Saturday, October 7, 2017

Jar of Coins

Jar of Coins 4.5" x 3.5" oil on arches oil paper

In the summer when I heard the ice cream truck song 'pop goes the weasel' I'd run out of my house with a big jar of pennies and I'd buy as many candy cigarettes as I could. I've been looking at objects with new wonder, everything looks like it'd be interesting to paint at least once. As long as I squint I can break down any complex object. I'm in the process of moving to Kirkland so I'm finding so many neat things that were tucked away.
I've been watching a lot of interviews while painting, I saw Stephen King on YouTube doing a Q&A with college students, he said a few things I liked. He spoke about ideas and time, how the good stuff sticks around. He referenced shaking out breadcrumbs in a strainer and in the course of time, the good big breadcrumbs stick around and the little bits fall out.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Apple on a Pedestal

Apple on a Pedestal 4.5" x 3.5" oil on arches oil paper

This reminds me of some of my still life work from undergrad, typically most of my still life work had monumental compositions. These tiny paintings are challenging but I'm getting the hang of it, squint squint squint!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Gala Apple

Gala Apple 4.5" x 3.5" oil paint arches oil paper

Counted the brushstrokes, it was around 92 so I guess I did good on the first one, really hard challenge. I do have rules that I'm trying to follow, I'm allowed to redo the same brushstroke to get a better color. Also, I can use a napkin to smear the paint around.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Apples in a Basket

Apples in a Basket 3.5" x 3.5" oil paint on arches oil paper

Tried to count my brushstrokes on this one but I was getting frustrated so I kept wiping it out. I drew a few thumbnails trying to figure it out in between wiping it. I ended up squinting my eyes, trying to simplify and think about the whole picture rather than little details.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Apple with Stripes

Apple with Stripes 4.5" x 4.5" oil on Arches Oil Paper

I knew I was saving that Victoria Secret bag for a reason! Makes a great background. So this Arches Oil paper can't seem to take overworking so I'll count my strokes when using this paper. This painting took 39 brushstrokes, I bet that can be reduced.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Candy Corn

Candy Corn 4" x 4" oil paint on oil arches paper

Took a little siesta from my blog, it was my birthday on the 26th. For this painting I wanted to squint my eyes as much as possible and try to look at the dish like it was just blocks of color.

Monday, September 25, 2017

If It Fits, It Sits

If It Fits, It Sits 5" x 4"  oil on oil arches paper

I thought at first the pumpkin would sit better in the basket but it just kind of sat on the top, reminds me of the 'If I fits, I sits' meme of cats trying to sit in small boxes. I was debating on whether or not to crop the border off but I like it, if I were to frame this I would just float the paper in the middle of the frame. Starting in the middle of the paper suits me better because I can play with the composition a bit, if I need more space to an area it's easier to add. Also this lets me make a full mark without going off the edge of the surface, always bugs me. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Apple in Basket

Apple in Basket 3.5" x 3.5" oil on arches oil paper

This painting is so adorable and tiny! The apple looks so snug in the basket, tucked in.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Flamingo in Motion #4

Flamingo in Motion #4 14.5" x 11" marker on paper

As the name suggests, this is one flamingo moving about. They move once every 4 to 5 seconds, if they stay still for longer it's a blessing. This drawing feels really dynamic, there's a real flow to it.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Flamingos in Motion #3

Flamingo in Motion #3 8.5" x 5.5" marker on paper

This is actually quite a small sketch but something about its simplicity really strikes me. I want to integrate my drawings with color eventually but I'm not sure how yet. I've been thinking a lot about the Lascaux caves along with Matisse's cut-outs, much to think about and do. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Flamingo in Motion #2

Flamingo in Motion #2 11" x 9 marker on paper

Another take on a Flamingo bending down to drink water. In case anyone is wondering I'm using Chartpak Fine Tip Ad Markers, the warning on the side of the marker says 'this product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer,' thank goodness I live in Washington, I won't be getting cancer. All jokes aside, if you use these markers, don't get them on your hands and wash vigorously if you do. I used them inside once and my boyfriend Dave couldn't stand it, I didn't notice the noxious fumes- so protip: use these cancer pens outside.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Flamingo in Motion #1

