors which added a bit of color under there

The buyer is happy it is getting out so soon because he might be able to get it framed in time for Christmas.  Now I’m back to deciding what my next project will be.

An internationally selling artist.

The last few days have been filled with overcast skies, fog, and rain.  The lake has risen a couple of feet and the grass has stayed quite green with the warmer temperatures and abundant moisture.   Not that I am complaining mind you.  Last year we had about 15″ of snow already and I certainly don’t miss that.  Another evening of rain and then the sun returns with temperatures in the 40’s.  I can get used to that.  I’m not going to miss a white Christmas after last year.

The final pastel

I was going to post the last photo of the finished entryway yesterday, but when I looked at the pictures I had taken, I realized that I didn’t like the lack of shadowing behind the flowers in the front.  So it was back to the drawing board with the colored pencils and pastels.  I made a few more minor adjustments and improved it I think.

And now to the title of this post.  You are currently reading the blog of an internationally selling artist.  Much to my surprise, last week I got an inquiry from a woman in the UK concerning one of my etsy listings.  Would I consider doing an international sale?  Would I?  You bet I would!  It was really just an illustration style pen and ink of a barbershop window that I created as part of a mustache related challenge within one of my etsy teams and listed.  It was small and simple and I never dreamed that it would actually sell.  I looked at it as just a fun, playful piece, but she and her business partners wanted to purchase the drawing and then use it as a logo and for signage.  You could have blown me over with a feather.  So it is currently on its way to Wales. I guess there is no telling what will appeal  to someone out there and we shouldn’t box ourselves or our artwork in.  I have asked her to send me a picture after the sign is made and placed.  I know it’s not much, but it was pretty thrilling for me.  Perhaps one of these days, one of the larger, more elaborate pastels will follow.  I might have to raise the postage though.

A hand and 3/4?

I went to see the hand doctor today and the report was all good. He was pleased with the healing’s progress and said most likely I could get rid of the splint in 2-3 weeks.  But since he is out of the office between Christmas and New Years, I’m guessing it will be three weeks. I don’t think I am making that decision on my own.  I have been using my freed thumb and 2 fingers with some care not to overload my hand.  It’s harder than it might seem because if I can grab it with those fingers, the tendency is to lift with it and that’s not a good idea quite yet.  Even so, I managed to get quite a lot done over the last few days. 

All gussied up with color

I drew, inked and colored this cute little commission in record time.  Because it needed to get out in time to be a Christmas gift, I had to compress my normal work schedule to one day for each phase.  I still want to leave a night between each because I truly need to get away to see it clearly.  Today I packaged and sent it off.  I kind of like the way it turned out and I hope they do too.

Someone asked me earlier about the fixatives I use and I actually managed to remember to bring them to the computer with me.  I most often use Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating  #1303.  It provides a gloss finish that pops the firm pastel colors for me.  I first clean up the drawing and the borders with my eraser because it is not a workable fixative and then spray a light coating to enhance the colors.  I know that this a permanent fixative that is supposed to be a final coat but I have colored between coats and artwork that I did 20 years ago still look fine.  I don’t overdo the spray and usually I am just adding some colored pencil or topcoat of pastel and  little bit more ink.  The drawing is already 90% done by this time and I am just adding shadows and reworking the ink detail.  On occasion I have used Krylon workable fixative #1306 but it doesn’t pop the colors in quite the same way even if I later use the 1303 to make the final seal.  I always use it outside and let it air out there for about 10-15 minutes because it is truly noxious when first sprayed.

Snow and rain outside, warm and dry inside

It seemed like a miracle to me, but I actually got two consecutive days of work in at the studio. Yesterday I spent a few hours coloring in with the pastels and adding a little greenery here and there to the pen and ink.  As I worked, I saw the rain outside my windows turn slowly to the first snow of the season and my heart gave a little lurch.  It wasn’t supposed to snow until later in the evening.  Was this a preview of things to come?  I hoped not.  I vote for a mild winter for a change.  Fortunately, even though we got a little more snow in the evening, the ground was still warm enough that it didn’t stick on the roadways and the total amount was relatively small.  Chalk up the first snow.

Tudor style

Anyway, I ended up adding a little shrubbery to the lower right.  After inking in the chimney, the expanse of brick seemed way too big so I put in some more greenery.  I’m not sure that it is enough but we’ll see.  I’m not quite happy with it yet.  I need to finish the shadowing too.  For instance, I forgot the shadow of the gable on the slate so the roof looks a little odd up there.  Easy enough to fix.  I may add some brighter flowers at the bottom for more visual interest.  I also need to re-delineate some of the ink lines to sharpen them up a little and use some colored pencil.  It’s not that far from finished but it seems the last details sometimes make or break a drawing.

