Monday, January 14, 2008

Backyard notes

Originally uploaded by jjs_37
Inspired by the Creative Mom Podcast I have been working on a series of some kind. This series is my backyard I guess. It is still an unformed idea, this series thing, but it is there. More and more I think of sketches in a series. In fact I am thinking of dong a whole garden notebook or garden sketchbook, all on little watercolor paper accordions. Or sketchbooks made like
I cut these things off my rosebush and I was struck by the diversity of stages on the winter rosebush. Buds as well as rosehips and new growth nubs. I am probably pruning it too late, but in the lovely NorCal climate I am probably forgiven.
Now I will think about teaching first graders to draw trees...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cute kid stories

Originally uploaded by jjs_37
We went to the dentist last week and the girls watch video on the overhead screen. Of course this means that all feedback on their brushing is totally lost to them, but whatever. Toddlers with open mouths, whatever. J thought the light was too bright so the hygienist gave her sunglasses.
N, savvy 6 year old that she is, pointed out that she did not like Jimmi Hendrix' national anthem. She said "it sound like two garbage cans fighting over their own garbage" Lately her taste in music has been mostly hight school musical of course, but also a bit of classic show tunes. Singing in the rain is popular since it is raining here these days.
And finally, at the cartoon art museum this weekend, I told J to get up off the floor. Shhe did while singing "get up, stand up, stand up for your rights..." So they still have good taste in music.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Art goals for 2008

Originally uploaded by jjs_37
The shoe is just a little eye candy. It is also the first everyday matters drawing challenge, and there is a story behind this particular shoe. This story can be found here
Prompted by the everyday matters group, I put together a set of goals. I have a goal buddy so that I can evaluate what my goals are regularly and stay on top of them, or evaluate the importance of these goals in the first place.
My goals are
1. Sketch regularly - by which I mean at least 3 times a week. I want to improve my pen and ink skills - I will use my sketchbook to practice pen and ink and get critique on my sketches and pen and ink drawings from my "artist community".
2. Create 6 paintings or finished works this year.
3. Increase the visibility of my art by updating my blog with paintings and sketches twice a month, displaying my artwork around the house, and entering at least one work, past or present, in an exhibit.
4. Develop my artist community, online and locally
5. Work through the book "illustrating nature" -complete 1 chapter a month.
6. Develop a long term vision for my art - do I want to focus on illustration and do this professionally? Or do I want to consider myself a serious recreational artist? Do I want to sell my art, and how do I want to do this?

Monday, January 07, 2008

oliebollen of course

Originally uploaded by jjs_37
So I bought my little box of mix at the Asian market (don't ask why they have it- I don't know, they have drop too and even borrelnootjes sometimes) And I thought about buying a fryer, but I didn't. So as I am waiting for the large pot of oil to heat up, I drew the box. Then I fried them up and we jumped in the car and drove to the party. They were still warm so we sugared them and had some. They were really good and gone in no time.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Originally uploaded by jjs_37
Right now in my quest for the perfect sketchbook I am using multiple sketchbooks side by side. It bothers me that nothing is chronological right now, but I am willing to live with it to find out what I really want to
use for ever and ever. At which point I will stock up when they are
on sale and go for it. Or maybe I will decide it is OK to constantly
go between various sketchbooks and keep the good sketches
chronologically on my blog to be published as a book. Who knows, so
without further ado, here is my opinion...
I have a small handbook which is square and I find it too small for
me to use. I don't like the way it works for watercolor, and I am
not fond of the way it takes pen and ink. The paper quality is
similar to regular drawing paper but lighter in weight I think. I just tried my hand book again for watercolor. I like a lot of water in my watercolor. There is no such thing as a light wash when I am working so that must be my main problem. I also like to use watercolor pencils at times and after getting wet, the handbook paper can't take more pencil. The Dvorak books (see below) can do this.
I like the feel of the Moleskine but hate the way it takes water
media. I love how it takes ink though. I don't like the watercolor
moleskine for their orientation. Picky of me, I know. But I also
don't like how hard it is to use the backside of the paper in that
I am using the 6x9 artist drawing pad from Dvorak (http:// and I do like the paper in it for both
ink and washes but it does not have a hard cover and it does not have
a pocket. And it has the funny orientation but it has more pages and
is cheaper so I don't mind not suing the back side. Right now I have
it in a prismacolor portfolio set (a small) so it is stiff enough to
take out anywhere and use and my pencils are handy to boot. I have a
little blank book by him too but again, it is very small, like the
hand book. Still, it is handy to keep in my purse for sketching
emergencies and I did all my travel sketching in it in Europe this
summer. Which is not as much as you might think or expect of me but
it was some.
I used to always use the hardbound Canson sketch books and I think
those are still the best, but they are big and hard to lug around.
And watercolor is not super but OK. Sometimes I use a small watercolor pad to do watercolor on but then I
have to carry the extra thing and anticipate that I am using
something I want to watercolor.
I also have an accordion of watercolor paper that sits inside my
moleskine sketchbook that I can use for watercolor. I haven't used
it because I used paper I don't really like. I don't know why!!!
Why would I spend an afternoon trimming and cutting and pasting and
folding a paper I don't like? Because I did not want to waste the
"good stuff". Maybe now that I know how I want to do the accordion I
can make another one with good paper.
I also saw the Komtrak inspiral sketchbook online but I am not sure
how hard the cover is, and I sort of want to touch the book and get a
feel for how it is and all. It has looseleaf pages that you can cut
yourself or order from them. It is expensive though. I like the idea of being able to use just the right paper for just the right thing, and then putting them together in a final permanent ringbinding later in chronological order.
I think I am a paper snob, but I need to think more about what I want
to use my book for. Perhaps the perfect paper, handbound in my spare time...
And speaking of handbinding, sticks and string podcast recently had
an episode about hand binding books. he did it for the same
reasons. To get the paper he loved in a size and hard bound book he