working with Inktense pencils

Just fabulous color pencils slash watercolor medium capability. Here are two examples of new artwork by Becky and Hannah. So far so good. Starting to work with Inktense is a learning process. Here is a color chart to help explain how each color does change when wet. A chart is needed and very helpful to understand the colors and how they react and change to water.

There is an entire value range in each color. Note that each color has the potential to and range from very light to intense darks. Not shown on the charts each color can be used to produce an extremely light shade of the color when using dry. When using water you can spread the color out with water to produce a light hue. 019  018


Becky and Hannah’s start of an Inktense project. 

012Notice how you can use the colors to stay as solids and wash the others to blend. As well as the butterfly, just a wet brush through the black to shadow the yellow.



002So far Rose was able to get this far. The wall needed to be separated or to look as though there are two walls. Painting the wall coming towards you in a few darker tones allows the bend to take place. Adding purple to gray paint will allow a natural recess in distance space.

The problem with acrylics is they dry extremely fast. Unless you are looking for fast drying paint then you are in luck, but for artist that need more blending  from the paint then try to use a blender extender in the paint. The extender has a shine to it though even when dry. So, play around first to see the results for yourself. In the following pictures these are Rose’s acrylic painting she wants to finish from years ago. The problem can be in matching tones and values of the colors used in another time. It can be done if you can read value and tone in color. I suggest using glazes to add the realism. Use this technique for oils as well. If you try to match existing  colors you most likely will be repainting the painting. This is where I can teach you to improve your artwork.

Okay, lets break it down:

1. Use the blender extender to equal parts to a paint color you want to use. You can use water but the color will dry flat and a value lighter.  For example;009

We worked on the bottom of the urn. we added a thin layer of a terra-cotta color with blender mixed in a shade darker than the urn. You can even use two shades darker to start to shade and develop depth to create more form or realism. So the darker color went into the cracks and around the sides of the urn. The value of the lightest will be on the highest closest part of the form and the values will reverse in paint; lightest to darkest in value and color.

REMEMBER:  the dark values are towards the back/sides or the parts of the forms that are the most far from you. Anything cool tone color will sink in space and appear away from you. Light values will come towards you in space. This is physics, law of the universe and the way God designed it!

In the above picture you can see a shine which is the blender. It does settle a bit once completely dried, but you can steal it once dry with a protective  acrylic spray and the blender wont be seen. In the  picture below look closely at the bottom two leaves against the urn. These two have been glazed with paint and blender to start to create form and shape of the leaf itself. Look at the upper leaves they are flat and need realism. Stay continued to see this painting develop.


TIP: You can place a wet paper towel over the paint, cover with tin foil and place in the refrigerator. Should last a good twelve hours.

TIP:  If your canvas becomes rippled because of being sketched from leaning on something all you need to do is water the spot on the back and use a hair dryer to tighten up canvas. That should work, may need to do twice.

Elvis the goat!

Here is the progression of Elvis the goat in graphite pencils; 4H {warm tone}, 4B {cool tone} and a HB Neutral tone. Notice how I only have an outline sketched and not set in stone. When you have trouble sketching a form out start with one shape such as an eye. Work from one eye out, therefore allowing it to be easy to erase an outside form lines. If you try to draw the outside lines first and then go back and “TRY TO FIT” in the eyes in later in an open space it will not work unless you have Mastered drawing and realism drawing. Work from one form such as an eye and work from the eye and outward.

Use the warm and cool tones of the graphite to set form in space; remember warms tones will come forward and cool tones will go back in space to help create form and shape. Without the darks there is no realism.002

In the following picture this is how far I was able to get in two hours.

001I can not stress enough if you are an over-sketcher on cheap paper of 140lbs. or less you are wasting value sketches turned into a drawing on CHEAP paper. You are not doing yourself any favors by doing this. Get yourself a really good drawing paper pad of 140lb or better. Even buy Illustration hot press drawing board this way when your over-sketched  doodle is over-sketched it can become a serious composition because it is on good acid free paper or board. Use the cheaper drawing pads of 140lb. or less for Doodles or thumb-nail sketches. You have better results from the graphite on better paper too. Cheap papers are not made to hold serious artwork.001

Following directions.


Here is an updated picture of Joan’s goats.001


When you are drawing with graphite, color pencils or any other medium tools always follow the direction of the forms. Look at the following pictures below; notice the direction of the goat hair and draw it in that direction. .001003002

Notice the direction of the chin fur or hair.  Pressing with the “B” graphite pencils such as a 6, 7, and 8 Bs. will allow you to see realism sooner rather than later. If you draw in values of 5,6, 7 H range you will not see realism in your drawing. It will be flat with not much blending of forms and shapes. Do not be afraid of using the B pencils which are cool in tone and will “go Back into” in space. If you are having trouble using the higher B pencil because you are afraid or just do not understand how to use them I suggest practice sketching with a few higher numbered B pencils. For example; use a 6, 7 and a 8 B pencils and draw a few simple shapes such as a sphere, a square, an apple. Use the number 6B as the lightest in the three range. Getting over your fear is the only way to break through to realism.

