Thursday, May 29, 2014

Universe Illustration

In my effort to continually stay inspired this year, I sought out inspiration in the form of the website Illustration Friday. This website offers artists weekly themes to create pieces based on. It sort of felt like an unsupervised art class project. :)

This week's theme was 'Universe'. When I think of the universe I think of the swirling fluctuations of light and color and the glowing luminescence of the stars.

For this piece I decided to finally make use of a pad of black drawing paper that I had bought on a whim years ago. I used colored pencils with a small amount of pastel pencils for this piece. It was a challenging experience after working on white backgrounds for so many months. I had to reverse my way of seeing as I began to build the light from the shadows as well as adding shape and definition to the shadows.

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Portrait with Plumeria Blossoms

I enjoyed drawing my Cherry Blossom portrait so much (Click here to see my blog post showing this piece) that I decided to do another portrait. I was having some trouble deciding upon a flower to use for this one so I asked people on my facebook page to come up with some suggestions. The winning suggestion was plumeria. I had never heard of this flower but fell in love with it's lovely shape and beautiful color immediately.

Something that I had played around with for the first time in my Cherry Blossom portrait was the idea of keeping the portrait in black and white while adding a pop of color with the flowers. I added the color using Adobe Photoshop Elements. I enjoyed the final look so much that I decided to try it on this one as well, though the colors of the plumeria blossoms are MUCH more complex and I have never been very adept at photoshop.

This is the original black and white portrait done in graphite

Here is the portrait with the plumeria blossoms painted.

Which do you prefer?
Shall I continue on with this series? 
If I do continue with it, which flower do you think that I should incorporate in my next piece?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Japanese Cherry Blossoms

My latest sketch is inspired by all of the cherry blossoms in bloom during the spring months.
I've often wanted to travel to Japan for their Cherry Blossom Festival, but apparently I can travel to a much closer location in Macon, GA. How many times have I traveled through Macon on my way to North Carolina and never knew that it's considered the 'Cherry Blossom Capital of the World"? It's home to approx. 300,000 cherry blossom trees!! I had no idea!

Anyway, all of the photos on Facebook of these various festivals is what inspired this 'Sketch-of-the-Day'. It's just a basic pencil drawing on paper, but I added some color to the cherry blossoms in my computer just for fun. I sort of like this monochromatic look. This pencil drawing is far more detailed and realistic than my usual sketches, but I was really enjoying just building the layers of shadows.

What do you think?

Are any of you from a place that has it's own cherry blossom festival? What sorts of activities do they have for you to do? What are some of your favorite spring blooming flowers?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Blog Under Construction and Top Ten Mistake to Avoid when Blogging!

I've been wanting to re-vamp my blog for awhile now. It's been a few years and seems like it's about that time again.

Rather than just sort of winging it this time, I decided to actually do a little research on blogging.
I picked up the book 'Blogging For Creatives' by Robin Houghton. You can pick up this book at here or you can just do what I did and look for it in your local library.

I will say that this was a very helpful book. Some of the things mentioned were things that I had already discovered through trial and error, but other things I had no clue about.

I'm not going to do a review or summary of the book, but I will at least list her

 Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid.

1. Too many gadgets and embellishments
2. Light text on a dark background (ooo I was guilty of this one! Sorry for any eye strain and headaches that I've given you over the years! )
3. Too Much Information (TMI) Don't get too personal with your blog posts
4. Too Little Information- Don't be anonymous.
5. Uninspiring Blog Post Titles
6. Links not saying where they go.
7. Mixing too many topics or lack of focus.
8. Using automatically loading music or video ( I did this early on when I started blogging and quickly figured this out myself)
9. Not posting frequently enough. She recommended at least once per week. (I have definitely been guilty of this one, but am hopefully better now)
10. Spelling and grammatical errors. (I always try 2 spell gud) ;)

Anyway, I'm afraid that you'll have to put up with an ever-changing blog for a few weeks or so while I work out the kinks and get it to a point where I'm happy with it. The current look of it is downright terrible, in my opinion, so it's definitely not going to stay like this for long. Just trying to figure out a banner and template that I am happy with.

Any suggestions or ideas are more than welcome! What sort of mistakes have you made while blogging that isn't on Ms. Hough's list?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

New Sketches for the Week!

