Saturday, November 26, 2011

H is for...

H is for..., 90lb. mixed media paper, November 25, 2011
I'm not a chocolate fanatic, but we live near Hershey, and I've always liked the clever packaging of the Kiss. I'm not saying I'd turn down a bag of Kisses.... I love the color hazel, any kind of cheese, and hydrangeas. I'll never need to type that sentence again! I used to have a thing for straw hats. I always wished I had lived in an era when women wore them. Of course, I look ridiculous in hats, so I guess I'll settle for hats as decor. Maybe it's just the slower pace of the time when hats were customary that I long for. H is for handprint, Hershey Kiss, hazel, holey, hydrangea, horizon, handle, and hat.

G is for...

G is for..., 90lb. mixed media paper, November 25, 2011
This page looks too heavy to be watercolor. Time to lighten up! We moved away from New Mexico 12 years ago, but are still hooked on green chiles. I also happen to think they're interesting to look at, even though I didn't quite pull off the glossy skin. I've always loved climbing ivy and dreamed of having a picket fence and an English garden. Since I don't expect to ever have any of that, I'm content to have drawings of them. Gregg is my wonderful husband who has put up with my obsessions, tempers, and whims for over 25 years. Google has gone from an obscure proper noun to an everyday verb in my kids' lifetime. They have some very clever designers. I especially like the use of negative space in their small logo. G is for gold, gift, green, green chile, garden gate, Google, Gregg, and green tree frog.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

F is for...

F is for..., 90lb. mixed media paper, November 22, 2011
The first place ribbon is truly ugly. Perhaps my aversion to useless ribbon awards is showing. Facebook is here to stay...until the next craze catches on. I included the Costa Rican flag for my daughter, who spent a year studying there. It's a beautiful country. I'm very happy with the flag illustration. I love painting folds in fabric. It's weird to admit that. Fuchsia is a favorite flower, not a favorite color. I'm not sure we have fjords in the States, but the Finger Lakes area of New York State comes close. My husband was born in that part of the universe. We had freesia in our wedding bouquets. I deal with fog often--on the way to work and sometimes AT work! F is for first, fishbowl, Facebook, flag, fuchsia, fjord, freesia, and fog.

E is for...

E is for..., 90lb. mixed media paper, November 21, 2011
Why an ellipse? No idea, except that I like the word. If only I could spell it! Elm is one of the trees I learned from my husband. Our early marriage involved many tree lessons. He's crazy smart about trees. Eagles are my daughter's team. My son tolerates them. E-mail is part of daily life. My husband gave me pearl earrings 30 Christmases ago...before he was my husband. My eyes are blue...sometimes. They're moody. E is for ellipse, elm, emerald, Eagles, echinacea, e-mail, earring, and eye.

D is for...

D is for..., 90lb. mixed media paper, November 21, 2011
This is my favorite page so far. Something about the color scheme makes me happy. Daisies are my favorite flower. Dunkin' Donuts coffee. Yum! The dogwood reminds me of my childhood. We had a pathetic dogwood at the corner of the house. I still remember the Dogwood Argument. My dad would prune the tree... enthusiastically, and mom would complain that he had killed her tree. They had this argument for 20 years, so obviously Dad's pruning was not fatal. My husband is fascinated with coins. We are a book family, and I have been known to tip over a corner or two. We lived 12 years in the desert southwest, specifically the high desert, which looked nothing like the above image. D is for daisies, divided, Dunkin' Donuts, dogwood, denim, dogear, desert.

C is for...

C is for..., 90lb. mixed media paper, November 19, 2011
No matter what I did, I couldn't get the chameleon tail the way I wanted it. Not sure why I chose a crab except that I think they're fascinating. I love cherries of all kinds. I couldn't resist the "C" chord. I had to make many color wheels in art school. If you "read" the one above, you would assume that half the color wheel (the hidden part of this one) is purple! Chicken broth is one of the grocery items I hoard irrationally. I buy more, even though I know I already have it. We're prepared to have soup. For. Months. Crocuses (croci?) are a favorite. Flowers are so overdone in watercolor. Why? Because they're easy! C is for chord, crab, crimson, cherries, color wheel, chicken broth, chameleon, and crocus.

B is for...

B is for..., 90lb. mixed media paper, November 16, 2011
I like how breakfast and the birch tree turned out. I envisioned the bees being much more clever than what you see. The BMW "circle" is definitely an oval. I've got to work on my circles! I love watercolor, especially the messy "mistakes" that end up being the best part of the picture, like the background of the bowling pin. Watercolor does gingham really well, too. Pancakes are a favorite cheap, fast meal when Daddy's not home for dinner. Yes, dinner. We never have them for breakfast. I guess I should have the pancakes on the "D" page. My son loves BMWs, along with all well engineered cars. B is for birch, blue, Blue Ridge, bumble bees, buttercup, breakfast, bowling pin, BMW, and brick.

A is for...

A is for..., 90lb. mixed media paper, November 15, 2011
This is my first page, and it's obvious that I began this project with no rules. The drawings are very loose, but I kind of like that. I tend to tighten up the longer I work on a project. I have to constantly remind myself to loosen up. I especially like the aspen grove and the cropped armadillo. The extreme cropping is intentional. I don't want to get bogged down trying to render complex objects, so I only draw the simple part (the armadillo's south end). I colored the initial a color beginning with the page's featured letter. A is for amber, aspen, armchair, armadillo, amaryllis, Apple Computer, and armor. 25 more pages to go!

Introducing the Alphabet Sketchbook

As a way to practice illustration and watercolor, I am making an alphabet sketchbook, using a Strathmore Visual Journal. The journal is very small (3.5" x 5") and has 90lb. paper designed for mixed media. It is spiral bound and has very heavy covers, so it can stand up to bouncing around inside my purse. I draw 6-7 mini images on each page. They are roughly drawn and painted with a loose, quick watercolor technique. The idea is just to get drawing and painting, and using the letters of the alphabet as a guide has helped me overcome the "block" I frequently face: I don't know WHAT to draw. I chose to draw many items that are unique to my family: flags of countries we've visited and states where we've lived, favorite football teams and foods, etc. I've also chosen to include company logos I see every day. All these "rules" make this uniquely MY book--a little slice of my life at this moment. It's been so much fun (my husband and kids helped me brainstorm) that I might try making a book like this every year. I can't imagine finding another page's worth of Q- or X-words. Maybe I'll start making up words.