Always draw in the direction of the form.


In the above picture notice how the direction of the lines are being drawn; hill and valley. When working up a hill shape draw in the direction, in the valley your direction of line is in the curve direction. Remember to treat the shapes you are drawing, shading and creating in a similar direction. Crosshatching lines will come later; learn the value scales in every graphite range pencil first before adding other techniques.
Also remember light or highlighted areas will come forward in space and dark values will sink in space. This is a principle just like gravity, the way God designed it and it can’t be changed. B graphite pencils are cool, softer and will go back in space as H graphite pencils are warmer in tones and will come forward in space as well are harder in texture. Use that fact to help set apart objects in your drawings.

Working on emotion.


Remember to practice the value scales in graphite or color. See what the mediums can do for you and how it can be used in your artwork. Look through the recent postings for examples or use the search box on the menu.

Here I am working on emotion in Life drawing. I like this pose, it was a 15 minute pose. For some reason I see dispar in her eyes. I am connecting to the sadness I guess? The proportion is wrong and foreshortening, but I was concentrating on the face. Her head is too large for this pose, But I like it. Life drawing is about learning proportions, angles and weighted objects and many more aspects related to drawing. Keep drawing even if your work doesn’t look like you imagined. Keep pressing through, you will see improvement after one filled newsprint pad.

Added light.

Check this picture out; I went outside for a moment to notice that a neighbor’s house about 300 yards away had a fern by her mailbox lite by the setting sun. Really beautiful.

Please don’t steal my artwork. You may refer to my page and give credit.

Thank you for the kind words and awesome comments!

Painting with Pudding!

Every artist does struggle either with drawing, painting, finding their Nitch, the subject matter, style techniques, approach, subject matter, composition, light source, realism vs. expressive and impressionism. The list is a mile long!  Finding your way with your art is a life long process of discovering new ways on an art that is old as time. It can be very frustrating and if you really want to be an artist you need to press through and keep pressing! You art will define itself if you keep pressing through. Sometimes artist don’t create for years at a time; which I think will set you back in quality. The idea is to keep working and the artwork will become stronger all the way around. You may even be healthier and happier as a result. Eat a piece of cake……like I do!

Have you ever thought when you look at a picture of yourself from way back when and think “What was I thinking!” laugh at the way you looked? Then you even thought you looked darn good then too boot! Art is the same way…..we get better with age, our style improves over time.  This is the second year that I have been going to Life drawing once a week and it has been so beneficial for me. I must have who knows 500 plus hours of life drawing under my belt to this point; the difference is I am not in a formal professor class now. I am in a life drawing for pleasure and my satisfaction of wanting to draw. You must Love your art enough to push through and hang on for the ride. Don’t think when……”When I retire, when I have another job and when I have more money”! Take and make the time at this very present to enjoy what you love to do. Life is too short not to enjoy your time now. There Never will be enough money,,,,,there are always bills to pay. It’s like a parent thinks, “Oh when little Joe gets to first grade and is in school all day I will have the time”. I know….I had three kids and have been there. Talk about not having time for myself and my artwork. I have learned the hard way on a few things. It is hard as a Super Mom to walk away from a pile of laundry that needs your attention and I struggle with all of these issues. I have come to the conclusion if I don’t take care of myself nobody will!  I need my artwork to complete me and be happy. Plus, if I am happy I can deal with everything and everybody else with a better attitude.

There is always the issue of time and not enough time to get the artwork done or get involved in artwork as we’d like. A great way to include the little ones let them paint with Pudding! Yes, Pudding! Put the kiddies in the high-chair and let them finger paint with pudding! Doesn’t matter if they eat it, not like paint. They will love to see their work hanging up on the box and take a few pictures for future reference of artwork to be and enjoy the moment God gave ya!  It teaches the older child they are important too and they feel good about themself. It’s a bonding moment. It gives you an hour or two to work on your own artwork. It works well outside in the hot summer and then you can turn the hose on and wash off the pudding.

Getting back to artwork; Not every drawing is going to be what you have envisioned or meet the expectation you have set for yourself. I suggest focusing on graphite drawing along with life drawing to begin. You need to know how to draw and learn value, form, shape, line and light. After you get a handle on that then introduce another medium such as a paint medium. Even start a painting in black and white. This way you are taking a strong eye of value into the first paintings. Introduce color after value is learned in black and white. Drawing one subject such as a pear for example is a good way to get yourself familiar with a paint medium. Masterpieces will happen after at least twenty paintings into one medium.

