Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Virtual Paintout: Stavanger, Norway...

...or more precisely, 24 Kongsgata, Stavanger, Rogaland, Norge.
My painting for the Virtual Paintout this month was my third attempt at this same image. I tried colored pencils first and I gave up shortly into it. There was too much detail and it was hard for me to leave it out when using a fine point. The same problem popped up on attempt #2, using my new Bic Mark-Its markers. I love them but have not found the best use for them yet.
On the third attempt I set up my pastel easel and did a very fast and loose picture. This is not a great result but I do kind of like the trees at right. I need practice simplifying scenes so it was a good exercise.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Humor: More Unhappy Hipster funnies

UnhappyHipsters.com had a caption contest for the photo at left.
The caption entered by Alex Bertram-Powell is genius! Go read.

And my favorites from the rest of the site are here, linked in an appropriately spartan style...
1  2  3 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tips: Cleaning with Curb Alert!

I am somewhat neatness-challenged so when I ran across this blog, 365daysofdecluttering, I welcomed the systematic process to decluttering my house.
ROUND 1: Weeks ago I wandered my house gathering "flea market-worthy" items. Rather than bothering with a garage sale or hauling to Goodwill, I posted a "Curb Alert" under the Free category on craigslist.com. You simply post a list of what you have and where to find it. As soon as the boxes are gone, delete your ad. It doesn't usually take more than 24 hours. (I don't live on a busy street so a "free to good home" sign might not guarantee my boxes would get picked up.)
ROUND 2: Today I tackled two small areas: the kitchen junk drawer and a shelf in my "studio" room that was full of good Curb Alert items. The only areas remaining are...every other horizontal surface in the place! Oh well, slow and steady wins the race!

Artist: Desmond O'Hagan

Desmond O'Hagan is a great oil and pastel artist. I took a workshop with him last year and really liked it. He's a great teacher, very approachable, and amazing to watch work. If you're in the Arkansas area, he has a workshop in May 3-5.  You can read a bit about my experience in the class.
Desmond O'Hagan leads a comprehensive three day workshop for pastel and oil painters on Monday, May 3, to Wednesday, May 5, 2010, in Gravette, Arkansas. A slide presentation will be held on Sunday May 2. For more information please call 479-787-5098 or e-mail susan@susanedgmon.com 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Belts: Leather, wraps, and ribbons

Back in the day, I had a few favorite belts. In particular, a wide black suede wrap-around that I bought at The Limited, circa 1986. I still own it though I would have to become a marathon runner to shrink and stay small enough to wear it again. These days I avoid any extra bulk around my middle but if I were still belt-able, I would get one of these cool things from etsy...

Fairytale Sweetheart Corset Belt from ContrivedtoCharm

Sugar and Spice Belt by Godswear (made out of an old skirt!)

Black Lace Belt by Chezkevito

Black leather obi by ElizabethKelly

Monday, March 22, 2010

Clay: More scrap before and after

Here's the "before" shot:

And the "after" that I will use for "tapestry" beads:

I named this sheet "Corinthian Leather" -- who of you remembers where that came from and who said it? (Apparently there's some controversy over the actual adjective used with the phrase...I recall it as "rich corinthian leather" but that actually may not be correct. Oh, the things you learn from google!)

Artist: Razor_nl

Razor_nl says it very well in his flickr profile:
"For a portrait obsessed person like me, flickr is the real facebook. It's great to find so many beautiful people here, pictured by so many great artists. So far it has been the best art school ever."
Flickr is the best inspiration tool for any kind of artist; there is much talent out in the world!
Look at his very cool swirly pen portraits.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Brains: Good Books

I am totally fascinated by the brain and how it works. I get through very few books because I can't read and make art at the same time, and making art always wins out in the battle for my limited amount of free time. However, these books were fascinating to me and I could hardly put them down.
Daniel Tammet (This one is so interesting...you have to read it!) 
Jean Aitchison
V. S. Ramachandran
Oliver Sacks