Flamingo in Motion 13.5" x 10" marker on paper

Because of the limits of observation and memory, I've been looking at motion; nothing stays still for very long. I tend to look and draw immediately what I see, line allows for immediate response from observation.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mr. Gregory Peck the Swan

 Mr. Gregory Peck the Swan 12" x 16.75" marker on paper

Another take on Gregory Peck, resident swan of the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. My favorite part of this sketch is the head turn, a little suggestion of movement. Usually their bodies are quite stationary but they're constantly moving their heads back and forth. Since all my sketches are from observation, I keep thinking about the data that I'm receiving from the scene, like what's there that I can use.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Flamingos in Repose

 Flamingos in Repose 16" x  12" marker on paper

People always mention how weird their legs are, they look like stilts. They stand like this to keep warm. Flamingos can stand like this for hours, even while sleeping. I heard a weird fact the other day, a dead flamingo can stand on its own.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

GBH #5

GBH #5 12" x 16" marker on paper

I'm always trying to catch when the heron is moving his head. These GBH drawings are really just about movement and also how the silhouette changes with that movement.
Ps. whoo!! 30 days of straight posting so proud of myself. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

GBH #4

GBH #4 12" x 16" marker on paper

Here's the Great Blue Heron getting out of his roosting position to get a better look at the humans being let in.

Friday, September 15, 2017

GBH #3

GBH#3 12" x 16" marker on paper

Here's that big guy sitting on the top of the zoo buildings,just got the slight angle in. I did have a moment with the GBH the other day, he flew between the penguin exhibit and the zoo, he flew low and we locked eyes, pure magic.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

GBH #2

GBH #2 12" x 16" marker on paper

I like the sketch of the bird with his foot up. It's so weird, my drawings have been reminding me of the wall paintings from the Lascaux caves.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

GBH #1

GBH #1 12" x 16" marker on paper

This is a study of the same bird moving about on the rocks of the penguin exhibit. He's usually just making sure he's shown up in time for some fish.

Monday, September 11, 2017

One Line Flamingo

One Line Flamingo 2" x 5" marker on paper

This is the first time I've used continuous contour line for my own purposes. So I look once and then I do the quickest line I can on the paper. I made a lot of horrible ones, this is the best one so far.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Glamour Shot

Glamour Shot 12" x 16" marker on paper

This is my favorite caricature from this year, I make a lot of monsters. Glasses are the most important thing about someone's face, they're always hard for me so I liked how this came out. I drew the glasses first and worked my way around them. My signature's become pretty fluid too, nice.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Grazing Flamingo

Grazing Flamingo 11" x 8" marker on paper

How much data can I get in a moment? About a line's worth. I like this sketch, tied the flamingo to the environment.

Friday, September 8, 2017

What's this thing? #3

What's this Thing? #3 11" x 9" marker on paper

In this one you can really feel how the flamingo is nuzzling the rock. I keep thinking about the data I can retrieve when I'm observing, being conscious of movement.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

What's this Thing? #2

What's this Thing? #2 11" x  9" marker on paper

I really like how I didn't add the legs on the flamingo, just suggesting it. Plus these drawings are done very quickly, I'm usually trying to get what I see immediately. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

What's this Thing? #1

What's this Thing? #1 11" x 9"  marker on paper

So I thought the flamingos were pecking at a potato, ended up being just a rock. I asked the zookeeper and he said they probably saw a bugs on it so they were playing with it, so adorable.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Great Blue Heron II

Great Blue Heron II 17" x 11" marker on paper

Here's more observations of the heron, great model since he moves so slow. He's ever watchful, planning his next move.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Gregory Peck