I only gave it a light spray to pop the colors because of the rain.  I have to spray outside because of the fumes.  I hugged close to the house to give it a quick dose but I was leery of the eave drips falling on it and ruining my effort.

1 year and 100 posts later – who’d have guessed

Who would have guessed?  Certainly not me.  This is my 100th post and it’s hard to believe that I am coming up on 1 year of blogging on October 21st.  When I took the social media class for artists at the community college extension, I thought it would be the least of the things I did. Instead, it has turned out to be the most fun and rewarding of all. I have tried to post on Wednesdays and Sundays because I need to have some sort of schedule in order to get anything done and I felt that twice a week was something I could keep up with while maintaining a reasonable studio and online store schedule.

When I started, I feared I would have nothing interesting to say or show and that no one would care to visit.  There in an inherent trauma in going to your blog and seeing spam for your comments and little or no views.  No one who doesn’t blog can understand the joy of the first comment made by someone you don’t know and the appearance of the first subscriber.  Heady stuff you know.   At least for me.

Flowers to all of you

I have met so many wonderful people who encouraged me along the way this year, not the least of whom are Leslie and Linda, who were among my first visitors.  They kindly made wonderfully positive comments, so special thanks to them.  In the course of this year, I have seen some beautiful works of art created by this community as well as laughed myself silly over some FP blog.  I have enjoyed sharing not only my artwork, but stories of the wildlife that surrounds me (especially the coyote puppies on the porch  and the the deer stalking the heron) and the beautiful countryside where I live.  It is a journey I plan to continue and I hope you come along.  A bouquet of flowers to you all – past, present and future.

Sketching for practice

Sketch 1

A while back I bought a sketch journal to go along with Danny Gregory’s book, “Creative license”.  I had been wanting to try a daily or at least every other day sketching routine as a way to loosen up my style and creativity and got the book as a jumping off point.  I’m not too good at initiating these kinds of things myself and the structure to at least start an activity is beneficial.  I did well for a while, but it fell by the wayside when we went on a short trip and I forgot to take the journal with me.  We got very busy on the return and I never quite got back to it.

Sketch 2

Lately, I have been feeling the need to try it again.  I pulled out the old sketch book and found, low and behold, that the sketches had improved over time.  I think maybe they got bored being hidden and ignored for so long and rearranged themselves.   Anyway, I like them a little better than I did at the time and it gives me impetus to try again.  The question now is whether I should work on one side of a page only or on both.  As you can see there was some bleed through of the ink pen.  And I think I may want to use pen, at least for a while, since it won’t allow me to erase and get stuck obsessively on something.  

Sketch 3

These are a few of the sketches from around the house – wherever I could find a place to sit comfortably and look.  I’m starting to size up a few new things to work with  now.  I have some wooden shore birds on a beam that would be easy to draw and some dresser top items for small object work.  Then perhaps I’ll step outdoors while the weather is still mild.  Maybe in time I’ll feel inspired to add a little color too.

I think it’s finished now

All done

Here is another photo of the entryway after I worked on it today. I don’t know if you can see much difference because it is still a little washed out, but I added more shadowing and highlighted the door some with the colored pencil.  It also occurred to me today that I hadn’t addressed the changes on the right side in yesterday’s post either.  As you can see there is now a window there.  That came about in a rather funny way.  I was merrily inking in the shingles without a care in the world.  I had roughed in the horizontal pencil lines, not paying too much attention to where the edge of the picture was.  So of course, I went outside the margin lines when I started the inking.  Fortunately I saw my mistake before I had gone very far and I try to leave a little extra margin for adjustments.

It was only about 1/4″ over, but now the blank space was going to be too large for just some texture.  I mulled it over and decided to place part of a window there.  The real windows were some thin, slatted affair reminiscent of a 3 season porch which I couldn’t understand, so I decided to go with the diamond grids again.  I actually kind of like the composition better with the changes.

I’ve colored it in, mostly inside the lines

I pretty much finished up the drawing today. I think I’ll let it rest a day or two and then go back to make a few additions.


Almost colored in

The colors are a little washed out in the photo so I will also retake them later before I list it in my shop.  I did it outside and although the sun wasn’t overly bright, the limestone accent blocks are really much more textured, as is the foliage.  I don’t know what the problem is with the light today.  And now it is starting to rain, so I can’t take it back outside in the evening light.  Not complaining, mind you, as I will happily take a gentle soaking rain for quite some time.

I will play a little with the shadowing, especially on the lower left behind the flowers.I also need to texture the door finish a bit more.  It comes off as a little flat to me.  I did put in some yellow highlights, but the spray fixative kind of washed them out.  I may do it with the colored pencil and not respray as the pencil won’t smear like the pastel does.

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