Learn to read what your art is telling you? Do you work meticulously defining tiny one stroke lines, do you like to draw in blurred shapes or do you like your artwork tight or realistic? Look at or examine your first few pieces and find the common thread amongst them. That will be the first clue to what you are good at, your strengths or what “Your Artist eye” is seeing. Work with your strong points, go with it. Use the common thread or common strong suits  to make your work stronger. Every artist walks a journey discovering their artwork. You can only watch how other artist work for so long without working yourself. Don’t worry how other artist do it! Start doing it yourself and discovering your own ways and approaches.

It will help you to keep an art journal, sketches if wanted. Write or jot down what you find interesting and would like to draw. For example; you see a cat in the window and find that interesting or think it would make a neat drawing. Write it down. In the events of your life that influence the art you produce. It will help you to make the connection between your life and your art.

I know it can be hard, but don’t make it harder on yourself by taking on too much too soon. Work on what makes you happy, the rest will follow. Work at what you want your art to say about the artist. I will write more on this subject….I have three people yelling for dinner! My work is never finished or my time isn’t always my own neither!

Okay, I am back.  I know finding time is not always easy. I also know If you are miserable all the time the going through will suck! Try to make the best of it everyday. Here is a secret, we are not promised tomorrow. So, if your everyday sucks then get out of the other side of the bed. Get your focus off yourself and go volunteer at the hospital, help a neighbor or an older person neighbor. Get your sites off yourself and help someone else with something. It is only a season in life, time will go and come. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and think you are the only one that can’t create their art. Seasons change all the time. Do what you can involving your art and the day will come you have more time. Gather the information you need to create your art. If you don’t have actual painting time, gather the pictures you will need for a painting. Use the time you do have towards something productive; this way you are still involved in your art. Not every artist creates seven days a week!  Sometimes an artist doesn’t feel inspired to create.  Keep moving forward and eventually there will be more time to fit everything in you’d like.

My friend Carlos and I were talking one day in the darkroom about how you don’t know if you don’t try. Here I am in my 40’s, working in a college environment {the old lady in the classroom} feeling sort of out-of-place and old….Carlos pointed out how far I have come in a year of just working at my art! I was doing so much more this year vs. last year. So, image where next year will take me? It’s all about there is a new season and seasons change all the time.

When to call it finished?

Every piece of artwork has a time when it is time to put down the brushes. There is a saying “Artwork is never finished” But that is a very thin fine line. Do not over-work a piece by playing attention to every tiny detail. In this painting I tilted; “DAD, HOLD STILL!”; I added a few dandelions here and there  for a dot of color to break up the green. Be careful how you add details;  I didn’t want the viewer’ eyes to go to the dandelions first. I like this……there are things I would have changed, but every artist is their own worst  critic.


 “DAD, HOLD STILL!”.  Watercolor; 16.75″ x 27.75″.

Building an easel

The matt I have leaning against the watercolour  is not the correct size, it needs a wider size. The way the fence came out in the distance I like, especially the way the colors are subdued.

Building an easel isn’t hard if you have help from someone who likes using power tools. I had this easel from college that my Dad made me. Getting rid of it wasn’t an option, but after years in an attic the wood was old and somewhat smelly. The easel did sit outside on my porch for a few days just to air it out before I brought it back in. All the existing wood was re-screwed and reinforced with new wood. At first the plan was to take it apart and follow the plans with new wood, but I decided to just reinforce what I already had. “My First Watercolour” was painted on this easel! The top white surface I would use at all cost if that was the only sections salvageable. Staying re-connected to those artistic days is important to me, trying to take the influence of my art then into the present day artwork I am producing. The photography I work on this semester will have that particular goal and theme.

As you can see in the picture it is a top bolted from two steel bars too two post so that the top can change angles.  There should be two arm type bars on the sides that would help change angles and screw tight to hold the angle, but I didn’t make them as yet. The original ones are missing, but so far I like the ability to move the top freely, so I will see how this works out before I re-make new side arms. I am happy I was able to re-use and bring back to life what my Dad had made me. My Dad always said, “Don’t ever be afraid of where you come from!” and it’s true. When he made this for me it was about three feet larger which was large then but too large for my space today. Plus I added magic sliders so I can move it into the light when I am painting. It measures now about 40 inches wide. I also added a few pieces of wood to raise it a bit higher. The posts are suppose to be able to move up and down to height with bolts, but I just screwed the two post together. It is really hard and heavy to adjust height.

I had two jobs in college if being in college isn’t hard enough, I was  a little  embarrassed at this easel at first. { Embarrassed has “ASS” in there}  All my art friends had store-bought easels and I wanted one too! This easels was two and three times larger than anyones and homemade….sort of felt Amish! Now, I wouldn’t think of parting with it, it comes from Love. Jesus says there is nothing more important than Love.  I think there come a time when we have been through so much already in our lives and who really gives a crap what others think. It’s not that important what others think about me at any age, but it takes a maturity level before that clicks.