Aug 142017

Lunch Hour Paintings
Ever since I discovered the existence of pangolins (through an art museum) I have loved them. They’re as incredible as armored dinosaurs. They are REALLY had to paint though, not because of technique, but because of reference images. If you do an image search, you’ll see that about half the photos of pangolins depict their horrendous abuse, poaching, hunting, and worse. Hard to look at.

Lunch Hour Paintings
This dog is having a relaxing time with his new record.

Only two paintings to share from last week. I have other projects taking time, but they are not in a state ready for sharing.

Aug 072017

Lunch hour painting
Thinking about fish and space. The two work together. Space is where the really big, rare, idea-fish live.

Lunch hour painting
Sure, you can summon a cat spirit; easy with some cat nip and sacrificial moths, but they give terrible advice, lick the flavor off your Doritos and shed spirit fur everywhere. You just can’t sticky-roller that stuff away. The purrs are otherworldly, though.

Lunch hour painting
A bit random, I’ve been thinking about how to make large numbers of small poppets. This came about when it was time to paint. Two of the white rabbits are suspicious of the black cat in their safe rainbow area.

Lunch hour painting
The Bone Raven, one of the magical creatures in the graveyard. He’s not awake often.

Lunch hour painting
Wanted to paint a squirrel doing something human and as a human, I definitely wait impatiently on Amazon deliveries. Once I thought it, I had to paint it since squirrels are so fast and jumpy.

Jul 312017

Collection of paintings from last week.

Lunch hour painting
Blue milk cap (lactarius indigo) mushroom and field mouse, above its burrow. I’d wondered about unusual blues in nature and discovered this mushroom, which is edible but its taste varies greatly.

Lunch hour painting
Attracted by the pancake breakfast, a mutant giant slug incidentally destroys the Depot Plaza, bringing a halt to many CFD activities and breaking the record for slowest destruction of a building. I was inspired y this giant snail meme:
Snail meme
… which I found hilarious.

Lunch hour painting
Reindeer, somewhat out of place in this part of the graveyard.

Lunch hour painting
What I saw on the shower door this morning. The condensation formed a leaf on a stem and a tiny mushroom floating above it. Was pleased to observe shapes in the droplets. They were crisp and distinct.

Jul 252017

I’m posting this lunch hour painting out of order today so that all the locals who visit the blog can enjoy the visual while it is relevant.
Lunch hour painting
Attracted by the pancake breakfast, a mutant giant slug incidentally destroys the Depot Plaza, bringing a halt to many CFD activities and breaking the record for slowest destruction of a building.

Jul 252017

Lunch hour painting
Friday is our most independent and adventurous cat. The world is a grand fun time for her.

Lunch hour painting
Pine martens are adorable, scary creatures! I love these guys. This is one of my favorites.

Lunch hour painting
Mice, celebrating pizza. As one should.

Lunch hour painting
Thinking about existentialism.

I seem to be doing four paintings a week at work. One day always gets away from me. Last couple weeks are caught up now.

Jul 242017

Three weeks have passed? Dammit! I am going to have to share these weekly or I’ll never keep up.
Lunch hour painting
Testing out some small paper samples with identical paintings. This is a six-spotted burnet, a day-flying moth with vivid red spots against black wings. I like the Legion Stonehenge paper on the right better.

Lunch hour painting
This didn’t turn out well. I was done with lines and just starting watercolor when something at work got a lot of drama and I had to click buttons and reassure people. It went horribly awry (nothing to do with me) and I only had a few minutes to slap some color on and shove everything into the file cabinet. Oh well. They can’t all be good.

Lunch hour painting
This one was inspired by my echinacea plant that has only one bloom now. I like how that flower turned out; will probably make a badge from it.

Lunch hour painting
Heavy heart, fast painting.

More soon.

Jul 062017

Wanted to paint something other than cute animals in amusing settings.
the galaxy in my heart
My heart burns stars for fuel. I’ve painted this subject in a more symbolic way; thought I’d try leaning towards realism. Went terribly awry and I had to bring in some color pencils to get it to this “okay” status. I really worked that paper – it started to pill and shred in the middle.

I’ve switched to a Stillman Birn in Beta series instead of Zeta as previously discussed. Reasons and photos of why are still to come. I need to bring this sketchbook home and do some microscope photos so you can see some of my consideration points and I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I have so many things I want to do!

Anglien, a toothy creature
This creature is born from my desire to paint a monster. So, I made a monster. It is heavily influenced by anglerfish (teeth, eyes), snakes (jaw), telepathy (brain and skull arrangement), Abe Sapien from Hellboy (general), and the Gorn from Star Trek OS (general). The last two references I didn’t notice until it was done, but they are in my brain, so they must provide some influence to my creations. Of course, that is true of every single thing ever in my existence; it is exactly the monster I would come up with. I’m listing them as influences anyway, despite not actually thinking of them at all until afterwards. I call it an Anglien (anglerfish + alien = Anglien).