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Brains: The Teaching Company classes on CD or DVD

If you like to learn and you have some spare time to listen while you do other things (drive, exercise, make beads...) I recommend the offerings at the Teaching Company. They often have really good sales so check the website and buy something at the reduced price.
I've listened (on CD) to about 10 different classes and my absolute favorite was The Renaissance, Reformation, and Rise of Nations.  It starts in 1348 with the beginning of The Plague and follows European history up to the mid 1700s. The Plague would have been a horrendous time to live through (one-third to one-half of the population dead in about three years!) but boy, did it spur a lot of  HUGE political, social, cultural, and economic changes in society.
With cheap labor in short supply, suddenly the Peasant class had options: they were in demand as workers, land was available because the previous owners were dead, there was more food to go around for the same reason, and they began to doubt the "divine" nature of royalty because Kings died just the same as any serf. And it all started rolling from there.
The class covers the religious wars, scientific knowledge of the time, what all the unethical Kings and Popes were doing over the 400 years and more. We've gained a lot of knowledge since then but human nature hasn't progressed as much...after many of the stories, I said to myself, "People don't change much, do they?"
I loved the instructor. He was low-key and conversational in his delivery which I really liked. A fair number of listeners who reviewed this course on the website find fault with some of his facts and his delivery but if you're interested in the time period and want a general overview, I wouldn't let it deter you. I prefer his style over some I've listened to that sound like an overly-rehearsed radio announcer.
Trivia Question: Name an agrarian of the 1600s who studied and encouraged the use of new practices to increase crop yields (crop rotation, fertilizers, etc.)  Think 1960s flute rock to come up with the answer...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Etsy Finds: Black & White

Here are more items from my Etsy favorites. Today's theme: black and white!

Every page a picture!
JohnClark chooses a phrase and makes it an integral part of the art.

Postage Lamp by PilotDesign (Keith Moore)

Barry Singer of FishFanatic makes prints using real fish!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Etsy finds: Pink collection

Here are some items from my etsy favorites...go check out their other wares.

Button Bouquet from ReallyBadKitty

Scarlet O'Hara from BeadNurse

Watercolor print by JHicksFineArt

Wristlet purse from Lireca
I bought three of these for my nieces at Christmas. The wristlets are very well made!

Wafer Cookie soaps from Soapapotamus

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

We're Not Worthy: JF Le Saint

Oh my. Picture me bowing down, like Wayne and Garth. I have just discovered the person who is the embodiment of what I mean in my profile when I say seeing the talent of others would be discouraging if it weren't so inspiring. Check out the work of JF Le Saint.
I swear, he will think I'm stalking him on flickr because I "favorited" a zillion of his paintings. His pastels are STUNNING.

Look at some of these:
The expression!
Oh, just go get a cup of coffee and look at all of them!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Virtual Paintout: San Francisco

I finished my February entry for the Virtual Paintout blog a few minutes after midnight but hopefully Bill will let me slide. (If you want to see the Google Street View image this is based on, enter "278 Noe Street San Francisco" and put the "yellow man" on the street and circle him around until you see the outdoor cafe.)

After being inspired by Leslie Hawes' great colored pencil work, I decided to pick my colored pencils up again. I have a 120 set of Prismacolors somewhere that I bought at least 10 years ago but I can't find them. I decided to try the Derwent pencils and purchased two small sets to test them out (Artists and Colourfast).

I liked the Colourfast better...they seemed to put more pigment down. After being used to pastels, I wanted more coverage than the pencils gave me but I'll keep experimenting. It's just a different way of working. And speaking of that...I forgot how much longer pencil takes than pastels. No grand sweeps of color in one fell swoop with these babies.

I've been working on this picture off and on for two weeks but realized this evening that the month was over today so I slapped it out! This picture is very terrible if you look at it close -- I recommend distance and squinting for best viewing results.


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