Thursday, December 26, 2013

the day after Christmas

my son decided to give away the toys in his "crazy box" today.  And he wanted to wait outside to see if anyone wanted them.  I told him I would only wait outside to do this in the cold if he would let me draw him.  His hands are up to his mouth because he is eating a sucker that on the other side of the candy is a mustache and tongue.  A silly sucker I guess.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Kid Likes Our Dog More Than Me

In an effort to begin a daily something or other again I have decided to start just doing daily sketches of personal things that might happen throughout the day.  Sometimes these will be from memory, sometimes from life or pictures.  The first one has to do with our new dog Bruce.  He is a little chihuahua mix and my son is definitely into him.  So much so that he had to tell me that he now thinks of  him more than me.  Which honestly made me a little jealous of Bruce.
The black light is an unfortunate reality for us in our new house.  I'll let you guess why.

Thursday, August 01, 2013


Plants, linocut, 2013.
This is a new print that I made.  It is pretty dense.  I used my houseplants and overlapped the patterns in the leaves.  It came out pretty good in terms of how deep the etching was.  However on the top left hand corner I didn't realize until too late that the block was a bit bowed so kept having it not print all the way up there.  I never got a perfect print when I was printing this so I will probably try again, this time with a green ink. 

Game of Thrones

I have been obsessed with Game of Thrones.  I tv binged on it and now am watching it over again.  To make the time a little more productive I have been doing little sketches while it is playing.  Here is my Game of Thrones men sheet.  My favorite is the Peter Dinklage character on this sheet but my favorite in the show is Jamie! 

Tuesday, June 04, 2013


"Buffalo," 8" x 10", oil on gessoed paper, 2013.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


This is my new print, it is of a comet.  I am starting to sell them on an etsy site.  But it seems that only Russian people who drink Stella beer, misspell and those who "wish they had a thriving blog of their own" will see this.  I have been getting a lot of spam comments.  They are actually very entertaining.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

4 new little paintings

I basically have about 20 minutes to an hour to paint on any given day.  Not much time to do painting a days or anything like that, but enough to do these super short paintings.  Each of which took me a total of 45 minutes at tops.  A couple took me 20 minutes.  It totally shows but I am happy to be painting again and might start another website page to it if I keep it up.  All of these paintings are oil on paper, 8" x 10".  Per my artist school classes I have decided to give up liquin.  It is a painting medium I have used since I began painting almost 20 years ago.  without it the paint is much thicker because I don't use any other mediums right now.  But I definitely like it that way. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Badminton Shuttlecock (or Birdie)

This is my second linocut print.  I played competitive badminton when I was in high school.  For a long time many people thought that was something of a joke, competitive badminton.  And it is true that the thought of playing badminton competitively is quite a surprise if you are just used to carefree summer afternoon games.  Either way it is a super fun, great sport and I have always been drawn to the "birdies".  This drawing is of a feathered birdie which are definitely superior to the plastic birdies that come with the backyard sets in big box stores.

I am glad with how it turned out.  I love the bright orange color, very summer.  The only slight issue with the run was that the ink was really thick and I am not sure if that was because I was printing basically the negative space.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

a little bit of this....

Since we have been back from Austin, which marks to me when I delivered the work and therefore the last time I was really trying to do something, I have been doing a little bit of this, a little bit of that.  Typical.  I randomly picked up a lino block (or a softer version of one) at Utrecht and was really excited to make my first prints.  I figured I would make an image that I had already made so that it would be easy to draw it and I strangely decided to make a linocut of Marsha Brady.  It came out pretty good for my very first try.  I had to learn how to ink the block and all of these activities I have never known much about.  I would really like to make more, plus I haven't yet gotten a great print of the Marsha Brady, but here it is:

It was so satisfying to make.  It was very gratifying to carve out the block and watch tv at the same time.  I always try to draw and watch tv at the same time with limited success.  But this felt a little closer to knitting or some sort of activity that can be mindless once you figure out the design.  Although, there was the threat that I could mess it up with one wrong slice (or mess up my finger) which kept me on my toes.

And then yesterday I made a gouache/watercolor of a pigeon.  I had been struck with pigeon inspiration about a week ago at a park.

Friday, April 26, 2013

"Kami," oil on canvas, 18" x 24, 2013.
I took another class at SAS, this time it was a workshop by Robert Lemler, an artist who lives in Phoenix.  Anyway, it was pretty fun.  I wish there had been more painting time.  I mainly took it so that I could have a full day to paint, considering this doesn't happen very often now.  This was the last painting I did.  It was a workshop on making fast paintings, which I like to do, so that was all pretty interesting.  I think I picked up some tips, both about teaching and about painting.  This painting wasn't all that fast but was made in about 45 minutes.  I had some major trouble fitting the model into the canvas, and then with her face, otherwise I might have gotten a bit farther but I definitely liked it the most of what I did.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Opening at grayduck Gallery

"Brittany," colored pencil on paper, 14" x 17", 2013.
"Annie," colored pencil on paper, 14" x 17", 2013
"Jeff," colored pencil on paper, 14" x 17", 2013.

I have a show at grayduck Gallery that will be up from April 6-May 5 in Austin, Texas.
The opening is April 6 from 7-9 and I will be there!
I am pretty excited about many of these drawings.  I have been working on colored pencil portraits for the last few months and so I am super happy to have a place to start to show them. 