Gregory Peck 11" x 9.5" marker on paper

I didn't realize this but geese and swans are quite similar, they're only a few differences. Swans have longer necks and bigger feet, ducks have fewer bones in the neck. Gregory Peck is quite spunky, he's always chasing the mallards. Emma Swan is his mate, both residents of the flamingo exhibits at the Woodland Park Zoo.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Flamingo Studies II

Flamingo Studies II 11" x 17" marker on paper

The one flamingo on the upper left makes me laugh, I like how he's nipping at another one. When I'm observing I see that a lot. I keep thinking about how much I remember from looking once and then back down to my page. I remember things like the silhouette, curve of the neck- usually a line's worth.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Flapping Wings

Flapping Wings 14" x 8" marker on paper

I got to meet some baby flamingos the other day! The zookeeper let me meet them in the back, I got to hug Poco and Pluma, it's such a different experience to see them in person. They're so soft, it was so cool to pet their long necks. Poco was pretty affectionate, nipped at my hair and let me hug him, Pluma was less trusting and just watched Poco. I was surprised about how they reminded me of my cats a bit, super receptive to people.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Shrimp Time II

Shrimp Time II 7 (3/4)" x 4 (3/4)"

So I'm starting to see my work in series- which is a good thing. It's one artwork birthing from another. In these watercolors I'm trying to find what the scene is saying overall, like the color you get when you squint you're eyes. In the first step I paint the silhouette with masking fluid, then I paint the background. After waiting for the paper to dry in the sun, I squint my eyes to compare the flamingo pink color to the background and water.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Shrimp Time

Shrimp Time 7 (3/4)" x 4 (3/4)" watercolor on paper

My favorite thing lately is when they get fed, they get all excited and go down to the water area. I like when their heads go underwater looking for shrimp. When all the flamingos are in the water their reflections are so pink in the green water, so I'll need to properly capture that one day. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Flamingos 16.5" x 11" charcoal on paper

I've been studying their movements, I love when they're eating shrimp and moving their heads back and forth. I enjoy the flamingo in the foreground, you can see the movement of the neck. I render the form when they hold a position.They're constantly twitching and moving, like the standing flamingo to the right, head moving back and forth- probably looking at all the humans entering the exhibit, being like 'who let in all these animals?'

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Flock of Flamingos II

Flock of Flamingos II 16 (1/2)" x 7" charcoal on paper

Check out that top Flamingo! Finally got a sketch where I was able to capture a flamingo riffling its feathers. They move a lot so I tend to draw a few different flamingos in vine charcoal and I'll rub it out if another sketch is working out better. This vertical format is really good with the flamingos.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Flamingo Sleeping

Flamingo Sleeping 3 (3/8)" x 3 (3/8)" watercolor on paper

I used a few layers on masking fluid rather than just one. I painted silhouette and the background at the zoo. I finished the flamingo looking at my drawings and color studies. It's so tiny, weird to see it blown up big on a digital screen.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Big GBH

The Big GBH 12" x 7.5" marker on paper
Actually got the rock in this drawing, love how clean the line is in this one. Line is currency and the idea is to not use a lot of currency, spent your money where you need it. I do a lot of line exercises where I'm basically running a line down a page but I'm adjusting the pressure as I go down.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron 11" x 17" marker on paper

I do caricatures at the zoo and there's a lot of down time, especially on weekdays. My booth is next to the penguins so I can turn around at my easel and either see a Humboldt penguin or the Great Blue Heron. Lately I've been calling him the Big GBH. He actually isn't part of the exhibit, he just flies in for the fish.  He moves so slowly, it's like he's really thinking about his next step. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Phoenicopterus Chilensis

Phoenicopterus Chilensis 16" x 10.5" charcoal on paper

This is actually the same flamingo drawn three times. He was continually bowing to get water and grooming so I would get back and forth between the different figures. When I squint my eyes at the scene the pink flamingos really pop, it's in the value. The lightest light  is on the flamingo while everything else is generally darker than the flamingos.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Flock of Flamingos