Toothy creature
This one wasn’t a lunchtime/work painting, but a quick sketch at home to play with the latest (July) ArtSnacks box contents. Whenever I get art supply boxes with colors that stump me, I find there is always some kind of bird happily flaunting those same colors in nature. This is meant to be a blue-gray tanager, a South American songbird. Birds are at the bottom of my list for painting subjects. I like them, like painting them, but they become monotonous quickly for me. I keep them as a backup subject when I can’t settle on anything else.

Jun 272017

Fennec foxes in the graveyard.
Another lunchtime painting, this one of fennec foxes enjoying a sunset in the graveyard. On Instagram, a couple artists have started a monthly art subject suggestion of unusual animals and June’s is the fennec fox. This sunset is painted from one in Lion’s Park, when Slick and I had walked and played our hearts out and were stumbling home, tired. I had to stop and take a picture when I saw how colorful, bright and dramatic it was.

My last two lunch painting sessions were interrupted severely and I didn’t get to finish. As soon as I get a chance to complete them, I’ll share them here, too.

Jun 222017

Paintings completed on lunch break, not paintings of lunch

I mentioned previously that I’ve been painting on my lunch hour, but haven’t shared much of it. Since I recently started a new sketchbook for this, AND managed to share the first two paintings, I’m going to keep it up. At some point I’ll go back and photo/scan all the first sketchbook, but that is a later project.

Creature discovering coffee.
Slick named this creature a Slork. I was explaining my snippet of dialogue as a thing to do if you meet a strange creature on your morning constitutional. Be reasonably friendly, introduce them to good things in your world, like coffee. This led to an interesting discussion about the addictive nature of coffee combined with the eventual potential for 30 Slorks waiting for you every morning and how expensive that much coffee would be over time compared against the natural benefits of being generous to appreciative recipients and potential supernatural benefits that might come to you from the tribe of Slorks.
We have silly discussions with non-silly connotations sometimes.

Two rabbits smoking pipes in a burrow.
This one was inspired by two very active rabbits I could see from the window during this morning’s (over-long) meeting. I knew I couldn’t capture their speed and frolicking, but maybe what they’re doing in their downtime. They’ve put up a sign in their borrowed burrow (did you know cottontails don’t make burrows? They make above ground nests, but will reuse abandoned burrows or cubbies) to make it more cozy.

Foxes in the coffee shop, yawning.

Sleepy foxes, starting their day. Free rodent with triple shot.

Painting from my poem.
Poison Pie, a summer special. Inspired by one of my poems I stumbled across again this morning.

One day I’m going to make a book/booklet/zine/some sort of collection of my poems with my art together. One day.

Jun 152017

Many months ago, I noticed I was working through most of my lunches. That, of course, it a bad idea! My working time includes an hour of lunchtime, I should NOT be working for it. It took a few weeks to break the habit, but I’m taking that hour to do something creative, which is very good for nullifying work stress. My two “at desk” projects are a small hand stitching piece, and watercolor paintings in sketchbooks. Here are two of those.

I like opossums and wanted to portray one in a “pretty” setting to help counteract the negative opinion that many people seem to have about them. This was my first shot at it. I liked it a lot, but I saw that my lines were messy and (for some dumbass reason) thought I should do better. This is a dumb thought because these paintings are quick sketches, fast and loose. The lines SHOULD be all over the place. This is a larger size (new sketchbook) and more detail and color than I normally use for a less-than-one-hour piece.


The next day I did the same painting again. I spent more time on the layout planning and line work preparation. I don’t normally do much or any linework – generally a couple marks here and there to remember where to put what color paint. That alone took most of a lunch hour. Most of the painting had to wait for the second day.

It is more controlled, cleaner lines, but the same general idea of painting. This is fine, but I think I have a miniscule preference for the first, loose and fast style.

So, there you go. Two paintings, almost the same, but different.

Feb 132017

When you use more than one medium in a piece, it becomes mixed media.

This sketch of a lilac-breasted roller uses water soluble markers, charcoal, graphite and white pastel on Stonehenge shaded paper. It was created as an ArtSnacks Challenge piece, which I enjoy the challenge part of. Not as exciting as last time, but still good to do for myself. It was more difficult than you might think to find good examples of roller prey in Somalia via photos on the internet. That said, all hail the internet!

Jan 122017

The January ArtSnacks box arrived a week ago and I have to say I was a bit stumped on what to make for the Challenge with the items – something that would be really fun. The ArtSnacks Challenge is to use all and only the supplies in your box. Obviously, you can add a canvas to work on, as they can only fit small samples of papers in the slender boxes.

The box held two bottles of fluorescent High Flow Acrylic paints in blue and green, a Princeton Snap paintbrush, a Kuretake double ended marker in blue, and a Koh-I-Nor Magnum graphite pencil. This is rough. The blue water-based marker is the same hue as the blue paint. The graphite pencil says HB, but marks like an H – which means it only got a gray instead of close to black. This means I have a very limited color and shade range.

While falling asleep a couple days after unboxing these items, the idea came to me all together, complete and ready to spring into creation. I just had to make it happen.

Acrylic paint on watercolor paper, in green and blue. Another pair of creatures was the teal combination. Since the paints are somewhat translucent, I could layer them, but they wouldn’t get darker than you see in the bottle on their own. Oh, I guess I could have tried burning the acrylic. Next time. The acrylic paint went over the graphite very nicely with minimal to no smearing.
Now to make new colors.

