Saturday, February 14, 2015

Portrait of Chester - A Work In Progress

Paintings that require more time and detail are called a WIP or "Work In Progress". I am sharing one with you that I have been working on as a demonstration for the classes I teach at Michaels Arts & Crafts.

His name is Chester. I am doing this painting for a friend as a surprise gift. (Unless she finds this post.)

If you have any questions or just want to say hello, 
you can find out more about me or contact me.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Celebrate Literacy Week Florida January 26 to 30, 2015

Find a book or two or three and read this week!

This photo was taken in a used bookstore in Sarasota, Florida, at A. Parker Books.
Another great used bookstore I highly recommend for treasure seekers is 
Abraxas Books in Daytona Beach, Florida.
And if you live in Orlando, Florida, I frequent Didi's Bookstore
on the corner of Howell Branch and 436 (near Harbor Freight).

Click Celebrate Literacy Week 2015 for more information.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Cross-Country Clearprint Journal Project

As part of a Chartpak project called "Cross-Country Clearprint", I received a blank journal in the mail
the other day.  I am to sketch, draw and/or paint whatever I wish on one page.  I chose to fill that page with sketches of Peptalk, a horse I rode in my riding lessons for almost three years.  He has since passed over the rainbow bridge.  But I will always remember him.

I did the sketches from photos I took of him at liberty and in his stall.  Some of the photos were blurry due to low light and I did not want to use the flash.  (The flash can wash-out colors and flatten details plus create odd shadows.)  However, I was able to "un-blur" the pictures in the sketches due to my knowledge of horse anatomy and close familiarity with the subject.

The sketchbook is 6 x 8 and is called a Clearprint Vellum Book.

Images from all of the Cross-Country Clearprint project participants will be available online at

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sketching Idea: By the Square Foot

I got my first chance to put a fun sketching exercise into practice this past weekend that I suggest in my Field Sketching classes.

I spent a few hours plein air painting with the Central Florida Watercolor Society.  We were at Lake Lily Park in Maitland, Florida.

As usual I got to the park and was immediately overwhelmed with all the choices of where to set up and draw or paint.  So, I practiced what I preach!  I found one 10 x 10 square foot area and sketched everything I could see.

I did not know what some things were, but I sketched them anyway.  With some notes written on the side I can research these items to find out more about them.

You can practice this at home, too!  Find a 3 x 3 or 10 x 10 square foot area in your yard, neighborhood or even inside your own home and sketch the things you find in just that area.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Fate of Cursive Writing

A friend and I were discussing the fate of cursive (script) writing recently.  I lamented on how I had to teach my son how to sign his own name in cursive because he was never taught to do so in school.

Here is an interesting article about what one North Carolina school district is doing about this and the comments from some parents and teachers.

Learning Cursive Writing: Is it worthwhile or a waste of time?
by Jacoba Urist

How many people today can read the Declaration of Independence?  When only a few to no one can read it because it is written in cursive they will have to depend on others to translate it for them.

Personally, writing in cursive saves me a lot of time when I have to write quickly and legibly.  I enjoy having the option to print or write in a more beautiful, cursive style.  If nothing else, learning to write in cursive gives one more options.  One day cursive writers may stand out in a crowd of thousands that can only write and read printed, disconnected letters.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sketching Is Not Just For Artists

In Laura Busche's blog post "Hand-Sketching: The Things You Didn't Know Your Doodles Could Accomplish" she explains how sketching on *paper* takes her designs to the next level.

I met with another artist Saturday morning (10/13/13) who worked as a line illustrator.  She learned most of her skills while on the job.  Today she is retired but continues to draw and paint.

We spoke about how sad it is that today there are many graphic arts students who cannot fathom why on earth they need to learn how to draw on anything other than a computer screen.

I found Laura's blog article through Dave Kelley's blog post where he is collecting resources before, during and after the upcoming DevLearn2013 event.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Field Sketching and Gesture Drawing - Birds

Draw enough to recognize the subject.

In each Field Sketching class that I teach at Michaels in Winter Park, FL (32789) we move quickly through a lot of information and as many activities as I can fit into two hours.

One of those activities is to do a gesture drawing.

Gesture drawings are done mostly in life drawing classes.  Little did I know they come in extremely handy when you are trying to draw a flitting bird or a flighty squirrel.

Try it on your own!  You can go just about anywhere and find lots of birds and squirrels.  If you can’t get outside, try watching a nature documentary.  You can practice gesture drawing all types of animals while they are on your TV screen.  If you feel like adding more details, wait for the commercials and add them then.

If you need more information about gesture drawing and how to do it see the following links:

What is Gesture Drawing?  By Helen South, Guide

Examples of Gesture Drawing curated by aed303 (class board for pre-service elementary teachers taking art) on Pinterest.

Tools for Self-Educating Artists at Figure and Gesture Drawing
This a cool website where they provide timed photos (you choose the timing) to practice a gesture drawing!  Start with the standard session and be brave!  Work down from 10 minutes to the 30 seconds time interval!

Most of all have fun!

If you would like to take a Field Sketching class, my next one is Saturday, October 12, 2013, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  You can sign up for class online at

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Classes at Michaels Arts and Crafts

I'm teaching fine art classes at Michaels in Winter Park, Florida.  On Sunday, March 25, is the last floral project (Magnolia) for the next few months.  Next month will be all waterscape themes.  (They call them Seascapes officially, but the projects scheduled for April are mostly water-themed.

It took awhile to get back to teaching at Michaels again.  I was a fine art instructor a few years ago but they temporarily stopped classes.  Now, I am a Certified Grumbacher Acrylic Instructor which is required before anyone can teach fine art at any Michaels store.

If you would like to see an example of this coming Sunday's project you can see it on my Tumblr site.  I post all my class projects there and everything else here (including notifications of upcoming classes, open house events, etc.)

In the next two weeks I will be activating an email newsletter.  And for my students, future students and anyone else interested in learning to create art I've started an online magazine (free) for your viewing and educational pleasure.  It's called "The Art of Creating Art" and contains all sorts of constantly updated news, information and links on how to paint and draw in all sorts of mediums.

Enjoy and happy creating!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Newest Completed Works

This past summer and fall, I completed one oil painting and one pencil drawing.  The pencil drawing was a commission of one of the horses at Freedom Ride named Ivan.  (When I took a snapshot of the drawing I didn't realize I'd caught some glare on his shiny nose!)

The poem says:

Ride upon the white
horse and a sense of
peace will come; for
the white horse is an
angel with wings
disguised and soon you
will ride as one.  Anon

Pencil is my favorite medium for drawing horses.

The oil painting was done via a reference photo as a starting point.  I originally thought the background was going to be very dark.  However, as happens so many times while painting, it decided it wanted to be a lighter picture.

If you happen to be interested in buying this painting it is available unframed.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book Review Apples for Cheyenne

Rachel is a little girl with autism.  The story is about one of her weekly visits to the barn where Cheyenne lives.  He is one of the therapy horses.

This is a wonderful book for both able-bodied children and those with special needs.  It is a nice way to teach those who do not understand autism  about the way autistic children perceive the world.  Both the author and illustrator of this book are familiar with autism as one has a son with autism and the other has autism.

I got a free copy of this charming book from a friend of mine because he knows I love horses and that I work with/for therapy horses once a week at Freedom Ride It was written by Elizabeth King Gerlach and illustrated by Kim Miller.

If you would like to purchase a copy of this book I have provided links to it at both Barnes and Noble and Amazon for your convenience.  I am not associated in any way whatsoever with either company except as a fellow customer.  Happy reading!

Barnes and Noble