This week's 'Sketch A Day' project has been pretty productive. In the past, I've had a hard time finding the time or energy after my day job to sketch anything. This week I was pretty good about doing something everyday. It's sort of funny though. My week started with me just drawing from my head. Then it was drawing from my head, but inspired by events in my life and by the end of the week I was just drawing from events in my life. This is why I'm loving this project though. It allows me the freedom to just draw whatever comes into my head or inspires me at the time without any sort of constraints. I've also stopped doing my sketches solely in pen and ink and have added watercolors into the mix.

Fairies have been a common theme amongst my sketches, but this one has more of a Jane Austin feel about her. Probably due to all of the Jane Austin books I've been indulging in. ;)
May 5th, 2014

Two of my friends had babies within hours of each other so it only seemed natural that my 'sketch of the day' be inspired by them. Their daughter's names are Winnie and Violet and I drew this sketch as a way of celebrating this happy occasion and welcoming them into our world. This was also my first time attempting to draw a baby and I'm surprisingly happy with the way she turned out. :)
May 6th, 2014
I saw some ducklings playing in the water the other day and took a million photos to capture them.
Once I started drawing them, I realized that I would really like to add color, so I changed my definition of 'sketching' to include watercolors. :)
These two siblings were hiding underneath the lily pads and I just thought that they were too cute!
May 8th, 2014

This little guy had a lot of character. It was really a lot of fun drawing these sweet little bundles of fluff and webbed feet! I just might end up drawing a few more of them...
May 9th, 2014
I haven't seen a blue jay in our neighborhood in years, but I saw this one the other day in my backyard and just had to draw him. The colors of his plumage take my breath away. Nature is so incredible!
May 11th, 2014

What sorts of things have been inspiring you this week? Has spring brought about a return of some of your favorite flora or fauna?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Etsy Featured Artist: Olivyea

I am often stumbling across inspiration when clicking through the internet and have decided to share some of these discoveries with my faithful readers.

Etsy is a wonderful place to find inspirational pieces by some truly amazing artists and artisans. While 'taking a stroll' amongst Etsy's wares I came across the shop Olivyea (artist name Danielle Olivyea Christian ) Her works are definitely inspired by the impressionists with a few pieces moving more into pointillism.

This is the piece that first caught my eye. I absolutely LOVE her use of color and the way that she's captured the light here is beautiful.

She's also not afraid be more abstract and allow the light to take center stage

Here is a piece that definitely appears to be more inspired by the pointillists, but her love of light and color are still clearly visible even as she plays around with her brushstrokes.

Not very many of the paintings in her shop have people in them. Of the pieces that do, I personally like this one the best. I love her use of aerial perspective. I've stated that she's never afraid to allow things to get more abstract and that's true of the background in this piece as well.

If you love color and light, then painting a sunset seems like a pretty natural subject to be drawn to. I'm again drawn to her lovely use of color to capture this.
I would love to hear what you think about Danielle's work so please feel free to share! :)
Did you enjoy this blog post? Would you like me to continue posting features on various artists and artisans?
To see more of Danielle's work, check out her shop at When you do, be sure to click on her profile page as well. Her bio is as inspiring as her work!
You can read more on impressionism by going to
You can read more on pointillism by going to

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

From the Land of Faeries to Mermaids...

This week I've started working on my Sketch of the Day series again. I took a slight hiatus, but am back on track now. I'm not sure why, but my mind has been particularly filled with images of faeries lately. Just lots of wings flying about in my head! The only exception is the last one in this blog post. After so many faeries I threw in a mermaid just for fun.

As expected, some sketches I like better than others, but I am trying not to dwell on that as much. This series is about creating, not about creating masterpieces! I always find myself focusing too much on being a perfectionist and have thrown away countless pieces because of it!

April 30th, 2014

May 1st, 2014

May 2nd, 2014

May 3rd, 2014
Are you your own worst critic? We often hear that 'one man's trash is another man's treasure' ,but do we apply this concept to our art? I have often found that when I post a piece that I'm not particularly satisfied with, I receive a comment from someone who is moved by, or in love with the piece. For this reason, I ignore my own inner struggles with my pieces and just post them anyway. I create with the hope that I will give someone a bit of joy, hope or beauty and that's not always going to come from the pieces that I think they should.
To see more of my Sketch a Day series, check out my blog post 'Practice Makes Perfect'.