Laying down graphite and covering with acrylic got me far, so I shaved graphite off the pencil and added it to the paint to get a darker shade. It was gritty and required much stirring, but it worked!

The marker being the same blue meant I couldn’t get a new color, but it would help. I drew the diamond cone flowers in graphite, then carved lines in the paper with the razor knife, and colored it with the marker which made the blue darker and different, before coloring over them with the paint. That paintbrush is good for my varied work – I will pick up a couple more when I see them in stores.

This is the finished set, with all the pieces cut out, edged and stuck to some boxed over lines of watercolor paper. In the end, I managed to get a handful of variations from a limited palette; although I did completely use up that marker! It is dead and dry after the swirly background. I propped up everything in a box, arranged a couple lights and took about 80 photos. Movie Maker and some CC music later, a movie!

It is only 15 seconds, but that is enough. It is simple and cutesy and makes me quite happy.

Dec 252016

Happy day off to all – stay warm.

Playing with some pearlescent semi-moist watercolors by Jack Richeson, which is the company that makes my favorite carving block. Of course, the shiny of the pearlescent doesn’t show up in a photo, but it works in general for a quick watercolor play time anyhow.

Dec 062016

One Crazy Bird. Stayed up late last night because I couldn’t resist breaking into the December ArtSnacks box. I mean, I was already staying up late because I’m painting the Solstice Legends cards, but I had to wait for some to dry, so I did this meanwhile.

Begin Art Supply Talk

Photo stolen from the internet because I failed to take one of the supplies together.

These are Caran d’Ache Supracolor Soft water soluble pencils, plus a blender, which I used as a resist. These pencils are so soft and creamy! I’ve never liked watercolor pencils this much. I will seek them out for use in the future. You might recall that I also like the Caran d’Ache Neocolors II as a pastel; so this brand is sticking with me. The ArtSnacks box contained a five pack of the pencils, red, orange, yellow, green, and blue, so the bird is a bright one. I managed to use all the colors, although you can barely see the green blended into the blue at the bottom.

The Higgins Black Magic Ink marker was a nice format. It was different to have that ink in a free-flowing marker form. I’m more used to using that ink with a dip pen, using nibs, so making thick, loose lines of pure blackness was kinda exciting. The KUM long point sharpener is a welcome addition to my stash. The Stabilo pen was not exciting, rather a throwaway item as far as I was concerned. But, mine was in red so I found a place to use it in the feather transitions of the bird. The drawing was done in a Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook. That thick, sized paper is good for pretty much every random thing I throw at it, which makes it great for trying new products like this.
End Art Supply Talk

It was a fun break, but I still have more to paint on the Solstice Legends cards before I can even being printing their guts. I’m going to have to go nonlinear and start printing envelopes while the cards dry. Oh well, if people can’t figure out when the party is likely to be (or just ask if they can’t) by now then they aren’t people who’d be invited anyhow.

Oct 062016

Spirit Fox

ArtSnacks is a subscription box service I get. Every month they send you a small box with a few art supplies in it, along with a tiny snack. The snacks go immediately to Slick each time, but the art supplies are my kind of candy. I also subscribe to SketchBox, which does the same deal of art supplies, but no snack. Clearly, I have an art supply addiction. Anyway, they have a challenge every month to create a piece of art using only and all the supplies in the box and this is the first one I’ve played along with. At first I was having trouble with an idea because it is October and I kept thinking of Halloween (skulls, bats, pumpkins) and autumn (trees, leaves, wind) and being stuck. Finally, I pushed the seasonal thoughts aside and thought about what the materials would fit and this idea bubbled right to the top. A spirit fox in a dark wood.

I’ve had a number of animal helpers in my dreams, but the first one I really remember was a snow fox (Vulpes lagopus). Of course, I’ve never seen one and they aren’t telepathic like mine was, but it was snowing in my dream and it was a dream so it made perfect sense, in the way dreams usually do. Seemed like if I was going to draw a spirit animal, I should choose the closest thing I had to one. I thought of using a different animal because foxes are “so hip” and “on trend” right now, but that isn’t fair. If you change your behavior due to a trend, whether for or against, it is still influencing you. Ignore it, that’s the best. So, I ignored it. Of course, you can’t tell that my fox is a snow fox because it is glowy spirit white already, but whatever.

As the ink was drying, I went right into button-making mode. After that 30 day challenge, it was almost a habit; it felt natural.
Spirit Fox Button
The button badge is good, but not great. Some of the fine, light details are lost and the spirit floaty sparkles are barely visible, so I put a spot of micro-fine glitter ink on it before the mylar layer – not that you can see it here, only IRL.

This was a good evening art playtime, especially since I couldn’t do what I was supposed to be doing, which is hand stitching on the latest quilt. I’d taken it to work with me so I could stitch during my mandatory lunch hour, but I was a bit stressed and had terrible posture while I was doing it. That made my neck so sore I had a headache and could not bear any more stitching, good posture or not. Inking was easier, despite a similar pose. Maybe I was just that much happier to be at home in the workshop making art.

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