This is the info for the gallery:

Click image for larger view
608 W. Monroe Street, Suite C, Austin, TX 78704 [Google Map]
(S.1st St. & Monroe)

Hours:  thur - sat 11-6pm

   & sun 12-5pm

Thursday, February 21, 2013

figure painting

I finally brought my paints to a life drawing open studio.  In Austin the place I would go to for life drawing didn't allow oils/solvents, but the SAS does!  Which is cool.  It just took me to get in the habit of having to bring the whole kit and caboodle to class to finally paint.  And it was fun.  I made four little paintings, but only two really came out pretty good.  They were all 20 minute poses which is rather challenging for me with painting.  But I am going to make a habit out of going to the session and one other one now that the class I was taking is over.

Friday, February 15, 2013

last painting in portrait class

This was my last painting in the class that I took at the Scottsdale Artists School.  It was a really good class for me to take.  I wasn't able to finish this painting and I really wasn't able to even get as far as the other one in terms of at least making it look like it was finished but I was still happy enough with what I got done.
I will try to take another class there.  Although I didn't really feel like this is the exact way I want to paint I still feel that it has helped my learn many things I wouldn't otherwise have known.

Friday, February 08, 2013


My latest painting in my Scottsdale Artists School class.  It turned out pretty good!  It looks like a weird combo of my style and someone elses (which it is).  Not sure how to feel about that, but I certainly feel like I have learned much from just being in a class atmosphere.  And I am happy that at least she doesn't look like a mask.
My husband is worried that I am in some sort of 'classical' painting cult.  ha ha.

Friday, January 18, 2013


that is all there is to it.  I am taking this portrait class.  So I can take it and leave before a kids bedtime I end up watching said wonderful kid all day so that I really don't do much art but this class.  And this class is making me uncomfortable.  The way that the teacher paints in this class is actually not something that I aspire to.  He is a great painter, very technically agile and the people end up looking just like themselves but when he asks who I am looking at right now as a figurative artist I am answering "Amy Sillman" or I suppose I might answer Daniel Heidkamp who is an artist I am really enjoying lately too.  and yet none of my work looks that way, it looks much closer to my teacher.  And in class I am deliberately doing it that way.  And although the painting kind of looks like the guy I am disappointed in the colors, and don't particularly care for the way it is painted.  But I am taking this class because I feel that maybe I will learn something, and i have, at least about values.  This painting veers into something I dislike when I paint from life which is that I make a persons skin look like a mask.  I had kind of gotten away from this in the past few years, and yet it seems to have come back in this painting.  He doesn't necessarily look like a mask, more like a very smooth sculpture.  Which maybe is an improvement?  But I can't help but think that I hadn't painted like this for awhile.  I wish I had more models to work on and I need to start going to the open studios to work too.  Ah well.

Friday, January 11, 2013

taking a class.

oil on canvas, 11" x 14", 2013
I am taking a painting the head class at the Scottsdale Artists School.  I was really going back and forth about taking it.  I was actually nervous.  It gave me a good perspective of how it is to be a student, which was interesting after being a teacher for three years.  We worked on a value study where we blocked everything in and then slowly built in other values.  I kind of liked this even more before it had more values, it was pretty abstract.  But it was an interesting study and something that I would never do myself which was the point. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

desert botanical garden

"Desert Botanical Garden," January 9, 2012

oil on canvas, 22" x 22", 2013

So I got a chance to finally paint at the Desert Botanical Garden today.  I have never completed a painting that is this big in "plein air".  Although looking at this painting i have some issues with the right bottom corner.  I really could not get that cactus.  Anyway, I am still pretty happy to have done it.  It took me 5 hours and I haven't painted for that long in forever so I had fun.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Happy New Year

My resolution this year was to start up the painting a day thing.  But I am very rusty, and similar to when I did this in 2011 it took me a little time to gear up.  My facilities are not really the same.  Instead of a studio I have a couch, or a little desk in a garage.  And my time is spent differently right now.  But I have realized that I need to have some sort of discipline every day or I won't get anything done.  What I would like to do is draw a person every day, and in that spirit I started on a few self portraits.  I am the easiest person to get to model, so it seemed a natural fit.   I experimented with watercolor self portraits and they were a little lacking, and a little embarrassing.  I normally wouldn't mind, I have posted some embarrassing things on this blog that I normally wouldn't.  Either these are so embarrassing I just can't do it (which I think might be true) or I have just decided to be more discreet. 
So instead I thought I would show you a couple of paintings I have done around where I am living and a drawing of a model from the Scottsdale Artists School and a new friend.
Here is my first oil painting of the year.  I hadn't painted with oil for a long long time....three months.  and I haven't been regularly painting for a year so I am a bit rusty.  This image is of the roof behind my Dad's house.  The woman who lived in this house just died a month ago which I guess might have added to my interest in painting it.  But I have always had to look at her roof from my Dad's backyard and have always been interested in the fact that she has solar panels up there.  Plus, on this trip I noticed that she had some owl decoys to scare away birds.  The blobs in the middle are the owls.  The roof is a bit far away.
January 3, 2013

 5" x 7", oil on panel.

Being in Phoenix there are older people all around.  And the woman who lives right across from my father is also mature.  And so I painted a view of her house a few months ago and thought I would share:

Jackie's house.
6" x 6", oil on panel
i actually really like this painting.

This guy had some awesome hair.
14" x 17", colored pencil on paper

and this is a new friend of mine, Susan, she graciously agreed to come over and let me draw her.
14" x 17" marker on paper

I have been working in colored pencil when I go somewhere to draw and I am maybe feeling more enthusiastic about colored pencil than markers.  Although I like working with both I have always been a little uncomfortable about the light fastness of them.  Regardless, I really enjoyed making both of these portraits.