Flock of Flamingos 18 x 7.5 charcoal on paper

Gestures feel like the appropriate way to show the flamingos since they are constantly moving, always twitching, nipping at one another. Gestures can give a closer relationship between hand and eye. When I draw an animal I'm constantly reminded that when I look back up from my paper the animal has already moved. Matisse liked to use line while observing because it gave an instantaneous record of immediate impression. I might follow that road- I dig it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Flamboyance

A Flamboyance (16" x 10.5") charcoal on paper

Flamingos sleep 90% of the day but when a zookeeper comes in they get all alert and freaked out. It's really adorable how they extend their necks and get close together, they're like 'intruder, intruder!' A group of flamingos is called a flamboyance but they can also be called a flock, colony, pat or regiment. I like the gesture of their necks, it's just a fluid pink line attached to a bulb. Now that I'm looking at the small thumbnail on the screen, I really enjoy the flamingos in the background because that's how they look in the shade.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Flamingo Studies

Flamingo Studies 11" x 7.5" charcoal on paper

I used some vine charcoal to coat the paper, after that I drew with a vine charcoal stick to do gestures, alongside an eraser and a 4B charcoal pencil. This technique seems like the fastest way to get a gesture, eye to hand. Lately I feel like I've been doing blind contour drawing where I'm looking at the same time as moving my hand, not necessarily looking at the paper. Working from life has been good, makes me work quick. I want to see how fast I can capture something so I've been blurring my eyes to get rid of all the extraneous details. As Matisse would say, "All that is not useful in the picture is detrimental."

Monday, August 21, 2017

Three Flamingos

Three Flamingos 7 (3/4)" x  4 (3/4)"

I like how dreamy this watercolor feels, the colors really jive together. I love how their bills skim the surface of the water to get shrimp. Sometimes they stamp their pink feet to see the shrimp move in the water, it's really cute, makes me laugh every time.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


Grooming 6 (1/2)" x 4 watercolor on paper

Here's another study of a flamingo grooming its feathers, I like how rich and dark this one turned out. I'm starting to realize that the less you touch the paper the better.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Flamingo Grooming

Flamingo Grooming 6 (1/2)" x 4 watercolor on paper

I'm in love with how flamingos move their necks especially while grooming. My process with these watercolors is that I do a few sketches of gestures while observing, then I paint the silhouette of the gesture with masking fluid. After that I do the background, wait for it to dry, then I paint the flamingo based on my notes. I also like to look out and blur my eyes so I'm getting the color generally right.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Flamingos in the Sun

Flamingos in the Sun 4 (3/4)" x 7 (3/4)" watercolor on paper

In this study I was looking at what was happening with the colors when my eyes were blurred. I wanted to know what was happening generally throughout the scene, what it was saying as a whole rather than looking at tiny nuances and details. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Chilean Flamingos

Chilean Flamingos 7 (3/4)" x 4 (3/4)" watercolor on paper

Did you know that flamingos are born white? They're pink from shrimp and apparently there's green and blue ones too! I've been working at the Woodland Park Zoo as a photographer/caricature artist. On my lunch breaks I go to the Chilean Flamingos, there's also swans and ducks in there too.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Study: Pears

Study: Pears (8" x 11") graphite on white paper
Been drawing pears, it's amazing how each one is so different from the next. It's neat how the smaller shape on the top of the pear overlaps into the bigger shape below. I am pretty rough with the paper, I mostly use 4H and then I dive into a 4B.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Window At Noon

Window At Noon (6" x 5")
oil paint with walnut oil on Oil Arches Paper

So this is my favorite that I've done lately, I'm so bedazzled by that bright, ambient green that pours in at noon. I keep thinking- gesture, gesture, gesture! I want the essential, only the necessary marks.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Four Pears

Four Pears (5" x 6")
oil paint with walnut oil on Oil Arches Paper
This painting has a deckle edge as well, I'm likin' it. I found these pears on the window sill this way, goes to show you sometimes still lifes' set up themselves! Looking out the window was one of my assignments for my drawing students, basically you know that the interior will always have your darkest darks and lightest lights. You can enforce that there is a window there by keeping the scene in the background low contrast in value.